Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Daisy’s Christmas

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

A short film about the spirit of Christmas. Happy holidays!

Daisy yearns to be included in holiday festivities with her family. But what she finds is more enduring…

Credits:

A film by Fritz Mueller and Teresa Earle
Story and editing – Teresa Earle
Camera – Fritz Mueller
Composer and sound designer – Jordy Walker
Daisy’s family – Robyn Mueller, Stella Mueller, Teresa Earle, Bill Earle
Thanks to Jayden Soroka

Filmed in Whitehorse, Yukon
copyright Fritz Mueller Photography 2012

 

Robert Service in full color

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It’s the great, big, broad land ‘way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.

                                    from the Spell of the Yukon, Robert Service

[by Fritz] Last month I headed to Dawson City to shoot the Klondike National Historic Sites for the Canadian Tourism Commission. Most of the talent we pulled in were Parks Canada staff whose jobs had just ended for the season, along with some keen locals and a few tourists. It was supposed to look like a ‘summer’ shoot, but fall was in full swing here in September so we embraced it.

One afternoon we spent some time at Robert Service Cabin. Most visitors to Dawson seek out the home of the famous poet known for his verses about the Klondike Gold Rush. The weather had been cloudy and cold, but while we were there the sun beamed into the historic site. For a short time we were surrounded by magic light and golden fall colour.

While leading us around town on a walking tour, Parks Canada heritage interpreter Fred Osson became Robert Service. By the time we arrived at the cabin, we’d been listening to Fred recite Service ballads and spout off tall tales like Service. I found myself lowering the camera so I could watch the famous bard. I caught myself thinking: this actually is Robert Service, and I really am standing here on the boardwalk in 1903.

It’s easy to think about historic times in monochromatic black and white like we see in the old photos, yet Service’s life was full of colour. That afternoon Fred animated Robert Service’s world for us. Fred is incredibly gifted at what he does, and he took us back a hundred years. We re-created a historic photograph in front of the cabin porch, with Fred teasing us in and out of the past. Oddly, it was 100 years almost to the day since Service left the Yukon for good.

I’ve been to Dawson many times, yet I felt something significant at the cabin that day, like I’d travelled through time and found Klondike gold myself. It was a testament to the power of interpretation.

Anatomy of a portrait shoot on a blindingly bright day

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

[by Fritz] This summer I got a call from Shell Canada and Canadian Geographic to shoot the Kitchen-Kuiack family of Marsh Lake, Yukon. They’re one of six Canadian families competing in The Energy Diet Challenge. For three months Brian, Marguerite, Simone and Marika have been reducing every aspect of their energy consumption in a battle to win a 2012 Toyota Prius.

The busy Kitchen-Kuiack family were only available for two hours and the Shell Canada client was flying in for the shoot. The day before, I drove out to the house to quickly scout the location and meet Brian Kitchen. That day, the light conditions were perfect: overcast with bright open shadows.

Next morning it’s a brilliant, cloudless sunny day and by 8 am it already feels like high noon. When we arrive at 8:45 everyone cheerily points out that the weather is perfect. Not exactly! This kind of light is a photographer’s nightmare, with contrast so high that it exceeds the camera’s dynamic range. We have a long list of shots to cover in less than two hours so we get right to work. My mind is scrambling trying to figure out how to reduce the contrast with the location options we have.

We start with interior shots because it’s easier to manage the light by tacking black fabric over the windows to create an instant studio. I’ve brought my Einstein strobes and Paul C. Buff modifiers – Rob Galbraith has good reviews of this gear. We work through a series of individual and family portraits in the Kitchen’s cozy living room, including Thomas, the agreeable family cat. Because the energy challenge will be in the fall and winter, we light a fire in the fireplace, even though it’s July. I’m already sweating, and within 20 minutes everyone else is too.

Next we move outside, and though it’s a hot sunny day the Kitchens gamely wear jeans and sweatshirts. The locations I scouted yesterday don’t work today in the bright sun, so we change the plan. I’ve decided on a couple of distinctive backdrops where we can hide from the sun behind their sheds so I have more control over the light. I’m underexposing the camera and pumping in light with the Einsteins with 1 CTO gels to create a warm low-sun feel. Whew… less than two hours after we arrived, we’re packing up our gear and saying good-bye.

The Stuff of an Olympian

Monday, April 12th, 2010

[by Fritz] I remember watching this vibrant Australian blonde win gold in aerial ski jumping during the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. She made it look so easy, and the Aussies went mad when she won. Four years later this same feisty girl took bronze at Turin. In a TV interview she talked about overcoming a string of injuries and broken bones and multiple concussions to do it. I remember wondering what motivated her to compete in such a crazy sport.

A few months ago I got a last-minute call from the Canadian Tourism Commission to shoot one of the 2010 torchbearers in the Yukon. Australian sports superstar and double-medallist Alisa Camplin was coming to run through the streets of Dawson City. I read that Sports Illustrated once listed her as one of the world’s ten sexiest Olympians. Only after reading about the shocking physical challenges she’d faced – she’d broken this and broken that and re-tore ligaments just four months before Turin – did I remember seeing her on TV.

It was a dark morning in Dawson, and Alisa’s torch run was short with disappointing backdrops. That was one shoot I could have really used my new high ISO camera (Canon 1D Mark IV). She was being covered by a pack of media, but in those few minutes she was really gracious and worked hard to give us good shots. She seemed to appreciate the attention in a genuine way.

Later, in the empty bar at the Downtown Hotel, I spent a couple of hours with Alisa and her boyfriend while they played pool and I was uploading files. They were really nice people, and I got to ask Alisa my questions about how she did it.

When she was about four years old she remembers deciding that some day she was going to win the Olympics, only she didn’t know yet which sport. She tried some typical Australian sports, and somehow ended up a skiing aerialist in a country with little snow.  She said she had lots of momentum to win the gold medal, but she had to work much harder and is way more proud of her bronze medal four years later. The physical and mental challenges sounded huge the second time around.

In Dawson she talked about wanting a family, and that her new dream was to be a doctor of sports medicine. But she also seemed doubtful and thought it was probably too late, so instead maybe she’d become a nurse or physical therapist. It was amazing to hear these crazy stories of how hard she pushed herself as an athlete, and you’d think someone with her willpower and courage would have it all figured out. But like lots of us she’s also grappling with unfulfilled dreams and lack of confidence.

I really enjoyed meeting Alisa, and I appreciated her openness about her personal triumphs and challenges. I hope she finds success with her new dreams.