Archive for November, 2011

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.

Our Yukon photo book is here!

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

[by Fritz and Teresa] Last week our first book, Yukon – A Wilder Place published by Greystone, hit bookshelves across Canada. This book has been ten years in the making. Back in 2001, we thought it would be “neat” to make a book about a place we felt passionate about. It turned out to be more challenging than we could have imagined. When you pick up a book, or watch a movie, or walk through a gallery, the finished product looks so easy – like it all just fell into place. Making a book has given us a much better appreciation of how hard creators work!

All along we’ve been driven by a question that we posed to ourselves on a winter night a decade ago: what do we find so compelling about the Yukon? For us this journey has been defined very much by our desire to explore Yukon wilderness. Many of our richest life experiences have been in the northern wilds. We also know that we are incredibly fortunate to live in such a place. Vast, wild landscapes like the Yukon are increasingly hard to find. This week, as we celebrated the arrival of our book, the world population reached 7 billion people. We hope this book helps build appreciation for how special, rare and valuable Yukon wilderness truly is.

Let us know your thoughts about our photos and stories. Better yet, we’d love to hear your stories about the Yukon. What is it that YOU find compelling about the Yukon? If you’’ve never been to the Yukon, tell us about your “wilder place”. You can share your thoughts here or on our Facebook page.

Our book is available in bookstores across Canada. Here are some other options:

  • Canadians outside the Yukon: We are offering a book launch special through our website: Buy online from us before December 31 and receive a signed copy of our book AND a free 2012 Yukon calendar (available to Canadian addresses only). You can also request a personalized book inscription.
  • U.S. residents: The book will be launched in the United States in March 2012.
  • Overseas: Please contact us directly for a shipping quote.

We’re a national tourism award finalist!

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Fritz Mueller Photography is one of three finalists for the 2011 Corporate Partner of the Year award presented by Canada’s national tourism association (TIAC). It took us awhile to get our heads around what this means, especially since the other two finalists are Montreal Airports and Halifax Waterfront Development Corporation (…does TIAC know how little our business is?).

We love working with the tourism industry and are extremely honoured by this nomination. Here’s what TIAC said: Fritz Mueller Photography (FMP) is the passion of Fritz Mueller and Teresa Earle, two extraordinary Yukoners whose invaluable photographic and literary contributions to the tourism industry have captivated locals and visitors alike for over 10 years. FMP makes an indispensable contribution to the Yukon tourism industry with their passion and dedication to producing extraordinary images and stories showcasing Yukon. This creative team of two is known for their professional product and contagious enthusiasm for our territory, and as a result, literally millions of viewers and readers across the globe have experienced Yukon for the first time through Mueller’s lens and Earle’s words.

The national tourism awards will be presented in Ottawa on Nov. 24 … stay tuned!