Dec 28, 2012

'A Christmas Carol' in Sleepy Hollow

Since I started working at Davis Studio back in 2010, I've been exploring the surrounding area of the Hudson Valley more and more.  About a ten minute drive from Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, it's a very cool place to be in the Fall.  Though most of their attractions are Halloween-oriented (The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, for example), the Historic Hudson Valley organization has some interesting Christmastime traditions as well.

Jonathan Kruk, the same actor who gives annual one-man performances of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow does the same for Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  They didn't allow photography during the main performance, but I was able to snap a few frames that I think set the scene pretty well.

New York Comic Con 2012

2012 was a year of comic books for me.  Though there were plenty reasons to get excited about the New York Comic Book Convention, one of my main reasons for going was to meet and photograph all the characters in costume.  I had been to a few conventions up in Boston, but nothing like this - the Jacob Javits Center was packed with people for whom Comic Con is an opportunity (or excuse?) to dress up as their favorite characters.  I've incorporated my picture-taking into a Peter Parker/Spiderman costume on a number of occasions, but today I decided to try my luck as Captain America.  It was not very impressive at all, but luckily I was on the right side of the camera, photographing everyone else's amazing costumes.

Global Citizens Festival 2012

I was one of the 60,000 lucky fans to win tickets to the Global Festival in Central Park back in September.  Rather than try to fight my way up to the front of the crowd to fight for pictures I knew everybody was trying to get, I thought I'd hang back and capture the show from the nosebleed-section perspective.  As much as I'd have loved to get a nice close-up picture of Neil Young or the Foo Fighters, I'm glad I was able to show the average concert-goer's experience.

9/11 Beacon Memorial

I've always wanted to photograph the 9/11 beacon memorial.  I remember being particularly inspired by the opening scene from Spike Lee's movie The 25th Hour, which focused on the beacon lights from different angles for the first several minutes.

 Though I hadn't been home the past several anniversaries I was finally able to make it this time around.  Throughout the year my work for Lifetouch took me to several places in New York and New Jersey that had great views of the Manhattan skyline and the Freedom Tower construction site.  It's been interesting to witness the slow but steady progress on the tower at different points in the year.  So this year I decided to spend Sept. 11 revisiting a couple of these spots and photograph the beacon memorial from different vantage points.

My first stop was a cliffside park in Weehawken, NJ, a ways upriver from the World Trade Center.  It was a relatively quiet scene, though the sidewalk was lined with all sorts of photographers.  Some had iPhones and point-and-shoots, others had tripods and enormous telephoto lenses.  For the most part people were silent, but here and there you could hear quiet conversation.

I spent about 15-20 minutes photographing and taking in the scene, and then drove down to Liberty State Park in Jersey City to get a closer vantage point.  This was a very different atmosphere.  I arrived around 9:30, a short while before the parking lot's usual closing time, though you wouldn't know it that night.  It felt more like the Fourth of July, especially when I noticed the ice cream truck stationed right outside the park entrance.  Inside the park I found myself in a sea of tripod-wielding photographers, each one fighting for a spot on the river.  The longer I stayed the more uncomfortable I felt, finding myself somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between somber visitors and enthusiastic photographers.  On my way out of the park I noticed a group of older visitors posing for pictures in front of a piece of metal from the Twin Towers that had been turned into one of several memorials at the park.  I tried not to judge, figuring everyone copes and commemorates tragedy differently, but when they put their coffee cups on the piece of the building so they could review their pictures I had seen enough.

So the trip was not at all what I had planned, but I think I managed to find a few moments at least to reflect and photograph some nice (if not at all original) frames of the memorial.

Oct 25, 2012

Scott Kelby's Fifth Annual Worldwide Photo Walk 2012

I recently took part in Scott Kelby's Annual Worldwide Photo Walk.  I hadn't heard of the event until a colleague of mine mentioned it to me this year, but it seems like a really cool organization.  On a given day, photographers from all over gather in various locations --anyone can start their own walk in any location-- and take pictures together.  I thought it would be good to meet and collaborate with some new people, and I jumped at the chance when I saw there was a walk at the Ramapo Reservation, a place I've hiked at before but always wanted to photograph in the fall.

Here are some of my best shots from the walk.  I had a great time, but would love to go back again soon and see how the leaves look later in the fall.

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

An annual display of over 5,000 hand-carved jack 'o' lanterns, The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze is a celebrated fixture during the Historic Hudson Valley's fall festivities.  Located at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, NY, the Blaze is within driving distance of Sleepy Hollow, which has its own array of Halloween-related celebrations this time of year.

Jul 12, 2012

The Upright Citizens Brigade's 14th Annual Del Close Marathon

Here's another rather large batch of pictures from one of my latest gigs - the UCB's 14th Annual Del Close Marathon (a bit of back story: The Upright Citizens Brigade, originally founded by Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh, created the Del Close Marathon after Del Close, one of the pioneers of improvisational comedy, passed away in 1999).

This was, by far the COOLEST photography gig I've gotten so far.  Three straight days of improv, performed by the best comedians in the business, and all I had to do was sit in the front row and take pictures.  I'd always assumed there was more to improv than Michael Scott continuously pulling out his "gun" (see: The Office), but I had no idea how much of a fine craft it really is.  Or how much hard work and training it takes to be a professional improv comedian.

I knew there were going to be some big names at the marathon (after all, one of the UCB's founding members is Amy Poehler, one of the most successful female comedians out there), but I was surprised at how many familiar faces I saw on the various stages.  From minor recurring TV characters, to frequent supporting roles, even my favorite YouTube sketch comedy groups, it was interesting to see how wide the UCB network spans.  Basically, if I ever decide to become a comedian, this would definitely be the place to start.

Anyhoo, without further ado, PICTURES!

Jul 6, 2012

Hopeless Romantic - Production Stills

Here are the production stills for Hopeless Romantic, a film my friends at Tanaka Bros. are working on.    This was quite a learning experience for me, not just from being on my first movie set, but also from jumping into the medium of production still photography from scratch.

© Andrew Bisdale 2012
© Andrew Bisdale 2012

Editing was quite a chore, narrowing a collective batch of about 1250 pictures down to a somewhat-comprehensive 136.  I like to think these pictures tell a relatively concise story, showing some behind-the-scenes action, some of the scenery, and a little bit of impromptu celebrating after we wrapped filming.

This was a pretty surreal experience, working well into the night for several nights in a row, witnessing the production of what I'm sure will be an impressive piece of filmmaking.  I'll say one more "Congrats" to the cast/crew of Hopeless Romantic - can't wait to see the final product!

Jun 22, 2012

GRAVITY by Descent

Here's my comprehensive visual documentation of GRAVITY, a musical theater project produced by Descent, an up and coming theatre company based out of Brooklyn.  The show is about an evil demigod named Gravity, and a small group of superheroes determined to break free of her influence.

This is the same company that I took part in ENTOMO with.  I was only the photographer for this project, as opposed to bassist/actor/photographer/graphic designer, but it was a pleasure as always to work with these folks.  In my humble opinion, these guys are all friggin' rock stars and they're going to take over the world, theater by theater.

Apr 23, 2012

Photoshoot for "GRAVITY"

Today I took some publicity pictures for some good friends of mine who are producing a play called GRAVITY.  The show is described as a "story of a war torn world rule by and evil overlord and the four superheroes who band together to defeat her and save their planet."

I've performed with these folks before, in a show called ENTOMO, so I can say from personal experience that they know how to put on a show.  I'm very excited to continue working with them on this production - and to see the show itself, which promises to be mind-blowing as always.

Feb 28, 2012

The Upright Citizens Brigade Performs at the Met

Here are pictures from my latest shoot at the Met - an improv show by The Upright Citizens Brigade touring company, featuring SNL's Bobby Moynihan.  The event coincides with the museum's Infinite Jest exhibit.