ijk Productions and Jeff Kennedy wedding photography! Really? Wedding photography?

Well, yeah.  I used to shoot weddings so why not.  I still do the occasional that comes my way if it feels right.  And this year I had 3 such weddings.  The first of which featured the amazing and fun Wes and Bre!  It was a blast to hang out with them at Wes’ parents house south of Sunriver.  What an amazing place to live let alone beautiful location to have a wedding/reception.  It was a great way to get back into the swing of things when it comes to shooting a wedding. I do have to say it was also the oddest lead up to a wedding shoot in my life.

A week before the wedding I was driving my Jeep and the left front wheel came clean off!  Luckily I had just got off the parkway and wasn’t going very fast.  If it had happened 5 minutes earlier at 50mph I may not have made it to the wedding.  I might not even be here telling you the story today!  If that wasn’t enough, 2 days before the wedding I went into the ER and had to have an emergency appendectomy.  I was a bit sore on the wedding day but the love and laughter pulled me through.

So I give to you this little video in honor of Wes and Bre!  Enjoy!

Wes and Bre

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Bend Oregon Photographer: The Art of the Selfie!

Selfies.  Ugh!  Even the name coined for them is irritating.  Ok, maybe I’m just being grumpy.  But, really, if I see one more picture of a girl in a bathroom doing the duck face I’m going to punch someone in the neck!

That being said, a popular way for a lot of current photographers to learn their craft, try new techniques, or just stay in touch with their camera is to do self portraits.  Now typically these are not duck faces in the “john” but rather more elaborate images. There is even a “365 Challenge” in which the photog takes a “selfie” every day for a year.  I considered that for about 3 seconds and knew with my combination of personality flaws it would never happen nor did I really care if it did.  I have other things to do with my time.  But I do see the value in doing these SP’s and have committed to doing at least one a month’ish…..I’m beginning to think I have an issue with commitment.  Hmmmmm…..

Honestly, I’ve sort of avoided SP’s in the past because they’re kind of a pain in the ass.  You have to use a timer or remote trigger.  You’re constantly running back and forth from your position in front of the camera to behind it to see what happened.  Then back to tweak the pose or light or whatever.  But there are some photogs out there doing some really great work with only SP’s.  Check out, for example, the work of Brook Shaden or Miss Aniela.  Looking to them as inspiration I decided to give it a go.

Over the winter I grew another “weight loss beard” which will make more sense if you read this.  Before I shaved for summer I wanted to get a SP done with the beard.  So I came up with a concept for “Action Jeff”.  I chose a location out on the high desert and waited for a day without rain but with nice clouds in the sky.  I had it all figured out.  I would light it with 2 strobes.  One main strobe in front and to the side for dramatic light on me and a second strobe behind in the old abandoned homestead I was shooting at illuminating the smoke (did I mention I was using smoke bombs as special effects?!?!?) and rim lighting me from behind.  It was going to be so cool!

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate failing?  I do.  I loathe it.  But I knew that I had to push beyond that and risk failure to make myself better.  In the end I think I got a good image.  But it was achieved through one tiny (and some not so tiny) failure after another.  The location I used was 40 miles out on the desert.  I lugged all my gear out there by myself and set everything up.  Then the winds picked up.  Then it rained.  Then it hailed.  Did I mention the wind?  I had my lights set up and the lightstands weighted down to keep them from blowing over.  It took me probably a half our to get the equipment set up.  All the while the wind buffeted my main light but the added weights I put on the stand kept it upright.  Once I had the power dialed in on the lights I decided to take a test shot before I lit the first smoke bomb.  But that main light, that main light needed to be 10 inches higher because THAT 10 INCHES would make ALL the difference.  And it did.  It made the difference between a light that would stand up straight in the wind to one that would come crashing down destroying my strobe the moment my back was turned.  UGH!!!  But like any good professional photographer I had a back up light.  So I lowered the stand 10 inches (see I’m no dummy!) and put the new light in place.  Now for the special effects!

The smoke bombs or emitters as they are officially called don’t really have a fuse.  You have to just light one end of them.  To light them I used my trusty Zippo lighter.  The wind.  Did I mention the wind?  Using the minimal shelter of the homestead I was able, after several minutes and one HOT Zippo, to finally get one lit.  And then the sun came out.  Now to the uninitiated the sun coming out sounds like a good thing.  To a photographer, well, not so much.  So I waited.  And the smoke went away.  I played this game with the sun and several smoke bombs.  Near the end I got solid cloud cover.  Unfortunately, that cover was accompanied by increased wind.  On my final attempt to light a bomb the Zippo got so hot in my hand I could barely hold it any longer and never did get the bomb to light.  So you won’t see much smoke in the image above.  But I did learn that I need a small torch to light future bombs with.

The shoot was a success but I can’t say it was a lot of fun.  I did a lot of swearing, sweating, and swearing some more.  But I think I got a decent image and in the end that’s what I’m always looking for.

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Fine Art Photographer – Bend, Oregon – Destination Redefined!

I’m on a new path. Or maybe I’m back on my original path. Actually, I think I just found the right path to my original destination. In any case I feel like I’m back on track. I’ll make a more formal announcement, declaration, or whatever you want to call it later. For now I just had some observations I wanted to make.

I’ve learned over the years that the world is made up of different personalities. One way to measure these personalities is to look at how they approach a task. You can think of a task as shooting a target. Shooting a target is basically three steps. 1. Ready – define the target; make sure you are in position; make sure your weapon is loaded etc. 2. Aim – point in the right direction; make sure your sights are on the target; make sure you have good technique (breath in let out half, squeeze the trigger etc.) and finally 3. Fire – execute the strategy; jump in and do it!

Now a normal well balanced person, when faced with a task, will do those steps in order. Ready. Aim. Fire. I’m not sure I’ve ever met a truly normal, well balanced person though. In reality there are folks out there who are super driven and tend to do it this way: FIRE! Oh, yeah, aim….and uhhhhhh…what was the other one? Then there’s the careful folks: Ready. Aim. Aim. Aim. Aim…… then there’s the procrastinators: Ready. Ready. Ready. Aim. Ready……. I tend to be sort of a careful procrastinator: Ready. Aim. Ready. Aim….and eventually I fire…sometimes.

As I said, I’m sort of redesigning my path these days. So I’ve been spending time learning stuff to get me back to where I want to be (READY). Some of this learning is through workshops. I noticed recently during a workshop that I was finding all sorts of valuable information. Which you would hope is the case when you pay for a workshop. The interesting thing is that some of the value came in the form of information I already knew or knew better than the instructor. I’m not trying to brag about how much I know. What I’m saying is it made me realize that I’m falling into my personality quirk of getting stuck in the READY phase. I think a lot of folks do this. They don’t think they’re ready to make the leap so they keep preparing (READY). When in fact most of us already have the information we need. We just need to be confident enough to pull the trigger.

Now, I tend to lean more towards the procrastinator side. Which means aiming can be scary to me because that puts me one step closer to actually firing. So my next step is to kick myself in the butt and aim (set some goals and pick some targets). And realize that I can work on getting ready, while I aim, and even while I pull the trigger on other targets. Yikes! I think my heart rate literally increased by about 10 beats!

Wish me luck!

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Beardsly McBearderson!

Ok, so I have to admit, I’m a little slow on the uptake. In pretty much any of life’s endeavors I always seem to be a bit behind the curve in letting things sink in. Its my own fault. I’m a procrastinator. On the bright side I’m not a complete idiot and consequently I do figure things out eventually. I could write a whole book detailing all the examples of this but instead I’ll stick to the topic of fat.

I’ve been fat for a long time. And I’ve thought I was fat for even longer. I recall thinking as a junior high schooler that I was fat. I look back at pictures of me then, however, and I was by most estimations scrawny. But one of the truisms I’ve discovered is – that which you think about will come to pass. So I fulfilled my own self image.

It started in college. I’ve always been a fairly active guy. In college I was friends with a group of guys who would book up the racquetball courts every night of the week and play each other for 2-3 hours a night 4-5 nights a week. On weekends I was hiking and mountain biking. In the summer I was playing tennis. Then there was pickup basketball. Softball leagues. I was in motion a lot. Armed with that I decided I could eat and drink anything I wanted figuring I’d just burn it off on whatever court I was going to be on that day. Evidently that was not sound reasoning because I put on weight. Not only did I put on weight I developed bad eating habits.

Fast forward about 25 years. That’s 25 years of lots of activity and bad eating. Where was I? I was a tub of goo weighing 248lbs with bad knees. I had knee surgery on my right knee and the doc said there’s very little cartilage and the beginnings of arthritis. Arthritis!?!? That’s for old guys! That what woke me up. I realized if I didn’t do something about my weight I wouldn’t be able to continue doing the things I loved. And I’d end up a couch potato. A gooey couch potato.

So I tried dieting. Atkins. South Beach. Suzanne Somers. Protein shakes and meal replacement bars. They all worked in their way. I lost weight. Then I gained it back. Diets do that. Since they aren’t really the way you should eat your whole life you never learn good habits so when you lose the weight you go back to eating poorly and gain it back. I figured that one out fairly quickly. I mean it only took me a handful of years. I must be getting sharper!

My lovely wife who is a pharmacist has always had a keen interest in nutrition. In the last few years she studied and became a certified nutrition consultant. With her help we’ve changed the way we eat. More veggies, less carbs, no gluten etc. I also knew that to do this right I need to make this a lifestyle change not a temporary diet change. Which I realized meant that it was going to be a slower process.

Key to this process, as with any process, is goal setting. In the beginning my goals were to lose something like 20lbs a month. And it always started out encouraging enough. I’d lose 5 or 6 lbs the first week and maybe the same the second week. Then I’d plateau. Now my goals are much more realistic and attainable. I shoot for 5lbs a month. Easy.

Which brings us to the present. Over the holidays I decided to let my hair and beard grow out. After New Years I was getting ready to shave it all off again when I had a thought. How about not shaving again until I reach a new low weight?!?!? At the time I weighed around 234 and my previous low was about 2 years ago when I hit 216. I had picked up about 7 or 8 lbs over the holidays but outside of that I’d been steadily losing weight so it seemed doable.

The main thing you have to battle when losing weight naturally and slowly is that when you falter (which for me is any time I have to travel and eat out. I love eating out.) you take a bigger hit. What I mean is that if you’re losing on average 1-2lbs a week and you screw up one week you can easily gain 3-4lbs. So now you’ve lost almost a months worth of progress. So setting a goal like the beard thing really helps keep you focussed.

So what is it that I’m getting at you may ask? Did I reach my goal? I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

Triptych

Of course I’m not done yet. I still have about 30 lbs left to lose. But I’m moving in the right direction and for the first time I really feel like its going to happen. To follow my journey you can check out my Facebook page dedicated to it here: Jeff and Soni vs The Goo and as always you can follow ijk Productions on Facebook here.

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High School Senior Photographer, Bend, Oregon: Andrew!

Andrew was one of my ViP Models this year and he’s an all around good guy. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with him and his mom Kory. They ‘got’ my sense of humor. Which makes them special people…or strange people…one of those.

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Bend and Central Oregon Band Photographer: Silvero!

I recently had the pleasure to shoot the local band Silvero. Great bunch of musicians and super fun to work with. Got to take in their performance at The Horned Hand. Great performers too. It was ROCKIN’!

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Bend, Oregon Portrait Photographers: More body painting! Boudoir Style.

The lovely and talented Natalie Fletcher was at it again. This time she took beautiful Amanda and painted her in lingerie. And I had the honor to shoot her session. I fricken love my job!

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Bend, Oregon Photographer: Personal Project – Body Painting!

In addition to ijk Productions I’m also a partner in Studio 3. Studio 3 is located in The Old Ironworks District in Bend. The whole complex is made up of artists, artisans, and craftsmen. Its an amazing community of talented folks. Each month on the last Saturday of the month the district has an artwalk where people show their wares, there’s music, drink, and its generally a wonderful time. At Studio 3, in addition to showing what we do, we feature different artists each month.

This month I was charged with finding our artist. I recalled a young lady at a previous artwalk handing me her card and saying she’d love to show with us if we were ever interested. That young lady was Natalie Fletcher. I contacted her and she agreed most enthusiastically to show her amazing work. She also mentioned that, in addition to painting on canvas and other traditional media, that she did body painting and wondered if I might be interested in shooting one of her subjects. Hmmmm, take pictures of incredible art on a beautiful scarcely clad model….I pondered this request for what must have been a nanosecond! Uh YEAH!

We discussed the concept: A girl in a vintage car (beautiful Ford Fairlane) broke down by the side of the road, dressed in 50′s era clothing (painted on). We agreed to meet on a stretch of pavement called China Hat Road at 6:45. While I was on my way the sky began to turn dark, the wind picked up, and I started to get rained on. NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I crossed my fingers and pressed on. When I arrived they were just finishing up the painting. The wind was starting to howl and the poor model Lisa Marie was covered in goosebumps. I had serious doubts that we’d be able to do the shoot as planned. The car hadn’t even arrived yet. But I thought at least we might get some interesting shots in the rain.

The car finally arrived at about 7:15. We positioned it and starting shooting. Suddenly the wind calmed down and actually became an asset. And the light became gorgeous! Everyone had a great time and I got some great shots of the artists work and our lovely model. Well, don’t take my word for it. Here, you be the judge:

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Band Photography, Bend, Oregon: Lauren Kershner

Here’s a sneak peek of a recent shoot I did for the lovely and talented Lauren Kershner. You can check her out on Myspace here. And here’s a big shout out to Classic Pianos in Portland for letting us use their facility and the crew for moving pianos around for us!

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Senior Portrait Photography, Bend, Oregon: Another shot of ViP Model Tyler!

Well, he’s got a unique perspective on life….what can I say.

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