The Last of Summer: Underwater Sessions

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Summer is quickly slipping away and so is your chance to be a mermaid in 2015. We are offering 2 days of underwater sessions on September 16th and 17th. $500 for the session gets you professional underwater makeup, mermaid tails and the photos from your session! Please email josh@azulox.com to schedule your session. Sessions are between 90-120 minutes and can be used as a solo session or with a pair or group of friends.

We hosted 2 days of mermaids this July and had our most diverse group ever. A bachelorette party, a maternity session, an evil Siren, a cosplaying super herione, and mermaids all around. These sessions are truly one of kind and we only offer them once or twice per year. If you have ever wanted to be photographed underwater with AzulOx, this will be your last chance until July of 2016.

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“He is Gone”: Cassandra at Lone Oak in Round Rock

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—–
“She wished and wished with all her might, holding fast to the remnants left behind.
A dream, a dance on this late night, hoping her love can find
Her man, her soldier.

The war is done, he should be here to dance. To dance and set free
The war inside of she. Hold fast to thoughts, to romance, to me.
Telegram reads, He is Gone.

Touch and Remember the pearls, the jeweled necklace
All you have is the last embrace”
—–

So a bit of a departure on this shoot. It started with a phone call to Adrian with Revelry Beauty that had me saying, “so I have an idea…”. The team came together quickly with vintage clothing and accessories from Ledbelly Vintage. Our gracious hosts at Lone Oak Barn for a great venue. Our supermodel Cassandra! who held all the emotion to these photographs.

We wanted to create a mood and lighting from 1946. We leaned heavily on film noir principles to help us get there. Hope you enjoy our little break from the norm, the next blog will deal with weddings and a bit more client work. Thanks for reading and watching!
–JB

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Sea Bride: Creative Portraiture in Austin

This project runs a little darker themed than our usual postings but it’s a story that has been in my head since I first heard the song “Sea Bride” by The Haunted Windchimes. Sometimes I just get stories in my mind that I have to tell. This one deals with a bride whose groom never returns from sailing. She waits for his return but realizes her love is lost so she leaves this world to join him. I know, like I said, a little darker theme from me, but I think the photos are awesome so whatcha going to do?

Thanks to my friends for making this notion turn into reality-ish. Beau from Flower Child with the bouquet, Amanda from 11:11 Events keeping us organized , Lizbeth and the PRO Makeup & Hair team for the look and feel of wind torn bride, and finally Naomi who braved some frigid temperatures and numbing water to let us capture these fantastic photographs. Almost forgot thanks to my old roomie Brian for mixing up our fake blood. Pro tip: don’t get the corn syrup in your lens, just sayin’.

“Sea Bride”
The sailor man is set to return on this day of wedded bliss
Rumor speaks and whispers The Tall Sailing ship is sunk
Promise not to tell

Sea Bride grips in grief to shell and sand
while tears and blood fall to the
same water and fate as she

Tossed to the sea at golden light
floating serenely to shore
The rocks and the lips run red

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Mystic Weekend Revisited: Creative Portraiture

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Occasionaly my creative vision outstretches my technical ability to produce the photographs and images in my head. Our Mystic Weekend session is a great example of not having the technical know how to produce what I could see mentally. We photographed these images in the fall of 2011 and at the time my Photoshop skills were caveman crude. 2 years later my knowledge of Photoshop has increased from 1% to 2% doubling what I know, but still a long way to climb. Part of re-processing these images were restoring them to my original vision and some of it was a test to see what I could do with them now. Most of these have never seen the light of day because I didn’t know what to do! We are sharing now to show more from the original plans. You can read the old posts Day 1, Day 2 AM, Day 2 PM.

Let me reset the story for all of our new followers. We have a Druid Archer hunting down other mystical creatures including the Red-headed Sirens and the Winged Faeries. There is also a fight between Old Man Wisdom and a Sun Goddess as she tries to posses his knowledge. Who wins is tough to say as the sun is setting. These were all photographed in my hometown of Kingsbury, Texas with a lot of help from some talented individuals. Kari Lehman and Mitch Bergsma were are Sun Goddess and Old Man Wisdom respectively on day one. Then Mitch turned around and filmed this awesome behind the scenes video. The second day had a crazy fun cast of models/actors. We had Kayla Klepac and Jenny Lynn Larsen as our Red-Headed Sirens. Haley Read, Sky Van Vliet and Tricia Peters Moon as our Winged Faeries flying from a 30 foot trapeze rig and jumping onto mats. Ivy Koehler as our Druid Assassion with head to toe tattoos (and based on the Iron Druid Series from Kevin Hearne).

The top image is an example of what I didn’t know at the time. Creating fire and lighting effects in post production. Color grading to this extent. Removal of unwanted objects more complex than a dust spot. I really had to get it right in camera because my post-production skills were limited. For most projects, that mentality was great and taught me to get as much right in camera as possible. When I want more than enhanced reality I am at a loss. This is a big step to adding to my post production arsenal. A big part is the software used. For us the jump from Photoshop Elements to the Adobe Creative Cloud has been a huge boon. The latest Photoshop, Premiere and ancillary software allows us to produce more than we imagined. The new tools are fast and photographer friendly. Still a ways to go and maybe in a few more years we come back to these photographs and go really over the top!

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Jonnie & Jim: Peacock River Ranch Wedding

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Pink is the new Black. We had pink & black everything for this military wedding at Peacock River Ranch in Gatesville, Texas. My favorite pink is the parasol that Jonnie carried down the aisle instead of a bouquet. The pink contasted so nicely with her father’s Navy Blues as he escorted her to the ceremony, and yes, there was a lot of dust in my eyes thats why they were tearing up. Also if you look closely you can see the rising almost full moon in the background as they come down the pathway.

The pink parasol also played nicely with the yellow sunflower field at Peacock Ranch for our after ceremony bride and groom portraits. Jim has his military ruggedness working for him and Jonnie (btw, how great is Jonnie a name for a gal? love it) sweetly kisses him and shield him from the sun as well. So good. We also caught a break with the sun just going down during the first dance as we caught the last rays of the day on Jonnie as she rest her arms around Jim’s shoulders during their dance together.

Take a look at our selection of favorites from the evening, and let us know which is your favorite!
–JB

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Jennifer Hritz: Creative Session

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We just wrapped up a creative session for a local Austin Author, Jennifer Hritz (website), to produce media for her upcoming novel, “The Crossing”. The experience was a bit surreal on a day when Austin set an 84 year old record for cold weather in May. This fit our purposes though because the action in the novel is set on a cool October day. The other surreal aspect is photographing characters from someone else’s head. Usually I am the one writing backstories on the characters in our sets, but not today. Jennifer told me that the characters for this novel had lived in her head for the last twenty years. No pressure in presenting them as she saw them! Austin and I were a bit nervous about that part but we kept our professional cool and made these photos happen.

For the curious, we tried out the new VSCO film pack #2 to provide an emulated emulsion that replicated the type of camera and film that would have been available to the characters. First time using VSCO after hearing about them for the past year. Nice setup and fits my workflow quite nicely. Based on limited use so far, I would already recommend this product to use for the right type of photos.

And yes, I realize these photo’s also could be used for a smoking campaign. Just part of the detail that makes up the characters. Read the books, don’t start smoking. That is your public service announcement for today.

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Scotty Mac & Casey Jo: Engagements

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We say this all the time, but we really love our clients and all of their quirkiness! This pair have a few special talents that deserved a little attention. Scotty Mac is an elite runner for Rogue Athletic Club and Casey Jo is a collegiate gymnastic coach, so yeah both can do things that normal can’t. Scroll down the page a bit and see Scotty Mac doing his steeplechase hurdle over Casey Jo’s scorpion hold handstand. Just wow right?

The other thing we should note is that they have a silly silly sense of humor and are totally on the same wavelength. We will put up facebook the zombie kisses, Monkee walk and dual handstands to show how off-beat from the world they are but in tune with each other.

And lastly, the bright red Volkswagen Vanagon? How could we forget that! Scotty had it nice and polished up for the session and revved it up to make the central Austin to Pflugerville drive in just under 4 hours. Yes, he could have ran faster but this way he did it in style.

So which photograph is everyone’s favorite?

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Savanna Noel: Senior Portraits

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Savanna is Senior from The Woodlands, Texas with Austin, Texas roots. Our session took us through her childhood stomping grounds of the fire truck playground at Barton Springs to the waters of Barton Springs and finished with a picture of her and her dad in front of the Jo’s Coffee shop “I love you so much” graffiti wall. We all had a great time together and Savanna’s sarcasm and mine meshed nicely. Even made a few jokes about the trendy style of alien eyed, plastic skin portraits making the rounds. Check our instagram feed for our joke edit to see what we mean.

Savanna swims and sings though probably not at the same time. We like to incorporate the important elements at this point in a senior’s life. For Savanna, that meant flippers and a microphone with the classic shades. Make sure you let us know what you are interested in for your portraits, it helps to plan your session.

Get out your #2 pencils and write a short comment answering the questions: What is your favorite photo of Savanna? What do you feel about about ouerve? (bonus points if you don’t have to look up what “ouerve” means”)

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–JB

Shepherd & Megan: Soaked Engagement

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We have said it before and we will say it again, we love our clients. We will be photographing Shepherd and Megan’s wedding next month at Vintage Villas. While going through our initial consultation with them I discovered that they felt their engagement pictures could be better suited to their personalities. When asked about their personalities it came out that they loved dancing together and were up for about anything. I casually mentioned that I was shooting a series called “Soaked” and they were instantly interested and willing to participate. Oh, and they are also super talented dancers. 2 weeks later we had them in my garage shooting in “rain” on a 60 degree day with 20 mph wind. Megan’s lips were blue after the 45 minute water torture, er, portrait session but she stayed committed throughout. Are these the best of the series so far?

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I know you can feel the warmth and passion this couple has for each other and it was shining through even as they were shivering together. Such a pleasure for us to watch them work out their choreography and moves on the spot. Then they would just bring it when the rain came down. Like a hip hop Singin in the Rain!

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Let me take a second to run through our process for capturing these Soaked shots. Due to the high wind we setup a 10 foot roll of black background paper inside my garage to shield it from the wind and to put the exposure of the black further into the shadowed ambient. The couple is just in front of the edge of the roof to get the water falloff on, in front and behind them. We have a AlienBee 800 with a small softbox from behind and a LP160 gelled red from the opposite corner. They were both on 1/2 ish power. The key light is an Einstein640 with a sport reflector on full power. That’s because we were at an ambient killing iso50, f18, 1/320th exposure. Cue the rain from Austin on a ladder and Bob’s your uncle. Austin is the premiere provider of rain in Travis County.

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We also took some proper engagements before the wet and wild part of the session. Made sure we had enough good ones where we could shoot without hesitation on the rain soaked section. There is this great old barn in my neighborhood that I am always looking to photograph in new ways. Lucky for us the clouds stayed together and dramatic. The vertical photograph above is maybe my favorite of the entire day because it shows Megan and Shepherd in their true state of happiness together, a small slice of time that represents their future time together. And from up close to tiny in the frame, I think these pair well together in a narrative fashion.

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Hope you have enjoyed the continuation of our Soaked Series, any requests for what to photograph in the rain next?
–JB

Creative Session: Camryn is “Soaked”

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After a teaser picture from this series generated some excitement on our Facebook page, I decided to make a blog post detailing how and why we made this set of imagery. Let me get the fact out of the way that our model for the day, Camryn Little, brought an intensity and imperviousness to the cold water, wind and wet concrete while we were shooting that allowed any of these photographs to have. Thank you for your talent and professionalism Camryn!

The question for the day then is why make this series of photographs. First, it is a technical challenge to expand my abilities as a photographer. These shots were staged in a controlled wet environment where I can safely and quickly gain specific knowledge in how to light and expose in a wet situation in the future. My hope is that in the future I will be ready with my underwater housings to produce these type of photos in “the wild”, but seeing as how I live in the desert climate of North Austin the chance to practice is slim. And believe me, I am constantly checking the weather forecast for daytime rain storms to photograph in nature with models on standby. The main technical challenge is how to make a dramatic portrait with raindrops/water hose producing wetness that destroys electricity powered devices, namely cameras and flashes. We overcame this by shooting on my backporch with flashes in waterproof otterboxes and our big light far enough away to be out of the “thunderstorm”.

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The second reason is the one I find more interesting, the reason to make images like these is because they get in my head and I can’t shoot anything else until I purge them from my system. Ideas for my creative shoots infect my brain like a fever and can even cloud my vision of other projects until they are photographed and edited. On shoot day the camera feels lighter, the lights seem brighter and nothing will get in my way. The whole reason I picked up a camera in the first place was to tell dramatic stories and share them with my friends. Creative shoots like “Soaked” are the natural adult extension of my barely post adolescent impulses. Why do you pick up a camera?

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The last reason is produce new work and expand on past work. I have photographed couples, models and sea monsters underwater but this seemed more intense and edgy in a way. The technical skills gained in shooting underwater helped me immensely in this project. There are also strains of my recent restricted light work at play here. The water and tight lighting merged into a new category for myself that I am hoping to continue to push forward with in between the client work that we have on deck for this spring. I am looking forward to an upcoming couple underwater session that pushes my engagement session portfolio in new directions as well.

For those wanting the full tech specs of these images. LP 160 with a “Just Blue” gel to camera left and above with a ziploc bag cover at 1/1 or 1/2 power. Another LP 160 at 1/2 power in an otterbox on the floor pointing up towards the models chin to open up the shadows a bit with a 1/2 CTO warming gel. The main light is an Einstein 640 with a sport reflector and 15 degree grid at 1/4 power. My exposure was something like f/18 at 1/320th at iso 100 with a 70-200 f4L lens. Let me know if there are questions I can answer.

Thanks again to Camryn for getting Soaked! and to my assistant Austin for manning the water hose/collander/twilight cup station.

–JB

Steffi’s Senior Portraits: Red Barn & Waterfalls

Steffi, a 2013 Senior from Westwood High School, is a little more adventuresome than the rest of her classmates. The pictures that follow will bear this out, but she also lived in France for 9 years, plans to attend University in Fort Collins, Colorado and loves her horse Gus. None of these made the photographs. What did make our pictures today were Steffi in her element around an old barn and getting seriously wet at a secret waterfall somewhere in Pflugerville. Thanks to Steffi for saying yes when we asked to lay down in the waterfall, and no we will not share my posing demonstration.

Tell Steffi how awesome she looks in the comments!

Katha: Underwater Portraits

A Songwriter’s Dream

Continuing in our underwater portrait adventures, we went a bit more thematic this time around as we tested the pool that I hope to use for future shoots. The theme was a songwriter’s dream. Our lovely model Katha, moonlighting here as our subject is a singer songwriter in the real world. We wanted to take the dreaminess of underwater photos and add them to her dreams as a songwriter. You can see the empty music pages and the floating pen in parts of these shots. We didn’t take into account how quickly paper will disintegrate in water, next time we will try to use papyrus. Once we blew through the small amount of music paper, we shifted into straight underwater portraits.

Summer Underwater Portrait Series Details


Following up on the success of our underwater portraits from last summer, we are again offering a unique opportunity to have amazingly creative portraits made while underwater. These sessions are super for creative portraiture, maternity, and engagement/couple portraits. Models and Creatives types, these sessions would look epic in your look book. The look and lighting of being underwater provides an ethereal feel that can’t be recreated on land.

Here are the details:

* Private Pool (9 ft deep) in Dripping Springs, Texas
* Sessions Available Monday July 16th through Friday July 20st
* 1 AM and 1 PM Session each day
* Professional Hair and Makeup where needed
* 1 – 16×24 Art Print in your choice of Acrylic, Aluminium, or Canvas
* Sessions ~3 hours
* Edited Session Gallery
* $995

Message us at Josh@Azulox.Com or give us a call at (512) 461 9416 to reserve your time slot now!

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80’s Style – Creative

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Always a fun day when we can push our limits a bit and do an 80’s inspired shoot. Yes, we channeled our early Run DMC and Cyndi Lauper to think breakdancing, awkward angles and Reaganomics. Been wanting to test out this location as well. It’s an art project on 10th street in Austin in the Castle Hill neighborhood. You can see the top of the castle in a few shots. Our models for the day were a mix to me. Jenny Lynn and I have worked together a good handful of times, but Shellie and I just met on Sunday and did this shoot on Tuesday! Fast friends, imho.

We braved the late spring Austin Sun that was pushing temps into the 90’s already and we were working towards a desaturated, hard sky look with a bare beauty dish (without the center reflector) pushing a sharp edge of light around. For the top image, the sun was shining directly onto Shellie (in the leather Jacket) while Jenny Lynn had her features brought up with the light from the beauty dish.

2012 Senior Portrait Favorites

Haydn and the Austin Skyline

Average. You won’t find any average photos here at AzulOx Photography. Our motto for 2012, go BIG or go home. Our custom senior portrait sessions are getting more and more epic everyday. From Aztec Warrior Princess to Rat Pack Crooner we are showcasing your personalities and talents in a way no other studio can. Yes there is still time to book, photograph and receive your prints for the end of the 2012 school year. But you need to contact us as soon as possible we have very few sessions left.

Take a look at the amazing imagery you will only find at AzulOx Photography. Notice anything different? I thought so. You noticed there are not any “sitting on the train tracks looking dreamy” images because really, who plays with trains? Take one more look at the photographs, now contact us with your ideas.

Bryttne and the Windmill

Cameron Crooning

Rachel & Gus

Wendy, the Azteca Princess

Aubry in the Middle

Heather the Heartbreaker

Kristina’s Portraits – Austin, Texas

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Kristina and I met through a creative mutual friend and connected over caffeine to discuss a project. A really fun creative project that you will have to wait and see. In the meantime, in order to work off the jitters, we meandered over to the Triangle in Central Austin to continue the discussion while testing to see how Kristina worked in front of the camera.

Winged Faeries – Mystical Weekend Part Three

The Third in the series of our Mystical Story Weekend. Part One and Part Two can be found here.

And the story continues…

Mother Hawk keeps watch as her young Hens look on into the distance. The fall is ending soon. Hunting will be harder and more ranged.

Mother and Two Hens

Sneak quietly upon your prey. Hide where you can be hidden. Pounce when ready.

Hunting at Dusk

There, you see my young hens, in the distance is our quarry. But who else is hunting in the twilight?

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And now we end the mystical theme for the week. Thanks to all who came out and helped.

Credit for the Winged Fairies hair and makeup goes to Crystal Glass. She knocked this one out!
The Fairy Hens are Sky and Haley.
The Fairy Mother is Tricia

Ivy K is hiding in the background with Hair and Makeup from Lecia Harkins.

And of course my buddy and super photog Geoff for being there for 2 all day shoots plus a prep day.

What stories can we help you tell?
–JB

Sirens vs. Druid Archer – Mystical Weekend Day Two AM Preview

Continuation of yesterday’s post……

The sirens call out, searching and singing for their next prey. Perhaps a sailor will catch a glimmer of their image or a snippet of their song, like a hook on the lips.

Sirens Calling Out

Drawing power from Mother Earth, the Druid Archer lines up and pulls the bowstring taut. Arrows alight as the songs and beauty fall on uninterested female eyes and ears.

Beware

Too late to notice, too dead to care.

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Druid relaxes near sundown. One less song singing in the trees tonight. The granite grants relief and shelter

One down, One to go

To Be Continued….

Makeup Credit for Ivy‘s Druid Archer character
Lecia Harkins at Austin Beauty to Go.
Wardrobe by Jeff K.

Hair and Makeup Credit for the Siren’s – Jennifer and Kayla
Brian Emanuel
Stephanie and Lacy from Pinup Salon Austin

Garlands and Seaweed provided by Flower Child Design

Food and Hospitality by David Baker

Creative Folk – A Ramble deleted

Ivy K on the rusty bridge

I started to write a long and rambling post about the details of meeting a cool new person and the ramifications of such.

Instead of slogging through that read I will leave the photographers that read this blog with a simple message and a few photographs.

The message: Get out from behind the desk, meet new people, especially those with crazy ideas, and take pictures. Good things will happen.

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Looking forward to making quirky images with Ivy. This week’s creative person met and photographed.

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