Tag Archives: white seamless

Headwaters Content

Kevin Day (Principle/Content Strategist; Headwaters Content) and Hailey Day (President/Digital Artist; HeyDay Creative)

You should never start a blog post with an apology for not posting recently. It’s just bad form, and truthfully, who reads this blog regularly anyway? Even if you did, you’d notice that I haven’t posted anything — anything — since January.

But I feel the long absence is worth noting, if for no other reason than the major personal changes I’ve undergone since my last post.

I’ve started my own company.

Not a hobby company. Not a dabble-in-it-and-see-if-it-fits company.

A livelihood. A bona fide “wow, this is what I ought to be doing in life” company.

My business is called Headwaters Content, and its one of Denver’s first content strategy firms. What brought this about is a long and probably boring story (I think it’s interesting. You probably don’t). But needless to say, maintaining a photo blog has been a free-time activity, and since February, setting Headwaters up has been rather consuming, both from a labor-intensive and mentally fatiguing perspective.

Continue reading

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Portraits For Our Baby’s Room

Aunty Amy … married to my brother Ben and mother of Andrew, Isaiah and Jeremiah

(Click on each image for a larger view)

A few months back, I mentioned on the blog that we were working on a series of photos for our baby’s nursery. We just entered the third trimester, and we now have a crib (minus the mattress). Above the crib is a wide wall that can accommodate 10 frames at 8’x10′.

So here’s the concept: We want our child to know that they always have their family close by. So, beginning in August with Hailey’s brother and sister-in-law, we’ve been photographing them on a white backdrop. Rather than do just a headshot, we thought it would be fun if each image captured the playful, inner child of our parents, our brothers and sisters, and our nephews. On Thanksgiving Day, we completed the shoot. This post is devoted to the ones we’ve selected to frame.

Uncle Benji and Cousin Jer’

Cousin Andrew

Cousin Isaiah

Grandpa (Hailey’s father)

Nana (Hailey’s mother)

Funpa (my father)

Oma (my mother)

Uncle Jason (Hailey’s brother)

Aunty Ali (Jason’s wife, Hailey’s sister-in-law)

There are more images of Jason and Ali from a post I did in September.

What I’ve come to realize is that these images are a family heirloom, something to treasure more than any antique. At age 1 or 2, just as our son/daughter is beginning to figure these relationships out, these pics will be their guide. By the time they’ll be in high school and college, this will be a snapshot of who we were back then. Such an awesome family … we’re thankful for each person within it.

Can’t decide whether we should complete it with pictures of the two of us being playful or not. I don’t know … the kid’s going to be seeing plenty of us!

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Julie Jensen in High Key

(click on each photo for a larger version)

Last Wednesday, I joined my first Meetup group at a Northglenn studio to learn a few high-key photography techniques. Pretty cool group. It was lead by Bill Murphy and our model for the evening was the lovely Julie Jensen.

There were quite a few photogs on the scene, which took some getting used to for me. Julie had to bounce around a bit to keep track of the paparazzi vibe, but in the end, we all learned a great deal and had a great time in the process.

The set-up at North Denver Photographers Studio was fantastic, and it is available for rent (and quite affordable, too). Certainly plan to do headshot, modeling and family portraits there in the future… They have a white cyc wall, which is a perfectly curved, seamless wall. There were also a variety of umbrella and softbox lights to illuminate not only Julie but also the wall, which creates this bright, sunny effect (aka high-key). Let me know if you are interested in a customized shoot similar to this one.

Thanks to Bill, Julie and the other photographers. It was tons of fun.

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Jason and Ali (and Some Big News)


In late August, we hosted Hailey’s brother and sister-in-law, Jason and Ali, for a few nights. They live in Richmond, Virginia, and they visit roughly once a year now that Hailey’s parents live in Boulder. You know me and my pet portrait projects — while they were here, I asked them to pose for some photos in front of the white backdrop. Something playful and childish … like blowing bubbles. Why? Because we’re working on a series of white seamless portraits for the nursery.

That’s right: Hailey and I are having a baby. March 4 is the due date, and we’re determined to have the little one surrounded by our loved ones every night.


Uncle Jason and Aunt Ali are naturally playful (heck, we even bought the bubbles at the grocery store on the way home from putt-putt golf).


The bubble gun came with a blue hippopotamus-type creature who exclaims “bubbles make me silly!” when you squeeze its stomach. This provided a good ten minutes worth of laughs from Jason.


Right now Hailey is beginning to show and the baby is making a few moves of its own. In 10 days, we find out if it is a boy or a girl. It gets more and more real with each passing day. I’ll do my best to make sure this doesn’t become a baby blog, but rest assured, this will be one of the most photographed kids in history.

We’ll be seeing Jason and Ali again for Christmas in Richmond, along with Hailey’s parents, her grandmother and her aunt and family. Should be an extra joyous occasion this year.

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The Reitzug Family Reunion (The Siblings)

2009-07-05-Reitzug-2064(For a larger view of each photo, click on the image)

I’m finally getting around to posting images from a very personal project I did over the Fourth of July weekend, something that had been a year in the making. Hailey and I were in Los Alamos, New Mexico for the Reitzug Family Reunion, a once-every-threeish years kinda event that centers on my mom’s incredible family of 8 siblings (she has three sisters and four brothers) plus all their kids, grandkids and now great-grandkids.

The Reitzugs, in many ways, are a classic American story — a family of German immigrants who sought opportunity in Indiana in the 1950s. My grandparents endured WWII in East Prussia, as well as the economic difficulties immediately after in West Germany where they settled. Knowing this backstory — and seeing where the family is today — is part of what makes these reunions so extraordinary.

This family never ceases to amaze and humble me with their togetherness, their charm, their love and their deep friendship with one another. I’ve oriented this post on the siblings, the eight children of Nikolaus and Elisabeth Reitzug, my grandparents. My next post will open it up to the fun and shenanigans we had with my cousins and their kids.

Above is my Uncle Mat (left), my Omi (center) and Uncle Rick (right).


This is Omi, my loving and kind grandmother. As I schemed out this portrait project over the last few months, this image of her was exactly what I was hoping for. A portrait of the Reitzug spirit — confident, charming, fun loving, good natured and compassionate. When it was Omi’s turn to step in front of the white seamless backdrop, she hammed it up a bit and gave me that smile she’s known for. This was about midway into the shoot, and by then nearly the entire family was gathering around to watch, laugh with and tease one another. It truly lightened the mood and made for an unconventional family portrait session.

Above are the two oldest siblings, my Uncle Henry (in the left photo) and Aunt Monika (in the right photo) with their spouses, Anne and Ed, respectively. Henry is my godfather and did a reading at our wedding. He’s an incredible individual who has volunteered with Northwest Medical Team, an organization that does similar work as Doctors Without Borders. Last summer he was in Darfur for a few weeks.

Monika and Ed live in Massachusetts and have four amazing sons spread out around the world. You’ll see a great shot of three of them in the next post.

2009-07-05 Reitzug-2293_2
Above left is my mom, Angelika, with my brother Ben. At right is my Uncle Rick with his wife Mary. Rick is a professor and is a passionate advocate for the rebuilding of New Orleans. He’s made several trips down there to volunteer in the clean up and rebuilding efforts.

Continuing down the line we have my Uncle Mat (left, with his wife Connie) and our reunion hosts, my Aunt Maria and her husband Bill. Both Mat and Maria were frequent visitors in Denver when I was growing up, so its always fun to reconnect with them at these events. Maria’s oldest son Alex is also a passionate photographer and he spent a weekend with Hailey and I in 2008.

Also last year, when Hailey and I went to Seattle, we were able to have dinner with Mat and Connie one night. They’re an extraordinary couple: two people you could chat with for hours. At this reunion, we dined out again with them, this time with their son Randy and his wife Amy, as well as Peter, one of Monika’s sons (are you confused yet? That’s really my goal). It was an epic two-hour dinner at my favorite place in Santa Fe, Cafe Pasqual. Look it up if you’re ever down there.

Moving along, the seventh sibling is Marcy, pictured here with her husband Gustavo and son Jacob. Gustavo is Ecuadorian, and at the last reunion, he gave us some perspective on the country we were about to visit in spring. This go around, we let him know how that trip went. I haven’t blogged much about Ecuador, mostly because I set the blog up more than a year later. It’s where we photographed the tanagers. Anyhow, Gustavo is always the star during the traditional Reitzug Reunion soccer game, although this year (sorry Gustavo) he might have been shown up by my cousin Stela. (Once again, are you keeping track of all these names?).
Finally, there is my Uncle Chris, the youngest in the family. He’s pictured above with his daughter Emily, and at right is his wife Sherri and their son Zach. I love that shot of them. For some perspective, Chris is a year older than my Uncle Henry’s oldest son Joe. There are pictures of the two of them, uncle and nephew, playing in the sandbox together. Again, I know that this must be confusing … all the more reason to do this kind of project and bundle it into an interactive family tree so that it makes sense. Not that I’m promoting a new product from the folks at Tanager Photography and HeyDay Creative or anything—

Chris deserves a huge thank you. On Saturday evening, his last evening at the reunion, he asked if I was going to set up my photo booth and do this project. I’d been on the fence about it all night — people were all spread out, and the kids were all ecstatic at the pile of Legos Maria had provided at her house. Bottom line, I didn’t want to bother people and I was psyching my self out. The whole project seemed overwhelming, and I was having too much fun just conversing with folks.

But Chris and Amy (my sister-in-law) gave me a nudge and offered to help set up and wrangle people together. It got the project off the ground, and I was able to photograph the few people leaving the next day. On Sunday morning, after that initial ice-breaker, I set up the studio all over again and everything just clicked. Most of the images in this blog and the next post occured in a one hour span before church.

So an enormous thank you to Chris and Amy for the big nudge to get going on this project. And a huge thank you to the entire Reitzug clan for diving head first into it. I really appreciate it, and hopefully, when the family tree and bound photo book is all done in the autumn, the Reitzug family will, too.

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The Stone/Canino Family


Last weekend, I did a second photo shoot for the Stone family, this time with more family members: Ryan’s sister Shana and her family (the Caninos) and their mother, Charlotte.


The shoot was a mixture of outdoor environmental portraits at Southmoor Park, and indoor portraits in front of — you guessed it — the white seamless backdrop.


And rather than tell the story and put these shots in chronological order, I’m feeling like we should shuffle things up. Here’s brother Matthew and sister Lilli. Such great kids.


I’m not inclined to do a lot of black-and-white photography — kind of goes against my natural style, especially when it comes to travel photography. But perhaps portraits are another matter. I decided to try a few of these desaturated and I kind of like them. You can click on each photo to see them larger. Thoughts? (let me know in the comments box below).


Here are all the grandkids with Charlotte…


…and the Canino family portrait (Matthew, Matt, Shana and Lilli)…


…and the parents on their own.

We had a pretty tight list of arrangements to go through, and with a rough wind kicking up (we were 24 hours from sub-zero temps here in Denver), we had to move quickly from one arrangement to the next.


Thank goodness for snowballs and a sense of humor:


I’ve added a wider roll of white seamless paper to my Christmas wish list. Any bigger and I’ll need an assistant in setting it up, but with groups of this size, it will be so much easier to frame everyone in front of it.


We had a lot of fun, and I think the kids responded to some of the loosy-goosy moments.


As I was packing up my camera gear, Matthew asked if I could take a picture of him eating his graham cracker. “Sure…chomp on the count of 3? 1…2…3!”


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The Vannoy Family

I’m starting to grow the family portrait segment of my portfolio, which is a lot of fun. I love working with children, especially ones around the same age as my nephews. This past weekend, Hailey and I photographed the Vannoy family — Kris, Teri, Wiley and Brody. Teri works at Weaver as well, as the Director of Editorial, and she hired me right out of college to be an assistant editor. Hard to believe that was more than seven years ago (versus “over seven years ago” … this blog is written to conform to the AP Style Guide).

I’ve probably now opened myself up to some heavy proof-reading….

We met fairly early on Saturday at their house southwest of Denver and headed to a nearby park. The light was rich and soft, but the wind was blustery. Wiley (pictured above) is one happy kid, and he clearly loves being outside.

Nearby is the beautiful Roxborough State Park, a place of sandstone monoliths, rolling foothills and colorful scrub oak. Its one of the more dramatic convergences of mountains and plains. (Wow…my tourism copy is rusty! I’ve done better…)

Wiley and Brody were really great sports. Sitting still when its super windy and brisk is not easy.

Since I got this new camera system a year ago, I’ve been doing a lot of shooting into early morning light with a 50mm prime lens. It creates an effect that, while it is not for everybody, I personally love it. It’s rich, dream like and backlit colors (like the distant trees) really come to life in a different way.

After a few posed family shots, it was time to reward the boys for their patience. Nearby was a playground, which really brought out the smiles.

Here’s Wiley…

And here’s Brody…

After 30 minutes of chase, sliding down the slide and climbing things like a monkey, we headed back to the Vannoy’s house for a final round of shots on the white backdrop.

We had to move this shoot indoors. I initially tried to set up in the backyard, but their house is really close to the foothills of the Rockies, which is always a windy place. I failed to put two and two together: without proper weights, the white backdrop is more like a sail. It started to fall over, I jumped up to grab it, but it was too late. The paper tore all the way across. Doh!

Fortunately, we had more paper and could set up inside. Through it all, Wiley and Brody were still all smiles. Two hours of a photo shoot is asking a lot of any kid, and these two were champs.

The blog posts may slow for a bit. It’s not for lack of material, but rather Hailey and I are buckling down on the new Tanager Photography website. I can’t wait to share with you all. It’ll focus more on photo essays and be more of a true portfolio site. Hailey was working on some of the flash galleries last night, which can be enlarged to full screen. Needless to say, I’m fired up.

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The White Backdrop Has Arrived!

Looky what arrived on our front porch yesterday: the white seamless and support stand. Little more than an aluminum stand and a roll of white paper, this thing will open up so much creativity for me with portraits.

Of course, it encourages a bit of narcissism at first. “What do I look like with my gas-station aviators and a green shirt?” “What does my eyeball look like with half my face cropped off the shot?”

“Oh, that’s what it looks like. COOOOOOOOOOOOL.”

The above right work is entitled “Portrait of My Freakish Spock Ear.” Feel free to open in a new window and marvel at the grotesque, elfish point it makes.

So here are some ideas on how we can use this backdrop:

1. We plan to set this up at weddings as a professional photo booth during the reception. Sign up, we’ll take a few shots, and afterward you can order prints from us.

2. We’re thinking of taking this to special events — like heritage festivals, etc. — and do the same thing. This would have been awesome on the streets of Denver this week: “show us your Obama duds” or “show us your NObama duds.” (yes, we work across party lines)

3. Straight up portraits — engagement portraits, baby portraits, family portraits, senior pictures, individual portraits (they make great birthday gifts), Christmas card portraits, etc.

4. Silo stock photography

5. Product photography… Hailey will use this a bunch for HeyDay Creative.

So we’ve got a litany of things to do with it. Hopefully it will pay for itself in short order, but more importantly it’s fun as hell.

More white seamless action to come in the future. Most likely friends to start off: my best friend Matt, who is a fencer, would look bad ass in his gear with this. Maybe I could promote fencer portraits of his athletes through his fencing club. Hmmmm. Make that No. 6 on the list of opportunities.

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