Chamber of Commerce Group Portrait

Morton Visuals is proud to be a new member of the Farmers Branch Chamber of Commerce! Last week we were invited by Chamber President Nanette Foght to join the luncheon at the Brookhaven Country Club. Morton Visuals agreed to provide pro bono event photography of the meeting, including the induction of the new Board members. Afterwards we also captured a group portrait of the entire Board of Directors, now led by newly installed Chairwoman Marilyn Kolesar-Lynch of Brookhaven College. We look forward to working with the Chamber over the coming year and meeting more of the Farmers Branch business community!

Group portrait of the Board of Directors for the Farmers Branch (Texas) Chamber of Commerce are photographed by William Morton of Morton Visuals at the Brookhaven Country Club on 12/08/2015.
Farmers Branch Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

Mixing It Up with Tobin Ellis and Perlick

Yesterday I had the opportunity to work with Perlick at the NAFEM trade show in Anaheim. I haven’t shot there in a while, so I was quickly reminded of how large the Anaheim Convention Center is. Fortunately they have great staff, and the greeters helped me find my way with a friendly attitude.

Perlick taps display highlight some of the premium bar and beverage equipment available
Perlick bar equipment

Perlick manufactures a wide array of both commercial and residential bar equipment, and they had tons of it on display. The stainless steel was everywhere – just what a photographer looks forward to seeing. Particularly when the show is open and active, and you have lots of people browsing. I used my new Nikon D750 here, and it did a great job on the shiny, contrasty stainless steel in a massive fluorescent-lit room. (A color meter helped me verify the ambient light, so I could gel my fill-flash to closely match.)

Tobin Ellis' Signature Cocktail Station display by Perlick for NAFEM  Tobin Ellis' Signature Cocktail Station by Perlick

One of their big attractions on this day was having the renowned Tobin Ellis, owner and principal of BarMagic, demonstrating how to work a (ideally configured) bar. I learned quite a bit about bar efficiency during this short demonstration – just one of the many reasons I love my job! “Perlick’s new Tobin Ellis Signature Cocktail Station is a breakthrough achievement in underbar design resulting from an ambitious collaboration between 6-time national bartending champion and celebrated bar designer, Tobin Ellis and the award-winning engineering team at Perlick.”

Tobin Ellis Mixologist Tobin Ellis Bartender Tobin Ellis

Tobin definitely “wowed” the crowd, demonstrating a couple of different signature drinks and how bartender efficiency can greatly improve a bar’s profits. A variety of images from many angles in a crowded event — one of the reasons Morton Visuals excels!

The Most Important Thing to Show at Your Conference

As a professional event photographer, I have opportunities to see (and photograph) a wide range of conventions, conferences, awards banquets, and other corporate events. Over the years I’ve noticed distinct differences in each event – what’s featured and emphasized, what’s offered in terms of entertainment and activities, and what attendees do during the event. When a convention or conference includes a trade show you see your normal assortment of booths featuring products and services, and attendees all browse. Conferences see speakers presenting informational or motivational speeches. With awards banquets you have presentations and congratulations abound. One thing they all have in common is a desire to engage – for speakers to connect to the audience, vendors to “put a face to the name” and build personal relationships with customers, and companies to acknowledge awards-winners.

Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter greets VIPs at the American Psychological Association (APA) conference in San Diego, CA.
Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter greets APA guests

A vendor at the Johnstone Supply tradeshow greets a potential customer
A vendor greets a customer

A UoA rep greets a NACE member at the BP Career Fair
Career Fair networking

A HR representative from Shell Oil greets job-seekers at the NACE convention
HR rep meets career-seeker

I look for moments. From my perspective that is best illustrated when people meet. Before they start highlighting their goods or talking business there is an initial smile and greeting, usually with a handshake. To me this encapsulates the interaction of networking, and the engagement that sponsors, vendors, and organizations seek. Connecting people – whether for sales or camaraderie – makes events great, and in my humble opinion, successful. I capture this by watching for those smiles and handshakes.

What aspect of a corporate event do you feel is the most important goal? Tell us in the comments below!

Look For A Different Perspective

I recently had an opportunity to photograph an event at the beautiful Hotel del Coronado for the Arizona Rock Products Association.  This was my first time shooting in this historic Victorian venue, so I was interested in finding something with a different perspective.

The Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado hosts the Arizona Rock Products Association (ARPA) conference
The Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado

The conference’s big dinner was held in the Crown Room. Built in 1888, the sugar pine wood ceilings contain nary a nail – formed entirely by tongue-and-groove, pegs and glue. A real tribute to the craftsmen of the day, it presents a real challenge to photographers. Namely how to light a massive 9300+ square foot room with over 30’ dark ceilings.

Images of the entire room were quite unevenly illuminated. However, by paying attention to some of the key features of the room, I was able to find some interesting angles on the speakers at the podium in the middle of the room.

Executive Director Steve Trussell speaks at the ARPA conference at the Hotel del Coronado
Executive Director Steve Trussell

Incoming Chairman Brad Belt speaks at the ARPA conference at the Hotel del Coronado
Incoming ARPA Chairman Brad Belt

It’s all about perspective. I think they’ll enjoy these images. Hopefully it won’t go to their heads. What do you think? FYI you can look up ARPA on their website or on Facebook. Check them out – they’re good people!

Comments are welcome below!

The Ground-breaking Profoto B1

Yesterday was a very interesting day. I had an opportunity to work with the great people of Right Hand Events and Kaiser Permanente San Diego covering the groundbreaking of a new hospital here in San Diego. Aside from a terrific event with local business and political leaders, I was tasked with capturing a very challenging scene. The actual “shovels in the dirt ground breaking” happened a few minutes before noon – I know, every photographer’s favorite time of day to shoot outside – with backlit subjects and a highly reflective facade above and behind them.

Now in older days I would have brought out an Alien Bee and powered it with a Vagabond battery pack. Unfortunately this setting was the middle of a large parking lot, and I would be unable to ground the battery pack. And 640 watt-seconds was not going to match the harsh sunlight. So I brought out my trusty old Dynalite 800ws pack along with a Dynalite inverter (which doesn’t need to be grounded) and powered a single 4040 head with all 800ws blasting directly from the 7″ reflector. That’s a lot of power, but it was approximately 20′ from my subjects. And did I mention it was almost noon? Knowing the importance of these shots to Kaiser Permanente, I opted for photographic redundancy. I decided to photograph these key moments using two cameras and two lighting setups.

Profoto B1 and Dynalite lighting
Profoto B1 strobes flank a Dynalight pack and head

I added a PocketWizard to my new Nikon Df to trigger my Dynalite pack. A PocketWizard TT5n fired my Nikon D3 mounted on a tripod at a slightly lower angle. Atop the D3 was the Profoto Air Remote, which fired a pair of new Profoto B1s. Their combined 1000 watt-seconds was almost enough to match the sun, even at that distance. With a little adjusting in Lightroom I was able to produce a pretty good image – in the middle of a parking lot in midday sun, with no wires. The example below is from the D3, showing the hard-working ladies of Right Hand Events after successfully executing the groundbreaking. (The key images of the Kaiser Permanente team will need to be approved by their Public Affairs office before they can be shared.)

Right Hand Events' ladies break ground for the new Kaiser Permanente hospital in San Diego
Right Hand Events breaks ground for Kaiser Permanente

The B1s are impressive. Two lights with remotes and chargers fit neatly in a backpack. Their batteries are mounted “in to” the head, so nothing is left dangling and there are truly no cords whatsoever. These units are able to work in TTL mode – although currently only with Canon DSLRs. The Nikon version of their remote won’t be available until late this year. (Note that the strobes themselves are identical, only the remote differs. So even though you can’t purchase a Nikon version of the remote now, you can purchase the B1 strobes – and they will work with the Nikon remote as soon as that is available.) The TTL was impressively accurate in a studio demo with Canon cameras last week. The B1 also has an incredible recycle rate, able to keep up with the Canon shooting at high fps in the studio. Granted that wasn’t full power, but it was impressive nonetheless – and should be of tremendous benefit for anyone shooting action. If you have used these units please feel free to share your experience in the comments below.

If you’re interested, these are now on my birthday list and my Christmas list… ;-)

Photography of a Dynamic Keynote Speaker

Terry Watson delivers a keynote speech for CAI at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront.
Terry Watson speaks at the CAI 40th anniversary conference at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront hotel.

William Morton had the opportunity to shoot with J.T. MacMillan yesterday, covering the CAI 40th Anniversary conference. Terry Watson delivered an energetic (and highly entertaining) keynote speech to the Community Associations Institute members  at the beautiful San Diego Hilton Bayfront hotel. The man has the smile and enthusiasm of a little boy, but the perspective and perception of a wise sage. Having an opportunity to listen to great speakers is just one reason I really love this job!

Event Portraits at a Holiday Party

Morton Visuals had the opportunity to provide formal event portraits of the employees of the San Marcos Costco for their post-holidays Christmas party. This event was held in the Crystal Ballroom at the beautiful Grand Tradition in Fallbrook, CA. This event was a well earned chance for employees to celebrate a hectic holiday season – and William Morton was able to capture everyone dressed to impress on this occasion. I have to say, this is a great group of people – and we had a great time with the Costco team!

Event portraits ("Prom portraits") at a holiday party
Bobby & Tiffany Radovich

The Crystal Ballroom’s most prominent feature was the beautiful staircase at one end. The first steps provided the best opportunity to position couples and groups for formal (“prom style”) portraits. Filled to capacity, there wasn’t much room to set up camera and lighting as the tables were tightly arranged and filled all but the dance floor. A main light was positioned against the wall between the first two tables at camera left. A (tightly gridded) fill light was positioned across the room against the wall at camera right. We were able to place a gridded hair light at the top of the stairs, which was out of sight of the camera. Thankfully we had PocketWizard radios to fire three of our Dynalite power packs. Overall I think the “remote lighting” setup worked, and we were able to produce some really nice event portraits at this occasion. What do you think?

 

Ringing In The New Year, Mardi Gras Style

New Year’s Eve is always a fun time, even if you’re working. This past Saturday night I had a chance to work with my friend Mark Hays of Grins 2 Go. Mark is a franchise owner in the Temecula area, and we spent New Year’s Eve photographing portraits for . The theme was Mardi Gras – always a great opportunity for colorful costumes and accessories.

We set up two sets to share a common background – a New Orleans French Quarter street scene. Both sets were shooting and printing photos on the spot, to be framed by the Promotions Center and made available to Players’ Club members within two hours. We even did a quick reset in the middle of the event to accomodate a formal group portrait of 30 employees decked out in their New Year’s finest. The group shot – a logistical challenge given a 10-minute window – went off without a hitch, and turned out magnificently.

William Morton Poses Guests at New Years Eve Celebration
William Morton gives posing guidance to his portrait subjects

William Morton shows previews prior to printing event portraits
Guests approve their portraits before printing

Best wishes for the new year, and I hope that your 2012 is your best ever!

Morton Visuals Photographs Santa

Portrait of Santa and Mrs Claus
Santa and Mrs Claus

This weekend Morton Visuals photographed Santa (and Mrs. Claus) for My Kid’s Dentist in Vista and Murrieta CA. The staff at each office made a party of it, serving Christmas cookies and drinks and giving tours of their dental offices. Christmas movies played on big screens in the lobby as well as on small screens in the dental exam rooms. And the kids got to sit on Santa (and sometimes Mrs. Claus’) lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas! Morton Visuals photographed the kids and printed 4×6 photographs on the spot, so each child left with a picture of them with Santa in a nice white folder. The Murrieta location added a mini-fair outside, with a huge inflatable slide, a DJ, and tables for other nearby vendors. Hot toddy (or hot chocolate) was also on hand, so everyone could warm up from the windy chill. At one point they even got a fire truck to stop by! It was surely a day to remember, and spending a few hours with Santa will really get you in the Christmas spirit. Thanks to My Kid’s Dentist for a fun weekend!

Morton Visuals Covers Microsoft

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011
Microsoft WPC 2011 entrance

Morton Visuals was selected to cover the weeklong 2011 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference last month. Occupying most of the Los Angeles Convention Center, the WPC event was enjoyed by a record-setting 16,000 attendees from 135 countries. William Morton worked with the Filmateria Digital crew to provide coverage of the Microsoft Dynamics trade show presence and their keynote speakers. Additional coverage included a party at The Highlands in Hollywood and an awards program across the street at the historic El Capitan Theatre. The Filmateria crew is well-organized, and William was able to provide images throughout the day to make them available to Microsoft immediately. All in all it was a terrific experience, and Microsoft proves that when they do something they do it First Class!

Michael Park, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft, speaks at the 2011 Microsoft WCP conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Convention photography by William Morton of Morton Visuals.
Corporate VP of Microsoft

A panel fields Questions and Answers at the 2011 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles. Event photography captured by William Morton of Morton Visuals.
Microsoft Q&A Session