Buffalo Wild Wings Spot

Back in March I got a call to work on a couple of Buffalo Wild Wings spots with Jon Nowak of 8th Street, through Space 150 (agency). We were tasked with lighting Mariucci Arena at the University of Minnesota, a huge ice arena, shooting one spot on the ice and then moving at lunch upstairs to shoot another spot. Mike Handley was our gaffer and Peter Clemence our Key Grip and together they (and their hard working team) pulled it all off. Geoff Haas was my 1st AC and Erica Wollmering was our 2nd AC and Ryan Johnson was our DIT.


12+ 1k Par Cans ring the back of the stadium.

We had to let the stadium fall off to blackness because we only had 40 extras, but it also gave us a look I really wanted.

I’m proud of what we pulled off in a half day on this spot, take a look! (we did not shoot the food items if you were wondering)


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Hawai‘i Vacation – January 2015

This past January I spent two and half weeks in Hawaii. I had just come off the longest concentration of work in my life, having completed photography on In An Instant, a show that came out this past winter on ABC. I was drained. I went to the islands to relax, refocus and spend some time with my sister and my friend Aaron (both live in Honolulu). I was mostly a depressed ball of recovering emotion, but managed to get PADI Open water certified while there (3 days of course work and 3 days of diving) and began to get myself into shape (working on the TV Show I wasn’t making good dietary choices and certainly wasn’t exercising like I need to). I also spent the better part of a week on Moloka`i and had the great honor of meeting photographer P.F. Bentley who showed Aaron and me around to some amazing spots on that island. We were also accompanied by his amazing ridgeback canine companion, Ehu Girl. I was faced for much of my trip (when not with my sister or Aaron) with an immense feeling of loneliness. Much of this I attribute to spending the previous 4 months surrounded by friends and crew and high stress 14 hours a day 5 or 6 days a week and then having nothing planned for me all of a sudden, it was an adjustment. But I also was experiencing these beautiful things and seeing these incredible places… alone. I didn’t have anyone to share it with. I had thought that I would want to be alone after all that work and designed my trip as such, but it left me empty. This alone time, however difficult, was likely good for me in that it highlighted what is important to me and helped me see what my values truly are. But now, through my photography and a couple of video clips, I can share part of the experience with anyone who cares to take a peek. So if you take a look, I thank you for sharing in this trip with me! Cheers!

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2014 – A Year Through My Lenses (including my phone)

What a great year for work. Two features, a major network TV show, a kickass short film and a handful of wonderful commercials and other TV show content.

January 2014 started out strong with a series of spots for Buffalo Wild Wings directed by Jon Nowak for Space 150, and starring Richard Portnow (Se7en, Barton Fink).

Then began the first of my narrative projects for the year, a short film directed by Eric D Howell titled Strangers. (teaser below)

We photographed this movie in northern MN near Silver Bay on an exquisite property and in the amazing house that stands on it.

I mostly spent the winter months avoiding the cold, perfecting the art of the blanket fort, and hibernating… and did a series of commercials for Numerica Credit Union directed by Roger Sackett. I also teamed up with Chan Phiilips again on our first round of Play It Again Sports ads.

I also killed time by creating a couple of images for a friends book on hollywood glamour photography. Thanks to Mina Vang for wardrobe design, Darin Limvere for helping me light it, Natalie Hale and Amber Rose for exquisite hair and makeup and Mike Handley and the Acme Stage for the space and lights. It was a fun collaboration and I hope we can do more!

Details on when the book will be published will hopefully be available soon.

In March I finally realized my dream of working with director Patrick Coyle on a feature film. I have been a huge fan of his work since I interned on his feature debut “Detective Fiction” back in 2003. His new film titled The Public Domain centers around an ensemble of characters that congregate at a bar named “the Public Domain” and have in some way, a connection to 35w Bridge collapse tragedy of 2007. It was a fun project and we had an amazing home grown cast.


On the heels of Public Domain, Minneapolis Saint Paul International Film Festival screened Stay Then Go, a film I am proud to have been the cinematographer on that was shot a couple summers ago. If you get a chance, go see it.

Then it was back to commercials for a moment with some shots for Sleep Number Beds with Flyover and Chan Phillips.

We then jumped a plane to Los Angeles for a series of commercials for Plato’s Closet. Directed by Chan Phillips this was my third year crafting spots for the second hand clothing retailer. We had some amazing locations (thanks to my old friend Peter Wulff) and I am very proud of the photography.

While in LA, I landed my second feature of the year shooting for MN homegrown director Matt Osterman on his movie 400 Days. I wish I could share more images but this is the only one that has been released so far:


This is an informative article if you’re interested in hearing more: http://www.movieweb.com/400-days-movie-release-dane-cook

It was great working with Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), Caity Lotz (The Machine, Arrow), Dane Cook (Good Luck Chuck, Dan in Real Life) and Ben Feldman (Cloverfield, Mad Men). The LA crew was great and I was so lucky to have such talented and hard working soldiers by my side.

It’s also important to note that while in LA, I had a blast catching up with some old friends and took my first ever trip to Disney Land!

Back in MN I found that my car still had the heat turned on from when I left in April (snow was still on the ground), at it was now full on summer. I went right to work on a few spots for Play it Again Sports, again with Chan Phillips directing.

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 11.05.16 PM

Then did a series of videos for Target directed by Josh Thacker and some back to school spots for Sears, directed by Jon Nowak for Olsen.

Then as summer was in full swing, I began a 6 month journey with Committee Films. It began with a History Channel special on Bigfoot and some recreations for the show America Unearthed. Summer had a few brief moments of respite as well. I got to hang with my parents a bit, saw some fireworks from a friends dock, went on some bike rides and got to see a lovely wedding.

Then in late August we began prep on an ABC TV show titled In An Instant. As part of the recreation team I photographed 7 episodes and also acted as director on one.

Each episode featured some kind of near death event that the survivors recount and we would reenact. It was a tough challenge as every episode had some type of large production number and we were required to deliver roughly 40 mins of content each 5 day shoot cycle but the team performed amazingly and I am sincerely proud of the work we created. In the middle of that production we took a small “break” to shoot a program for History Channel on Monsters, Myths and Legends.

It was a nice breather from the true to life tragedy/survival stories to shoot horror and fantasy elements for a few weeks right around Halloween. Then it was back to In an Instant for the next month and half.

The last episode for In An Instant wrapped up the production just a few days before Christmas and so concluded my production year.

I am so grateful for all the wonderful people that I got to share these adventures with this year. If I didn’t catch you, I hope to this coming year. It was great meeting so many folks as well. My life is mostly my work these days, but since it’s good work, life is good. For that I am also thankful. It was fun pushing the envelope on so many projects and in so many ways. To all my collaborators, thank you. To all my soldiers, I hope it was fun, and thank you. To all my friends, thanks for sticking by me, we should hang out more!

Thanks 2014, it’s been real. Hope to have more excitement in 2015, but last year will be hard to top… Peace!

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Over the past couple of months I’ve had the great honor of prepping to shoot a short film for director Eric D. Howell and producer Jillian Nodland, titled “Strangers”. This past week we completed principal photography north of Silver Bay, MN at a lovely home on the lake. We were extremely lucky with the weather as our exterior day had a high in the 30’s. Just days before that, the daytime high was 50 degrees cooler, at a soul crushing -20F.

I had a blast and have nothing but pride in the project we put together and the footage we walked away with. My departments had their work cut out for them but we came away victorious. Key Grip and Dolly Grip Peter Clemence did some amazing problem solving during prep and enabled us to shoot a particularly difficult scene in a frozen cove, hauling steel decks and a camera crane down a 3 story flight of snowy stairs (with the help of our 2nd Unit DP Craig Peterschmidt and G&E heavies Jeff Fischer and Chad Foehringer). Pete also aided in every camera move in the show and helped us achieve a natural “barley lit” daytime look. This look would not have been possible without the efforts of our Gaffer Matt Muegge and his best boy Michael Winn who kept things moving and always had solutions at arms reach. As the enormity of our task became more apparent, we added a few more sets of hands, Nick Hillyard, Brad Lokkesmoe and the indomitable Erik Thomsen. Matt led the troops through a number of complex lighting setups including a climactic night exterior (top lit by a pair of 6k Spacelights wrapped in a 12x Half Blue Gel-Fab Lite-Grid for a more “moonlit” look).

Camera department was amazing, fluctuating between a two camera show and a single camera show with a second unit off gathering what we could of the landscape. We shot on RED Epics outfitted with Kowa Anamorphic lenses and a couple of spherical lenses to round out our choices. 2nd Unit DP Craig Peterschmidt gathered many pieces and slices of the area both on the Epic and on a small mirrorless Sony NEX mounted to his CineCopter. Craig was also our B-Camera operator and Steadicam Operator. He was assisted by AC Chris Hadland. Steve Speers was the A-Camera First AC and did a seamless job of keeping the gear running, and everything in focus, his experience and expertise was immeasurable and no doubt a major factor in the success of the photography of Strangers… it was an honor to have him aboard. Ryan Johnson jumped in as a Second AC when he could, but mostly was chained to his cart keeping our 5k 3:1 Anamorphic data pipeline clear and backed up in triplicate.

I can’t go into too much detail but want to say how excited and proud I am of everyones work on this project. Eric (Howell) did such a great job of pre-visualizing and prepping the project it made it easy for departments to be in synch. The cast (Marta Milans and James Denton) did a great job and were so much fun to photograph. First AD Tony B. was the kind of gentle warrior you would follow onto any field of battle and know you were in good hands and was assisted by the always lovely slick Rick Hankes. Production Designer David Weiberg did a wonderful job of solving a few challenges at the location that the audience will never know about, wardrobe looked amazing thanks to Beez McKeever and every face looked perfect thanks to Mary Flaa. Stunt Coordinator Todd Warren kept us all safe and chipped in with G&E in a BIG way, he was a serious life saver in more ways than one. It was a joy to work with Beth Smith as Script Supervisor (our first narrative collaboration, and hopefully not the last). Tammy Hollingsworth kept our bellies full of warm food to keep us working all day and night. Jessica and Ryan at the location made it the easiest high end property I’ve ever shot in. Jeff and Lion in sound kept stride with our aggressive pace and the production department kept the wheels turning. Erin Acker UPMing up a storm in the office while PA’s Alyssa Yule, Alexa De La Cruz, Alex Leone and Shelby Dillon were led by Key Set PA TK Tom Kristjanson. It takes an army to make a film and we had an awesome one.

Shout outs to our vendors for arming us for battle: Cinequipt, Picture Factory, Cinemechanics and Tasty Lighting.

The most amazing location I’ve ever shot in was provided by two of the most amazing folks I’ve ever met, Mark and Jim and we owe them a debt of gratitude.

Some snapshots from the set:

Craig Peterschmidt readies his system with aid of Jeff Fischer.

Craig Peterschmidt readies his system with aid of Jeff Fischer.

Eric (bottom left with red cap) looks up and wonders why I'm not ready to shoot.

Eric (bottom left with red cap) looks up and wonders why I’m not ready to shoot.

A cold day in hell. Marta gets ready to plunge into frozen Lake Superior.

A cold day in hell. Marta gets ready to plunge into frozen Lake Superior.

Key Grip Peter Clemence checks on the weather.

Key Grip Peter Clemence checks on the weather.

Observing the rehearsal. Gaffer Matt Muegee looks on.

Observing the rehearsal. Gaffer Matt Muegee looks on.

Rehearsing a scene. James Denton on the left and Marta Milans on the right.

Rehearsing a scene. James Denton on the left and Marta Milans on the right.

Steve Speers showing me how it's done.

Steve Speers showing me how it’s done.


Some frame grabs from the raw footage:

A037_C008_0114A1 003 002


What an experience.

I can’t wait to see what comes of the project and look forward to the next stages at Splice Here in Minneapolis.


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Lake Superior – June 2013

I took a small 1,500 Mile (round trip) road trip up to the northern shore of Lake Superior in Ontario with my buddy Brady. Here are some pictures.

Moon, Fog, Water

The Park where we camped for two nights is pinned on this map.
Neys Provincial Park

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Plants vs. Zombies 2

ImageThis past March I was lucky enough to be asked to shoot the background plates of the official trailer for Plants vs Zombies 2.

PvZ is a popular mobile game (for those who don’t know about it) where you play as a gardener of sorts who has the ability to fight off the zombie hordes with various plants you’ve cultivated (each with their own special skill or power). 

Wolf and Crow acted as production company, and their in house animation team Matt Berenty & David Bokser were the directors of the spot. (and are total creative geniuses as you will see in the trailer). 

The level of pre-vis on this project was amazing. The spot had already been timed out and rough animated before I even arrived in LA. This meant we could figure out the exact camera moves to do on set, and how long the meat of each shot needed to cover, down to the frame. 

We shot on Alexa with Marc Wircioch as 1st AC and Andrew Cho as 2nd. This job presented some challenges for camera dept. and Marc handled them with ease… For example, we needed to be able to always know where our nodal point was at various focal lengths of our Cabrio zoom as well as our 14mm Ultra Prime. We also needed to take copious notes to better help the post team when they were trying to discern how the camera was moving in space relative to where we knew hero animated elements would end up. 

ImageEnjoying some righteous iced coffee, post lunch, with Andrew (left) and Marc (right) 

Wolf and Crow utilized a robotic wide angle camera to photograph 360 degrees of HDR lighting information in every lighting setup so that the animators would have a very detailed road map of the lighting that was created on set. 

Michael Handley (who road tripped out to LA for the shoot with Joe Gallup) gaffed and Cynthia Bystrak was our Key Grip. 


It was an honor to be a part of such a fun project and I really enjoyed the collaboration!

Here is a nice link to the final trailer (good quality version of the clip and credits): 

And here is the YouTube link:





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This past holiday season I had the great pleasure of going to celebrate Christmas with my parents and my sister on Oahu. My sister, Siri, moved back to Oahu this past year and so it made sense. I spent New Years on Kauai with my good friend Aaron. Then flew to the Big Island for a few days with my parents and sister at a vacation rental there. It was a blast. Here is a gallery of photos from that trip and a video I threw together for giggles. Cheers!

Flickr Gallery Here!

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Summer 2012

Forgive me for I have sinned… It has been 4 months since my last blog post… 


That’s because I’ve been busy as heck! In June I began shooting a TV series for Committee Films titled America Unearthed. The program will premiere sometime in Decemeber (I believe…) on H2, History Channel’s second service. It stars Scott Wolter, a forensic geologist as he uncovers clues and artifacts that point to pre-columbian contact with the new world. We will wrap photography on this program sometime in December or January. 


Here are three highlights for me from the past few months. 

I had the pleasure of collaborating with my friend Kerry Riley of Needle and Black, shooting some photos for her new designs:


Thanks on the photos to Crist Ballast and Deanna Johnson for their makeup artistry and Saumer Kinsey and Dean Brewington of Mezzanine Salon for their hair engineering. Ben Hipley assisted me and Phil and Dave at the Schmidt Brewery in Saint Paul provided the location. 

I photographed a spot for Park Nicollet with director Josh Thacker and producer Jodi Nelson:

We shot on Cinemechanic’s RED EPIC, at 5k. Assisted by Steve Speers himself. Gaffed by Chris Hultgren and Key Gripped by the indominable Peter Clemence. 

And a music video I shot and directed (and edited, guh!) for Doomtree was released on MTV. 

This video was made possible by donations of time, labor and equipment by too many people to name. Produced by Sergio Rapu and Carrie Bush, Production Design by Mark Wojahn, Wardrobe by Cerah Tymoshuk and Makeup by Crist… there are really WAY too many folks to list here… a full credit list will be published at some point. 

Along the way I shot a short film for my dear friend Todd Cobery, titled Eden. An apolapyptic prequil to a post apolcalyptic feature he is developing… And most recently I just wrapped a feature for director Shelli Ainsworth and producer Christine Walker titled Stay Then Go. Stay tuned for more on that! 

Hopefully it won’t be as long between posts next time 🙂

Cheers for now

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Unless You Speak From the Heart

I had the great pleasure of concepting, directing and photographing a hybrid live performance/music video for producer Dan Huiting (City of Music). The video was for Porcelain Raft’s song “Unless You Speak From the Heart”. The video premiered yesterday on Pitchfork.tv


We used roughly 30 channels on a dimmer board to light the main close-up which gave us a nearly infinite variety of lighting styles and colors to play with… I wish I could have take the concept even further… some day. I had a blast making this and the crew was amazing. 

Extra shout out to Crist Ballas and his amazing makeup team for helping create the wonderful faces we see, Gaffer Dave Underhill and his team of awesome guys, editor Jason Ho and colorist Josh Allard at Pixel Farm. 


 Some behind the scenes stuff:

Mauro entertains the crew with a rendition of Eye of the Tiger. 





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New York Times selects Stuck Between Stations as a “Critic’s Pick”

This is old news, but I wanted to post something. I wish I had blogged this earlier. Back at the beginning of this month, Stuck Between Stations, a feature that I shot, opened its theatrical run in New York. The New York Times ran a piece about the film. Here it is.


and the trailer, for those who have not seen it.

The movie will play in Minneapolis starting on December 16th at Saint Anthony Main.

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