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Woodcraft Magazine Photo Shoot

Posted by on May 11, 2009

What a blast!

Last Friday, Woodcraft Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jim Harrold spent the day visiting my workshop to supervise a photo shoot of the shop for an upcoming issue. With him was Chicago-area photographer Mike Crews, his assistant John, and numerous road boxes filled with some pretty slick photography gear.

Left to right: Mike, photographer; me; Jim Harrold, Woodcraft Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Mike's assistant John(?)

Left to right: Mike, photographer; me; Jim Harrold, Woodcraft Magazine, assistant John(?)

A Dust-free Dust Collection System

The process actually began the day before the shoot. Thursday afternoon, Jim stopped by, followed shortly by Mike. After introductions, they surveyed the space. Mike was pleasantly surprised by the lighting situation and they continued to plan for the next day. Though I had spent nearly every spare moment the previous week preparing the shop, I still found myself working late Thursday night, per their request, vacuuming dust off of my dust collection piping! Seriously.

My shop hasn’t been this clean since the day it was completed!

Shooting the drill station

Shooting the drill station

Wide Angle

After a couple “welcome” shots of me standing in the entryway, Mike shot some overviews of the shop. While I’m not completely unaware of modern photography, I’d never before realized just how effective a good wide angle lens could be. My shop is only 14′ x 22′. In the past when I’ve attempted to capture a general “overview” of the space, I’d been frustrated by my inability to get much of the shop “in the shot” from within. Typically, when I think of a “wide angle” lens, highly distorted images come to mind. I think “fish-eye”. Consequently I was seriously amazed at how he could include all of the machines on the North wall in a shot with the camera aimed mainly west/northwest, with no obvious distortion. Brilliant! They then moved on to close shots highlighting some of the specific fixtures Jim plans to highlight in the article.

Outer Space

After lunch, the morning clouds had dissipated and we were enjoying a gorgeous, sunny afternoon. One of the shop’s features I’m most pleased with is its external dust collection closet. By keeping the monster in it’s own heavily-insulated cell, both me and my neighbors are spared the bulk of the noise generated by its 3HP motor and the resulting rush of air. Shots of the way the shop and this system integrate into my modest suburban home were next on our list.

Mike took some exteriors shots of the shop and dust collection closet.

Mike carelessly ignoring the high-voltage warning stickers on the side of the power box on the corner of our lot.


From there, it was back indoors. This time, we moved Mike’s gear to the kid’s rooms to shoot some of the pieces I had built for them. Sadly we only had time for two of the three dressers — Annalise’s Butterfly Inlaid Dresser and Nathan’s Cherry and Walnut Dresser. My comment to Mike: these pictures look nicer than the pieces!

I sure do wish I could have shots like this take of everything I build. Sigh.

It’s a Wrap…

By 4PM it was “in the can” so to speak. Mike loaded his gear and Jim packed up for the airport. I had a great time with this. Jim is a very down to earth and incredibly interesting guy with a long list of accomplishments — and the stories that invariably go with them.  Mike’s knowlege and skills were impressive, though what impressed me most of all was the way Jim and Mike worked together as if they were longtime partners, though they’d just met for the first time the day before.

Thanks to Jim, Mike, John and the folks at Woodcraft Magazine for this experience!


I forgot to mention that I was informed that the issue these shots will appear in will be out sometime in October/November timeframe.
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