Commercial Photographer Susan Seubert photographs Olympic Coach for USAA

Major Daniel J. Browne, an active National Guard Serviceman, is a United States distance runner, who has won numerous major American road race championships and was a member of the 2004 Olympic team in the 10K and marathon. He is pictured here in Eugene, Oregon at Alton Baker Park

Major Daniel J. Browne, an active National Guard Serviceman, is a United States distance runner, who has won numerous major American road race championships and was a member of the 2004 Olympic team in the 10K and marathon. He is pictured here in Eugene, Oregon at Alton Baker Park

 

Eugene, Oregon hosted the 2016 Olympic Team trials for track and field this past June and we were there to photograph coach and former Olympic competitor Dan Browne for USAA. Part of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program, Major Browne coached three runners into the games in Rio this year.  We had a very short time to spend with him, but enjoyed having an opportunity to feel part of the excitement of the games.  Below are a few images from behind the scenes.  One of the athletes he coaches runs tomorrow in the men’s 5000 Meter.  We wish Paul Chelimo the best!

Dan Browne Shoot for USAA, Eugene, OR

Behind the scene look at our set for USAA with Dan Browne

Dan Browne Shoot for USAA, Eugene, OR

We brought out the 400mm for this shot so that we could get some nice background for Maj. Browne

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Portrait Photographer Susan Seubert with Frieda Grayzel

I’m starting a project with Frieda Grayzel, a child survivor of Auschwitz.  Frieda is a remarkable woman, graceful and courageous and I’m looking forward to working on a small piece about her in the coming months.

Here are a few portraits I made at our first meeting together.

 

Frieda Grayzel, Holocaust Survivor, in her Portland, Oregon apartment

Frieda Grayzel, Holocaust Survivor, in her Portland, Oregon apartment

Frieda Grayzel, Holocaust Survivor, in her Portland, Oregon apartment

Frieda Grayzel

Frieda Grayzel, Holocaust Survivor, in her Portland, Oregon apartment

Frieda Grayzel’s number from Auschwitz tattooed on her left arm

Frieda Grayzel, Holocaust Survivor, in her Portland, Oregon apartment

Frieda Grayzel with a portrait of her parents

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Behind the Scenes with Portrait Photographer Susan Seubert on location in Portland, Oregon

I just wrapped my first shoot for the University of Portland, featuring environmental portraits of their students to be used in their print collateral. It was a beautiful day in Portland, OR, and we were able to use the campus and the city as our backdrops.

Portland’s landmark architecture is bridges, so we chose the base of the Hawthorne Bridge as one of our locations.  Although we had to dodge cyclists and pedestrians, we were able to pull off the shoot in little time.  I like packing a fairly light kit, so I set up a Canon 580EX flash on a stand wired to Pocket Wizard radio triggers. No wires meant that I could use a long lens and shoot across the busy pedestrian path. I chose to use an umbrella as a light source but in order to get rid of the dappled light from the tree he was standing under, we had to hold up a scrim to block the sunlight.

University of Portland Student, Portland, OR

Behind the Scenes: the photographer’s perspective

University of Portland Student, Portland, OR

On location in Portland, Oregon

The end result was a success!  I’ll share the image after it goes to press.

Thanks for visiting!

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Portrait Photographer Susan Seubert Shoots for the New York Times

Assignments from the New York Times are always a great exercise because the turn-around time is often very short.  For most other assignments, I have at least a week or so where I can research the subject, scout the location, and get a sense of what the weather will be like on the shoot date.  Last week I was assigned to photograph for Nicholas Kristof’s Op-Ed about empathy.  The subject of the story had passed away, and it wasn’t possible to cover the funeral because of the deadline for the paper, so I was asked to photograph the story subject’s brother.  I arrived at the location and had a quick look around.  The first image I was asked to make was of Mr. Green holding a photo of his brother.  The best picture available was on a smartphone.  That picture-of-a-picture worked well to show a current image of the subject, but was very literal. It served to illustrate what Kevin looked like prior to his passing.

The possibilities for making a stronger image unfolded within the hour or so I had to complete the job.  The subject was a kind, gentle man who, despite his hurt foot, was willing to walk a short distance to stand in the glorious sunshine.  The idea I had discussed with my editor was to place him in the context of the family farm.  It was a bucolic Oregon scene: an old barn, some rusty farm equipment, and a very willing beagle.  These together provided the setting for our subject.  Mr. Green moved naturally into this position which suggests sadness, so all I had to do was to be sure that the focus and exposure were set properly.  I think it worked well.  What do you think?

Here is a link to the story.

The photos that were used are below.

Clayton Green, brother of Kevin Green, at his family's farm in Yamhill, Ore.

Clayton Green, brother of Kevin Green, at his family’s farm in Yamhill, Ore.  Photographed on location with a Caono 5D Mark III using a 24-105mmL IS USM lens.

Clayton Green holding a photo on a cell phone of his brother Kevin Green, at his family's farm in Yamhill, Ore.  Photographed with a Canon 5D Mark III and a 24-105L IS USM lens.

Clayton Green holding a photo on a cell phone of his brother Kevin Green, at his family’s farm in Yamhill, Ore. Photographed with a Canon 5D Mark III and a 24-105L IS USM lens.

 

Editorial Portrait Photographer Susan Seubert shoots for the New York Times

The published image in the New York Times of Rick Goff

The published image in the New York Times of Rick Goff

This week I was assigned by The New York Times to make an environmental portrait of a man in Yamhill, Oregon for a piece written by Nickolas Kristof, one of the Op-Ed columnists for the paper.  My assignment was to cover a story called, “Inheriting a Hard Life,” and Rick Goff was the subject on which the premise of the article was based.  My missive from the photo editor was to, “think Dorothea Lange in color.”  The late Dorothea Lange is famous for her work as a FSA photographer, most notably for her image, “Migrant Mother.” So with some ideas swirling around in my brain, we hopped in the car and bee lined it to Yamhill because the deadline was virtually the same day we had to shoot.

We arrived at the location and Rick was ready for us. He had apparently already received a copy of the story and was prepared to start shooting.  We spent about an hour working on trying to make some images that best illustrated the point – an attractive portrait in an environment that was a working man’s setting.  Rick was in charge of expression.  He already knew that this wasn’t necessarily a happy story. He was really good at facing the camera which made our shoot go very smoothly.  We worked in several locations and as we were wrapping up, I noticed these great windows.  Since the picture had to be in color and Ms. Lange’s images are all black and white I decided to work with the window area because the colors were very muted.  The wood facade, the window frame, the background and Rick’s posture all came together.  I instantly knew that this was the image they would run.  It’s in today’s New York Times, and although it’s color, it’s very monochromatic.  I’m pleased with the way the image turned out and, as usual, extremely happy to continue to receive interesting assignments from the Times.  Here are a few outtakes as well as some behind the scenes pictures.

Another one of my faves

One of my faves

Another one of my favorite outtakes from the shoot

Another one of my favorite outtakes from the shoot

Loving my 50mm f1.2 - trying out super shallow depth of field

Loving my 50mm f1.2 – trying out super shallow depth of field

On assignment for the New York Times, using a log chair.

On assignment for the New York Times, using a log chair.

The best images come from working in odd spaces

The best images come from working in odd spaces

Thank you for visiting my blog!  Have a great day!

Editorial Photographer Susan Seubert shoots Julia Mancuso in Maui

Last October while I was based in Maui I got an unusual assignment: to photograph an Olympic Skier.  Since there’s not much snow in Hawaii, I was very curious about why an alpine skier would choose to train in a tropical climate.  US Weekly publishes a Collector’s Edition for the Olympics and Julia Mancuso was to be included.  You can find the special issue on the newsstands now.  Ms. Mancuso is the most decorated female American alpine skier so needless to say, I was eager to work with this legendary athlete.  After all, she is one to watch in the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics.  We met at her home on the windward side of the island and I was immediately impressed.  She was warm, welcoming and up for anything we suggested.  She was comfortable in front of the camera and we got a lot of good material as a result.  Seeing her with her father, Ciro, was also very sweet – a truly genuine moment of a proud father and loving daughter.  I’ll post more pictures on my stock photo site later, but here is the magazine spread and a couple of behind the scenes shots from our shoot on the island.  Mahalo and a hui ho!

The opener of Alpine Skier Julia Mancuso in US Weekly's Olympic Issue, on newsstands now

The opener of Alpine Skier Julia Mancuso in US Weekly’s Olympic Issue, on newsstands now

The second spread of Julia Mancuso, that includes the photo we made of her and her father stand-up paddleboarding

The second spread of Julia Mancuso, that includes the photo we made of her and her father stand-up paddle-boarding

Discussing how to work together safely on a busy road with Julia Mancuso

Discussing how to work together safely on a busy road with Julia Mancuso

Climbing down to the water for a rough entrance into the ocean

Climbing down to the water for a rough entrance into the ocean

The last photo shoot set-up of the day: Julia Mancuso and her father Ciro, heading out for a SUP session.  So great!

The last photo shoot set-up of the day: Julia Mancuso and her father Ciro, heading out for a SUP session. So great!

Travel and Editorial Photographer Susan Seubert shoots Honolulu for National Geographic Traveler

Aloha!  Last August I was assigned to photograph a story about Honolulu written by movie star/travel writer Andrew McCarthy.  This was such a fun assignment because so much of what we covered was active.  We explored places in Honolulu that are interesting and yet mostly eclipsed by Waikiki and hard core tourism, yet are part of the daily life of people who live in this sizable metropolis.  What comes to mind when thinking about Honolulu?  For me, it’s the oceanWaikiki beach is famous for it’s surfing, sand and sunbathing so that was part of our focus.  I doubt that many people choose Oahu for its hiking options, but Andrew opens the story discussing a jungle hike with soaring views of the city fronting the impossibly blue ocean.  We hiked, and photographed, the Makiki Valley trail which at one of it’s highest points terminates at a beautiful viewpoint, one I visited last year when photographing one of National Geographic Traveler’sTravelers of the Year.”  It’s a great experience to do this hike and although the trail has a good deal of elevation gain thanks to its location in the Ko’olau Mountain Range, the payoff is heading back down to the ocean for a cooling dip.  The trail is lined with beautiful ficus trees, wild ginger and lots of other beautiful plants.  It’s also shaded, so even if you go during the heat of the day, it’s not uncomfortably hot, unlike in other tropical locations like Thailand or Panama.

There is a great area that is starting to be developed in downtown Honolulu in an industrial zone of the city called Kaka’ao.  Boutique shops, like Paiko, and concept restaurants such as Taste, have started to appear in this unexpected area of the city.  There’s a wonderful coffeeshop/bookstore/art gallery called R and D that was featuring an interesting interactive installation piece while we were there.  Once a month, Kaka’ao has a night market where street artists, musicians and all manner of performers demonstrate their skills along side food carts, a main stage with myriad performances, and a skate ramp where kids can demonstrate their off the lip moves out of the water.  It’s great fun and there’s not a tourist in sight.

Shooting in and on the water has been a new experience for me as of late, and I enjoyed having an assignment where I could put my newly developed skills to work.  I had two shots in mind that required a water housing for this story.  One was shooting the famed outrigger canoe of Waikiki while riding waves in the ocean just off the beach with Diamond Head in the background, a classic view that I thought might make an energetic and historically significant image.  Another was photographing George Kam, the aloha ambassador for Quicksilver, a surf and surf clothing company.  Both of these images required me to be in the water to varying degrees.  I work with a splash housing installed with a Canon 7D with an 18-22mm lens.  There are all sorts of limitations when shooting with this setup because there’s not a lot of access to the camera controls and once you’re in the water, (unless you have an escort boat, which I didn’t), you’ve got the setup that you are stuck with.

How did you get that shot?

I’d like to discuss the opener of the story, which you can see online here.

The opener for National Geographic Traveler's Aloha Honolulu Story

The opening picture for National Geographic Traveler’s Aloha Honolulu Story

The opening image is of George Kam sitting in the center seat of a 3 man outrigger canoe.  The canoe is piloted by none other than Dale Hope and the front man is George’s brother, Kent, all amazing water-men. It was thrilling just being along for the ride.  When we set sail we had perfectly calm conditions, so I brought not only my camera in its housing, I also took along a 5D Mark III with a 24-105mm lens, just in case we might be in a situation where it was going to be safe for an unprotected camera.  That camera was secured in a dry bag that I could clip to the outrigger so that even if we dumped, it would stay dry and attached.  We spotted some dolphins, so headed out to sea, the three paddling and me riding on the netting that is between the canoe and the outrigger.  We fished for a bit and had our bait stolen, so we gave up on that and headed to where we might find some waves.  That’s when things got interesting.  I photographed George paddling and timed the shutter so that it coincided with his paddle moves in order for his face to be visible.  Dale is visible in the back where he steers, as is a seldom seen view of the Diamond Head crater.  The sun was very bright, so the best shots were when all things aligned: George had good light emphasizing his face and the vibrant colors of the outrigger and his clothes, some dynamic movement with the classic paddling technique and a sense of place, courtesy of the Honolulu skyline.  I did end up getting totally drenched as we hit a wave and together threw all of our weight back so that we wouldn’t tip the canoe.  It was a blast and all of my gear stayed safe and sound, thanks to a little bit of planning. Here are a few behind the scenes shots, to get a feel of what it was like to work on this component of the assignment.  Aloha and mahalo for visiting my blog!

Meeting with Dale Hope to discuss what our options for shooting would be that morning.

Meeting with Dale Hope to discuss what our options for shooting would be that morning.

Photo courtesy of George Kam - a little down time while enjoying the ride.

Photo courtesy of George Kam – a little down time while enjoying the ride.

Kent Kam taking us down the front of a wave

Kent Kam taking us down the front of a wave

Totally stoked to have a fully waterproof water housing

Totally stoked to have a fully waterproof water housing