Skip to content

Music in the Mountains

In late January 2014 I was contacted by Cristine Kelly, the Marketing Director for Music in the Mountains, a symphonic company nestled in the gorgeous foothills of Nevada City, CA. Cristine, or more accurately her husband had found my work while searching the web for his Christmas present from Cristine, a Fuji X100S. I had written a short article about using the Fuji in some of my commercial work. He saw the imagery I had created for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and yelled down to Cristine, “Honey, you need to look at this. I think this is the guy you’ve been searching for to shoot your Company!”

Cristine wanted her new Season Brochure to reflect the beauty of the surrounding area, so we discussed an on location shoot with costumes for the various performances her Company had planned for their upcoming season. Orchestras around the country are discovering that the ‘tried and true’ (I refer to that style as “Tired and Yawning”) photography, be it stock or shot for their specific needs, requires change to remain relevant. Rather than performance photos of musician’s clad in tuxedos and evening gowns, publicity imagery for music should reflect the emotion it conveys rather than what musician’s look like when they play. For most patrons, they know what they will see once they arrive. What they go for is for what they’ll experience and FEEL. Transmitting the feeling of an aural piece into something visual was my job.

So arrangements were made to shoot at a ten acre home which overlooks a grand vista that includes trees, flowers and forests. On the day we arrived for the shoot I was able to scout the location for about an hour before shooting actually began. The property had a literal cornucopia of possible locations on its ten acre parcel. And right across the street was a wonderful grove of redwoods. In addition the owner has a small pond on the property which I knew I would use. Although the sky looked ominous and Cristine was concerned about rain, the clouds added an element which I love for on location imagery…texture!

Cristine mentioned that her husband was planning on coming to the shoot later in the day, so I suggested that he bring his X100S. When he arrived I asked Cristine to go into hair and makeup. She asked “Why?” Well… learning how to use a new camera is best done…using it! So while she was in hair and makeup I gave her husband a crash course in using his new camera with studio strobes in an outdoor setting. Once she emerged from wardrobe, he began shooting her with my studio lights in front of the scene we used below. He came up with some fantastic shots and it was a grand time as well as a great way to wrap up the day.

The initial spot I selected to give the viewer the perception of the grandeur of the area.


My first shot for Scheherazade.
Canon 1DX 1/200th, f11, ISO 200, 28mm Canon 24-105. Lit with a PCB Einstein, through an Elinchrom Deep Octa


The talent being prepared for the next shot.


One of the final shots for Scheherazade.
Canon 1DX 1/125th, f5.6, ISO 200, 35mm Canon 24-105. Lit with a PCB Einstein, through an Elinchrom Deep Octa camera left. Einstein with a 7″ reflector to camera right for a hard fill..


A behind the scenes shot of how this image was created. Photo: Tracy Martin


Canon 1DX 1/160th f4.5 ISO 200.


Canon 1DX 1/250th, f5.6, ISO 200, 60mm Canon 24-105. 4 stop ND filter. Lit with a PCB Einstein, through an 11″ long throw reflector camera left 14 feet in the air. Second Einstein with a 7″ cone reflector to the rear of the subject camera right to rim light the trees and talent.



Taken with a Fuji X100S – 1/1000th f5.6 ISO 100 JPG. Shot with an Einstein studio strobe through a 11″ long throw reflector that was across the pond about 40 feet away. The strobe was about 14′ in the air. 

“Mark why are we waiting, the sun’s almost gone and we want to go home!?” I really wanted this backlit shot through the Aspens and after we took the shot everyone simply said “Oh we’re glad we waited.”
Canon 1DX 1/250th, f4.0, ISO 200, 70mm Canon 24-105. Lit with a PCB Einstein powered by a Vagabond Mini through an Elinchrom Deep Octa camera right.

Table of Contents

Popular posts

Related Posts

Notify of

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] Update: March 22, 2014. I am now able to release some of the final images and they can be seen here. […]