This blog has been relocated!

September 25, 2011

Thanks for stopping by to check out my work!

I have moved my blog over to a different domain, but don’t worry. It’s the same blog with the same cool stuff, just a different look and address! You can find all of the old posts from this page archived at the new location, so there’s no need to hang around here!

Head on over to and let me know what you think!


Enhance it! – Part 2

September 20, 2011

Yes, I’m still working on this one!

This weekend we had an awesome shoot at Sloan’s Calzones. The owner, Brent Sloan, was kind enough to open the doors of his business on a Sunday for us to come in with a ton of equipment.

If you’ve never been to Sloan’s, here’s a completely non-solicited plug that I’ve been telling people for a long time- Sloan’s has an awesome slice of pizza, and is the only place in Decatur that I know of where you can just waltz right in and grab a slice of pizza without waiting. And if you go, make sure to try the homemade chips.

This shoot was for a short sequence during the credits. It went really well, and there was some fantastic ad libbing. So much so that we had to do a few retakes because I laughed and shook the camera. Mitch also provided a dolly, so I got to go for a ride too!

I cut it together that night, so everything is pretty much in the bag. There are just a few post-production things to take care of, mostly dealing with After Effects. I’ll be posting it as soon as it’s finished, but until then, here are some photos from this weekend.  Thanks to Adam Casner and my wonderful wife for taking some awesome behind the scenes shots while I was busy.

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Rain was no match for this wedding

September 9, 2011

I can’t believe I’ve been done with this wedding for so long and haven’t blogged about it!

Rachel and John Coleman invited me to document their beautiful wedding in Springfield, which has become one of my favorite places to work. It seems like everytime I shoot a wedding there, I either see old friends and clients, or I work with great new photographers, DJs, and bands.

Here were some of the highlights from the day:

Church audio-
First United Methodist Church in Springfield has the most amazing audio setup, and by far the most helpful staff I’ve ever worked with. Their audio technician was behind the soundboard the entire time, and was able to feed me everything from the speakers to the musicians.

The rain-
The rain normally isn’t a highlight of the day, but it let up just in time for the exit from the church and plenty of outdoor photography. It didn’t start back up until everybody was settled in at Panther Creek Country Club. And when it started up, there was a lightning show on the patio all night.

The live band-
I’ve already said how much I enjoy live bands at weddings. Still Kick’n was the night’s entertainment, and it was a fantastic show. With heavy storms passing through, the power flickered and went off several times. One time the power stayed off for about 10 minutes. Without missing a beat, the band grabbed their acoustic guitars and performed in the middle of the dance floor until the lights came back on. Here’s a clip of them entertaining in the dark:

Those are just the things that stood out as extraordinary in my mind. As always, the friends, family, bride, and groom were a blast to work with. I love knowing that the end of my work day is always going to be full of a bunch of happy people dancing and celebrating. Take a look at the video to see what I mean!

I love Miracle Whip

August 24, 2011

I don’t love the taste, though, just the marketing.

When was the last time a company said, “Hey, could you insult the crap out of our product for us in return for a shot at $25,000?”

That’s what Miracle Whip is doing it in the form of a video contest. Take a look at their YouTube channel for their own examples, and a ton of contest entries. Here is what the rules ask for:

The video should detail how your feelings for Miracle Whip impact your relationship as in “keeping you together/married” or “potentially sending you to divorce court” and state if you are unified in love, unified in hate, or divided in love and hate.

Sure, there are a few couples who chose the “we both love your product” route, but most people are going with “my wife loves it, but I think it tastes like bottled yak spit.”

In my entry, I was planning on taking the “call your product yak spit” road, but ended up accidentally admitting I like it.

Even though I don’t. Enjoy, and wish me luck!

A day with the Rinellas

August 13, 2011

Laura and Lee’s wedding introduced me to some new people and places in Effingham, Illinois. I usually only make it down there for my work with the newspaper, so it’s a little bit farther than most of my usual wedding shoots.

I was pleased to find that just about everybody I came in contact with was incredibly friendly and professional. The church staff was more than helpful in providing me access to their sound equipment, the photographers were fun to work with, and the DJ and his team were fantastic.

The same can be said for the bride and groom. Laura was one of the most outgoing brides I’ve ever met, and was a natural in front of the camera, especially the “Love Story” interview. Her groom, Lee, was a little more reluctant to step in front of the camera, but his cold feet were completely unnecessary. As soon as he started talking he loosened up and it seemed like he didn’t even notice the camera there.

It was a great night with lots of dancing, and even some familiar faces.

So, here’s a look at my time in Effingham with the Rinellas.

On the big screen

August 8, 2011

This year, I entered “Oh, What a Laugh” into the Land of Lincoln Credit Union 21 Film Project. I didn’t win anything this year, but I did make it to the top 20, so I still got to see my film played on a big screen.

The award ceremony was at the Avon Theater during the Decatur Celebration, the 3-day festival that keeps me very busy shooting for the Herald & Review. Lucky for me, I was able to attend for the first time and film it for the paper.

Doug Bishop, as Santa, on screen at the Avon

It was a pretty fantastic event. There was a red carpet walk, a huge crowd, and lots of fun characters. It got off to a late start, and I had to film more events for work, so I wasn’t able to stay for the whole show. I stayed for about six films, and had to leave before mine played. I made it back on Sunday to see mine, and a bunch of other films. There are a lot of really talented people here in Decatur and the surrounding areas, and it was great to finally make it to the event.

Oh, I almost forgot: 80s singer, Tiffany, opened up the ceremony with a song. Pretty wild. Here’s the video that I did for the H&R, complete with my goofy walk down the red carpet with Doug Bishop.

Yellow Jackets

August 2, 2011

Last year, while we were on vacation, we stopped in Chicago to spend some time with my parents. One day we noticed some yellow jackets hard at work on a hive. They were nice and low, so we couldn’t pass up the chance to get the tripod and take a look at them up close.

So we grabbed the 5D, slapped on the macro lens, and went to work. I tried to keep my distance, standing back from the camera as much as I could. I didn’t get stung, but whenever I went up to adjust the camera they would get on edge. If you see shadows moving in the background, that might just be me running from a few that are buzzing me.

So here’s a couple minutes of up-close wasp footage set to some weird music that reminds me of the sound of buzzing pests. The video isn’t too exicting or action-packed, but it is pretty neat to watch them clean themselves. They have fascinating mouths. Their stingers are also pretty neat; they seem to pulsate. Enjoy.

Ein Prosit!

July 27, 2011

After I shoot a wedding, I have a very long editing process ahead of me. Depending on what I was hired to shoot, and how much extra fun stuff came up that day, I could have many small videos to edit on top of the main ceremony and montage.

While I’m working, I know the bride and groom are anxious to see their video. So, whenever I can, I share a small clip or two here so they can forward it on to family and friends.

This is one of those clips. After the best man and maid of honor finished their toasts, a group of people a few tables away started to sing. I was on a tripod, and too far away to make it to them in time. Luckily they didn’t mind stepping outside a little later to repeat the performance of their traditional German toasting song.

Emily & Zach’s Wedding

July 13, 2011

What a way to start off the wedding season!

I won’t lie, I always have something good to say after I shoot a wedding. It’s a fun job, and that’s why I do it. When you get that many people together, dancing and laughing, it’s hard to not have a good time.

That being said, this one was pretty awesome. It was obvious that Emily and Zach were crazy about each other, and the entire day went by without a hitch. Not only was everybody easy to work with, but there were so many photogenic moments that I had plenty to use while I was editing.

Here were a few things I really enjoyed about this wedding:

Reception hall with huge windows
This reception was at Erin’s Pavilion in Springfield, and until the sun went down the lighting indoors was amazing. Ususally the reception is very dark and intimate, which is fine because that makes for better dancing atmosphere. But for the cocktail hour and most of dinner, there were a lot of great shots.

Big windows = sweet backlight

I’ve said this before: any kind of fireworks are great at a wedding. These fine guests all gathered on the enourmous patio and formed a tunnel, each holding out a giant sparkler. The bride and groom ran through it several times for photos and video, and it was incredible.

I'm so glad none of us went up in flames...

Awesome bride
I’m lucky to say I’ve never had to work with a bridezilla. But Emily was definitely one of the most laid-back brides ever. Makeup on the groom’s tux? A little wipe-off and it’s taken care of. Falling face-first during the photo shoot before the ceremony? Laugh it off with hardly any mention of a grass stain.

Everybody made it through unhurt...

There were a lot more factors that made this a great wedding shoot, but instead of babbling on even more, I’ll just share the montage. Enjoy!

Vacation 2011

July 10, 2011

I just got back from a great vacation with my family. I spent a week in Kentucky with my parents, my brother and his girlfriend, and my lovely wife. My parents rented a house near the Land Between the Lakes, and brought us all along. We spent the bulk of our time fishing, swimming, and cooking meat on the grill.

Naturally, we had plenty of cameras with us, but the newest of the bunch was the Panasonic TS2. This is our first waterproof/underwater camera, so we were able to get some really cool shots that we normally couldn’t get. Like my first time on a jet ski:

I practice my "sexy face" in the mirror every night...

The water was a bit too murky to shoot anything underwater, but we did keep the camera with us while we were swimming near the dock. One day a little dragon fly (a friend pointed out that this is, in fact, a damselfly) landed on Alida while she was on her raft. Something about her made the little bug really comfortable, because he stuck with her the whole time she was in the water.

I was jealous...

One night I saw a toad hop over and take down a beetle. I didn’t have time to run in and grab the 5D MKII, so I grabbed my phone out of my pocket. I was really impressed with the way the iPhone handled the video in such low light:

I have a lot more photos and video to share, but have some work to do before I spend time on them. Until then, you can follow me on Twitter, @HughMSullivan, and see the photos I posted to Instagram.

Oh, and since I’m sure my parents will see this blog post eventually: “Thanks again Mom and Dad!”