Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year! A Great 2013.

Very thankful for the year we've had here at Lancaster Photography. We met a lot of fantastic people, were welcomed into a lot of family circles, spent time in many photo pits, and traveled around the US and the world... all because of the lens and being decent at using it.

Personal thanks to all my clients from this year for choosing my work (which even included Sony Music Entertainment and Ben Folds), huge thanks to my 2nd shooters and assistants, and to the staff at theFIVE10 Radio

A very Happy New Year to all of you!



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Megadeth - The Warfield, San Francisco. December 18th, 2013.

Dave Mustaine performs with Megadeth at the Warfield in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster.
Last night was my 3rd time shooting Megadeth for theFIVE10.com. I learned to play guitar by strumming & picking along with their 1992 record Countdown to Extinction, so it's always a big deal for me to bring my camera to these shows.

Enjoy! All photos by Clay Lancaster (Lancaster Photography). Click an image to enlarge.


Megadeth set list for the Warfield in San Francisco

Dave Ellefson performs with Megadeth at the Warfield in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Chris Broderick performs with Megadeth at the Warfield in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Chris Broderick performs with Megadeth at the Warfield in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Chris Broderick performs with Megadeth at the Warfield in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Dave Ellefson performs with Megadeth at the Warfield in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Dave Ellefson and Dave Mustaine perform with Megadeth at the Warfield in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Dave Mustaine performs with Megadeth at the Warfield in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Dave Ellefson performs with Megadeth at the Warfield in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Dave Mustaine performs with Megadeth at the Warfield in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Dave Ellefson performs with Megadeth at the Warfield in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Dave Ellefson performs with Megadeth at the Warfield in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Dave Mustaine performs with Megadeth at the Warfield in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2013 Recap: Weddings, Concerts, Album Covers, Travel and Films

I was organizing and preparing for the end of the year, when I realized how awesome 2013 was for my photographic adventures. I make my living as a wedding photographer here in the San Francisco Bay Area, but there's a lot more that I've done (and will continue to do) besides weddings.

Don't get me wrong... I love my couples, and I love my job. But if you're a chef and your job is to make pizzas at a restaurant, you don't just stick to making pizzas at home!

To start, this year has been very travel-heavy. Normally I do a bunch of concerts throughout the year, but this time I swapped much of the concert shooting for traveling (and the projects that come with that). Tallying up, my journeys took me to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe (twice), Colorado, Florida, Istanbul, and Paris (twice)... plus all the local outings to wedding venues here in Northern California.

Some of the main highlights:

Paris, France: Worked on an independent film with my brother and a wonderful cast & crew. Crazy experience, and required two trips out there to get it filmed (once in April and once in October). See all my previous posts documenting the trip, if you want more details.

Me (looking thrilled), Barbara Probst, and Kevin Clark as seen through my brother's RED camera

Istanbul, Turkey: After our first round of filming in Paris, I headed to Istanbul by myself. I had never been to that part of the world before, and it was my first trip to another country alone... where I ended up shooting a hip-hop video for a Tunisian rapper/DJ in a dingy basement, with real blood donated by our video's "director" (we couldn't find fake blood)...

Las Vegas, Nevada: Brodie (of the Brodie Stewart Band) few me out with him to meet up with Faith Hill's guitar player, who plays on Brodie's upcoming record. We shot some great interview footage, then had a couple of nights hangin' out with those guys (and some of the stage crew for the Tim McGraw/Faith Hill show at the Venetian). All of it topped off with free tickets to the Tim & Faith show, and my own entire row of seats on the plane coming home for me to stretch out on.

Getting ready to shoot Adam's interviews at the Venetian
Ben Folds Five: The most rewarding moment of 2013 for me was getting my photo on the front cover of Ben Folds Five: Live, which is the first-ever live album for the band. I've been a huge fan of Ben Folds Five since high school, and once I heard their 12-year hiatus was over I pushed to get photo access for their show at the Warfield in San Francisco on their reunion tour. I was just thrilled to even go to the show, let alone shoot photos. But a couple of months later, I get a call from their people and BOOM!... there's my photo on the record cover (released by Sony) and can be found in stores all over the world. Pretty cool to see "Clay Lancaster" on the CD insert, and on the back of the vinyls.

My photo on the cover of Ben Folds Five: Live
The rest of the year was filled with wonderful weddings, trips to visit family and friends, some great shoots and celebrity guests for theFIVE10.com, AND I bought a condo... so I am now a first-time homeowner.

On January 1st of this year I didn't see any of those previous events on the horizon, so I can't wait to see what 2014 will bring. It's gonna be pretty hard to top what happened this year... but, of course, I said the same thing last year.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Paris: Finally Finished (fingers crossed)

Eiffel Tower from the Trocadéro. Photo by Clay Lancaster

Hello hello.

We've had a fairly busy last 10 days, and after this evening I should comfortably be able to say that the Paris portion of the film is in the can (which is like 90% of it).

The ending was re-written and a B-story was added. Our first few days were spent re-shooting the ending with our lead actress, as she had another project to get to. I flew from San Francisco to New Jersey, then New Jersey to Paris... hopped on the RER train into Gentilly, met up with everyone here at the studio, had about 30 minutes to get settled, then we started rolling.

The remainder of the week we worked with our lead actor/writer (as well as a new actress) on the new side story. It was challenging.

A big problem with not having much of a budget is that we have to shoot where we can shoot. That means spending hours on crowded riverbanks - take after take - trying to avoid loud boats, loud people, rain, onlookers, lighting issues, potential security issues, etc.

One of our scenes took about 8 hours to wrap. The scene is only about 5 minutes long.

This scene is about 4 seconds long. Yet we needed 5 takes. I labeled the slate accordingly.

The majority of our people are now gone, leaving Keith and me here in this art studio on our own. We spent the last day and a half doing some much-needed sleeping in, some pub-drinking, some bicycle riding through the city, some wine drinking, some photography, and some Formula 1 race-watching. After our mini pizzas come out of the oven, we're gonna jump on the Metro with the RED camera and go film some establishing b-roll. Then tonight we pack up, and jet back to San Francisco tomorrow morning.

Band photo.

It's been a blast. At the start of 2013, I surely didn't see myself going to Paris this year... and definitely didn't see myself going twice. Now it has become a running joke that we'll all just be right back here in a another few months to film something else.

To my clients who have been patiently waiting on their wedding photos, thank you! I'll have them to you soon.

Enjoy some of these photos, and I'll see you guys back in the States in a couple of days.


Out and about during Nuit Blanche. Photo by Clay Lancaster

Night Filming.

Keith and Kevin discuss... something.

This time Kevin brought a remote-controlled quad-copter for arial shots. We crashed it a lot.
...like this:

Sunrise shot.
My roommate. He watched me while I sleep across the room. Good guy.

Awkward filming moment. Barbara, Kevin, and... me (technically) in the back.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Still Alive! Just Plowin' Through...

Hey folks.

It's wedding season. It has been, and it will continue to be for a bit. Which means it's Editing City here in my office, on top of admin stuff, bookings for next year, and traveling.

Going back in my calendar, I realized I've traveled a lot in 2013. Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Paris, Istanbul, Lake Tahoe (again), Denver...

Lancaster Bros. during our first filming outing in Paris last April

...and guess what? My brother Keith and I just coordinated flights and are headed back to Paris in about 3 weeks to finish up the movie we are working on. Time was crunched last trip (3 weeks is pretty ambitious for even the most indie of films) so we missed some shots that we needed. As I understand it, our writer/director has revamped the storyline and added some new stuff, so all of us are headed back to finish up.

There's a couple more weddings to shoot before the trip, more weddings after the trip, then I'll be headed to Florida for Thanksgiving (which is also my birthday this year) to see my parents' new house.

To top it off, one of my good friends (an exchange student from Berlin that I met in 1996) is in town visiting. I had not seen this guy in 16 YEARS, and after a few minutes it felt like nothing had changed:

Martin & Me last week
Oh, and for the first time in my life I actually beat a Zelda game:

Here are some of my other favorite moments since I last updated:

Shot promos for Tracing Figures... a band that contains two of my former band mates from years ago.
Seeing my family at our reunion in Vail, CO. That's me with my cousin & uncle.
Dusk on Lake Tahoe
Got to shoot Gillian's wedding, who is an old friend from our high school choir days
Vail, CO mountains as the lightning storm started coming in
Aimee & Paul's wedding in Mountain View
Taryn & Brian's wedding reception
the moon in Tahoe

It's been a blast so far! Gonna be hard to top the events of this year when 2014 rolls around. Then again, I said the same thing last year.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Back Home and Not Slowing Down

Hey hey.

This post is gonna have a lot of photos. So bear with it. Although, I am a photographer... so maybe you should expect it.

After 3 weeks in Paris, we were able to wrap all the filming we set out to wrap. Long days, lots of wine, but a ton of fun. Very glad I decided to join the project.

Me (left) with my brother (center) filming Kevin for a quick scene on a bridge in Paris

screen shot from the film

We even had a few days left to take a toy remote-controlled boat around the city and drive it in some famous waterways (at the Louvre, at Luxembourg, in front of the Eiffel Tower, etc).

Kevin drives our speedboat at the Louvre
After saying our goodbyes to all the wonderful people involved, Kevin went back to Los Angeles, my brother Keith left for London, and I caught a plane to Istanbul.

It was my first time in another country by myself, and was quite an adventure. If you've been keeping up on all the news lately, Istanbul is the center of an uprising that is involving a lot of police brutality. It all started a couple of blocks from where I was staying 3 weeks ago, so it's weird to see all these places I recognize on the news.

New Mosque in Istanbul. Photo by Clay Lancaster

Among the people I met over there, I got to know this rap artist from Tunisia. He liked that I did camera work, so we did a small photo shoot on the Bosphorous waterfront one evening:

After sharing a bunch of beers on a rooftop night after night, looking at the river, he and an employee of the hostel (where I was staying) came up with a music video concept and asked if I'd film it. I figured "why not?" and it was certainly an interesting day.

After a good 17+ hour travel day, I finally arrived back in San Francisco after being gone for almost a month. My new condo was still packed away in boxes, so I immediately set to work getting my new home set up. I still need some sort of blinds for the sliding glass door, but the rest is pretty much good to go!

My first endeavor back in the States was shooting the Napa Bottle Rock Music Festival. We interviewed a lot of cool people on theFIVE10.com, including Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam, comedian Jim Breuer, and some of the cast of the Daily Show.

Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction at Bottle Rock. Photo by Clay Lancaster

Then I jumped straight into wedding season, and have had some wonderful couples so far. I have a LOT of editing to finish:

Finally, yesterday was the international release day for Ben Folds Five: Live, which showcases a photo of mine on the front cover. I'm thrilled to be a part of it, as BF5 has been one of my favorite bands for about 15 years. I see my photo popping up all over the internet... iTunes, Amazon, Target.com, blogs, magazines, etc. It's crazy.

Ben Folds Five Live on Target.com. Cover photo by Clay Lancaster

Ben Folds retweeted a photo from Japan that shows a big in-store display:

Ben Folds Five Live store display in Japan. Cover photo by Clay Lancaster

...to which he said to me (via twitter):

Super cool!

We're almost half way into 2013 and this year has been nuts for me, but really exciting. New home, new travels, new people, new accomplishments, new projects, new clients... and this is also shaping up to be the best year for my business since I started it.

Thanks to everyone who's been so supportive, and thanks to everyone who's found my work good enough to throw your hard-earned cash at it :). It means a lot.