chicago magazine best new bars

I spent many December nights wandering Chicago and checking out some of the best new bars this town has to offer. Not a bad way to pay the bills, although far from a simple assignment. I really wanted to avoid using strobes to let the bar interiors really speak for themselves. Not usually a problem if you’re locked off on a tripod, but working people into the mix complicates matters. Most of locations were as dark as legally possible and contained as many as infinity color temperatures (I’m looking at you Three Dots), forcing me to rely on super high ISOs and a lot of time in Photoshop trying to balance things out to something worth looking at. I also used a very low powered (see: shot thru white napkins) Speedlite to fill in shadows a bit, CTO’d when needed. The top image of the whiskey was shot on a tripod and lit with continuous light (Kino Celeb LED and a Wescott Ice Light to create the vertical line on the left of the glass) along with some silver bounce hitting the ice from above.

Bars included (from top to bottom): Revel Room, Birreira at Eataly, Berkshire, Nico Osteria, Punch House, Billy Sunday and Three Dots & a Dash. Thanks as always to Megan Lovejoy at Chicago and my sister for hand modeling/assisting/listening to be complain about how dark all the locations were.

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kmart more “surprise”

Here are some additional Kmart in-store images we shot for last year’s holiday seasons: Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day & Father’s Day. Bright, colorful, emotive and simple. Again, thanks to the entire team involved, including: Erica Chadwick, Neal Bullock (assistant), Brian Guido (digi tech), Courtney Rust (styling), Myra, Martin, Luis, Kelly and Kathleen at Draft and everyone else I’m forgetting because I don’t have the call sheet handy.

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kmart “surprise”

Surprise! A new blog post! It’s been a while, I know. I’m not much for New Years Resolutions but if I have one this year it’s to give this blog a spruce up and keep the updates flowing. I’m so behind on posting photos, these were taken well over a year ago and just not made their way online. That said, I’ve always loved the shots and didn’t want to let them go unseen.

The images were shot for Kmart and were used in stores nationwide during the 2012-2013 holiday season. It was a lot of fun to walk in and see them all over the walls. I even got followed by security for acting suspiciously while checking them out. The theme was “Surprise!” (thus all of the crazy emotions) and was via Draftfcb. Thanks to everyone who made the shoot possible, including: Erica Chadwick, Adam Daniels (assistant), Brian Guido (digi tech), Jen Brown (hair/makeup), Liz Klafeta (styling), and Myra, Martin, Luis, Kelly and Kathleen at Draft.

We did a second round for four other holidays which I will post in the coming weeks. For now, back to shoveling…

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LIZ KLAFETA - So WEIRD!! I was randomly just thinking about this shoot! Haha Thanks for the shout out and send me these when you can! Would love to have them.

dusek’s & punch house

There’s a new spot to dine, sip & dip down in Pilsen. Thalia Hall can be found on 18th & Allport; the building will eventually house a renovated music venue but for now you’ll have to settle for superb food and fantastic punch drinks. You may recognize the tasty flavors from another Chicago institution, Longman & Eagle. While the menu is completely different down at Dusek’s, the head chef and pastry chef (Jared Wentworth and Jeremy Brutzkus are the same guys behind L&E’s edibles). Be sure to tell the gang I sent ya!

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fishing with parson’s

Last Monday, the Parson’s guys invited me along for a Lake Michigan fishing adventure. We chartered a ride along with some more experienced fishermen, caught one fish each (how convenient), headed back to the restaurant with our catches and then Parson’s chef Hunter Moore cooked them up as a delicious meal. Only a few of us got seasick and nobody fell into the lake so all-in-all it was a very successful outing. As a side note: it’s amazing how easy we have it these days when it comes to having a fantastic meal and not having to do any of the difficult leg work. A day like this really helps you realize that. Happy eating!

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Kay Hauck - Hi Clayton, we enjoyed this photo collection very much – what a great experience to have vicariously! The shots of cooking the catch made our mouths water. Thanks for snapping a pic of our old building in Edgewater, the tall black high-rise near the “Pink Building.” We just moved and miss that shore.
Jim and Kay

clayton - I thought of you guys when I saw it and thus the photo! Where did you move to??