travel

Wilson, Arkansas

Let's be honest, I never thought I'd be hanging out in Wilson, Arkansas, much less, really enjoy it. Located in Mississippi County, (in Arkansas) it's an hour above Memphis, right in the heart of the Mississippi River Delta. The sunsets, small town feel, and back-to-basics philosophy all attribute to its charm that I've come to know and love over the past year.

So, after producing a couple of mini-docs for the town, I decided to test out my copywriting skills and try something a little more closer to heart. 

A London Walkabout

On an oddly sunny beautiful afternoon in London, I got a chance to step outside the Country 2 Country Festival @ the 02 Arena and go for a walk. Armed with what seemed to be too much per diem, I grabbed my Canon mark iii, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, and started looking for trouble. Ok, it's only street photography, but it sounds edgy.

When our bus pulled in that morning, I immediately noticed an enclosed ski-lift that went across the river. So naturally after a quick breakfast (or should I call it tea?) I spent all the per diem on renting out the entire sky-box to spread out my gear and get a shot where ever I could without knocking over British grandmothers with a 70-200 lens. Besides, I figured if I got ten cool pictures, it would be well worth the $125.

 

Executive decision made, hope you enjoy.

 Call it What You Will  Since ZBB for was playing that night @ the O2, I figured I'd snap a couple of the iconic structure. Creative lil structure. I'll leave it at that.

Call it What You Will

Since ZBB for was playing that night @ the O2, I figured I'd snap a couple of the iconic structure. Creative lil structure. I'll leave it at that.

 Walk the line(s)  I love this picture with all the dividing lines and textures. From water to vegetation to cement, even walking to biking, this picture possesses a crazy progression of sorts on many different levels.

Walk the line(s)

I love this picture with all the dividing lines and textures. From water to vegetation to cement, even walking to biking, this picture possesses a crazy progression of sorts on many different levels.

 A Selfie Together  Let's see: an awesome wooden texture, amazing light, people interacting naturally (and quite narcissistically) and of course, me being a sucker for a silhouette? This picture makes the cut.

A Selfie Together

Let's see: an awesome wooden texture, amazing light, people interacting naturally (and quite narcissistically) and of course, me being a sucker for a silhouette? This picture makes the cut.

 A Silhouette's Status Update   Again, the textures of the cement and the framing of the worker inside the white splotch makes this picture my favorite out of the bunch.     Did I mention Silhouette?

A Silhouette's Status Update 

Again, the textures of the cement and the framing of the worker inside the white splotch makes this picture my favorite out of the bunch.

 

Did I mention Silhouette?

 Cementing His Legacy  Every blog needs at least one super cheesy picture headline. 

Cementing His Legacy

Every blog needs at least one super cheesy picture headline. 

 Running with the big kids  Don't worry, his parents where just out of frame to the left. Besides, what makes a picture better than a lost child?  I'm kidding!

Running with the big kids

Don't worry, his parents where just out of frame to the left. Besides, what makes a picture better than a lost child?

I'm kidding!

Now here's where it got a little interesting. After walking a block or so on the other side of the river, I happened to walk upon a convention. Not any convention mind you, but London's own ComicCon. 

Being from Atlanta, I knew this meant street photography gold. Here's my first sighting where I knew something was up.

 Wizards wear sneakers too  My spider sense tingled as I approached what would be London's ComicCon.

Wizards wear sneakers too

My spider sense tingled as I approached what would be London's ComicCon.

 Imaginary Child Hostage  I was amazed to find out people would listen to everything you say and pose since I had a camera. Amazing!

Imaginary Child Hostage

I was amazed to find out people would listen to everything you say and pose since I had a camera. Amazing!

 Okra Lady  I said, "Hey, will you walk with me, sit on that bench and act like your waiting for another superhero?"  Thanks!  (I honestly have no idea who this is supposed to be. Any suggestions?)

Okra Lady

I said, "Hey, will you walk with me, sit on that bench and act like your waiting for another superhero?"

Thanks!

(I honestly have no idea who this is supposed to be. Any suggestions?)

 Out of his League  I swear I'm not a hater.

Out of his League

I swear I'm not a hater.

 The Perverted Statute  Other than this statue and the pretty girl, I really don't like this picture. 

The Perverted Statute

Other than this statue and the pretty girl, I really don't like this picture. 

 Epic Battle Scene in the Mall Foyer.  They were talking when I approached them, they looked at me and said, "Would you like us to pose like we're fighting."     Umm, yes please!   

Epic Battle Scene in the Mall Foyer.

They were talking when I approached them, they looked at me and said, "Would you like us to pose like we're fighting."

 

Umm, yes please!

 

After 30 minutes in my unsuspected photographer's playground, it was time to get to work and head over to the o2 and shoot the press conference, M&G, and show that night for Zac Brown Band.

 ZBB live @ o2  When on tour with a band, you try to mix things up every night, but this over-the-shoulder Chris Fryar shot is one I made sure to get every night. 

ZBB live @ o2

When on tour with a band, you try to mix things up every night, but this over-the-shoulder Chris Fryar shot is one I made sure to get every night. 

Top 10 Pictures of 2013

REPOST/REVISED FROM 1.30.14 @ www.southernreel.net

 On the roof of the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY.

On the roof of the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY.

During my tenure as the Director of Southern Reel and also one of Zac Brown Band’s rather hairy photographers, I got to experience more than I'd ever imagine, let alone be part of it. The Daytona 500, MLB All-Star Game, Late Night Shows, Music Videos, traveling to every American town with an ampitheather/arena and even through Australia, it all becomes a blur going from place to place.

I guess that’s why they have someone around to take the pictures. 

Hope you enjoy a few of my favorites from the past year.

 2.24.13-Daytona 500

2.24.13-Daytona 500

Zac Brown Band opened the race in the 2013 Daytona 500 with a few songs for the crowd. Luckily for me, my photographer’s pass lasted a little longer than the set. With my Canon 5D MarkIII and 14mm, I eyed the photographers perched above the grandstand, and after a little help from a volunteer (the people in red jackets are amazing!) and a lot of stairs, I snuck a few pictures in.

 Clay Cook's Album Shoot

Clay Cook's Album Shoot

Like a lot of Reel’s shoots, Kyle Rippey and I are essentially the same photographer. We both light, prop, and develop shots. So when it comes to who actually took some of these pictures, it’s not quite clear, nor does it matter, as long as the picture gets the message across. I believe this picture was called “The Mad Scientist” by Kyle.

  Levi Lowrey's Album Shoot

Levi Lowrey's Album Shoot

For Levi’s shoot, we found a farmer with some amazing cabins, tractors, and fields that let us run around and get 10 setups during the day long shoot. We started inside because of the rain, but Mother Nature came through mid-afternoon, and we got all our outdoor shots in time for the golden hour, along with a overcast cyc that turned out great

 Kenny Chesney & Zac Brown Band @ Georgia Dome, 2013

Kenny Chesney & Zac Brown Band @ Georgia Dome, 2013

I’m always trying to find ways to show where the band is playing while also getting them performing naturally onstage. When I saw roof of the Georgia Dome from behind the stage, I knew I had to find a shot somewhere. BTW, I love the canon 14mm.

 Brit Turner of Blackberry Smoke

Brit Turner of Blackberry Smoke

In Early February I got the call to come out on a tour run with Blackberry Smoke. Well, it was actually Andy Sapp they asked for, but he had a wedding or something like that, so I jumped at the opportunity to follow the guys around for an awesome NYC-DC-PHILLY run. Here, like so many other photographers have, Brit Turner is posing for yet another epic photograph. Blackberry Smoke are good people. They play great southern music too.

 Houston Rodeo-Mutten Bustin'

Houston Rodeo-Mutten Bustin'

I’ve had the opportunity to shoot the Houston Rodeo a few times. The first year I shot video and made it part of the show a couple of years ago to distract the crowd while the band prepared to fly throughout the stage (remember that!?). Anyway, this year, I made sure to get a great spot with the 70-200mm, on the field, as the kids attempted to ride a 'mutten'.

 

Can’t wait till this year.

 Zac v. Cole-The Madden Workout

Zac v. Cole-The Madden Workout

On one specific 4-show-run late in the year, Zac and I played a game of Madden 25 after every show while working out on the treadmill (that’s right, run and play madden at the same time). These were intense games battling to the finish. I ended up getting two blisters on my feet, and some great I’ll-see-you-after-the-show-pictures. Check out the one below after he beat me good the night before. Series tied @ 2.

 NYE 2013, Detroit, MI

NYE 2013, Detroit, MI

This picture just snuck into the 2013 batch by a few hours. Again, being able to show where the venue and the guys playing really helps tell the whole story without saying a word. Here, I even got a moon beam and a sweet Clay-ism in matching Red.

 

 The Grohl Sessions, Vol.1 Making of

The Grohl Sessions, Vol.1 Making of

I’ve been in the studio with a ton of artists in the past, large scale Nashville productions, in basements, or even by a beach, but it’s tough to top The Grohl Sessions Vol.1. The energy throughout the 4 songs and CMA performance was absolutely insane. It was an amazing project to be apart of.

By the way, yes, Dave Grohl is legit. LEGIT.

Thank you and goodnight. Hope you enjoyed.

-Cole

The Roadie is Alive and Well

 Infrared Shot @ Bethel Woods, NY

Infrared Shot @ Bethel Woods, NY

They say you don't know someone until you work with them. Let's go ahead and take it a step further and add eat, sleep, and live, because on the road you get to know your fellow co-workers more than in most professions. While sometimes tempers flare, the commoradie on a crew can only be compared to a professional sports team, and being on the road for 80+ shows a year, it's amazing that I can still stand these guys, much less love them like family.

 The Glamour of the Catwalk  Climber or not, a Rigger's job is not for the faint of heart. The first ones to work and the last ones to finish, the project begins and ends with them everyday. Here, Chris Phillips walks among the shadows on New Year's Day 2014 @ Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

The Glamour of the Catwalk

Climber or not, a Rigger's job is not for the faint of heart. The first ones to work and the last ones to finish, the project begins and ends with them everyday. Here, Chris Phillips walks among the shadows on New Year's Day 2014 @ Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

 What's Up  I've learned working tours and taking pictures of the setup that no matter what, when people look up at something, they look slightly confused. It's the great equalizer of scale.  The binoculars and symmetry seen here make the shot special, despite the look to the sky, INHO. 

What's Up

I've learned working tours and taking pictures of the setup that no matter what, when people look up at something, they look slightly confused. It's the great equalizer of scale.

The binoculars and symmetry seen here make the shot special, despite the look to the sky, INHO. 

 What Floor?  Mike Shields, part of Team Rigging, works like a maniac, yet the chillest guy I've ever met off the stage. I was walking around one afternoon and happened to see these beautiful parallel lines staring right back at me. Going Up!  

What Floor?

Mike Shields, part of Team Rigging, works like a maniac, yet the chillest guy I've ever met off the stage. I was walking around one afternoon and happened to see these beautiful parallel lines staring right back at me. Going Up!  

 The Show Behind The Show  This picture is the inspiration for this series of pictures.  I posted it one day with the caption "Sometimes the best pictures of the show have nothing to do with it." Maybe it's because I know the people so well or maybe it's just a completely genuine moment.  Probably a little bit of both, but it could just be the beards.

The Show Behind The Show

This picture is the inspiration for this series of pictures.  I posted it one day with the caption "Sometimes the best pictures of the show have nothing to do with it." Maybe it's because I know the people so well or maybe it's just a completely genuine moment.

Probably a little bit of both, but it could just be the beards.

 Fenway Park is for (Baseball ) Lovers  I lucked out on this trip to Fenway Park with Jake Peavy as our Tour Guide. Here, after meeting the team (who were all so extremely gracious and down-to-earth) we got to visit inside the Green Monster. My inner 11-year-old-self was hyper-ventilating.  It was especially fun watching them win the championship later that year, since they got waxed by the Yankees that day.

Fenway Park is for (Baseball ) Lovers

I lucked out on this trip to Fenway Park with Jake Peavy as our Tour Guide. Here, after meeting the team (who were all so extremely gracious and down-to-earth) we got to visit inside the Green Monster. My inner 11-year-old-self was hyper-ventilating.

It was especially fun watching them win the championship later that year, since they got waxed by the Yankees that day.

 Follow Your Arrow  Kacey Musgraves Band Member and Video Director, Steve Ossler, have a conversation.

Follow Your Arrow

Kacey Musgraves Band Member and Video Director, Steve Ossler, have a conversation.

 "Find the Roadie"  Nothing screams American on Tour than a hairy man with an Irish Pub Boxing shirt on a beach more than Josh Bennett. Did I mention we were listening to Hendrix as loud as we could over the hairless EDM'ers.   Sydney, AU (Manly Beach here) is my favorite city in the world, if you're asking.

"Find the Roadie"

Nothing screams American on Tour than a hairy man with an Irish Pub Boxing shirt on a beach more than Josh Bennett. Did I mention we were listening to Hendrix as loud as we could over the hairless EDM'ers. 

Sydney, AU (Manly Beach here) is my favorite city in the world, if you're asking.

  What helps make a badass picture? Well, a couple of things; a great location (Bethel Woods/ Woodstock), a badass subject (Chef Josh Butler), center-point perspective, and SUNGLASSES.

What helps make a badass picture? Well, a couple of things; a great location (Bethel Woods/ Woodstock), a badass subject (Chef Josh Butler), center-point perspective, and SUNGLASSES.

 Don't Eat The Brown Acid, Unless It's Cooked By A Chef  Ok, Ok, so jumping pictures are nothing new. But let's be honest, nothing helps shows how epic a moment is than everyone jumping in unison. Plus, come on, those clouds are badass.   Oh yeah, did I mention this jump was @ the original site of Woodstock in Bethel Woods, NYC? Points for context.  Shutter Speed @1/400  *Disclaimer-Don't eat acid and blame it on me, dude. 

Don't Eat The Brown Acid, Unless It's Cooked By A Chef

Ok, Ok, so jumping pictures are nothing new. But let's be honest, nothing helps shows how epic a moment is than everyone jumping in unison. Plus, come on, those clouds are badass. 

Oh yeah, did I mention this jump was @ the original site of Woodstock in Bethel Woods, NYC? Points for context.

Shutter Speed @1/400

*Disclaimer-Don't eat acid and blame it on me, dude. 

 Security, please.  Some venues have characters. Here in Florida, this particular guard was more than friendly with the crew and band members; no one got away without talking with this guy for 10 minutes. Here, he's literally holding Joel against his will. Laugh it off Joel, the show's about to start.   

Security, please.

Some venues have characters. Here in Florida, this particular guard was more than friendly with the crew and band members; no one got away without talking with this guy for 10 minutes. Here, he's literally holding Joel against his will. Laugh it off Joel, the show's about to start.

 

 Behind The Monster  I never thought I'd be there, much less inside of it, but here on the previously mentioned trip to Fenway Park, Jake Peavy posts up and talks about his new team (he was traded to the Red Sox a week earlier).

Behind The Monster

I never thought I'd be there, much less inside of it, but here on the previously mentioned trip to Fenway Park, Jake Peavy posts up and talks about his new team (he was traded to the Red Sox a week earlier).

 A VERY Crew Christmas Card  This crew Christmas card is reluctantly brought you by Arby’s.

A VERY Crew Christmas Card

This crew Christmas card is reluctantly brought you by Arby’s.

 On Your Mark  Caught baring some thigh, Eric Pretto smiles for the camera.

On Your Mark

Caught baring some thigh, Eric Pretto smiles for the camera.

 Home Is Where The Crew Is  When photographing large groups, I always try and make it short and sweet (and usually on top of a ladder). After I get the standard shot and have what I need, I always yell, "Ok, one more, but this time, go crazy!!"  It worked this time.

Home Is Where The Crew Is

When photographing large groups, I always try and make it short and sweet (and usually on top of a ladder). After I get the standard shot and have what I need, I always yell, "Ok, one more, but this time, go crazy!!"

It worked this time.

 Documenting the Documentarian  Sometimes you have to snap a shot for yourself. Here, at the O2 Arena in London, I did just that during the band's vocal warmups.  Whatever it is, can we NOT call it a selfie?

Documenting the Documentarian

Sometimes you have to snap a shot for yourself. Here, at the O2 Arena in London, I did just that during the band's vocal warmups.

Whatever it is, can we NOT call it a selfie?

 Matt embraces Andy backstage in preparation of a nights work.

Matt embraces Andy backstage in preparation of a nights work.

Up until 2 years ago, I approached photography with a very 'clean' approach. If I shot a monument, I would wait for every person to leave the frame before grabbing the 'perfect' shot. Now, after spending more time practicing as a street photographer, I've come to learn what makes a shot genuine is the people, not the monument behind them.

 

Sunglasses, bad security, and jumping helps too. :)

 

Cole Cassell

@colecassell