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Cole's Favorite Pictures of 2014

2014 was a big for me professionally and personally. I went from running a production company & being a tour documentarian for Zac Brown Band to running my own business as a freelance digital filmmaker. Conversely, my work grew exponentially with a slight change in theory: I went from trying to sneak pictures of people in their environments to engaging with them. Following in one of my favorite artists footsteps, Andy Sapp, as a street photographer, I stepped out from behind the lens and met the people I was photographing.

Me and Andy (in reflection) celebrate the release of The Grohl Sessions, Vol.1 DVD, in Lincoln, Nebraska

Me and Andy (in reflection) celebrate the release of The Grohl Sessions, Vol.1 DVD, in Lincoln, Nebraska

While there might be a few pictures from the tour days interspersed, leaving has given me an opportunity to develop my own style. And while it's not easy to break into the freelance world individually as a cinematographer & director, I guarantee you this: Even if I don't, I'll die trying.

Hope you enjoy my favorite stills from 2014.


Taken way back on New Year's Day 2014, Christopher Phillips, head rigger for ZBB, and I walk the rafters of Joe Louis Arena before the show.

Taken way back on New Year's Day 2014, Christopher Phillips, head rigger for ZBB, and I walk the rafters of Joe Louis Arena before the show.

I got the opportunity to shoot the Foo Fighters @ the Bud Light Super Bowl Pre-Party in NYC. After seeing this show, it was obvious I had just shot the best rock band in America today. Here's my proof.

I got the opportunity to shoot the Foo Fighters @ the Bud Light Super Bowl Pre-Party in NYC. After seeing this show, it was obvious I had just shot the best rock band in America today. Here's my proof.

The Zac Brown Band is not one to be outdone either. Leaving the tour was a very hard decision, especially knowing these guys will go down as one of the greatest bands of our generation. Like Zac says at the end of shows, hopefully I'll see them down the road.

The Zac Brown Band is not one to be outdone either. Leaving the tour was a very hard decision, especially knowing these guys will go down as one of the greatest bands of our generation. Like Zac says at the end of shows, hopefully I'll see them down the road.

In August, I went to a sleepy fishing village in Florida to write my first short, which would ultimately become  Point of View . I'm not one to take a sunset shot, but reflections in the water, beautiful clouds, and fishermen's wake returning home make this one worthy of sharing.

In August, I went to a sleepy fishing village in Florida to write my first short, which would ultimately become Point of View. I'm not one to take a sunset shot, but reflections in the water, beautiful clouds, and fishermen's wake returning home make this one worthy of sharing.

I passed this woman on Hwy 19, just outside of Clearwater, FL, then made a U-turn to grab the shot. She was honored and so was I. Everything about this shot, her smile, the leading lines, typography, colorful umbrella, and friend framed perfectly in the clouds put this one on the short list.

I passed this woman on Hwy 19, just outside of Clearwater, FL, then made a U-turn to grab the shot. She was honored and so was I. Everything about this shot, her smile, the leading lines, typography, colorful umbrella, and friend framed perfectly in the clouds put this one on the short list.

One of my favorite parts of being a tour documentarian is taking pictures of the setup. Here's a rare B&W shot from the second show of The Great American Roadtrip in Tampa, FL.

One of my favorite parts of being a tour documentarian is taking pictures of the setup. Here's a rare B&W shot from the second show of The Great American Roadtrip in Tampa, FL.

The Summer Camp Music Festival is one of my favorite festivals I've ever been to, and I've been to quite a few. While we don't usually get the opportunity to stay the night, I always make it a point to walk around and get an idea of the atmosphere at each one. In this picture, I love the creeper in the background looking on.  Check out the whole set  here.

The Summer Camp Music Festival is one of my favorite festivals I've ever been to, and I've been to quite a few. While we don't usually get the opportunity to stay the night, I always make it a point to walk around and get an idea of the atmosphere at each one. In this picture, I love the creeper in the background looking on.

Check out the whole set here.

What would ultimately be my last show with Zac Brown Band @ West Palm Beach, I found this quintessential roadie backstage running the ship. "I'm not Jerry Garcia, why would you want to take a picture of me?" I answered with my usual line "You seem like a cool dude, and I take pictures of cool people."  Click.

What would ultimately be my last show with Zac Brown Band @ West Palm Beach, I found this quintessential roadie backstage running the ship. "I'm not Jerry Garcia, why would you want to take a picture of me?" I answered with my usual line "You seem like a cool dude, and I take pictures of cool people."

Click.

While scouting locations in NYC, I tend to roll the window and grab every shot I can. Here, while stopped at a light, I snapped my favorite candid city shot I've ever taken. I love the symmetry here, two people interacting while the others are in their own worlds, the grates in the foreground and background, and of course, a pregnant lady walking unnoticed.

While scouting locations in NYC, I tend to roll the window and grab every shot I can. Here, while stopped at a light, I snapped my favorite candid city shot I've ever taken. I love the symmetry here, two people interacting while the others are in their own worlds, the grates in the foreground and background, and of course, a pregnant lady walking unnoticed.

While waiting for the van to arrive after shooting for the day in Central Park, I noticed these two guys playing music and couldn't help but as for a picture. They obliged, in epic fashion. I love the buildings reflecting in the sunglasses and the other countering by looking down.  Can you tell they were there for fashion week?

While waiting for the van to arrive after shooting for the day in Central Park, I noticed these two guys playing music and couldn't help but as for a picture. They obliged, in epic fashion. I love the buildings reflecting in the sunglasses and the other countering by looking down.

Can you tell they were there for fashion week?

Enjoying a day off in Santa Monica, I rented a bike, grabbed the Fuji x100s, and made my way towards Venice Beach. It's always intriguing when you go somewhere for the first time and it feels like home.  Venice Beach Boardwalk, I'll be back home one day....

Enjoying a day off in Santa Monica, I rented a bike, grabbed the Fuji x100s, and made my way towards Venice Beach. It's always intriguing when you go somewhere for the first time and it feels like home.

Venice Beach Boardwalk, I'll be back home one day....

Somewhere in Santa Monica, I passed this man, looking at the passerby's from his truck. I stopped and asked for a shot, he said, "Usually people try to sneak around and grab a picture and I don't know why they don't come up and talk to me." I had the shot before he finished his sentence.

Somewhere in Santa Monica, I passed this man, looking at the passerby's from his truck. I stopped and asked for a shot, he said, "Usually people try to sneak around and grab a picture and I don't know why they don't come up and talk to me." I had the shot before he finished his sentence.

I saw this gentlemen down an alley walking back from a shoot on Toronto Island. I walked up, dropped to a knee, framed up a shot, and asked for a picture. He said "I don't think you want to do that." Click.  Too late, Chef.

I saw this gentlemen down an alley walking back from a shoot on Toronto Island. I walked up, dropped to a knee, framed up a shot, and asked for a picture. He said "I don't think you want to do that." Click.

Too late, Chef.

Bourbon Street is a cruel place. Here, the Goldman glitters for his tips. After talking to him for a minute, I got a shot that showed who he is instead of the character.

Bourbon Street is a cruel place. Here, the Goldman glitters for his tips. After talking to him for a minute, I got a shot that showed who he is instead of the character.

I don't get the opportunity to shoot sports as often as I'd like. Especially ones where you get to turn up the shutter speed and hang out on the beach.

I don't get the opportunity to shoot sports as often as I'd like. Especially ones where you get to turn up the shutter speed and hang out on the beach.

As a cinematographer, I tend to always shoot horizontally.  Part habit and part rebellion against vertical iphone videos, this shot of a man on the streets of Las Vegas is a perfect example of  getting to know someone. When I first started to take his picture, he gave me a big pose and cheesy smile. I said "Actually, I'd rather just have the picture be of you." He was taken aback and after a few moments, I got this shot.

As a cinematographer, I tend to always shoot horizontally.  Part habit and part rebellion against vertical iphone videos, this shot of a man on the streets of Las Vegas is a perfect example of  getting to know someone. When I first started to take his picture, he gave me a big pose and cheesy smile. I said "Actually, I'd rather just have the picture be of you." He was taken aback and after a few moments, I got this shot.


Buttonland man, one who's worth sneaking in.

Buttonland man, one who's worth sneaking in.

Thanks for viewing. Personally, I can't wait to see what 2015 brings into the picture.

-cole

IG: colecassell    cole@colecassell.com

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