“Double Header”

Had a double header this month. I have a project featured in the LUXE Interiors + Design Los Angeles issue and one in the Colorado edition as well. Both projects were beautiful and a real honor to shoot. Really excited about the Colorado house, its just a few blocks from my own and the interiors were done by the famed Jan Showers out of Texas. The Architect was my good client Dan Murphy. The LA home was completed by the West Coasts one and only Adam Hunter, Inc. who was a real pleasure to work with on site for the shoot, beautiful design to say the least. I am very proud to see both projects featured this month.
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“Black & White or Color”

From a recent shoot in Southwestern Colorado this exterior shot was a composite of ten separate images to come up with the pano. Really interested in the concept of how the image looks in black and white compared to color. I think I will explore this contrast in more detail for future portfolio pieces as well as for a coffee table book of my work that we are working on.

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“Luxe Interior + Design 2014 Winter Issue”

I am very excited to announce that the 2014 winter issue of Luxe Interior + Design magazine is out on the stands. I am also very honored to say that a home I  shot for the magazine this last fall is not only featured in the issue, but my image of the exterior of the home made  the cover. What a great way to start off the New Year here at the studio of James Ray Spahn Photographer!

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“Trailblazers”

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I am  thrilled and very proud to have a project I shot for Studio William Hefner showcased in the recent issue of C “California Style Magazine”. I am also very flattered to have been  included in the magazines contributor section as well. It’s an honor to be associated with such a classy and stylish magazine and be among other contributors of the magazine who are also at the top of their game……

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“SmartWool Photo Shoot Steamboat Springs”

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I had  the pleasure a few weeks ago of  photographing the SmartWool  headquarters (that’s  right the sock company) in Steamboat Springs for my good client OZ Architecture.

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I also had the pleasure to work with and have on site the lead Designer of the project Christy Headlee from OZ. As I have mentioned in past posts it’s a huge plus  having the client on site to help facilitate, style and share their vision of the project and how they would like to see  the project  captured through the lens of my camera.

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As in all shoots it seems that time is of the essence and having Christy on site was a huge help. We had a ton of ground to cover and unbeknownst to  the viewer the installation was literally going on around us. The grand opening of the project was the following night so it was a scramble to say the least to photograph around the installation process.

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Our persistence prevailed though and we were able to produce the shoot under our deadline without a hitch. Besides the images seen here we shot an additional half a dozen images before the sun went down. As always team work and pre-planning paid a huge roll in our success.

As a side note, a few days after the shoot a package arrived in my mail box with that’s right you guessed it a bundle of socks for moi (it just so happens that SmartWool socks are the only socks I wear). Being one who detests shopping for himself this was a real treat and a great gesture of kindness from my client and SmartWool. I just wish I could wear flip flops right now and not socks and shoes. Will summer ever arrive!

“Mountain Living Magazine Dream Spaces”

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I was in an airport book store a few weeks back and picked up the  latest issue of Mountain Living Magazine and began flipping through it and came across their section “Dream Spaces” which included a two page spread of a home I shot last winter for Charles Cunniffe Architect over is Aspen. Charles Cunniffe also was awarded the honor of “Home of the Year” in the same issue.

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Cunniffe also ran a full-page ad in the same issue featuring the same house as in the “Dream Spaces” section my images were showcased in (above image top left corner  is not mine). It was great to see the exterior of the house highlighted, even more enjoyable was viewing it inside a heated building. Hard to imagine, but when I shot this exterior it was close to ten below and not a very enjoyable enviroment………you gotta love winter shoots!

“Fall Is In The Air”

Living and being based in the Rockies my local shoots  evolve around the weather and the seasons. The project here is a perfect example of what I mean. This home has been on the books for  about a year now and the client as well as the homeowners wanted perfect conditions for the shoot. This project  was shot for my long time local client Dan Murphy Architects.

Dan had been up at the house a few days before I shot these images. He called me in  a bit of a panic after he noticed that the leaves were turning and would soon all be on the ground. Luckily I had just gotten back into town from several shoots on the front range and was able to bust a move up to the home and get the exteriors photographed before the leaves were on the ground and the snow started to fly. The beautiful thing about local jobs it that it gives me the opportunity to return to a project more than once if need be without having to board an airplane. For instance, in regards to this project I really wanted to photograph the front of the house with frontal light on it which would require a morning shot. A quick drive in my car the following morning allowed me to get the shot that I wanted. Sometimes difficult to do when on the road where your time is dictated by the local conditions and schedules of the next days shoot.

Dan has always been a fan of the dusk exteriors that I produce for him of his projects and this one was no difference. Sometimes half the battle with shooting  exterior dusk shots is finding all the light switches in the house to turn on all the lights. The contractor of the project Dan Stelkic of SFMH,LLC met me at the house to help with any needs that I would have as well as turning on the lights.  Always being concerned about the lights and all of them being on for the dusk shots Dan assured me that it would not be a problem and that the house had one switch that would turn every light on at once as well as turn all the light off. A wonderful thing to say the least. Timing is everything when working on exterior photography and this project is a perfect example. Not only did we catch a touch of the Fall colors we also had some really great clouds in the sky which I think helps give a nice density to the sky. Usually at this time of the evening the clouds are blown out for the day. Now that the exteriors are completed we can put the interiors on the back burner and pick them up after the following week when I return from several other shoots out-of-town. I will post a few of those in the near future…..

“March 2012 Featured Project”

I just spent the last three weeks in shorts and tennis shoes shooting for BCII Productions and HGTV in Los Angeles and Hollywood. I traded that attire in last week for pants, ugg boots, down jacket and wool hat for a shoot in Aspen, Colorado.

I was hired by my good client  Rebecca Richardson of Charles Cunniffe Architects out of Aspen. Rebecca Richardson Marketing Director for Charles worked closely with me on the shoot as well as my wife Carolyn helping style and set up for each shot. Without either of their help the two-day shoot would have turned into a five-day shoot.

When we arrived for the first day of shooting my plan was to shoot the exteriors that evening at dusk to eliminate them and their need for dealing with the elements. Well that sounded like good plan, but since it was snowing and blowing sideways we deferred to start shooting the interiors first.

Using the overcast skies mother nature had given we were able to shoot several low lit exteriors that really showcased to sexy lighting of the house.

Shoot day two offered a blue bird day with sunny skies throughout the evening…this light was taken into consideration and interior spaces were chosen that would best utilize the natural light..

Day two was wrapped and finished with dusk exteriors as seen above. The storm that hit the day before provided some beautiful snow coverage for the exteriors….hard to get sometimes when a shoot is booked several weeks out and not knowing what the weather may do.

The shot below was the final image from the shoot and one that was not on the shot list. As I was walking back into the house from shooting the exteriors I grabbed this composition  thinking it was a nice addition to the portfolio of images we had shot over the course of the two days……I’m always thinking above and beyond the shot list for my clients…

Now if I could only put my shorts and tennis shoes  on and be projected back to that nice Cali weather. Looks like I will only have to wait about a week  or two before that happens when I return for more work in that region at the end of March…

“View Finder”

I shot this home last winter for my good client Daniel J. Murphy Architect and Nick Holgate of Holgate Construction. The project was located in my own neck of the woods Crested Butte, Colorado. It’s always a treat and very special when I get to work locally and not have to board an airplane. If you already don’t know,  the mountain behind the house is Crested Butte Mountain and the ski area. My kids can be seen every weekend riding like the wind on their snowboards down those actual runs. It’s a great place to call home base and raise a family.

After I shot the home I secured a magazine spread from my client Home Buyers Publication who ran a full feature as seen here in December 2011 Timber Home Living (this image actually ran on the cover of the magazine as well). Now if we only had snow like we did last year as seen in this picture…….

“Marimekko Flag Ship Store Photo Shoot”

I was recently hired by Marimekko to photograph their brand new flagship store in New York City in the Flatiron District on 5th Ave. If you are not familiar with Marimekko they are a Finnish company based in Helsinki that has made important contributions to fashion, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. They are particularly noted for brightly colored printed fabrics and simple styles, used both in women’s garments and in home furnishings. This is their first store in the US.

Marimekko was on an extremely tight deadline for the shoot as well as needing the finished images right away. The grand opening would be two days from the actual shoot and the images would be needed for press releases as well as articles running in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times the same week.

I flew out of Denver on a Monday morning and arrived in New York at about 1:00pm. Dropped my bags at the store and ran out for a quick bite and returned back at the store at 4:00pm to start shooting. The skies were pouring rain on and off and capturing exteriors of the store were a high priority before the ambient light diminished.

This is my assistant Jenna protecting the camera during the down pour. Trust me when I say that trying to shoot exteriors on a busy New York Street at rush hour in the rain is no easy feat to say the least. Throw in a subway entrance fifty feet from your subject matter and all hell breaks loose. Foot traffic was incredible and never-ending, Jenna and I waited at least an hour trying to get a couple of good exteriors before the light faded. I almost gave up and was about to make the decision that we would just have to have people in the shot, but persistence paid off and we found a break in the crowd!

Again remarkable we got the shot without the crowds. If you look closely to the bottom right of this image you can see one person with an umbrella. I was originally going to take them out in post, but decided that the figure actually added perspective to the image. This image will be on the record books in my travels for sure.



A few behind the scenes images of the clients from Finland and visual coordinators from New york. A great team to work with. It should be noted that we shot till 2am and if it was not for the famous Shake Shack burgers during the shoot we all would have faded sooner than later.

The deadline for final processed images was the following day by 5:00pm. Not having access to my own studio obviously on the road, I made arrangements ahead of time to rent a space and equipment to process my images. This is where Jack Studios came in. They had everything I needed and then some to complete the job. A great work space and environment to say the least and a perfect way to wrap the project……..oh and did I mention the images were not only delivered on time, but an hour before deadline…….