“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!








“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…….

“August 2011 Featured Project”

Because I travel so much I get the question a lot “where is the most interesting place or project that you have photographed”. Having been very fortunate to have shot in every state of the US as well as been lucky enough to shoot in Paris, Mexico and the French West Indies  its always very tough to name just one place or project. Well that has changed for a while. Who would ever  have guessed a location two hours from my home would be at the top of my list.

I got a call awhile back from my good client and collaborator Whitney Richardson Editor at Log Home Living. Whitney said she had a project to shoot in Lake City Colorado and would I be available to shoot it. As I always say, anytime I don’t have to get on an airplane with all my gear and instead drive to the location to shoot is a good day and real treat. Not that I mind flying, I just can’t stand the food, security, crappy seat selection, delayed flights, stewardesses with bad attitudes, being x-rayed in the nude, extra bag fees, overweight bag fees, lost bags, being coughed on, ten-dollar beers, turbulence…….. well anyway you get the point.

So you can imagine my excitement about this assignment. The project was a one thousand square foot log home at an elevation of thirteen thousand feet up Engineer Pass. I know Whitney will appreciate this when I say it was up ” The road from hell”. Eighteen miles of the worst switch backs, rocks, potholes, trees in the way road I have been on since a shoot I was on in Costa Rica a few years back. Oh and did I mention as on my shoot in Costa Rica it rained like it was the end of the world. I guess that’s why they call it the Rain Forest (never go in April by the way). But that’s another story for another time.

Back to this project. As mentioned it was raining cats and dogs when I arrived and the sun was going down. After turning on the solar power and getting my gear out the sun broke for about fifteen minutes and I was able to capture the above exteriors before the heavens closed up again. The bridge you see here is the only way to get to the house from your parked car on the other side of the bridge. I must have made at least fifty trips back and forth. The homeowner was kind enough to let me stay at the location over night to help facilitate the shoot. So I was all by myself at the home for two days. After the sun went down it was time for bed. Now I normally read before I hit the hay, but on a shelf above the TV I saw the VHS version of the movie the “Perfect Storm” you know the one where George Clooney is a fishing captain and him and his men are lost at see and die a horrible death by drowning in a monster hurricane. Well I felt it apropos to watch it since basically there was a hurricane outside the cabin and I feared for my life and getting back home to my loved ones in one piece down  ” The road from hell”….

Day two I was up before the sun and ready to grab a few more exteriors before the wrath of God showed up again. I then moved onto the interiors. Interesting enough I have shot a handful of homes this size and believe it or not smaller. They are a challenge to say the least. A space this size does not offer many angles on the inside so I maximized the spaces the best I could knowing the magazine would need as much info as possible. I also tried to show as much of the views as possible through the windows.

Overall the shoot went very smoothly, besides the rain, road, size of the cabin, bears, lions and tigers. At least I didn’t have to pay for ten-dollar beers………..as a few of you know, I am a  seasoned professional and brought my own.

“Great Escape”

This home was shot on my run through the South and East Coast last fall. I was shooting for several different clients on this particular trip and spent fifteen days on the road shooting ten unique projects. This one was shot for my longtime and great client  Hearthstone Log Homes who are based in Dandridge Tennessee. This is one of three projects that I photographed for them on this particular trip. The home was shot for their marketing and portfolio materials. This project is also a perfect example of what we offer to our clients in terms of our relationship and dialogue with a dozen or so Shelter publications. After I shot the house and all the images were processed and delivered to Hearthstone I then submitted the home to Log Home Living and received interest from the Editor right off the bat. As you can see here  LHL ran a full feature on the home and in-return gave Hearthstone additional exposure and PR. I will be shooting for Hearthstone once again this coming fall in North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas. I look forward to sharing more images of their projects after this trip is completed!

“Sites from New York City”

I just returned from my trip to New York City and showing my book around. The trip was a huge success and all of the clients were super gracious to take a few minutes away from their busy schedules to fit me in to see and hear about my work and what I can offer their firms. Thought I would share a few of the sites while traveling throughout the city and to some of the meetings. The image above though was a down day and spent on “The Sound”. Hey it can’t all be work and no play right?

“Wheels up”. Leaving Denver!

Grand Central Station. Fun trying to find which train to get on!

Empire State Building. Hell of a view from the top!

On the way back to La Guardia.

Wheels down and back home! Always feels good to be home……

“June 2011 Featured Project”

I had an interesting project come through the door a few weeks back. I received a call from Ethan Hampton of Ethan Hampton Architects out of Denver wanting to shoot a recently completed project of his up in Boulder, Colorado.The project was an office renovation for the company Right Now Technology.

Ethan and I chose a day  to scout the project with the intention of actually shooting the project the following day. The day we met at the site it was raining sideways with no end in site. Our initial plan was to take advantage of the natural light shooting through the windows that made up the majority of the walls in the main spaces we chose to shoot but we changed gears  almost immediately after seeing that the spaces looked very sexy and moody with the rain and clouds that mother nature had provided us.

Checking the weather on our phones we saw that the following day that we were actually going to shoot the forecast was calling for bright sunny sky’s! Having the blessing of Right Now Technology we decided to move forward and start shooting immediately. This is a perfect example of what I learned a long time ago with my profession “one must be extremely flexible and prepared at all times”. I actually had a meeting in Denver that same day so after an hour drive back to the city in torrential rains  for my meeting and another hour drive back to the location we started our shoot.

The one thing you do not see in these images is the thirty some workers at their desks. Not only did we have to work around the light in the spaces but the staff of the company as well. I have been in situations like this before and trust me it can be a train wreck, fortunately everyone was  extremely cooperative and willing to help in whatever we needed. It should also be noted that my client Ethan Hampton was very hands on during the whole shoot. Without his help and input the images would not have shined as they do here. Collaboration is key! Working as a team is the only way the clients vision in the final images can come through.

The shoot went without a hitch except for one small blip and that was Ethan leaving his car keys in the building after we had locked up and left after hours with no way to re-enter. Thank goodness for the cleaning crew!

“May 2011 Featured Project”

This project is the first in a series we will be featuring at the beginning of each month. We shot this project for our client William Hefner out of Los Angeles. The project is located in Sierra Madre and sits on a beautiful piece of property overlooking Pasadena and “Old Town”. We spent a day at  the house shooting with William assisting with the styling. The house really lent itself to  natural light on the interiors. This determined my approach with  lighting so fill was a major player in the majority of interior shots. The house lit up beautifully in the evening as you can see so dusk exteriors were the plan at the end of the day. With the days becoming a little longer as summer approaches this helped me produce a few more exterior dusk shots then what I could have normally produced in the winter. Once the shoot was wrapped we enjoyed some wonderful Sushi in “Old Town” Pasadena at “Sushi Roku”. I highly recomend this restaurant. Great atmosphere with a super staff and all  guests will feel welcomed as the staff greets them with “IRASHAIMASE”!

“Tranquil Telluride”

A recent feature of ours in Western Art & Architecture! This is a great magazine and our first time working with the publication. This particular home is located in Telluride Colorado. I get the question a lot in my travels “what are some of your most interesting or favorite projects you have shot”. This one here always comes to mind. Not only is the house thirty thousand square feet (yes thirty thousand square feet!) but it has an incredible art collection. One of the perks of my job is seeing the inside of homes that I would not have otherwise seen if it were not for my camera. Being a long time fan of all art, this home was a treat indeed for me. Besides the art the house has a legal size bowling alley, indoor pool as well as an indoor shooting range. In fact the Telluride police department use it  for shooting practice. The homeowners Tim Boberg and Roxanne Pultizer were a real treat as well which always helps the shoots go smoothly. Roxane is a New York Times best-selling author and the ex wife of Herbert (Peter) Pulitzer, grandson  of Pulitzer Prize founder Joseph Pulitzer. Again just another great project over the years and one that will be at the top of our favorite shoots for sometime. As in our last post showcasing the eight-hundred square foot cabin one can see that no two shoots are exactly alike!