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Nov 30, 2012

Beaver Lake House - Interior Photography

Over the summer, I photographed a house on Beaver Lake for AY Magazine. Prior to the shoot, we spoke with the owners and found out that one of their favorite things to do was to get up early, sit on the porch and watch the sun rise. So naturally, we decided that we should arrive before sunrise and be ready to shoot the favorite part of their house. It was very early, but very worth it.

The sky was clear that morning, which ended up making an interesting photo of the orange sky that carried through the photo as it reflected off the slate floor. I kind of wish there had been a few clouds just to add a bit more to the sky, and maybe make color-correcting in photoshop a little easier.

The interior of the house was very natural with the materials used and the large windows.  I couldn't help but think that I was lucky that it was an overcast day to help in balancing out the light. I was thankful, though, that the sun popped out just long enough to add a little contrast to the dining room and the detail image of the leaf tiles in used in the back splash.

The homeowners were so gracious, offering coffee and even a ride on their boat so we could take a photo looking back at the house.

Editorial photography is always fun. I think mostly because every job has to be approached different from the previous ones. While what I learn from each job can be carried to the next, I'm never in the same situation. I think I really enjoy the challenge, constant thinking and the creativity involved in each job.


Nov 9, 2012

White Rock Mountain - Arkansas Photographer



I have traveled to White Rock Mountain several times in recent weeks to enjoy the fall season. It is one of the most peaceful places I think I've ever visited and I always love my time on the mountain.

While it's a bit of a drive on a gravel road, the fall colors made the drive almost as beautiful as the view at the top. On my last trip I decided to test out the camping facilities and was very impressed. While the campground was full, there was plenty of space between me and my neighbors. The campground gives access to several trails including the Ozark Highlands Trail and the Rim Walk Trail. Though I haven't hiked either of these, I've put the Rim Walk on my to-do list. It circles the mountain top and is rumored to have stunning views.

If you're ever near Mulberry, Ark., it's worth the drive.

Sep 25, 2012

gradPSYCH Magazine

In June I photographed psychology students and teachers for gradPSYCH magazine. It's funny how many things I photograph that I can't post about for a period of time following the shoot... editorial photography is funny that way. I've gotten really good at keeping things under wrap!

We ended up taking the photo in the waiting room of the clinic on the University of Arkansas campus, and even though it was crowded we made it work. I was happy to have a pop of color with the funky orange chairs.

Here's a link to the article in the digital version of the magazine.


Sep 22, 2012

Happy First Day of Fall, y'all

In honor of the first day of fall, I thought I would post a few fall photos. The first three are from Devil's Den State Park and include an image of a leaf suspended in a spider web. The web is barely visible, so the leaf looks like it's suspended mid-fall. A fun little thing to come across on a hike. The last couple are a little still life I created with "horse apples" from a Bois-d'arc tree, pumpkins and colorful leaves.

Enjoy your day!


Fall Y'all - Images by Beth Hall

Sep 9, 2012

Arkansas Razorback football injuries

I just finished watching the Arkansas vs. Louisiana Monroe football game (yes watching, not covering). As I write this I must say that I am seriously unbiased... after all, I am a journalist. I'm an Arkansas graduate and will raise my son as a Razorback, but you won't see me calling the hogs. I just can't cover college sports and have a team.

That being said, I can't help but have a little bit of a connection to some of the players I photograph. Every year I spend a short amount of time with certain players to take portraits. In this short time, I have to figure out how to connect to these kids and try to get them past their tough football face. I like personality. I really like personality in my photographs. I really, really like when I can get a football player to smile... especially when he is trying not to.

One of the kids I photographed earlier this year was Tevin Mitchel, a corner back for the Arkansas Razorbacks. During the Louisiana Monroe vs. Arkansas upset, Mitchel suffered a helmet-to-helmet hit and had to be carted off the field.

I've been covering the Razorbacks since 2000 and I can only think of a handful of times that I've seen a cart come onto the field. Pair that with watching Mitchel not move, and this was a scary moment. As a mom, I couldn't help but have sympathy for his mom at that moment... and I couldn't help but be concerned for this player... that I had photographed and connected with. I am hoping that Mitchel will be ok and make a full recovery.






Sep 6, 2012

Lake Fayetteville, Arkansas -



I spend a lot of time at Lake Fayetteville and have for many, many years. After today's incident, I thought it would be a great time to share some images I shot there earlier this summer.

So today, I was running along and lost in thought. I rounded a switchback and almost ran into a.... BUCK! Seriously, I didn't even think to count points but I would say there were 4 or so on his good antler. Poor guy was a little lop-sided.

So it's me, 15 feet and this buck (and my running partner who is somewhere up ahead). I start talking to it, shuffling my feet, pretty much trying everything to get this thing to get off the trail. Nothing. It stops eating, looks at me and then puts it's head back down. Well, we've established territory and it's not moving.

I'm close to the paved trail that runs alongside the dirt trail, so I thought I would just hop on it and finish my run... except there is a couple headed toward me. This buck is pointed in their direction, and all I can think about is the mountain biker and the antelope. If you haven't seen the video, you have to check it out! click here!  Needless to say, I had to hang out until they passed before trying to catch up with my partner.

Just another random encounter on that trail. (snakes, armadillo, fox, deer, turtles) It's so fun to live 15 minutes from a great trail run through the woods, wild animals and all! Seems like there's never a dull moment!

So I shot these images early one morning in June. I can't tell you how many mornings I have run across the spillway at sunrise and watched the boats silhouetted against the rising sun. I've been out many mornings to try to take photographs, but none are quite as beautiful as the days when I don't have my camera.











Sep 1, 2012

Jeff Long - Arkansas Razorback - Athletic Director

"Integrity goes a Long way." If you're an Arkansas fan, you've heard or read this phase numerous times since the Petrino incident in April.

Well, I recently photographed Jeff Long for Ay Magazine and was really hoping to take images of Jeff away from the Razorbacks. He has been photographed for numerous publications since April, and I had ideas of getting him outside of his office and away from campus for this photo shoot. I had my location scouted, ideas in my head and I was ready to go.


SCRATCH THAT... (in your head, insert the sound of a record scratch)



The afternoon before the shoot, I got a call that it had to be moved to the Broyles center to accommodate Jeff's schedule. Well, hummm. I knew places that I did not want to photograph Jeff based on what appeared in other publications, but I had no idea of a new location. I spent time that afternoon trying to scout a new spot and I requested a copy of the story to try to spark a new idea because the old one just wasn't going to work on campus. I ended up going to bed without a clear vision, which doesn't always sit well.

I met up with my creative director early the next morning and we worked through an idea up until we met up with Jeff. It wasn't until Jeff stepped into the picture that my nerves actually calmed down. I think I had anxiety over this shoot because he has been photographed so many times recently, I used to photograph sports for the athletic department and I just wanted to make sure he looked good... this was kind of like photographing a friend.

We picked a spot on the hill overlooking the stadium. I knew after 13 years of early morning football media days that the light would hit the stadium perfectly and add a great background to the photo. What I didn't expect was the bright yellow construction crane to swing over the stadium precisely when Jeff stepped into my frame (thank goodness it was for a brief second), or the supportive fan to yell "We love you Jeff" as he passed by in a car. 


Photography is an adventure that is sometimes emotional. Whether it's anxiety, desire to do well or a sleepless night, learning to take that energy and work it into the photo is a constant battle... but lately I think I've been winning.


Aug 28, 2012

The scenic route through Arkansas

I woke up Saturday morning and had the urge to drive and take photos. I decided to head to my family's farm in Greenbrier, Arkansas, but decided to forgo the usual 2.5 hour drive on I40 and concentrate on 2-lane roads. I ended up spending 7 hours driving, shooting, hiking and hanging out with my dog.


I headed from Fayetteville through Wesley and Huntsville toward Ponca, then onto Jasper. We stopped in Ponca to see the elk that always seem to linger in the field along the Buffalo National River.


I honestly am not really sure what roads I took after Jasper. I think 74, 16 and 27 sound familiar, but I just watched my IPhone map and headed slowly toward Hwy 65. 

As we drove, we ended up at Pedestal Rock Loop in the Ozark National Forest and stopped for a quick hike. While it was beautiful, I'm sure I looked crazy as I swatted at mosquitoes while hiking the 2 mile trail. I have seriously never been bothered so badly by bugs... it was pretty entertaining as I imagined what I looked like walking along flailing my arms.

The drive was beautiful, and the time with my dog was awesome... she's a good traveler and a great companion!

We ended up at the farm (aka "The Land") and spent a couple of days wondering and relaxing. We are in the process of thinning pine trees, so I spent a little time photographing the woods and the work there.

Sometimes taking a trip that's not about the destination is a great change of pace.







A grove of hardwoods covered in moss on the north side of our property.



Young pine trees being harvested and thinned.








Aug 22, 2012

My friend Josh

For a brief moment in my life I had this friend Josh, Josh Romeis.


It's hard to believe it's been three years since he passed away. He was climbing in the Sierra's with friends and had a seizure. It's just a tragic story.

There have been several times in my life when people have passed and something in my daily life has made me pause. I distinctively remember when two of my grandmother's passed... I was over 200 miles away and something made me stop what I was doing and reflect.

It was the same way the morning Josh died and I was camping. I was in the tent with my son, and I looked up. I paused, and I snapped this photo with my iphone. I don't know why I took it, but after finding out about the tragedy with Josh, I've always wondered about the timing. I always think about him when I see this photo.



He brought many of us together. His parents, Gili, Susana and Jeryl. I didn't have much time to make a friendship with him, but he will always have a place in my heart. I miss my friend.

I've included snapshots from his apartment. Gili and I had a really good laugh that he left for vacation and was only 7 pages away from finishing his book... we joked and wondered how he just couldn't read the last few pages before leaving. It just goes to show that we never know when our time will end. I hope I am as fortunate as my friend to die doing something I love. 





I will also never look at a bat the same way.... they just make me think of you, my friend.

Cheers to you Josh, you are missed!












Aug 9, 2012

Ramsay Ball - Commercial Real Estate

Ramsay Ball, a commercial realtor in Fayetteville, Ark., stands on a piece of property that overlooks the University of Arkansas.




Aug 1, 2012

Spurs vs. Thunder Playoffs Game 4

At the beginning of June, I got a last minute call to cover the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder in game 4 of the playoffs. I'm not stretching when I say last minute... I had just finished a run at the lake when my editor called and said that the scheduled second shooter wasn't able to make it, and I was the closest person. It's a 3.5 hours drive from Fayetteville, tip-off was a 7, I hadn't showered or packed.... and it was 2 o'clock. Luckily I arrived about an hour little before tip-off.

I had the second shooter position, which meant that I couldn't shoot from the floor, and having arrived so late I hadn't had much time to scout out locations. Normally I would arrive to a game with several hours to spare so that I could become familiar with the arena and have time to relax before shooting. Since this wasn't the case, I felt like I spent too much time negotiating the crowd trying to find "the spot." I finally got comfortable and started to concentrate on shooting.

The whole experience was a good learning one. It was my first time to shoot an NBA game, and I look forward to anything that comes my way in the future. I've been shooting sports for over a decade, and it was a funny feeling to walk into somewhere and feel like a rookie after so many years. I think that's why I like my job so much. No matter how much experience I've gained over the years, I am always faced with new, unfamiliar situations that I have to push through to produce my best.





Jul 30, 2012

Fayetteville Farmer's Market and Bok Choy

I love the farmer's market here in Fayetteville, Ark. Not only is there always a photo opportunity, it seems like there's always something new to try. This spring I became obsessed with Bok Choy and began to learn every way possible to eat it! It's packed full of good stuff AND as a bonus, it's a negative calorie food... meaning you burn more calories to digest it than what's in it. Yeah!


Jul 25, 2012

Environmental Portraits - Crystal Bridges Museum

I visited Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art several times in recent months to take portraits for the Powerful Men and Powerful Women special sections of AY Magazine. The process is pretty simple. 12 men and 12 women are nominated by their peers under this definition... Powerful: having influence, making a difference for and serving others.

I must say that these were easy assignments because the location is SO amazing. I'm pretty sure that if I dropped my camera and accidentally shot a photo, it would be wonderful. I got lucky that my subjects were amazing people, too. I photographed Sandra "Sandy" Edwards, Deputy Director of Museum Relations and Don Bacigalupi, Executive Director of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

The only tricky part was lighting the portraits with so many windows! While most people would immediately think "photoshop," I learned early on that the easiest thing to do is correct things during the shoot. It's amazing how long it takes to actually photoshop something out of an images when it might only take 30 seconds to figure out a solution while standing in front of a subject. Fix it now rather than try to cover it up later!


 

















Jul 16, 2012

Back in Time - Stock Photos from the beach

I've spent the last couple of weeks getting my archives organized. I decided to dedicate the month of July to cleaning up the last 11 months of mess.

I came across this image of my nieces and nephew from last fall at the beach and I was instantly taken back to that moment. I love when looking at a photo brings back all of the sounds, smells and emotions of a time from the past.

This was a fun moment for me and the kids. It was our last morning on the beach and I took all 5 kids out to feed the seagulls one last time... and it turns out I gave the kids a great big laugh. I decided to stand among the birds and have the kids throw popcorn at me. This seemed like a great idea until the moment I lowered my camera from my face, and BAM! A bird few smack into my face, knocked me over and bent my glasses. I can still recall the feeling of it's squishy belly and feathers. And yes mom, this could only happen to me. Maybe not one of my cooler moments in front of the kids but definitely a funny one. I'm pretty sure my family only keeps my around for entertainment purposes... and family photos.




Jul 10, 2012

A little yummy in my tummy - Food Photography

I've been photographing quite a bit of food lately, and it's definitely been a challenge. I've been shooting on location, so there are so many factors that change each time. The lighting, plating and even the amount of space of have to work in are all things that I've had to work through... not to mention this is a new thing for me to photograph. While it has been frustrating at times, I get the best reward after the job... I get to eat my subject!

The double cheeseburgers are from Feltner Brother's in Fayetteville, Ar. Very, very tasty. In fact, after looking at this photo, I might have to go there for lunch!







The next set of images is from Meridienne Dessert Salon & Cafe in Rogers, Ark. I walked past a giant window as I walked into the cafe, and I knew this would be a good shoot. I really enjoyed playing with the natural light, and the colors of the reflections on the desk at the front of the cafe. I had an even better surprise when I photographed from the opposite direction and played with the lights from the chandeliers in the background of the photos. This was a very fun shoot as I had ample time to work through the ideas in my head and make them appear in my photos. 

The process of photography is not always a quick one. I get a vision of how I think something should look and I have to work through a process to figure out how to make it happen. There are so many things that can be adjusted that will dramatically change the outcome of an image. It's always fun to play with those things and see what I can come up with!








                                  


Jun 11, 2012

Little Rock Arkansas Riverfest Fireworks


I had a fun memorial weekend photographing fireworks with my dad and Wesley Hitt. We decided to try shooting from Knoop Park. While it ended up not being the perfect place to shoot from because of the crowd of people, I think we all had fun. I know it was a learning experience for myself because somehow in all of my years of shooting, I have never photographed fireworks. I feel like I'm always learning something new!

May 15, 2012

The making of a portrait

So this is a story about a recent photo shoot and how I was able to take a situation from what could have been very bad to good. While I have photos that show the situation, and the final outcome, I'm choosing not to post them because of my client and his industry... and his image.

I was hired for a portrait shoot and was scheduled to arrive at the client's office after hours. The afternoon of the shoot, my client decided that he wanted to do the shoot in his home office a little later than scheduled. When I arrived at the house, I was greeted by his very pregnant (as in having the baby in a few days) wife and children. The client hadn't arrived home from work yet. I proceeded to the office, and on the way there was told that they had just moved into the house and that they hadn't had their furniture delivered yet. This was my first red flag for the evening.

The office had beautiful wood shelves filled with family portrait canvases, an amazing antique french desk and A LOT of cardboard boxes.... As in they were lining the walls, all four of them. My client arrived and apologized for being tardy and then apologized again for the state of his office. His plan was to come home early and be ready to go when I got there, but his profession is even more hectic than mine!

I started thinking that we would put up some lights, arrange the shelves and get going on the shoot. My client was having other thoughts... he was panicked and asked if we could reschedule so he could be more prepared. Well, it wasn't an option b/c we were on a deadline for a advertisement, so I assured him that things would look great, and he would be amazed how little of the room was actually in the photo. I started to move things around on the shelves and pull things from other rooms. I even removed shelves in order to add a lamp and bring in some ambient light. We started shooting and he was amazed at how good the background looked. We took quite a few photos among the chaos of 2 toddlers running around, jumping in and out of the pool, playing matchbox cars behind me and a very uncooperative lapel on a suit coat. In the end we were able to achieve the look and feel that the client was going for. While this was not an easy shoot, I really enjoyed working with this client.
In the end, he was a very happy, and I was able to leave with a very big smile. Some days are harder than others, and this shoot definitely started out being difficult. But in the end, I was able to use my skills in photography, years of watching my friend Rachel decorate and past experiences to make my client happy.

I told this story to a group of girl friends the next night, and showed them the photos of the room, and then the portraits. They were amazed at the difference between the two. Every now and again I have little epiphanies, and I had one that night.... as a photographer, it's my job to make everything look better than it looks in real life. As a viewer, it's your job to not have any idea of the magic I worked to create the image. I think a lot of people look at a beautiful image and think that the photographer must have a nice camera, or came across the perfect scene. It's not the case. We study websites, blogs and articles in our spare time, we practice with our lights on friends in our garages and living rooms in trade for a beer or dinner , and we scout out locations for the perfect scene and time of day to shoot. It's not always easy, but it is always fun.

I'll end this with a quote a fellow photographer recently found...

"A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said 'I love your pictures - they're wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.' He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: 'That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove."  ~Sam Haskins

May 6, 2012

May AY Magazine is out!

I've been photographing for Ay Magazine quite a bit in recent months. I have really enjoyed the type of work I've been doing for the publication, and have really enjoyed the people I've photographed and new friendships made.

I think the assignment I look forward to every month is the food review. Seriously, how lucky am I that I get paid to try out new restaurants! A couple of months ago we dined at Vetro 1925 Ristorante in Fayetteville. All I can say is wow, but then again I am in love with Italian after spending a summer in Rome, Italy. Now if I could only find some of that great, cheap wine we drank while living there!

I will have to be honest that it has been quite some time since I photographed anything food related. I was really nervous at the shoot especially since the owners joined us for dinner and were watching my every move. They are super nice people, but I was still nervous. There are a couple I images that I like, and I will continue to study up on what makes a good food photograph... and I guess I'll have to keep eating, and keep trying. No complains here!



Vetro 1925 - Images by Beth Hall

I also had the pleasure of meeting up with Cynthia Coughlin at her farm outside of Bentonville where we photographed her with some of her bulls. We had our shots in mind, but even a bag of feed couldn't coax the bulls into position. They were more interested in seeing what was in the back of my car than getting into position. Big bulls sticking their heads in the back of my car.... hummm. This shoot required quite a bit of patience as we waited for the bulls to get comfortable with us, and all of my equipment. When they were finally in place it was: ready, set, SHOOT. Luckily Cynthia was up for anything and we were able to work through a lot in a short amount of time all while working around what the bulls were doing in the background. I think that when animals are involved, any preconceived ideas just go out the window and you have to work on the fly.  Working quickly and having to move slowly, as to not startle the bulls, along with balancing the technical side of things in bright sun made this shoot a HUGE learning experience. But at least it was a fun one!

Apr 23, 2012

Arkansas Razorback Spring Football Game

A lot has changed here in "Razorback country." Bobby Petrino is out, Taver Johnson was interim head coach and now John. L. Smith has been named head coach for the 2012 football season.

The Hogs played their annual spring Red vs. White game on Saturday following Razorfest. While the day was absolutely beautiful as a fan, it was horrible as a photographer. 2 o'clock bright sun is not the easiest to photograph, especially when white uniforms are involved.  I spent most of the first and second quarter trying to get a decent photograph of Tavor Johnson, interim head coach. His ball cap and the bright sun were not working in my favor! Most of my time at the game was spent looking at the light, and trying to make the best of it. Lighting is probably not what comes to mind first when talking about sports photography... but it's amazing how it can make or break a photo.

My afternoon was not spent trying to get the best action photos, but trying to get a few nice images of the coach and potential Heisman candidates Knile Davis and Tyler Wilson. While I spent time trying to get a couple of decent action photos, I also photographed a new Arkansas Razorback cheerleader who has a prosthetic leg. Very cool that she is on the squad. We are lucky that the spirit squads at Arkansas are exceptionally nice. It's amazing how many rude people you can run into while working on the sidelines, and the squads at Ark. are always wonderful and easy to work with. I can't say the same about the Iowa State Cheerleaders. :)

The highlight of my day was having my photo taken with former Razorback and current Green Bay Packer D.J. Williams. I photographed D.J. several years ago for a local publication and after talking with him, I began to secretly cheer for him on the sidelines. I say secretly because as a member of the media I am supposed to be unbiased, and as a female I just make it a rule not to socialize with coaches or players. It's amazing how many girls have come and gone on the sidelines, and made it a little more difficult for me to be viewed as a professional. Look at the incident that just happened here with Bobby Petrino and Jessica Dorrell... If you haven't read the article by Christianne Harder on SI.com, please take a minute to read it. During my time as a photographer I've had a lot of very inappropriate comments made. I realize that it's just part of the industry I would like to work in. Is it fair? I'm not going to go there, I will just continue to make adjustments in my professional life so I can do the job I love and not let the comments bother me. I'll just stick with the advice of my former boss who put it so well when he told me "you're not there to make friends." It might seem harsh or "focused" to some people, but it has worked well for me.

Anyhow, I'll hop off my soapbox not and here are my images from the day for US Presswire, but first my image of D.J. Thanks Wesley!



Arkansas Razorback Spring Football Game - Images by Beth Hall

Apr 5, 2012

Arkansas Razorback Coach Bobby Petrino

Last week I photographed the press conference following Petrino's motorcycle accident... two days later s%*t hit the fan. That's about as far as I'm going to go with comments on the situation, but it's become pretty interesting here over the past week. I'm ready for a decision to be made so I can take my life off hold... as a photojournalist, I am waiting for the call about a press conference on the fate of Bobby.



Bobby Petrino Motorcycle Accident - Images by Beth Hall

Apr 3, 2012

Best of 2011 Photography - Journalism Style

It's that time of year again... 4 months late. I recently gathered the best of my journalism images of 2011. It's a mixture of a little spot news, weather, sports, portraits and a photo story on Butterball Turkeys. Going back through these images makes me miss my days at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette... sort of. I don't know that I miss the days, but I miss the work. Photojournalism is fun, challenging and different every day. I'm glad I still get to be a journalist every once-in-a-while.



Best of 2011 - Images by Beth Hall

Mar 22, 2012

Naturally Blue PAC - Springdale, Arkansas

When I woke up this morning, I did my usual stuff. I made coffee, put the dog out and then opened up my computer to check facebook. I'm admitting it, it's one of the first things I look at in the morning. I don't like hot coffee, so I read facebook as my coffee cools b/c I don't have to be too alert as I read the status' of my friends.

This morning I had a nice post from a friend, and former co-worker, Bret Schulte about work I recently shot for the New York Times. It was kind of funny because he wrote the article, and I shot the photos... and neither of us knew we were working together until this morning. It's always been entertaining to be in the business of communications, but to never really communicate... if you've worked for a news organization, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

The article is about Naturally Blue PAC. If you're interested in what they're about, I've linked up to the NYT article and the PAC website... visit and read.

For my assignment, I focused on the PAC's president Nate Looney. He was set up in the shade outside a soccer tournament at Springdale High School stadium. While the table was set up in the shade, he did most of his work in the full, noon sun. Not the best lighting, so I tried to pay attention and make the most out of it.

I always enjoy meeting new people with dreams and ambitions. It's wonderful to live in a country where people can have and idea and then act on it. I don't talk politics, but I will say you should use your right, and Go Vote!


Naturally Blue Pac - Images by Beth Hall