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Preview: doug stremel photography

doug stremel photography

Updated: 2018-03-01T15:08:04.064-06:00


my blog has moved



Spring is here and it's time for a change. My new blog is at: blamit blog

Thanks for following me to my new blog home. If you have me linked on your site, I would appreciate a new link. Thanks, and hope you can visit soon.

stuff happens


We finished up the first part of the spring broadcast campaign for Capitol Federal late last week.

As usual, there were some challenges along the way – but I'm very happy with the results. There are a lot of pieces that go into TV and radio production – so it's so great to have people who make my job a little easier. Jeff Carson and the crew at Gizmo Pictures once again made everything look great, and the Lucky Dog Audio Post guys, Charles Wyrick and Scott Minor, made it all sound fantastic. We decided to go with original music for this project, and Jason Weinheimer from Sellout Music composed some extra-tasty tunes (thanks for that introduction Charles). And check out Jason's band, The Boondogs, for a great addition to your iPod playlist.

You can check out the TV and radio spots by clicking on the icons below. I spent way too much time this morning trying to get my head around some javascript code to make the media pop-up like I wanted. Thank God for google searches and code-heads who are willing to share some coding love.

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Videos not working? Might be time to update to Quicktime 7

… and something blue


Spring is always an adventure when it comes to forecasting weather for TV shoots. Over the last 18+ years of working on TV spots - I have had a nearly perfect record of clear skies. Well, last week was not so kind. I'm working with the Gizmo guys on a new TV campaign for Capitol Federal that includes a newlywed storyline. The forecast called for partly sunny skies, and well, that was optimistic. It was completely cloudy, windy and cold. I felt bad for our bride actress (Linsey Grams from Exposure) in her beautiful sleeveless wedding dress. Stylist Sharon Sullivan not only made our bride look great - she helped keep her warm with a bright red blacket (see couple in car shot). The spot is coming together really nicely, and I'll post a quicktime once we have it finished up.




did you know?


Found this mind-boggling video via my buddy Jeff Carson. It's one of those things that makes you really excited and depressed at the same time. We're in for a ride.

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Flint Hills Friday


My K4/Photodudes buddies and I took the day off on Friday and wandered around the Flint Hills. The weather wasn't especially cooperative for much of the day - but we got to stop and some good spots – including my fave Lone Tree location. Our last photo stop of the day was the Konza Prairie Preserve (last photo). I'm definitely going back there later this spring to explore all of the trails. The photos are a little more warm and colorful than our actual day - thanks to my good buddy Lightroom.

You can see more photos from the other photodudes here and here.





photodudes friday


The Photodudes will be on the road again Friday. We're going to an opening at the Strecker-Nelson Gallery in Manhattan where photo friend Deb Stavin will be showing. Since the opening is in the early evening - we're heading out early for some wandering in the Flint Hills. Should be great fun, and I'll finally have some photos to post very soon.

I'm going to reveal my secret "lone tree" location to my fellow Photodudes. Maybe I'll get a free beer out of the deal.


back to school


Last Friday, I finished up a photo shoot in Topeka a little early - so I headed over to one of my favorite spots at the Kansas History Museum. My super-duper keeper from this location ended up on the front of the Nikon Calendar a while back. At one point my hope was to visit this same location at different times of year with different weather conditions and create a group of images. This is the second in the series. The deep blue sky and bright white clouds screamed out for a BW conversion. I think it turned out pretty tasty. Now I just need snow, rain, tornado, and whatever else Kansas weather has to throw our way.




It's been a busy couple months - so I've had my fair share of opportunities to come up with some creative ideas. My ratio of good to not-so-good is about 50/50. I think it gets harder as the years go by. Maybe my expectations are higher or perhaps I'm just more cynical. Who knows. The good news is that we live in a world full of inspiration. Technology gives us a front row seat to see and hear and experience gobs of creative stuff - old and new. So where do all of those tasty ideas come from? Do they drop out of thin air? Do they come from caffeine and nicotine and high fructose corn syrup? Long nights and early morning? Is there a creative fairy godmother? Or, do we all just borrow and steal and rip off ideas and find ways to make them our own?

I found this Jim Jarmusch quote on swiss miss. And then I "borrowed it." There you go.


meet pete


I've been fortunate to meet a couple famous and sorta famous people over the years. One of them is Pete Souza who will soon be the official White House photographer for President-elect Barack Obama. In the fall of 1980 I got to hang out with Pete for a couple hours when he was a staff photographer for the Hutchinson News. I was an aspiring news photographer my first semester at Dodge City Community College, and I wanted to see how the pros did it. Back in those days, the Hutch News always had one of the best group of photographers in the midwest. The editor had a great knack for finding young, very talented photographers. Souza was one of those guys. I called to ask if I could hang out with the photographers for a day - and they said yes.

Unfortunately, I don't remember much about the meeting Pete or my tag-along assignment. But I do remember following Pete's quick rise to photo superstar. After leaving the Hutch News, Souza worked for the
Chicago Sun-Times, then became a Washington correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. Then at age 28, he became Chief White House photographer for the late President Ronald Reagan. He has also freelanced for National Geographic and Life Magazine. Pete met and photographed Barack Obama when he was a newly elected U.S. senator from Illinois. And now, Pete is in the White House again.

Too bad I didn't get a quick photo of Pete and me back in 1980. You just never know who will become famous someday.


the most unwanted music


I got a chance to catch up on some past episodes of This American Life recently. As usual, the new episodes were full of the best stuff on radio/podcast. Episode 88:Numbers was especially fun and entertaining. One of the acts included the "most unliked song in the world." Vitaly Komar, Alex Melamid and David Soldier went on a quest to create the most annoying song ever. Polling data showed what people hated most in music. Undesirable elements included holiday music, bagpipes, pipe organ, a children's chorus, Wal-Mart, cowboys, political jingoism, George Stephanopoulos, Coca Cola, bossanova synths, banjo ferocity, harp glissandos, oompah-ing tubas and more fun. It's over 20-minutes long, and I promise it will make you smile.


And, if you enjoy This American Life as much as I do - please consider making a donation so those good folks can continue offering the podcast for free. Donate here.

good stuff


If you need to burn up some holiday gifts cards – I have a couple nifty suggestions for you.

Flight of the Conchords / Season 1 (HBO)
The guys are the funniest thing going on TV and their music is all kinds of tasty. The video below is Bret and Jemaine performing one of my faves, Beautiful Girl on the David Letterman Show.

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• Burn After Reading / a Coen Brothers film
Awesome cast. Razor sharp humor. And some Coen Brothers twists that will surprise you.

• Keyboard Skins / photojojo
Cool, rubber keyboard skins with shortcuts for photoshop, aperture, final cut, pro tools, after effects and more. And the photojojo store has all kinds of other cool gear for photographers.

• Ultra-cool t-shirts /
If you can't find a cool t-shirt you like on this site - you're just not very cool.

(image) • Plungerhead Wine
I bought 5 bottles as gifts this year. I don't know if it's any good, but how can you resist a wine with a goofball name like that. And it's closed with a Zork.

easy a cake


Sunday dinner is a family affair at the Stremel house. My son Zak and I try out new recipes on the rest of the family (we all love to eat). I found a new cookbook called The Texas Cowboy Kitchen, and it's full of tasty and hearty Texas favorites. I chose beef short ribs braised in port, maple mashed sweet potatoes, fresh salad, and Grandma Spear's Dr. Pepper cake for dessert. The short ribs were fall-off-the-bone tasty and the sweet potatoes were good, too. The cake was the beginning of an adventure.I love to cook, and I'll try anything new and fun, but I normally leave the baking to other family members. This Sunday was the day for me to improve my baking skills. How hard can it be, right? I watch a ton of Food Network. The mixing was easy - butter, Dr. Pepper, cocoa, buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla, eggs, flour and sugar. Pour it all in round cake pans, bake for 20 minutes, check the cakes, and you're done. Wrong. What I didn't know (and didn't bother to ask), is that you're supposed to take the cakes out of the pans when they're still warm. Damn, they were stuck badly. I did manage to get the stuck cakes out of the pans - but it wasn't pretty. I thought frosting and a little powered sugar might cover up the disaster. Wrong. It was still a very ugly cake. The good news – it tasted great, you just had to close your eyes when you ate it. Here's a photo comparison of how the cake is supposed to look and how my cake turned out. Mmmmmm! I need some more practice.Ugly cake = good blog entry, right? Well, there's more. Much more. As I was laughing and shooting a photo of the ugly cake - I was quickly stopped by a scream from my wife Mickey. She was on the floor watering the Christmas tree when the piney monster decided to take a nose dive – bulbs breaking, Santas flying, ornaments rolling, cat scurrying, TV blaring, and wife screaming – you get the picture. If you have never attempted to "re-stand" a fully decorated tree with your wife and two teenage boys - don't even try. Just run out of the house as fast as you can. We did manage to stay relatively calm - in spite of even more tension caused by me knocking over a huge plant that fell down the carpeted stairwell spreading gallons of dirt and plant debris over the stairs and basement floor. Zak looked down the stairs and said "…that's a lot of dirt, dad." Talk about testing family togetherness - we had reached red on the Homeland Security scale. Once we got the tree standing and stable - my oldest son Alec said "I think I'll go back to my apartment now." Damn skippy - I'd leave, too, if I could.Oh well - life is a long list of stories strung together. Our ugly cake and falling tree disaster are just a couple more tasty ones for our fun family history. I hope all you have some fun and frantic holiday stories to add to your family history, too.[...]

squint into the light


Who doesn't like holiday lights? When I was a kid I would squint my eyes to make the lights bigger and brighter and more sparkly. Actually, I still do that. I know, I'm the goof-ball walking down Massachusetts Street squinting and smiling. So, when I was shooting some Downtown pics for a client the other night - I squinted into the lights with my 70-200mm lens and shot away. Here's a little montage of my fun.


be like bruce


My photo buddy Bruce is the king of high ISO. The higher the better, nothing scares him. For the 6A State Football Championship game in late November - I decided to "be like Bruce." It was a very cold, rainy, dark Saturday at Washburn University. I didn't find out I could shoot from the sidelines until minutes before the game. I ran back to my car, grabbed my gear, and headed to the field. Of course, all of the other photographers had rain gear for their cameras. Not Doug. It was just a slow drizzle, and I knew the D300 and D200 were sealed - so I threw caution to the wind. How often does your kid get to play in a State Championship game, right? A couple of hours of drizzle and then steady rain was a true test for the Nikons - but they held up like champs.

The game started at 3:00 PM - but it was already dark. My first shots were wide-open, 1/640 at 800 ISO. I never like to shoot football at less than 1/1000, but I was cheating to keep the ISO a low as possible (not "like Bruce" yet). But, it just kept getting darker. By the start of the second half I was up ISO 1600 (more like Bruce), and finally I had to go for broke at ISO 2500 (now, that's like Bruce). And the images held up pretty well. Thanks Bruce.

While we didn't win the game, the guys left it all on the field. My son Connor had his best games of the year. And the writer from the Lawrence Journal World noticed:

Unsung hero: A tip of the cap goes to Free State junior Connor Stremel, a seldom-used wide receiver who came up with two of the game’s biggest catches on Saturday. Stremel, whose only other memorable catch this season came on a 20-yard touchdown late during a 35-7 loss to Olathe North during the regular season, caught the first pass of the game for a first down on Free State’s opening drive and added an even bigger grab on a second-and-10 during the Firebirds’ first scoring drive. Stremel soared high into the air to rip down a Torneden bullet with two hands before falling flat on his back after another first down.

Here are several high, high ISO images. The one with #20 catching the ball is Connor. It was an incredible catch, but I missed the actual catch because I was behind the yard-marker-guy. I don't imagine Sports Illustrated will be calling anytime soon. See more photos here.


make up stuff


It's snowing. It's cold. Both good excuses not to do real work. I feel fortunate to be so busy when the economy is swirling down the crapper, but my blog and photography got stuffed under the bed while I worked. I don't have any new photos to post today, so I gave the blog a facelift. I wanted something unique and quirky and doug-like. So I did what I do when I don't know what to do - make up stuff. Just another dougism. Sure, dougography won't make it into Websters anytime soon, but it gives a name to my little piece of the photographic world.

More doug stuff:

hotdoug's (damn, somebody stole my idea)
doug (the real funny doug)
bankrupt doug (who woulda thunk it?) (accronyms suck)
dougie? (girl, his dougie is fresh)
dougie ride (huh?)
the dougie (it's your style, your swag…)

are you ready for some football?


For me, fall means football. An overload of football. High School football on Friday, KU football on Saturday, and the Chiefs on Sunday. But this year - the Chiefs suck and KU is in an ugly tailspin. So, thank goodness for the Free State Firebirds. After a disappointing 1-2 start - Free State rallied back and have made it to the 6A State Semifinals this Friday. Last Friday FSHS beat Kansas powerhouse Olathe North 10-6 (first time in school history) in a cold, blustery, defensive battle. It's so great to see a group of young men overcome adversity, get better each week, and then get it done against a bigger, faster, more athletic team. And what makes it even better is my son Connor is one of those young men. The semi-final game against Blue Valley should be a doozy. The game is this coming Friday at Blue Valley at 7:00 PM.

For whatever reason, I didn't shoot as many football games this year. But I did get some keepers from the games I shot. Here are a couple shots of Connor from several JV games (he plays Varsity + JV).


found music


I've never really understood how or why you can fall in love with a song the first time you hear it. Music is magical that way. I dropped by a blog I helped the good folks at Saint Andrew Christian Church get started earlier this year - and Brandon Gilvin had posted a review of the new Old Crow Medicine Show album, Tennessee Pusher. I'd never heard of these guys, and I wouldn't exactly call myself a big bluegrass fan - but this is some tasty stuff. Brandon called them Bluegrass for hipsters. All of it was really good, but a song called Wagon Wheel became an instant favorite. You gotta love lyrics like:

Rock me mama like a wagon wheel. Rock me mama anyway you feel. Hey, mama rock me.
Rock me mama like the wind and rain. Rock me mama like a south bound train. Hey, mama rock me.

I'm not certain what "rock me mama like a wagon wheel" even means - but who really cares, right? Enjoy.

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weekly round-up


What a week. I was going to do a cool blog post after Barack rocked the vote - but I didn't think of anything cool to post. I just know we elected the right guy. I can't wait to see the new first family with their new puppy in the White House Rose Garden. Until then, you can see some terrific photo essays of the Obama campaign shot by Time Magazine's Callie Shell. She followed Obama for nearly two years. You can find the essays here and here.

(image) I found out a while ago that several of my photos made the Winter edition of KANSAS! Magazine. And hey - I made the cover! They did a story on the Old Fashioned Christmas Parade that happens every year in Lawrence. It's always great to have your stuff in print - but it's doubly good when the editors pick one of your favorite photos. The shot of the kids watching the parade is one of my very favorite editorial shots I've ever taken (of course, it appeared in color in the magazine).


I just learned a buddy of mine is going to make his movie this December. Jon O'Neal is finalizing plans to shoot Au Pair, Kansas in December. It's a dramedy set in Lindsborg, Kansas. He's asked me to help with some photography, a poster, and possibly even producing a behind-the-scenes video. I'm hoping to free some time in December to be part of the fun.

And finally, it will be a weekend full of football. My son Connor plays in the first round of the 6A State Playoffs tonight. We're (Free State High School) playing a team that beat us earlier in the year, but I'm feeling good about our chances tonight. And then it will be a very early start to make it to Lincoln, Nebraska tomorrow morning for the KU vs. NU game. It's been a gazillion years since KU won in 'Husker land. Hopefully that streak ends tomorrow.

joe the voter


Not that I needed an incentive to vote - but why not get a free cup of joe for voting? I took advantage of Starbucks vote-4-joe offer this morning. I also heard you can get a free Krispy Kreme donut and a free Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Cool. But it seems some folks are calling foul. According to the Christian Science Monitor:

Requiring someone to say they voted in order to receive a free coffee - that’s a felony. Here’s the Georgia state law:

“Any person who gives or receives, or offers to give or receive, or participates in the giving or receiving of money or gifts for the purpose of registering as a voter, voting, or voting for a particular candidate in any primary or election shall be guilty of a felony."

Hmmmm. So, Starbucks and Krispy Kreme modified their offers and anyone who asks for free stuff - gets it. It should be an interesting election day.

Go Vote! If you don't know where to cast your ballot, Google has a really simple website to help you find your local polling location. Then go treat yourself to a free coffee and donut.

on the road with gizmo


October seems like a blur to me - so many projects and so little time to keep up with the blog posts. But November looks much better. I spent a couple days last week on the road with Gizmo Pictures working on a TV project for Kansas Travel & Tourism.Our first day was spent at the very cool Flying W Ranch in the heart of the Flint Hills. This was our first shoot using the Red One Digital Cinema camera - a very cool new technology that makes amazing footage. However, the Red One didn't like the sub-freezing morning temperatures - so we had an "oh shit" moment right out of the shoot. But, with some quick thinking by our camera guys and a little luck we had a new Red One on set later that morning. We finished the day and headed off to Fort Scott for our second day shoot. We ran into a couple more hiccups on day two - but all-in-all it turned out to be a very good couple days of shooting.One of the best parts of the shoot was meeting and working with some really great people. They included:• Gizmo crew – Jeff Carson, Lindsay Howgill, David Kitchner, Ryan Bishop and Austin Snell• Camera crew – Mark Stock, Shawn Wright and Heather Brown• Lighting/Grip – Michael Stoecker• Stylist/Make-up – Patricia Castillo• Jib – Daryn Cashmark• JNA Advertising – John Noe, Russ Pederson, Brent Scholz & Angie Williams• Photography – David Moody + assistant (sorry, I forgot his name)• KSTT – Richard Smalley & Becky BlakeI put together a quick little slideshow documenting some of the faces and places from the shoot. I put it together in iPhoto. And if you've ever worked with the "Ken Burns" effect - you'll know it has a mind of its own. Oh well, it's still a fun little show. It's a big, fat download - so be patient with download :)Gizmo Road SlideshowAnd finally, a couple of my fave shots from the shoot.[...]

don't vote


My youngest son Connor showed me this video yesterday. And he thought it was great stuff. How cool is that? It's aimed at young kids to get them to register (which is now passed). I so hope the young crowd stays engaged and excited and actually votes on Nov. 4. They deserve a much bigger voice. Be warned - there is some "colorful language" in the video.

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It seems like forever since I've actually had a photo assignment. Well, that changed this weekend. I had a terrific photo session with Lauren - a senior at Lawrence Free State High School. She is such a natural and she has a beautiful smile. It was fun to actually take some sports action shots for a senior photo session. Lauren had a great day on the tennis courts yesterday winning her way to the State Tournament. Congrats.




walkerman - day 5 - i win


5 days. 5 walks to work. I win the bet. It's funny, the soreness didn't arrive until yesterday afternoon - so the walk this morning was slower (painfully slower). And, I screwed up syncing my iPhone correctly - meaning I was sans audio enjoyment. Damn. So, I spent some time thinking about some photography projects I'd like to get started or restarted soon.

One project is "leaf square 2." Last fall I chose one leaf and shot it on 16 different surfaces (mostly cars). It only took a couple hours, and it turned out really well. I think I'll give that project another stab with a different twist. And several years ago I did a "frozen leaves" experiment. It proved much harder to shoot that anticipated. This time I'd like to freeze other objects in a hunk of ice and photograph them. Below are the original versions of both projects.


walkerman - day 3


Notes to self:
  • Walking down 6th Street sucks (too loud, too many cars)
  • Walking home is uphill (ouch)
  • Download more episodes of This American Life
  • Take some photos
  • Walking makes me happy

I found this link via my buddies at Lucky Dog. Very cool. Maybe someday I'll finally make a movie of some sort.

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Fifty People, One Question: Restored from Benjamin Reece on Vimeo.

walkerman - day 2


I've been spouting off for years that I plan to walk to work. Has it happened? Nope. Mostly because it's nearly 5 miles, and I can always find a good excuse to drive instead. That changed on Monday morning. Prompted by a bet from my wife and our friend Traci - I had no other choice. The bet is that I walk to work 5 days in a row. If I lose, they get a night of drinks and dancing. I like drinks as much as the next guy, but dancing just isn't my idea of a great evening. Combine that with the fear of losing to girls, and I finally have the motivation to walk.

After walking for two days now, I wonder why I didn't walk sooner. The fall weather is spectacular, I get some much needed exercise, and I start my day refreshed. Yesterday iPhone music kept me company, and today it was a podcast of This American Life (the single coolest, most interesting media anywhere on the planet). Tomorrow it's the audio book I ordered a year ago and haven't listened to yet. I'm actually looking forward to walking.

I'll have more reports (and maybe photos) as the days go by. Who knows it might turn into some kind of healthy habit.

Here's another iPhone photo montage from our shoot at Colbert Hills last week.