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About Heath

It was a love of photography that inspired Heath Robbins to leave his job as an agency executive and travel the world with a camera in hand. More than twenty years later, it is his love for food, people, and making pictures, that continues to fuel his commercial photography career with focus and passion. For every client and for every shoot, Heath sets out to capture moments, tastes, and emotions that pull people out of their everyday, and straight into the moments that he creates.

 

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Early mornings

I love mornings. I work out at a gym 3 miles from my house and because I need to be home to get my kids ready for school when my wife leaves for work I go at 5:30 am. Sometimes it's hard to get motivated that early to go and work out but I do so love the commute... last time it was the snowstorm I put up here (Jan/Feb?) This morning the horses were out. If anyone saw me standing there on the fence in shorts and a sweatshirt with my camera while it was 40 degrees they would have thought I was nuts. I just thought it was fun. Apparently so did the horses.

Florida vacation


This is always one of my favorite weeks... my kids started talking about it 3 weeks ago "Daddy... when are we going to Florida?" followed by the same question 30 mins later, again at bedtime and then again "Daddy how many days now until we go to Florida?" the following morning at breakfast. Every day.

Being 7, 5, and 4 this year, swimming was the biggest item on the agenda. Then golf, which made me very happy since my two favorite things to do in my spare time is golfing and fly fishing. (there are no pictures here of the golf as I was concentrating on my own game at the time and trying to instruct them at the same time).

We also took a jet boat ride and saw alligators and birds of all kinds which was pretty incredible. Check out the baby Osprey in one of the images below.

We rode bikes together. Then I ran and they rode their bikes with me. We ate lots of fresh fish and fruit, they snacked... snacked again, and then swam some more. Five days went by like a weekend.

Given my wife stayed home this year to train for the Boston Marathon it was just me and the kids. I absolutely loved it... and now I need a vacation.



Question for the day?

Why is it that Nursery Rhymes haven't changed in who knows how many years?

There are always new books, music, toys etc. But for as long as anyone that I know can remember there have never been any new nursery rhymes created for children. I still tell my kids the same ones my grandparents told my parents...

Location

One of the most fun aspects of what I do is making a location work for the image I want to create. I love transforming them with props styling and light. I think its too easy to use photoshop these days and manipulate everything and while I do use that tool I try whenever possible to create everything in camera. It's more fun and to me more rewarding.

The following pictures will show you a location I transformed for a shot I had in my mind - an actual "shotgun wedding". I originally got the idea after my assistant's wife got pregnant. Given how young she and Dan are (they were 22 now 23 with a strapping young son) and the fact that I have 2 daughters of my own; I started to joke about the shotgun I would buy to display for my girls' boyfriends when they started dating. One thing led to another and this picture started forming in my mind. About a month later my in house rep Jenna announced she was 3 months pregnant and I knew it was time to make this shot.

I spent the summer scouting a 30 mile radius around my house looking for the perfect barn. I wanted it to feel rural and I knew I wanted it to feel like the wedding was taking place at the last minute and as such had to be lit by the light on the barn itself. The barn style was one thing but what I really wanted was that light directly over their heads in a semi circle framing this impromptu event.

Turns out I found the barn three doors down from me in September at a neighbor's house that I had never visited. The problem was the barn had asphalt and lots of gravel at the entrance which didn't make it feel rural enough and the spotlight I could tell was too high up. We first tried putting a more powerful spot up there with a snoot to focus it (see Dan on the roof) but it was just a hopeful thought as the light wasn't strong enough to light my models the way I needed to.

But since the leaves were starting to fall off the trees and Jenna wasn't geting any less pregnant rather than try to find a new location I shifted to plan B: find and use an old pick up truck and use it's headlights. This in our pre-light still didn't give me the feel I wanted so I decided to make the barn interior my main light source and gelled three strobes and put them in the barn and used the truck to back light the bride. It gave me the perfect light/shadow balance I was looking for even if it wasn't from directly overhead. I then had to deal with the asphalt and gravel so we bought feed hay and spread it out over the entire area in front of the barn and then sprinkled (yes.. sprinkled) manure and dirt and mixed it in with the hay to make the ground look authentically "farm like".

I lways try to get more than one angle when I shoot and had always planned to move in and get the emotion of this "special moment" but because I didnt have my overhead light it made the angles I wanted difficult with this light set up. However, I found during my scouting that if I moved quickly (or should I say if my crew and I moved quickly because they had everything to do with the success of this shoot) we could get two shots in at twilight even if we had to move all the lights around.

So we planned for a second shot to be done from inside the barn. I adjusted the lights to balance the inside with outside and then put a large soft box to the side and above my models to get me that overhead light feel ( I just couldn't give up on that). From this angle I could get closer to the subjects so we could see the emotion on their faces. We actually rehearsed these set ups the week before and timed it with the sunset to get the feel I was looking for. As it turned out the sky on the pre-light day was better than on the actual shoot day. So the sky you see on this shot from the inside was actually from the pre-light day ( I said I prefer to not use photoshop... but the sky on that day simply didn't have the same drama)

And so you have it. The crew laughed the whole time we shot this. Probably nervous laughter that this should ever happen to one of us...

Lighting

I have always been fascinated by light particularly natural light. So whenever I light something I usually try to recreate how the light would be naturally in that setting while at the same time highlighting the subject in a beautiful way.

I recently created two images that were completely lit by strobes. The key for me was to create a high end looking situation that was both dreamy and at the same time felt natural. The shot in the bathroom used two separate strobes one in the bathroom and one outside the doorway both of these were shot through scrims to soften the light. This was quite an interesting shot since the only thing to the right of the tub is a toilet (the strobe is almost on top of it) and I myself am actually shooting from inside a walk in shower. Welcome to shooting in bathrooms...

The second shot in the bedroom required setting up the light in a way that would allow my models to be lit wherever they were in the bed. They had to be able to move around and interact in order for me to capture the emotion I wanted. I also wanted it to feel like it was an early weekend morning so the light had to feel directional. Here we used four strobes and two scrims to soften the light as well as numerous bounce cards.