Cole's 10 Best Pictures of 2013

Cole's Favorite Pictures From The Road

Me inside Southern Ground Headquarters, standing in for a shot. Fellow photographer, Kyle Rippey behind the lens.

Me inside Southern Ground Headquarters, standing in for a shot. Fellow photographer, Kyle Rippey behind the lens.

Being the Director of Southern Reel and also one of Zac Brown Band’s rather hairy photographers, you get to experience more than you’d ever imagine, let alone be part of it. The Daytona 500, MLB All-Star Game, Late Night Shows, Music Videos, traveling to every American town with an ampitheather/arena and even through Australia, it all becomes a blur going from place to place.

I guess that’s why they have me around to take the pictures. 

Hope you enjoy a few of my favorites from the past year.


February 24, 2013 - Daytona 500

February 24, 2013 - Daytona 500

Zac Brown Band opened the race in the 2013 Daytona 500 with a few songs for the crowd. Luckily for me, my photographer’s pass lasted a little longer than the set. With my Canon 5D MarkIII and 14mm, I eyed the photographers perched above the grandstand, and after a little help from a volunteer (the people in red jackets are amazing!) and a lot of stairs, I snuck a few pictures in.


Clay Cook's "North Star" Album Cover Shoot

Clay Cook's "North Star" Album Cover Shoot

Like a lot of Reel’s shoots, Kyle Rippey and I are essentially the same photographer. We both light, prop, and develop shots. So when it comes to who actually took some of these pictures, it’s not quite clear, nor does it matter, as long as the picture gets the message across. I believe this picture was called “The Mad Scientist” by Kyle.


Levi Lowrey's Album Shoot

Levi Lowrey's Album Shoot

For Levi’s shoot, we found a farmer with some amazing cabins, tractors, and fields that let us run around and get 10 setups during the day long shoot. We started inside because of the rain, but Mother Nature came through mid-afternoon, and we got all our outdoor shots in time for the golden hour, along with a overcast cyc that turned out great.

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Zac Brown Band & Kenny Chesney at the Georgia Dome

Zac Brown Band & Kenny Chesney at the Georgia Dome

I’m always trying to find ways to show where the band is playing while also getting them performing naturally onstage. When I saw roof of the Georgia Dome from behind the stage, I knew I had to find a shot somewhere. I love the 14mm.


Brit Turner of Blackberry Smoke

Brit Turner of Blackberry Smoke

In Early February I got the call to come out on a tour run with Blackberry Smoke. Well, it was actually Andy Sapp they asked for, but he had a wedding or something like that, so I jumped at the opportunity to follow the guys around for an awesome NYC-DC-PHILLY run. Here, like so many other photographers have, Brit Turner is posing for yet another epic photograph. Blackberry Smoke are good people. They play great southern music too.


Houston Rodeo - Mutten Bustin' 

Houston Rodeo - Mutten Bustin' 

I’ve had the opportunity to shoot the Houston Rodeo a few times. The first year I shot video and made it part of the show a couple of years ago to distract the crowd while the band prepared to fly throughout the stage (remember that!?). Anyway, this year, I made sure to get a great spot with the 70-200mm, on the field, as the kids attempted to ride a 'mutten'.

 

Can’t wait till this year.


Zac vs. Cole - The Madden Workout

Zac vs. Cole - The Madden Workout

On one specific 4-show-run late in the year, Zac and I played a game of Madden 25 after every show while working out on the treadmill (that’s right, run and play madden at the same time). These were intense games battling to the finish. I ended up getting two blisters on my feet, and some great I’ll-see-you-after-the-show-pictures. Check out the one below after he beat me good the night before. Series tied @ 2.

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Zac Brown Band - Detroit, MI - Joe Louis Arena - New Year's Eve 2013

Zac Brown Band - Detroit, MI - Joe Louis Arena - New Year's Eve 2013

This picture just snuck into the 2013 batch by a few hours. Again, being able to show where the venue and the guys playing really helps tell the whole story without saying a word. Here, I even got a moon beam and a sweet Clay-ism in matching Red.


The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1 - In The Studio

The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1 - In The Studio

I’ve been in the studio with a ton of artists in the past, large scale Nashville productions, in basements, or even by a beach, but it’s tough to top  The Grohl Sessions Vol.1. The energy throughout the 4 songs and CMA performance was insane. By the way, yes, Dave Grohl is legit. LEGIT.


The Wood Brothers - "The Muse" Album Shoot

The Wood Brothers - "The Muse" Album Shoot

Kyle and I, like Clay and Levi, got another opportunity to shoot the Wood Brothers promo shots for their album. Here, @ Southern Ground Studios in Nashville, we put the guys together around a desk and listened to an Eddie Murphy Live album. It was funny and loosened up everyone, but from a photographer’s standpoint, it’s hard to compete with Eddie.


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Bonus Lens Flare shot. Thank you and goodnight. Hope you enjoyed.

-Cole