Tag Archives: stephen mcgee

What a great day of shooting!!!

My wife and I just got done shooting at Stoney Creek Metro Park outside of Detroit. We had an amazing volunteer crew who helped us a ton! Dennis and Red hauled in over 40 lbs of counter weights for the crane, two tripods, two camera bodies and lenses and audio gear. It was a mile in to the still winterized forest. I took the liberty of walking in the 10 foot crane (after all I have literally hauled this thing all over the world from Austria to Vietnam on different shoots so 1 mile didn’t seem that hard).  Derek Fischer was our talent and was killin it on his Specialized Enduro.

I heard that if you want to be hired in what you love to shoot, that you should already be shooting it. And currently, I have very little experience shooting outdoor sports like biking and snowboarding. Cory and I have all types of experience outdoors but never trying to make beautiful cine at the same time. I have been uber inspired lately to start filming outdoor sports.

I don’t think there has ever been this amount of amazing outdoor sports films out at one time in my entire life. The great thing about these films are that they include great story telling WITH great cinematography. My three favorite films right now are “All I Can”, “The Art of Flight” and “Life Cycles”.  I have been recently introduced to these filmish dreams and they have blown my mind with creativity and late night planning sessions of how to begin implementing what I am watching into my own cine vocabulary.

Our first major scene was a crane shot at the first log kicker about two miles into the forest. We had Derek hold his bike up for focus and framing before we started shooting. The goal of this two hour shoot in the woods was to get 4-5 good crane shots and 1 mounted tripod plate for a year long timelapse.


Our second shoot had the crane up in the woods on the same shot for a wide cut away. Dennis (who is an amazing photographer) was stuck holding the crane up as I talked with Cory where she should have the second camera.


My Awesome wife Cory on second camera for the impossible 200mm rack focus of Derek flying down the single track. (rocking her 80’s headband too!!!)


For such wide shots, we stuck a h4n audio recorder hidden under leaves by the trail. There are tons of people in Stoney Creek Metro Park so we hid our tripod plate under some wood. Can you see it below? We’ll see if it is around in two weeks when we shoot the first leaves sprouting from all the trees. Image

After a successful shoot we cruised home in the dark. Image

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s easy to be discouraged while creating/producing your film. I am in the visionary part of a film I want to complete from a few years ago. I spent all day writing down ideas and few hours from last night. I got to the computer and started connecting the dots from my scrambled journal pages. The farther I went the less all my thoughts made sense even though I really thought I was on the right track. The weight of discouragement came heavily on me. I took a break and came back to work another 15 minutes and then everything came into place. I realized that I have felt like this countless times and pretty much every time I have had to power through and search for the next step and I have a break through. Therefor, I now know that when the discouragement feeling starts creeping in, I should embrace it with courage, like the dude exploring the scary abandoned building above, and be excited that the break through is right around the corner, whether I see it or not. Hope this helps. Check out my new website at

How great is our God. 4am and I have exported 34 of 36 films for my film series on Kresge. Each film is only 30-40 seconds. But it is still a common challenge to make each film as good as the one before. We divided up 37 shoots through a six week work schedule. Some artists didn’t correspond till week 6 giving me and my awesome team 8 shoots. The Films are due monday and I still need to make them my own. What do i mean by that? Well, Just that, I need to “through some mcgee on it” as my friend Tim would say. This was the go go go weekend for me working and yet I felt the Lord leading me to spend time with two people in particular even with all my business. So I visited Tim’s new studio Friday night and helped him record a few tracks with 8 other friends. Marching in hallways, shouting his lyrics and other stuff. It was awesome Got done at 12am and went back to my studio to work a bit more. Today I worked on cleaning the house for my California pastor to come over who is visiting on a church planting trip. I went into the studio and worked for five hours and then left to hang and talk about God with him. I show him allll around Detroit in a 4 hour extravaganza of Detroit history, love and community projects. It is always strange when people from way various circles come together. Seeing my old pastor and my pastor now talking about church planting was cool.
I got back to my studio at 10 and worked till 330am. Editing in alphabetical order 34 films and exporting them at 442 and H264. Sunday will hold titles and upload to internet for Monday showing. I will also get to see my lady again! She was gone all weekend with other ladies at a bicycle camp for women in Cleveland. She bought a dress for the party tonight and was so pretty. I wish I could have danced with her.
Pray for me as I get ready to speak at SWPJC in two weeks in Texas.

Welcome to my blog. I am a filmmaker and photographer. I currently have a head ache. I love Detroit, and well, now that my video is out, many Detroiter’s have expressed that they don’t love me or my video. Most people consider word choice more than meaning. Too few actually acquire the freedom to photograph. To photograph what comes along the way is to be living with a camera in hand. What am I but just another chamber of Detroit’s orchestra.  In my city, Shooting only adds to the music. Passing prophets for your purpose makes your works more than your meaning.

When you find your name on Michael Moore’s homepage, that is when you know you have done something polar. The Wall Street Journal purchased my content and my story on a dump truck that was hanging forever out of a fourth floor window at the Packard Plant and ran it front page in today’s paper. An editor told me it was the first time ever a photographer had pitched a story to the WSJ that they ran.  I am interested in telling my side of the story.

I just returned from doing a film series in China on the renewable energy sector to show to Congress/the Obama administration when I learned that this story was actually going to be in the WSJ. Not only in, but on the front page. If I didn’t have to edit all day tomorrow, I would tell you more about China, More about how I got to the actually film/photograph this dump truck event, and how my laptop with all my china work on it was stolen in SF today, only to be returned in 2 hours. Maybe more tomorrow.

PS. I am available for freelance work in Detroit/the world.

This video doesn’t exist

Video by Me.  Sorry if I just blew your mind.

A weekend over and a week now to prepare. China and Mongolia are on my mind after spending most of today helping my friend Joel Grothaus with his creation of art. It is raining now. I have a lot to prepare for. In all of this I believe I am becoming more of a professional. This week…Geting paid, buying gear, praising God, and making a movie for my church’s 5th anniversary. I am posting my third video I have created in a new program I am learning. It is way above anything I would use for my docs but I at the same time I want to push my storytelling to a new level.

Why complain? If it is your Lord you pray to, then the Lord it is that guides you and as a guide knows the terrain ahead so your Lord will deliver you. To where? To him.

Why complain? Better yet, why not be grateful? You are sick, you could be sicker, you have no money, you could be poorer. These are simple arguments for the complex thoughts that bring our complaints to the level playing field of the world. God has no favorites so chose humility and chose it in joy.  Is saying, “Well, you’re right, I could be sicker” more of an un-complaint or more of a situation you default to in your attempt analyze your world with wisdom that was gained in the same second.

Lord I pray that you will guide me to the frontline or to peace and in either, with any teaching you chose, may my lips never let pass the ungrateful attitude my thoughts yield.

In my sickness I will praise the Lord. In my travels I will praise the Lord. If I don’t know what that means, I pray for the Lord to reveal to me what he wants to. The reasons we are to be slow to anger and slow to speak are that those pauses are where God interjects like a gentleman. Most ladies I know don’t think gentlemen exist anymore with the way most men talk.  Ladies, I will tell you that gentlemen still exist.  God, or whatever you want to call the higher power who had a son named Jesus, will give you the wisdom.

Be intentional this week. Tell those you are ministering to your heart. But don’t tell it to them like you are talking to the “unsaved” but tell it to them like you are talking to Gods’ creation. Are you the one to hold the sin between you and your “unsaved” friends? In joy be intentional, maybe then the authority you have been owning will step down to make room for God to work. That sentence is a bit misguided, “making room for God to work” is like a child clearing  place amongst their toys for the adult to sit, to watch them play with their toys.

Oh, thank you Vivaldi. Soundtrack my ψαλμοί without the harp. Back to editing.

This video doesn’t exist

a movie of my second after effects try. Sloppy edit, can’t get rid of the x, but in all, a big step in eventual production.

frame below..light en up steve. it’s just a light test on you.

Praise the Lord. I wonder often who I look for for appreciation and self worth and compare that to whom I should actually be looking to for appreciation. My momma like my work, I know that. I know I am a child of God and because of that I don’t have to create “Great” work. That sounds too bold, but I believe it. So without the need for creating great work, why do i feel like there is a need? What is the value of Excellence.

God’s ownership in my life should set me in a joyful mood. But I think he displays his love to us through others and their words sometimes. I prayed this morning that my images would bring glory to God. And for a critique my editor today from the Wall Street Journal said to me, “It is hard to find photographers we can trust on deadline, thank you for letting us put our trust in your hands.” That blew me away. That, the four days shooting for the Times last week and a few other things, have made me become a bigger believer in the fact that the work that I do is actually, to put it humbly, good. But then the artist’s doubt sets in, like it always does, which makes the work more labor intensive, and creation happens again with refined skills learned from the previous shoot. Hmm. Then another critique.

This video doesn’t exist

Picture 12Picture 15

Ukrainian musician Pavel Gudimov sits for an interview with me about the “Not For Sale” campaign he did for an exhibition he funded that was displayed at his gallery, Я Галерея. (Pronounced Ya Galleria). I told him, “you are so cool” after I was done with my interview which he responded, “You are so cool”.  It was a good moment.

My story is going great. I have had the best week yet, and that is how it should be. Just bought my tickets home for not cheap. My faith is stronger because of it though. Don’t allow blessings to be talked about as problems, because they aren’t as we often find that our problems are actually blessings/discipline.

Tomorrow I go to Chernobyl for three days, then I come home and interview 3 big interviews. Unfortunately I could only get a ticket to come home July 31 at 1030am. Sorry Jump, I will be there though! Best man coming back from the Ukraine.

Best part of the day….seeing how confused I was about everything and how God worked in each part of that confusion.