Gig Poster Inspiration

I love gig posters, and there’s all types out there these days. I talked about my favorite bulk poster sites when I blogged about the phoenix ski area poster (here). This past summer, I was lucky enough to experience the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago. The chill-out area included a slew of gig poster booths manned by the designers themselves, and I got to see all kinds of full sized images that only existed in pixel form for me in the past. Fantastic.

Sean Mort’s work was a new find on that trip, and I check-out his site from time-to-time. I’d give my eye teeth to both have his skills at clean, simple, images. Enjoy.



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Working the Narrative

Every good image or design grabs your attention with a subject, color, maybe some witty copy. What keeps you on the page is some kind of connection, and that connection usually comes from a narrative. The story, implied or explicit, gives a deeper meaning to what you see. Maybe you relate through your own experiences or interests, or the viewpoint exposes you to a new thought or existence.

My challenge this year was to promote a ski area, which everyone thought had burned to the ground in the Las Conchas fire. I needed a promotional design which caught the eyes of our potential customer, resonating with them, and convinced them to try us out. These are all standard advertising goals, but I’m doing all of this while trying to overcome the public’s perception that the ski hill burned to the ground.

Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Design, Illustration, Photo

Lettin’ it Fly

Shooting Terrain Park Pics

Spending a significant amount of time at a ski area means I have a ton of terrain park photography stock. The gigs are logistically pretty straightforward. The parks are usually small enough to walk around without too much work. Competitions involve multiple runs from each of the competitors, so you’ll have several opportunities to dial-in your shooting and learn who the hot shots are. If you didn’t get the first shot, chances are you’ll have a second or fourth opportunity (especially key if you’re on the wrong side of the slope for the goofy or regular footed boarders).  Best yet, a sunny day can provide boatloads of light, and you can get away with using only available light. The downside is that your portable lights are pretty outgunned if you do try and use them on the snow.

Here’s some things to keep in mind while taking photos in the trauma terrain park. Continue reading

Posted in Photo, Winter Sports Photography

The hill may own the snomobiles, but they belong to Boyd

Canon 7D, 16mm, F/4.5, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

I have an ongoing project, capturing photos of legends at Pajarito Mountain. Earlier, I wrote about my portrait shoot with Milt Gillespie. A close second on my list is Boyd Sherwood. Boyd’s been staple on the patrol, suiting up for over 37 years at Pajarito.

The all-volunteer ski patrol hums along with the help of various members who step-up to perform certain roles. Some run our training, others keep our medical kit stores up to snuff. Boyd performs mechanic duties, and isn’t a slouch at carpentry either. Most importantly, Boyd’s attained the position of patrol grandpa to all of us. He’s a fixture on the hill during the holiday season, acting in the roll of hill captain, the daily patrol majordomo, for two weeks straight. Like clockwork, Boyd greets you first thing in the morning, wearing his beret, a pair of his many crazy pattern gators, and a beaming smile. The gators are Sherwood originals, sewn by his wife Mary Lou. She also gets credit for keeping the patrol room smelling great, whether its from a crock pot of posole, or mulled wine, simmering all day long until everyone is ready to celebrate the end of a good day patrolling on the mountain. Boyd’s presence on the hill brightens the patrol’s spirits, and is a real institution on the mountain. Continue reading

Posted in Pajarito Volunteers, Portraits

If I may be so lucky…

Canon 7D, Tamron 10-24mm, ISO 100 14mm f/6.3 1/40 sec. Elinchrom Ranger w/29″ softbox high camera left. 580 EXII on the tree.

With almost a half century of volunteer work at Pajarito Mountain, Milt Gillespie is a ski area institution. Like many folks in the West, Milt did the transplant thing, moving to Los Alamos in the late 60’s to work at the lab as a physicist. Shortly thereafter, he was drafted by his boss to volunteer at one of the many Pajarito Mountain work parties. 47+ years later,  there are few aspects of the mountain (literally and figuratively) that haven’t been built in some respect by Milt, or more recently, by his kids. Even today, you’ll find him driving the dozer, working on a project or two around the ski area. The hill immortalized him a few years back by naming a new gladed ski run Milt’s Meadow.

I recently hatched a plan to start collecting environmental portraits of key volunteers and staff at Pajartito; Milt easily made the top of a heavily populated list. I imagined Milt posed next to the ski run sign, beaming with pride and beautifully spaced green trees lined up behind him. Well, the Las Conchas fire played the role of set designer, and charred the entire area around Milt’s namesake run. Now I was left with a new challenge: how to capture Milt, next to the remnants of his run. Well, I had plenty of time now to formulate a plan. Continue reading

Posted in Pajarito Volunteers, Portraits

The Start of a Beautiful Friendship…Motivated by Unsavory Circumstances

The image above isn’t just from a beautiful New Mexico sunset. It’s the sun setting over my ski hill, which is engulfed in the flames of the Las Conchas fire. The “clouds” are really the smoke plume being blown North from the Jemez mountains. My name is Jeff Hylok, and  I’m an engineer (everyone: “Hi Jeff”Smilie: ;). Over the past several years, I’ve volunteered at my local ski hill, doing graphic design and shooting stock photos of ski races, mountain bike events, and even celebrations at the lodge. In that time, I hustled to learned how to visually present ideas, emotions, and connect with the viewer.  Lacking many of the tools of the craft, I turned to my available resources for help: books, workshops, other blogs, and my in-the-family mentors (it helps to have two in-laws who are designers). Over that time, I’ve learned many things which have translated into my appreciation of design, art, and even enhanced understanding of my own field. In the end, I’ve helped a cause I believe in, and I think am a better, fuller person because of it. Through the blog, I hope to pass-on some of my key experiences, inspirations, influences, and great stories behind my images.

This blog existed as an incoherent idea in my head for many, many moons. All it took was some upheaval in my daily life to realize how ephemeral tomorrow is, and that today is often the best, and possibly only time you know for sure what lies ahead.




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