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Category — Pack Your Kit


This is a big thank you note from Blackstone Edge Studios to the team that created our hit You Tube Series,  Today, the series surpassed the 10,000 mark!!!

We are very pleased with the reception this series has gotten from around the world. Photographers are clamoring to either make suggestions for the next go round or to be subjects themselves. All the feedback has been excellent, without exception.

Thanks to you ALL for your tremendous efforts, they are truly, truly appreciated.

Matthew, you were the shining light that helped to pull it all together on camera – a difficult job that you tackled with humor, wisdom, grace and just the right amount of devilishness! Bless you!

Philip Holahan, your expertise as DP was terrific. A true pro! Great to work with! Kudos to Marshal Serna, Micaela Works and Doug Drown for their team work extraodinaire. Steven Argila, your music remains a crucial element to our success. Thank you for generosity.

Lars Topelmann, Thomas Boyd, Susan Seubert, Andy Batt, Holland Studios, Kim Campbell and Francisco Salgado – thank you all for being so willing to share your knowledge, expertise, love for photography and great images with the world. Everyone comments on how much they love the “WORKS” section of each episode. Thank you for sharing your talents.

Bravi tutti!

Philip Clayton-Thompson, Director & Donna Pizzi, Producer, Co-Editor

10,000 Hits in 8 1/2 Weeks!!

June 2, 2010   1 Comment


Growing up in the North of England taught me the importance of community, having mates who offered inspiration and a pint every now again.

I spent my early teens trying to find a way out of the Industrial North. There was a group of creative types who frequented the Blackpool Jazz Club, where my mates Howard Patrick, Keith Battye and I used to hang out. We figured it would be cheaper to rent a “bed sit” together in London than to go it alone. So, one wet, drizzly night, we caught the overnight bus at Blackpool Central Bus Station and headed toward our fates. We arrived in London at 7:00 in the morning, went to a cafe and had a nice greasy mixed grill.  Howard was very particular about how it should be cooked. Eggs over easy, tomatoes raw, the liver well done, and the sausage sort of medium, all smothered in HP Sauce. Keith, being a university man, had toast and marmalade. I had pobbies, because they were cheap – that’s bread in hot milk. Do not try this at home!

While eating, we snagged the flat rental paper and soon found a bed sit in Muswell Hill, right at the top of an Old Victorian. The bathtub was in the middle of the kitchen with a door propped over it for a make shift island with a large sign that stated, “Bath with Hot Water Only Once A Week! Cold Water Bath Twice A Week.”

We pooled our meager funds to buy provisions.  I recall it being such an extremely cold winter in London in that drafty bedsit that we resorted to a little tomfoolery. The room came with a fireplace and a bucket of coal a day. A back up gas heater was available for a penny for 2 minutes worth of heat. For some unknown reason,the landlady had stored  every available chair in Muswell Hill in that tiny bedsit – twenty at least, all of which were broken and in need of repair. Perhaps they were castoffs from the Mayflower Moving Company,  I don’t know. In any case, by the end of the winter, we had thinned out the chair population, which seemed to burn hotter than the coal. When we wound up sitting on the floor, we decided it was time to find a better flat.

I found a job as studio manager at David Judd’s- an ad agency for which I worked on such powerhouse clients as Chunky Dog Meat, Players Cigarettes, BOAC, and Typhoo Tea, while simultaneously making docos for the BBC in my spare time. Howard, a fine photographer in his own right, was making damn good prints of  Sir Winston Churchill at Camera Press. Keith was a scientist, who was testing for cures for cancer. Years later, we’re still fine mates. I’ve moved solely from photography back to filmmaking and co-owning my own ad agency– Blackstone Edge Studios with our hit You Tube series Pack Your Kit. Howard, a retired computer geek and brilliant street photographer, is now capturing landscape images in the most desolate parts of  Scotland, while Keith has become a true Francophile, living in Paris, working for the French.

On the day pictured below, we visited Chiswick House whose elegant halls were once trod by inmates in an aslyum in the late 1890s. Photos are by Howard’s first wife, Jackie Patrick. We were replicating images taken by famed fashion photographer David Bailey, who was married to Catherine Deneuve, is buddies with Mick Jagger, and photographed the Beatles.

Howard Patrick, Keith Battye and me at Chiswick House

Keith, me and Howard, mates forever

Chiswick House

May 31, 2010   9 Comments


KUDOS to Thomas Boyd, who is currently on location in Louisiana covering the BP Oil Spill with Katy Muldoon for The Oregonian. He just won first place for PHOTO PORTFOLIO for newspapers with more than 65,000 circulation from the Society for Professional Journalists. Tom is one of the featured photographers in our hit You Tube series,

Check out his episode, along with the five other pros!

Thomas Boyd on set of

May 24, 2010   No Comments


In just 8 short weeks, we’ve been inundated with requests for more episodes of our hit You Tube series  Shot on two Canon 5DMarkIIs, the six episodes and trailer have tantalized many a viewer. Here’s a few comments from pros and amateurs alike:

“Thanks for putting these shows together.  Love them! Keep them coming…!”

Renaud Visage, Renaud Visage Photography

“Really nice videos, so nice to spot what other gearheads are using on assignment. Two thumbs up and I hope there will be coming more videos soon.”

Caet49 (YouTube)

“…I watched all six of the packyourkit videos as late Friday afternoon entertainment on my new Ipad. Great work! Really enjoyed it! Also enjoyed looking at your sites and blog. Cool Stuff!

Steven Foster, Steven Foster Group, Inc.

“The videos were very helpful! I noticed some of the photographers involved in packyourkit are doing DSLR video, which I’m getting into. It would be great to see what kind of rigs they use, how they integrate video and still equipment and combine photo and video images in a photo session. (Being able to shoot video on a Canon, Nikon or Panasonic is going to save a lot of asses when it comes to carrying on equipment for airline travel.)   Bill Dobbins, Bill Dobbins Photography

“Your series is fantastic. Artful, entertaining AND informative. Just what a You Tube series should be.”   Erika Kotite, Kotite Media Group

“…Packyourkit is a very interesting topic, amusing, well filmed and edited and I will follow along as you produce more. Keep up the great work.”  Warkea, (You Tube)

Director Philip Clayton-Thompson using first prototype of the Red Camera

Producer Donna Pizzi on the set of "Wild Bill" with Joseph Nemec III, Production Designer

Philip Clayton-Thompson in Belfast filming "A Place Called Ardoyne"

May 20, 2010   3 Comments


In just 22 days, has received nearly 7500 hits. We’re headed for the big 10,000 mark!

Great to read all the praise about from pros around the world. Here’s just a few of the quotes from pro shooters so far:

“Great idea, loved it, thanks for sharing! Best from New York. ” Rainer Hosch

“I watched them all and loved them! Keep it up.” Bill Truran

“I was originally skeptical about whether to follow the link I received to view these videos, but I’m glad I did! This is one of the best series of videos focusing on the gear that make the shots possible that I’ve seen! Kudos to you, Blackstone Edge Studios, and your well-produced, fun-to-watch-content. Well done, Matthew!” Ikonik Photo

I decided to take my own advice about packing your kit properly.  As a pro shooter, I enjoy spending my down time singing the Frank Sinatra songbook with the Reece Marshburn Trio. I found myself making ten trips back and forth to the car, between the sound equipment, mikes, amplifiers, stands, Sinatra posters, music,  and wardrobe. If I’d learned one thing from filming the packyourkit pros, it was to “put it on wheels, get it all in one bag.” So now Sam the drummer doesn’t have to bug me about when I’m going to be ready. Now I’m waiting on him to set up his kit!

Thomas Boyd's well-packed kit w/Kessler Crane

April 16, 2010   1 Comment


Over the Easter weekend, the video views for hit 6,208 in just 10 short days, coming from 8 top countries, including the U.K., Malaysia, Germany and Australia. Thanks to all our participants and viewers for the enthusiastic responses, including one from Malaysia declaring the series the “best videos I’ve ever seen.”

Other exciting news at Blackstone Edge Studios, includes a hit advertising campaign for Old World Door, seen in Luxe Magazine.  Co-owner Philip Clayton-Thompson conceived the Doors of the World ad, after seeing photographs taken by owner John Gardner during various trips abroad. The ad caught the eye of one Grammy Award winner, who had her architect purchase four of the colorful doors pictured in the ad.  The OWD Gothic door ad, the subject of our article on the importance of making your windows and doors shine in Window & Door Magazine, enthralled the owner of a large vinyl window distribution company expanding throughout the U.S.

Doors of the World Ad

OWD Gothic Door Ad

April 5, 2010   2 Comments


Andy Batt and Thomas Boyd lead the race for Pack Your Kit views with over 1,000+ hits each in 5 short days. With an aggregate total of 5,000 hits for the series, it has quickly become the subject of many photography blog posts, which are rife with comments and speculation about the hit You Tube series. Nikon shooters want to be included in the next go round. Watch and decide for yourself on Double click on images to enlarge.

DP Philip Holahan shoots Lars Topelmann

Pack Your Kit films on Esplanade

March 30, 2010   1 Comment


Hits are pouring in for all 6 episodes of our You Tube series in the 48 hours since they went live. Subscribers from around the globe are weighing in.  The episodes are not only “packed” with tips and information on photo gear, but their humor, verve and belly laughs appeal to everyone. Tune in to see what all the buzz is about and leave us your thoughts. Thanks again to the crew pictured here – L.A.  Director of Photography, Philip Holahan, Director Philip Clayton-Thompson, Marshal Serna on glide cam, Micaela Works on sound, Doug Drown, Key Grip.

Filming on the Esplanade

Filming at Garden State Food Cart

Kessler Crane

March 27, 2010   2 Comments


Standing room only at the World Premiere of! When I started as a photographer in the U.K., I couldn’t get over how secretive pros were about their profession. Working as an assistant in London with advertising photographers I had to sign an agreement stating that I wouldn’t disclose their techniques in lighting, dark room work, film types, etc. I was pleasantly surprised when I asked these 6 Pro Portland photographers to be a part of our new You Tube series, and they all accepted right off the bat. Not only were they great, but they openly shared their equipment, tips, and ideas. After working with Matthew Dae Smith, our host, f or 3 years, I knew this was the photographer who would make my idea work. That’s how was born.

Marshal holds PYK poster @ premiere

More than 100 guests attend premiere

March 25, 2010   4 Comments


Marshal Serna not filming MSNBC's LOCKED UP

Come Meet The Crew of Pack Your Kit at tonight’s World Premiere, and hear about the Genesis of this hilarious, informative new You Tube series.

March 24, 2010   4 Comments