Our Rescue Dog, How I met Captain America at the dog park, and did you know we shoot food?Yep...

My wife just let me know I have been slacking on my blog duties, and I'd better get on it, so here you go, this weeks photo blog...

Let me apologize ahead of time for meandering here, this is our craziest blog yet, but stay with me, I think you are going to like this,...So, in case you didn't know, we have an American Dingo, also known as a Carolina Dog, who literally came running into our lives about 4 years ago, we rescued him off the street out of heavy traffic on the way home from the studio; we couldn't find his owner, so he is ours, and darn it, we love him. His name is Gizmo and he is one of the most amazing dogs, just a gem, and most nights we take him over to the dog park.


Me and Arthur...

Over the past 4 years, we have made some very good friends at the dog park including a lovely couple named Arthur and Stella, and of course their dog "Rhett Butler". One day when talking with Stella, she asked "what do you do?" and I mentioned that my wife and I were commercial photographers, and we photographed mostly casinos and hotels, and I also had done a book of portraits of Comic Book Artists, Stella, kind of got a smile on her face and said "comic book artists? My husband played Captain America on TV! " I just remember thinking, that's crazy, what are the chances?" lol! (You just never know who you'll meet at the dog park) Well, it turned out that her husband was Arthur Levy (who I just knew as Arthur), an ex-special forces marine, who went into acting when he returned from the service. He has many amazing stories, but my favorite is that from 1966-1969 under his stage name Arthur Pierce, he played CAPTAIN AMERICA on the Marvel Super Heroes Television Show, How cool is that?

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Arthur Pierce as Captain America

I will post more about Arthur soon, I am hoping to get him into the studio to do a portrait soon, I'll let you know how it goes. And now food...see how i did that?


We get asked a lot, "Do you shoot Food"? Well heck yeah! Sharon thought it would be good for me to take a break from blogging about Comic Book Artists and Cartoonists (she's so done with that) and mention that food is one of our specialties. For the past 25 or so years our studio Sampsel Preston Photography have been one of the premier "Food Photography" studios in Las Vegas including interiors, chefs, and of course the scrumptious fare. We've photographed for so many of the restaurants and hotels in town, and out of town for that matter, that we are almost travel consultants. Here are some of the food shots from our portfolio, let us know what you think,

Jumbo Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

So the story on the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp: We were asked to photograph this as a part of a special food promotion for The Fiesta Rancho Hotel and Casino, It was fun, we got to work with one of our favorite food stylists, Trace Hayes of Visual fare. So shrimp are not necessarily the prettiest food to photograph, but Trace did a fantastic job creating the look we needed. I remember, I was just about to call the shot "in the bag" when the art director mentioned that "it would be great if it looked hot. We created this steam effect by attaching a 15 food 1/4 inch piece of rubber tubing to the back of the plate the food was on, and then having a non-smoking assistant puff on a cigarette, and blowing the smoke through the rubber tubing, the effect worked great, the assistant was light headed and a little grumpy, but we got the shot on the first try, then just for fun we kept him doing it for 20 more shots, trying different smoke. I owed combat pay to the assistant by the time we finished. The Art Director loved the shot, but we found out later the restaurant didn't want the to use the shot "because it looked too good". Not kidding.

Brioche French Toast photographed for Cantors Deli, Las Vegas

Brioche French Toast for Cantors Deli, Las Vegas

Not too long ago we had the chance to shoot for the new Cantors Deli that opened up here in Las Vegas. The best part of the shoot was how very generous the restaurant was with letting us sample the food, OMG, it's all amazing, but we knew that by being schooled in LA. By the end of the shoot the whole crew was in a food coma. If you haven't tried Cantors Deli you are missing out! Food Styling By Amy Villareale and Lyn Vacek!


Scallops Jezebel for The Fitz Hotel and Casino In Tunica, Mississippi

Did I mention we love traveling for work? This whole shoot was just fun! Our crew was flown out to Memphis, and made the drive to Tunica, Mississippi for a complete property shoot, including food, for The Fitz Hotel and Casino-Tunica. We got to spend about a week photographing every aspect of the hotel, and at the same time getting to check out the area. This dish was Scallops Jezebel, and was the Executive Chefs Specialty, Funny story, after we were done, we loaded all the props onto a food cart to be thrown away, before we had the chance to move the cart, a kitchen worker walked by and picked up a prop scallop and stuffed it in his mouth? We were like "Dude, spit that out, it's poison!. Well, he wouldn't die or anything but the runs? Sure 'nuf. I couldn't stop laughing! I think when he tasted the old fish and chemical, he couldn't spit out fast enough!


Sushi photographed for "Red Sushi" at the Golden Nugget, Las Vegas

This was one of the shots we did for "Red Sushi" at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino In Las Vegas. Shot on location in the restaurant. Again it was great and we had the chance to try the food (not the props, what did I tell you?) Anyway, Amazing! If you love sushi and are visiting Las Vegas, this is the place!

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Watermelon Salad and Berry Cocktail for T-Bones Restaurant at the Red Rock Resort

Every summer T-bones restaurant at the Red Rock Resort rolls out their small bites happy hour menu. This was one of the dishes they offered, Watermelon Salad, with a refreshing Berry Cocktail. For the background, I was trying to do the Boca thing, where you have out of focus highlights as the background, we came up with it on the fly, and the client was very happy.

 A nice slice of Carrot Cake and a cup of coffee photographed for Station Casinos

A slice of Carrot Cake for Thunder Valley Casino

Dessert Anyone? This was from anther shoot for the Grand Cafe coffee shop at The Red Rock Resort, a dessert menu, making you hungry yet?

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Shooting food for First Food & Bar at The Palazzo

This shot was for "First Food and Bar" at the Palazzo Hotel and Resort on the strip. First Food and Bar was the brain child of Celebrity Chef Sammy D. He stepped into the culinary limelight, opening his first restaurant, aptly named FIRST, in the East Village of New York. FIRST quickly became a hotspot for diners who appreciated innovative culinary dishes in a high-energy atmosphere. In 2009 FIRST Food & Bar a slight reincarnation of the FIRST NYC classics, but with a modern day spin, arrived In the heart of the Las Vegas Strip,Bringing east coast flavor to the west coast right where he likes to be - right in the middle of his open kitchen greeting guests and "keeping it hot" While the shoot was for the food, the idea to use models in the background as props was new and unusual and new for us.