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Posts tagged ‘Internship’

Announcement: My New Job!

August 28, 2011


Big news!

I have officially accepted a job offer at Focus Lighting in New York City!  After several months spent interning there this summer, I have made the decision to take a leave of absence from the MFA Lighting Design program at Parsons the New School for Design and pursue my love of lighting with the team at Focus Lighting.  I’m really excited about the opportunity and I’m looking forward to the experience of working with such a talented group of people.  I want to send my sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped me to get to this point (you know who you are).

focus lighting architectural design new york

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My Lighting Internship in Photos

July 10, 2011


Photo-journal time!

I really enjoy taking photos, and I take a lot of them while I’m working or running around town, so I thought it would be fun to share some of the various projects I have been working on as an intern at Focus Lighting so far this summer.  I’ve been working mainly on hotel and restaurant projects, assisting the designers in the office with everything from drawing lighting plans in AutoCAD, to researching and testing design ideas, to adjusting and focusing the lighting on job sites.

The photos below show some of the “mockups” I’ve built to test out some of the designer’s ideas, as well as some of the places I’ve been inside a new hotel project downtown. Take a look!

(Side note: If you’ve been following me on Twitter you may recognize some of these photos, as I usually post them online after I take them — so if you’re interested in seeing more, follow me!)

light lighting design "lighting design" architecture architectural mockup fixture test idea

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It’s All About the Experience

June 19, 2011


“It’s all about the experience.”

That’s what my friends at the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas like to say. They offer an unparalleled eight-week summer intensive training course in every area of stagecraft, from set painting to audio and from moving lights to automated rigging, and every one of their classes is hands-on with the technology or craft being taught. It’s quite a quick and effective way to learn, to say the least.

Now, four weeks into my summer internship at Focus Lighting in New York, I’m finding, once again, that it really is “all about the experience.”

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A Delicate Balance of Light and Life

January 9, 2011


light lighting lamp bulb happy design life

A gift to me: it's a stress ball!

Here we are at the end of the first week of 2011! Is everybody still here? Raise your hand if you’re not here! I’ll be caught up in a minute … I just have to recover from that INTENSE week I just had.

What made it so intense?  Well, I spent the first week of the year living the 9-to-5er lifestyle in a marathon week at the offices of Focus Lighting.

All I can say is: it’s been one educational week!  Many thanks to the staff at Focus for putting up with me all week long.

To be honest, I couldn’t really even begin to describe the specifics of what I did over the course of the week.  My memory right now is a blur of AutoCAD draftings, lighting fixture schedules, lighting mockups, and a few other small side projects.  It all happened so fast, but spending that amount time allowed me to learn valuable information that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to grasp had I continued in my once-a-week routine of visits to the office.  I learned a great deal about how projects and information flow through a lighting design office, how the construction process works, and how different people can contribute different things to a project based on their skill set and expertise.  The most important thing I learned, though, is this: they don’t call it a full-time job for no reason.

Working full-time hours for the first time in almost two years made me realize just how important it is to be able to find a balance between your passion and everything else, because it becomes incredibly easy for time to slip away during the week.

As much as I love to talk about, think about, and work with light, I know that I also need a balance of other things in my life to help me grow both as a person and as a professional.  I need time with friends: to find out how they’re doing, to have them help me discuss ideas, decompress, and process information.  I need time to read: to catch up on news, to maintain a connection to the outside world.  I need time to write: to get my thoughts down on paper, to sort out the clutter in my brain.  I need time to have new experiences: to see and try new things, to enjoy this city and the place that I live.  Finally, I need personal time: to rest and refresh so that I can stay on top of my game.

This first week of 2011, while it was a ton of fun and a whirlwind of activity, completely jarred my sense of balance and threw me a bit off guard.  Of course, it wasn’t anywhere near a normal week for me, so I’m not surprised that happened, but it taught me that I have to maintain a clear view of the big picture at all times to maintain a positive balance in my life that allows me to grow and mature as a person.

I hope your week was more level than mine was, but if it wasn’t I’m hoping this post will remind you to get back on track!  It’s only the first week of the year!  Let’s get back on it!  We can’t let things start slipping out of control until at least April.

Architectural Lighting Calls vs. Theatre Lighting Calls

December 21, 2010


Remember that time when I haven’t worked a theatrical lighting call in a year?  Well, I got a taste of those late-night hours again on Sunday night/Monday morning at my first architectural lighting focus call with Focus Lighting, where we aimed, accessorized, and reprogrammed almost all of the over 150 lighting fixtures at a new bar/restaurant on the Lower East Side between the hours of midnight and 8AM. You know, no big deal.

Despite the odd hours I was thankful for the experience because it was a huge opportunity to observe and learn first-hand how architectural lighting differs from theatrical lighting.  Plus, it really was a ton of fun!

The story was that Focus had been briefly consulted (read: called at the last minute) on the lighting design for this space, and the purpose of this work call was to follow up to ensure the space looked its best with the equipment that was installed.  The restaurant had already opened during the first week of December without having any of their massive number of adjustable accent lights aimed or accessorized by a lighting designer, so, since we couldn’t work during business hours (or during daylight, for that matter, due to the large skylight in the main dining room), we had to start at midnight.

We started to work just as the last few guests were leaving for the night, pulling all of the recessed accent lights out of the ceiling and adding diffusion, color, and louvers to them before replacing them and properly focusing them in their intended locations.  As we found out, almost all of the over 100 of these fixtures were mis-aimed, making the space feel unbalanced and underlit.  We fixed that problem quickly.  Other tasks on our list included refocusing all of the track fixtures in the main dining room, adding color to the effects niches in the same dining room, adding color to the lighted liquor stands behind the bars, and properly readjusting all of the lighting levels with the new colors and accessories in place.  It may seem like a short list, but when you have to maneuver a tall ladder around tables, sofas, and liquor bottles, it takes a bit of time.  We ended up finishing the focus portion of the evening at around 6AM, leaving just enough time before sunrise to reprogram all of the light levels in the restaurant.  One of the Focus staff trained me on the lighting controls and by the end of the night I was setting light levels like a pro!  We ended up leaving the restaurant at 8AM, just as the sun was lighting up the sky in the dining room skylight.

It certainly was a long night, but I learned a ton from the experience, including that architectural lighting focus calls aren’t that much different from their theatrical counterparts.  Aside from the fact that we aren’t responsible for hanging or circuiting the lights, we go in, add color and accessories, aim the lights, and set their dimmer levels — the same types of activities you’d find at a theatre lighting focus call.  They happen in very different venues, obviously, but are otherwise very similar.  The change of scenery, for me, was fun though.  It was fun to know that the changes we were making would be seen by people every day in a venue that wasn’t a theatre.  And look at the pictures — who wouldn’t want to spend a few hours working in a space as nice as that?

Many thanks to Focus designers Josh and Victoria for bringing me along and teaching me throughout the night!  It was great to finally get a hands-on experience that I would never find at school.  Like I’ve told a few people, you need to observe and experience light in a real space to have the knowledge to design with it — theories and principles are great for school, but they won’t develop your eye for design nearly as effectively as will manipulating light firsthand.  I hope I can continue to tag along and assist more in the future!

Focus Lighting Internship Update!

November 9, 2010


"focus lighting" architectural light lighting design "new york" nyc

It’s time for an update on my internship at Focus Lighting!

First bit of exciting news: I now have an email address at Focus:!  What does this mean for my e-mail inbox? I’m sure you can imagine …

More news: Focus Lighting now has a Facebook page:!  I will be contributing things there from time to time, so you should definitely “Like” Focus to keep updated on what’s going on there.

I’ve been having a lot of fun at the Focus offices over the past two weeks.  Even though my busy grad school class schedule only means I can go in to the office once a week, I’m very lucky to have the opportunity because I’ve already learned so much in such a short amount of time.

For the most part I have been working closely with a few of the staff designers (mainly Scott) on specific projects, assisting with drafting and correcting redlined drawings.  (Redlined drawings, for those who don’t know, are simply hard copy drawings with corrections made in red pen to be changed in the CAD drawings.)  It may seem like typical intern work, but it’s really been a good learning experience.  I’ve not only had to learn the office CAD standards but also the organizational system for files, drawings, and references; and I have to say, Focus is an extremely organized office.  Even though there are small piles of paper here and a few demo fixtures there (which is typical of most design offices anyway), everything that happens behind-the-scenes on their computer systems is thoroughly documented and organized.

It’s been a learning experience in itself pulling various types of information — dimensions, fixture specifications, etc — from multiple files and coalescing it into one drawing.  There is really nothing that can compare with that experience in grad school because everyone works independently.  It’s a whole other experience to collaborate with twenty other people to produce something that is of consistent quality and appearance every single time.  The experience has also been a great impetus for me to start organizing some of the files I use over and over again so that I don’t keep reinventing the wheel every time I, for instance, start a CAD drawing.

Otherwise, I have also been learning more about the specifics of lighting design and the construction process from Scott.  I’ve, for example, learned a ton about cove lighting, a topic which was only briefly touched on in one of my Parsons classes, which is frequently used in architectural lighting applications.  There are also plenty of discussions that happen throughout the day about more specific applications of lighting or luminaires, about such things as a new fixture that’s just come out, or control systems for large projects, which are interesting to listen in on.  If nothing else it’s just been fun to hang around a working office, observe, and chat with the staff.

I’m very much looking forward to spending more time there and learning even more.  Of course, I’ll continue to post updates here (or on the Focus Facebook page) about interesting and exciting things that are happening, so keep checking back!

A New Opportunity at Focus Lighting!

November 1, 2010


focus lighting architectural design new york

That’s right, thanks to a fortunate series of events I’m now officially the new intern at the offices of Focus Lighting in New York!

I’m really excited to get some experience in a working lighting firm to complement and reinforce what I am learning at Parsons.  I am learning a ton at Parsons, thanks to my great professors who are all working professionals as well, so this is absolutely no reflection on them or on the program at all — I’m simply a person that loves to learn.  My first day at the office was this past Friday, and from what I can tell so far, I will learn a lot from the people there, not just about lighting but about the design business as well.  When I made the decision to move to New York I never imagined that the entire city would become my classroom, but here I am!

What’s fun is that after only a day I already started finding mutual connections to people in the office; I know it’s a cliche but I have to say it: it truly is a small world.  One of the people there even went to Emerson for his undergrad, just like me!  Anyway, hopefully I’ll be able to post and comment on interesting experiences and things I am learning there, without getting too specific and breaching confidentiality agreements, personal privacy, or anything of that nature.  I do hope that Focus soon jumps on the blog/social media bandwagon with me, though, because there are certainly a lot of interesting things going on there to share.

At any rate, a huge thank you to the people who helped make this possible, especially my highly-supportive family and friends.  I’m really excited to see where this opportunity will take me, and I hope you’ll continue reading, commenting and exploring with me!