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Dramatic portraits of kids – Lighting and intent

When photographing portraits of someone, we can only leave so much up to serendipity. Deliberate action produces deliberate results. While things don’t always work out to plan, having a plan helps propel things in a certain direction.

With that, we need to be able to pre-visualize the photographs we want. We need to shoot (and use light) with purpose. Even if you are just experimenting and playing with your camera and lighting, you will fare better if you have some intended result in mind. Always that question in mind – what is it that we are trying to do here?

  • This specifically is the topic of my WPPI 2016 masterclass – Pre-visualising the shot. (There are still open spots if you would like to attend.)

When I had the opportunity to photograph my friend Cate’s three kids, I knew I had to bring something else into the mix to make the photographs stand out. I always feel an extra bit of pressure when I am taking portraits of a photographer – or in this case, the kids of a photographer.

I’ve shown in previous articles here how I love the dramatic quality of light that can be achieved with a single gridded strip box. Working with a single light helps simplify the process.

Since the lighting would be dramatic, I wanted the kids to have their normal expressions. Not all smiley. Just neutral, and perhaps slightly serious.

I definitely did not want the cheeeeese. Besides, us stylish people say Lamborghiniiiiii. The words, “come honey, smile for the camera”, grates on my every last nerve. It is always disappointing when I am trying to sneak a candid, unguarded moment of a kid at a wedding, only to have the mom disrupt the moment with a “look at the camera!”

I do feel that in allowing the child to relax into a normal expression, we can divine more of their true personality than a continually forced smile would. So yes, I wanted that more serious expressions here. Serious, but relaxed.

Gracie, Antony and Olivia certainly brought their A-game for the camera.

 

Camera gear (or equivalents), and lighting gear used

The light was from a single  Profoto B1 TTL flash  (B&H / Amazon), with a Profoto 1’x4’ gridded strip-box (B&H / Amazon). As shown in previous articles (listed in the Related Articles link below), I’ve shown how it is possible to swing and rotate a gridded stripbox for fine control over how the light falls on your subject and background. With these little kids, I didn’t need the size of the 1×6 stripbox. It might’ve been too intimidating any way. So I used the smaller 1×4 stripbox with the same effect. The long shape of the softbox, as well as the grid on the softbox, create a unique light fall-off – giving soft, but dramatic light.

 

Control your light

Let’s look at a sequence here, where we move from the soft available light in the studio coming in from the windows – to where we have control over the light. While the available light is nice here, we can only control how it appears, by how we position and pose our subject.

To bring control of the light into play, we have to use additional light, whether off-camera flash or studio lighting. This is explained with examples here as well – Off-camera flash vs. available light.

The available light photo (above) … and then, the moodier, dramatic light from the gridded strip-box. (The two images below.)

This little cutie, Gracie, is used to the camera, and did these poses herself with her hand, and how she held the flowers. It only needed minimal guiding from me how she should sit and place her legs. I did position her towards the light then, but the elegant way she holds her hands – that’s all her.

 

Cate’s oldest daughter, Olivia, has this Victorian style dress that she wanted to be photographed in. The serious mood also fitted the dress in this case.

In this first example, I used a big softbox – the Profoto RFi 3’x4 softbox – a large light-source. Using it to the side, we get directional soft light.

With the gridded strip box though, I have even finer control over how the light falls on the background, and on Olivia’s dress. It’s a more dramatic light-falloff.

If we needed more flat light, without changing light modifiers, we could just use the strip box straight-on. The light fall-off to the sides are still quite pronounced.

 

Summary

In controlling our light in how it spreads, and how our light falls on our subject, we can intentionally enhance the mood we want to create. As simple as that, and as dramatic as that.

 

Related articles

 

The post Dramatic portraits of kids – Lighting and intent appeared first on Tangents.

Photo gear for sale

I have various pieces of photo gear (and other items) available that I am selling. There are Nikon and Canon items, as well as various flash modifiers. There’s a Sennheiser microphone and receiver set. A bunch of random stuff that I need to clear out of the studio. Have a look around.

I’m only selling in the continental USA, and the price includes UPS ground shipping.

The B&H and Amazon links shown for some items, will give the full details and spec.

 

Nikon 35mm f/1.4G

Nikon 35mm f/1.4G
The lens is in very good condition – it hasn’t seen much use.

The lens mount shows two light scuff marks.
The rear and front element are free of scratches.
Comes with the box and caps.

It sells new for $1,700 at B&H.
I would like $1,250 for this, including shipping via UPS ground to CONUS.
(Paypal fees or credit card fees included.)

 

 

 

GoPro Hero 3 Silver  (1080p video)

(click on the photo for the larger version)

  • GoPro Hero 3 Silver (1080p video) which sells for $256 on Amazon
  • lots of other bits and pieces, including
    – 2 extra batteries
    – water-proof housing
    – Hero BacPac  $39 on Amazon
    – (2x) window mounts.   (I have no idea how I ended up with two.

This GoPro hasn’t seen much use, and some of the items are still unopened.
I would like $220 for all this, but I’m open to offers.

 

 

Feiyu FY-WG 3-Axis Gimbal for GoPro

This superb little gimbal is perfect for the GoPro, and can be mounted on various devices. I used it on my flash bracket for BTS videos.

It sells for $312 on B&H and Amazon. I would like $240 for it.

This is how I mounted it with my GoPro:

 

Epson R2880 printer + paper + ink

My Epson R2880 is for sale. Plus a bunch of paper (some of it unopened), and some ink cartridges.

I just printed a few test prints after cleaning the heads … and it looks fine to me.

I’d like $700 but am open to offers.
$50 shipping via UPS ground.
I am in northern NJ if you want to pick it up.

Here’s the sales pitch:

You’ve seen all the discussions about how you should print your images, and not leave it on your hard drive. Show them off! And by printing them, you (in a way at least) safeguard them for the future. What a wonderful forward-thinking idea. Your grandchildren’s grandchildren will love you for this .. even though they will only know you through your photographs. Still, the legacy!

So here is your chance to print your own photos at home!

I am letting go of my superb Epson R2880 for a really good price of $700. I am open to haggling. Upwards preferably.

$700 for local pickup from me here in NJ. Add $50 for shipping to the lower USA.

This includes that pile of printing paper you see in the boxes. Some of them still unopened. There are also some inks cartridges.

So how about it! Embrace the idea entirely of having your masterpieces printed … and have the fun of doing so yourself. Win-win. You have fun. Win-win for me since I can clear up some funds for other uses, and clear up some office space.

This will make both of us happy!

 

CANON GEAR

 

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

Click on the image for a larger version

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens  

Amazon price is $120 …. I would like $80

This is a mint copy of this lens. Used once. It has both lens caps. I bought it as part of a kit, so it comes without the box.

 

Read the rest of this entry »


review: DJI Osmo camera & gimbal

For the birthday celebration of two of the members working for Modern Gypsies productions, a bunch of their friends were invited to  help assemble a Chinese Dragon … and then the group of us wove our way down the sidewalks of Brooklyn where we ended up at a night-club. This was also a perfect time to test my new DJI Osmo camera and gimbal  (B&H / Amazon). The camera offers up to 4K resolution, and has a 3-axis gimbal for stabilization.

The video clip above is a 3 minute long compilation of video footage that I shot with the DJI Osmo during the evening.

In the low light in their apartment, and out on the streets, as well as the night-club, the camera was constantly at the max ISO available for video on the Osmo – 3200 ISO. So keep that in mind when watching the video – this is 3200 ISO from a small sensor. I think it looks remarkable.

Even though the camera offers 4K resolution, I only needed 1080p video resolution. Originally, I had wanted to use a frame-rate of 60fps, but there wasn’t enough light for that, so I settled for a  frame rate of 30fps, and f/2.8 – the widest aperture possible. White balance was set to AWB, since the color balance was constantly shifting as we moved from area to area.

The video clip was assembled in iMovie, with no post-processing done to the video. So this video clip should give you a very good idea of how good the camera looks at 1080p resolution, directly out of the camera at such a high ISO.

You also need to keep in mind that I was walking at a brisk pace to keep up with the dragon, or to get ahead of them. The night-club was packed with people dancing, so I was getting jostled a bit as well … and yet, the video is remarkable stable.

(This photo above, isn’t a still capture from the camera – it is a screen capture in iMovie as illustration here.)

 

Specifications: DJI Osmo

The DJI Osmo (affiliate), combines their Zenmuse X3 camera & gimbal.

There is a smartphone holder to turn your phone into a WiFi-connected on-board monitor to check your video output while you move. The Wi-Fi features a range of up to 85′, so you can operate the camera and gimbal remotely as well.

The handle offers easily accessible buttons to switch the gimbal on or off, and to start / stop recording. (The handle is detachable if you want.) There is a joystick for manual pan and tilt. Better yet, you can use your camera phone to give you touch-screen control over the movement of the camera!

The DJI Osmo offers video resolution up to a stabilized 4K format – all in a handheld form factor. The camera features a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor that enables up to full DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) video recording at 24 or 25p as well as 12MP photo capability.

 

I was very impressed with the speed of starting it up. The grip is a comfortable size, and the buttons ergonomically placed. The Osmo felt surprisingly well built, yet still light enough to carry around without fatigue to your hand or arm.

At one point in the night-club, I connected with the dragon, and the camera got knocked into a different direction – two taps of a button on front of the handle, and the camera oriented itself forward again. A super-fast way to correct any hiccup like that. Also, if you tap that button three times, the camera swivels around to offer you a selfie mode. The 2nd-last snippet of video there, is … well, I think I’m recognizable enough for you to figure out.

You can download an app, which turns your camera phone into a monitor and controller – Wi-Fi connected via the Osmo.

The price for the DJI Osmo camera and gimbal  (B&H / Amazon), is currently around $600 – an affordable price for a device which raises quality on-the-run video footage, up another big step.

 

The post review: DJI Osmo camera & gimbal appeared first on Tangents.

Belinda. In studio. 

In all the excitement of new, smaller cameras, I love to slow down, go through the files, and see what images looked like from a more "primitive" time in digital photography. This image was taken with a Canon 1DSmk2 and a Canon 85mm f1.8 lens. The shutter speed was 1/20th of a second. The aperture was f2.5. Seems to work okay considering the "vintage" contraption with which it was taken....


On second street in Austin. Looking for a place to pee while freezing your ass off...

Image taken with Sony RX10 Classic. 

I let Studio Dog choose this image to show. It's one of her favorites from last winter when the temperatures actually dropped blowing freezing for a little while. Here we are in February and the forecast this week is for temps in the high 70's. Hmm. 

Continuing in the vein of our recent glorification of cameras with one inch sensors I thought I would draw your closer attention to the current king of the one inch sensor cameras, the Sony RX10 ii. It might just be the contemporary Swiss Army Knife(tm) of cameras aimed at workaday journalists and corporate public relations staffers. The camera is almost identical to it's predecessor on the outside, using the same lens, the same rear screen and the same control interfaces, but the camera is much improved in some regards. The two big improvements being a higher (kinder) resolution EVF, and the inclusion of a very professionally fitted out 4K video capability.

If I were a journalist today, working for a newspaper (how quaint) or an online news channel, this would be a compelling tool. I would be able to use it to capture most subjects (with the exception of fast moving, hard news and sports) as high resolution, very high quality photographs and I would also be able to hit the video switch and record a 4K video signal that uses full sensor read out for very high quality imaging with very few artifacts. Much cleaner and sharper video than you will get out of a $3200 Nikon D810 or a similarly priced Canon 5Dmk3. All of this in a small, complete and unintimidating package that can go anywhere. In any kind of weather. 

On the video side the camera features time code, zebras, focus peaking, a microphone port and (vital) a headphone jack. It can write its 4K, 100 mbs onto any U3 SDXC memory card --- in camera. The RX10 ii is also a great tool for creating conventional 1080p video content when you need to conserve card space...

It's a very nice and very worthwhile upgrade to the Sony RX10 (original model) but, with the recent upgrade from ACVHD to XAVC S in the RX10's video codec the need for most videographer to upgrade seems less urgent. The RX10 is now a more powerful and clean 1080p machine! The reason to upgrade would be the need for 4K video or the desire to have the more detailed and enjoyable EVF.  A secondary reason might be the deeper buffer and more complex file processing enabled by the new BSI sensor, with on chip processing and buffering. You'll be able to shoot more
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Dear VSL readers. I woke up early and found 8 really nice comments waiting for my moderation. I selected all and then totally screwed up (blaming the lack of life giving coffee....) and hit the delete button instead of the "publish" button in the Blogger software (they are adjacent and the trackpad on my laptop loves to leap while clicking is in progress.....)

I would love to post your comment if you have time to give it another try. Most were in response to yesterday evening's post on the "Rise of the One Inch Sensors."

Sorry about that.  KT

In a conversation with Connie, a photographer friend (who has posted in the success stories thread), we talked about exactly this topic – finding your muse. Finding someone or something that continually inspires you, and somehow pushes you, or allow you to make some breakthrough in your photography.

More than just an assembling of techniques, there should be the drive to DO something with our photography. To grow, and to reach other people. Here is Connie’s story of how she discovered her muse – the person who inspired her to become a better photographer.

 

Finding your muse and inspiration in photography

Modern Marketing For Photographers

a guest post by Connie Grant
High-school Senior Photographer, Richmond VA

 

I am a photographer. After a decade of teaching myself the ins and the outs of my craft, I can now speak these words with pride. Yes, I am a photographer! The journey to become one has never been easy, but I was never alone. I had friends to encourage me, critics who angered me, and artists who inspired me.

My desire to create with the black box was, and still is, as important and vital as air. When my dad died suddenly, I felt as though the air had been sucked out of me. Photography was my air. The process gave me the chance to focus on something outside of grief. I realized early on in my pursuit the importance of a photo. From a baby’s first cry, until the last steps that we take, photography is the art of capturing feelings and moment, and glimpses into a life. Photography saves that tiny second of time and preserves it. A camera will bring the most wonderful people into your life. Each and every one of those people have a story.. and it may be worth telling.

So, take a rest from the technical part of the camera, think about your path to your dream. Tell a story! The story is out there… you just have to find it. You, as a photographer, have been entrusted with a person’s most prized possession. Their memories.

This photo is from a bridal session at the Bolling Haxall house, and was an inspirational shoot. I wanted them to look like they are the cover of a Dicken’s novel – the air of an era that has long passed by; the essence of a fine wine. They are the wistful dreams of a seventeen-year-old high school senior, who wanted to be a princess bride for a day. They are the desires of a photographer to escape the pain from a father’s suicide on that cold February day.

I have realized that photographs are of quintessential “rite of passage” times in life, but I’ve learned that sometimes they capture moments that may not come to be.

I rarely share the events in life that drew me to a camera. I have found that the old saying “every cloud has a silver lining” is so very true. Life has a funny way of placing us in moments where we need to be. I still actively support suicide prevention in all ways possible.

I met my Chelsea, my model, when her mother approached me over a year ago about doing her high-school senior portraits. This interesting young woman has become such an inspiration to many. She definitely inspired me, as I think these subsequent photos from a bridal photo session with her, will show.

Chelsea became very ill before entering high school. She required a feeding tube for nutrition and diagnosing the problem was a nightmare. She was flown to Germany for surgery to correct the congenital life-threatening problem. Through surgeries, and feeding tubes, and a lot of perseverance, and perhaps a few answered prayers, she is better today. Her dream to dress up for prom, and homecoming games, and other school activities, flew by as she recuperated from several procedures to save her life. She missed these events. Creating the Princess Bride session with her, was in a way to make up for the formal events that she missed throughout those high school years. I believe the photos are some of my best work to this date.

The Bolling Haxall house is a thing of beauty in itself. Built in the 1800’s it has housed Richmond Virginia families and many events. It is now owned by the Richmond Women’s club and is a highly sought after venue for dinners, weddings, and events. It has original furnishings, and congenial southern staff. The day of our photo session there, we were given full run of the premises. People working there stopped and stared at this vision that Chelsea had become.. I still stare at the photos.

The morning of the shoot I watched the shy beautiful girl transform into a composed and confident young woman. There wasn’t a trace of awkwardness as she posed for me . Chelsea is very patient. Most seventeen year olds lose concentration after an hour, but she can hold a gaze and model for hours at a time. And that face? Flawless. When I saw the results of our efforts in creating these photos it was hard to believe that this was the same girl who a couple months earlier was spinning around in my yard trying to catch snowflakes on her tongue as I took some shots with my new camera.

 

For her original Senior photo session, (which was the first time I met her,) Chelsea chose a historic cemetery for her session. I was fascinated by the idea, and her senior session was amazing. Little did I know that I had found my muse, and a friend forever. I will always follow the adventures of Chelsea as she prepares to start college.

The hat will always be her signature photo from her senior portrait day.

As you see, there’s the story behind that beautiful bridal shoot, The Story of a teenager’s dreams of a special event, and a photographer’s desire to fill slow winter days with a creative project. Chelsea’s mother gets to imagine a real wedding where her child is healthy and whole.

Life, even when long lived, is short. Photos last forever.
Find a story and capture it. You’ll be so glad you did.

Connie

 

Related links

 

The post Finding your muse and inspiration in photography appeared first on Tangents.

Added: New links for the "research impaired" (DP Review readers) at the bottom.

Amazing that, for once, Nikon could be accused of getting to market too far ahead of everyone else. I'm talking about their initial foray into the "one inch" sensor camera market. Four years ago Nikon surprised most of us by introducing the V1 camera and a small collection of lenses. I snapped one up because it was so interesting. I also bought three of the lenses. At the time the sensor was 10 megapixels but that didn't stop me from shooting some journalistic-type jobs with it, including a project photographing Dell's CEO, Michael Dell, at a visit to Austin Easter Seals; which I wrote about here on the blog.

The camera was very good and very fast. The icing on the cake was that even back then that little mirrorless camera (at about $1,000) focused, and locked focus, much faster than the current mirrorless, full frame cameras from Sony. The images looked really good, too....as long as you didn't go too high on the ISO scale. But Nikon wasn't able, and hasn't been able, to get much traction with the system. They were on the wrong side of the razor. And they made a critical mistake in having a step down camera (the J1) that DID NOT have an EVF or any way to add an EVF. The market really wasn't ready for the idea of the smaller sensor camera at a price that was higher than Nikon's competent APS-C consumer cameras. They just didn't figure out how to give the targeted users a compelling reason to acquire this particular tool set.

Nikon blazed new territory and, for that, I am somewhat proud of Nikon. But now I have a sense that the one inch sensor's time has come and that the cameras being designed around variants of this size sensor are about to take their place in the camera hierarchy as competitors to the current crop of micro four thirds machines.

Why do I say this? Hmmm. Sony and Panasonic tied me down and forced me to say this in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars and truck loads of free gear!!!? Well, would you believe, instead, that I've had such good experiences with the two different models of "one inch" sensor-equipped cameras that I am quickly coming to embrace them as everyday photography tools? I wish the former reason were true but I'm afraid it's really the second...

In the past week I've done two assignments with the small chip cameras and had, what I consider, excellent outcomes. In one instance, which I shared here on the blog, I photographed actor, Jimmy Moore, for a marketing promotion for Zach Theatre. The camera in question was the Panasonic fz 1000 which is currently available for a whopping $695. All you get for your money is a Leica designed lens that is very sharp and gives you 25mm to 400mm (equivalents) along with a 2.36 million pixel EVF, as many frames per second as you want, solid and beautiful 20 megapixel raw files and pretty darn flawless 4K video. Oh, I forgot to mention the really, really good image stabilization.

This is the kind of job we might have used our full frame cameras on before but if you think about the nuts and bolts of shooting people on white backgrounds (who will eventually be cut out from the background) the smaller sensor just makes sense. At f8.0 the entire person is in focus so the clipping path becomes easier to make. If the quality didn't match up it wouldn't matter about the efficacy of the clipping paths but the reality is that, at ISO 125, shooting raw and metering accurately, the files were impeccable. So that's one application. And, interestingly enough, the smaller, cheaper camera (relative to my D750 or D810) does such a good job with face detection AF that I use it and never suffer from inaccurate focus. Tell me you always nail AF with your big DSLR and I'll laugh along with you....

In the same week I pushed a Sony RX10 into service to photograph a prototype techie machine on a white background. As I explained in yesterday's post the impetus was to be able to use a camera with a sharp lens and more depth of field than even my m4:3 cameras, at the same angle of view, without any apparent loss of image quality. I am confident that we succeeded. In fact, that job may well have led to a much bigger video project; which might also be perfectly within the technical abilities of the smaller sensor-ed cameras.

In a similarity race with the Panasonic the Sony RX10 includes a faster lens, designed by Zeiss and just about everything I described about the fz 1000 above. And, in a head to head competition, both were equally proficient and, in fact, cut down on my post production time in each case.

I said, in my blog yesterday, that it would crazy to go out and buy yet another one inch camera but that's exactly what I intend to do. I am convinced that there are many assignments that would actually benefit from getting beyond our knee jerk prejudice for bigger cameras. The older Sony with the new XAVC codec and the newer model with its 4K capability and high video frame rate (great for slow motion effects) are not only good still cameras but are really first class video cameras. In concert with the fz 1000s we can be out shooting video with multiple, high quality "B" cameras ---- limited only by how many tripods I own....

While the imaging sensors have gotten better and better with the bigger cameras it's equally true that the sensors have improved in the one inch cameras as well, and, obviously, designing high quality lenses for the smaller sensors is easier and more cost effective than designing lenses with similar angles of view for larger sensor cameras.

I have a little side bet going with myself. One of my personalities (the risk taking artist) thinks we can do just about every job with one of the "one inch" cameras. Another one of my personalities (the linear, insecure engineer) thinks we should be safe and careful and always shoot with something "professional." While the day to day personality (capricious and insouciant business guy) says, "oh what the hell? let's give it a try!!! In response, my personality who is "accounting guy" fainted and hit his head on the desk again... At any rate the bet is whether or not we can pull of half of our video productions and still photography assignments with a combination of the three best one inch superzoom cameras on the market. It's a fun contest and the winner gets nothing but the glory of being proven right.

I just can't get over how great the files keep looking from these all-on-one super cameras. And if Nikon gets one right I'll try that one too.

I'm thinking this is the year that one inch sensor cameras become mainstream and get pressed into an enormous variety of paying jobs. Of course, I've been wrong before so I'm hedging my bet by keeping the big cameras of various formats around the studio. After all, the first lesson of "wing walking" is to grab hold of the strut in front of you before you let go of the one behind you....

Here's some affiliate advertising if you are antsy to get started shooting smaller





Buy one instead of yet another lens...

Added on Sunday for all the people with no institutional memory for the writings and research here at VSL: We were early adopters of one inch cameras buying the V1 from Nikon the month it appeared, the Sony RX10 two years ago, etc. Here are some links re: our engagement with the Nikon Series 1: 

http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/10/nikon-1-counterintuitive-crazy-and.html
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-camera-reviewers-indecision-and.html
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2012/02/yesterday-was-about-marketing-and-fine.html
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2012/01/take-bodhi-bike-downtown-take-pictures.html
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/12/small-sensor-systems-practical.html
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-top-gear-of-year-stuff-i-bought-that.htmlhttp://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/12/nikon-series-one-10mm-100mm-kirk-review.html
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/11/shooting-dress-rehearsal-with-tiny.html
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/11/some-images-taken-on-rainy-day-with.html
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-good-is-vr-or-is-on-nikon-v1.html
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/11/im-always-amazed-at-how-entrenched.html
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/11/just-quick-post-with-few-more-nikon-v1.html
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2011/10/nikon-v1-part-two-wet-performance.html

Chaps my ass to read on DP Review, in the Nikon Series 1 forum, that I am "a late arrival" to the one inch sensor camera club..... lazy jerks.


I'll start with an analogy: I have several friends who are chefs. They own their restaurants but they still get in their kitchens several times a week and "work the line" because, beyond their restaurants being businesses, they also enjoy the art/craft of cooking. Of making stuff with their own hands. A couple of these guys are in their mid-fixities and have a good thirty years of food service experiences under their belts. They've learned some valuable information about successful cooking that makes them fast, efficient and, by extension, profitable. 

To help them in their work they've learned to choose the right tools for each process. And few tools are as important to a chef as their collection of knives. They have paring knives for fine work, they have big cleavers for heavy duty chopping, and they have assorted serrated and non-serrated utility knives for chopping and filleting and slicing. But, here's the important thing! They don't do every task with one magic, perfect knife. 

It just doesn't work that way. They select the knife that will work best for each kind of work they do. The could do okay with a few well chosen knives but it would not be as much fun and it would just make their work take more time. Some dishes might suffer from the relative mismatch of tools and ingredients... Fingers might get nicked. So, selecting the right tool = good. 

What does this aside have to do with us photographers? Well, there seems to be a pervasive mythology in photography at large that somewhere, in some mythical camera store out there, exists a perfectly sorted camera for every user. One all purpose machine that is a perfect fit for everything the photographer might ever want to do. One need only find their own mythical
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WPPI 2016 masterclass: Pre-visualising the shot

WPPI Masterclass – Pre-visualising the Shot – March 7, 2016 (Monday)

MC23: On-Location Portraits:  Pre-visualising the shot before clicking
Monday, March 7th @  3:30 to 5:30 pm

  • Proactive Composition in Portraiture.
  • Taking control of the shot, the planning, the execution of the idea, the capture, the edit.
  • The importance of pre-visualizing before clicking  – posing, lighting & context.

There are 50 seats available at this Masterclass. Even if I don’t see you at the presentation, come over and say hi when you see me around the MGM. (Keep in mind that I usually wear my computer glasses, so people at a distance are a bit of a blur, so I might respond to a hello head-nod. Come on over.)

 

 

Photo shoot-out  –  Las Vegas – March 6, 2016  (Sun)

To coincide with the trip to Las Vegas, I’ve added a mini-workshop of my own which will take the form of a photo shoot-out (4 hours), on location away from The Strip.

There will be two models, and I will bring the Profoto B1 and light modifiers and Profoto triggers.. Just bring your camera and lenses. (Further details to be announced shortly.)

The photo shoot-out / mini-workshop will be limited to 6 people. Fee is $350 per person.
There are only 3 spots left of those!   Contact me if you would like to come with.

 

Photography workshops

 

The post WPPI 2016 masterclass: Pre-visualising the shot appeared first on Tangents.





 click on the image to see it bigger. The reflections are really pretty...

When I visit a new city the first thing I do, after checking into my hotel, is to get a good street map and memorize (in a very general way) where everything is. I won't know exact street names and such but I will understand just where the cool stuff is located. Once I've spent an hour or so with a real map I grab one camera, and the lens I think will make me happiest, shove an extra battery in my pocket and head for the front door.

I think the best way to see almost any city is to invest some shoe leather and walk the streets. The city will reveal itself to you, if you are open to it.

The image above was shot with a Samsung Galaxy NX camera. It was an infuriating camera and yet, an endearing camera. Infuriating in that it operated like an overgrown phone and was prone to, well, freezing up or shutting itself off at the least advantageous times. Endearing because when it did work the files could be quite beautiful in a way that was visually different from the usual Canon and Nikon files.

I was always a little surprised that the folks at Samsung dropped that camera so
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Does this happen to you? You come across a photo that you like for some group of technical reasons and you immediately cogitate that it must have come from one of your expensive super cameras festooned with some high priced, German lens. You play with the image and sniff around the edges and, after a while you remember that you can click that little "info" button and find the real provenance of the photograph. Then, sometimes, you have to come to grips with the reality that the image was made with a camera that you dismissed. That your own elitism deprived you of.

And it's usually a case of the camera being so inexpensive and unremarkable that you were comfortable bringing it along everywhere and even taking the chance that someone might spill beer on it. You might drop it but you knew a crack in the polycarbonate wouldn't make you cry.

And, all that is probably the same set of reasons you don't take that D810 or A7R2 with you when you pop out for a cold one with friends. And so, that camera; the precious one, is hardly ever present with you when you are out dipping your toes in the rippling streams of daily life. So it's rarely there to capture the fun stuff either.

The image above was taken with a long discontinued Sony A57 or A58 and the $200 35mm f1.8 lens. An APS-C camera with an electronic viewfinder and a careful price tag. When I saw the info box identifying the gear I had almost forgotten owning that little family of cameras. We concentrate on the big stars in the camera families like the A99 or A900. But it's the cameras that follow us around that get pointed more often at the good stuff.

Here's another one from a camera I traded away last year (below). Recently I bought a new copy and when I saw this frame in the mix, and the one of the soup just below it, I remembered why I liked that camera so much in the first place.



They are both from the original version of the Sony RX10. A cold day out walking. A quick lunch at the Royal Blue Grocery, across from Lance Armstrong's bike shop. I can't imagine that any "better" camera and lens would have produced anything "more" than what I ended up with. Effortlessly. 

I love the amateur cameras. Psychologically, they rarely get in the way.

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