Archive for 'Photographers'
I’ve been going to the San Diego Comic-Con off and on for quite a few years but this year I wanted to do something a little different. Each year hundreds of Con attendees dress up as their favorite characters, some of them quite elaborate. Armed with lighting gear from Phottix, I managed to find an area where I could set up and make portraits of this cosplay wonderland. Another mission of the trip was to make a portrait of one of my favorite artists Gris Grimly. His booth was fantastic and made a perfect background for this moody image. Thank you to all who stopped to share. Here are some faves.
Reilly is in fourth grade which means she is studying the California missions this year. One of her assignments is to visit one of them, and we chose the Mission Santa Barbara. Before that, we decided to make a 3-day detour to my favorite place on earth…Disneyland!
The first two days were remarkably crowd free and we all had our fill of rides and attractions. The third day was leap day and the park was open for 24 hours. We did not know this when we booked, but it was a huge event with thousands waiting at 5am for a chance to enter the park early. I left Stef & the girls in bed and made my way into the two block line. I have been to Disneyland many times but have never seen the sunrise there, it was quite special. I walked the park for an hour and just explored, something I used to do when I went with my parents, but this time of course I took photographs.
I’m proud to say the girls went on every ride we asked them to this time and never chickened out. Their highlights were the Aladdin stage show, World of Color (an amazing night time show in California Adventure), and the chain swings. It was a fantastic time.
NERD ALERT Non techies can stop reading now: My Fuji X-100 review starts here. I know this camera has been reviewed ad nauseum but I thought I would give a perspective from real world use. Ever since I sold my last Leica M7 years ago I have been searching for an “every day use” camera that I take with me wherever I go(Stef gets quite annoyed when I bring the 5d and a few lenses to dinner). Most small digital cameras just don’t have the quality or features I like but when Fuji announced the X-100 last year they got my attention. I won’t go into the features of the camera as that info is widely available and much better described than I could do here. I carried the X-100 every day of our trip and enjoyed using it. So here is what I liked:
The camera is SMALL. Having this little thing around my neck was quite liberating compared to my big Canon and a zoom lens. I saw hundreds of people in Disneyland with a big DSLR/lens around their neck and couldn’t help but smirk a little as they all eyed mine. I hardly noticed it and it never got in the way on any of the rides. I knew lighting situations were going to be all over the place so I shot exclusively in aperture priority mode with auto iso. With a few clicks of the exposure dial, this method worked wonderfully most of the time. I also almost exclusively used the viewfinder to frame and shoot. I prefer shooting that way (instead of the lcd) and it just makes me feel more connected to the scene.
Now, this is not a camera for quick grab shots or rapid fire shooting…and I like that. The design and operation makes you think about your shot and, slow down. I took easily half as many pictures with this camera as I would have with my Canon, which made things much more enjoyable to go through when we got back.
In use: My main goal with this camera was to document our vacation. While it did that very well, it was also very fun to use! Hard to explain really, but I haven’t had that much fun with a little camera since my Leica days. The act of framing, getting exposure, and waiting for the decisive moment was a great experience for me. The lcd screen seemed just “ok” and got the job done for reference, but it’s certainly not the brilliant 5d lcd. I found the camera very easy and intuitive to compose and focus, again not lightning fast but fast enough for my needs that week. The manual aperture ring is right up my alley and in no time I found myself constantly fingering it preparing for the next shot. While I’m not a flash user, there were a couple of occasions where I just couldn’t take a risk (the girls getting Goofy’s autograph in dappled light). The little Fuji does a pretty nice job balancing the flash with the ambient, I was quite surprised.
Focus: Apparently this has been quite a polarizing topic regarding this camera but I can honestly say that in the over 700 frames I shot that week, I think about 4 shots missed focus. Sorry Mr. Kelby, sounds like you got a bum unit. My method was pretty simple: If I was shooting at f2 and needed critical focus, I used the EVF. Shots f4 and smaller I switched to the beautiful OVF. This really worked well for me. Of course this is a smaller sensor and only an f2 lens and granted most of my shots were at f4 outside in bright light, but I just did not experience any of the reported focus gremlins.
And of course there is the image quality. I am consistently impressed with the incredible quality this little camera puts out. So much that I have used it on several professional sessions. The colors are great and I’m more than comfortable shooting at up to 1600 iso.
So who is this camera for? Certainly not someone looking for a good point-and-shoot, there are much better offerings for that. The X-100 is designed for people who value the experience of making pictures. Using it requires some effort, and yes there are a few quirks, but overall it makes me feel a little bit more analogue in this digital world…something I need every now and then.
You might have seen our earlier post with the fun images James shot while having fun with the Good Day Sacramento folks, and now we finally have the video clips to share. Good Day invited James down last month to talk about the many awards he brought home from the SPA (Senior Portrait Artists) event in San Diego, as well as do a mock senior photo session with their weekends anchors on air. I guess they must have liked it, because they invited him back the following weekend to share the images he took of them on air. The clips below are in order and include his appearances on both weekends. James had a blast and absolutely loved everything about the fun group at Good Day Sacramento. Thanks to their entire team for making it such a great experience! We’ve also included his winning high school senior folio that garnered the most awards at the SPA event. Click on the clips below to see his TV debut…
Last week James and I were in San Diego for the SPA event 2010 (SPA is short for Senior Portrait Artists). This organization attracts some of the most talented high school senior photographers in the country and hosts one of the premier educational (and social!) events of the year for photographers. After James attended last year’s SPA event in Las Vegas without me and came home completely fired up, there was no way I was missing this one (especially because it was at the beautiful Hotel del Coronado). Aside from meeting up with hundreds of others talented photogs and hearing loads of great speakers, a main attraction and highlight of the event is the competition, which many of the attendees enter each year. This was the first time James entered the SPA competition, which included categories for senior girl and senior boy folio (a composite of multiple images from the same subject) as well as a single-image kids competition this year. Now, James has entered and done well in competitions before, but never anything quite like this. After all of the folios and prints have been judged, they are displayed all over tables so everyone can look at all of the entries. James felt quite intimidated when he saw the caliber of artists entering the competition. You can imagine the thrill we both felt when his name was called not only once, but SEVEN times at the awards ceremony! I thought he might pass out from the excitement (or the weight of all of those beautiful statues!)! I’ve included a photo of James with six of his gorgeous (and heavy) glass statues (the biggest one shattered in shipping and is being replaced), as well as a few of the winners. The awards he won are as follows: Top scoring folio; First Place girl folio; Judge’s Choice senior folio; People’s Choice folio; People’s choice single image; 2nd & 3rd place single image kids. James is so humble and if you know him, you know that he would never go out of his way to tell you about this amazing honor, but I can’t help myself, mainly because he works so hard and I think it’s so well deserved. Way to go babe!
Ok, ok…I know we’ve already posted this image, but we got such an overwhelming response to it, we entered it into this months Professional Photographers of Sacramento print competition (Stef’s idea…of course)
The judges agreed with you all and awarded it Best of Show! Stef and I were of course thrilled and so proud of Reilly for doing such a great job.
I guess we owe her something…any ideas?
Here is the version the judges saw.
Brad is new to the modeling biz is building quite the portfolio. Can’t believe he has only been doing this a month, he has some great looks. Wonderful to work with, excellent taste in clothes, and as Stef puts it, easy on the eyes….
Best of luck Brad!
An audience with the King.
Got a chance to meet Kevin King, inventor of the RadioPoppers, the amazing cool new wireless transmitting device for off camera flashes. NOTE: this post is for the particularly geeky photog types so the rest of y’all might want to move on…
First, I don’t know why, but I was surprised about how young this guy is. Something about the name KING just made me think white beard and silver blond hair. For some reason I kept picturing the Burger King guy…At any rate, Kevin is one of the most unassuming down to earth (brown haired)guys you’ll meet and it was a pleasure chatting with him.
Ok, the skinny. Kevin made a cool device called RadioPoppers. Essentially what they do is make wireless infrared flash photography possible at incredible distances, and eliminate the need for ‘line of sight’ shooting. Before these cool doo dahs, in order to use a flash off camera in ETTL mode, your transmitter had to ‘see’ or be pointing in the direction of the other flash unit. Who cares right? Well, now you can put flash units wherever you want (behind trees, on balconies, under staircases) and get a balanced exposure all controlled by the unit on the camera.
This is really cool for wedding photographers. Now we can set up all kinds of lighting before the event, and make adjustments on the fly without even seeing the other flash units. No more asking assistants to adjust the lights and no more missed shots from flash misfires.
I asked Kevin how they work and he was thrilled to tell me. Unfortunately, after ten seconds all I heard was mwaa mwaa, blaahh mwaaa…. or something about a gated hoopflange…
Kevin, I appreciate your intellect, but all I really want to know is, can I put a flash in a trash can and fire it from across the room? Apparently the answer is yes.
For those in the know, and anxiously awaiting…they WORK! It is quite awesome to use them. I dare say, and I might be speaking prematurely, that these babies may forever change wedding photography…heck flash photography in general. Can’t wait for the first production run (hey Kev, I’m on the list right?), these things are going to be fun!!
Kevin was nice enough to strike a pose here showing off his new toys. Best of luck!!