Flashing Above San Francisco

Flashing Above San Francisco

Every so often, we get to talk about our friends, whether they’re doing something awesome in front of a lens, or behind the camera. This time around, it’s both. One of our favorite all-round good guys and awesome photographers, Syl Arena, swung through San Francisco a while back and hung out with our very own Alex Huff. Alex has an awesome (yeah, I’m jealous) view of San Francisco from her balcony, and Syl used the opportunity to do a shoot with the new Canon 600EX-RT flashes and the ST-E3 transmitter. Using the 600EX-RT, Syl balanced the ambient light with flash, resulting in a very cool image. The complete writeup, with breakdown and before/after shots, is on Syl’s blog. Syl also has a piece up about a personal project he did recently, called “The Faces of American Coal.” It’s one of those deeply personal series of images that will resonate with you. They’re up close, intense, and searching. Of course, Syl being the consumate teacher, has also broken down his process for taking the images too, so we get the added bonus of seeing what goes into a project like this. Maine-area folks, a quick heads-up: Syl will be at the Maine Media Workshops, presenting on Canon Speedlites from Aug 19-Aug 25. If you’re around and have never been to one of Syl’s workshops, they’re not to be missed. Head up there and learn about Canon Speedlites from a photographer who’s often cited as knowing as much about Canon Speedlites as many Canon...
Quick samples from the Canon 1Dx and the 600mm f/4L IS II

Quick samples from the Canon 1Dx and the 600mm f/4L IS II

I spent a weekend shooting with the Canon 1Dx and the new 600mm f/4L IS II, and will be posting a writeup of it soon. In the meantime, here are a few sample images taken with that combo. For what it’s worth, my favorite combination until recently was to shoot with the 1D Mark IV and the old 600mm f/4L IS Mark I. I don’t think it’ll be giving much away to say that the 1DX and the new 600 are officially my new favorite combination for this type of photography. Watch for our writeup of these new beasts from Canon later this...
Notable Storytellers – Vincent Laforet

Notable Storytellers – Vincent Laforet

Welcome to Notable Storytellers, where we bring you the work of photographers, videographers, and other visual artists we think you should be following.  Vincent Laforet is a filmmaker and photographer that belongs in any reasonable list of Notable Storytellers (read this short piece to understand why we haven’t mentioned him in this column before). Long before he became one of the pioneers (some, including me, would say he is the pioneer) of making films with video-capable DSLRs, he was a staff photographer for the New York Times – and a Pulitzer-prize-winning photographer at that. Reverie was the film that started it all. Shot over the course of a weekend on a pre-release 5D Mark II borrowed from Canon (that he wasn’t supposed to have, but managed to get Canon to loan him anyway), it set off a storm in the world of video and put Vincent, an already accomplished and talented photographer, on the map in that rarified world. Reverie from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo. Reverie was followed eventually by Nocturne, a short film shot to highlight the capabilities of the then-new Canon 1D Mark IV. If Reverie was Vincent “bad cologne commercial,” as he once called it, Nocturne showed off not only his ability to successfully scale a vertical learning curve, but also his increasing prowess as a storyteller in his newly adopted medium. Nocturne from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo. When Canon decided to break into the world of filmmaking in a more “serious” way, they did so with the introduction of the Canon C300. Vincent was one of the filmmakers tapped to create a short film that showcased its capabilities....
Notable Storytellers – Stu Maschwitz

Notable Storytellers – Stu Maschwitz

Welcome to Notable Storytellers, where we bring you the work of photographers, videographers, and other visual artists we think you should be following. This column replaces the “Photo Finds” column on the BorrowLenses.com blog. Stu Maschwitz is, to use his own words, “a filmmaker, photographer, and writer, with a passion for kinetic storytelling.” To that, I’ll add that Stu is a prolific director and geek whose blog should be required reading for all video afficionados. From his demo reel, you can obviously tell that Stu has done work for the U.S. Navy, Toshiba, and Sony, among other high-profile clients. He is also the author of the venerable “The DV Rebel’s Guide,” which inspired independent filmmakers everywhere to reach for their dreams and gave them real tools to help achieve them. What the demo reel doesn’t tell you, IMDB will. Stu’s credits include doing VFX work for films such as Star Wars, The Spirit, Iron Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Harry Potter. He also co-founded VFX house The Orphanage, which has worked on the aforementioned films and many, many more. Stu also serves as the Creative Director for Red Giant Software‘s Magic Bullet product line. Anyone who’s worked in the video realm for a while is familiar with one or more of the titles in the Magic Bullet suite. Magic Bullet Looks was all the rage back when I was film school (think back in the days of DV, when the Canon XL2 reigned high and mighty), but even today, Looks, along with titles like Colorista and Grinder are considered to be top-shelf software. Stu has also risen to the...
In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

I came across the video below on David Hobby’s site (which happens to be one of the first things I check every morning). In it, photographer Nadav Kander talks about his approach to photography, how he deals with his subjects, and more. Now, I love gear. I pretty-much eat, sleep, and breathe photography gear. I write about it, I advise our customers and staff about it, I test it, use it, abuse it, and love it. I am, in every sense of the word, a gearhead. Creativity, however, isn’t a function of gear. It is, rather, related directly to your imagination and your eye, and those are fed by seeing the work of other photographers, talking to them, and learning from them.  Now, behind-the-scenes videos are my not-so-guilty pleasure. I pore over them incessantly, watching for everything from the big picture of how these photographers work, to tiny nuances in their lighting adjustments, client interactions, camera positioning, posing, and a myriad of other details. These videos, however, don’t always give you an insight into the photographers mindset, or his creative approach, or his thought process. Sometimes, what’s needed is that same photographer standing in front of a crowd for a bit, just talking and showing them images. Narratives about a shooter’s experiences are perhaps one of the most valuable learning tools we have at our disposal. To that end, I present, for your edification, a couple of my favorite photographers talking about their work. Similar to the video above with Nadav Kander, these videos are more along the lines of lectures, rather than technique how-tos. First, we have Joe McNally. Back...