BL Blog

Behind the Shot: Mermaid Swimming with Tuna

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email! Find out the backstory of how marine photographer Kurt Arrigo captured this scene with the help of Japanese Olympic Synchronized Swimmer Saho Harada.

Photographer/Filmer/Editor: Kurt Arrigo

Gear: Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera, Nikon 24mm f/1.4, Subal Underwater Housing

Settings: ISO 200, Aperture F8, Shutter speed 1/80

Backstory:I have been working with Japanese Olympic Synchronized Swimmer Saho Harada on a quite a few underwater assignments. On this particular one we intended to capture something a little different with a greater impact. The plan for this particular shoot started as all other underwater shoots with Saho begin. She would swim down a couple of meters and do her thing for a couple of minutes and then swim to the surface for a breather. I would stay down underwater in my scuba gear waiting for the perfect shot. Unfortunately, the tuna were not cooperating and would not come to the surface. They only would stay at a depth of at least 15 meters. We ended up having to change the plan. It was decided that Saho would go deeper using some of my air and the other safety divers through a spare regulator. Saho would swim away and get this surreal feeling and then swim back for some air. We did it a few times and after approximately 20 minutes we slowly returned to the surface.  To be quite honest, I didn’t think at the time that we managed to capture one good shot all day! Later that evening I downloaded the images and there it was…(speechless)

Kurt Arrigo was kind enough to share this amazing photo with us and provide some insight into underwater photography. He was born on the Mediterranean island of Malta and immediately connected with the sea at very early age. He has been working as a marine photographer for over 20 years, capturing moments of how we interact with Mother Nature.

Check out more of Kurt’s work on his website and Facebook page.

If you like this photo be sure to share it! Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Behind the Shot: Madness

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Photographer/Filmer/Editor: Matthew Malkiewicz

Gear: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L

Settings: ISO 400, 1/100 second, F4.0, manual mode, auto white balance, RAW image format.

Backstory:  This photo was captured at a chartered rail-fan/photographer 3-day excursion, during the off-season of a tourist railroad. It was a heavily overcast dark and misty winter morning. I was able to shoot this photo during the first run-by of the day.  These are the times when my best photos come – less than ideal and comfortable conditions to be outdoors. The train dropped off the group of 40 photographers at the photo line location, then backed out of view, paused for the air to clear, and roared forward. Silence is broken; vapor from boiled water, pressurized and released at regulated intervals, moves machined steel parts to create the sound of distant thunder as it echoes to the ground.

My camera was mounted on a monopod, the height of the lens at waist level. I wanted the lower vantage point to capture the headlight glint off the shiny railheads, and with the 200mm focal length compress and exaggerate the irregularity of the track. I chose the head-on shot, felt it was a much more dramatic composition as opposed to an angled side view. I’ve learned not to use any type of filters in front of the lens, in such situations would just cause unwanted lens flare when aimed directly into the headlight.

I did very minimal work in Photoshop after the photo was captured. I spent maybe 20 minutes at the most. The setting of white and black points, exposure, contrast, saturation, clarity, and vibrance were all adjusted in Camera RAW. I’m not one to make major modifications to what the camera captured – in Photoshop as a TIFF file only some dodging of the locomotive under the headlight to bring out detail, and burning of the steam/smoke plume to accentuate the layers of texture and pattern. A faint dark vignette was added to the frame’s perimeter.

I had thoughts of cloning out the tree branches in the upper right corner, but felt they added depth. By design, I like the classic leading lines of the rails towards the train, and outwards more parallel lines where gravel and vegetation meet. The inverted triangle of the smoke pointing downwards further forces attention to the oncoming train. Almost a symmetrical frame, but not quite. For those who have not participated in a close encounter such as this, it’s quite the experience. The sound is deafening, the smell of smoke, coal, steam, and hot oil in the air. The ground shakes – all senses are acutely aware. Sometimes the camera stays in the bag, to be a spectator and watch it all with the naked eye.

Some see an outtake from Harry Potter, others a gothic Nightmare Before Christmas scene. I have titled this photograph “Madness”, a terrifying sight from which you recoil in dismay. Reason is gone, this is madness under control as the fire breathing beast approaches.

Check out more of Matthew’s work on his website.

If you like this photo be sure to share it! Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Instagram Weekly Photo Challenge: Three

BL News

Want to get your photography featured on our blog and Instagram accounts? Each Wednesday BorrowLenses is announcing a theme of the week and you will have until the following Tuesday to submit your entry. You may already have a photo that suits the theme or you can view it more as a weekly photo challenge. Continue reading to discover this week’s theme and how to enter! This is an exciting new opportunity that we hope will get more of our users and fans showing us what they shoot.

Images from Last Week:

Last week we had some great entries of people showing us their favorite “Blue” shots. Fans followed the BorrowLenses Instagram page and tagged photos with #BLSomethingBlue. The WINNER of last week’s Instagram contest is Natalie Martinez! Congratulations to Natalie for winning a $50.00 rental credit to BorrowLenses. Here are a few of our other favorite images collected. Feel free to comment and let us know what image is your favorite in the bunch! Check out all of the #BLSomethingBlue entries here.

New Theme: THREE

This week we want you to show us how you can represent the word “THREE” in a photo. Do you have three children, three drinks, or three cameras? The photo can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Make sure to add a caption if the photo needs an explanation. Snap a photo, tag it, and reveal to us what represents three in your life.

How to Enter:

1. Select a photo that fits the weekly theme. Upload the image to your Instagram profile.
2.”Follow” the BorrowLenses Instagram page
3. Add the weekly tag to your image: #BLThree
4. Entries must be posted within the past week and not just re-tagged
5. You are done! Track all the entries here.

The weekly theme is open to your interpretation and creativity.  We can’t wait to see what you are photographing. Deadline is July 29th at 12PM (PST). To honor your efforts, we’ll award a $50.00 gift card good for rentals at BorrowLenses.com to our favorite image of the week.

Good luck and happy snapping!

How to Keep Your Gear Clean and Protected : Summer Edition

Tips & Tricks

Summer is full of outdoor excursions, worldwide travel, and photo/video projects which take advantage of the long sunlit hours.  Among all the wonderful outcomes of summer exploration it’s good to keep in mind how to best protect your gear when the tides may turn for the worst.

Sailing Adventures

© Nate Stone

Sea Sand Sun

Considering your next photo shoot or outdoor adventure at the beach or on a boat?  Do it!  Just be prepared for the elements.  The beach and open waters are littered with hazards that can be potentially harmful to your gear. (more…)

Seeking Inspiration — July 20, 2014

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Seeking Inspiration, an irregular column where we talk about the things that inspire us as artists. 

This video came through my RSS feed last week, and got me thinking of a lot of different things all at once.

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Instagram Weekly Photo Challenge: BLUE

BL News

Want to get your photography featured on our blog and Instagram accounts? Each Wednesday BorrowLenses is announcing a theme of the week and you will have until the following Tuesday to submit your entry. You may already have a photo that suits the theme or you can view it more as a weekly photo challenge. Continue reading to discover this week’s theme and how to enter! This is an exciting new opportunity that we hope will get more of our users and fans showing us what they shoot.

Images from Last Week:

Last week we had some great entries of people showing us their favorite “Golden Hour” shots. Fans followed the BorrowLenses Instagram page and tagged photos with #BLGoldenHour. The WINNER of last week’s Instagram contest is Zach Rogers! Congratulations to Zach for winning a $50.00 rental credit to BorrowLenses. Here are a few of our other favorite images collected. Feel free to comment and let us know what image is your favorite in the bunch! Check out all of the #BLGoldenHour entries here. 

New Theme: BLUE!

This week we want you to show us anything BLUE! What is blue in your life? The color blue is known to be both powerful and calming. This week we are asking the BorrowLenses community to share their impressions of the color blue. Snap a photo, tag it, and reveal to us what the color blue means to you! The contest is open to your own creativity so show us your best!

How to Enter:

1. Select a photo that fits the weekly theme.

2. Upload the image to your Instagram profile.

3. ”Follow” the BorrowLenses Instagram page

4. Add the weekly tag to your image: #BLSomethingBlue

5. Entries must be posted within the past week and not just re-tagged.

6. Make sure your Instagram profile is Public.

You are done! Track all the entries here.

The weekly theme is open to your interpretation and creativity.  We can’t wait to see what you are photographing. Deadline is July 22nd at 11:59 PM (PST). To honor your efforts, we’ll award a $50.00 gift card good for rentals at BorrowLenses.com to our favorite image of the week.

Good luck and happy snapping!


Headline Image Courtesy of Joe Ercoli @ Anvilimage.com

Instagram Gear Giveaway Contest

BL News

#BLGoesVintage with our friend, The Phoblographer, for our first ever Instagram Giveaway! You have a chance to win a vintage medium format rangefinder camera. This leaf-shutter, fixed lens aging beauty shoots 6″×9″ exposures on 120 or 220 film. You can also take home a $250 BorrowLenses.com gift certificate so that you can still rent something from the modern age.

4 runner ups will win one of the following:

  • Oben Monopod
  • Custom SLR Camera Strap
  • Think Tank Turnstyle Sling Bag
  • BL T-Shirt, Sticker, and Tote Bag

HOW TO ENTER:

1. FOLLOW us on Instagram (@borrowlenses and @phoblographer)
2. REPOST the image below with #BLGoesVintage to your Instagram account.

Instagram-contest-FB

Contest ends on July 29th so enter today and tell all of your friends about it! Winners will be announced August 4th. (more…)

Win a New Camera from BorrowLenses: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, Panasonic GH4 4K Mirrorless Camera, or Canon 6D

BL News

Tired of shooting with the same old camera? Take 1 minute to enter our camera giveaway!

You could win your choice of a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, Panasonic GH4 4K Mirrorless Camera, or Canon 6D Digital SLR with more chances to win runner-up prizes, including great gifts from Cinevate, Zacuto, Think Tank Photo, SmugMug, Videopixie, and many others.

One entry is all it takes for a chance to win a brand new camera and change the way you capture the world around you. Enter now below!

Full sweepstakes official rules and list of bonus prizes can be found at the bottom of this post below the entry form.

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Part 2: Basic Steps and Lessons of Using Tilt/Shift Function

Gear Talk

This is part 2 of a series on tilt-shift lenses. Be sure to also check out part 1: Will Learning Tilt-Shift Lenses Improve Your PhotographyJohn Cooper specializes in corporate, industrial, and commercial photography for various business communities in Texas and teaches basic skills to other burgeoning photographers. If you are just starting out, or looking for a refresher, check out his advice below. You can also read more tips for architectural photography from John on our blog


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Part 1: Will Learning Tilt-Shift Lenses Improve Your Photography?

Gear Talk

John Cooper specializes in corporate, industrial, and commercial photography for various business communities in Texas and teaches basic skills to other burgeoning photographers. If you are just starting out, or looking for a refresher, check out his advice below. You can also read more tips for architectural photography from John on our blog. Here is his advice on whether tilt-shift lenses are worth it for photographers.


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Instagram Weekly Photo Challenge

BL News

Want to get your photography featured on our blog and Instagram accounts? Each Wednesday BorrowLenses is going to announce a theme of the week and you will have until the following Tuesday to submit your entry. You may already have a photo that suits the theme or you can view it more as a weekly photo challenge. Continue reading to discover this week’s theme and how to enter! This is an exciting new opportunity that we hope will get more of our users and fans showing us what they shoot.

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Breaking the Rules to Get the Most Out of Natural Light

Tips & Tricks

In photojournalism school, students are taught to underexpose when out in the field in order to achieve the richest colors and most intense contrast possible in a photograph. The trick, conventional wisdom explains, is to bring the exposure back up in post processing. I shot this way for years and it always treated me well. I’m still a big fan of the ‘underexpose method’ when shooting landscapes and documentary stories. The technique brings out the drama of what you’re trying to capture; old, wrinkly faces look like they belong to lost souls with millions of years of stories to tell, a canyon or mountain scape appears to be straight out of a dream with rainbow-like colors and dark, cloud-filled skies seem to hover over every crevice of the earth. Depth and drama are what this technique creates  — perfect for telling stories with a ‘wow’ effect. (more…)

Prime Lens Basics and Why You Should Ditch Zoom Lens Photography

Gear Talk

Prime lenses are a not-so-secret weapon favored for their fast apertures, crisp detail, and creamy bokeh.  They differ from the more commercially popular zoom lenses because of their ability to better maximize available light and separate foreground from background with aesthetically pleasing crispness.  They also possess the power to be a catalyst for creativity since they force the shooter to be more physically involved in their compositions.

50mm f/1.8 used in two different ways.

What is a Prime Lens?   (more…)

Freelance Filmmaker Uses BL Gear for Documentary Project

Gear Talk

Jason Aron is an avid freelance filmmaker and customer of BorrowLenses. In 2013 he raised over $50,000 for the production of a documentary film project entitled Back in Time. The film that is scheduled for release in the fall of 2015 examines the Back to the Future franchise and its cultural relevance. Aron made a 3-week journey from Santa Monica, California to Maui, Hawaii capturing the scenes for his movie with gear he rented from BL. Check out what Jason had to say about the BL gear he used while filming Back in Time.

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A Photographer’s Guide to Modern Urbexing Jamie MacDonald

BL News Tips & Tricks

Jamie MacDonald is an Olympus Trailblazer who shoots nature and wildlife in the Mid-Michigan area exclusively with the Olympus Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds camera systems. He is also a contributor for Small Camera Big Picture. As a nature and landscape photographer he enjoys exploring new areas that have often been abandoned. Learn the tools of the trade to modern “urbexing” in the article written below by Jamie MacDonald. He has also been featured on our blog discussing a new light painting tool to create a successful light painted photo

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