BL Blog

Flashing Above San Francisco

Photographers

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.

Alex Huff by Syl Arena. Image Courtesy and Copyright Syl Arena.

Alex Huff by Syl Arena. Image Courtesy and Copyright Syl Arena.

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 engineers.

Cool Stuff – Week of August 6, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

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

Gear Talk

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.

This image is actually about a 2MP crop from the original 18MP image

This image is actually about a 2MP crop from the original 18MP image

Taken with the 1Dx and the 600mm on a gimbal head at the Don Edwards wildlife refuge

Taken with the 1Dx and the 600mm on a gimbal head at the Don Edwards wildlife refuge

This is handheld, from the top of Mount Tamalpais, 10 miles from, and about 2500 feet above San Francisco

This is handheld, from the top of Mount Tamalpais, 10 miles from, and about 2500 feet above San Francisco

Watch for our writeup of these new beasts from Canon later this week.

Notable Storytellers – Vincent Laforet

Photographers

Vincent Laforet is a filmmaker and photographer that belongs in any reasonable list of Notable Storytellers. 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.

Another quick note on “Photo Finds” and “Notable Storytellers.”

BL News

Being a part of the photo/video industry can sometimes blind you to the fact that not everyone – especially not newcomers to this field – will know everyone of note in it. The Notable Storytellers piece column (and the Photo Finds column before it) was about bringing you the works of folks that you may not have heard of. We never featured Joe McNally or Vincent Laforet for the simple reason that if you’d been around for even a little bit of time, you’d have already heard of these folks.

That assumption was put to rest recently when, during some small talk with a customer at the BorrowLenses.com main office, I found out that this particular customer was just starting to shoot video on a DSLR. He asked if I had any links to good learning resources.

“Well,” I said, “I’m sure you’ve already checked out Vincent Laforet’s classes on creativeLIVE, so…”

“Sorry,” he interrupted. “Who?”

“Vincent Laforet. You know, the filmmaker? He did Reverie and Nocturne?”

The customer shook his head. I was flumoxed. This had happened to me before, but it still surprised me.

So clearly, we have customers who haven’t heard of Vincent Laforet. I’ve also talked to customers who’ve never heard who Joe McNally is, or who Jay and Varina Patel, Stu Maschwitz, Scott Kelby, or Jay Maisel are.

Part of it is that I do have industry blinders on. I assume that if I know who these people are, everyone must. Obviously, that’s my short-sightedness.

When I first conceived of the Photo Finds column, it was to highlight the work of photographers whose work our audience might not have heard of. So, I resolved not to include the big names, like David Hobby, Joe McNally, Scott Kelby, or Jay Maisel. Not because these photographers weren’t well-known, but because they were. But in doing so, we’ve clearly done a disservice to some of our audience.

So, going forward, we’ll start talking about these folks. Because if you’ve got even a casual interest in photography, you should know about them. And, since the whole point of this blog is to educate and inform our customers and audience, we’ll do our best to bring them to your attention.

As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

Cool Stuff – Week of July 30, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff. As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

A quick note on “Photo Finds” and “Notable Storytellers.”

BL News Photographers

Late last week, we debuted the first of our “Notable Storytellers” pieces, featuring director and VFX artist Stu Maschwitz. This piece replaces the “Photo Finds” column, and I thought that the switch in name and focus warranted an explanation.

(more…)

Notable Storytellers – Stu Maschwitz

Photographers

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.

In Their Own Words

Photographers

Behind-the-scenses, how-tos, and technique tutorials are excellent tools to help photographers get better at their trade. Just as important, however, is listening to and understanding the experiences of the shooters you look up to. Here are a couple of videos along that vein.

The Leica Diary, Part 1: Introduction

Gear Talk

These days, it looks like every major camera manufacturer is coming out with a new addition to the MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera) class of bodies and lenses. The latest, of course, is Canon, with its EOS-M camera. These units, typically smaller than your average DSLRs, have been getting better and better, packing some serious punch into a very small form factor.

Thing is, in all the hype behind cameras like the EOS-M and Fuji’s X100 and X-Pro1 bodies, people forget that MILCs have been around before companies like Sony, Fuji, and Olympus made them popular. Way back in 2006, a good three years before Olympus came out with its retro-styled Micro-Four-Thirds-based camera, Leica introduced its first digital rangefinder, the M8. (more…)

Deal of the Week

BL News

Check out our Deal of the Week!

25% off:

Canon 70-200mm f/4 L (note: coupon for NON-IS F/4 model of 70-200mm ONLY)
Sony NEX-VG20 Camcorder
Nikon 85mm f/1.4G AFS 

Good until Sunday, July 29th, at midnight PST.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cool Stuff – Week of July 23, 2012

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a weekly feature where we post our favorite links from the past week, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

That’s it for this week’s Cool Stuff! As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

The Internet is Awesome

Cool Stuff

Google’s Marissa Mayer was recently hired on to helm Yahoo! as their CEO, and photographers who care immensely about Yahoo!’s beleaguered Flickr photo service decided to send her a message.

The folks at Yahoo! responded with a kind of “Help us help you” message, and posted the following:

Though it isn’t exactly what some folks would have liked, it is nice to see that Yahoo has their ear to the ground and is actually listening to what their users and critics have to say.

In recent times, they’ve been facing competition from multiple quarters. Google+, 500px, and even Facebook have improved their photo sharing features. One wonders if the wonderful community that exists on Flickr will eventually fall by the wayside. As fans of the service (and longtime users), we hope Marissa Mayer does, in fact, make Flick awesome again.

Zack Arias on DigitalRev

Cool Stuff

Just a quick “You gotta see this” post for you today. The folks at DigitalRev.com had Zack Arias on their show last week. Zack, who is visiting Hong Kong for a workshop with Joe McNally, appeared on the show that he calls the Top Gear of photography.

DigitalRev does a segment called “Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera,” which last featured Chase Jarvis. Now, Zack makes an appearance, shooting with a Kodak C142. The result? Sheer awesomeness.

On the Profoto Blog

Cool Stuff

Our recent Tip of the Week was picked up by the wonderful folks at Profoto and mentioned on their blog. If you haven’t been by there, you’re missing out – they post a ton of great stuff that’s worth looking at even if you never use a single piece of Profoto gear. We warn you though – watching some of their videos will induce a pretty severe case of Profoto lust.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you…

Visit Profoto’s blog at profoto.com/blog, and check out their mention of our piece here.