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.

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 – Week of August 6, 2012

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

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.

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

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.

read more…

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

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 – Week of July 30, 2012

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.

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