BL Blog


Illuminating the Face, by Peter Hurley: A Review

Tips & Tricks

Back in 2011, photographer Peter Hurley teamed up with our friends over at FStoppers to create a tutorial video called The Art Behind The Headshot. That 4+ hour video more or less became required watching here at BL for anyone shooting any kind of portraiture, not just headshots. In fact, I still refer to it from time to time to prep for a new client; it was equal parts motivational video and coaching tutorial.

Now, three years later, Peter Hurley returns with another tutorial called Illuminating The Face. This is the next logical release after The Art Behind The Headshot, and Peter sent us a copy for review.

Here’s the one-sentence review: This is yet another home run for Peter Hurley, and if you happen to photograph the human face, regardless of your genre, this needs to be on your “must watch” list of tutorials. (more…)

Capturing the Surf: an Interview with Photographer Seth Migdail


Seth Migdail is a surf photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. A regular at Mavericks, his work has been featured in a number of outlets, including and I sat down with Seth to talk about his work, his process, and what it takes to break into the insular surfing community.


Serene Travel Photography with the Canon EOS-M


The Canon 5D Mark II has long been Tristan Pott’s go-to camera for capturing snippets of Japan and Taiwan, where he has been living for the past several years. To save a little space while still getting to use his normal lenses, Pott picked up a Canon EOS-M, Canon’s first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Pott’s serene photographs of scenes from his day trips around both countries shows that a little camera can produce some beautiful visual keepsakes. If you’re trying to save on weight, especially if you are a Canon shooter with some lenses already available to you, the Canon EOS-M with the EF to EF-M adapter just may be the ticket! Find out below why Pott chooses the EOS-M. (more…)

Working With Magic Lantern RAW Files

Tips & Tricks

In case you missed it, we started carrying a version of the Canon 5D Mark III modified with the Magic Lantern firmware modification last year. One of the really cool features of this tweaked body is that you can now shoot 1080p video in RAW format.

Still shooters know what this means: better control over white balance and a file that stands up to post-processing really well. RAW is still something of a new bag for video shooters working with DSLRs, however, and there are a few things you should know when you start working with RAW files from the 5D Mark III.


Behind The Shot: Just Like A Dream

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!

Krystle Wright 14

Photographer: Krystle Wright

Gear: Canon EOS 5D MIII, Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens580 EXII Flash

Settings: 24mm, 30sec @ f/4.5, ISO 400

Backstory: Highlining is an incredible sport that involves a strong mentality and of course balance. As I photographed high lining many times, I noticed the intricate movements especially with the arms to help maintain the balance and came up with this idea to strap L.E.D lights to Chris Rigby under a full moon. We were in Consumnes River George in Northern California. The high line is 237ft long titled ‘Just Like A Dream.’ The LED lights were quite bright in Chris’s face so it was a real challenge for him to focus. I would’ve used my pocket wizard to fire the flash though in the darkness, I misplaced a cable so instead I had a friend, Ryan Robinson to press the test button on the flash to pop it off. To get the focus sharp, I had Chris stand where I knew I wanted the flash to hit him and pre set the focus and the rest was a test of patience. No doubt I needed a tripod and I used a trigger to avoid camera shake.

I’m really pleased that this photo turned out the way it did as it’s always challenging to come up with new ideas or concepts to show the sport in a different way.

Also be sure to check out this recent feature article on Krystle.

Check out more of Krystle’s work on her 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!

BorrowLenses Year in Review: The Cameras of 2013

Gear Talk

2013 is a record year for new camera models at, which means having the biggest selection of models we’ve ever had. There is something for every kind of photographer, from mirrorless pocket cameras to huge 60+ megapixel medium format DLSRs. We selected a bunch of our favorites from this bountiful season. Discover what’s available for exploration in our year-in-review. (more…)

Behind The Shot: Redbull Athlete Profile

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!

Kenny Belaey - Action

Photographer: Long Nguyen/ Red Bull Content Pool

Gear: Canon EOS 5D Mark IITokina 10-17mm Fisheye, Alien Bee/White Lighting 1600, Pocketwizard Flex TT5 , Human Tripod (my friend Thil)

Settings: ISO 100, f/8, 1/500

Backstory: This was a last minute shoot. World Champion trails bike athlete Kenny Belaey was visiting SF to do demo for the Golden State Warriors half time game. Kenny had just gotten off of an injury and this was his 2nd time riding. I had a very limited time window to work with Kenny. When I pulled into our location in Pacifica, I noticed a boulder on top of the hill. I knew I wanted a shot from up there.

After Kenny warmed up we hiked to the top. I peaked over the cliff and ask if he would rear tire stale his bike on the ledge. I really didn’t know what to expect since it was a dangerous maneuver and Kenny was not at 100%. He peaked over the ledge and said let’s do it. Kenny is a talented athlete and great to work with. Wether I saw something he did or vise versa, we were able to make it work. The whole shoot in about 2 hours and we left knowing that we had made some great images.

Long Nguyen is an adventure/sports journalist, and goes wherever his camera takes him – for the thrill of an adventure and the action of the sport. Long enjoys photographing many things but his emphasis is in mountain biking. He’s feels lucky to have the opportunities to travel the world and meet new people on all of his journeys. Long thanks his family and friends for all of their support & continues to live for the quest for amazing photography.

Kenny Belaey - Portrait

Check out more of Long’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!

Gear Spotlight: Is the 24-70mm f/4 IS Canon’s Best General-Purpose Zoom?

Gear Talk

The 24-70mm zoom range is one of the most popular zoom ranges on any camera, and most manufacturers have at least one lens in that category. Canon’s 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom was getting fairly long in the tooth, and its replacement, the Mark II, has garnered widespread praise and accolades from users and reviewers alike.

Lost in all of that was Canon’s 24-70mm f/4L IS zoom, which was released a few months after the f/2.8 version. This odd lens, which is, ostensibly, the replacement for Canon’s similarly long in the tooth 24-105mm f/4L IS lens, came as something of a disappointment. Why, people wondered, did Canon kill the additional 35mm of zoom range from this lens, and why would anyone opt for this lens over the sharper and faster f/2.8 Mark II?

Well, I’ve been using this lens for the last few weeks as I work up a series of video articles for you folks, and I’m starting to think that this dark horse of a lens is a hidden gem.


Hidden Gems – The Canon 400mm f/5.6L

Gear Talk

Here’s something that’s going to make Canon shooters looking to get started in wildlife or sports photography pretty darn happy. For years, Canon has made this often-overlooked piece of glass that, as the headline for this blog entry suggests, is a true hidden gem.

Presenting: The Canon 400mm f/5.6L USM lens.


Small Cameras with Big Impact: Traveling Light without Compromising Quality

Gear Talk

Don’t get us wrong – we LOVE our big cameras, especially those pro bodies with huge, high-quality glass. Lugging it around, however, is not so ideal – especially while on vacation or during situations where there just isn’t a lot of room to shoot.

High-quality sensors are coming in smaller and smaller form factors, which is good news for globe-trekking photographers or for those who simply need to pack lightly. These small cameras are perfect for:

  • Hiking to get that great sunrise/sunset shot from a high vantage.
  • Inconspicuously taking candids out on the street.
  • Using auto or fully-manual settings on a simplified system.

Here are 5 recommended small cameras with incredible image quality: (more…)

Cool Stuff — July 2, 2013

Cool Stuff

Welcome to Cool Stuff, a recurring feature where we post our favorite links, including our favorite articles and how-tos, videos, images and more.

Cool Stuff articles are culled from BLFlip, the official Flipboard Magazine of If you’ve got an iOS or Android device, you can download the Flipboard app for free now. (more…)

Cool Stuff — Week of May 27, 2013

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.

  • We rent a lot of fancy video gear, but if you find yourself up at over 13,000 feet needing, for example, a boom or dolly or jib, you might be well-served watching this video from our friend Chase Jarvis on how to improvise when necessary. (more…)

Learning To Leave The Matrix – A Tip On DSLR Light Metering

Tips & Tricks

With our dependence on LCD screens to give us immediate exposure feedback, knowing how to meter light is at risk of quickly become a fading skill. In this guest blog post you will learn how your DSLR meters light and what that means for your photography. This is a great intro for beginners as well as an easy reminder for the more seasoned shooter. (more…)

Cool Stuff — Week of May 6, 2013

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.

  • First, from our friends over at PetaPixel, this one gave most of us butterflies just thinking about it. Actually doing this? No thank you. But we’ll watch the video anyway.
  • Our tablets (like the iPad) are getting increasingly powerful, and Adobe has a plan to put that power to good use. The fun stuff starts at 18:09 in the video below.
  • Budding photojournalists, heads-up! The folks over at Fotopedia have launched an iPad app that lets you create and view stories on the go. If you haven’t checked out Fotopedia, you should – they have a pretty nice platform for telling photo stories.
  • We love our timelapses, but this one takes the cake. Two months of an Antarctic ice breaker’s journey, compressed into 5 minutes.
  • And finally, to those who have a hundred questions about photography, here are your answers. Zack Arias, photographer and educator extraordinaire, has taken the best of his Awesome “Photography Q&A” Tumblr and turned it into an awesome book.

 And now, for the Roundup!

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

The Best Lenses for Night Photography: A Case for Rokinon Primes

Gear Talk

David Kingham is a landscape photographer who focuses (pun intended?) on the night sky. He set out to find the best astrophotography and night photography lenses for their price point. Discover why Rokinon lenses may transform how you shoot.

The Best Lenses for Night Photography

by David Kingham

Prime vs Zoom

What do you want in a lens for night photography? The most important factor is how much light a lens will let in so that we can shoot at lower ISOs– this means apertures of f/2.8 or greater (f/1.4 being preferred). Most zoom lenses only go to f/2.8 and, while they are perfectly okay for night photography, they are not the ultimate lenses to use.

Enter the prime lens! A prime lens is a fixed-focal-length lens that is designed to have much larger apertures. If you have looked into the major manufacturers’ primes (Nikon, Canon, Zeiss) you may be thinking I’m crazy right now because they are expensive (unless, of course, you rent them)! I went on a search for lenses with the ultimate quality-to-price ratio.