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Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

That Kelby Clan…..

Feb 23

In On Location, Videos at 8:10am

Had a blast last week with the gang from Tampa out at PhotoShop 20th anniversary in San Fran. Though a couple folks let me know that no one out there refers to their fair city in those terms. It’s either full blown San Francisco, or just simply, SF. Okay. Nicknames or no, it’s still a great place. We dovetailed with the Kelby Online Training video team, led by the intrepid Scriv, and shot a new video. We had great fun, and great subjects.

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How can you not like a bunch of guys who sing nothing but Leonard Cohen songs, acapella, and call themselves a Conspiracy of Beards? When they perform, they are 30 strong, but we were happy that 4 of the guys showed up at the Java on Ocean Coffee Shop.

I just wanted to put the camera down and listen, I tell ya. No instruments, no music, just the power of their voices. Jeff, the guy with the gray beard, smiled and said, “Yeah, load in’s a bitch.” (They just walk into a venue as they are and start singing.) They were great to work with, and Hossam, the owner of the shop, not only makes great coffee and killer deserts, he couldn’t have been nicer about letting us shoot in his store. You know how some people understandably get nervous when they see c-stands, wires, power packs walking in the door? None of that. He was totally cool, and we got good pix without driving too many folks crazy.

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Used big light sources for these pix. Shot both with two Elinchrom Quadra heads, each with their own power pack. For the lineup, the lights are in the street, and we stitched together swatches of diffusion for the window. This should make for good video. Window was so big we were taping everything we could think of to block the straight sunlight from pouring in. Used Lastolite one stop diffuser material, tri-grips, bits of the local newspaper, concert posters, you name it. I stopped just short of going into the mens’ room and stealing the toilet paper. For the table pic above, the light source is just over my head, a 3×6 Lastolite panel, rigged horizontal, with the two heads popping through it. Shooting multiple faces close together, soft, wide light sources are the way to go, at least most of the time.

Been having a lot of fun shooting the Kelby videos. I shoot every shot as if it’s for a portfolio piece, and sometimes I fall short, right there on video. But that’s the nature of the location beast. Sometimes you da window, sometimes you da bug. But I keep looking and talking as I go, trying to find solutions that work.

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This one worked pretty well, also shot recently for an upcoming training video. Big light in the background, hot shoe flash for the foreground (30″ Ezybox Hotshoe Softbox) on a paint pole. In between…smoke! And another light way camera right, gelled and defining the far wall. When working in a space like this, sometimes your light has to not just light the person, but define the space.

Enjoying doing the tours stops for the NAPP gang as well. Now wait a minute here fella…you’re actually saying you enjoy having every single frame you shoot pop up on screens in front of 800-900 people? Are ya stupid or just plain crazy?

No, I really do enjoy them and feed off the energy of the kindhearted (mostly:-) people in the audience. It’s hectic, and while I have a game plan, I do riff around pretty continuously. I’ll say to Drew, hey, you know, we could do a double exposure in camera right now, don’t you think? Drew will just roll his eyes and adjust admirably.

But we do move fast. In NY, we made our model look these three ways, in, as they say, a NY minute.

Corporate….

corporateAthletic…

kelby_tour_nyc_0166Fashion…kelby_tour_nyc_0262

The three above were shot mostly small flash, with a bit of big flash for the fashion shot. As I recall, anyway. At the end of those days, I am a wet noodle, and really sometimes ask Drew when we are reviewing frames, “How did I light that again?” Sheesh…

Got some dates and stops coming up for this year already….Philadelphia, 4/7Denver, 4/28 …and Sacramento, 5/7…we’ll be knocking it back with all sorts of flash techniques.

Last week in SF was great. Anytime I can head out there, it’s a good trip. Did some shooting, found a ballerina in the woods, went to the PS20 deal. I had no business being there, but hey, nobody said anything. As I tweeted the night of the fest, they rejected my idea of the Jennifer Aniston slider, which makes everybody beautiful and appealing, at least for a while:-)

Nor did they accept the “Lindsay Lohan Transform Tool,” which puts a dull glaze in everyone’s eyes. Even bounced back my notion of a Tiger Woods plug in, for, I guess, their own reasons.

Gotta go…packing for Dubai….more tk….

“I’ll Light Ya For It….”

Oct 5

In Seminars & Workshops, Videos at 8:55am

So this Kelby guy walks into the locker room, see. He’s got a burger and fries. I’m in the middle of a shoot, but I’m hungry. Next thing you know…..

Had a blast at PhotoShop World. One cool thing…the world’s largest tattoo convention was right next door. Needless to say, it attracted a bit of a different audience than PSW. Drew and I did some quick Iphone scouting pix for future subjects. Amazing stuff..

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I kept telling Moose Peterson he should go over and get a set of antlers done:-) No luck though…..More tk…..

Mad Water Buffalo and Englishmen….

May 29

In Friends, Lighting, Videos at 6:52am

That’s how it goes, right? Or is it mad badgers and Englishmen? Mad dogs? Can’t remember, but that’s okay, cause Drew Gardner reminds us in his lighting video. Lessee, this video is about location selection, apparently dead fashion models, trees, tractors, Elinchrom Rangers, booms, C-stands, makeup artists, live badgers, animal trainers, fences, lighting theory and diagrams, water buffalo with naked women atop them, smoke machines, smoke wafting, backlighting, sidelighting, mood lighting, post production, and of course, the ring master who can control the action in all three rings of the bigtop of his brain, the aforementioned mad Englishman, Drew Gardner. Check out this teaser. Drew keeps his clothes on (thank you!), the model gets a bit naked.

Drew is a piece of work, as anyone who has encountered him knows. He’s got one of those singularly crazy sensibilities behind the camera that always pushes the envelope of what is possible. Thing is, he has always got a destination in mind, which is great, especially for somebody who likes a story line. He links these pix into a narrative. An admittedly hazy, madcap narrative, but a narrative nevertheless. Witness his epic fashion shoots with fashion models in 6 inch stilettos impossibly outrunning heavily armed Russian special forces troops. There’s a bunch of these. Makes me wonder what eventually happens? Stay tuned! Are they caught and brought back to a nasty prison for the outrageously overdressed? Do the SWAT guys propose marriage on the spot? Or do the young ladies turn on their pursuers and start wielding their Manolo Blahnicks as fearsome, unusual weapons, ala Go Go Yubari and her chain mace ball of death in Kill Bill, Part I? I want to know! Drew, next installment please!

This installment is a load of fun and information, and pushes Drew further down the road of his ongoing forest adventures, which are already notable, and involve, as always, fairies, nymphs, real animals, animals from story books, exquisite staging and styling, a Phase One back and a smoke machine.

Ahh, the smoke machine. Drew has not got your garden variety, take it out of the closet every Halloween and see if it works type smoker you can buy at Partytime for $19.99. No, no. He has got a state of the art, industrial strength, planet Dagobah type smoker. Think LA on a bad day, and you’ve roughly got what the forest looks like after Drew gets done with it.

Check out the video, and Drew’s website. Quite mad, indeed. More tk…..

LIGHTING KIT FOR THE ELDERLY

Dec 10

In Books, Friends, Travels, Videos at 12:16am

Its small, airplane friendly, easy to use and very light so even photographers of, well, a certain age can lift it. Bob Krist demonstrated his lighting kit in the new Nikon SB900 video…..

And people are going nuts about it, emailing him, wanting to know about every bit and piece. He showed the kit during the video, pulling out all the stuff, but not a couple of the crucial items, such as the heating pad and the flask of Geritol.

He’s one tough sonofagun, though I tell ya. Check out the fight we had on the set…..

Actually, it was a pleasure to knock out this instructional video with Bob, who is one of my dear friends. When you are still carrying cameras and shooting great stuff at his age, there are several things that are true. You are a complete gentleman and a pro. You know your stuff and learned a long time ago that this business is all about what comes around going around, again and again. Bob, who considering his career as a Geographic shooter and peerless travel photographer and writer, could easily have let Mr. Ego out for a healthy, career long romp, has never done that. He checks the self important bullshit at the door, rolls up his sleeves, and gets to work. He is one of those rare commodities; a good shooter who is also a good teacher. He communicates well, and his avuncular “Sit back and Bob’s gonna explain it all for you” style puts people at ease and lets them learn in a zone where they are comfortable making mistakes and asking questions, which is the real key to any teaching environment.

Bob and I are the same age, by the way.

Take a look at a couple of his pix…He has, as he says, over time, covered the waterfront.

He has a new book out…..

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This tome is a must if you want to dive into the competitive world of travel photography, either as a pro, or as traveler who simply wants good pictures to show at the end of the experience. He talks composition, lighting and flash, photographing people, using color, you name it. He shows you work flow and what to do with all those gigabytes when you come home. And he talks turkey about how to survive out there, right from when you get on the airplane, to getting to the hotel and then up and down the river at dawn or dusk. In a word, its complete. The whole nine or even ten yards. Right from when you pack your bag till when you get home and unpack that same bag. (If you read this book, there might even be a good chance that when you unpack, you’ll still have the same stuff you packed:-)

One of the things Bob has learned over the years, is to travel light. So, here you go…..

The Bob Krist Lighting Kit, As Seen on TV!

Bracket:   Morris MTH-202

Smallballhead:   Giotto MH-1004 Mini Ballhead

Cold shoe on ballhead: Stroboframe General Purpose shoe

Compact lightstand: Bogen Manfrotto Retractable
Collapsible Umbrella: Westcott 43″ Collapsible Umbrella with Removable Cover

Grids, Snoots, Speedstraps, Colored Gels.

Rolling case: Stormcase iM2500

You can get most of this stuff from Jeff Snyder at Adorama (jsnyder@adorama.com) and if you ping him, he will be able to put the whole damn thing together for you.

Trust me, if Bob can pull and haul it, so can you:-)

More tk…..

Kelby Video Training— #1 With a Bullet

Aug 31

In Videos at 7:48am

Been out in Santa Fe, shooting a new segment of the Kelby Online Video Training sessions. This one’s devoted to the update in the Nikon CLS flash system, the SB900. Above is my friend Thomas Wingate, who runs Eaves Movie Ranch, which is just a fun place to shoot pictures. I’ve been out there many times, and keep finding different stuff. Thomas, as always, is a natural in front of the camera. One of the all time great American faces. Mt. Rushmore comes to mind.

This was done in an old warehouse in downtown SF. I rummaged through the garage, which I have mentioned is an archive of old props from shoots gone by, and pulled this American flag. It is somewhere around 25′x 15′. I had it made back in ’96 for a project I shot for LIFE, which involved asking the ’96 Olympic team to take their clothes off. Used it a few times since, such as this shot of heavyweight lifter Shane Hamman, of the 2000 US team. This was for a Geographic story on the limits of the human body. He is leaping from a standing position, and he’s over 350 lbs.

For Thomas, we backlit the flag with 4 SB900 units, each banged into a wall behind the flag. There’s a slit in the flag I can stick a camera through, and Thomas just stands in the wash of light. Needed the big flag, cause those sunglasses are like frikkin’ TV monitors. The light hits me, too, so you can see my shadow behind the flag, which I toned down a bit in Photoshop. (Hey Moose, I used Photoshop!)

The videos have been fun to make and I always learn stuff as I go. Work with Jason Scrivner, “The Scriv,” the shooter from the Kelby Crew. Surprised he still puts up with me. This time around, he had to wade waist deep into a lake with his sticks and very expensive video rig. We both went in to photograph beautiful sea creature Deidre Dean, who is one of the most expressive and daring models I have ever worked with. She’s always up for a photographic adventure, and actually takes me seriously when I say, “How about you get made up like a a wild ass mermaid and take a dip in a cold lake? I’ll be in there with you, with a whole bunch of expensive electronic equipment. What could go wrong?”

Shot with one SB900, and a Lastolite all in one umbrella, used as a shoot through, and shaped with a whole bunch of black gaffer tape. We had just about the whole umbrella covered, except for a small opening, maybe 10 by 20 inches. That’s a pretty good way of controlling the light, so you light her, and not the water. No law of nature says that once you put an umbrella up, ya gotta use all of it.

The umbrella’s on a c-stand extension arm, being held by the intrepid Norah Levine, a terrific Santa Fe based shooter. She has teamed up with Karen Lenz to help me out here. (How much help do I need? As Jim said to Sherriff Bart in Blazing Saddles, “Oh, all I can get.”) They’ve been a terrific team, keeping things moving, getting everybody to location on time, and making sure I don’t swear too much on tape.

In Santa Fe for a couple more days, which is a great place, home of the Santa Fe Workshops, and a whole bunch of nice people. I mean, you gotta love a place where the community college offers courses in “Animal Tracking” and “Concealed Carry Training.” Take ‘em both, and it must mean you can sneak right up on an animal and they won’t be alarmed cause they don’t immediately know that you have a gun.

In a couple days, Vegas-Baby-Vegas, for PhotoShop World. I tell ya, it’d be tough to measure the tremendous and positive impact Scott Kelby has on the field of visual communications. Between PSW, his books, lectures, blog, and the online training series, he raises his voice, and it echoes for a long time. I mean, via his blog, he got just about the whole world walking of late to shoot some pictures and share skills and enjoy themselves. If one of those powerful bastions of my photographic youth, say, Time magazine, had announced a walkabout for taking pictures, about oh, 3 or 4 people would have hit the streets. More tk.