M5 Photography

Sometimes noon is the ‘Golden Hour’….a mid day mountain bike shoot

Ah the “golden hour”….that twice a day slice of time where photographers rise extra early or stay out late so they can shoot in that magic light. I’m not writing to say the light isn’t great at those times, but to say sometimes mid day might have to be your golden hour.
Since I rely on other resources for most of my shooting, I try to make best use of what is available. Sometimes the subjects/riders I’m shooting have other things going on in life and they aren’t available…sometimes it’s me who isn’t available. Knowing I’d always rather be out shooting…we get together and do the right things…in this case ride and shoot.
For this shoot we had two riders, one spotter (person who yells “their coming” when I can’t see) and one voice activated light stand. The equipment used for the day was a Canon 7D, single Boling 600 watt strobe, and the PocketWizard MiniTT1 and Flex TT5.

Yes mid day light can be “harsh” and less than ideal but I think it’s better than not shooting at all. Typically I would meter in camera for my exposure, then under expose the shot by one stop. This allows grabbing those blue skys and having the strobe fill in the subjects. I often get asked about what shutter speeds I’m using with the light kit since many still believe I’m limited to 1/250th. I’ve posted before about using the new PocketWizards and being able to shoot at any shutter speed I choose. Love the freedom that provides and its one more thing I don’t have think about.

List of photography “rules” broken for the day:

  • Shot at mid day
  • Shot JPEGs
  • Changed lenses outside
  • Used UV filters on both lenses
  • Used bare bulb flash/no diffuser
  • Used non Canon L lenses (thanks Sigma and Tokina)
  • Didn’t watermark my images before posting

Thanks for the help Travis, Steve, Brian and Kyle!

As always click the image for a larger view.




A day as the B shooter…with Lushcinema and pro rider Lear Miller

This was my first time being at a shoot where it wasn’t something I had put together. Steve from @Lushcinema had arranged a few days of video shooting with pro rider Lear Miller. I asked Steve if he needed any still images from the shoot and he was all for it. Being the “B shooter” was something new and I found myself asking Steve “am I out of your shot?” what felt like a million times throughout the day…making sure he had the angle he needed and there wasn’t a 6’3 me in the background.

We had MAJOR winds to deal with which made for less than ideal conditions for video….not to mention it nearly blowing Lear over a few times. Thanks to Steve for putting the shoot together and to Lear for great riding in horrible conditions.

A quick 30 second video teaser is below.


As always click images for a larger view.

Still image details:
Canon 7D
Tokina 12-24 f/4
Sigma 70-200 f/2.8



@m5photography….I’m now on Twitter

Another spot to follow or communicate with me if you choose……



Published on:
January 29, 2012 7:20 pm

Published…Dirt Rag Magazine

Excited to see my friend/rider Travis get inside this month’s Dirt Rag…
Shot with the Canon 7D
Lens Sigma 70-200 f/2.8
Lit with single Boling strobe fired via PocketWizards.


Lens protection worth looking into…BETA Shell

BETA Shell is new to me, in fact so new I don’t own any yet. After poking around their website and watching  a demo video I’m confident that I will. Photographers spend so much time picking the right lens and spend their hard earned cash purchasing one…then if you are like me you toss them in your camera bag. I try to take good care of my lenses and I’ve always wished for a bit more in the way of protecting them. Touted as “BOMB proof” and sold as water proof I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a BETA shell case. They seem like a great place to have your lenses when you are at an event like the Red bull Rampage or shooting near water.

You can take a look at the cases here.

If you are already a user I’d be interested in hearing your feedback.

Published on:
January 21, 2012 7:40 pm

500px responds…

I had blogged a couple weeks ago that I had started to use the 500px website and was a bit confused by it all.  Andrey Tochilin of 500px followed up right away and posted a reply. I wanted to post his words and also provide a link that explains their magic that happens in the background.

Some good info on the behind the scenes here http://500px.com/blog/7759

Hi Keith,

When you upload a picture to 500px it appears in http://500px.com/fresh Lots users are looking at this stream. If your picture is really good, it will get lots of comments and votes even if nobody followed you before. As your picture getting higher rating, it might get to http://500px.com/upcoming andhttp://500px.com/popular streams where even more people will see it.

The 500px rating system is pretty complex. In simple words, when someone likes it, your rating is going up. Over time ratings are dropping by themselves to allow new photos get attention as well. Please not that it’s not only matter of likes. We usually don’t all discloses details, but you can find some more information about them at http://500px.com/blog/7759

Enjoy the site!

Andrey Tochilin

Published on:
January 17, 2012 8:27 pm

Hire ME Tokina

I’ll start by saying I’m a fan, I’ll even go as far as saying a huge fan of Tokina. I’ve blogged in the past about how much I love my Tokina 12-24 f/4 lens….BUT I need more.

If you are like me you’ve had a friend who has a special gift, could be in sports, music, art, etc….but they either don’t seem to realize it or they just don’t have the motivation to take their gift to the next level. I can’t tell you how many talented players the Lakers have signed but never lived up to the expectations. We come away saying things like “man if I had that talent I would…” or “they have no idea what a gift they are wasting” So what does this have to do with Tokina? I feel like they are that friend of mine.

I’ve been carrying the flag for them for a number of years. Telling my photography friends that if they buy a wide angle lens it MUST be a Tokina. The response I usually get is a weird look and “Tokina ?”  This continues my frustration…surely my friends have seen Tokina ads, social media postings, even commercials? Sadly no…

I’ve had a number of friends buy the Tokina wide angle based on the sample images I’ve shown them and my almost over the top sales pitch minus the “but wait there’s more part”….No infomercial gimmicks needed here. The lens stands on its own with the tank like build quality, amazing price and wonderful optics.

Sure Tokina has a website…and yes they do run ads in many photography magazines. But I don’t feel I know neither truly displays what this lens can do. Their dated web page for the 12-24 f/4 has two tiny sample images that don’t expand when you click on them. Yes they are on Facebook too… but the page rarely gets updated and again I feel it falls short of what it should be.

So Tokina….I’m calling you out. Hire me. Let’s let everyone see what you truly can do. Let’s show Canon and Nikon that your name belongs in lens conversations too.

I don’t want you to be that friend who has the gift but isn’t using it to their full potential.



Click images for larger view.

Tokina 12-24 f/4


Tokina 12-24 f/4

Tokina 12-24 f/4

Tokina 12-24 f/4

Tokina 12-24 f/4


Signed up for 500px…and I’m a bit confused

Being a long time Flickr user I’ve heard all the pros and cons. It seems in vogue lately to jump on the hate bandwagon with Flickr. Many are, according to their posts, jumping over to 500px. Before I go on about 500px let me say that I’m not leaving Flickr any time soon. Flickr has been great for me and getting the right eyes on my work and I love how it works with searches in Google.

I did recently sign up with 500px and began a slow maybe once a week process of adding photos. I will say up front that the site has a nice layout and the images are displayed with a clean non confusing interface. I guess my confusion comes with the step(s) beyond uploading images. I’ve seen a photo of mine get to page two of their “Popular” page. How did it happen? I’m unsure. At the time I didn’t have anyone “following” me on 500px or virtual friends on the page. But right after posting the image began receiving comments and ratings that I assume helped it climb the popular ladder. But almost as soon as it became famous…it reverted back to just another image on my page.

With flickr you can add an image to groups that contain images with similar images. Then the crazy flickr math takes over and if your image gets comments and favs it might be added to flickr explore. Explore being similar to 500px “popular” section.

500px also has a rating system. The confusion continues here. So one person rates my photo and it lives with a 27.0 rating until others rate it higher (Or I guess even lower)? I’d love the option (and maybe it’s there) to turn that off. Don’t think this is a sour grapes thing with me as I’m confident the image is a solid one.

Since I’m new to the 500px game I will continue to give it a chance. Hoping that it becomes clearer how images are viewed and move up the rankings. It will also be interesting if the images appear in google searches as well as the Flickr images do.

** A word of warning about the site………much like the rest of the internet nude images can and do appear. There is an option to block them.

Published on:
January 4, 2012 7:03 pm

Photos featured on “In The Picture”

It’s always nice to have your photos featured…..which gets eyeballs on your work…love how the site posts nice large images for viewing.


Thanks to the Totallycoolpix site for featuring my work.


M5 promotional items…who I use.

I’ve slowly started buying more and more promo items with my logo on them. I currently use Lynn Promotions for my M5 stickers, T-Shirts and embroidered hats.
Always great service and they have tons of items in their catalog to choose from.

Their list of items is on their website and reach out to Nancy with any questions.


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