After months of waiting and watching the trailer probably 50 times, I received my copy of the Art of Flight. Upon opening the slick black case with its subtle graphics I discovered two discs. One Blu ray and one standard DVD. Thanks guys an extra point for providing both versions. I put that Blu ray in…turned on the surround sound and then it happened….the movie began and the lies started flowing out like a dam break. Confused? Yeah I was too…there is no way this movie wasn’t shot on a green screen. The images were mind blowing…too good! I began to craft a strongly worded letter in my mind of what I was going to say when I wrote the guys at Brain Farm. I was quickly interrupted when the action started. Duped again…impossible snow board moves that could only be crafted by a master of CGI. By this time I knew writing the letter would be easy because I had even more fuel for my fire. I would somehow manage to finish this movie trying to contain my ooohs and aaahs keeping in mind it was all smoke and mirrors.
Instead of writing a letter I thought I’d use the power of the internet and write a blog post about my experience. I did in fact buy this movie and I did sit back and watch it. And couldn’t stop thinking about it the whole night. I’m hoping by now you know I’m kidding about the green screen and CGI stuff….The Art of Flight is amazing! I’d type up a bunch of reasons that you should own it, but I’ll just suggest you watch the trailer again…and then buy it.
I’m really looking forward to see what’s next from Brain Farm.Details
A friend of mine, Charles Mcpadden, has spent numerous hours over the last few months putting together a narrated slide show documenting a friends loss….and the events surrounding it.
I thought it was worth sharing here.
Happy to have a full page shot in this months Dirt Rag Magazine. This is a shot I’ve been holding on to hoping to get published somewhere and it’s nice to see it in print.Details
If you follow my photography at all you already know I’m a big fan of off camera flash. When I’m thinking of future shots I usually have my light kit in mind. Bringing the light kit to the BMX track isn’t really an option for me. I think it’s too dangerous to have all that gear right next to the track. So my option becomes using on camera flash via the Canon 580ex. When I think on camera flash it’s usually 2nd curtain sync. 2nd curtain in a nutshell allows the flash to go off at the very end of your exposure. This allows me to shoot at extremely slow shutter speeds and still freeze the action.
The results with 2nd curtain can be very interesting and allows you a ton of freedom to experiment. I wont go into the tech details of the process, but will provide a link if you want to read more on the process.
Took me a while to get back into the groove of having the flash on the camera and remembering what settings were needed. I did at least remember where to turn on 2nd curtain on the 580.
Click images for larger views.
Shot with the: Canon 7D, Tokina 12-24 f/4 and Canon 580ex flashDetails
I was able to attend a local 9/11 anniversary event yesterday…..Interesting to hear the first hand account of World Trade Center survivor Judith Dawn Francis who was interviewed by Pastor Todd Clark of Discovery Church.Details
I kept hearing all the hype of big waves in Southern California all of last week..decided to go a take a look for myself. Took a quick early morning trip to Point Dume and was greeted by morning fog. Didn’t make for great action shots, but did get some landscape shots that I am happy with. Put together a little video too. Click images for a larger view….Details
The jump from camcorder to DSLR by Jerry Hooper
I made the jump. I went from HDVC, hi-def video camcorder, to a DSLR, Digital Single Lens Reflex camera. I saw what these new DSLR cameras could do, and I wanted in. I had to have the incredible high quality images taken from one of those ‘really nice cameras’. So, I jumped, and at the sticker price, there would be no going back.
On Tuesday, I shot for the last time with my Canon Vixia HV30. I cannot even remember what the footage was of. On Wednesday, I unboxed a new Canon 7d. On Saturday I was in the field testing; a swimming party. Remember the television show LOST? That would be me standing by the pool – camera in hand with the bewildered look on my face. LOST.
I felt like the old dog learning new tricks must have felt like; at a complete and utter loss. Suddenly, nothing about shooting video was familiar. There was no tape, no tape eject button. There was no zoom push/pull button. Without a doubt, I was not in Kansas anymore. On a whim, I flipped a switch that said ‘Video mode’ and and pressed the record button. The camera geared up, clicked, something spun and locked in place. In that moment, I felt a rush of excitement. My heart rate jumped, I became shaky and giddy; like a kid with a new toy. This was an excitement that came in 24 frames per second, or in 720p, or however I wanted it. The 7d and I were live.
Like any videographer would do, I placed my eye up against the eye peice. Nothing. Puzzled, I backed away from the camera body and looked at the display, I was filming the fence. Nice. The swimmers were nowhere to be found in the frame. Repoised and slightly the 7d wiser, I once again slowly raised the camera display. I saw the red recording light; I saw swimmers. I said to myself, “This here footage is going to be epic and maybe even viral, if it gets enough views.” My euphoria came to a screeching halt when I realized what would come next: focusing. Manual focusing while holding the camera. Keeping the camera steady. Picking the right shutter speed and aperture settings all at the same time. I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat.
A few weeks have passed since the epic swim party field test shoot and the learning is still, how do you say; curving? For example, the choice of lenses are unending, I’m not used to changing lenses for video. Now I use a smart card and a card reader. Importing footage is a cinch. Ten minutes of video doesn’t mean ten minutes of importing like it meant with tape. All of the camera settings are manual; almost nothing in video mode is automatic. The results, however, are surreal. The picture quality is like in comparison to viewing photos in a plastic photo album to seeing a movie at IMAX. Remember that feeling all you veterans out there?
The ability of this DSLR is incredible and I have not even begun to tap its arsenal of features that’ll make me look like a pro. With great anticipation I eagerly anticipate my next shoot.
And if you are wondering, my epic swim video has 47 views.Details
Tiger Woods won’t let me be his new caddy. Honestly I haven’t called him to apply, but I think it’d be a pretty cool job. I’ve played a round or two of golf each year since I was a kid and I have a decent set of golf clubs. I watch at least 30 minutes of the major tournaments and have even been to Tiger’s tournament here in SoCal. I’ll go as far as saying there have been a few people impressed with how far I can drive a golf ball. Doesn’t make me qualified you say? I’m crazy to even be thinking about it? Maybe so…
The paragraph above does sound crazy now that I type it out…but how different is it than today’s crop of photographers, myself included. When does the switch go off in our brains that say “yes I’m going to go out and become a photographer”? We had a class in high school and maybe even shot some photos with a Polaroid when we were younger. We own a decent camera…perhaps one that is a few steps above entry level. Maybe we’ve impressed our friends with some photos we’ve taken and ran them through a few steps in Photoshop. They ask us to take their Christmas card photos or shoot their cousins wedding for free. We read how-to’s online and some attend a workshop put on by a “real” pro. We post some shots on Facebook and our friends “Like” them and stroke the ego even more. Then I guess it happens….the next step….it must be starting your own photography business. Another “cool” job!
I’m not saying that it can’t happen. And I don’t think Im comparing apples and oranges here. I’m wondering why it sounds so much easier than being Tiger’s new caddy. Maybe like my golf game it should remain a hobby?
Anyone have Tiger’s number?Details
If you are like me you probably return from a trip and review your photos…making note of your favs and skipping the rest. I often go back through all my shots to see if maybe there are photos that I might like better a week, month or a few years later. The photo below is one of those shots. I took a mountain bike trip to Sedona Arizona a couple years ago and came home with many photos that I liked but I guess I missed this one on my first pass. Forgotten or ignored no more….Details
In 2005 I had a unique opportunity to go to Africa for a few weeks. The trip to Ethiopia was not a photography trip, but I knew that taking photos would be an important part of it. At the time I was far from having any notion that I might one day be a “photographer”
I was with a group of people who are a part of something called the Mossy Foot Project. A visit to the Mossy Foot website will give you some great information way beyond what I can type out here. Mossy Foot in a nutshell is a debilitating disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people in Ethiopia and beyond. The people, who are already some of the poorest in the world, take an even lower spot in society when they have the Mossy Foot disease.
With my first digital SLR in hand and a single lens I began documenting our journey. Dirt roads, animals roaming, landscapes and the people within my group…then we stopped at our first Mossy Foot clinic site…and I stopped shooting. I didn’t stop for long, but long enough to try to figure out what I was doing and why I was there. I was in Ethiopia, had just traveled for about 24 hours and about to take photos of people I didn’t know…I didn’t speak their language…those were only a few of the things I was trying to wrap my brain around.
After a few minutes of observing and being observed…I reached for my camera and began taking photos of faces. I was at a distance and still felt a bit uneasy as it was explained to me that many of the people I was photographing had not seen a camera before. Shooting photos of the people became a bit easier with time….but I knew there was more to shoot than just their faces.
Documenting our trip would mean shooting images of the disease. I was shown a few photos before our trip of people with Mossy Foot and they were disturbing. Of course viewing a few photos does not prepare you for the real thing. Once I began shooting I noticed many of the people “wanted” me to shoot their feet. I was told that they didn’t know if I was a doctor or exactly what pointing my “device” would do for them. All of it became easier as the days went on, but nothing can really prepare you for such an interaction.
The trip gave me a unique opportunity to grow as a photographer and a lifelong desire to continue to help the people with Mossy Foot.
More info can be found on the Mossy Foot website.
**Some of the images of Mossy Foot below are pretty graphicDetails