M5 Photography

The Harley Shoot…

I had the location picked out for this shoot before I had a subject. Nearly all of the open space where I live is either fenced off or has a few “No Trespassing” signs. We do have a lot of open space for recreation, but not so much for parking a Harley for a photo shoot. So when I came across a spot that had a nice level spot to shoot and an uncluttered background I knew that I wanted to do a shoot there. I’ve shot a bunch of two wheeled subjects in the past, but had yet to shoot any street motorcycles. This shoot was supposed to take place a month or so ago but the weather was against us for a couple of weekends. New Years day ended up being a perfect day to shoot and a good start to 2011.

For the first two shots below I used my trusty Boling light kit. The strobes were fired remotely using the Pocketwizard MiniTT1 & FlexTT5 units. This was my first try at using the new units from PocketWizard. Sometimes it can be tricky when adding new hardware to your shoots…it’s just a change from what you are used to.  In this case the new Pocketwizard units performed as my Plus IIs have in the past….easy connection to the Boling light kit and no misfires. The new units offer many new features that the Plus II units don’t have and I’m most excited about the option to sync above my current limit of 1/250th. More on higher sync speeds down the road when I do some action shots in the next few weeks.

Set up:
Camera Canon 7D
1/250th at f/14
Lens: Tokina 12-24 f/4
Strobes: Boling 2×300 watt 1/2 Power – One camera left, one camera right

As always, click the images for a larger view.

Beyond shooting some posed images I wanted to break out the Magic Arm again and do a few remote “action” shots too. Back in September I blogged about “Letting go” of the camera where I covered using the Magic Arm and Pocketwizards for remote shots…if you missed it here is a link to that post
As long as Mat was o.k with me clamping my camera to his very detailed bike I was o.k with him riding with my 7D attached to it. I found another location where we could do some remote shots with the freedom to move around and try a few different angles. I’ve used the Magic Arm on BMX bikes, skateboards and mountain bikes in the past, this would be the first motorized vehicle to take it for a spin.
In this set up I used my Pocketwizard Plus II units as I do not currently own a remote trigger cable for the newer PW units. Since we were shooting just past mid day it made it a bit more difficult to get shutter speeds slow enough for getting any motion blur. Step one was to set the camera to f/22 and see what kind of shutter speed that left me with. In this case I was able to shoot around 1/40th of a second.
We tried two different mounts on the bike, and the lower mount had the camera about 4 inches off the ground…at this point you gotta trust your rider and allow them to do their part. We did a number of runs and took a lot of photos….my goal in these types of set ups is to get one quality photo from each angle. Shooting at shutter speeds this slow while your camera is mounted on a moving object can be a bit of a challenge, but the effort is usually worth it.

I’ve included a set up shot below. If you’re a shooter reading this, I’m hoping this gives you some ideas to go out and try for yourself.

Set Up:
Canon 7D
Tokina 12-24 f/4
1/40th @ f/22
Manfrotto Magic Arm
Pocketwizard Plus II unit x 2
Remote trigger cable

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Published on:
January 3, 2011 9:35 pm
Categories:
General

Numbers…

Here is a bit of data for M5 in 2010….Thanks to google I know that I had visitors from 1,503 cities in 90 countries since keeping track around April….Now how to reach that market in Greenland, Africa, Alaska and Sibera in 2011?

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General

Featured on the PocketWizard blog…

Keeping this post short with it being a holiday week and most people are off doing other things besides reading blogs. The folks at PocketWizard did a write up on their blog featuring my VW Shoot from November.

Click here to view the post



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Published Dirt Rag Magazine

I have an image in the current issue of Dirt Rag Magazine. The shot was taken at Mammoth Mountain on the Flow trail this summer. I tucked myself under this drop and waited for the rider. For those of looking for a challenge trying to get focus in a shot…here’s one for you.

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Tokina 12-24 f/4
Settings: 1/1600th @ f/4

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General

Asking Questions…

I always blog on Tuesdays…I’m not sure why I chose Tuesdays as my day but it always seemed to work out for me. This Tuesday is the anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. I didn’t realize this until The Big Picture did a photo feature on the attack. My plan for a blog post this week was to post a photo that I shot of my Grandpa’s dog tags from his time in the Army. I guess this is just interesting timing as I found the dog tags last week and shot them on Saturday, intended to post them on my normal Tuesday and realized its the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Now my Grandpa wasn’t at Pearl Harbor when the attacks happened, but it certainly changed his life as it did all of his generation. I know little about his time in the Army, what he did or how long he did it. I do know that I’m grateful for his service and for the millions of others that served and continue to serve our country. I really wish he was around to ask about all the questions I have about his stay in the Army but that isn’t possible. I also wish he was around so I could take one last portrait of him and I could ask what the key on his tags unlocked. He passed away prior to me getting involved with photography.

What does all of this have to do with photography? Not a whole lot I guess. I was going to post the shot of the dog tags because I thought it made for an interesting photo and topic. It’s also a reminder for those who read this to start asking questions now. Maybe they are photography questions to someone you look up to or maybe you still have a chance to ask questions to someone close to you about their life. I know I wish took that opportunity when I had it…

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Published on:
December 7, 2010 9:16 pm
Categories:
General

Finding time…the VW shoot

For this shoot to come together I had to track down one of the busiest people I know. I had asked Bill a few months ago if I could shoot his VW bug…but it always seemed when his schedule was open mine was busy. Since I had this whole week off I decided to try again to make things happen…..We planned on 3pm which would give us time to drive to a spot and hopefully 45 minutes or so to set up and shoot. In my time planning I didn’t account for getting stuck on a hill climb and spending 30-45 minutes digging and maneuvering a very stuck VW. I should say that I was taking photos while Bill did the digging and maneuvering. Someone had to document the events. Bill eventually worked some off road magic and got out of the jam he was in….we were on our way.

The goal was to get up above the city while the sun was setting and shoot some shots of the bug alone and some with Bill next to it. We ended up having just enough time to get a handful of shots of both.

Equipment used:
Camera: Canon 7D with Tokina 12-24 f/4 lens
Lights: Boling 2×300 watt strobes fired via Pocketwizards Plus IIs

Lighting set up: Since the sun was setting fast I didn’t have a lot of time to set up. As mentioned above I used Boling strobes with the battery pack, having one strobe camera left and one camera right. Each strobe was set up about the height of the fender on the VW.  As with all my off camera flash work, I used the PocketWizard Plus IIs which allowed me to fire the strobes remotely and move around in between the lights without having another cable to worry about.



 

A few shots of being stuck….

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From frustration to inspiration

Last week I went motorcycle riding with some friends and ended up having bike issues for most of the day. I could ride but my bike just wasn’t running normal so I knew that I’d need to pull apart the carburetor and do some investigating when I got home. Not one of my favorite things to do, but if you own a motorcycle you get used to the idea of doing maintenance. The frustration of having to work on the bike soon turned into a bit of photography inspiration. Once I had removed the carb and spent time getting it all cleaned up I realized I had a very interesting item that would make for a cool product type shot.  I’m not sure if my family is or isn’t used to my ideas and watching me play them out, but I’m glad I took the time to do a few shots of the carburetor.

Very simple execution on these shots of setting the carb on some poster board and trying a few different angles and focus points. Lighting was a Canon 580ex flash on camera bounced off the ceiling.

Ad always click the images for larger views. In this case to really see the details. Thanks

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Published…Profile Design/Titec Websites

Both Titec and Profile Design, Titec’s parent company, are currently using a few of my images. I’m glad Al Gore created the internet allowing me more places to show my images.

As always click images for a larger view. Thanks

 

 

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Published on:
November 2, 2010 8:28 pm
Categories:
General

Published…Rampage images in International Mountain Bike Magazine

I have a number of full size images from the 2010 Red Bull Rampage displayed in the Oct/Nov issue of International Mountain Bike Magazine. I know Rou over at IMB had a fun time sorting through the hundreds of images I sent his way. I think he made smart choices that go great with his write up on the event. You can check out the issue online here http://www.imbikemag.com/issue8/

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Published on:
October 26, 2010 9:19 pm
Categories:
General
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Opportunity Knocked…

As I was driving home from Utah a couple weeks ago I found myself in the middle of the Nevada desert watching a pretty massive storm build. The normal photographer thoughts quickly went through my head. First thought was that I need to capture part of this. But what part I thought….you know I wanted all of it. But there I was driving 75mph (legal limit in this area of Nevada) and the first priority after 4 days away from my wife and kids was to keep driving and get home. I think it was the rainbow that finally flipped the switch in my head and I realized that I’d never seen a storm like this before nor one with a vertical rainbow…..and now I needed to grab a shot of this amazing display.

So I did what all good photographers would do. I pulled over, got out my tripod, cleaned the lens (Canon L glass of course), attached the remote trigger to prevent any shake and used a light meter to get the proper settings. Of course I used a camera with a full frame sensor because we all know that in order to really capture all of the data we need one. Oh and yes you were going to ask if I shot it RAW? Is there any other option? People really shoot JPEGs?…………..
Now if any of this set up and gear talk is starting to sound like bull…well that’s because it is.

It is true I took the photo. The bogus steps of capture detailed were listed out just to make a point. First off I don’t own a camera with a full frame sensor, I didn’t use a tripod, I didn’t use a Canon lens and yeah I shot a JPEG. My main point really is that I shot it. I continued on my way at 75mph, reached over to my camera bag, removed the camera and shot through the glass of the passenger window. Did I get lucky? Perhaps. So many people I know go on and on about the gear they need or the certain camera they must have……and how they need to make time to set up and shoot…how they have to shoot RAW and that non Canon glass is crap.

This shot received a lot of attention on Flickr when I posted it. I say thank you to those who commented, but in reality what did I really do? I certainly had no part in creating the wonderful display which I went on to label “Power”. I merely used the chance I had and I’m thrilled that I did. So lets take a time out on gear talk and “rules”….and shoot some photos.

As always click the image for a larger view.

Equipment Used:
Canon 7D
Tokina 12-24 f/4
Chevy S-10 as the moving tripod

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Published on:
October 19, 2010 6:27 pm
Categories:
General
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