M5 Photography

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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
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General
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Two Wheels….2010 Year end slide show

I know there are still a few weeks left in 2010 but I decided to use my recent time off to put together some highlights of this years two wheeled shots. I used ProShow Gold to assemble the photos and added some music. I hope you enjoy the 3.5 minutes of motorcycles, BMX and mountain bike photos.

Full screen is available if you have the bandwidth and enjoy bigger photos.


“Without LOVE” by Loveshadow (feat. The Texans.)

http://ccmixter.org/files/Loveshadow/29376

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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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Boling Light Kit..It’s what I use

Ever since I starting using a light kit I’ve gotten numerous requests for information on what I use. I thought I’d take some shots of the kit and provide a few details that will hopefully answer some questions.
I knew from the beginning that if I were to get a light kit it would have to be pretty portable allowing me to take it to remote locations where plugging in isn’t an option. I started to look at prices online and quickly realized that kits with battery backs were out of my financial league….however I had noticed someone on flickr posting shots along with their lighting set up and it was the battery pack that caught my eye. After a couple of email exchanges my questions were answered on the kit. The feedback from this shooter was positive and the price seemed great. I was now after this light kit.

The first item to share is how difficult it was to track down the Boling lights. After reaching the end of Google I could only find one store offering the lights with the battery pack and they were located in Australia (Click here for a link to the store). Even with the bumped up price for shipping the kit was still much more affordable than anything else I’d come across so far. I placed my order and waiting impatiently for my kit to arrive.

The kit contains two lights (300 watts when both are used 600 watts if used as a single light), a carrying case, two grip attachments, two reflectors, two protective bulb covers and a battery pack.

The battery pack in detail. Two input ports for the lights, an on/off switch, test button, buzz on/off, DC port for charging, sync port to connect Pocket Wizards or sync cable and a dial to adjust the power to both lights.

View of battery pack with Pocket Wizard attached. I use velcro to keep the Pocket Wizard secured to the battery pack. Has worked out great so far….

A back view of the lights. Notice it has two switches…one to power on and one for modeling lights…don’t get too excited…lets just say you wont be using any modeling lights based on my testing. They are way too under powered to be of any real use.

Front view of lights.


View of light with reflector and grip attached.

I don’t pretend to be a lighting expert so I won’t write a detailed review of the kit. I will offer my highs and lows.

The highs:

  • It’s price (around $650 US two years ago)
  • Its portable and surprisingly lightweight
  • Powerful enough to overpower daytime sunlight
  • Can be used with Pocket Wizards.

The lows:

  • One light cord is longer than the other. It would have been nice to have two long instead of one long and one short.
  • Modeling light. While I haven’t had a need to use them…It wouldn’t matter as they are very under powered.
  • Hard to find.

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Published on:
November 9, 2010 9:19 pm
Categories:
General
3

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
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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
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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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Published…Image in Dirt Rag

I Have a full page image in the new issue of Dirt Rag. We shot this photo in the hills of Simi Valley. I used my strobes to light up this really cool cave like feature we found and Charles was able the make the squeeze through that small opening and ride through it for the shot.

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Crashes at the Rampage

While there are always amazing highlights from the Red Bull rampage….there are also the crashes. Here are a few sequence shots I captured.

Chris Van Dine..amazing move and crash

Graham Agassiz ejects mid air

Kurt Sorge Crash Sequence

Mike Hopkins gap jump mid air eject

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Published on:
October 11, 2010 4:19 pm
Categories:
General
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