This year has brought me a lot of good luck and lot of things earned through good old-fashioned hard work. I suppose my Manfrotto relationship is a mix of both. One day I was on my way to Hoboken to do a maternity shoot. I posted my pile-o-stuff at the train station to my Instagram account. One way or another Manfrotto got wind of my pile-o-stuff and wanted to share their product with me. It has made my traveling a whole lot easier.
This isn’t even packed to capacity. My average shoot leaves room to spare for items like trail mix.
Product placement always kind of bothers me, but when I say I am using a particular product, you better believe it’s because I actually like using the product. Special thanks to The New Royalty and Salt Studios for being available to shoot this bad mamma jamma.
Shooting both photo and cinema requires me to always have quite a few pieces of gear on hand and the room to cram in more on the fly. In a matter of days I had a maternity shoot, a family shoot and a project for Rutgers Newark. The variety of gear that I need to carry with me needs to be in one place so I can set up quickly and have my inventory available to me at all times.
What I like about the bag is it fits everything I need for a shoot including two Canon 6Ds, all three of my lenses, two flashes, transceivers, memory cards, gaffer tape, BeFree tripod and extra batteries. The pack feels sturdy on my back and the straps distribute the weight evenly. No painful digging into my shoulders. I remember when I first started out and thought bags were nonsense. But a great bag is crucial to staying organized and saving your back from unwanted stress.
The Simko Family joined me at Duke Island Park (Hillsborough, New Jersey) for a family session focusing on their children. It was a very cold day, so it was crucial to work quickly and nail their personalities before the cold took its toll on cheeks and noses. I usually keep my setup light and easy to carry for outdoor sessions like this. One bag and a lightstand for a bit of off camera flash when needed.
One lightstand, BeFree tripod and Tri Backpack
Kids being kids. I love the calm to one side and the action on the other.
Rima’s maternity shoot (Lawrenceville, New Jersey) was done in the comfort of her home. The living room had plenty of natural light, but I wanted to warm up the inside a bit, so I setup an umbrella and flash with a light orange gel. Just enough to kiss the room with a slight warmth. I don’t normally like blowing out backgrounds, but I liked having the room hug her in glowing light. This is a very happy time, but it’s also important to convey that feeling by making the person feel totally comfortable. I practice the advice I’ve learned when it comes to more intimate portrait settings. Talk to the person and make them feel like it’s no big deal to be in front of a camera. Everything kind of writes itself once you’ve established that.
Rima’s maternity session
Rutgers University has hired me recently to document events hosted at the school campuses. This particular event (Newark, New Jersey) dealt more with video and put my Tri Backpack to the test. There’s quite a bit more involved with video compared to photo. Lavalier microphone, external audio recorder, LED light, extra batteries, headphones, etc. All of these items are a standard and I’m ecstatic that I can fit this array of equipment into a single bag.
Mayor Baraka (Newark, NJ) speaks at GradNation
Newark always has some sort of crazy construction going on. I intentionally framed this to look like the crane is coming out of the bag.
Of course when a friend is just minutes from boarding a bus (New York, New York) to the airport it’s a perfect time to do a headshot. Because I’m a swell guy! Sara teaches at the University of South Dakota and needed a new headshot for her school page. No problem, Sara, and safe travels.
Sara Lampert, Assistant Professor, History, College of Arts & Sciences at the University of South Dakota
Then I headed to Times Square for some long exposure shots of the tourists. I could have sat there all day watching people enjoying their time in New York City.
Times Square, NYC. 50mm @ f/16. 20 second exposure.
This is an impressive lens. The Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L is primarily used for nature and sports photography and the Image Stabilization is necessary even with a quality tripod. When a lens has its own strap, you know it’s quite heavy. I’ve also never used a more expensive lens in my life. At $14,000.00 you better believe I was extremely careful with it.
A very exciting announcement was made at NAB 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada this week. Blackmagic Design announced two ridiculously affordable cinema cameras. One is a pocket cinema camera which will accept Micro 4/3 (MFT) lenses and uses SD cards to save the data. Very compact and you get the power of RAW. That means you will be able to adjust highlights, shadows and white balance to your liking AFTER you have recorded.
The other camera announced is the brand new Blackmagic Production Camera 4K. It will retail for $4,000.00 and that’s an unbelievable price. RED was rumored, many years ago, to be working on a 4K camera for $4,000.00. It never happened! Once again Blackmagic makes jaws drop across the world with their innovative and affordable technology.
A few years ago I had no idea what a GoPro was. A tiny video camera? Was it any good? Skateboarders use it? Huh? What? Now I keep it with my traditional photo gear and it has become one of my most used tools. The GoPro HERO3 Black Edition video quality has reached a level that competes with even the best DSLR cameras.
There comes a time when it’s time to upgrade old equipment. Goodbye NADY and hello Sennheiser EW100 G3! Crystal clear audio and a rock solid design. I could probably use the receiver or transmitter as a hammer. METAL BODIES! I’ve found that just about every video camera I’ve used has lackluster audio. It’s usually lacking the dynamic range needed. Too tinny. Too much bass and not enough mids. Whatever the case, internal microphones on DSLRs usually suck pretty bad. I love being able to finely tune the sensitivity of this rig so it’s perfect. No weird hisses or interference.
Below is a video clip demonstrating Canon 7D with a Sennheiser EW100 G3.