Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Outside the Box...

It's been a busy week for me. Last weekend I went to Louisville to shoot the Naptown Warning Belle's as they kicked butt against the Derby City Roller Girls. Great time, Great bout! Great Car ride down too. My favorite part might have been when one of the skaters was trying to decide which of the other skaters to give her credit card too.....Miso Crazy, or Helluva Gudtime......I'm not sure I'd like those chioces either. lol. Right after I got back, I had to shoot the Honor our Hero's festival here in Indy, which is where the shot above is from. D3, 18-35mm, 720ISO.

Sometimes when you're busy it's hard to get everything done though. I think everybody can Identify with this, which made me realize something that I know a lot of Pro's don't do which saves me a bunch of time. When a lot of people think of Pro Photographers they think of either super expensive camera's, or camera's that are set to nothing but Manual. This isn't the case however. Remote cameras can be set to priority modes, or sometimes you just can't predict what light is going to do. Pro's will also find ways to get camera's into places that most people aren't. That especially includes, places that other pro's arent...

The shot above was a D300 and a 10.5 Fisheye set to Manual Exposure. 1250 ISO, 1/60th a second at F2.8. Shot blind while holding the camera 60 feet above the track as far under the catwalk as I could reach. Getting a shot like that is tough; there are a lot of things to consider like do you want the action to stop? will the reflection of the floor make the picture too dark if you use it on automatic mode? ect ect.

Setting a camera to a complete manual setting is scary the first time you do it, but not the end of the world. Recently however I've become a BIG fan of the 'Auto-ISO' function on my D3 and D700. Freakin amazing feature that I know a lot of pro's overlook. It lets you decide how much of the action you want to stop (shutter speed) and how much depth of field you want (aperture) and then adjusts the sensitivity of the sensor to take your shot! It's almost like cheating in my mind. It's amazing. It doesn't even keep to standard ISO's. I shot a photo earlier at 580ISO.

A perfect example is the shot at the top of this post. The camera Automaticaly set the ISO on that shot to 720. Without Auto ISO that shot would have been taken at 1600ISO or whatever I may have set it at, when I started shooting. The photo would have been grainier, and not as reproduceable at a large scale. Where that shot is going to go...I have no idea; but at 720 ISO out of a D3, someone could make a poster out of it. When you're a pro, that's a big deal. Printing things big is especially important when you're doing things like this:

(Styling by Nikki Sutton, and Assist by Greg Andrews)

Like I said when I got started, I've been super busy lately. We are starting the 2010 Roller Derby Calendar very soon. The shot above is from last year's calendar and it's one of my favorites. I shot it with a D3 at 200ISO, with a single Dynalite 400JR through a 44" translucent disk to camera right. (would have used a softbox, but gosh....bathrooms are small...)

Looks like I get a little bit of time off for good behavior coming up though before it's time to really grind. I'll be in Maryland for the 4th of July, and I'm rather excited about seeing some long lost friends. When I get back though It's hard to work on the the Derby Calendar, A Swimsuit Calendar, as well as a few other projects I know I've got coming up over the summer. Until then, Everybody have a Happy 4th of July (even if it's just a regular Saturday for you).

Until next time, think outside the box. Try some of the crazy features on your camera like Auto-ISO. Try to get someplace you've never been to see things a little differently. You may find yourself not only pleased with what you get out of it, but you may also take a few pictures you like to remember it by. More Soon.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Meet Julie.

Every so often I get to take a break from shooting jewelry, food, or other various products; and get to work with a lovely model like Julie. I don't get to shoot a lot of fashion so when someone asks me to do it, I usually jump at the chance. We went to a house in the very northern part of Noblesville owned by Julie's friend Daryl. I probably spelled that wrong, but that's why I get paid to take pictures and not spell people's names. Anyway, Daryl has an amazing house. It wasn't quite finished, but that didn't stop us from getting the shots that Julie wanted. She was looking for very magazine style editorial type shots. JC Penny kind of thing. She had a bunch of examples cut out of magazines which was extra super helpful. We got some great stuff.

These are the 90% finished product. All sharp as Shot (as an iphone text message used to say with the spell check turned on). My buddy Tom always tells me how anal I am about sharpness but hey; there's nothing like a sharp picture. I'm trying to decide if there are any specialty effects I want to throw on some of the others. These though, I like just the way they are.

All these were shot with the D3 at 200ISO and I believe the 70-200 F2.8 VR lens. All were lit with various arrays of SB-800 and SB-900's with softboxes, diffusers, or just straight flash depending on what our surroundings allowed.

Speaking of equipment though, I'd like to throw a special plug in for my Buddy Tommy at Klipsch. I spend a lot of time in various restaurants and cofee houses editing my photos. A few weeks ago I made mention of the fact that I broke my headphones and Tommy graciously supplied me with a new set. The Klipsch S2's to be exact. Told me I could have them if I told him what I thought because they weren't going to be out until July. Well Tommy: Freakin awesome. They fit snugly in my ears and give me plenty of sound while keeping the other outside noises out. By that, I mean that I can play music in Starbucks which is loud enough for me to hear very clearly without hearing the rest of the coffee grinders and Chatty Cathy's in the joint. Plus they deliver such great sound that the volume isn't even turned up that high on my MacbookPro. That means that when I accidentally pull the jack out of the laptop while listening to death metal, it doesn't immediately drown out the Elton John they have playing causing a scene and glares of doom toward me from everybody in the Coffee shop. (What? You don't listen to Death Metal while photoshopping? I don't always either, but it's been known to happen). Anyway; the point is that these suckers are awesome. Thanks again Tommy!

Been shooting some video recently, among other various product related things. Just got hooked up with April Morris at Express Effects Cosmetics and am helping her out with a project. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of neat stuff we can accomplish as a team. Otherwise it's been business as usual. Not enough sleep, too much Diet Coke, and a whole lot of time on the phone with various people. Have an AIGA meeting tomorrow, some video to edit, am headed to Louisville Saturday for Roller Derby, and then the Honor our Hero's festival on the South side on Sunday. Can't complain about having things to do. More soon.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Failure can breed Creativity?

So I posted very recently that patience is a MUST have for any photographer to survive the profession. This is very true. You may also recall that the photo shoot at Ultrasun was canned because of a broken wheel on a rotator stand for the tanning beds. Well, after going to the hooters to visit our friend Rachel we decided that taking photos downtown would be the best way to pass some time on a night we had expected to be working late anyway. Crazy thing was that I remembered a video that I saw in the last few weeks where a guy made a video out of a bunch of still images from the interior of his car. Being as we had awesome weather that evening, and we were in a convertible going to head to downtown Indy; I was inspired. The video I saw which inspired this, had done it inside his car which was cool; but how cool would it be in a convertable?

(Photo by Brad Clampitt)

So we mounted my brand spankin new D700 onto a tripod in the back of Brad's SL500 and went for a drive down Highway I-65. I'd be lieing if I said I wasn't a bit nervous; especially with Brad driving..... For the few nerds out there that might read this, I set my camera very similarly to the way the video I saw that was similar was set. The camera was set to 6400iso and Shutter Priority at 1/3 of a second. The camera also had an exposure compensation of +1 stop to make sure that from time to time we could see the inside of the car. I wish i was able to shoot wider than 18mm but that's the widest I have now since I dumped my 10.5 fisheye. I must say I'm very pleased with the results though. The neat part about Nikon Camera's is that they all have Interval timers built into them. So you can set the camera to take 999 shots at almost any interval. This particular one was set to take a shot every 3 seconds. Canon cameras don't have that feature. Sony camera's don't have that Feature either. As far as I know Nikon is the only one that includes it in their bodies. Honestly.....I don't know why nobody else does it's just a simple bit of programming. For something like this you need a BIG memory card. I had the camera set to JPEG with a Kingston 133x 16 gigabyte card. In the end I took 1689 shots.

We drove downtown where we discovered that Brad was so excited about this project he left his Sony A700 at home and he couldn't take any photos downtown. We laughed for a bit, and decided to call it a night considering that we both had a long day to follow. The Q8 no longer failed, and we finally got all the photos shot of it today. I shot about 8 gigabytes of parts photos for Ultrasun as well. Then at about 8:30pm we proceeded to go back to Hooters to edit the video. Why did we go back to Hooters to do this editing? Because who does that? Seriously. Apparently I do.

(Photo by Brad Clampitt)

So I finally got it all edited, I found some music that seems to fit nicely with it (music by Bush: "History [The Dub Pistols Mix] Special thanks to them for sure), and we have a video. For the Record NO I was not sitting facing the wall all night, we moved tables because the waitresses section moved and we are pushovers like that. We had a much better spot overlooking the place but she had to move, and this table had an outlet. Final Cut doesn't like batteries. Eats 'em 3 meals a day as well as a snack. I guess the long winded moral of the story is to go with your inspirations. We could have gone to a bar, or all dispersed to go home to bed, but instead we created something a little different. I may not be the first to do this, but just like the Dancing man; get inspired, break the mold, and you never know what you're gunna get.
Take 5 minutes, enjoy the video, more soon.

Friday, June 19, 2009

World......Meet the Q12.

Good friends can sometimes bet he best path to work. One of my commercial clients here in Indy is Ultrasun USA. One of my best friends is the General Manager there, and wasn't happy with the photos he was recieving for marketing materials from over seas. Thus as simple as it sounds my relationship with Ultrasun was born. I've photographed just about every bed that they have, and am waiting for them to recieve more of their new line. The Q12 in the picture above was the first like it to be in the United States. There are much larger plans for the photos than just posters and online galleries, but that's a story for another blog.

Shooting something like a Tanning bed is about as difficult as shooting a Car. You need a large white space (big enough to cover all sides in most cases), because the bed is very reflective. You can definitely shoot a car without a large white space, and you can even do it with only a few little lights as the Strobist proved a few weeks ago. For Ultrasun's purposes that wouldn't do though. Brad and I had to prove that we were smarter than 5th graders and construct a large white cube. It turns out this was the biggest DIY photo project ever, and was a lot more difficult than it sounds...... I think it was 13 hours, and 4 pizza's later we got something that worked in a way to provide the photo you see above. Tonight we started to shoot the Q8, which is another bed in the new product line. Unfortunately our box looks like it needs a little work after a years worth of use......

The box used to be all taught, and nice looking. Cube like. Gravity affects everything though I guess.... The really tough part is that no matter how long you've been doing something you can always have problems. Brad and I have been shooting these Tanning beds for a little over a year now, and we think we've got it pretty much to a science. It never fails though, and no matter what you've planned for; something can always go wrong. Some issues are small and can be fixed quickly, while others will end your shoot completely. Tonight our shoot was ended completely. We have a large circular disk on wheels so we can rotate the beds easily. When that breaks We are done.....It happens. Tonight, the worst happened.

We know it's bound to happen. It's still no fun though. The bucket is there to help hold the bed up until the service guys can repair it tomorrow. It all just goes to show that Patience is part of this game. It sucks, but we'll just have to start shooting again tomorrow or next week. Without patience you can't do photography. Brad and I ended up shooting tonight, but not a tanning bed. Think Convertable.....think Video......More soon.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Basketball, Weddings, Overtime, Derby, Conflicts and Birthdays.......

So Wow. This has been a heck of a week. For work I drove almost 800 miles this week shooting Restaurants, Basketball, and Fire chiefs. Roller Derby, Police officers, and Course Guide covers. It's been a crazy week that culminated on Saturday with 2 Weddings, two All Star Basketball Games, a Roller Derby Double header, and a Birthday. (Happy Birthday Dawnya, wherever it is you've ended up).

Obviously I couldn't do all of those things on Saturday so It turned into a game of, what trumps what. Honestly it's good to have choices on what you want to do, but when you want to do everything it comes down to what you HAVE to do.

In the end I HAD to shoot the All Star Basketball Games in Conseco. I don't shoot basketball except for 1 week a year, and this was it. I love shooting sports, I used to shoot them at Purdue, but it just wasn't in the cards for me to continue doing sports on a regular basis.

I did end up making it to the second half of the second game at the Roller Derby, but that's only 30 minutes of Derby out of 120 total bout minutes. As this was the last bout of the home season, I was sort of disappointed that I couldn't be there for the girls. I did manage to get a few shots though, which you can find here.

Congrats to my friends Greg and Allison who got married last weekend in Michigan. I'm sorry I had to miss the wedding, but work obviously got in the way here more than once. Congratulations to John and Tina who got married as well; whose wedding I was unable to shoot because of all of the fore mentioned conflicts as well.

Otherwise this week has been particularly stressful because the basketball was a priority, but it was along with what normally takes me 40ish hours a week to accomplish anyway. I shot the cover for next semesters IUPUI course guide, a couple of dining guide inserts, as well as the Greenwood Fire Chief for the upcoming Honor our Hero's section at the paper. I wish I could have come up with a more dynamic image for the Fire Chief, but the weather wasn't very nice and there wasn't a whole lot of room in the foyer in the Fire Station so this is what I ended up with.

Over all I am looking forward to a bit slower of a week this week. I've still got a Cat I need to find a home for, that isn't happy I was gone for 80 hours last week; but that's why I didn't have a pet to start with. Despite the slightly less busy week, hopefully next week I'll have something interesting to write about. More soon.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The first......

Chase Jarvis posted this on his blog, and I loved it so much I had to post it here. I follow Chase Jarvis's blog as well as a few other photographers that I find to be phenomenal in their own ways. Look to the link bar on the right of my blog to see some of these amazing people.

Anyway, Chase makes the point that it's tough to be the first one to do something. Not only do you have to be different, but you have to make people see the reason behind your ways (or lack there of). I completely agree. It's tough to break the mold, and tackle something either new, or in a new way. The guy in the video proves that you can have a great results though.

If anything I hope you just get a laugh out of the video. I think Chase said it best to end his post and since I got this from him I might as well give him more credit: "Someone's got to be first, why not make it you?"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

KJ Testin

This is a few weeks past but I thought I'd share it on here anyway. I figure why not have some content on the page when everything goes live right?

Joey Fingers approached me about this project a few weeks prior to shooting, wanting to know if I was interested in helping out. I liked the music he sent me and was looking to work on a project like this to really break into the video world with a bang! (I like things that go bang, comes with the territory of being easily amused....) We met with Jim Timperman who is an outstanding cinematographer. Like a real world cinematographer. The kind of guy who lives in Indiana but gets paid to go all over to film things anywhere. Great, very talented guy. That's him to the left of the frame on the photo above (Photo by Brad Clampitt). That's me on the bed mounting the 5D Mark II to the arm we had to suspend it over the bed. He was supervising me on the bed to either make sure ther was no funny business, or to make sure he wasn't the one that dropped the camera on KJ......Freakin amazing camera by the way. Many of you should know I shoot Nikon, and all I can say is that I wish my D3 could put out video like that camera does.....

Anyway, the room above is the Mike Tyson Suite at the Canterbury hotel here in Indy. Great room, although needs some updating. Between all the gear that we all had, it was quite packed in there; even though the suite had 2 levels.

(Photo by Brad Clampitt)

We shot on other various locations though. Got some skyline, got some hallway, even had a few people almost interrupt filming because they wanted to take some photos. It realy was quite the experience. There are talks of doing another video in the next few months. I hope it all works out, I think KJ is very talented and deserves her chance for her music to be heard. I'm not much of a country fan, but I like her stuff. That's enough from me though. Until next time; enjoy the video.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Blog!

Welcome to the new www.lebryk.com! The website is finally up, and be sure to check back here often as this is wehre I'm going to post my adventures. Newspaper, side projects, videos and more are going to be posted here soon (hopefully). Until my first real post, thanks for checking and I'll see you all soon!