Category Archives: Workshops & Seminars

What’s wrong with this picture, er, I mean, this video…

In the midst of the packing and last minute details for an assignment I’m leaving on tomorrow (note to self: no more blog posts about Photoshop or plug-ins…whoa…you guys are tough, tough, tough), I took stock of my upcoming shopping list for gear, gadgets, and software.

And none of it was for still photo stuff.

I should be upgrading to CS5, but all my cameras are covered by the version of Adobe Camera Raw in CS4 so what I’m really getting ready to plunk down near four figures to upgrade is to Final Cut Studio from Final Cut Express, and not from CS4 to CS5.

And yes, I’d like that tiny new 85mm Nikkor DX  VR macro lens, but what I’m actually buying next is a fairly pricey little Sennheiser wireless mic setup. And I’ve been hitting the videography blogs with alarming regularity.

What the hell is going on? Hit the jump to find out just who, or what, has hijacked my brain.

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Also posted in Audio, Career issues, Multimedia, Photo Gear, Technology

May Gear & Gadget Update

Large 220V Powerstrip

Compact Magellan Powerstrip

Kodak Zi 8 pocket camcorder

Wide angle auxiliary lens for Zi 8 (caution: soft corners ahead!)

Polaroid Pogo Printer

Bob’s Maine Media Travel Photo Workshop, July 4-10

Also posted in Audio, Destinations, Multimedia, Photo Gear, Technology, Travel

Drop, and Give Me….How Many????

I’m heading off to San Francisco, blizzard gods willing (update: they’re not, I’m holed up in an airport hotel watching it snow after a two hour battle up here because my flight showed “ON TIME” until I pulled into the airport!), to teach a seminar for National Geographic Traveler with my buddy Ralph Lee Hopkins. I’m going to hang a few extra days and shoot some stock.

Okay, stop laughing. Travel stock of San Francisco? Good luck selling it. Yeah, yeah, I know.  But I’ve never really shot there, so I’m doing it for the therapy value. Peggy and I lived in the Bay Area when we were first married and I was in acting school (at the American Conservatory Theater), and I hardly ever get back and I always wanted to shoot it. So who cares if it never sells? At least that’s what my therapist says….

So the blog will be a little quiet and I thought I’d share a couple more shots from the New Hope portrait project. Like the one above of Dan and Katie, proprietors of New Hope Fitness. Now that’s what I call strength training. This shot was a lot easier for me to pull off than it was for Dan. All I did was use the regular big softlight I wrote about in the previous post.

A more difficult challenge came lighting Adele, the Ghost Lady of New Hope. Adele gives ghost tours of town, and you really need a scorecard in this town because it’s full of them, from as far back as the Revolutionary War and beyond.

To get the basic “ghoul” lighting, we took the big lightbox off the stand and aimed it up  from the floor. That was a cool effect, but the lantern candle wasn’t quite cutting it, and we had a shadow of her arm across her face.

We bypassed the candles (truth is, I knew they’d never be bright enough) and instead put in a little Morris mini flash slave in the lantern to simulate the lantern light. Then all we had to do was balance the light from the box hitting all the black of her outfit with the light from the slave hitting her face—-piece of cake.

Only took twenty minutes until we had enough ND material in the lantern to provide a good balance. Then we had to work out a position where the highlights in Adele’s glasses weren’t too distracting (couldn’t get rid of them altogether—-the studio space we’re shooting in is said to be haunted too, and the ghost just wouldn’t let me have an easy time of it!).

But, thanks to Adele’s patience and good relationship with the spirit side, we got off a fun shot.

Also posted in Destinations, Events, Lighting, Photo Techniques, Travel

Doctors, My Eyes Have Seen the Light….

I had the very great privilege of being interviewed by Jason Odell and Rick Walker, the well-known Image Doctors over on the  Nikonians site last Sunday. After we three agreed that it was a fitting reward for old married guys to be able to spend Valentines Day discussing the latest camera gear and talking tech, rather than composing love poems and taking our better halves to a Nancy Meyers movie (hey, I already went to see It’s Complicated….and I loved it!), we got onto the meat of the interview.

We talked a lot about shooting travel and the two new lenses I got to shoot for Nikon recently. The Docs are great interviewers and have been doing this popular podcast for a number of years now.

Of course, choosing to start my Valentines Day hanging out with my new friends probably did nothing to further my cause in persuading “she who must be obeyed” into actually letting me buy the new glass I tested (and an FX body or two).

So I don’t know how smart a move that was….every time I start talking FX (which really only started since I shot that recent gig in Miami—-damn 24mm f/1.4, I wish I knew how to quit you), she brings out the chiropractor bills and the receipts for my Aleve usage to date….not to mention the dismal state of the business.

And speaking of seeing the light, my good friend Brenda Tharp is running a tour to one of my favorite places, Iceland, this summer. I’ve spent a lot of time up there over the years for National Geographic and other pubs, and it is a spectacular location. And you couldn’t find a better leader to show you around than Brenda. It’d be a great place to shoot that new wide FX glass I’m craving….Check it out…

Also posted in Career issues, Destinations, Events, Photo Gear, Photo Techniques, Travel

Tailor-made Multimedia

While the tips for the camera bag contest keep pouring in, and the judges continue with their evalutions, I wanted to point you to a cool little multimedia  project about George de Paris, tailor to the last six or seven American presidents. This site not only gives you the behind the scenes stuff, but also has some clever interactive flash games where you can “dress the president” with different suits, etc.

This multimedia package is a  project from a bunch of students in the American University masters program in Interactive Journalism, my middle boy Brian, who works as an online editor for documentaries, being one of them. He sure is having fun, and in his spare time, he’s trying to teach an old dog (me), new tricks (Final Cut!).

We’ll be announcing the bag winner on New Year’s Day, but not too early, so party hearty and have a good and safe one!

Also posted in Audio, Career issues, Multimedia, Technology