Don’t let the sun catch you squinting…

With apologies to Gerry and the Pacemakers (Merseysiders whose 1964 release “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” got me through some tough break-ups in middle and high school) comes another confession: I do some commercial work. Yes, it’s not all exotic landscapes and cultural documentary in my biz….sometimes it’s shiny, happy people having fun on behalf of the tourism industry.


I say this without apology as I enjoy the challenges of commercial work, and I appreciate the patronage of clients like Philadelphia tourism who have helped me pay my mortgage and educate my kids….but I digress. Why does this lovely couple look sparkly and yet are not squinting? There’s bright, harsh, late afternoon sun all around them.

It’s from a shoot at a winery in the Philly area. And I don’t just have this couple to photograph. No, Philly is an inclusive place, so when you do a shoot like this, you’ve got a half dozen couples of all ages, ethnicities, and lifestyle preferences. You shoot one couple, pull ’em out, and then insert the next demographic. It’s a buzz to say the least. So you’ve got to have quick simple setups that solve problems….like harsh sunlight on happy faces.

Photo © Bob Krist


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Life in the slipstream

I’ve had an opportunity to work with some incredible pilots in my time. Usually, they’re the behind the scenes guys who help me get aerial views of landscapes, but occasionally they’re the subject of the photos themselves.  Here are two very similar views of two (well, actually four) very skillful pilots.  The first, on this page, is Azhar Husain of Sport Aviation at Van Sant Airport in PA. I was shooting for my book about Bucks County and after seeing what planes and pilots were available we decided to try the formation flight.

Photo © Bob Krist

We worked out all the logistics…the second pilot, the wind and light direction, a harness for me so I could turn around in the cockpit and shoot backwards. There was only one thing I hadn’t counted on, and it nearly cost me a broken nose, not to mention a smashed up camera.  Hit the jump to find out how to avoid plastic surgery if you should attempt a similar shot… (more…)

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Advice for the Power Hungry

Here’s a familiar scene. You’ve checked into your hotel and maybe it’s an expensive hotel, far more than you wanted to pay but it was the only choice so you were stuck, and you’re on your hands and knees with your head under the desk, desperately searching for another outlet.

Yes, the compleat digital traveler these days must be able to charge his or her iPod, iPhone, Kindle, multiple camera batteries, Audio Recorder, Laptop, video camera, curling iron…(hey, you think this beard looks so good without help?). And most hotels? While they may offer designer furniture, designer water, and designer pillows, most still give you one outlet under the desk, and one that never works (along with a non-functioning Ethernet port) built into the stylish base of the designer lamp on the desk.

The best and most customer friendly electrical setup I’ve ever encountered in an accommodation was not in a swanky hotel at all. It was at Chief’s Camp in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Admittedly, my room was just a tent, and they only had the  juice that they generated themselves, but tacked up on the wall right next to (and not under) the desk was a multi-outlet powerstrip that looked like this:



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Hands-free tripod toting

While it’s true that I’m not as adamant about tripod use as some of my nature and landscape shooting buddies, I’m not a photojournalistic purist who never uses a tripod either. For me, tripod use is a case of “situational ethics:”  if the situation requires a tripod, I’ll use one. Of course, to use a tripod, you actually need to have one with you, and here’s where the formula usually breaks down into the following dilemma: “which is better; the big, heavy sturdy behemoth tripod that you left back in the hotel, bus, or trunk of the car, or a lightweight one that you’ll actually carry?”

By now, I’m assuming that everyone’s discovered the strength, light weight, and downright beauty of the carbon fiber tripod, so I won’t even go into it (other than listing a few of my favorites at the end of the post).  But if you have to carry that lightweight ‘pod like this gentlemen (in a shot from OpTech, the good folks who bring you those wonderful neoprene camera straps–got ’em on all my SLR bodies– or in the case of this photo, neoprene leg wraps), your hands are figuratively tied up when it comes to shooting (although you would look cool toting that baby into the batter’s box at your next softball game).


Fortunately, there is an easier way…


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