If you’ve watched an american football game, you’ve seen those cool shots from high up in the air. They come from a camera called the Skycam which was actually invented by the same people who designed the Steadicam used in movie productions. It’s basically a remote camera controlled by four computer driven suspension cables. But what happens when everything goes wrong and the camera comes crashing to the ground? Well that’s exactly what happened during the 2011 Insight College Bowl Game featuring Iowa and Oklahoma. Luckily the camera missed landing on any of the players but it sure did come close. Check out the full post to see a behind the scenes video on how the Skycam works.
This video is a couple years old now but it’s the first time I’ve seen it. One part Geico caveman, two parts Macgyver, Bryan Peterson shows how easy it can be to create a simple yet eye catching stock photo. Using nothing more than a Nikkor 200mm Macro Lens, some sparkling water, a glass, a lemon, and some old Christmas wrapping paper, Bryan shows you how easy a product shot can be if you just focus on the composition and some easy reflector lighting. What shocked me even more than this DIY photoshoot next to an interstate setup was the realization that someone gave me his super popular book Understanding Exposure as a gift years ago and it’s here on my bookshelf. His tips make photography look so easy, even a caveman can do it!
One of the biggest rewards of our 2011 Behind The Scenes Contest is we finally get to meet our readers and see what they enjoy shooting. Meet Kevin Kozicki; he is a great fashion photographer based out of sunny Los Angeles. In his contest entry, Kevin wanted to use poinsettia leaves in some sort of beauty themed image while not going in the typical Christmas/Holiday route. The images Kevin produced are outstanding and his lighting is perfect for this type of project. I do wish Kevin would have explained his lighting a bit more but it’s also nice to hear photographers talk about the overall production ideas because they are equally as important and often overlooked. If you have any questions for Kevin, leave them in the comments below and click the full post to see a few of the final images.
Unless you shoot fast moving objects with flash on a regular basis, you might not be aware that a strobes “flash duration” has a huge affect on an image’s total sharpness. Flash duration is simply the time at which your flash is emitting light. Technical gurus will break it down into T.1 and T.5 times but for simplicity the longer the flash duration, the more your strobe light acts as a constant light for extremely fast moving objects (great article here). Recently Broncolor did a test between their Broncolor Scoro power pack and the Profoto Pro 8 Air to see which one had a faster duration. As biased as it might appear, I think it’s fair to say that the Scoro does produce a sharper image especially since you can digital select the flash duration on the power packs themselves. The Broncolor packs do cost about 20% more than the Profoto packs so unless you are shooting extremely fast moving objects then you probably won’t ever notice the difference. I think it could be interesting to throw something much cheaper into the mix like an Alien Bee but my suspicion is it might fail the color accuracy part of this test.
If you are like me, then you might have jumped straight into studio lighting without paying much attention to manipulating natural light. If that is the case, now is a great time to play around with reflectors outside especially since the sun is lower on the horizon this time of year. Jay P Morgan heads to the ultimate graveyard with the lovely Liz Hernandez to show just how effective reflectors can be in place of strobes.
Jay is using a few of the Photoflex 5 in 1 Reflectors in various sizes to manipulate not only the size of the reflected light but also the color. Unlike when using strobes, when using a reflector you really need to pay attention to where the sun is shining so you can maximize the amount of fill light bouncing back into your subject (backlighting your subject is a good starting point). The other major selling point of using a reflector over a strobe not mentioned in this video is your ability to shoot wide open at 1.4 or 2.8 for shallow depth of field. Unless you are using something like the Pocket Wizard Flex System, strobing outside is usually going to force you into the > f8 category which destroys the wide open aperture look. Hope this helps those who haven’t used reflectors as much and good luck shooting!
Have you ever wondered what happens to your checked luggage after you check into your flight and leave it to be loaded on the conveyor belt? Well this video will show you just what happens to your prized belongings when they enter the hands of the airlines and the TSA. Six cameras were mounted in what looks like a pelican case so every angle could be documented. Obviously all of the bag handlers were aware they were being filmed (so who knows how authentic this ‘experiment’ actually is) but it’s still pretty interesting to see how your bag gets from the Delta Terminal to your final luggage terminal in another city. Am I the only one who thinks if I did this the TSA inspectors would have turned my cameras off or changed their position? They never seem to leave my carry on lenses alone yet these video cameras go untouched. Nevertheless, thumps up to Delta for a creative advertising campaign.
Well it’s the end of the year again which means those of you who run a photography business are probably thinking about tax write offs. We have been getting a few emails about this topic so we put together a little list of some expenses you might want to take care of before the end of 2011. Now many of our readers might not yet support themselves with photography, and that is okay; but at some point down the road you will want to consider how to spend your income so you can maximize the growth of your business. If any of our full time photographer friends have any other suggestions or resources, please leave them in the comments so everyone can benefit from your experience.
The ISO sensitivity on today’s flagship DSLR cameras is pretty amazing. They are so amazing in fact that for the first time, NASA is able to use Nikon D3 cameras to create night time timelapse videos as the earth sleeps. You’ve probably seen a bunch of these stunning videos here but now we are able to see who is responsible for capturing the raw images from orbit. Mike Massimino takes you behind the scenes with astronaut/photographer Mike Fossum as he talks about his passion for long exposure photography from space. The audio is pretty rough so use headphones if you have trouble hearing.
Well it’s Christmas Eve here in the US and many of you are about to have a blast opening up some cool photography gadgets (or I hope so at least). But in the meantime, Eve Hazelton created a really thorough video on how to light an interview or one person scene easily and effectively. Eve is the director of photography for the film Underwater Realm which we’ve feature a ton on Fstoppers (check out their great BTS videos here). Her work is so helpful that Philip Bloom featured an interesting article on this video over on his blog. Check it out if you prefer an image breakdown of lighting instead of the video format. Hopefully you guys can start using some of these techniques in your own videos especially if you ever submit to our Behind The Scenes Contests down the road.
Jay P Morgan is at it again with a new Christmas themed photoshoot. Almost everytime I watch one of Jay’s photoshoots I learn a clever way to artificially create something that I wouldn’t have thought of before. If you’ve ever wanted to know how to create realistic fake snow on a set, Jay teaches you a simple and easy way to bring the elements into the studio. Granted bringing in artificial snow into the studio will create a huge mess, but it looks like a lot of fun and can allow you to create a winter atmosphere even in the summer. There are a lot of places to buy artificial snow like Amazon or Superior Studios Specialties so stock up now if you ever want to try this yourself. As always, if you enjoy Jay P Morgan’s videos, check out other tips of his in the Fstoppers Archives.
I’m not sure what has gotten into Chase Jarvis lately. First he decided to be a judge for our 2011 Behind The Scenes Contest. Next he flies over to Hong Kong to test a new Lego camera. And now I come to find that he’s running his own “Will It Blend” campaign with the brand new Polaroid Z340 instant digital camera. Whatever the reason is for his latest antics, I’m glad Chase made this video because I’ve been wanting a digital AND film Polaroid camera since I picked up a camera. Sure they would be fun during trips and parties but what if you passed one or two of these out at your next wedding for the guests to have fun with? How big of a hit would that be! If Chase has any pull with the folks over at Polaroid, we’d love to see a version with a simple hotshoe on top so we could use bounce light or a pocket wizard with these things. With paper refills at $17, it wouldn’t be the cheapest thing you could bring to a wedding but I’m sure your clients would be talking about it for years! What do you guys think?
Amy Lynn must really want to win some of the $20,000 in photo gear we are giving away in our Behind the Scenes Contest because the photoshoot idea she came up with is one of the most original ideas we’ve seen yet! Amy wanted to create a fashion image with a twist. Her plan was to take a bunch of photos of her friends in a circle and stitch them together in a way that would allow the viewer to pan around the scene in full 360 degrees. I wasn’t quite sure how the image would turn out when I first started watching her video but the final product is pretty impressive. I’ve embedded the final image HERE so make sure you check out the full post to see how awesome this turned out. If you have any questions for Amy about how she created this awesome fashion image, leave her a comment below. We wish Amy and everyone else who has entered this contest so far the best of luck!
Okay this video has been emailed to us a bunch of times, and it has already made the rounds on a bunch of blogs BUT I’m still not sure I understand this story at all. Researchers at MIT have created a “video system” made up of 500 sensors that can capture light movement at 1/1,000,000,000,000th of a second. Now after watching this video and reading the official MIT press release, my mind is pretty much blown. It’s clear that this camera is not actually filming a native 1 trillion fps but are they saying that the speed of light is so fast that essentially the shutter speed of the composited frames would in fact be 1 trillion fps when strung together? I know there must be some physics gurus out there that can explain this in simple terms! No matter what is actually going on here, it’s still pretty geeky and extremely cool to watch such a complicated setup record some of the fastest images ever created.
We are heading into the final stretch for our 2011 Behind The Scenes Contest and someone is about to win a truckload of gear! The latest video that caught my attention was from LA photographer Mike Kelley. Mike has been featured on our site before but in case you missed that post, his portfolio is full of some pretty kick ass commercial images of buildings and outdoor environments. So it was only fitting for his contest entry to showcase how he approaches an outdoor commercial architectural shoot. Mike uses a lot of exposures and some well thought out accent lighting to create a composite image that looks really nice. As much as I love this video, Mike won’t win this competition by impressing anyone here at Fstoppers. Instead his video has to make a lasting impression among our celebrity panel of judges. If you have any questions for Mike, leave them in the comments below.
Just a heads up to everyone; today is the last day to enter into our Peter Hurley / Apple iPad 2 Twitter contest! Tommorrow we are giving away a Apple 16GB iPad 2 and a free digital copy of Peter Hurley’s The Art Behind The Headshot to one of our lucky twitter followers!
All you have to do to enter is follow @fstoppers on Twitter, and tweet the following message:
“Follow @fstoppers and retweet this message to win Peter Hurley’s DVD and an iPad 2 http://bit.ly/tsTufu”
Make sure you tweet this message between now and the end of December 15th, 2011 because we will announce the winner the following day. Goto Peter’s The Art Behind The Headshot Website for more information. Thanks to everyone who has already purchased the DVD and good luck to everyone entering the contest. NOTE: If you plan on ordering the DVD or already have purchased it, you will be refunded if you win the twitter contest.