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Patrick Hall
Charleston, SC
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Articles written by Patrick Hall

Manfrotto Is Making One Crazy Looking Tripod Head

Manfrotto Is Making One Crazy Looking Tripod Head
When deciding to buy tripods, ball heads, lightstands, and umbrella brackets, I quickly learned that it's worth it's weight in gold to buy the best there is out there, and the best is usually made by Manfrotto. So I was a little curious when I heard they were releasing a new tripod head that allows smooth pivoting found in a video fluid head with the quick versatility found in photo ball head. Drew Gardner got his hands on the new Manfrotto MH055 Photo-Movie tripod head, and I must say this thing looks like it was made by aliens or something. It should be interesting to see the reviews on this once it comes out in June. Nothing is more annoying than having to carry around two different tripod heads for stills and photos so maybe this could be our answer. Check out the video below for a demonstration on why photo heads can't be used for video and vice versa.

Scarlett Johansson Behind The Scenes With Mango

Scarlett Johansson Behind The Scenes With Mango

For the last three years or so, Scarlett Johansson has been the face behind the acclaimed Spanish clothing company Mango. In their latest Spring/Summer 2011 campaign, set in the Goldstein Residence in Beverly Hills, photographer superstar Mario Sorrenti builds his images exclusively with natural light and reflectors. It's hard to imagine a wet haired Johansson ever not looking incredible, so it should not come as a surprise that Mario and company produced...

360 Degree Camera Drives The World's Most Dangerous Road

360 Degree Camera Drives The World's Most Dangerous Road
Last year we showed you some of the first footage of a new 360 camera made by Yellowbird. Well now Mitsubishi is using that technology in their campaign Test Drive The World's Most Dangerous Road. The Yungas Road is found in South America connecting the Bolivian cities of La Paz and Coroico. Apparently this path, which is only wide enough for one car in places, is responsible for 300 average deaths a year. Below is a little teaser on how they made the campaign for the 2011 Outlander and Outlander Sport. Click the link above to view the 360 degree footage throughout the entire 40 kilometer test drive and the full post for a truly horrifying first person experience on the death path.

Real Action Sequences Only Need One Take

Real Action Sequences Only Need One Take
Another week has passed which means Freddie Wong has posted yet another great action video. This guy is a machine when it comes to producing interesting action videos consistently which is probably why he has one of the most viewed channels on youtube. In his newest action sequence, Freddie is determined to capture 50 seconds of mind blowing violence in one single take. You can watch the entire video in the full post. Below is a little behind the scenes on how Freddie and his staff created One Shot ft. Eliza Dushku. The beauty with Freddie's production is that literally anyone can make these videos if they just use their creativity and keep the production high despite the gear they own.

Using Variable Neutral Density Filters In Bright Sunlight

Using Variable Neutral Density Filters In Bright Sunlight
Gary from F8 Photography and Mikey from Lightenupandshoot have crossed paths while traveling through Hong Kong. Lee and I ran into Mikey out at WPPI in Las Vegas a few months ago where he told us of some up coming adventures he had planned for Southeast Asia. These guys are really laid back and excited to break out into a photoshoot at any given time. In this video they take a ferry over to a local island to capture a few images of some friends they made in Hong Kong. Around 2:30, Gary talks about using a Variable Neutral Density Filter to almost completely destroy the ambient light while still shooting wide open at f1.2 and maxing out his shutter sync speed at 1/250. I've never attempted this technique, but it has been made famous by many photographers including Joey L. Does anyone have an opinion about these variable neutral density filters or use this technique in their own work? If so feel free to post an image in the comments below.

Koto Bolofo: The Art Of Good Photography Is Spontaneousness

Koto Bolofo: The Art Of Good Photography Is Spontaneousness
Fellow Fstoppers reader Alex Masters sent me an interesting video featuring fashion photographer Koto Bolofo. In this behind the scenes video for German Vogue, Koto is collaborating with fashion stylist Christiane Arp to create images that have both a circus influence and also an early photography feel. It's refreshing to hear Koto talk about how a shoot of this nature comes together, and how having an initial guideline can lay the groundwork for improvisation and spontaneity. I think the final photos capture the mood everyone was going for on this shoot and model Elena Sudakova helped bring the circus performer element with her crazy flexibility.

The Virtual Camera Simulator

The Virtual Camera Simulator
Our email has been flooded the last couple of days with this neat little flash program. At some point in your photographic journey, you've probably wondered how different shutter speeds and focal lengths affect your images. The guys over at Camera Sim have built an interactive flash simulator that lets you choose your ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture, Focal Length, and even the lighting to expose for the perfect shot. I have to admit, I spent a good 5 minutes playing with all the settings and seeing how everything would turn out. I'm a little suspicious of the image created at 1 foot away @ 18mm but it's probably not an exact science. Imagine how much easier it would have been to learn what all these function do to your images if you had this back in the archaic era film era!

How To Light Large Groups Of People Evenly

How To Light Large Groups Of People Evenly
It's Spring time which means a lot of photographers are back to shooting outside and probably photographing group portraits. As a wedding photographer myself, I'm constantly having to light groups between 2 and 20 both quickly and effectively. In the latest video by Adorama Tv, Mark Wallace talks about how to light large groups evenly in a studio with Profoto lights. His explanation is really detailed, and if you apply this knowledge you can easily adapt this technique outside with something like a Photex Softlighter and some speedlights for even lighting on location.

Jonathan Mannion Talks Hip Hop Photography

Jonathan Mannion Talks Hip Hop Photography
We have featured the work of Jonathan Mannion previously on Fstoppers but he has so many great videos that I figured we'd share his work again. Mannion has shot everyone in the rap scene including Eminem, Lil Wayne, Jay Z, DMX, and Ice Cube. Often borrowing from his mentor Richard Avedon, Jonathan's work can be edgy and provocative but also clean and iconic. In this video Jonathan showcases a lot of his work featured in the Milk Gallery exhibition he did last year. It's pretty interesting to hear Jonathan talk about trying to remain creative with his work while at the same time knowing the specific image the record labels want for their musicians' brand.

How To Use And Build Your Own Ring Flash

How To Use And Build Your Own Ring Flash
Lighting with a ring flash is a common technique among fashion and beauty photographers, yet it is often one of the most misunderstood and abused lighting setups among novice photographers. Simply using a single on axis light is hardly ever appealing but when coupled with other lights the ringflash look can become very flashy and dynamic. You often see this sort of light in music videos, glamour photos like Playboy, and of course high fashion shoots. In this video Tom Antos not only shows you an easy ring flash lighting setup he used for a music video but he also shows you how you can make your own constant light version for video productions. These same techniques can easily be adapted for still photos, and if your model is not moving much you can actually use the constant light version for stills as well.

May Photo Contest: Prizes From Photoflex and Black Rapid

May Photo Contest: Prizes From Photoflex and Black Rapid
Every month here at Fstoppers we run a photo contest that is judged by one of our readers. We'd like to congratulate Adam Sund for winning the April Fstoppers Forum Photo Contest. Click the previous link to see his winning photograph and watch for his banner at the top of the site to see more of Adam's work.

As we do every month, the winner of the contest gets to pick the next theme and Adam has chosen "Underneath". Just like Adam, this month's winner will also win a custom image and website link on the Fstoppers rotating banner above and also a large Photoflex 42" Multidisc Reflector which is great for location and studio uses. The winner will also receive a Black Rapid Sport Strap. As always, our contests are judged by the winner of the previous month's contest so you have to impress Adam not anyone on the Fstoppers Staff. Have fun submitting to the May Fstoppers Forum Contest and good luck to everyone!

Behind The Scenes On The Making Of The Hobbit

Behind The Scenes On The Making Of The Hobbit
J. R. R. Tolkien's books are some of the most cherished stories in modern literature. You would have to have been living under a rock to miss the movie adaptation of The Lord of The Rings which have grossed more than 2.9 Billion dollars in revenue . Director Peter Jackson helped propel the trilogy to a whole new audience after creating three of the most successful movies of all time, and now he is busy at work with the classic Tolkien story The Hobbit. This behind the scenes videos features Peter showing you a lot of the preproduction for the film including many of the props, sets, actors, and costumes.

This Is One Way To Book More Jobs

This Is One Way To Book More Jobs
Every photographer I know is wanting to book more jobs. No matter if your niche is wedding, food, commercial, advertising, or sports, chances are you would love for your business to make a lasting impression on someone looking to hire you for your services. Casey Templeton wanted to beef up his commercial and adverting work so he decided to produce a promo package that would not get lost on an agency's desk. The video below shows the promo package he made in 2010 and mailed out to 300 of his favorite agencies and art buyers. You might be thinking that this package is pretty extravagant and expensive to send to that many agencies, but being memorable among a crowd of creative professionals can easily pay off if you land only a few jobs from such a campaign. Hope you guys enjoyed this as much as I did.

Some Weddings Require Helicopters And Snow Skis

Some Weddings Require Helicopters And Snow Skis
This video is a bit unusual to say the least. When Anita Nowacka was asked to photograph a wedding on top of a remote part of Telluride, she grabbed her gear, suited up, and jumped into a helicopter. Shooting any wedding can be tough work but I can only imagine the issues Anita faced working in such extreme weather. This video is mostly a promotional video for Black Rapid's camera straps but it's still a fun video to watch especially if you enjoy shooting destination weddings. Check out the final photos over on Anita's Blog; I really love the shot of the musicians on skis as the bride makes her decent to the ceremony.

ROCKSTAR PHOTOGRAPHERS - Anita Nowacka from Mad Pants Productions on Vimeo.

How To Choose The Right Lens For The Shot

How To Choose The Right Lens For The Shot
If you are a budding photographer, you are probably a lot like I was when I first picked up a camera: somewhat naive about lenses. Knowing when to use a wide angle lens verses a telephoto lens is both a creative decision as well as a logistical one. Readers often ask which lenses to buy over at the Fstoppers Forum, and recently Mark Wallace shed a lot of light on the topic in his latest Adorama TV episode: Choosing The Right Lens. Not only does Mark talk about the practicalities of using one type of lens over another but he also demonstrates exactly how perspective, distortion, and compression look at different focal lengths. Knowing the tools of your trade is extremely important so if you haven't tackled this topic yet we hope this will be useful. We have also outlined a few of our favorite photo and video lenses on our Lens Guide.

A Portrait Of Jesus With Photography and Pastels

A Portrait Of Jesus With Photography and Pastels
This video is a little different than anything we've posted before but I figured it would be enjoyed by those of you who are celebrating Easter. Jeremy Cowart is one of the hottest American photographers right now and his portfolio is absolutely sick! But in this video he is creating a rather unique portrait of Jesus using pastels, photoshop, stock images, and random elements from snap shots. The amount of effort that went into this portrait is quite remarkable, and almost every texture is so subtle you would never know half of what went into making this image just by looking at it. It's pretty exciting to see such a well respected photographer pushing his own craft in a way that is so different than what he does on a daily basis. Click the full post to watch a second video of Jeremy making a portrait of Tom Yorke in this style.

Vintage Lights For A Vintage Shoot

Vintage Lights For A Vintage Shoot
R. J. Kern and Amanda Tipton are both photographers from Denver Colorado. Together they setup a vintage "Mad Men" style photoshoot at the Cruise Room within the Oxford Hotel. They give a lot of useful information about how to achieve a true throw back look by using Fresnel Hot Lights, vintage clothing, and a classic 1950's style location. By shooting with hot lights, RJ and Amanda are both able to shoot at the same time without having to worry about recycle rates or light contamination as they work on sets in close proximity to each other. You can check out Amanda's images HERE and RJ's image HERE. I think both sessions turned out great but if you have a preference for one style over another, let us know in the comments.

Inspired by Light: Behind the Scenes of a Vintage Shoot from R. J. Kern on Vimeo.

Could This Be The Youngest Paparazzo Ever?

Could This Be The Youngest Paparazzo Ever?
Back in September, HBO Films released an interesting documentary about living life within the paparazzi. Teenage Paparazzo was created by Adrian Grenier of Entourage fame and features the story of Austin Visschedyk. The interesting thing about this documentary is that Austin is perhaps the youngest paparazzo ever at only 14 years of age. The film not only focuses on the dark underworld we all have seen of celebrity photojournalism but also how the young Austin is driven by fame as he himself becomes known by celebrities and the media. Interviews by Matt Damon, Eva Longoria, Paris Hilton, Alec Baldwin and Whoopi Goldberg give a behind the scenes view on this strange and often perverse world that is the paparazzi. It's rare for a movie to get a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes so if you missed the movie in theaters you can check out Teenage Paparazzo on DVD.

Gigapixel Timelapse Videos Are Remarkable

Gigapixel Timelapse Videos Are Remarkable
When you first heard of GigaPan, it was probably from David Bergman's famous inauguration photograph. Years after David captured the first gigapixel images of crowds of people, scientists are now creating all sorts of images using the GigaPan technology. One new project recently announced is Time Machine. Essentially a video player with 100 megapixel frames, the Time Machine allows us to explore nature in both time and space with unbelievable amounts of information. Anyone can create these videos using any of the GigaPan Epic Mounts and upload them to the GigaPan website. It's pretty amazing what photos are now able to capture and reveal with super high resolution and timelapse. Check out more of these videos over at the Time Machine website.

Film Yourself Parachuting Away From An Avalanche

Film Yourself Parachuting Away From An Avalanche
I'm convinced GoPro and Redbull have the best extreme advertising on the planet. In this latest extreme skiing video, Matthias Giraud and Stefan Laude use two GoPro's each to document their parachute escape from an avalanche in the French Alps. If you don't already have a GoPro Hero, you need to get one. If you already have one, then we all need to start filming more near death moments by living life on the edge! Click the Full Post for a cliff jump skier equipped with at least 5 GoPros in a single run.

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