No stranger to unique and challenging photography pursuits, Ben VonWong's latest adventure sent him across the Western United States in search of summer thunderstorms, with an entourage of assistants, filmmakers, and models helping along the way. VonWong shared this behind-the-scenes video, but also some insightful information as to the conversation he hopes to start– one about the seriousness of climate change.
There are a zillion photographers out there, but there aren’t a zillion clients. How do you make your work stand out? Success comes when a client will book you because it's you and not because you are just another good photographer. In the process, having a recognizable style might also make you a happier photographer. But how can you get there?
When I was younger, my dad took a class on photography at a local community college. To this day, he says that the biggest thing he learned from the class was that to take interesting pictures, you have to go to interesting places. I suppose that if you are a travel, landscape, or nature photographer, that is true. What a lot of people don’t realize is that interesting places are all around us. Having grown up in Ohio, I always thought that I was stuck in a dreary, featureless landscape of corn and soybeans.
While there are obviously no strict rules about what lenses a photographer should buy, my curiosity was piqued recently, when legendary Glamour Photographer Jarmo Pohjaniemi (Playboy, Shoot The Centerfold) announced he was headed to Santorini with a pair of Canon EF 11-24 f/4L USM lenses. I assumed he was going to shoot landscapes (after all, it’s Santorini), but his answers when I asked were far more interesting than that.
Last year, Sweetgrass Productions made an incredible skiing short film, "Afterglow," which they followed up last month with "Darklight," its mountain-biking equivalent. Right away, one of the film's main intents is to blast you with color. Entire mountainsides have bright, neon-colored hues cast over them as bikers bomb down them through lime-green forests and over deep orange-magenta ravines, all in the middle of the night.
While some photographers stay close to home, others travel quite regularly. I’ve been traveling my entire life for one reason or another. And whether it was for a newspaper job I was essentially commuting to (living four days in Southern California and three days in Northern California every week) or a short trip on a personal photographic exploration, I quickly learned that it’s great to have some creature comforts to keep you company along the ride once whatever glamour of traveling that’s left these days fades away.
Stanislas Giroux gets it. All of his videos have a common thread of featuring fantastic soundtracks. This video, "Curves of Iran," celebrates modern Iran's rich visual textures and — you guessed it — curves. Fitted to great music, fun (but fitting) sound effects to every cut, and a great overall tempo, this video makes use of hyperlapse-like cuts, but spares your brain from the monotony of yet another time-lapse by letting the actual shots play in real time once you've "arrived" at your new destination. Truly imaginative. And at the Giroux's request, I'll remind you to listen with headphones.
AIG's recent move to begin insuring unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) marked the beginning of the first large, national insurance company to get ahead of (or catch up with) the "drone movement." Like this season's migration of Canadian geese, everyone seems to be flocking in droves, clearly intent on getting to the online shopping outlets and local electronics stores that sell the latest drones. But few actually know about how to use their newly affordable crafts safely and without risking their entire life's savings. A quick phone call with the Hill & Usher insurance agency led us to a few clues about where to start.
So you want to travel with a model? I've been shooting portraits for around four years now, and have started to (finally!) add more traveling to my life. Unintentionally, it turns out that my travel partner, my friend Victoria, also happens to be a model. In a relatively short span of time, Victoria and I have shot together in multiple countries and states, including Florida, North Carolina, New York City, Ireland, Italy, and France. In my career up until this point, I had worked with a variety of models, choosing them based on how they fit a location or look. Here are some of the pros and cons of the experience.
A sense of adventure has always been a common trait among photographers especially those who photograph landscapes. This sense of adventure often takes us to some interesting and remote locations. Well now there is an app that allows you turn those remote destinations into a scavenger hunt for other adventurous souls to find. TapTag allows you to leave a photo "postcard" of the location you visit for others to find.
The ME20F-SH is Canon's latest, crazy-high ISO camera, able to record clean video at over ISO 4 million (not a typo). Early footage was lackluster in content, and early media stated the natural security-field uses for such a camera. But the latest video suggests the ME20F-SH could be used to shoot incredibly beautiful footage of our world that wouldn't have been able to be captured the same way in the past.
YouTuber Michael Delaney found a pit full of rattlesnakes and, despite anyone's best suggestions, didn't turn back. Instead, armed with a GoPro on the end of a stick, Delaney recorded the scene, most of during which the only audible audio was the collective rattling of the bunch. Eventually, repeated strikes from multiple snakes knock the GoPro off of its mount and into the middle of the pit (good luck getting that one back). Put it some headphones, put the video on full screen... I dare you not to flinch at the first good strike...
Cinema5D founder Sebastian Wöber's latest three-part tutorial on drone shooting starts off with quite the introduction in Part I. Wöber could honestly be saying anything to accompany his to-die-for footage, but what makes it so fantastic is how great the information in this video is. From safety to beginner tips on getting started and how to get that cinematic shot you have in your head (don't worry, Wöber has plenty examples if you don't), Part I has you covered. And there's more to come...very soon.
A few weeks ago, I shared the second episode of the video series "Off the Beaten Track," where photographer Chris Schmid visited the land of the Maasai people, photographing their culture and the wild animals of the National Reserve in Kenya. Chris recently released the third episode where he explores a much cooler climate. Svalbard is one of the most remote places in the Northern Hemisphere. This episode is beautifully shot with the DJI Inspire 1 and DJI Zenmuse X5, giving you a new look into the quickly melting ice and the polar bears who live there.
The Pakpod is Kickstarter's latest small-camera tripod to hit the market. It's not made of carbon fiber or even metal. It won't stand much higher than a couple feet. And it looks a little funny - let's be honest. But it does one thing better than any other tripod I've ever seen: it attaches to anything (even under water).