Michael Levin: Master Of Black And White Landscapes

When I first saw this video I was completely blown away. Michael Levin is an outstanding black and white landscape photographer. Recently Michael teamed up with Brad Kremer to produce the most artistic behind the scenes video I've ever seen showing a day in the life of a photographer. I really really wish there was more technical information to this video but unfortunately like most landscape photographers their secrets are hard to pull from them. Brad shot this whole video on a Canon 5D Mark II and the highly praised Dynamic Perception Dolly. Michael is primarily shooting on a Hasselblad body but that shouldn't come as any surprise. Make sure you check out Michael's portfolio -- much of his work features spectacular locations around Japan.

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Joao Pereira deSousa's picture

Such a great photographer! I've known his photographs for years and they are amazing. It is always great to see the man behind the camera and this video is really stunning!

Matthew Garsteck's picture

I saw his work years ago and he still remains my inspiration for landscapes.

Yeah! This is the result of collaboration between two amazing artists. Levin decided to team up with Kremer after seeing his short movie Hayaku (http://vimeo.com/12112529) which is probably the best time lapse i've seen so far. But it's not only that. The choice of music and the editing are also fantastic. Thumbs up for Patrick!

Sean Shimmel's picture

Turns the quiet, creative life of the mind into near high-drama... was waiting for Jason Statham or John Woo.

Excellent Thursday inspiration.

Tilt-shif lenses for shooting the video ?

 Was wondering the same thing.

Looks like it, though possibly done in post. Either way the effect is nicely used here.

Brad Kremer's picture

The tilt shift was with the Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8. None done in post.

Tim Smith's picture

totally awesome!

Hi Fstoppers-

Thanks for posting the video. I didn't think I had any secrets about how I do the photographs?..... As far as my gear goes I used a Hasselblad H4D with a 35-90mm lens in the video.I had just received it 3 days before the trip with Brad so it was my first time with a digital camera. I also use the Lee Big Stopper 10ND filter to give me the lengthy exposure time I need to achieve the smooth water.That's all that was in my camera bag for this trip. Do keep in mind that I also drive 1000's of miles for each of the trips I go on and only come home with 2-4 good images. There might be 20 -30 decent ones but I'm not interested in putting those ones out there. During the editing process I drop hundreds of images as I only want to select the absolute best and nothing less. Hope that info helps.

 preston/michael: how do you go about your location scouting?  you get tips? other photos? wandering around and get lucky?   how often do you find a place that you think might be cool, but then you spend some time there, and the light doesn't pan out?  conversely, how often do you find a place with great light, but you just can't come up with the right composition?    thanks for your amazing, inspiring images.

Brad Kremer rocks.  "Picture This" is still one of my favorite snowboard flicks.  For anyone wanting to learn to make snowboard films he helps run a great video workshop at High Cascade Snowboard Camp.  

Emily Cooper's picture

Incredible film MIchael! I didn't realize you were such a rock star!

Great video Patrick, thanks for this one. Really inspiring footage. God I want to get myself a DP dolly so bad!

Great inspirational, promotional piece. Great photography and great video & audio...
wondering how much "acting" there is versus just documenting the photographer doing his thing...curious about that aspect.


Brad Kremer's picture

Good question. There are only a couple shots that are staged. It was very important to me to let Michael work as he would without me being there.

Tran-Shawn Yu's picture

wow, I gotta say, I thought the video/music/editing really, REALLY emphasized how awesome those pictures were...

This video made me want to try out a tilt-shift lens as well as a Hasselblad... but realistically I'll probably buy a ND filter since I live in real life. 

Inspiring Stuff... I kinda wish it was a trailer for Michael Levin doco.

this is not photography.
this is über-photography!
… a real masterpiece…

Stunning. I am in awe. The cinematography, soundtrack, and Michael's imagery all complement each other superbly. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Very very great work! Brad could you tell us about your camera settings? first i thought that the 5D MarkII has problems with rolling shutter but in this video it was just amazing! how could you handle this? it would be very nice from you! :)

Brad Kremer's picture

The 5DMKII does have some serious problems with rolling shutter. But every camera has its limitations. From a technical shooting standpoint its about knowing what those limitations are, finding ways to avoid them and concentrating more on the strengths that the camera offers. And the 5DMKII has many strengths. Without getting into a lengthy conversation that's the best way I can describe my process. There are no big secrets. Just knowing the camera. I hope that helps.

Wow, his photos were really powerful, especially in b & w.
It made me appreciate the art of landscape photography.
And the video it self was great; the tilt-shift view was nice and didnt feel overused.