Category Archives Photo Gear

Well, football season is over (at least for me, anyway), so it’s time to move on to other shoots. This weekend I was up in New York City speaking at an event Friday evening (more on that tomorrow), but while I was up there, I managed to fit in a fashion shoot on Saturday morning at Sandbox Studio in SoHo.

I was lucky enough to work with the same creative team I did for my last shoot up in NYC (link) and the shoot was coordinated by the coolest Fashion Stylist ever—the wonderful Sophia Batson (link). She coordinated and styled all the outfits, and I got to work once again with Sophia’s hand picked hair and make-up artists: Linh Nguyen and Cassandra Renee (they rock!).

With Sophia’s help, we arranged two fantastic models (Megan [Seen above] and Tanja) through a New York City agency, and before you knew it, Brad Moore and I were getting the studio ready for our 10:00 am call time. (Note: in the photo at the top of the page, L to R that’s Susan (helping out on the set); Lihn, Megan, Sophia, and Cassandra).

(Above: Here’s the lighting set-up for the shot up top [production photo by Brad Moore]. That’s a 500 watt Elinchrom BXRI strobe right above her, with a 17″ Beauty Dish attachment on it, with a diffusion sock in front on it to soften the look a bit. Below and in front of her is just a reflector—–the other light isn’t actually turned on—I’m just using it as a makeshift reflector stand. I tried the shot with the bottom strobe turned on, but even powered down as low as it would go, I felt it was too bright, so I turned off the strobe, and instead just laid a silver reflector on top of it like you see here.

There is a second strobe on the floor behind my laptop lighting the white cove background. I’m shooting tethered directly into Lightroom 3. Here’s a link for details on the tripod accessory arm I’m using to hold my ballhead and my laptop. Here’s the link to the laptop stand itself. The tripod they’re mounted on is the new Really Right Stuff TVC-33 Versa Carbon Fiber tripod (link) and this was my first time trying it out (a full review coming soon). Incredibly well made tripod—sturdy as anything, and 100% made in the USA no less).

(Above: some unretouched frames from that set, shown in Lightroom’s Grid View)

Sandbox Studio also is a daylight studio, so I wanted to opportunity to try some natural daylight stuff while I was there, but you can also limit the light for shooting with strobes which is primarily what we did.

Above: Brad shot the short video tour of the studio with his iPhone (we had Pandora radio playing in the background), which gives you a better look at where we were shooting (plus, it includes a gratuitous shot of me texting before the shoot). Very cool place, really helpful staff (and five different studios available for rent).

(Above: Here’s a beauty-style shot of Tanja [originally from Serbia, and has a thick accent, but raised in Wisconsin. Probably a Packers fan, but she kept it well hidden so I didn’t kick her off the set. Kidding.]. I like this shot because it shows off Cassandra’s beautiful makeup job.

We used the same lighting set-up as the first image, but Brad got a great perspective of the lighting set-up with this production shot, so I wanted to share it with you. The reason the Beauty Dish light looks orange is because what you’re seeing is the Modeling Light only—not the actual flash from the strobe.

(Above: some unretouched frames from that set, shown in Lightroom’s Grid View)

Over the three hours of shooting, we did six “looks” with different outfits, hair, and make-up, and Sophia coordinated everything so all Brad and I had to do was focus on the lighting and the shooting.

I’ll share some of the other looks and production photos tomorrow in Part 2. See you then.

My love affair with Epson printers started with their Epson Stylus Photo R2200. I still know people that have one, and they still love it.

Then I upgraded to the R2400, and then finally to the 2880, which has been my favorite 13×19″ photo printer ever. But I just read where Epson announced their new Epson Stylus Photo R3000, (shown above—photo courtesy of Epson) and I think it might be time to upgrade again, because of course they improved enough stuff that I can’t say no, like larger ink tanks, and no more swapping black ink cartridges when going between photo and matte papers, new built-in advanced black & white capabilities, better paper handling options, and of course they always tweak the ink technology so the prints look amazing, but what put me over the top was the wireless printing part.

I have an Epson Workforce 600 wireless printer at home (that my buddy Terry White talked me into getting) and I love, (my wife and son use it all the time too—because it’s wireless).

Anyway, I haven’t seen one in person yet, but after reading all about it, I have a bad feeling I’m going to have to get one sometime in March when they ship. It list’s for around $850.  Here’s a link to Epson’s site for more info on it.

When I ran that video from Larry Becker yesterday, I totally hadn’t thought of the fact that you might not be able to buy those outside the US (I had to laugh at myself after reading some of the comments), so I decided to run another one of his clips.

Now, although this isn’t a “hand-gun” related video, after watching it I’m kind of worried about how easy it will be to find this workaround in other countries as well (expect maybe Cuba and Japan). ;-)

Greetings from the Pittsburgh Marriott Airport hotel, where I’m getting ready to hit the sack after shooting the Steelers vs Jets game at Heinz field earlier today (of course, by the time you read this, I’m probably already home, since I had a 7:00 am flight this morning).

I’ll have all the details on the game tomorrow, and some shots as well, but at game time, it was around 25° F, and it snowed the entire game, so I did want to share an iPhone photo (above) of what my rental car looked like after the game (I started scraping the ice off, then I stopped to take this shot. Being from Florida, I’m not sure I’ve ever scraped ice). ;-)

In the meantime, I want to share the video below with you from my buddy Larry Becker, who runs the new “” blog, and has one of the most popular segments on our free weekly show D-Town TV.

Larry is an expert (and I’m using the term “expert” here as a synonym for “totally obsessed”), on saving money on photography gear through a series of clever buys, DIY projects, and basically sidestepping the most painful parts of photography (the high costs) with some brilliant workarounds. Check it out below (Note: Larry posts videos like this every week, along with articles, reviews, and other cool stuff):

Nighttime in New York City

A week or so ago my buddy RC Concepcion stops by my office and he’s showing me some great night photos he took of the New York City skyline (seen here and below). I asked where he shot them from, and he told me some were taken from the top of Rockefeller Center, and some from the top of the Empire State Building.

Since these were night shots, he’d need a tripod to get shots that sharp, but neither of those places allows you to shoot with a tripod. In fact, they pretty much confiscate your tripod if you even walk in the front door with one (of course, they tag it, and give it back when you leave).

So I asked RC how he got permission to shoot with a tripod, and he said he actually didn’t use a tripod at all—then he let me in on a little trick that he’s been using that so far hasn’t raised any eyebrows, but still gives great tripod like results for low light shooting.

He said he: …”uses a Manfrotto 244 Variable Friction Magic Arm with Camera Bracket and a Manfrotto Super Clamp Without Stud. B&H Photo offers them together as a kit, but the arm is different – it has a lever instead of the ball tensioner” (which RC thinks is better).

He told me, “On both the Top of the Rock and The Empire State Building there are protection fences that are pretty sturdy. You can attach the arm to the structure and fire away.” (that’s the rig shown at right—you can see it clamped to the fence, and it gives you a lot of freedom as to where you position the camera).

The shot you see below was done using this same rig, but it was shot from the observatory at the top of the Empire State Building.

Anyway, I had just never thought to use a Magic Arm and Clamp for situations where tripods aren’t allowed (that RC guy is pretty clever). Anyway, my thanks to RC for the photos, and for letting share his cool tip with you guys. :)

Flatiron Building at Dusk.