Category Archives Photo Shoots

I shared this shot last Friday on Social Media and here’s what I wrote:

“I hesitate to even post this shot from yesterday’s bridal shoot (Kalebra was there doing the art direction and she was just amazing). It’s one of my favorites but I hesitate to post it because I emailed it to a buddy last night and he said “Selective Color?” Of course, it’s not. There’s lots of other color in the image. Please don’t make me regret sharing it with a chorus of selective color comments. Many thanks.”

So, I held my breath, and posted the image. Luckily the comments were very kind (over 160 that day), except for the usual few unsolicited critiques (groan), but then one of the commenters, Daniel Nicholas said something thatâ¦wellâ¦here’s what he wrote:

“I love it!!! He must be color blind lol”

The moment I read it, it hit me. Oh my gosh â” my friend actually is color blind!!! I am not making this up. I just about fell on the floor!!! My friend was just ribbing me either way, but literally laughed out loud the moment I read that, and felt a whole lot better about sharing it.

Anyway, here’s a behind-the-scenes photo — and if you look on the screen you’ll see the final image is very close to what was captured (more in the caption below the photo).

Above: While she was well lit from the front, from behind it was pretty dark, and I wanted to over-exposed the background so it would blow out to white (for effect), so I had to use a tripod. I actually started with the tripod extended up over my head and used a stepladder (a LadderKart actually), but I kept getting parts of the ceiling in the shot so I finally lowered it and came back down. 

Camera Settings:
This was shot at f/3.2 at 1/10 of a second. My ISO was 640 (I was on a tripod so I could have lowered the ISO quite a bit, but it would have slowed the shutter speed down a lot and if she moved even a little, it would be blurry, so I left it where it was. I was shooting a Canon 1Dx so the noise doesn’t show anyway).

Tethering:
I’m shooting tethered into Lightroom 5.5, and that’s Julio (our 2nd assistant on the shoot â” Brad Moore took this behind-the-scenes shot). Kalebra is a few feet behind Julio so she can see the screen and direct the bride). We have a Tethertools laptop stand we usually mount on the tripod, but it was trickier than it looks on those stairs so we removed it and Julio just held the laptop. He loves holding laptops. It’s a sickness.

Venue:
It helps to have an amazing venue, and we sure did. This was taken at the Kapok Tree Event Center in Clearwater, Florida. It is literally attached to, and shares the same parking lot as Sam Ash Music. I think I should get some points for completing this shoot and never walking into Sam Ash, even though I walked directly past their front door. I think that was my biggest accomplishment for the day, but when I returned to the office, the used Boss Super Chorus stomp box I ordered had arrived, so somehow it all worked out.

I think you can see, the camera part of this was simple â” what made this come together was having Kalebra doing the art direction, and having the vision for this shot in the first place â” that just left me to compose, get the exposure I was looking for, and hit the shutter button. We make a great team. :)

Hope you all have an awesome Tuesday, and we’ll see you here tomorrow for Guest Blog Wednesday. :)

Best,

-Scott

Hi gang â” if you were wondering why I pretty much ducked out of sight on social media in the past week or so, it's because the wifey and I, our friends Jim and Jean, and Kalebra's mom and dad all snuck off for a vacation that we've planning for over a year to celebrate Kalebra's mom's 73rd birthday.

Her mom had always dreamed of cruising down the Danube river in a "flatboat" so that's exactly what we did. We started out in Prague for 2-1/2 days, then made our way to Nuremberg, Germany to catch the boat that took us to some very charming towns along the Danube (like Passau and Rugnesberg), with overnight stops in Vienna Austria and ending up in Budapest for a day in the city and then the next day our flight home.

Anyway, I have lots to share, and lots of photos of course, but I've been flying for 17 hours so I'm going to do the full post tomorrow, so I hope you'll check back here then. Again, sorry for dropping out of sight on social like that, but I'm back in the saddle and ready to rock. Well, at least I hope to be tomorrow. ;-)

Cheers and I hope to see you back here tomorrow for the full trip report.

Best,

-Scott

Here’s how we describe Jeremy’s new class:

In this class we get a behind-the-scenes view as Jeremy creates unique and dynamic setups in the most unlikely locations, with Scott at his side asking him all the questions that you'd want answered.

Jet away to South Beach, Miami, Florida to meet up with Scott Kelby for the next segment of our On Location Photography with Jeremy Cowart series. Jeremy has an amazing ability to clear away clutter, eliminate distractions, and make his subject the primary focus in just about any setting you can throw his way. You'll be amazed at what can be accomplished with minimal gear and a creative mindset that will surely change the way you view new locations.

For those of you who have seen Jeremy’s two classes we shot a couple of years ago out in Venice Beach, California, you know what I’m talking about — Jeremy is just amazing at find portrait locations just about anywhere, and then he uses simple light (just one light), and directs his subject to come up with amazing on-location portraits.

As good as he previous classes were (and they were a HUGE hit), honestly I think this class is even better! If you’re a KelbyOne Online Subscriber, I’d definitely try and watch his class this weekend. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can Rent it, Buy it, or Subscribe (and watch as many classes as you’d like). Here’s the link. 

I’ve got some fun stuff to share on Monday or Tuesday, so I hope to see you back here then. Hope you all have an awesome weekend.

Cheers,

–Scott

Hi gang: I recently did three portrait shoots for the Coca Cola company and their “Journeys” project to celebrate Mother’s Day.

My idea was to feature three very special mom’s and to make a portrait of them in their home holding one of their most memorable Mother’s Day gifts, along with the person who gave them such a memorable gift, and the story behind it.

If you have a moment, here’s the link.

Here’s wishing all the awesome mom’s out there a wonderful Mother’s day this Sunday. :)

Best,

-Scott

It was my last game of the season (doesn’t look like I’ll be shooting any post-season), and it was an amazing venue — the Cowboys stadium (OK, AT&T Stadium), is just insane, and an incredible place to experience a game — maybe the best ever. In the end, the Eagles won the game (which is good since I was shooting with the Eagles crew), and although it was a huge game in terms of impact (it was winner take all: whichever team won the game, not only won the division but got into the playoffs. The loserâ¦well..).

Some surprising things from the game:

(1) From a photography standpoint, the lighting in the stadium isâ¦.ummmâ¦well, it’s kinda lame. I had to shoot at 5000 ISO at f/4 and 2500 ISO at f/2.8, which really surprised me.

(2) The field-level luxury boxes are even cooler than I thought. The folks in those boxes have outdoor patios with tables and it’s like they’re right there on the sidelines with you.

(3) That amazing huge screen (the largest indoor HD screen in the world) — it’s not made for viewing from the field level. They’re aimed out at the stands, so to look up at them during the game, you get a serious neck ache before long. I’ve seen them from up in the stands, and they are stunning. From field levelâ¦not so much.

(4) While this game was really high-stakes, it wasn’t a particularly exciting game to shoot (made worse by the fact that the one cool play, Escobar’s flip into the end-zone, happened when I was in the opposite end zone. I did catch an end-zone to end-zone shot at 580mm (a 400mm f/2.8 + a 1.4 tele-extender), right between two players, but it’s so far away that even cropped it’s just not a really good image.

(5) This one’s totally on me, but I hadn’t planned on shooting a remote camera, but since I was shooting with the team, I was issued a green all-access vest, so I could go on field during pre-game warmups, and I still had my pocket wizards from the Bucs game in my camera bag, so I mounted my camera on top of my monopod and fired it with a pocket-wizard Plus X. I know, I know, they’re not made for that — I should have used Plus IIIs, but I didn’t have them, soâ¦.it fired. Sometimes. My fault. I know better. But at least it did fire some. Funny story — the Cowboy’s team photographer sees me, introduces himself (really nice guy) and asked if my remotes were working (he had read the blog post). Small world.

Some days you’re really in the zone, and some times you’re in the wrong position at the right time, and that pretty much summed up my night. I got two of the Eagle’s three touchdowns, but overall, I was pretty disappointed, which isn’t a great way to end your season, but I still had a great time shooting, and hanging out with my buddy John Geliebter who shoots for the Eagles, along with Drew and Hunter (great guys, great shooters), and overall I had a really fun time, which helped to make up for how I shot.

Anyway, here’s a few of my favorites from the game:

 

BELOW: Here’s a couple of shots taken with the remote camera mounted up high on my monopod with a 16-35mm lens (I’m supporting the monopod on my thigh, but the monopod fully extended is pretty darn long, so it’s well above the player’s heads).

Above: I thought this might made an interesting shot: former Eagles starter Michael Vick looking on as his backup, Nick Foles, has literally lit up the QB stats this season and is about to lead the Eagles to the NFC East Championship and the Playoffs. 

Above: It’s not a game action photo, but still one of my very favorites. I got this photo of a Marine holding one section of the giant flag they display on-field during the playing of the National Anthem. This is the above view from the monopod-remote rig. I was also out there for the coin-toss, and I did some shots of the players coming on/off the field, and some just outside the locker room with the rig. Next time, I’ll use the Plus IIIs. And by next time, I meanâ¦next August. Sigh. 

Above: OK, this wasn’t a great moment, when Foles lost the ball the Cowboys recovered the fumble, but it all turned out in the end. 

Next week I’ll be sharing a collection of my “best of the season” (like I did last year), so I’ll hope you’ll come back and check those out.

Here’s wishing today, the last Tuesday of the year, is your best Tuesday of the year! :)

 

 

On Tuesday I did a post about my latest “Epic Remote Camera” fail (my 2nd fail in a row at an NFL game). The camera shoots fine in tests minutes before the players take the field, but once I move into position a bit farther back and the players actually come out, the remote camera only triggers intermittently at best. Arrrrggghh!!!)

ABOVE: That’s my basic remote floor mount rig: four pieces: a metal floor plate (from fplate.net), then an Oben BB-0 Ball Head which attaches to that plate. Then a PocketWizard Plus X and a sync cord that connects the PocketWizard to the camera. The Camera is a Canon 1Dx and I generally use either a 16-35mm lens or an 8-15mm Fisheye zoom. 

Anyway, the folks at PocketWizard contacted me and had some ideas as to what might be causing the interference, and strategies to get more reliable results (and to keep me from pulling my hair out). I asked if it was OK to share key parts of their three-page letter to me with you here, and they were happy to let me share it in hopes it might some other shooters experiencing similar issues. It sounds a bit “markety” here and there, but it’s still solid info. Here’s a few highlights:

“Our first piece of advice; Use the right gear for the occasion, in this case use the Plus III or MultiMAX the next time. The PlusX is our "value priced" radio and is perfect for simple setups, but shooting remotes in a stadium requires a bit more than the PlusX has to offer. Both the Plus III and especially the MultiMAX have special features that help make sure the radio signal gets through in challenging environments.”

OK, that makes sense, and when I look back, I realize that I’ve done most of my remote triggering using the PowerWizard Plus IIIs or the older Plus IIs and haven’t had many problems, so I’m wondering if using the Plus X instead couldn’t be the main culprit right there. Next time, I’m going back to the Plus IIIs for sure. Test results soon on this swap out.

“Second, you're putting your camera close to the ground; real close in fact. The ground is a sponge. A radio sponge. It absorbs radio waves like you wouldn't believe. The higher you can get the radio the better but we realize that isn't always possible which is why we've designed special features just for situations like this. Those features can be found on both the Plus III and MultiMAX, but not on the value priced PlusX.”

Ah Ha! More reason to use the Plus IIIs instead of the Plus X. And those features are…

“In both the Plus III and MultiMAX you have a couple of special features designed particularly for remote triggering.  The one that would have helped the most here is Long Range Mode.  What this does is double the communication to make sure the receiving radio can hear it.  Just like repeating yourself to someone who can't quite hear you. It's a bit more technical than that, but that's the general idea.  Using this feature should effectively double the reliable distance your radios will work in.”

Definitely will turn that feature on. Don’t actually know how yet, but that’s why God invented Brad Moore. ;-)

They also just had some troubleshooting tips in general to help for more reliable remote triggering:

“Due to the invisible nature of radio waves, understanding exactly how they work is not for the faint of heart.  Any one of a million things can have an influence on them and getting them to do exactly as you want is both science and art.   

Here's a short list of the key things you can do to increase your success with remote cameras so before you go out on your next remote triggering event, read these basic rules of engagement: Whenever possible,

  • Maintain a line of sight between radios.
  • Keep the antennas parallel and at least 12" apart.
  • Make sure the radios, especially the antennas, are not near any large metal, concrete, or high water-content objects.  
  • Make sure the radios are not blocked by large objects or hills. Crowds gathering between you and your remotes will reduce range. Try to keep the antennas above the heads of crowds.
  • PocketWizard radios will have reduced performance if deployed close to the ground. 
  • Try to get them up high - 4 feet or higher improves range dramatically. Consider using a cable to locate the receiver higher up.
  • Avoid mounting them to metal railings or other building structures.
  • Avoid "Dead spots".  These can be caused by a number of things but the solution is usually the same: move the unit a few inches or feet away from the problem area.
  • Avoid mounting them near long cable runs for other equipment or close to wiring.
  • When a long burst is needed or especially when using a radio in the hot-shoe of your handheld camera, increase the contact time (MultiMAX only) on the remote receiving unit. If range is an issue or remote operation is intermittent, this will help. If any single trigger is received, a long burst is guaranteed.”

I really found this all helpful, although there are some things in that last list that I can’t change [like deploying remotes close to the ground, or for things like mounting in the ceiling of arenas or domed stadiums, not mounted to metal railings], but at least I know there are some things I can try when I run into interference. I do think just switching to the Plus IIIs might do the trick for my situation, as I’ve never run into these problems before, so I’m hopeful, and will hopefully get to test this fairly soon.

My thanks to Dave Schmidt and his team at PocketWizard for reaching out, and for letting me share this troubleshooting info. and I fully expect to have a better story next game (if I can get permission to set up a remote, which I’d better get on if I have a prayer of doing that).

Have a great Weekend everybody, and Happy Holidays. :)

-Scott

 

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