What an absolutely sensational day this was! Imran Meeran of IamMediaUK, and myself had high hopes, and even those were far surpassed. What a pleasure it was to shoot this family, bride, groom and all of their wonderful friends. Super smiley people!!
Anyway, we brought along a guy (not just any guy) called Tristan Webber, to play the role of Assistant and BTS shooter, which is exactly what he did. All I can say is, watch this space, as Tristan is growing in knowledge rapidly!
Thanks Tris, for capturing these cool clips of us at work.
This was a behind the scenes look at this production: https://vimeo.com/101188051
The direction for this blog post, is as good as any. Very vague, covering many factors in hope to be the least biased, but give the most informative angle as possible. Sounds perfect right? Well, we’ll see.
Disclaimer: I’m no expert, but I know a thing or two, that could perhaps make your day easier, or more enjoyable or even more accomplishing! So why not continue reading.
Today, accompanied by my lovely family, I attended the ‘Summer Finals’ Drag Racing event @ Santapod Raceyway in Podington (UK). This must have been roughly my fifth or sixth visit to the venue, and it get’s better every time it seems.
Let’s talk Preparation
Below I have compiled a list of just a few things to be prepared for before you go;
-Rain covers (Sad to say, but at least today these saved our bacon with the impromptu weather conditions) One for the camera, one for your hair, and one for your butt, to save you from having to sit on the cold wet grass!
-Money (Lots of it. The food is dear here)
-Shoes (It’s always advisable to wear shoes, but in this case, make sure they have good grip!)
-Pack light (This is essential IMO, and directly impacts how much fun you have whilst shooting).
-Be prepared to wait. Your subjects vary hugely in size, shape, characteristic, speed and overall dynamic. This can mean waiting for new setups, for the rain to stop, then for the team to manually DRY the track, false starts, breakages, debris, or all of the above. We are talking serious torque, something is bound to snap, or blow out at some point in the day.
-Almost contradictory to the above, but be quick. Once the ball is rolling, it’s continues to do so, and doesn’t wait for you. Don’t get left behind in the dust (rubber & nitrous).
Whether you are lucky enough to be shooting for an organisation and have a press pass, or just the average Joe, out on the weekend with the kids, pay attention to your surroundings, and do your best to stay out of other peoples way.
Anticipation is one of, if not THE most useful skills you can learn for shooting motorsport events, especially the 300MPH kind. At these speeds, you have to have already started focussing, panning, be keeping balance, AND keeping the subject in frame before the lights are “GO!”. You have a split second to do this before the vehicle hits the horizon and it start all over again. Practise is key!
Go with friends, meet new people
A fantastic way to network in this business is actually out in the field. Rarely will you ever get commissioned work through online social media. In most cases, the best way to get “somewhere” is by meeting others whilst you’re out doing what you do. Build a rapport, and go from there. Today, Michael Fincham and I met up with a newly acquired friend and fellow Photographer (John Kennedy) (through Twitter), which although was brief, was a great way to engage in conversation and learn new ways, positions to shoot from, angles, weather updates, and any other things that relate to the sport you are shooting.
Don’t expect a press pass, unless you’re actually with the press
At least in my (limited) experience in trying to gain access to a press pass, most event organisers don’t even want to entertain freelancers onto their pit wall, or their limited access press area of the track. Don’t let this put you off though, there are some out there, and you just have to make sure you give PLENTY of notice when inquiring, and are in the right place at the right time.
Have your wits about you
Motorsport events are usually busy. The higher the number of guests, the higher the number of potential thieves with eyes on your kit bag. Keep your bag(s) with (and on) you at all times (which leads onto my next point…).
Having briefly touched on this already, let me elaborate on what I take to the races. Depending on the event of course, I will usually take a small inconspicuous shoulder bag, this will carry my iPhone charger, my 2-3 rain covers, a wide angle zoom, batteries, cards, wallet, cloths and that’s it. I don’t carry my main camera and lens in a bag for these short-stay (single day) events. That comes with me, simply slung over my shoulder as I walk. Having your camera out, and on a monopod, will raise eyebrows with a massive white lens (if you shoot Canon/Sony), but will also give you a sense of precedence in certain situations. Countless times I can grab a shot, then pull away from the viewfinder to see a heap of people stopped to the side of me out of courtesy, so they didn’t get in my way. Thanks people!
Hopefully this goes without saying, but move the hell around! DO NOT stay in one spot, unless you are limited to do so, and in which case I would suggest experimenting with varying focal lengths. But by all means, walk around the track, don’t look at what you’re meant to be shooting all the time when scouting a spot, be IN the subject area, and look outwards for inspiration. Take a whole new perspective. Be different. You will go far.
That’s it for now! Basic stuff.
Happy shooting, and I hope that helped 🙂
There have been rumours around for months now, concerning possibly the most highly anticipated release from Canon, in some time. Certainly in the last 4 years I have been following gear releases semi-extensively.
While there is (at the time of this blog post being released), no evidence, absolutely. What so ever. Of there even being a 7D Mark II on the shelves soon OR ever. I think Canon will have missed a trick AND a dime if it isn’t on the cards, which is why I think it more than likely is going to happen. When? The future. Who knows.
Here is why I think Canon will be announcing a new and improved 7D any day now…
The current Canon 7D is by far (up until the 1D Mark III), The best sports/action camera for Autofocus speed and FPS that Canon has to offer. However, one of it’s biggest downfalls is the ISO performance (due to it’s age), similar to that of cameras such as the 550D/600D/60D variants. Because of this, I think the 7D Mark II will have a brand new sensor, possibly offering slightly more megapixels.
Currently, the first generation 7D, is that of huge popularity already with the wildlife/sports and any kind of long lens photography. Simply put. People have been, still are and will continue to buy crop frame sensor cameras, to get more reach out of those humongous white tele zooms and primes they shoot with. Especially wildlife photographers, as I know from experience. You can never get quite close enough. This is enough to warrant a HUGE point in the market, in which I personally think Canon will smash and make a shit load of money on.
The 7D, is already built like an absolute tank. It shares many physical attributions with the likes of the 5D Mark III, and I can see this button layout staying fairly similar in versions to come, simply because it works for the type of shooting this camera is marketed for. It’s a sport camera.
I definitely do not think this camera will have 4K capabilities. This would be a stupendous move from Canon if it did so, in my opinion. As I know how they have to protect their higher end offerings on the market.
7D Mark II
- 10-11 FPS
- 20MP CMOS Sensor
- Dual Digic 5+ Processors
- ISO 100-25,600 Native
- 5D Mark III Auto Focussing System
- 5D Mark III Updated Menu System
I predict this camera to only include minor improvements, but at the same time, enough to warrant a definite upgrade, especially for the improved FPS, ISO performance and AF system.
I would hesitate to guess that you would be able to take images clean of noise up until around 2500 ISO, similar to that of the 5D Mark III, whilst merging the superior focussing screen and AF performance of the 1D X and 5D Mark III cameras into the 7D, it almost leaves an open playing field between a crop frame 5D, or a full frame (real) 5D Mark III.
If these specs are even remotely near close, or there even is a 7D Mark II in the works, you can be sure it will cost in the range of 1500-2000 GBP in the first few months of release before the price starts to decline. I’ll sure as hell get one when it does.
Let me know your thoughts, and do you think those specs would be admirable for your needs? Let me know, I’d love to hear a second opinion.
Take a look at the new gallery I just put up! Containing High Speed Dual Flash (Slave Triggered) with some colour mixing samples.
Of course not!
We don’t need anything, other than food, water, and happiness to survive. But life is about more than just surviving.
All images found within this post were shot exclusively in JPEG format.
Hopefully this post will aid you in not so much making a long term decision of whether you are going to use RAW or JPEG, but instead, open your mind just a teeny tiny bit in regards to maybe just giving JPEG another shot.
I have been victim to the irrational fear of “I shoot RAW because it’s the best of the best”, and the shear thought of shooting JPEG for anything that is of great importance, just sent shivers down my spine. The thought of choosing a ‘lesser‘ image capturing format over the ‘superior‘ one wasn’t a welcome thought at all. For starters, it just seem illogical! Why would I choose less, when essentially I have each, equal distances apart at the tips of my fingers. This got me thinking..
Wide open at 1.4 full frame.
First and foremost, I will state the reasoning for this blog post from the beginning;
I shot a session of real estate photographs at a house priced just short of 2.8m, when I say house. This thing looked like Lara Crofts boudoir. 11 Bedrooms, 6 bathrooms spanning over 3 floor (4 if you count the basement). Stunning. When editing the photo’s in Adobe Lightroom, I was in fact very happy with what I had captured, and more so that the workflow was far speedier than ever!
As it turns out, I did indeed shoot the whole session in JPEG, hence why the workflow in Adobe Lightroom felt so silky smooth compared to editing RAW images. That being said.. after over 3 years of shooting RAW continuously, (other than the workflow speed improvement) I was unaware that I shot it in JPEG! That just goes to show how well the JPEG format holds up, on the 5D Mark III at least…
The outcome was brilliant in my opinion! And not only was I very happy with the images on a technical level of composition, framing and exposure settings etc.. the images looked almost more crisp than RAW! Which is understandable with camera sharpening I suppose. The colours were (albeit burned into the images) preserved very very well, which gave me confidence whilst editing, which is always a good thing 😉
Into direct sunlight, shows just how much detail you can bring back in the shadows even with JPEG!
I think the fact that I hadn’t realised until afterwards, that I had been editing JPEG instead of RAW, was the thing that got me thinking the most. It really goes to show that although RAW definitely has it’s place, it’s not for always by any means. In situations where you are dealing with a quick turn around time, and the lighting conditions aren’t too drastic, I would say shoot JPEG! Just for the time cut down in Adobe Lightroom.
Enjoy these last few shots. All captured in JPEG of course, as unfortunately I can’t show you the real-estate images! 🙂
Take the following with a contradictory grain of salt.
I’m not really sure of the direction I want to take this post just yet. I guess I’ll just make it up as I go along. Doesn’t everybody?
This is advice. Purely personal advice from my findings in life so far, to do with the artistry/media industry. You may not like it, or agree with it, but that’s perfectly okay! It is what it is. This post is not targeted at any one group or organisation of people, it’s simply a resource I have decided to create for people to learn from. If you do learn anything from reading this. Then I’m a happy camper! I would love to know if you did benefit in some way, so please let me know 🙂
There’s a huge grey area (at least in my experience) between artists/creatives/creators and the latter. For those that are starting out, or have even been freelance/self employed in the art/media sector for a number of years or even a lifetime, you will probably know what I’m talking about when I describe this grey area (In fact I’m certain you will do).
By grey area, I mean, quite literally, people (generalising ferociously) don’t really ‘get’ or understand us artists/creatives. It’s grey because “people” (again, generalising horrendously), think being a creator is as simple as flicking some paint on a canvas, or clicking a shutter button and the work is done. But if you’re a creator yourself, or you know someone close to you that is, you will know that this is of course NOT the case. At least I hope it isn’t in which ever field of being a creative, you are in.
Some might say this is a ‘problem’. But I see it as something unique, which I wish to never let die. I actually like the separation (if you can call it that) from the ‘people’ (again, again, again. Generalising. There will be allot of this! Last apology. It’s difficult to get the point across without also coming across as an asshole, which is something I am not).
The idea of this brought me to thinking.. why does this even need to be a thing in life? Why does it exist still, even after all these years of artists and creators on this earth. Hundreds, if not thousands if not more! The answer I came to is, “Lack of knowledge in a field, will likely lead one to thinking lesser of a particular field of work”. Stupid I know. Because of course, I don’t know a thing about accountancy. Yet I still respect the profession greatly! Doesn’t always work when you flip the roles around though. Why is that?
I think it’s purely because us humans, are notoriously statistically driven. I think it’s just that. We like numbers, we like quantities and we like to know what, when and how we’ve done well, in an instant. Instant Gratification. Being an artist doesn’t give you that in the same way as let’s say; accountancy, mass-product distribution. I like to think of those as square professions, with defined edges and corners which you can turn to go ‘up in the ranks’. Whereas being an artist/creative you are forever chasing that dream but, instead of being a square path, it’s circular. It’s business. But it’s a totally different ball game within business. Not always, but sometimes. It might appear to non-artist/creatives that what the other does is easy work, or easy money.
WHY DO WE EVEN CARE? AND SHOULD WE EVEN CARE?
Because we do. Yes and no.
I can’t necessarily answer that for you. All I can do is give you my own personal advice, which is what I choose to follow. That is, be comfortable with yourself, what you do and what you stand for. To the point where you are able to stand up for your worth and being, and be proud! Don’t let anyone tell you any different. Be confident! In hindsight, I have fallen victim to not doing this many times in the past, but I am grateful to have learnt quickly and very early on in life that indeed, life IS too short to give two fucks about what other people think of you (with the exception of your close friends/family). Fuck em’.
I mean that in a way which doesn’t actively target those that don’t understand, no. I mean, you be you. And if anyone tries to question you on your worth, you tell them, and you stand your ground and be proud! By you don’t let it phase you, or question your judgement of others.
If you don’t care, this is probably a great deal of nonsense to you, but props to you for having one less stress in your life, and for making it this far!
Those thoughts spurred on a long and tedious thought process over a number of weeks, which lead me to think that this could be overcome, and I could possibly be the one to do that (or one of many). The idea struck, that creating some form of mass shared documentary content would help overcome this. (much like the “I’m Vlogging Here” Vlogumentary – by Corey Vidal & Shay Carl). Which got shared like wildfire and reached its funding budget well ahead of time via the Kickstarter Campaign.
But then I realised, I didn’t want to do that. At least not right now.
I would rather target and reach out to those who could benefit the most from addressing the situation. I have been able to overcome all the bad thoughts, so why can’t you? Which is why I am writing this blog post, and you’re reading this right now. I hope this has been of some help to you!
Lastly, I am interested to find out what YOU do, as an artist/creative. How do you overcome these things (if at all) Do you care? I’d love to find out!
This write up is about this music video. Which you can view at the bottom of the page.
For all high-res BTS and Productions stills, visit here.
You might already know, that I like to do things, and the outcome of those things are generally a huge learning experience and an enjoyment to face. With that usually comes stress, but in this case not so much.
Ever since I worked with Liam Burke on the official music video (Which you can find here) for his song ‘Down To Dannys’ on the EP. I targeted and always had the intentions of working with Sean Morris, who’s role was lead guitar on the EP and also in the debut video. I had briefly discussed with Sean, my intentions for shooting this video near two years ago, but we never actually got round to organizing anything up until this past month.
Directing Liam to adjust the positioning of the candles for the fret-board ECU. Love the 100mm Macro!
Lens whacking the 50mm 1.8 E Pancake.
My first impressions of the song were: “Wow” and “B.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l”. At which point not even knowing the story behind the lyrics, I spoke to Sean, and just blurted out my vision. I could see it, that’s the easy part, it was just trying to convince the others that it could work and could be done at all!
Sean, and I arranged a date to work to. Still without the slightest clue of what we wanted to capture. My idea (which I have always wanted to do) was shoot a video entirely lit by candle light. This in it’s self, I knew was going to be a challenge, but that’s what I live for.
A few days prior to the shoot, I got back in touch with Zacuto, and they shipped out some gear to me, to use on this project, and in return shoot some marketing content for them and their site using the products and casting my experiences and opinions (more on that later).
Shoot date was Monday 28th, 2014. Gear arrived bang on time as I had hoped. Arrangements for Anu Minnalagu and Ryan Barnwell to accompany me on the shoot, purely for BTS purposes regarding the content for Zacuto. We worked to the timing of the sunlight, as I knew we couldn’t begin shooting until it was complete darkness outside, otherwise this would ruin the effect.
As darkness struck, we began to shoot, at around 5PM.
Few composition test shots before lighting the candles.
The first challenge was the opening shot of the video, which unmistakably sets the scene for the whole video. A slow and gradual opening which reveals the scene and only source of light for the whole production. This shot took the most amount of takes, purely because I had to perfect the motion and timing of gliding with the Glidecam super close to the floor, and hitting the timing exact with Sean opening with the first few chords of the song.
Anu and Ryan were fantastic. They both followed my instructions as to what I wanted them to capture, and they used their own initiative to capturing and documenting the scenes as I was shooting. Cheers guys!! My only gripe with the images is that the noise was astronomical due to it being so dark on set, but I edited and matched all of the images the same as a creative choice, for the sake of consistency.
Screengrab from the 5D footage (1080p grab). Liam looking reflective.
The main limitations with shooting in candle light;
- Setup time
- Duration the candles will burn in a cold environment
- Available light levels
As stated, we were working with around 300-400 individual candles at any given time. This is ALLOT! We all had to work together in order to light them all as fast as possible, to maximise the time we had to shoot. The candles were rated at about 3 hours. We only got between 1 and 2 before they started to fade and die out.
When this happened, we took a main break. Ordered take away, and whilst waiting, set out the second batch of candles for round #2!
The light levels were at times atrocious, and un-nerving! The whole video was shot between F1.4 and F2 with all 50mm primes lens’ (Listed below). And the one wide angle shot was shot at F4. ISO values up to ISO5000 for the wide shots. Definitely not ideal.
Discussing the lengthy opening shot with Mark! (Looks like I’m about to swing one at him!)
We used our time efficiently, and the schedule went even better than imagined! As soon as the scene was lit, and we stood back, it was immediately apparent that the video and feel of the visuals were EXACTLY what I was looking for. More so. It looks extremely pretty, and beautiful. We even shaped the candles to form a love heart surrounding the two main subjects.
Overall, the video was a great success! I had great fun, and truly would not have been able to pull this off without the sincere help of Zacuto! That Z-Finder is an absolute god send! I hope you enjoy watching the video. I urge you to experiment with natural light from a candle, or candles. It’s difficult to manage, but if you pull it off, it’s truly memorable!
- 5D Mark III
- Canon 50mm 1.4
- Nikkor-S (Pre-AI) 50mm 1.4 (manual)
- Nikon 50mm E (Pancake) 1.8
- Canon 100mm 2.8 IS L Macro
- Konova K2 slider
- Glidecam HD2000
- Zacuto Striker paired with Z-Finder Pro 2.5x
- Manfrotto sticks and head.
For all high-res BTS and Productions stills, visit here.
We all know and (I hope) LOVE Pelican Products.
If you don’t know already, this company make world renowned cases of ALL shapes and sizes from wallet size to as tall as a missile. Yes, that’s right. A missile. Pelican products makes military grade cases, which are used… (surprise surprise) by the military. That’s gotta say something right?
Before I begin…
I am not endorsed by, affiliated with or sponsored by Pelican Products, or any of their competitors (if there are any). I am simply voicing my opinions on one of their products in particular. It was not given/loaned to me. I own this myself!
Now onto the good stuff…
Pelican give you a lifetime warranty on the bulk of their products (If not all of them). Which goes to say, that they have faith in their brand. They are tested, time and time again, for strength, durability, ruggedness and what ever else-ness! They are simply unbeatable to my knowledge.
I decided to have a little fun with one of my Pelican (Peli) cases. The model of this one in particular is the 1560 (with Velcro padded inserts), which is technically a 1564, but the case it’s self, is a 1560.
I wanted to take a series of images, which demonstrated a few different terrains I have personally had my Peli case go through/over/on-top of! Of course, some of these are quite extreme, but it goes to show that you really do get what you pay for with Peli Products.
The idea for this post, originated from a thought that popped into my head recently whilst lugging around the Peli case through busy busy London.
It occurred to me, that I had put this case through so much cr*p, in the few months of owning it. And it held up astonishingly, over every terrain, EXCEPT one. That terrain being… Leaves.
Rocks? No problem.
3 foot high dense grass? Sure.
Mud, water & CARS? Fine!
So this image, shows the Peli 1564 being completely overwhelmed by it’s worst enemy. The leaf monster! 😉
I just found it rather amusing, that’s all! I hope you did too 😉
So far my experience with Pelican Products (Like most others) has been second to none. Excellent all round products! I just wish they would make some sort of super cheap, yet super durable, but most importantly SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT material to make their products out of! That’s my only gripe. You’ve gotta be a muscle man to carry these around all day and not feel it the next day.
You can view all of these images, (and more) in all their glory in the ‘Blog’ set on my Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaslocke1/sets/72157639765180896
Happy shooting 🙂
After shooting along side others, with various bits of gear floating about all over the place between users. I think I have finally found a solution to keeping track of what is yours, and what isn’t!
Of course their may be obvious ways to tell between which kit belongs to who, such as; ‘Tommy has that great big huge dent on the side of his 5D’ or ‘Andrea has a barbie sticker on her 1D C’. But aside from those obvious aspects. I want to share a little trick I use when shooting, to simply make things easier!
Sticky coloured labels!
I buy these in the bulk load, from Amazon or eBay. They are also known as 8mm coloured stickers or sticky labels.
I have at least one of these tiny labels, on every bit of kit that I own. From Camera’s, to lens’, to lens caps, to memory cards, to memory card readers, to flashes and microphones. Even on my Macbook! This ensures me, that I don’t get into any trouble when it comes to ”Who’s 50mm is that then?” Because I know, that all my gear is clearly marked as mine!
To further personalize this, you could put your initials on the sticky label to further ensure you don’t get mixed up, even if someone you’re working with, is using the same colour sticky labels as you are! If they are, then buy them a drink, because the likely hood is, you both follow my blog!
I use the bright orange colour, as it contrasts well with the gear as most if not all is black in colour. Which makes it easy to see. It’s also non-obtrusive to an extent, as really it’s only 8mm’s in diameter! They easily peel off too if you feel the need to change colours every once in a while.
Another trick I use, is applying the sticky labels, to lens caps. This is a must for me! I’m forever loosing them (Well, I was! not anymore). So sticking the labels on a point on the cap which correlates to the ‘IN’ locking mechanism on the cap makes things quicker and easier when I need to switch out lens’ or bodies, quickly and efficiently.
Have fun! And Happy shooting 🙂