Weekly Giveaway – XRite ColorChecker Passport: Yeah, you want this.

There is no excuse not to get the true color of your photographs. At least as your starting point.

How about we help make it easier for you?

This weeks giveaway is an XRite ColorChecker Passport, one of the best tools we’ve seen to get the job done.
Easy to carry, can be used in a one person operation, multi faceted so you can use it for a white balance for video also. ( you may be adding that to your skill sets)
The solid protective casing allows you to throw in in your camera bag, and always carry with you. Plus it’s design acts as stand to make it easier to place in the scene.

Now this product just came out a short time ago and we did a much larger explanation of it’s uses. You can check that here.

But essentially, by adding a color chart to your scene, you have added a standard map for you or your digital lab to follow.
Here is a cool site that shows you color charts in use.
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Every event is another opportunity

That’s just how I look at it.

Whenever people are gathering, you have an opportunity to have your camera out and be working on your skills, figuring out things on the camera, experimenting with techniques, and perhaps honing your skills in approaching folks with a camera.

You can call it street photography, photojournalism, or whatever you like.

Maybe you have a particular subject matter that you like to capture, for a potential series.
I have been photographing lunch scenarios for over 18 years, so there is always a new opportunity. Every day.
1 Taco, 3 Bottles from NomNom food truck on Abbot Kinney

Is the photo above a classic? Iconic? nope. Not meant to be. But part of a series that has been continually developing.
Working it.
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Weekly Giveaway – Irving Penn could be coming to your house!

We mean of course, in the form of a catalog of the recent show now appearing at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
A short bit ago, we wrote about the exhibit, and felt that it is proof of realization of a promise made to the photo and fine art community, years ago.
They are continuing along that path by publishing catalogs that stand alone as excellent photo books for your collection.
Along with some of their succinct, informative writings, you’ll get as good an experience of the exhibit as possible, without being there.

You see, we do get to a lot of photo shows, but telling you about them can ring a bit hollow if there is no way for you to get to it in person. Of course there is the online experience.
It’s kinda like when someone reviews a movie, it may entice you to get to it, and thankfully, it’s a medium that travels far and wide, so the review makes good sense.
Well, with a book of photos from an exhibit, if it’s well printed, you can share in that experience. Not the richness of the original prints, or the curators layout, but in the privacy of your home, at your leisure.
We love the photo-book and may have too many. but there is nothing like sitting in comfortable chair and sifting through the collected work of an artist. Or even just having the book as a reference, for a style or time.

This week we are offering Irving Penn: Small Trades
by Virginia A. Heckert and Anne Lacoste, published by J. Paul Getty Museum, 272 pages, 9 1/2 x 12 inches, with 259 tritone illustrations. And the tritone quality is what a good B&W book is all about.

Sig up for the weekly NEWSLETTER, to be eligible to win this well done addition to your collection.
It’s real easy.
And if you have the winning entry, Irving Penn will be coming to your house. In book form, of course.

Post Script:
The Yin and the Yang. The tools and the creation.
There is a bit of each here on the site.
Photography is a tech based medium. Even when it was all chemistry it was still gear-y.
Painters will still extoll the virtues of a particular brand of paint or the best brushes.
Cinematographers will pontificate on the reasons they choose a Cooke zoom.
We try to balance. Check out the tools , and see what can be achieved in the right hands. Yours. and the masters.
Yes, a true photographer should be able to make a great image with a simple box camera.
But man, it is a pleasure to use a great tool.

Just saying. We like to celebrate both.

“What’s In the Bag”- HD video with DSLR: The Full Monty!

In the 2nd part of this special HD video with a DSLR , “What’s in the Bag” segment, photographer Chris Weeks shows you the whole rig set up and ready to go.
Plus there is the all important sound tip in there that you can’t miss.

Here is the honest truth about a couple of things:
The new generation of DSLR’s with HD vid capabilities do have what some may consider, limitations.

A. They produce a compressed video file, in H.264 codec, which should be converted to ProRes 422 for working in Final Cut Pro.
A little like taking a compressed jpeg and converting it. One day they will be as RAW and uncompressed as your still files. Soon we hope.

B. The native sound is terrible. With a mic next to everything (lens focusing, fingers changing f/ stops) you pick up a ton of unwanted noise. Best to record sound separate from the camera, and sync it in post. Chris shows a great inexpensive tool for doing that in the video. remember, the Vince Laforet now famous Canon video had no sound other than an added music track. It’s called recording MOS or mit out sound. Really. Coined by director Otto Preminger.

C. As great as still camera lenses are for stills, cinema lenses are best for shooting vid. Smoother f/ or T/stops transitions,as they are called in cinema, and a larger barrel to hit focus with. The reason all of the focus rings are so large is to give you a bigger area to get to your focus correctly. With cinema lenses, yo have a greater chance of hiring a film camera assistant who can really help you.

D. The output of a camera, like a Canon 5D, while shooting is NOT HD! Yes, it is recording in HD, but you will see that only in playback. Using an outboard monitor, which we recommend, is great for focusing (beats the tiny camera monitors) and then HD playback to check picture.

E. Get ready to open your wallets as the additional gear to get some good results will be pricey. But it’s here, and the working photojournalists are being asked to step it up. And we’ll venture a guess that the wedding photog industry will be the first to fully adapt.

F. As we are all still discovering things in Photoshop, even though we have a great workflow and know what we want to do and how to get there, get ready to include Final Cut Pro or, at a minimum, iMovie or the new Photoshop Premiere 8. Make some room in the brain pan, because there are lots of new thing that you’re about to learn.

But for now, check out the rig and the awesome sync sound tip for Chris Weeks:

We’ll be showing you some additional way to go, in the coming weeks and some specific articles on pieces of gear and what to look for.

We thank Chris for sharing his knowledge and research on all of this.It’s always best to hear from a pro who uses their gear to get the money. Maybe now, after seeing what he uses, you may want to go back and see some of his videos we posted.

As a commercial producer for many years, I hope to bring a real perspective to this subject, and share gained knowledge on the new technology available to you as a photographer.

Want to know what you need to shoot HD Video with a DSLR? “What’s In the Bag” with Chris Weeks gives you the inside scoop

In another installment of “Whats’ In The Bag” photographer Chris Weeks shows us how he’s making the addition and transition to video.
As the photo agencies, like AP, Getty and Corbis, are asking their contract and freelance photographers to start adding video coverage to the mix, a whole new animal has raised it’s head.
And get your credit cards ready to feed it. It’s a hungry beast.
But thankfully there are some folks that have done some great research for you.
Sure, you will have your brand preferences and styles, as we do, but Chris Weeks was kind enough to share with you the contents of his bag-this time with video in mind.
The cornerstone camera he uses is the Canon 5D Mark II, and he did his research on all of the other goods he needed.
Thankfully, living in LA, there is no shortage of amazing film crew personnel, that can help steer you in the right direction.
He learned a lot from these folks.
What we dig about Chris is his total honesty and openess with what he is sharing.
Remember, a carpenter can tell you what tools he uses, but it doesn’t mean by purchasing them, you’ll be able to build a house.

In this segment Chris shows you the different bits and pieces and what they are mainly used for. Being a photog, you’ll relate to the way he approaches the video world.

In the next segment you’ll see the whole rig put together, and as a special bonus, he shares a very cool tool that’ll make your sound recording life a ton better. When he showed us, we immediately incorporated it into the shooting work flow.

So that’ll be in Part 3. C’mon back for that.

And remember to check out his videos so you can see how he used the gear, you are looking at here.

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