Image copyright Don Komarechka. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Now and then, an image comes along that's so unique, it simply has to be shared. Don Komarechka is definitely the "Mad Scientist of Photography." He never slows down on pushing the edge of the envelope in creativity and technology. With the image above, he wrote:
Water droplet refraction photography is all about careful lighting and careful alignment. Every element of the photograph is like a puzzle piece that needs to fit perfectly in exactly the right place for the image to be made whole. Gooseneck arms can hold anything - Lumecube lights for illumination and clamps to hold the photographic "ingredients" in place. The flower in the background needs to be in alignment with the droplets and the foreground petals, which can be easily done with subtle and accurate shifts.
This macro contraption is flexible and customizable, and any camera with macro capabilities can get a similar shot. While I generally shoot with fancy mirrorless cameras and expensive lenses, this image was also intended to prove a point: the camera is the least important element to the composition. If you can check of the "macro" box, energy should be focused on the other elements of the image and how to best sculpt it; you're a droplet sculptor first, and photographer second. So many of the skills required to get these images to work have little to do with the camera itself, and more to do with how you stage everything. Platypod is there to make this entire process easier.
Let's take his image one step further - check out this shot of his macro setup. Added to the Gerbera daisy, water, and his smartphone are a Platypod Max and Ultra, 2 Lume Cube 2.0 Waterproof LED lights, 1 Lume Cube Panel Pro, 6 goosenecks, 3 Platypod Mini-Super Clamps, a Benro Ball Head, and a Square Jellyfish Smart Phone Holder! This "mini-studio" took Don no more than an hour to set up.
Looking for a great holiday gifts for the photographer in the family? Don's new book, Macro Photography: The Universe at our Feet is available through B&H. Just click on the book to link to the URL.
The book is stunning, (Don never does anything halfway!) and is one of the finest most extensive resource books on macro photography that's ever been published!
This is one of those books that every photographer should have on his/her shelf, regardless of their specialty.
Looking for other great gift ideas this holiday season? - Platypod's Black Friday Holiday Specials are going on now. Just click on any product below for information on some outstanding packages, including the Max-Macro Bundle Deluxe and even lighting for your Platypod setup.
by Skip Cohen
Most of you know I'm part of the Platypod team. It's a remarkable company with a terrific product line. So, while this post is in part to let you know about some great Black Friday offers - it's also an opportunity to show what happens when you put our products together with Lume Cube's and the outrageous skillset of artist and educator Rick Friedman.
The challenge was to see what he could do with a bunch of Lume Cube 2.0s, their new RGB Panel Pro, and a few Platypods.
The behind-the-scenes shot above, which includes clamping a light to the bicycle on the right, shows his setup. And the finished portrait is an excellent example of what Platypod and Lume Cube products can help create.
For this image, he was shooting with Tamron's 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens and the Nikon D850.
"It's an unusual choice for a portrait session, but I wanted the compression of a long lens. Rick Friedman
He moved outside late in the day and captured the images below using Tamron's 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD lens.
Click on any of Rick's images to see more of his work! And follow him on Facebook to catch up to where he's traveling and often teaching!
The subject is one of Rick's favorites to work with, Emily McCall, fashion designer and model.
This week Platypod launched the most diverse Black Friday Holiday Specials they've ever done. Just click on any of the products to the right to visit the website. There are some great discounts and FREE shipping within the US on orders of $100 or more.
Check out the accessory line, from the new Mini-Super Clamps to the much-talked-about Platypod Disc. And if you're into Macro photography, the new Max Macro Bundle Deluxe is an instant macro setup - just add your camera! Watch the short video below, and you'll understand why!
by Skip Cohen
One of the very best podcasts in imaging is Behind the Shot, hosted by my good buddy Steve Brazill. Steve's no stranger to SCU. We shared one of his favorite images on a past episode of "Why?" and he was also a guest on the Beyond Technique podcast last year.
He's a talented artist, author and he's got one of those stellar easy to listen to voices made for broadcasting. He was also a vital member of the team when we did the F64 Lunch Bunch during the early days of the pandemic. But one of his most outstanding traits in terms of photography is his pure love for everything under the imaging umbrella.
Steve recently tested the new Platyball Ergo and Elite ball heads and released the video below yesterday. If you don't know about the product, he does an outstanding job going through the features, benefits, and the fun of hands-on use in the field. And, let's not forget the job his camera operator did - kudos to Steve's wife, Debbie!
Behind the Shot needs to be on your radar. Steve's always sharing great content and conversations with some of the most respected artists in imaging, as well as his product reviews and information to help you raise the bar on your life as an artist!
As I've written so many times in the past - the best thing about this industry has very little to do with imaging but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft!
by Skip Cohen
Technology and trends in demand NEVER slow down. Now add in the "new" normal created by the pandemic, and there are so many opportunities for photographers to raise the bar on their skills and expand their business. Here's one example:
Thousands of restaurants all over the country are serving outside. At the same time, carry-out has become a significant part of their business. Most of them have little in terms of visual assets to show their menu.
But there's one more factor playing a role in your potential to grow your business - most of you have time on your hands. As we come out of the pandemic and things return to a little more normalcy, while business is picking up, it's the perfect opportunity to fine-tune your skill set.
Aaron van is an accomplished food and beverage photographer. The video below is only eighteen minutes, as Aaron goes through the technique and tools he used to light and capture the image above. In addition, he shares a lot of great "how-to" content.
So, whether food photography is typically part of your business or not, grab a coffee and take a few minutes to follow his process. Then, start thinking about the restaurants in your community that could use a little help in sharing their menu beyond their physical location!
Interested in seeing more of Aaron's work? Visit his website, and you'll see galleries of stunning work from one of the industry's very best. And check out KelbyOne for Aaron's most recent online workshop.
by Skip Cohen
I'm not sure there's ever been a time in recent years when outdoor photography was more popular, but it goes beyond that. After a year of being conditioned to social distancing and creating individually, being outdoors with a camera in your hands is safe. It's also therapeutic, and I know for me is a never-ending reminder of why I fell in love with imaging in the first place.
If you haven't checked out the KelbyOne conference on Monday and Tuesday, now's the time. Just click on the banner above. And check out the instructors for this two-day event. There's also a unique program on Wednesday with the dynamic duo of Larry T. (inventor/founder of Platypod) and Larry Becker. Together they'll share one idea after another to help you boost your creativity and explore new perspectives with your camera.
Over the last year KelbyOne has launched some of the finest online programs in the industry, with some of the industry's most respected artists and educators. Put KelbyOne on your radar so you don't miss their ongoing series of online conferences!
Click on any image above for more information!
by Skip Cohen
Lately, what I love most about this industry is the challenge of how much I have yet to learn. With each challenge comes a new set of lessons. Yesterday it was practice makes perfect - but as my good buddy, Roberto Valenzuela, reminds his students, only if you practice it right.
While there were a few things I did right, the more significant mistakes were what I did wrong. I was so focused on doing a time-lapse series for the first time that I missed the big picture and should have just shot video. It's only 5-10 minutes once the action starts.
I was down to the wire on this chrysalis attached near the underside of a concrete bench in our backyard. I had problems setting up the camera, but three calls later, another good buddy, Shiv Verma, came through.
I shot in "P" mode because I was in between doing a podcast and a conference call and didn't have time to think through the journey I was about to embark on. However, the Platypod set up with the goosenecks, and two Litra Torch 2.0s was perfect. I was able to get under the chrysalis.
It was a complete failure as a time-lapse video - but learning from my mistakes, I still managed to capture one of nature's most incredible moments!
And like any proud papa - it's a girl!
by Skip Cohen
I'm not sure there's anything my good buddy Shiv Verma hasn't photographed, but the beauty of the still-life image above is a testimonial to his diversity, skill set, and love for the craft. He recently shared the photo on his Facebook page, but there's more to the backstory.
"I was supposed to do the shoot at the Boston Library, but because of the pandemic, it had to be done at home."
Shiv's gear included a LUMIX S5, LUMIX S 20-60 f/3.5-5.6 lens, and a Platypod Max. The Max was set up with two goosenecks and LitraTorch 2.0 lights. The exposure triad was f7.1 @ 1/15 ISO 400.
Click on Shiv's image above to see more of his work, and put his workshop schedule on your radar. Because of the pandemic the schedule is temporarily on hold, but he's an outstanding educator. As soon as things are back to a level of normalcy, you'll see him back to teaching.
You'll find more information about Shiv with the other LUMIX Ambassadors on the team page on Panasonic's website. This group is one of the most diverse and creative teams in photo. All the ambassadors regularly share outstanding images and information about LUMIX.
And don't miss out on great images being shared by LUMIX artists all over the world on the LUMIX Photographers Facebook page. There's new content being shared by over 11,000 members regularly!
Looking for the best information about the LUMIX S5? Just click on the banner below!
Panasonic LUMIX S5, 4K Mirrorless Full-Frame L-Mount Camera,
LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 Lens
by Skip Cohen
Two more great podcasts in the pipeline, thanks to Platypod and Photofocus. And both are with guests who offer outstanding insight to help you through the challenges you're dealing with right now. Take the time to click on the two banners below, grab a cup of coffee and then just kick back and listen!
Shep Hyken: I share a quote every morning on Twitter. Several years back, I quoted NYTimes best-selling author Shep Hyken about Customer Service. Well, Shep replied, and it's so rare I get a response directly from the author. Since then, he's joined us on podcasts, I've been a guest on his show, and SCU has even shared a few links to his website.
Shep's specialty is Customer Service, and you'll notice I always capitalize those two words. Why? Because they're the most critical component of any business! And Shep's an expert, lecturing worldwide and helping companies focus on creating the very best level of service.
In this new podcast, we covered a lot of ground. It's so relevant, especially with today's challenges created by the pandemic. Here are just a few of our discussion points:
And With Levi Sim...
Levi Sim: In 2009 I launched a summer program called Skip's Summer School. Levi Sim was one of the attendees and was just getting started in his career. Over the years, he's become one of the most recognized personalities in photography. He's an ambassador of goodwill and support for the professional photographic community. Over the last ten years, he's the guy with the bow tie and brown fedora at any convention. He's a photographer, writer, educator, podcaster and has spent most of his career in imaging, asking other photographers and manufacturers, "How can I help?"
A few months ago, Levi made a considerable change in his career - staying with his love for imaging, he joined Utah State University as their lead photographer. So working for a full-time employee is a significant change from freelance. In this new podcast, Levi shared a lot of great insight into the challenges and benefits of giving up being a freelance artist and moving into the academic world.
Here are few of the topics we talked about in this podcast:
Click on any of Levi's images above to listen to the podcast!
The Beyond Technique podcast is brought to you thanks to Platypod. They've got some incredible savings going on right now, but only while supplies last. For example, there are only twenty of the Ultra Essentials Kits left for holiday savings. Click on any of the holiday bundles below for more information.
A BIG thanks to the team at Photofocus.com for their never-ending support of the photographic community. Check out all of their podcasts and an incredible archive of great content growing more and more every day! Just click on the banner below and check out one of the very best resources for photographic information!
by Skip Cohen
Over the last few months, "Dr. T," Platypod's inventor, founder, and owner, has done two terrific programs as part of Kelby Media's Landscape and Flash Conferences. I wanted to post both videos so you could enjoy the images he shared during each presentation. Between the two programs, he shared the work of seventeen different artists.
If you'd like to fast forward to the slide show in the first video about landscape photography, Larry starts sharing images from other photographers at 15:05.
The Kelby Media FLASH Conference was held just recently on November 17. The slide show starts at 12:39 if you'd like to fast forward.
Larry had been fighting Covid-19 for a week before the presentation, running a low-grade fever and quarantined. But if you know Larry, you understand nothing slows him down when it comes to his love for photography! The following morning, they admitted him to the hospital.
Larry was released a week later. He's back to work and feeling better every day. I wrote about the experience in a recent blog post. I'm only sharing the short backstory because it ties to his endless love for this industry. You can't miss his enthusiasm for the craft in everything he talks about in the video below.
Plus, thanks to help from his sidekick in both programs, Larry Becker, there's a lot of great tips about expanding your creativity in imaging from both of them. Larry B. is an incredibly diverse artist in his own right with a new book just released a few months ago, "Great on Camera."
Playpod's got some amazing holiday specials going on right now with some outstanding savings offers. Just click on the link below because they'll only be available while supplies last!
Images copyright Joe Pellicone. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
I grew up in Ohio and was twenty-one years old when I visited NYC for the first time. I remember being told to be careful in New York because I'd be swallowed up by the millions of people, and never heard from again. (There's no embellishment in that statement - it was my family's midwest mentality.)
Over the years, I obviously outgrew the fear of NYC. In the twelve years with Hasselblad, I was in the city often, even driving in and out of Manhattan. What I grew to love about NYC was people watching, the crowds, and like Mike Peters on a quest as a street photographer, each face had its own story to tell.
Joe Pellicone loves New York. It really is his city, and in an email, I mentioned the sadness I feel seeing how Covid has turned one of my favorite places in the world into a ghost town. He sent me a link to a folder of his images called "Covid City Captures."
I grabbed some screenshots from Joe's gallery to share in today's post. They require no explanation, except to send you to his Instagram pages if you'd like to see more of his work. He's got two different pages, the first "Neon at Night," and the second is where Joe shares his diversity as an artist and photographer. You'll also find more of his work on the blog at Platypod.com where he's a regular contributor.
New York will come back, just like the rest of America, but seeing the city through Joe's eyes and camera is like a scene out of a sci-fi movie - it just doesn't seem real without lots of people and traffic.
by Skip Cohen
As my day got started today, I was determined to write about anything but the election results, which will go on for the next few days. So, I decided to finish a post I started a month ago that was sitting in my draft folder.
While I hate writing about anything to do with the pandemic, at the same time, it's the new norm we all deal with. Like everyone, I have good days and bad. I miss time with friends and the freedom to simply go wherever we want, whenever we want.
But there is something that's helping Sheila and me through all the challenges: making a conscious effort to do something fun, even if it's only for a short break.
I've written before about the two new members of the family, Lucy, and Belle. They've been with us for a year. Their crate's now gone, and they have almost full run of the house. They've been instrumental in keeping us focused on staying optimistic. And while the first ninety days were horrible, they're now fully into life with "Mom" and "Dad."
Combining two passions, the pups, and photography, I decided to have a little fun in the water. Lucy's a Mini-Goldendoodle, and loving the water is in her gene pool. Belle's a Havanese and can swim, but she's the princess and prefers to be a spectator.
I set up my LUMIX G9 on a Platypod Max and started shooting video. These were still frames from the video. The video itself was pretty dull and pointed out my need to develop better editing and cinematographer skills. (Click on any of the thumbnails below for more info on my gear setup.)
But here's the fun thing about doing a mini-project like this - it captured a moment I cherish. It's even more relevant as a reminder of the importance imaging plays in our lives, even when it's DIY. Lucy's enthusiasm and trust with "Dad" and Belle's contentment to be a bystander pretty much says it all about their love for the water. Lucy is in, the minute I say "Jump," while Belle races up and down the sides of the pool following Lucy, but won't go into the water.
Here's part of my point today: One of the most respected physicians in Sarasota, at a Zoom meeting I was on, the other day, gave us a little pandemic insight, which I'm paraphrasing.
It's not going away, and the best prediction of a vaccine is now in the Spring. There's a spike predicted in new cases in Florida as the snowbirds come back and bring more than just their suntan lotion. And we were all advised to get our flu shots and follow the rules of wearing a mask and physical distancing.
There's no light switch about to be flipped to end the nightmare of the pandemic, but there is a switch you can turn on and off whenever you need a break from adjusting to the new norm: DO SOMETHING FUN!
Walk away from the business you're working so hard to maintain and do something that makes you smile. It might be a phone call to a friend you miss, taking a walk, looking through old photographs, or taking your camera gear and shooting just for you. If you take the time, you'll find the list is endless, even with the appropriate restrictions.
There are two great Zig Ziglar quotes that fit right now:
"If you can dream it, you can achieve it!"
"Your attitude not your aptitude, will determine your altitude"
If you want to beat the pandemic, don't give up on your dreams. Make time for things you love doing - things that make you smile. Use those core members of your network who you know you best for support, and keep your attitude at high altitude!
by Skip Cohen
Now and then, a project comes along that just makes me smile. Meet the new Platypod Ultra Twin Pack. The short (under 2-minute video) is below, but here's the backstory.
One of the changes in our lives with the pandemic is the amount of time we're all spending in meetings online. Plus, for many occupations, there's a need for additional camera coverage, accessories and lighting. So, Platypod put together a twin pack at a great price with the components needed most.
But the fun of a project like this is working with Jay P. Morgan, whose creative skills have no limits! The finished video is below, and the product is officially being released today. You can check out more of Jay P.'s material on his YouTube channel, The Slanted Lens.
Whether you use a Platypod or not, I can promise you a few chuckles as you watch the video. From the boardroom to education to demonstrating various tasks, there's no limit to how Platypod can help give you a better perspective.
The new Ultra Twin Pack is ideal for setting up multiple cameras, lights and accessories. We've designed it for online education, the boardroom, industrial applications, vlogging and music videos - any place you need more than one angle of coverage.
The twin pack includes two Platypod Ultra mounting plates, two Platypod silicon rubber pads, two 3" spigot adapter 3/8"f to 1/4"f, and two 1/4" to 1/4" crossnut adapters.
Click on the twin pack components for more info.
by Skip Cohen
When Chamira Young and I relaunched Beyond Technique last year, we wanted to focus on more than just capturing great images, or running a successful business in photography. Each guest has shared a lot of great insight, but the pandemic created a new challenge - artists have had to ramp up their usual marketing skills and find better ways to reach out to their communities.
Cindy Harter Sims joined us in this episode, and she's all about inspiration and especially relationship building. She's no stranger to the SCU spotlight and has repeatedly shared great content and the ideas she's implemented to secure her business. But with the pandemic, she did something unique - she reached out to her community and asked for help.
Relationship building over the years has been a significant building block to Cindy's business and her role within the industry. In fact, it's how I met her many years ago at a Skip's Summer School conference. Cindy doesn't collect business cards - she directly participates with and supports the people in her growing network.
Please take the time to listen to this podcast. Cindy held nothing back as she discussed her quest to keep her business alive and, at the same time, continue to give back to her community. She's busy, even doing newborn and infant photography, all while staying true to the rules of physical distancing and safety.
And click on any of the favorite images I grabbed from Cindy's website to visit her galleries!
Beyond Technique is brought to you by:
Programs like Beyond Technique can't happen without great industry support. Platypod believes in education and helping artists find new perspectives, not only with their cameras but their overall skill sets in marketing and business too.
If you haven't visited the Platypod website, take a scroll through the blog and Instagram pages. Artists from around the world are sharing their creativity every day.
And if you're stuck with ideas to expand your own creativity, wander into the Platypod store. You'll find some unique kits like the new Ultra Essentials Kit, now on sale.
A big thanks to Photofocus for always sharing great content to help photographers grow their technology, marketing, and business skills. Photofocus also hosts some of the very best podcasts in photography! They're just a click away.
Click on any image above to listen to the podcast on Photofocus.com or iTunes.
by Skip Cohen
When Chamira and I started this series, we had no idea the diversity of the topics we'd talk about with each new guest. In this new episode, Sherry Hagerman joined us to talk about one of the most important challenges facing every artist - continuing education.
Sherry's no rookie for understanding the importance of education, networking, and building a solid skill set. We've known each other for over ten years, first meeting when she was an attendee at the summer program I used to do, Skip's Summer School. She believes in education and walks the talk on her never-ending quest to expand her own skills. She's also no stranger to the SCU blog with guest posts, an episode of "Why?" and multiple spotlight images.
Chamira, Sherry, and I talked a lot about education, and especially the changes for 2020 with the ClickCon show in Chicago. Originally scheduled to kick off August 9, due to the pandemic, it was postponed until August 2021, but that changes little in the ClickCon teams approach to great education.
ClickCon Nation launches on August 9 and will be a monthly series of online educational programs featuring some of the finest artists and educators in the industry. Click on the banner below to link to the ClickCon Facebook page, and start following the news as more details become available.
And see more of Sherry's images by visiting the Allusion Photography website. Just click on any of her photographs in this post.
"Beyond Technique" is brought to you by...
Programs like "Beyond Technique" don't happen without great industry support from companies who believe in the craft, like Platypod. Just like their strength in giving artists a different perspective, we're hopefully doing the same thing with each podcast.
If you haven't visited the Platypod website, take a scroll through the blog and Instagram pages. Artists from around the world are sharing their creativity.
And if you're stuck with what to get Dad for Father's Day, (or yourself) - wander into the Platypod store. You'll find some unique kits like the new Ultra Essentials Kit, now on sale. Just click on the banner to the right.
A big thanks to Photofocus for always sharing great content to help photographers grow their skills in technology, marketing, and business. Photofocus also hosts some of the very best podcasts in photography! They're just a click away.
Images copyright Allusion Photography. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Most of you know I don't make a living as a photographer. My passion is the business and marketing side, and that's where most of my career has been spent. However, hanging out with artists like Don Komarechka and Mike Moats over the last few years, I was bound to learn something.
Both Don and Mike have had a significant influence on the way I look at things, paying more attention to tiny details in the world around me. The little guy above was at best 3/16 of an inch and was just sitting on the pool cage's frame. We've had a lot of storms lately, and at first, I thought it was a chunk of dirt!
I missed the opportunity to get a shot to give you an idea of just how tiny this guy was. It's rare I've seen a frog this small, but here's roughly the size of the frog before the macro lens and enlargement.
The thumbnail on the right, with my new buddy next to a drop of water from the storm, shows how little he is too.
I took off this week to chill and enjoy time with Sheila and the pups. A side benefit was seeing this guy and having the time I needed to grab a camera. And while my skill set is still work in progress, having the right tools sure helps.
I should have used a tripod, but I didn't have a lot of time before "Kermit" took off. So, handheld and following him (or her) everywhere for about ten minutes was all I had.
I love the LUMIX G9, and teaming up with the LUMIX G 30mm macro lens, a Playpod Max, the new goosenecks, and two Litra Torch 2.0s gave me what I needed.
I also had some fun with Luminar, but only for minor tweaking. I lightened the image, sharpened slightly, cropped, enlarged, and erased a couple of distracting dirt spots.
The short video clip below was simply for the fun of it. The LUMIX line makes it so easy to push a button and grab a few seconds of video.
Shooting macro, handheld without a tripod, and having no video skills whatsoever, made focus a challenge. A tripod would have helped a lot, but at this point in my ten-minute adventure, I was standing on a ladder as my little buddy moved up the wall!
We've all been in some form of lockdown for almost three months. That means lots of time on our hands to do something different. Playing in the macro world is a kick, and with every image I get, I start to understand Don and Mike's love for the craft just a little better.
Click on any of the three thumbnails below for more information.
by Skip Cohen
The savings on Platyball through the Indiegogo campaign ends on June 1. If you've got an interest in this amazing product, now's the time to reserve yours! Click below to link to the website.
And if you don't know what Platyball is, check out the short video.
Images copyright Mitchel Wu. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
In 2016, after teaching a workshop, I was bothered by the fact that nobody in the class knew who Mary Ellen Mark was. So, while I couldn't do much about artists who had passed, I decided it was time to launch a series that would introduce you to the movers and shakers in imaging who were more contemporary.
Mitchel Wu joins me in this new episode and he's our 129th artist in the series. And, while it's been a few months since the last podcast of "Why?" the feature is back in full swing.
Mitch is based in Los Angeles, and most of you would think of him as a commercial photographer, but I love his passion for storytelling. His passion is toy photography, and he's one of the most recognized toy artists in the industry.
But I so admire another aspect of Mitch's skill set - his focus on fun. Lately, "fun" has been lost under the stress of the pandemic. Well, not for Mitch and just listening to this short podcast, you'll pick on an artist living his dream.
Note: Click on these two images to enlarge and view in the SCU Lightbox!
In the podcast, I mentioned one of my new favorite images, his shot with Kermit. Click on the image to link to Mitch's Instagram page for more details. And don't miss the BTS video on how he created the shot.
Like the images Mitch chose for his episode of "Why?" you can sense the fun he had in creating the scene. It all goes back to his love for storytelling and detail.
Visit Mitch's website. His galleries are a kick and guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
And if you're interested in finding out more about Platypod, one of the new tools helping Mitch capture and create his images, just click on the banner below.
Intro by Skip Cohen
This is the last "installment" in Mark's Corner for his week off from work to having fun in photography. For so many of us, photography is helping keep our sanity during the downtime. Mark's been having fun all week long with a camera in his hands, not for clients, but his own enjoyment. And considering my role with Platypod, it's fun to see how a Platypod Max was Mark's perfect hiking companion.
Check out more of Mark's work by stopping by his website and blogs. As a member of the LUMIX team at Panasonic, you'll find a lot of solid content on making the most of LUMIX cameras. If you're on Facebook, wander over to the Lumix Photographers Community. With over 9,000 members, artists from all over the world are always sharing great images and creative ideas to help you build your skillset and vision.
by Mark Toal
Today I had to get out of the house. The sun came out after a rainy, cool morning. I could hear power boats on the Willamette River near where I live just south of Portland, Oregon. Huge clouds were rolling across the sky, perfect for a time lapse video. I knew exactly where I could get a great view of the sky and the widest part of the river.
I own about four tripods, but I’ve never liked using one. A while ago Platypod sent me one of their "tripods." I’ve been using it where I need to hold the camera steady, in this case for a 30-minute time lapse. As you can see it’s not a traditional tripod, but instead a very small plate with adjustable legs.
I carry a Panasonic camcorder with me because it’s very quick and easy to set up for time-lapse videos when I’m out hiking. As you can see in the photo, I attached the Camcorder to the Platypod, set it on a light post to shoot an image every second. After 30 minutes I turned off the camera, put the whole set-up in my sling bag and went home.
As the Camcorder recorded the time-lapse, I walked around the park taking photos with my Lumix S1. I love setting the S1 to a 2:1 size ratio to give me a panoramic looking scene that you see in this image.
by Skip Cohen
With all but one episode of "Beyond Technique," we've always had a guest. However, this time around, Chamira Young and I wanted to host a very different kind of conversation. We tried to pack as many ideas as we could in our 30-40 minute window to help you think about being proactive in your business right now.
The pandemic has left us all with the look and feel of a deer caught in your headlights. But as the reality of the new norm of social distancing and anxiety sets in, too many artists have taken the directive of "shelter in place" to mean everything in their lives, including their business, marketing, and skillset.
So, Chamira and I took a shot at packing in a dozen or so ideas for you to consider doing during this downtime. They're not unique, and they clearly take up time...but time is what we've all got. There's an ongoing argument between the media, the CDC, the politicians and "doom and gloomers" over whose crystal ball is more accurate in how long this is going to last. It doesn't matter; we've all got to do everything to protect ourselves and our families for an extended period of time.
The silver-lining in these difficult times is there's so much you can be doing to raise the bar on your skill set, stay involved in your community, build a better blog, plan your marketing programs for when things get better, and the list goes on and on.
Just remember one crucial thing - you're not alone. We're all in this together, and this has always been an industry where we watch each other's backs and share ideas.
"Beyond Technique" is brought to you by...
Beyond Technique brings you a different perspective each month about business, imaging and sometimes even life. It's a lot like Platypod's goal to keep giving photographers a different perspective and more creative tools to their skillset.
From the Ultra and Max Platypods to great accessories like the new goosenecks and multi-accessory kit, they never slow down on developing new products.
Right now the Max-Macro Bundle is one of their very best sellers and is on sale. Fine-tuning your skillset in macro and closeup photography is ideal during the downtime at home.
As always a BIG thanks to Photofocus.com for sharing great content to help photographers grow their skills in technology, marketing, and business, Photofocus also hosts some of the very best podcasts in photography! They're just a click away.
by Skip Cohen
If you've followed me for even a short amount of time, then you know I love this industry, but it's not just about the magic of capturing memories for your clients - it's the friendships and projects we all work on together. It's the way, so many of us help each other and utilize our skillsets to share information.
Today's post is just one of those moments, thanks to Charles and Jennifer Maring. After WPPI last week, they headed out for a few days in California before returning east. Along with their LUMIX Gear (they're both LUMIX Ambassadors for Panasonic), they had two working prototypes of Platyball, the Elite, and the Ergo.
Charles did a full review of the product in the video below. Having a chance to test drive the new ball head, he was able check it out firsthand. And, with six days to go, this is the community's last chance to acquire Platyball at a 20% savings and receive it before anyone else. And, it's a significant saving -
$50 on Ergo, $76 on Elite, and $175 if you're buying both.
More information is just a click away.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.