by Skip Cohen
Don Komarechka is no stranger to SCU. We've shared so many of his images in the past, along with podcasts and great "how-to" content.
Last week the industry's favorite mad scientist astonished us again with "Liquid Flow" photography and the video below. I know this is very different from the kind of images most of you capture. However, besides the beauty of each photograph as art, pay attention to the way he tells the story in the video.
As one of photography's leading most creative educators, he's also ALWAYS willing to share the process he's used for the images themselves.
Platypod and the LUMIX GX9 and S1R played key roles in the short film below. And, if this was Hollywood, Don would be walking away with the Oscar for best director, producer, and writer!
Don needs to be on your radar! You'll find him regularly sharing outstanding content on his Instagram page, and his website is jam-packed with more images, podcasts and information about his workshops! Just click the thumbnail below.
As I mentioned above - Don's always willing to share the backstory on his images and each piece of gear used along the way!
by Don Komarechka:
Here's how you do "liquid flow" photography (and video, obviously) using ultraviolet lights and fluorescing inks!
Gear involved all listed below!
First, the lights. I'm using a bunch of stuff here, basically everything I had that I could fit in. That includes:
- 3 Convoy S2+ flashlights: https://www.fluorescents.com/products...
- 1 Convoy C8 'Fyrfly': https://www.engeniousdesigns.com/prod...
- 1 'Jaxman' UV flashlight: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07...
- 2 "Master Ultra365 units from MinerShop (AC-powered): http://www.minershop.com/051718/html/...
The lights are all held together with Platypod Max and Ultra units, with gooseneck arms: https://platypod.com/our-tripods
- added "crab clamps" to hold the lights, readily available from generic vendors on Amazon.
The tank is an 8" cube aquarium from a local supplier, but any glass aquarium would work.
The inks! These are all from a company called "Noodler's". The three used in this video include:
"Blue Ghost": https://www.gouletpens.com/products/n...
"Dragon Catfish Orange": https://www.jetpens.com/Noodler-s-Dra...
Cameras used: Lumix GX9 for wider shot: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc... Lumix S1R for main video/stills shooting: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc... Kit lenses used for both.
The shooting of the stills was simple: maintain a 1/200sec shutter speed, shoot wider than you need to crop in to the areas of interest (and get a greater depth of field from shooting further back), F/13, and whatever ISO is required to make those other two settings work. With the amount of lights I had, that was ISO 1000.
These images survive noise reduction VERY well, so don't be afraid to push to ISO 6400 and beyond if needed!
This is one of those posts where I feel like Carly Simon should be singing in the background, "Nobody Does It Better!" Because NOBODY teaches like Jay P. Morgan.
In just under six minutes, he hits eleven solid tips to help you become a more effective artist! And, if you're not a filmmaker but a still-photographer, you'll still find Jay P's tips and suggestions helpful to expanding your storytelling skills.
Co-starring with Jay P, actors Sean Ritchie and Savannah Phillips, Platypod had a couple of key roles. Check out Platypod's Instagram page for more ideas on how to change your perspective and bring more creativity to your videos and photographs.
If Jay P's website, The Slanted Lens isn't already on your radar, then you need to take a scroll over there. Check out his YouTube channel too! The archives are packed with helpful how-to content in 484 posted videos.
No matter what the topic, I can promise you Jay P is always sharing ideas that trigger something new to your skillset, you've forgotten or overlooked. Nobody does it better!
by Skip Cohen
Time for you to meet Joe Pellicone! A few weeks ago, images from his neon lights project were shared on the Platypod blog. I love it when artists give us a different perspective on subjects we take for granted. We've all driven by diners and buildings without thinking about how they look at night.
Joe started his "Neon at Night" project a year ago and has now accumulated 128 diners and other beautifully lit buildings - all with his camera on a Platypod. Besides his skill set, what makes the images so interesting is the angle he's working at - just a few inches off the ground.
Joe wrote about what :
I did my first diners with a tripod and quickly learned that it took too long to set up at each location. I had several encounters with diner employees or owners who came out while I was opening and placing my tripod. Some challenged me and questioned why I was taking photos. One was angry and threatened to call the police. I didn’t want to deal with the confrontation, I determined I needed to shorten my setup time so I could be in and out quickly. One thing that helped me with that was ditching the tripod and switching to a Platypod Ultra.
...Placing the rig on the ground adds an unusual perspective to my photos which I believe is an added bonus. Shooting low down gives the focus to the buildings, flattening out the ground in front of them and giving them a ‘hero’ look...The look is achieved by shooting in Aperture Priority at F22 and ISO 100. It provides me with starbursts on lights and gives a nice clear photo. These usually end up as long exposures running from 5 seconds to a minute.
Read Joe's complete post and check out more great images from Neon at Night. And, if you're in the NYC area, Joe's speaking at several camera clubs in the months ahead. Already on the schedule are: Syosset Camera Club on October 17, 2019; Suffolk County Camera Club on March 11, 2020, and the Port Washington Camera Club, May 13, 2020. Follow Joe on Instagram, his website and Facebook. He's always sharing great content.
A fun contest was just announced this week with some outstanding prizes including a first prize valued at just under $400! The theme is "Tight Spaces" and Platypod's looking for creativity, photography excellence and technique. All the rules are on Platypod's Instagram page, easily found with a click on the thumbnail below.
Image copyright Don Komarechka. All rights reserved.
It's Mirrorless Monday and the perfect time to share this image by Don Komarechka.
Don's no stranger to SCU. We've featured a number of his images, guest posts and a podcast or two - most recently on "Mind Your Own Business. He's an accomplished artist, educator, author, and over the years has become a great friend. I often refer to him as the Mad Scientist of Macro.
Don loves to take on challenges. He loves finding new ways to shift paradigms. It's like watching some of the best episodes of "Myth Busters." Over and again, he's taken us through new ways to capture and create incredible images.
He shared the image above on his Facebook page last week, with a detailed explanation of how it was created. It was too unique to not share again here at SCU for Mirrorless Monday! Don goes into the full backstory about the capture of the image on his Facebook page. It's well worth the read, but I pulled some fun highlights:
"A few simple ingredients at play here, all held together by a new accessory from Platypod – flexible gooseneck arms attached to their Platypod Max as a “base of operations” that performs exceptionally well for tabletop macro work!
...This image is novel for a number of reasons, beyond the cool gadgets I get to play with to make these setups easier and more robust. Another point of simplicity is that this image is not taken with a macro lens, nor was it focus stacked! This is the magic of the high-resolution mode in the Lumix S1R.
...Imagine shooting a 187MP image, which is possible with the Lumix S1R, and then intentionally throwing 90% of it away by excessively cropping. You’ll still have just under 19MP worth of image data to work with, and I had previously been shooting with 18-20MP cameras for my entire professional career."
LUMIX S1R Kit, Digital Mirrorless Camera
With 47.3MP MOS Full Frame, 24-105mm F4 L-Mount Lens
Don Komarechka needs to be on your radar.
His website is just a click away. While you're there, check out the pre-order special on his new book, Macro Photography: The Universe at Our Feet. Just click on the thumbnail to the right for more info.
Don never compromises on the quality of anything he does. So, if you're looking to expand your skill set into macro check out his podcasts, galleries and workshops too.
"I am a part of all that I have met..."
Alfred Lord Tennyson
by Skip Cohen
I've used that quote above so many times over the years. Every person we meet; each photograph or video we see; and each conversation we have all contribute a piece to who we are or become. Since I started working with the team at Platypod, I've been introduced to some of the most creative artists I've ever met. And they've shared one how-did-they-do-that image after another. Each image has been like the three degrees of separation game with Kevin Bacon - only instead of Bacon, the connection has been Platypod.
Platypod is so much more than an accessory for imaging - it's a creative tool that allows you to think outside the box, and change the perspective on how you're going to capture an image. It can go where tripods can't, and it's helping artists create new ways to capture every day. In the almost 200-year history of photography, there have never been more tools at your fingertips than today - and Platypod is part of that toolkit!
Stay tuned, because we're going to be sharing a lot of amazing images in the months ahead. We'll be talking with artists who are setting the standard for pushing the edge of the creative envelope!
You'll see what I mean when you watch the video below. I saw it for the first time a few days ago and loved it. The tripod is hardly dead, but like the video closes with - it needs a sidekick!
A few weeks ago I announced Platypod was on board as a new SCU partner. If you know me, or at least my reputation, I love working with companies who make quality products and applications I believe in. Platypod's got all the bases covered.
In the almost 200-year history of photography, there have never been more creative tools for photographers.
Platypod helps expand that list of tools, especially when it comes to situations where a tripod just isn't going to deliver what you need. For example, extremely low and high camera angles; or photographing in locations like a museum where tripods aren't typically allowed.
We're seeing so many creative applications. They're shared every day on Platypod's Instagram page.
Platypod is a remarkable family of products and growing all the time. There are now several "family" members, including the soon to be available goosenecks. And if you don't know about Platypod, check out the short review below shared this week by one the industry's finest and most diverse artists, Charles Maring.
Stay tuned because there's a lot about Platypod coming your way!
Image copyright Dave Williams. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
As I've written so many times, the fun of this industry isn't just about photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft.
Meet Dave Williams. He's a travel photographer, writer, educator, blogger and social media influencer based in the UK. Besides our mutual love for the craft, we share some great friendships, starting with the team at Platypod, the Kelby Media crew. I know as time goes on we'll find more common denominators.
Working together with the team at Tamron USA and Platypod, I saw one of Dave's images recently and talked him into a short guest post. The image above is a forty-seven-second exposure! It brings together Dave's creativity with Tamron's quality and Platypod's stability.
Dave might be based in the UK, and five-thousand miles away, but in cyberspace, it's only a click of a mouse! The Internet has made the world an incredibly small place, allowing us to share images, videos, and conversations in a way that's changing all of our lives!
Dave needs to be on your radar. Check out Dave's website with a click on his image above and follow his blog too. You'll also find more of Dave's work as part of "Travel Tuesday" today on the Platypod blog.
By Dave Williams
As part of a little mission to north Wales earlier this year I shot the lighthouse at Penmon Point.
Penmon Point Light is pretty iconic as far as UK lighthouses go. Guarding ships from the shallow, rocky waters of the Menai Strait between Anglesey and Puffin Island, this iconic black and white striped lighthouse has stood since 1838. Its purpose is to mark the channel of safe passage between the two islands. The sea here is rough, owing to the shallow waters, steep beaches, and underlying rocks. To get here involves crossing private land, and as such the landowner charges a toll of £3 ($4.50) which is used to maintain the road and land.
When you get to the end of the road there’s a car park and a small shop selling drinks and ice cream and offering restrooms at this popular spot, but I by-passed that and headed straight for the rocks. My aim in this visit was to shoot the lighthouse using a Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 and calming the sea with a 10-stop (ND3) filter.
I soon learned just how slippery the rocks were and began to take extra caution as I crossed them as far as I could to the waters edge, with that very water breaking around the rocks I was stepping on. I found my spot and set up my rig, which was entirely hanging around me from my BlackRapid strap: - I had my Nikon D810 with my Tamron 70 – 200mm f/2.8 lens which was attached to my Platypod Ultra with a 3LeggedThing ballhead, and I used the Platypod screw spikes to make sure nothing slid across the rocks.
On the front of the lens was my Gobe 10-stop filter, and firing the camera was a Pluto Trigger, controlled with my iPhone. The sky was overcast, which is fairly typical for us here in the UK, but there was just enough texture and difference in those clouds that the sky wasn’t completely flat. Just as the sun dipped below the horizon the clouds split, but I couldn’t hand around long as I had to go find my hotel for the night before shooting sunrise the next morning.
It was a long trip, but a trip that was absolutely worth making, and a shoot made simple and effective with the gear I was using.
Today, you've got the most creative tools in the history of photography. Many of them thanks to Tamron!
Tamron is manufacturing some of the finest glass in imaging optics. Isn't it time you visited your Tamron retailer?
Click on the banner above for more information about one of Dave's favorite lenses. And, check out the current instant savings promotion, which includes the 70-200 mm F/2.8 Di VC USD lens.
Click on the banner above to listen to the new podcast.
by Skip Cohen
Throughout our careers, if we're lucky, there are projects here and there that become unique and very special. The Beyond Technique podcast is one of those for me. There are hundreds of podcasts featuring artists talking about their style and technique, but with Chamira Young's help, we've gone beyond that...beyond the technique of the craft.
The series was put on hold for a few months, but it's back with a vengeance, relaunching in August. It's now here full time with a new episode each month, thanks to Platypod! And, coincidentally our guest this month is also one of their Ambassadors, Jay P. Morgan.
But, while Podcast is mentioned briefly, this new podcast is about education, mentoring, and Jay P's growth to becoming one of the leading educators in professional imaging. You'll find his Slanted Lens series jam-packed with videos to help you raise the bar on the quality of your work. Even better is meeting him at a conference. If you see him on the speaking platform, run, don't walk to grab a seat.
Jay P is a talented artist, educator, writer, and filmmaker. He shared a lot of wisdom on this podcast. Click on any of Jay P's images below to visit his website. It wasn't easy narrowing down my favorites to share in this post. And, if you want to get a feel for Jay P's role as a leading educator, watch the one-minute video below and then subscribe to The Slanted Lens!
It's a kick to have him join us on Beyond Technique!
"Beyond Technique" is brought to you by...
If you haven't checked out Platypod lately, visit their website, follow their Facebook page and especially put their Instagram page on your radar. There are always new products coming, and each one is designed to help photographers and videographers expand their creativity. Platypod doesn't just manufacture some of the best-designed accessory products in imaging - they provide solutions to different challenges to help you raise the bar on the quality of your work!
A BIG thanks to Photofocus for the platform for both Beyond Technique and Mind Your Own Business! Check out both series along with the InFocus Interview Show. You'll never be disappointed.
by Skip Cohen
A couple of years back, I met the team from Platypod while at PhotoShop World. As with so many people and companies in this industry, we shared a lot of good friends. Since then our paths have crossed many times, and I'm excited we're now part of each other's "families." In addition to sharing great how-to content from some of the industry's finest artists at SCU, you'll also see them as a sponsor of "Beyond Technique," with a new podcast guest each month.
Click to enlarge and view the Platypod family above in the SCU Lightbox
If you don't know Platypod products, check out the video below. It's about the original Platypod Ultra. Now there are two models from which to choose. This company is all about quality and accessories that solve so many of the challenges in capture. There's Ultra, Max, an accessory kit that adds to Platypod's range of use. and even the new goosenecks (lights not included), perfect for macro work and more.
I love companies who are problem solvers and contribute to the creative tools photographers have to capture the very best images...in ANY situation!
Stay tuned - there's a lot of exciting content coming your way.
Which Platypod is right for you?
Click on "ultra" or "max" below for more information or to order your Platypod.
ClickCon 2020 Circle the Dates!!
It's rare that a first year conference has the power that ClickCon brought to the industry this past August.
The dates have been announced for 2020 at the Palmer House in Chicago. August 11-14!
What a kick!
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.