Click on any image to enlarge and view in the SCU Lightbox!
Images copyright Gilmar Smith. All rights reserved.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Half the fun of photography is looking at great images, but the other half is the fun of getting to know the artists who create them!
When I started working with Platypod last September, I had no idea what to expect. I knew Platypod products were used by many of my good friends; I'd heard Scott Kelby talk about them on The Grid. My buddy and LUMIX Ambassador, Shiv Verma always has a Platypod Ultra and Max in his camera bag. A good pal and wedding artist, Bob Davis has a signature shot he loves from the floor just before the ceremony starts, and the list goes on and on...but I had never met Gilmar Smith.
As a member of the Platypod team, her primary focus is on social media. She's always sharing images and great content on Instagram, but her love for photography goes so much deeper. She's incredibly talented, not just as an expert in image manipulation, but as a children and family photographer.
I had no idea what to expect when I asked her about doing a guest post for SCU, but she exceeded expectations! Her post below is a perfect example of her passion for the craft, her family, and her clients. She redefines the meaning of the word "FUN."
She sent me at least a dozen images to share. I chose the Platypod image first for obvious reasons, but then pulled a mix of client portraits and her own family. As you think about the work you've captured and created for your clients, ask yourself one question, "Have I exceeded their expectations and made myself habit-forming?"
Gilmar never disappoints and has brought the best of technology into her skillset and combined with it her never-ending quest for creativity and fun. And it brings her clients back, over and over again!
Check out more of Gilmar's work with a visit to her website, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook too.
by Gilmar Smith
Photographing kids is one of the most challenging things ever, but sometimes it is not even kids who make these photoshoots challenging. It's the pressure and expectations of the parents. Everybody has this idea of having a perfect family portrait where everyone looks their best with huge smiles and a perfect pose. That, to be honest, is pretty unrealistic. Every family has different dynamics; every member of the family has a distinct personality, likes, and dislikes. To me, that's the most beautiful thing about families, that regarding our differences, we are meant to be together and love each other unconditionally amid chaos. That is what should be portrayed in family pictures.
If you look at a perfect family portrait on Pinterest, chances are that at least one of the faces of the member of the family was swapped from another picture. Unless you as a photographer, get really lucky and got everybody to give you your best in one shot, including a toddler and a five months old baby! If that's the case, CONGRATULATIONS!
As a parent myself, and photographer, I have witnessed it all, bribing, threating, crying kids, mom losing her marbles, dad uninterested and annoyed. It's a lot! Not to mention the time and money spent on buying new clothes for the Photoshoot. Then people hang those pictures on the wall that pretty much remind them of all the stress they went through. But heck, they are all smiling!
As a photographer, I find all that process ridiculous. I understand we all want to have beautiful memories of our families, but to me, it is extremely important to connect in a positive way to the images we hang in our walls.
That's why I approach my photoshoots differently.
Don't get me wrong; this is not something I came up out of nowhere. It is actually a technique that I developed with my kids, especially my son, and now I use it with my clients.
My son was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism when he was almost four years old. At about that same time I got a camera and started experimenting with photography. Obviously, I wanted to take amazing pictures of my son, but he wasn't interested at all; in fact, he was irritated by me trying to take his picture. So, I started using storytelling as a way to get him interested in getting his picture taken.
We would sketch a story, and then with the use of costumes, props, and the magic of photoshop, we would recreate our story. I noticed that by doing this, he was getting so interested, and he was enjoying being in front of the camera. He was also letting me into his world. Making these images together became our thing. As time passed, he started coming to me with concepts we could photograph, and that completely changed my approach to photography.
By photographing kids the way I do, I'm not only making the process a lot more pleasant and enjoyable for the kids (and the parents), but I'm also giving kids a way to express themselves and use the magic of imagination. And that's the best part of being a child!
This technique also works when photographing the whole family. Think about putting together everybody's personality in just one image!
I offer to create an image that really portraits their life as a family right now, that when they look at it in a few years, they can laugh and really see what everyone was like at that specific moment.
So how do I do it? I quickly explain my approach to my clients and show them a few examples of my work.
Then I go ahead and ask the kid's age, interests, mom and dad's hobbies, and what they do in their free time as a family.
With that information, I come up with different concepts and even create a mood board and sketch something for/with them. If you make sure to incorporate something that reflects the kids' personality in the shoot, such as a prop, toy, something they like to do, you are guaranteed that they will be more than happy to be in front of the camera, and most importantly, they will be willing to do it again!
One of Gilmar's favorite creative tools when it comes to hardware is thanks to Platypod. Check out their current Black Friday promotions, only available while supplies last. Click on any bundle below for more information.
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!
by Skip Cohen
With every step in the evolution of imaging, there are always artists who hit the panic button. If you look at the last few decades of milestones, we had people upset when color came into the black and white world.
Then, we had photographers and even a few retailers upset when auto-focus lenses replaced manual focus. In the late 80's, I remember Calumet throwing Nikon out when it was announced they'd no longer manufacture manual focus lenses.
Digital came along, and once again, there was this quiet rumbling of discontent. I'm guessing it was the offspring of those artists upset over color, interrupting the black and white world who were most worried. They couldn't help it; it's in their genes.
Over and again, we've had moments when imaging has changed, as technology continues to push the evolution of imaging in other directions. So often, I hear artists upset because anybody can be a photographer today. But, here's the difference - It's not the gear that makes the artist - it's the skillset. "Uncle Harry" may have better equipment than you, but he doesn't have the skillset.
Photographer, artist, videographer, and educator, David Nguyen, made the point last week when he shared the video below all shot on an iPhone 11 Pro Max for a full wedding! He was a guest and wanted to put his iPhone through his own fun test. I'm not suggesting anybody should do this professionally, but David's skillset makes a great point. And as he mentioned, he was a guest at the wedding, not working professionally.
Technology isn't going to slow down for any of us, and "Uncle Harry" or "Debbie Digital" are going to keep getting in the way at weddings. Often they'll have better gear than you. But the difference is your ability to be a storyteller. It's your skill set in understanding lighting, exposure, and composition.
And in talking with David, when I asked for permission to share the video on the SCU blog, he reminded me of another important element that separates the pro from the hobbyist at a wedding..."As professional photographers, we also contribute by directing the portrait sessions, interacting with the people to create moments, and helping the B&G keep track of time." The intensity in relationship comes out of the trust established with the couple early on - usually starting in the engagement session.
Uncle Harry can only create an album - as a professional photographer, you can create the first family heirloom of a brand new family! There's a difference between great images and a great story that captures memories the bride and groom might have missed.
Images copyright Rick Friedman. All rights reserved>
"You gotta have fun. Regardless of how you look at it, we're playing a game.
It's a business, it's our job,
but I don't think you can do well unless you're having fun!"
by Skip Cohen
With each new "chef" who joins us in the Tamron kitchen, I like to go off in search of a quote that seems to fit their style and personality. Rick Friedman is definitely a photographer and educator who believes in fun. You can see it in every class he teaches. Walk by the Tamron booth at a convention or into a Tamron dealer where Rick is doing a demo, and you'll instantly be drawn to a photographer having fun!
While I've known Rick for a lot of years, we never seemed to find quality time to hang out and talk until a couple of years ago. That changed in 2018 at WPPI, and since then, we've worked on several different projects together. When he recently became one of Tamron's newest Ambassadors, it was the perfect time to have him join us in this series.
Rick's best known around the world for his work as a photojournalist for the last 40+ years. In the podcast, he talked about the backstory of getting his first magazine cover on the right.
But, Rick's also an educator, and he's been teaching for the last sixteen years. He's well-respected as one of the leaders in lighting. It's under that umbrella of education that he's had an impact on thousands of photographers.
As we discussed in this new podcast, being a successful photojournalist and educator is about relationship building. It's about establishing trust with the clients as a photographer and the students in any class or demonstration. Even a twenty-minute demo on the floor of a busy trade show requires a level of trust with the attendees!
Click on any of Rick's images below to visit his website. I pulled some of my favorites, but there was so much from which to choose.
"Chef" Rick's recipe is a click away if you missed it last week. And, check out two Tamron lenses that are a critical part of Rick's creative tools, no matter what the subject. Click on either thumbnail for more information.
Rick shared a lot of great insight in this new podcast. He's based in Boston, but the world is his home. As you look through his images, it's obvious wherever his creative eye and camera's needed, that's where he's going to be.
As Rick pointed out in the podcast, he believes in the expression, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Having lived in Boston a significant part of my life, Arthur Fiedler was a very special legend. Rick captured the image below shortly before Fiedler passed away, and all it took was a knock on his door.
The next thing you know, he's sitting in Arthur Fiedler's bedroom, having a conversation with one of the greatest conductors of all time! And what was Fiedler doing when Rick joined him? Reading music!
From photojournalism on the campaign trail to travel to lighting workshops and published editorial images, I'm not sure there isn't anything "Chef" Rick hasn't photographed!
If you haven't visited your local Tamron dealer, it's time to check out the entire family of Tamron lenses. And the Tamron team is on the road nationally all year long.
In just the next few weeks, you'll find the team in Greenfield, WI, Sacramento, CA; Reno, NV; Middleburg Hts, OH; Fort Worth, TX; Canton, OH; Saguaro Natl. Park, AZ; Omaha, NE; Greenville, NC; and Lansdale, PA.
And, if you're headed to PPE in NYC, stop by Tamron's booth. They've got a lot going on, including their Pet Portrait Studio!
Tamron is manufacturing some of the finest glass in photography. You owe it to your clients and yourself to capture images with the very best tools available!
All images copyright Rick Friedman. All rights reserved.
There's so much we take for granted these days, especially in the way we share images. The images above are part of a new ad campaign from Panasonic, which is remarkable. I grabbed a screenshot of eight of the forty-six featured photographs. You'll need to click on any image above to connect to the full ad, but here's what I love the most.
Besides sharing the latest in technology and information about the new full-frame LUMIX S1R, when you click on any photograph you link to a short piece about the artist. From there, you can scroll through more of their work, read a little about them, their experiences, and their love for photography.
I clicked on the black and white wedding image above and the banner below appeared. It was captured and created by my good buddy William Innes. I love his comment about the Lumix 24-105 mm lens, "It is the type of lens that can spend a great amount of the wedding day on your camera."
I hope you'll take the time to scroll through the entire LUMIX piece - all the banners in the Panasonic campaign link to www.makeyourbestshot.com. But there's another reason you should look at this page - it represents some of the very best storytelling. The story is obviously about the LUMIX S1R. But as storytellers, photographers need to pay attention to how everybody delivers their message. How are you going to share ideas for your own story?
Isn't time you found out what all the buzz is about with the new S1R? As I've written so many times before, Panasonic's tagline is "Changing Photography." They're keeping that promise with every product in the LUMIX line. And, they're also changing advertising with an interactive approach introducing us not only to the S1R, but some of the most respected artists in the world!
Click on any thumbnail to link to the campaign. Then, kick back and enjoy the journey with some incredible artists and beautiful images. Each one is a testimonial to LUMIX technology.
What a kick!
by Skip Cohen
Today's post is a little different than the previous weeks - only because the Bubble Trailer Light Tour is at the halfway mark. After teaching at AVC Photo School today, Suzette, Jonny, and Ms. BT are taking a few days off. However, there's a remarkable story to share, and it's all about "Hope." It's not a sappy vague concept, but about reality and a story about a real-life miracle.
Suzette Allen and I have known each other for a lot of years. I initially met her the same way many of you have, as one of the industry's most respected Photoshop instructors. In 2013 she became a LUMIX Ambassador, and that's where the friendship started to blossom. A couple of years later, her husband, Jonny, officially became part of the LUMIX team as well. We taught together at Marathon's MAP Getaway a few years back, and the four of us as two couples being together added another dimension of friendship.
Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of Suzette experiencing a horrific accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury. She shared the story on her blog yesterday and I pulled a few paragraphs to share.
Today marks the 30th anniversary of my accident with a bull moose in Alaska. Many people don’t realize that I am a survivor of a brain injury that happened 30 years ago today. I was driving home from a dance class in my car when a legal bull moose was standing in the road and I hit him going probably 55 mph.
When you hit a full size moose with 6 foot antlers with a car, you hit them in the shins and the body comes through the windshield and crushes the entire car. The moose’s body broke out the windshield, cutting up my hands, but the fur hit my face so my face didn’t get any major cuts- it just shattered my entire face with the impact of over 1500 pounds.
...But honestly, as horrible as that sounds, it was all minor in light of the real damage: a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Unfortunately 30 years ago (and in Alaska) not much was known about brain injuries and I was not diagnosed for over two years, while my life spiraled downward in a horrible spin, ending very badly. Not having disability insurance as the wage earner meant we suffered the loss of our two businesses, our home, everything we owned, and sadly, because of my instability and emotional state of a two-year-old (damage to my frontal lobe emotional centers) my husband of 10 years took me home to my parents in California and divorced me. Click to read the entire post on Suzette's blog.
And here's my point - There are so many ways to find inspiration in this industry. So often we're inspired by the skillset and technique of other artists. But, sometimes, there's more inspiration to appreciate when you meet and spend time with them. It's not about what they share, but why!
Over a year ago, Suzette and Jonny had an idea to teach and meet photographers in a unique way. The Internet and online education have changed our lives, but we're so often missing human contact. Meeting somebody face to face, a handshake, a hug, and talking, enriches our lives. The only thing better than capturing moments in a photograph is making memories directly.
Now, halfway through the tour, they're taking time off with friends. We couldn't be more proud to know our house is one of the stops. While there's plenty more time on the road, probably a few meet-ups and a lot of photography along the way, their next major presentation is on October 25 at Arlington Camera in Arlington, TX.
I hope you'll take the time to join them on the back half of the tour. And, take the time to read Suzette's story of hope going back thirty years ago. She's inspirational in her love of the craft, life, and spirituality. And, with Jonny, they've become much more than just LUMIX Ambassadors. They're Ambassadors for hope, inspiration, creativity, and an industry so many of us love dearly.
Suzette also wrote...
So today, I KNOW there is always HOPE and also that persistence is omnipotent. My Why in life is to Inspire and Encourage...The brain is capable of so much more than we realize, if we just believe and persist.
Great programming doesn't happen without strong support. The Bubble Trailer Light Tour is sponsored by some of the finest companies in our imaging. They don't just make great products - they believe in education and helping artists raise the bar on their skillset to thrive, not just survive!
The Bubble Trailer Light Tour needs to be on your radar. Here's the schedule for next two weeks. Occasionally dates and locations are subject to change. The complete itinerary is available with a click on the button below!
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
Gareth Rockliffe is a good buddy, and he's currently on the road in New England. I caught up to him on a text the other day, and just for the fun of it, he sent me the image above. I love the power in this image and the way Gareth's choice of black and white, composition and technique, pull you into the photograph.
There's another piece of the backstory that's special for me personally. I lived in Boston for many years, and this is captured up north in the Rockport area at Lanes Cove, Cape Ann, MA. I asked Gareth for the "gearbox" and exposure triad, and he sent me the text below:
I love the "old school" comment. Going "old school" is like those favorite recipes we have for so many different things we enjoy, especially in classic cooking! "Old school" always works!
Gareth is no stranger to SCU. Check out his July podcast on "Beyond Technique." He shared a lot of great insight into the spirituality of life and imaging.
And his website is just a click away.
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.
I've always had a problem with the way many photographers look at an album. For example, with a wedding album, it's not a book of photographs but the first family heirloom of a brand-new family. You're not selling pictures but tangible memories, and to the world outside the photographic industry, you're magicians.
Your clients deserve an excellent presentation of their images at a reasonable cost. At the same time, you deserve a reasonable profit margin. Well, Marathon's developed a full product line to help you increase business and profitability.
The team at Marathon has been fine-tuning and expanding their selection of Bella Albums, and the quality is excellent. Plus, you've got an infinite combination of paper stocks, printing formats, colors, textured covers, styles, embossing and the list goes on and on.
When we were fighting my mother's Alzheimer's, one of the greatest treasures was pulling out old family albums. She may not have remembered what she said five minutes earlier, but she looked at every picture. Each one took her back to that moment in time. Those albums brought back great memories and created new ones for us at the same time.
Your clients deserve great presentations of their images, whether it's a wedding, family sitting, or Day-in-the-Life shoot. Click on any image in this post to link to Marathon's Bella Albums pages. We're coming up to fall seasonality and the holidays. It's time you planted some unique gift ideas with your clients, and Marathon's team is ready to help!
by Skip Cohen
One of the fun aspects of this series is sharing the work of a different artist each month. As always, I continue to be amazed at the diversity and willingness of each featured "chef" to share their recipes.
Rick Friedman joins us in the Tamron Kitchen in this new episode. We had a hard time trying to figure out which image to share. I took the easy way out and featured two.
In this new Recipe, Rick's working with two different Tamron lenses, but the common denominator is Julianna Nicole, one of his favorite models. And, the two images are entirely different. But if you know Rick or have watched him at a Tamron demo, you know creativity is in his blood - along with always having fun!
"Fun," as I've written in the past, is one of those words too often lost in business today. We're so wrapped up in deadlines and the stress of each moment we often forget about having fun. Well, you can't have fun if your heart isn't in it - and Rick's an artist whose heart is in every click of the shutter.
Images copyright Rick Friedman. All rights reserved.
In the light-painting image below, I love the fun of Rick's comment about being in the picture, "That's fat me behind skinny her!" And photographers always have fun in Rick's workshops with his work-hard-play-hard style of teaching.
With every Tamron Recipes post, I like to find a quote that seems to fit our guest "chef."
"You gotta have fun. Regardless of how you look at it, we're playing a game. It's a business, it's our job, but I don't think you can do well unless you're having fun!"
About "Chef" Rick: Rick's based out of Boston and best known as a photojournalist, but in all honesty, I don't think there's anything he can't photograph. He's also become one of the industry's leading educators, especially in lighting. He started his workshops close to twenty years ago, and "fun" is always a key element in helping artists better understand how to improve their technique. His work has been published in magazines all over the world, including an episode of "Why?" right here at SCU.
Part II of Rick's recipe series is coming next Tuesday. You can be sure we'll be talking about lighting, creativity, education, and pushing the envelope with today's technology. His website is just a click away.
About the 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD lens used in the portrait above: Click on the banner below to find out more about this outstanding lens. Rick captured the image of Julianna above with the 100-400mm at 400mm!
About the SP24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens used in this image: This has become one of Rick's most favorite lenses and used in so many different situations. Click on the banner below to find out more about this remarkable piece of glass!
Both images were from Rick's workshops/presentations. The top image was captured at T&F Camera in Vineland, NJ. The second image was at a lighting presentation in the event space at B&H Photo in NYC. If you're looking for a great class on lighting and developing a stronger reputation as a pro, check out Rick's workshops.
Tamron never slows down on manufacturing some of the finest optics in photography. Visit your local Tamron dealer and take advantage of their special FALL SAVINGS program going on until November 2, 2019.
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.
by Skip Cohen
Every time I write about this tour, I hear Willie Nelson singing "On the Road Again" in the background. It's day twenty-eight for the Bubble Trailer Light Tour. I've lost count how many photographers Suzette and Jonny have met over the last four weeks. If my calculations are right, they're also coming up on six-thousand miles and just about the halfway mark.
One of the most fun aspects of the tour has been the images Suzette's been posting and sharing all along the way. They're not only teaching workshops but using a lot of great gear at various stops on the journey. Her shot of the NYC skyline above is spectacular. It was captured with a LUMIX S1R and 24-105 mm lens - f16 @ 15 seconds, ISO 400. Make sure you click on the image to see it enlarged in the lightbox.
Nanlites are on the trip with Suzette and Jonny. If you don't know about the product line, they're just a click away. It's time to find out what all the buzz is about.
Suzette described the shoot, which was in the salt flats earlier on their trip:
"...We used the Forza 300 for the main light and then the Forza 60's for accent lights and for shooting later when we needed less power...and we can shoot with them on location where there is no power! Even the Forza 300 and 500 can be powered with a V Mount Battery,
One of the biggest advantages I see with the Nanlites is how they have one point of light instead of a panel of pin-lights. Often, the panel lights show as a freckled light in catchlights and even have a different light falloff than a strobe in a softbox. With the Nanlites, we can use the softboxes and get a perfect portrait quality of light, and that professional edge we have worked years to perfect. It's our leverage as a visible means of setting ourselves apart from the competition!"
The image below shows the set up for the shoot. What a kick using great gear that goes virtually anywhere!
Everywhere Suzette, Jonny and Ms. BT go they're meeting more photographers. Here are a couple of the stops they made this past week.
It takes great support from the industry to put together a tour like this. Obviously it starts with Suzette and Jonny's love for photography, people, and wanting to drive across the country and back! We all live in an Internet world - what a kick to spend time face to face with so many artists.
But, part of that love for imaging and people is fueled by some of the best companies in professional photography:
Where are they now?
The Bubble Trailer Light Tour needs to be on your radar. Here's the schedule for next week, occasionally dates and locations are subject to change. The complete itinerary is available with a click on the button below!
"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!
Click on any image above to listen to the podcast.
This year we're celebrating five years of incredible guests on the "Mind Your Own Business" podcast. It started in the spring of 2014 when Rich Harrington at Photofocus had an idea. We launched the first program in April of that year. A year or so later Scott Bourne joined me as co-host, and when Scott moved on to other projects, Chamira Young and I kicked off the expanded series in March of 2017.
To date we've done 70+ podcasts together, including "Beyond Technique," "Tamron Recipes," and at least two on Pro Photographer Journey. Through all of these guests, we've only had two previous episodes with sports photographers.
Terrell Lloyd joined us on this new episode. Terrell's the Senior Manager of Photography Services and Lead Team Photographer at the San Francisco 49ers. We not only talked about the challenges of being a sports photographer but many of the milestones of his journey. Terrell's all about relationship-building and he shares a lot of good insight in his story from starting out as a pro-bowler to today.
As I've written so many times over the years, the best thing in our industry isn't really about photography but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Terrell and I go back to my early WPPI days and maybe further. When the 49ers played Tampa Bay a few weeks ago, we were able to get to the game and watch him in action.
Knowing how many stadiums and events have restrictions on DSLRs and often interchangeable lenses, I took the LUMIX FZ300. It was close to 100°, and we were ten rows down from the top of the stadium. I dropped an arrow into the shot on the right pointing to where Terrell was in the image below.
I needed a camera that could handle the challenge without the weight. With its 25-600mm fixed zoom most of the time it's perfect for what I need. There's a lot of horsepower packed into this camera, and at 1.5 pounds, even with a smaller sensor, it's great to travel with.
A big thanks to Terrell for joining us on "Mind Your Own Business," and for working in the time for dinner the night before the game. While social media is fun for staying connected - NOTHING beats quality time face to face!
Image copyright Jeff Allen. All rights reserved.
The fun of sharing this image isn't just because it's so spectacular, but because knowing about it is the result of social media. Here's the short backstory:
Meet Jeff Allen, a photographer from Battle Ground, Washington. We met on Facebook when I sent him an IM meant for my buddy Jeff Allen over at Tamron. I was inviting "Tamron" Jeff to dinner the next time he and the Tamron crew were on the road doing a workshop here on the gulf coast of Florida. Well, Jeff Allen responded with, "I think you messaged the wrong Jeff Allen lol... But sure! We'd love to have dinner!"
Nothing beats a great sense of humor, and when Jeff posted this image on Facebook yesterday, I had to share it. As always, I asked for permission along with the specs on the photograph.
This was taken with my DJI Mavic 2 Pro with the Hasselblad 20mp camera.
It has a 1 inch sensor. I was 400 ft from the ground, which is already about 600 ft above sea level.
So technically I took this about 1000 ft above sea level.
f/5 @1/400 sec ISO 100
Jeff needs to be on your radar. Follow him on Instagram. He shares a lot of beautiful work and he's just a click away!
And to both Jeffs, the dinner offer still holds, whenever either of you show up!
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.
by Skip Cohen
It's no secret I'm a big fan of education and everything that helps artists raise the bar on their skillset, together with a better understanding of business and marketing. That's the foundation for everything we've been sharing here on the SCU blog since the beginning.
In the last few years, there have been some great boutique conferences launched. Each one has brought another outstanding experience to the party. Here's a new one not to miss.
Check out the 2020 PAS de DEUX Dance Photography Conference. If you're an artist with a focus on dance, there's an exciting conference coming up in Phoenix in January. I'm excited to be helping its founder, Ron McKinney help spread the word.
What I love most about this conference is that it's intentionally meant to be small and maximize the education and experience for each attendee. Ron's brought together six of the most recognized dance photographers in the industry. This is an opportunity for you to spend time with speakers Rachel Neville, Eric Pare and Kim Henry, Jordan Matter, Taylor Ferne-Morris, David Hoffman and Jonathan Givens.
Jonathan Givens is on the platform as a featured speaker, and he's no stranger to SCU. Just click on his image below to listen to his episode of "Why?"
From raising the bar on your skills to networking and expanding your creativity, it's destined to be a conference to help you thrive. If you've got an interest in dance photography, click on the banner above for more information!
Image copyright Lisa Garcia. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
For years I've talked about the best thing about our industry - the friendships. Out of the mutual love for the craft, we meet other photographers at conventions, workshops, in our community and online in cyberspace.
Meet Lisa Garcia, a talented artist here in Sarasota. Had it not been for our mutual friend, Bobbi Lane we might not have met. If you know Bobbi, then you also know that looking at her circle of friends is like playing the Kevin Bacon, three degrees of separation game. Think back, and I'm betting many of you can link to somebody who knows Bobbi, and no more than three degrees away.
All of us had lunch together last spring when Bobbi and husband Lee Varis were here in Sarasota. We had a chance to visit Lisa's studio in St. Armands Circle, and her work is stunning. The image above won a bronze award at the Portrait Masters Conference in 2018, further recognizing Lisa's success as a visual artist.
Lisa's work is beautiful, but I loved her backstory even more:
A quick back story on this client: She was 58 and was going through a lot of changes in her life. She was in a place of wanting to see herself in a different way and asked to be photographed nude. When I asked how she wanted to be photographed she simply said…I trust you. She loves and cherishes her images. She still to this day tells me that that day changed her life. Sometimes it isn't just about the end result of the photograph, but the journey that is taken to get there. I am humbled by the women that I have had the honor of photographing over the years. It is my spiritual journey as well as theirs.
There's a very special ingredient when it comes to capturing and creating remarkable portraits...trust.
Being a great photographer isn't just about technique, but relationship building. It's about your clients trusting you to listen and understand what they're hoping you can capture. If you love the craft like Lisa does, then you also know creating a great experience for the subject goes both ways. I love her line about her sessions often being a spiritual journey for her as well her clients. It's that dedication and love for the craft that gives Lisa the ability to capture images like the one above.
Lisa's studio is just a click away.
Starting Monday, March 23 at 2:00 PM EST. Ideas to help your business in these difficult times. Click for more info!
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.