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Hands-on with My Favorite Still Photography Camera

Hello camera geeks, gearheads and… well… those of you who just want the best tools for your trade. You heard right, I’m back with another unboxing, this time of the hotly anticipated Nikon D4s — generously sent to me to by my friends at DPReview for a hands-on first impression, and it’s available from my homies/gear partners at Adorama. So here goes…

First impressions: that familiar Nikon gold box looks pretty much like all the Nikon boxes I remember, going all the way back to the F5 (that was a film SLR – remember those?). In fact, the only time I can remember Nikon changing its SLR — “D” or otherwise — boxes was for the Nikon Df, which was flat, matte black, and kinda cool looking. This makes sense – as the chassis for all these top-of-the-line pro cameras have basically been the same or very similar for a decade.

Get past all of the standard straps, warranty cards, manuals and trinkets where… wrapped in cellophane, the D4s has the same heft as the D4 I’ve carried around for a few years now, just with that fancy new “s” after the name.

Nikon D4s and Nikon D4 comparison - front view

The “s” models are typically feature updates, not body or appearance changes, so the size and ergonomics of the D4s are basically identical to its predecessor. There are a couple of touch-ups; the control sticks on the back have a bit more texture to them and the battery door is shaped differently, but that’s about it. If you want to be super-picky about it, the D4s is 60g heavier than the D4.

Does that add up to new features? The short answer = a few nice upgrades that add value to the camera.

Power up this sexy beast and you notice right away that the screen looks a bit nicer than the D4’s display. That might be because mine’s been through a few knocks and bumps, but for those of you keeping an eye on specs, Nikon has added the ability to fine-tune the color on that LCD. Nerdy but nice to have when showing clients over your shoulder.

What else? Well, trigger that shutter and you might be able to detect one extra frame in that burst every second. Nikon has upped the max number of frames the D4s can take per second with autofocus active from 10 to 11. And the buffer is larger.

Nikon D4s and Nikon D4 comparison - rear view

And speaking of autofocus, Nikons says their focus algorithms have been tweaked to accommodate that extra frame per second, and is less likely to get distracted by objects crossing in front of the camera. There’s also something called the Group Area AF, where you can designate a cluster of 5 points to focus on, rather than just one. The guys over at DPReview have more details on this, but any improvement to AF is good news.

There are plenty more changes on the inside, but that new sensor is probably the one that’s got everyone’s attention. Nikon has redesigned the 16MP full-frame CMOS sensor and it’s now capable of — hang on to your pants, folks — a whopping ISO 409,600 in Hi4 mode. Daaaaaamn.

That is NOT a typo. I checked.

Of course, 409,600 ISO is going to be pretty noisy, but hey, you’re going to get those shots of the inside of your lens cap now!

For video shooters, that new sensor has one more trick up its sleeve; combined with the new Expeed 4 image processor, it can now deliver 1080p video at 60p. That’s right – slow motion has finally come to the Nikon flagship. At freakin’ last! Also, if you shoot timelapses, the maximum shot count has gone up to 9999 from 999 and there’s a new smoothing feature for you as well. I don’t even know what that means, but I’m told it’s an improvement. Let’s just go with it.

If you were hoping that Nikon would ditch the XQD slot for another CF or even an SD slot, you’re out of luck; the XQD slot is still there. One bit of good news with regard to storage, though; you can now record video to internal storage while at the same time capturing it via HDMI to an external recorder, something that wasn’t possible earlier.

So there you have it. These are the tweaks that caught my eye — there are, as I said in the video above, a handful of others. The guys at DPReview do the whole multi-page review shebang, so you should really check out their definitive review. I’m just a 15 year pro with a passion for great cameras, not a lab geek. Those guys can really get under the hood. Hopefully, a combo of their detail and my gut and experience is a balance that helps you decide if this upgrade is a worthy one for your hard earned coin.

Final thoughts: this thing is every bit as solid as Nikon’s other flagships. I like it when cameras get upgrades. This is not a revolutionary update — the “s” series don’t fall into that category — but it’s a solid update nonetheless. The internal improvements make it even more useful to speed junkies and videographers, and the insanely high ISO will continue to make it even more appealing to photojournalists, and the other little changes like the battery, buffer, and RAW size improvements are quite welcome too. I am adding 2x of these to my gear bags and relinquishing their predecessors to the camera heavens (actually to the used market ;) )

As always, thanks for watching and head to Adorama here for more info. And feel free to add your thoughts about what you saw in the comments below, on my Facebook page, Twitter, or Google+.

Essential Photo & Video Gear Review — My Detailed, Piece-by-Piece, Don’t-Leave-Home-Without-It Gear Breakdown

I skip 99% of the gear gabbing you’ll find on other photography sites, primarily because I’m more interested in the creative side but also because so many other sites already do it really well. I make the occasional exception, like when a new toy falls into my hands before anyone else, or when I feel some industry hype building around an imminent release that needs to be tempered with some realistic expectations.

I did this popular review of my entire kit and how to pack it for travel…um…but that was 6 YEARS AGO. So as you might imagine, a lot has changed. Between that older video post and the number of times I get asked to highlight my fav gear — I figured it was high time for an update in one single vid. Therefore, I present you dear friends & readers a complete breakdown of my essential “working” photo kit AND the kit that we use to make all our behind-the-scenes videos, plus a few extras. Hope you dig – questions / comments encouraged. I’ll be all over it like white on rice.

In this video, I broke my kit into four sections: Still photo gear, [behind-the-scenes] video gear, data management gear and gear extras. For both the still kit and the video kit, I always roll with two of each body (Nikon D4 and Canon 5D Mark III) and 8 additional batteries for each. This basically gives me enough juice to last a week.

On the data management side, you’ll notice we also double up on our drives, both for the road kit and back at HQ. [Side note: if you're traveling with two drives on the road, keep them separate -- separate vehicles, separate hotel rooms, etc. That way if one crashes and burns, you've got back up.]

For gear extras, we have a few supports to choose from (always carbon fiber), some choice audio gear and a real sexy slider from Rhino Camera Gear that’s affordable and quite portable.

REMINDER and to be extra clear…in both photo & video scenarios what we’ve shared is the BASE kit – the kit that goes everywhere without exception. This is gear I think is worth investing in if you are a working pro. It’s NOT my complete gear list and it’s not the complete solution for every gig –we almost always add speciality pieces for particular assignments– but I thought we’d get too deep into the woods and it woulda made a video that was an hour long if we reviewed all that non-essential, non-”core” stuff. So we kept it focused as we could. Here it is. The camera kit I have with me on 99% of the commercial shoots I do:

Nikon D4 – My go-to for stills since it first made its appearance in early 2012.

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S Zoom Nikkor Lens

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S Nikkor Lens

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S VR II Nikkor ED-IF Lens

Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S FX Nikkor Lens

Nikon SB-910 TTL AF Shoe Mount Speedlight Flash

Canon EOS-5D Mark III

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AutoFocus Wide Angle Telephoto Zoom Lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Autofocus Telephoto Zoom Lens

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM AutoFocus Wide Angle Lens

Promise Technology Pegasus J2 512GB SSD Thunderbolt Storage Solution, Up to 750 MBps Read Speed

Promise Technology Pegasus J4 2.5″ 2TB Thunderbolt Hard / Solid State Drive Enclosure

Zacuto Z-Finder EVF Pro 3.2″ High Resolution Monitor

Tiffen 77mm Variable Neutral Density ND Filter

Manfrotto MVH500AH Professional Fluid Video System, Carbon Legs

Manfrotto Kit with 190CXPRO4 Carbon Fiber Tripod and MH054MO-Q2 Head

Manfrotto 057 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod with Rapid Column

Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro On-Camera Microphone

Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder

Sennheiser EW122PG3A Wireless Kit

So that’s it. If you look through my BTS posts and videos, there’s a damn good chance you will see some combo of this gear in use. Time-tested; Jarvis-approved.

Special thanks to Adorama for helping me assemble my kit.

Creatives, Geeks, Freaks & Voyeurs of the World — Join Me LIVE from SXSW!

UPDATE: this is TODAY! starting at 9am SEA time (11am Austin, 12noon NYC, 17:00 London) you can join into the conversation with your truly + the most creative minds from photo, design, tech & music. If I do my job right, you’ll get more insight in a weekend than at a semester of any college – all from people who have found success. LIVE at www.creativelive.com/SXSW. Ask questions all day at #UberLIVE or @chasejarvis.

—–
Certainly you’re in the know of famed South-By-Southwest (aka SXSW) – that two weeks every year where the creative, film, music & tech worlds all come crashing together in little ol’ Austin, Texas. I LOVE all that stuff, so I’m here all week and ….through the miracles of technology I’ve got 2 LOVELY THINGS to set right on your lap – both of which had better add a bunch of value to YOU, or else the next round of bourbon is on me.

THING #1
chasejarvisLIVE (my internet show) & creativeLIVE (my creative education startup) are having a man-child together this week in the back seat of a Cadillac Escalade. That is right, my LIVE show + the best in online education + the ridesharing service that has taken the world by storm are all coming together in one delicious collaboration to bring you LIVE-on-the-innnernetz, real-time interviews with the best + brightest luminaries from film, photo, tech & music worlds … all while rolling the streets of Austin in the backseat of an Uber. This is your free, front row ticket to join me and an insanely talented group of creative genius without leaving the comforts of your own internet connection, wherever that might be. Things are crazy here and this list is always in flux, but here’s a couple names you might recognize that I’m preparing to hang with and bring you their nuggets of wisdom & the inside scoop….

-Austin Kleon. artist and best selling author of Steal Like an Artist & his newest…Show Your Work
-Dana Brunetti. executive producer of HOUSE OF CARDS, the netflix original hit that has reinvented TV
-Kevin Rose. founder of Digg, Revision 3 & is now a partner at Google Ventures
-Brandon Stanton. photographer & creator of Humans of New York, the world’s most popular photo project
-Gary Vaynerchuk. entrepreneur, media maven, best-selling author and wine geek
-Kristen Chenowth. actress from Glee, The West Wing, BeWitched, and other stuff
-Steven Kotler. best selling author of Rise of Superman and guru for accessing & maximizing creativity
-Lewis Howes. Former pro athlete, entrepreneur, business coach & world record holder.
- and many many more…including..ahem..perhaps some surprise musical performances

Here’s where you can RSVP for the free #UberLIVE event, find more info, and watch the LIVE broadcast this Saturday & Sunday http://creativelive.com/sxsw. (srsly – you should RSVP)

WHO: You, Me, a handful of GENIUS people from SXSW + 100 countries tuning in worldwide
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A from the backseat of an Uber
WHEN: Sat & Sun, March 8th & 9th, 8am – 5pm Seattle time (10a-7pm Austin, 11a-8pm NYC time)
WHERE: Tune into www.creativelive.com/sxsw. It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Twitter, hashtag #UberLIVE, my @chasejarvis handle and @creativeLIVE too

THING #2
Heyyo. I’m giving a little keynote speech for this SXSW thingie on Monday, March 10th at 3:30pm (1:30 Seattle, 4:30 NYC, 21:30 London). Here’s the tasty link to that hot mess http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_IAP18955. If you’ll be physically at SXSW, come join in, heckle me from the audience, throw tomatoes, or whatever. If you’re at home in your pajamas, rumor has it my keynote will be live-streamed, compliments of our friends at U-Stream, but I haven’t got a link yet – will update that ASAP when I get one and I’ll tweet to let you know.

Don’t forget to RSVP for #UberLIVE. And, as always, you can follow along here… Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Nikon Df Unboxing Video + Test Images + First Impressions While Actually Shooting Photos [gasp!]

When the Nikon Df arrived on the scene a couple months back, I tried to temper the hype (my own included) with a good dose of high expectations. Yes, it looked bad ass. Yes, it housed the same sensor as the D4. Yes, the optical viewfinder has 100% field of view.

But as a compact camera fiend and someone whose owned probably 50 cameras or more, I’m no pushover. So when Adorama shipped the Df to my door, I filmed the unboxing in old school 2006 internet style and wasted no time taking a test run (sparse couple images below).

To determine if the Df hit all the marks, let’s take a look back at those point by point…

From my original notes on appearance when the camera launched…. 1. Ergonomics. Roughly… “I like how all the dials/controls for shutter speed, exposure compensation, and ISO give you the option of being really hands on with setting your exposure. Shooting this way really increases my connection with what you’re creating with the camera. The Nikon DF looks like it’ll do a nice job of recreating (or perhaps simulating) that experience of “making” pictures like the cameras of old… That feel helps me be connecting to the art just a little bit more–i.e. slowing down a tad– than some of my other tools in my shed.”

ACTUAL THOUGHTS on ergonomics having shot with this thing. I’m NOT happy with ergonomics. The dials are pretty cool and give you the retro feel, but they’re in goofy places and hard-ish to reach. The aperature dial on the FACE of the body at your right finger is bizarre. The shutter sound is nice. The grip depth is in no man’s land…not flat enough to feel retro and not deep enough to hold it like a “new”camera. Feels “plastic-y”. Which is easy to see why… because the shell of the camera is entirely largely out of styled plastic. The lens? Plastic.

Now my notes on The size. The size was a huge surprise – as you can see from the video. WAY bigger than I thought from the original marketing materials. WAY bigger. In truth I feel like the product shots were actually aimed to trick me into thinking this would feel like a little body. It doesn’t. Yes, it’s smaller than a D4 or pro body – but bigger than I want for lots of circumstances…similar to a D7000 of D600 or any pro-sumer higher end body. When I’m on a pro gig I use/need the pro body to lean on, bang around, pound nails and otherwise be tough and sturdy. But in this class of camera, I really prefer the portability. So what gives here? I dunno. They made up a nice advertising story about “back to basics” with a “real camera” but they among other things, it’s really just styled like an old camera. Also, rumor has it they couldn’t keep the guts cool enough to shoot video because mechanically that stuff takes up space. That’s probably why it doesn’t shoot video – not based on any “purity”. Jury is out. I like the purity angle, but it’s 2014…

I guess my reaction above says it all. There are good surprises and there are bad surprises. I think we know where that shoe dropped re: size.


3. The sensor. This is this cameras very best feature, bar none. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this sensor. It has the same 16.2-megapixel sensor as Nikon’s pro-focused D4, which is the best still sensor of all time IMHO. You can basically shoot this thing in the dark – can it focus in the dark? Not all that well it turns out. But I still love that they packed that sensor in this body. The images are buttery but not overly so like Canon 5d sensors.


MY ORIGINAL NOTES ON….4. Focus. It better be decent. Nikons have historically kicked everyones ass in this department. This better not be a let down. I hope the focus is fast and accurate. (Speaking of fast…we know it’s not fast in frames per second department. 5 ‘n’ change. Not bad. But not fast. Who cares really – that’s not what this camera is for.) We really do want the focus to be fast, however, if it’s to stand out from it’s peers. BTW, how is the manual focus mode? It better kick ass. I’m curious to see if there are any features to assist with this. There’s a lot of marketing around this camera pimping its ability to use all the old non-AI lenses, but the cameras from that time had focusing screens built for manual focus. Without tools like focus peaking, a split image screen, or a microprism screen, shooting with manual focus lenses might just be a pain in the ass. Let’s hope they get it right.

ACTUAL THOUGHTS on FOCUS having shot with this thing. It didn’t measure up. It wasn’t fast. It was pretty accurate, but it wasn’t fast and accurate, which is what I really wanted. I’m sure that Nikon would respond…”but it has the same x and y as the z so it will do …blah”. It’s a great sensor, but the focus isn’t as fast as other cameras in the compact/mirrorless class. Which is sort of a travesty if you love Nikon still cameras given that that is a huge advantage for Nikon in nearly every other case.

MY ORIGINAL notes on this… 5. Pro shit. I’m excited to see how “professional” the camera can be. Can I pound nails with this thing? Is it heavy and durable? We use a ton of different cameras for video, but the D4 is my go-to camera for EVERY SINGLE commercial photo shoot we do. Could the DF could come along on our shoots as a good BTS rig? Even in our BTS stuff we expect pro quality That would be nice if this delivered. I will always have a couple D4 backups, but for the solo photographer, the DF could potentially save pro photographers some weight and coin if (and only if) it can produce professional results in a pinch.

I can’t tell if it has an alloy metal chassis, but its exterior is plastic-y. That isn’t pro. This isn’t a pro backup camera. The images look really nice, a great sensor but it falls short in other categories.

OVERALL
This is a good camera. Actually it’s a great camera. It will make nice pictures. It’s just not the camera I thought I was gonna get. If you LOVE Nikon you should buy this body. You will not be disappointed if you take what I’ve said here with a grain of salt. I know they are selling like hotcakes so the world really likes this camera. I’m just a tad hard on it. Like I said above, the plus on this baby is the D4 sensor in a much cheaper body. Beautiful dynamic range and looks great in low light. Another plus is that Nikon is at least watching what other manufacturers are doing with their products. The negatives are that they don’t know what their consumers want. Generally speaking we are not posers. This camera’s appearance it trying too hard. And it’s too damn big. But like I said – if you’re a photog who loves Nikon – you might be pleased as punch – so take my words here w a grain of salt.

Bounce on over to Adorama to see the Nikon Df HERE

IMAGES
I did have a short day around our cabin making pizza with my pal Jeff and then taking a quick walk on the beach to grab a few snapshots for this initial post to you guys… I intentionally shot slow moving, simple stuff where I thought this camera could perform. It worked well for that – but I knew the limits. The below are just very very minimally processed jpgs. You can see the magic simplicity with this sensor. It just WORKS. (check out the one image with the white house, the open, dark garage with the lightbulb on, during the day. Crazy subtle. THATS the kind of camera I want in my pocket. Portable.

It also does a nice job with a completely flat scene on the grey beach on a grey day shooting photos of grey stuff. Again, quality sensor. Focus? it was a pain to shoot inside and nail the focus shooting at F2.2 etc. But overall you can tell this camera works. If you can take the gimmicky styling it’ll do you right. If you can’t, then you’ll need a different sword of choice.

ChaseJarvis_NikonDf_0203

ChaseJarvis_NikonDf_0173

ChaseJarvis_NikonDf_0220


Nikon Df camera in silver

Nikon Df camera from rear

Nikon Df camera side view

Bounce on over to Adorama to see the Nikon Df details HERE

I Want to Give You $50,000 and Be Your Mentor for LIFE

We are living in the Age of the Artist. Never before in history has it been this easy for creatives to create, for artists to make their art. Yet still the masses are filled with those who postpone their artistic dreams. I say the worst thing you can do is postpone.

But some people just need a bigger carrot. So I went hunting and found a prize for you. Actually, I teamed up with my friends at Shopify and am offering YOU a chance at a check for $50,000 and my promise to be your mentor for life (or until you kick me out). Yes. This actually means we will be friends.

If you’re late to the party, here’s how to enter [in 3 easy steps]:

1. Go to the Shopify Build a Business page
2. Choose your category (I’m mentoring in the Art & Photography category, but choose what suits your artistic dream)
3. Start selling and kick your business into gear.

I figure the end game can only be 1 of 2 options:

1. You win the contest, $50,000 and a mentor for life; OR
2. You don’t win, but you’ve built that business you’ve always dreamed of, and it’s now a REAL THING that makes you money and channels all that creativity you never knew (or perhaps always knew?) you had.

If ever there was a win-win scenario, this is it.

So you’re not into Art & Photography? Fine – I don’t care. I means just as much to me that you follow your dreams. Read on, because Shopify certainly has your interest category covered. Maybe you’re into Music, Electronics & Gadgets, Jewelry & Crafts, Health & Beauty, Food & Beverage, Fashion & Apparel, or Sports & Recreation. Any of those ring some bells?

Your full mentor list to choose from depending on the above category.

// Lil Jon (hip hop legend)
// Tim Ferris (4 hour everything)
// Tina Eisenberg (aka swissmiss)
// Selita Ebanks (model & health star)
// Gary Vaynerchuk (wine & food guru)
// Damond John (founder of FUBU – star of shark tank)
// Mark Cuban (billionaire entrepreneur/owner of Dallas Mavericks
// Arianna Huffington (media maven)
// and yours truly

Here’s how you win:

If you start a business with Shopify and have the most sales in your category over a particular window between NOW and MAY 2014, then you win. Pretty simple. The longer, more detailed version of all that is here on the Shopfiy site. There is plenty of time to kick ass and sell your heart out, but the time to start is NOW. Oh ya…if you win, I’ll fly you back to NYC and had you the 50 GRAND myself.

chase jarvis mentor build a business shopify

Get Off Your Ass & Get Noticed with Gary Vaynerchuk on #cjLIVE [re-watch]

What a way to end 2013 for chasejarvisLIVE. The show was amazing. Gary V brought the heat to discuss how you can break through the noise of the internet and get your work noticed. Are people not clicking on your photos? Are you you getting lost in the detritus of the internet? I’ve done a bunch of stuff with Gary like this, and this, and have wanted to have him on #cjLIVE for more than 2 years. But I had no idea what I was in for. Gary dropped the serious know-how. And he sat on my lap. That was a first for the show.

Gary also brought his new book to talk about. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook (one of the best titles ever?) does a deep dive on some of the tactics and philosophies he has employed in his own career. It’s a great read. I give it a quick review here.

And when I say “great career,” I’m understating. Big time. Gary V is a hustler like no other. He built a $50m online business before he turned 30, then he latched onto the new web and was trumpeting the virtues of community + content before most people knew what the hell was up, then he wrote 2 New York Times best sellers about it. He’s also going to own the NY Jets. Seriously. Keep watching that channel.

Check the re-watch above, and then go pick up a copy of his new book. Or pick up two, and stuff one in somebody’s stocking.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – Gary Vaynerchuk Tells You Why No One’s Clicking on Your Photos & Helps You Fix it

Gary Vaynerchuk steps into the chasejarvisLIVE studio next week for our final broadcast of 2013.

<<UPDATE: Damn good fortune that you are reading this, because Gary V is on chasejarvisLIVE this Tuedsay Dec 3. You can participate in the live show too – get your questions asked, etc – by tuning in from wherever in the world you might be. For free. We’ll go deep. Details here.>>

In preparation for Gary Vaynerchuk’s upcoming appearance on #cjLIVE on December 3rd (here’s the details), I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of his latest book Jab Jab Jab, Right Hook …which I promptly devoured DE-VOW-RDD! in a single cross-country flight last week

Three things you should know:
1. This book is for real. I’ve read 100 of these sorts of books by all the top people. This book kept my attention for 4 hours straight specifically because there are real, actionable steps in there about how to better tell your story (about your photography, your art, your business) in a noisy social world. It used to be that the internet was a freeforall for us artists. There was less noise. Now everyone and their mother has their stuff online – which is great – but it makes it harder to get noticed. This book will help you cut thru that noise.

2. JJJRH is laid out the most approachable way imaginable. I slog my way through books that talk about brand and business — stuff I need to know about — but it’s normally so damn dry. What I’ve come to love about Gary, and this book in particular is it is written for hustlers, by a hustler—people who are passionate about their work and making their way in the world. I didn’t go to business school. I’m an artist for godssake. So the critical reading I do that provides reminders about how to stand out from a crowd had better be approachable or I’ll drop that book faster that you can spell Gary V’s last name. The skills that it took to “make it” 10 years ago are different than the skills it takes to “make it” today. JJJRH delivers in a way that makes sense. It’s hands on, no BS, in terms that matter to you.

3. Let’s be clear…Gary is a f*cking maniac in the best of all ways and this book reflects not only his maniacal, hilarious side, but the side that understands creativity and gives you the medicine with the candy. There are real, important, career/direction changing nuggets in these pages. The upcoming episode of #cjLIVE featuring Gary (in between appearances on the Today Show and Ellen and all that other high falutin’ shiznit – he’s coming to Seattle to be with you and me)—as his only “book tour” stop in Seattle. I’ve wanted him on the show for years because in part he represents the future. He represents people like you and me who weren’t “supposed” to be contenders, who weren’t “supposed” to make it on paper…but are on the eve of making our dreams come true. JJJRH is not about boxing or hurting your buyers. Simply put (form the book) “There is no sale without the story; no knockout without the setup.” Define the knockout how you will. It can a sale, a follow, a retweet. But the story leads. The story compels the desired action. And in this noisy, noisy world, getting your story heard above the din is not something you want to leave to dumb luck. This book is a great setup for your next chapter as a creative.

Overall this book is perhaps the best $16 bucks (ebook… 17 something for hardback) you can do for yourself right this minute. Here’s an Amazon link to learn more / buy. See you on December 3rd here.

More Than CONTENT, It’s COMMUNITY That’s King [aka How To Cultivate Online Relationships & Stuff That Matters]

You’ve heard the drum beat for a decade – ever since the innernets really started popping… “content is king”. As a content creator (both in front and behind the scenes) this has, of course, always made me feel great about my chances to succeed in cutting through the noise online. Pump out good content and you can make your mark. Welllll, I’ve come to know that this target is a moving one…and that, while content is the most TANGIBLE thing for us creative types to latch on to, I’ve come to revise my position over the past year or so that it’s actually waaaaay more that COMMUNITY that’s king. For one, the purpose of making and sharing content, is really to cultivate COMMUNITY (in this case you’re probably here because we’re all of the creative + photography communities, right?!). Whether it’s to feel good about what you’re making, get critiqued, make a living, expand your understanding, etc. For two, the pure act of making stuff is an amazing gift, but community PLUS content can definitely act as a better lever to drive your life/career/hobby/professional experience forward. In short, there are important things to know that’ll help you understand how to cultivate online relationships that matter.

So that gets me to a conversation I recently had with good friend, Brendan Gahan. As a long time agency strategist and super creative guy, Brendan has crafted (social) media campaigns for some of the biggest brands and media companies in the world including Pepsi, GE, and Virgin, to name a few. In 2012 he was named by Forbes as one of the “30 under 30: Brightest Minds in Marketing’. But that’ not what makes him qualified. Why he qualifies in my book is because he GETS IT.

In the recent past Brendan was also a guest on creativeLIVE with Ryan Holiday where the twitter feed and chat rooms went nuts when he was dropping knowledge bombs. Sooooo, I’ve chatted him up in such a way as to inform, share, bestow wisdom on us here in THIS HERE community that’s been growing for nearly a decade. The guy knows his stuff and he’s been a great resource for me and my work, his no BS approach will help you connect the dots from concept to execution. Take it away, Brendan. -Chase
________

Thanks, Chase.

“Community is king.” What does this mean?

In the times before the interwebs, when you wanted people to know about something you had to go through very clearly established and familiar forms of media:

- NEWSPAPER – RADIO – TELEVISION – PRINT

In a sense, these outlets acted as gatekeepers, and production of content was limited to people who could afford distribution through these channels.

Now communities gather on social platforms that make that sharing and connecting easy, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Chase understands this better than anyone – he’s built a reputation, business, and prestige based on the marriage of his art as much as the power of his audience.

Maybe you’re a singer and you have a new album.
Maybe you’re a photographer trying to generate customers.
Maybe you’re a theater and you have a new show coming up.

Regardless of what type of creator you are, you’re a marketer – and as such you face many, many challenges. Executing a social media campaign is one of those challenges, and before you draw up plans and start spending your budget, you should understand the lay of the land.

I get asked about social media and youtube marketing constantly. I’ve spent the last eight years working in the space. The framework I’ve outlined is the backbone I’ve applied to hundreds of social campaigns and shared with many of my friends. It’s constantly changing at every level and there’s always more to know.

This article doesn’t dig into the latest tools. This is not a list of 83 Tips. This is about excellent fundamentals and will help you get started on building your own audience regardless of your end goal.

I recently dug up an email that I wrote for a friend, but have since copied and pasted to share with others a dozen times or so whenever anyone else asks me for advice.

A QUICK NOTE BEFORE WE BEGIN:

The info below is helpful, but I’m assuming you’re two steps deep into the basic communication framework. I’m assuming you:

1. Already have a deep understanding of your target consumer, and
2. Know the story you want to tell.

This article addresses the functional steps that will help you get your message or content in front of your target audience. This article does not help you craft that message. If you don’t understand your consumer and the story that will resonate with them, nothing I share below is really going to help you.

So let’s break it out.

SOCIAL MEDIA 101
Where does all this start? You start with the three categories of media that are possible to generate online: Earned, Owned, and Paid. In laymen’s terms these are typically categorized by:

1. Earned Media – Buzz you generate (i.e., bloggers talking about you)
2. Owned Media – Distribution through the channels you operate
3. Paid Media – Ads/awareness you buy

1. EARNED MEDIA
Within the earned media space and engaging online influencers, take a three-step approach:

1) Identify Relevant Targets
2) Establish Incentive (i.e., what the benefit is to them)
3) Engage (i.e., reach out to them via email, phone, etc.)

Identify
If you know your target well you should have a good idea of what they’re already reading online. Use the sites you know as a jumping off point and identify additional, relevant sites with SimilarSites.com (which does exactly what it sounds like – recommends similar sites). Also, when you’re on a site you you’ve deemed relevant, visit the sites in the blogroll – most blogs and sites focused around the same topic help cross-promote one another. Also review who they’re communicating with and following on Twitter lists (I’ve outlined how to do this in the slideshare embedded in this post). If you’re really starting from scratch, you can search for blogs by entering the topics relevant to you using any of these sites:

http://blogsearch.google.com/
http://www.icerocket.com/
http://alltop.com/

Blogs are incredibly powerful, but a platform often overlooked is YouTube and online video creators. YouTube drives massive engagement – oftentimes moreso than blogs, tweets, facebook, etc. Just take a look at the average number of comments on videos – engagement is through the roof. To identify relevant YouTube ‘influencers’ simply search YouTube to see who’s already evangelizing your brand, product, topic. Nine times out of ten, their contact info can be found in the ‘about’ section of their channel. You can also view a directory of creators at vidstatsx.com.

It’s incredibly important to note that you want to focus on relevancy and engagement over reach. A blog with 10,000,000 monthly uniques that is mildly relevant is less valuable and far less likely to interact with you vs one that has 1,000 monthly uniques and covers your topic exclusively.

As you’re researching, you’ll want to collect data on who you’ve identified on an Excel sheet for each influencer, blog, site – entering summaries of their web presence for you to review and consolidate (Tim Ferriss has a great guest post on this process). I typically break this out into five basic sections (but you can tweak to suit your needs).

_Name

_Contact info

_Why they’re relevant

_Relationship (you or someone you know, knows them)

_Average engagement (comments, shares) per post

Once you’ve collected your list I recommend you review it and force yourself to whittle it down to the 5-10 most relevant outlets. This will ensure you’re focused on relevancy; you won’t end up sending a ton of spam, and that you’ve thought through your approach.

Incentive
When you reach out to people you want to answer the questions:

Why should this person share my story?
What value am I bringing them and their readers, viewers, followers?

It’s important to approach them with something that will incentivize them to post – make it easy for them to say yes. Can you offer them an exclusive trial of your product, interviews with the founders, etc.?

What can you do to make it worth their time to check out your product/brand and write about it?

Engage
Bloggers, YouTubers, and digital influencers get pitched constantly and its best to either have a relationship (ie your friends or acquaintances with these thoughtleaders in your space) or if at all possible get an introduction. Form real relationships with people that are of interest to you and the rest will fall in line. That said, I understand that it isn’t always possible to be best buds with everyone. So, when reaching out to people make sure to make it as custom to them as you can. They’re a person – use their name (not the blog’s name) when addressing them, call out articles relevant to them, etc., and don’t sell too hard.

I recommend a tease/intro email that hints at what you’ve got. Then, as soon as possible, escalate to a phone call. This allows you to become a real person and start building a real relationship vs. just being another email in their inbox.

PITCH TEMPLATE

Hi (Name),
I wanted to reach out because (insert brief explanation of what you’re doing – for ex, launching an album). I thought it might be relevant for (Site) because (insert example of similar stories covered by blogger in the past – for ex, they covered a similar artist and the post performed well). Any chance you’d think it would be a good fit?

I’d love to hop on the phone (insert time) if you think its something you’d be interested in (insert reference to incentive – for example, you could potentially provide a sneak peak to the demo before launch). Just let me know!

Best,
(insert name)

Here are some other great articles on how to ‘pitch’ a blogger:

21 Tips on Pitching to Bloggers
Make it a Win-Win Situation
20 Tips for Pitching Bloggers

2. OWNED MEDIA
When managing online communities, ie your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc you can really break things out into two categories:

1. Pro-active communications: e.g., events/initiatives you can plan for, and
2. Reactive communications: Responding to the community or current events, and whatever is happening in real time

Proactive:
On the proactive side you’ll want to create content calendars highlighting relevant holidays, events, product launches, etc., that you want to capitalize on.

Then, you’ll want to plan what you’re going to say. Here’s a great example of a content calendar template you can use.

Reactive:
Obviously it’s difficult to have someone sit in front of their computer all day long to interact with commenters, so I recommend utilizing a community management tool, which allows you to track fan engagement and schedule posts. These are a few I recommend–

Facebook & Twitter:

Hootsuite

Crowdbooster

Bufferapp

YouTube:

Tubular Labs

On the reactive side you’ll want to create guidelines outlining the various do’s and don’ts for how you react to the community (particularly if you delegate some of your community management). To accomplish this you’ll want to create an escalation chart, as well as community guidelines to outline how you respond to people.

NOTE – I highly recommend you invest in a presence on YouTube. As the second largest search engine, YouTube is an incredibly powerful marketing tool and its getting better every day. In my experience, I’ve seen engagement on YouTube to be much higher than most other social media platforms. Check out my post on YouTube Marketing, a one-stop hub/cheat sheet for all things YouTube.

3. PAID MEDIA
If you want to grow your community or distribute content quickly, paid media can be a great option. Across Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, I recommend buying directly through the platform for small scale buys (i.e., less than $5k-10k).

Never use a service that makes bold promises, such as ‘1000 fans for $50’ – those are just bots/fake followers and aren’t going to provide any value.

Each platform has relatively simple self-serve advertising platforms – Twitter and YouTube being easiest (in my opinion) with Facebook’s ad marketplace being a great tool, but potentially cumbersome if you’ve never bought ads online before.

Here are the links to self serve ad dashboards for each platform:
Twitter
Facebook
YouTube

TRACKING
By now you’ve built up some buzz, begun to cultivate and manage your community and you want to understand how things are performing.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the analytics options out there and have difficulty differentiating the signal from the noise. There are a lot of great tools out there and each has their pro’s and con’s. I won’t go into the paid options here (although there are a lot of great ones), instead I recommend starting out some of the great free options out there, including PeopleBrowsr & Topsy.com for Twitter, Facebook Insights on choose. Wildfire’s social monitoring tool is great if you want to do some competitive analysis. For YouTube I recommend using VidIQ’s chrome plug in, and SocialBlade for competitive research.

BUILDING YOUR OWN COMMUNITY
The reality is, the basic stuff is simple — marketers, pundits, ‘gurus’, ninjas, et al tend to overcomplicate this form of communication. That does not mean that it’s easy – it takes a great deal of time and effort. However, with this info you can begin to generate awareness, manage your social media profiles and have a deep understanding of what’s working for you.

So what’s your passion, your goal, the community you want to cultivate and craft you want to promote? When you can effectively master the steps and processes I’ve outlined, you can build your business, gain recognition for your craft, and develop social media campaigns brands pay millions for.

Start at the fundamentals. Where is my audience spending time? How can I provide value to influencers to ensure I’m relevant to them? How do I engage my existing community and where can I amplify my efforts through paid media – then track success? It’s all there.

What is the community you are going to build?

Check out Brendan’s slideshare of this post below:

Visit Brendan’s blog to read more social media and youtube marketing strategies.

Iceland’s Endless Light – chasejarvisRAW

After years of finger-crossing and well-wishing, I finally got the chance to visit Iceland on a commercial shoot a couple months ago. It was worth the wait, but I can’t say I’d want to wait that long again to return. Iceland was the definition of magical, and the light was to die for. And it went on. And on. We put in 16-hour days and grabbed a TON of shots and footage [see some of the behind-the-scenes stills from the shoot here], almost too much to cram into one short RAW vid. If you dig what you see, tell us in the comments below, cuz we’re considering putting together a Part II.

Once again I’ve got to give a shout out to ProFilm for hooking us up with Marteinn Ibsen and Arnaldur Halldórsson, two incredible local producers who drove us across their land to all the must-see and must-shoot spots. Our time with them serves as a lesson to anyone heading abroad for travel or a shoot: get in with some locals early or ahead of time to get pointed in the right direction, particularly if you’re short on time.

As is customary these days, we took to the air, chartering helicopters and flying affordable drone quadcopters too. [Stay tuned for a special chasejarvisTECH episode featuring some ill-fated experimentation with the DJI quadcopter and a roll of gaffer's tape.]

Music by Big Chocolate.

How to Sell Yourself Without Selling Out [RE-WATCH the Legendary Marc Ecko on chasejarvisLIVE]

Let’s face it… it’s a complete myth that your work will just “be discovered” and that your personal brand just “happens.” These are topics that simply cannot be reduced to sound bites and can’t be left to happenstance. In case you missed last week’s LIVE broadcast of chasejarvisLIVE, we brought on brand luminary Marc Ecko and spent a full 90 minutes uncovering the core principles of Marc’s 20-year-long rocket ship of a career as an artist & entrepreneur.

Some top takeaways from the episode:

_Compete with your ideas – not dollars.
_The system will try to make you think you are not an artist – be a creator anyway.
_You can be a great artist AND a great entrepreneur
_By definition, a Community is about what you ARE, but also about what you AREN’T
_Creativity is a messy process. You have to be comfortable with the mess.
_It’s not what you make – it’s how you make people FEEL.

Marc is the man. He is THE Marc Ecko — the hugely successful graffiti artist-turned-entrepreneur whose Ecko Unltd and Complex Magazine brand platforms (which started in his parents’ garage) are now worth more than a BILLION dollars. Marc came on the show to help you and me understand personal authenticity, personal brand and how to apply them in your life and career. We also got an insider’s look into his new book, “Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out “ – which – if you can afford the $15 bucks should definitely purchase. I read it cover to cover on a single flight SEA to NYC last week and I’m on my second read now. LOTS of nuggets in there.

Here’s a few BTS shots from the episode:

5 Travel Hacking Tips & Why Your Creativity Needs a Vacation Right Now

ChaseJarvis_Chris Guillebeau_Travel Hacker

[UPDATE: This class is happening RIGHT NOW at creativeLIVE: here]

Among other wonderful benefit, travel is known to inspire creativity. And for those of you who want to travel but don’t think you have the means… allow me to (re-)introduce you to my pal Chris Guillebeau is a globe trotting, “self employed for life” hacker. He is also the founder of the World Domination Summit (most amazing name ever for a creative conference…) and the best-selling author of The $100 Startup as well as The Art of Non-Comformity. When Chris appeared on chasejarvisLIVE earlier this year I heard from a lot of you that you want to travel, but didn’t have the means..

Soooo…I begged him for a followup post to help you and I hack the system.

As such, in advance of his free creativeLIVE course on Travel Hacking which is running RIGHT NOW (tune in here), he agreed to lay out a specific foundation for us here to make worldwide travel a reality for more than just the rich… Take it away, CG.

Thanks Chase. Over the past ten years I’ve built a hybrid career from travel hacking, a way of seeing the world on a limited budget. It amazes me how many people find traveling — and even the idea of a vacation — out of reach. Whenever I tell people about the next country I’m visiting, they respond the same way, over and over: “I wish I could do that.”

I usually reply with a question: “What’s keeping you from it?”

The answers are always resoundingly the same: I don’t have the money, I don’t have the time, I’m waiting until I retire.

It’s not just the people I meet who feel this way. Here are a few statistics:

● A Harris Interactive study found that 57% of Americans will have unused vacation time at the end of the year.
● On average, American workers surrender 11 unused paid vacation days the end of the year — 70 percent of their allotted time off.
● According to a study from Hotwire, 87% of Americans would take more trips if they had the time and money to do so.

The problem isn’t lack of time or lack of money; the problem is how we choose to spend our resources. We choose what we value, either consciously or unconsciously — and Americans are clearly unconsciously choosing work over play.

When’s the last time you took a vacation? Here’s why you need to start planning your next trip today:

If not now, when? People often tell me they’re waiting until retirement to invest resources and time in traveling. While I don’t see anything wrong with delaying gratification, I do see a major problem in doing so to avoid living the life you want. You will not lose your job because you take a vacation. Don’t fool yourself into believing busyness is how you earn happiness.

There is no substitute for new experiences. For me, the more I have traveled, the more I learn, and the more I realize how big the world really is. Leaf Van Boven, a psychologist at the University of Colorado, has found that people are made happier by new life experiences than by material possessions. Visiting a new country exposes you to new sights, smells, tastes, and sounds. A trip is an incomparable investment in your memory bank.

You can afford it. Most people reading this have limited time and limited money. I’ve spent a lot of my own time figuring out how to help you save money — so you can spend your downtime unwinding and making new experiences, not cutting coupons to nickle and dime on that dream vacation you want to take in 20 years.
Here are 5 innovative travel hacks you can start using right now:

1) Never let airline miles expire. Make use of the airline miles you have and never let them go to waste. If you have miles that are getting close to expiring don’t believe the myth that you have to fly to keep them- you only have to have activity in your mileage account. Redeem a few miles to buy a magazine subscription or check out the airlines facebook page to see if they have any offers to get a few quick and easy miles. Some airlines offer promotions that will give you 500 miles for liking a page, watching a video or playing a social media game. All of these action (or shopping online- see #3) will keep your miles in business.

2) Track glitch fares. Once in awhile, airlines will screw up and price one of its fares incredibly low. This is an accidental glitch that will eventually be fixed — but, if you spot these glitches before the airline does, you can save thousands of dollars. One of my readers who alerted me to a special deal on Business Class flights from Malaysia to any airport in Canada. A ticket that normally would cost $2500 was showing up in the system priced at $630. I went to Malaysia twice using that single glitch fare, and even earned elite status with Delta thanks to the offer. Pay attention to the mistake fare forum at milepoint.com

3) Multiply your miles for online shopping. Whenever you buy online use an airline’s mileage mall portal to get extra points for your purchase. Some shops offer 2x – 10x bonus miles per dollar spent just for clicking on their link to get to the store you were going to buy from anyway. Check what sites are offering the best bonuses the day you shop at www.evreward.com.

4) Play the credit card game. Sign up for a new credit card and get up to 50,000 airline miles as a bonus. That’s enough miles to book a free ticket for the European holiday you think you can’t afford. See what credit cards are offering the best bonuses at www.cardsfortravel.com

5) Buy gift cards. Know what bonuses your credit cards offer for spending and take advantage of them. If you get a 2x – 5x point per dollar bonus at office supply stores, drug stores or supermarkets take advantage of the system to buy reloadable gift cards for restaurants, gas stations and your favorite shops. My Chase business card gets me 5 miles per dollar at Office Depot but only one mile per dollar at gas stations. My solution is to buy $50 gas station gift cards and then use these to get gas. Not only do I get 250 miles for my fill up instead of 50 (at one mile per dollar) — I also get the cash price at the pump for using a “cash” gift card.

Of course, this is just the beginning. but get off your bootie and make it happen. 30 min of strategy today can to set this stuff up can pave the way for at least one free trip each year and many more if you’re on your A-game.

##

REMINDER Chris is offering a free creativeLIVE online course that will reveal how he travels the world, upgrades to first class and gets to travel and photograph the world LARGELY FOR FREE with his How to Become a Travel Hacker course. It’s LIVE RIGHT NOW. Tune in HERE.

ChaseJarvis_photo_Chris Guillebeau

How to Sell Yourself Without Selling Out [Legendary Marc Ecko TODAY on chasejarvisLIVE, Oct 9]

20131009 cjLIVE Marc Ecko Home Page Graphic

UPDATE: The LIVE broadcast is TODAY October 9 – 11am SEA time (2pm NYC -19:00 London) – mark your schedules and flip your dial to http://www.chasejarvis.com/live. My guest — the legendary Marc Ecko — will give you the most important tool kit that an artist can know outside one’s craft —> how to sell yourself without selling out.

Let’s face it… it’s a complete myth that your work will just “be discovered” and that your personal brand just “happens.” These are topics that simply cannot be reduced to sound bites and can’t be left to happenstance. We’ll go a full 90 minutes and uncover the core principles of Marc’s 20-year-long rocket ship of a career.

Why Marc? He is THE Marc Ecko — the hugely successful graffiti artist-turned-entrepreneur whose Ecko Unltd and Complex Magazine brand platforms (which started in his parents’ garage) are now worth more than a BILLION dollars. The same Marc Ecko who conceived, shot + starred in the controversial “Still Free” video that made its interweb rounds back in ’06 and featured a hooded Ecko sneaking across a guarded runway to tag the above words on AirForce One (it was actually a replica). But – again – Marc isn’t coming on #cjLIVE to tell stories about tagging antics – he’s coming to help you and me understand personal authenticity, personal brand and how to apply them in your life and career. We’ll also get an insider’s look into his new book, “Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out.”

WHO: You, Me, Artist/Entrepreneur Marc Ecko + a worldwide gathering of creative people
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, Oct 9, 11:00am Seattle time (2pm NYC time or 19:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into www.chasejarvis.com/live. It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

chasejarvis_markecko

HELP US PIMP THE SHOW AND WIN STUFF.

We’re giving away two prizes before the show:

1) signed copies of Marc’s new book and
2) $200 free @creativeLIVE course credits

To enter, just help us promote the show starting RIGHT NOW.

Send out a creative tweet OR Facebook post (pointing back to my Fbook page so we can find it) promoting the show and be sure to INCLUDE #cjLIVE + @marcecko + the short url to THIS blog post.

We’ll select a few of the best ones at the beginning of the show, give you a shout-out, and one of these great prizes.

DURING THE SHOW.  THIS IS BIG!!!  You’ll have to tune in to find out more. But I can say we’re giving away

@BorrowLenses discounts

AND…wait for it… the NEW GoPro Hero3+ (estimated retail value of $399.99)

JOIN US IN THE STUDIO.
Want to be part of the live studio audience? We’ll invite the first 20 people who send an email to production@chasejarvis.com to join us +1 guest. You’ll receive a confirmation email with attendance details if you’re 1 of the first 20.

Peep the Unlabel book promo here:

How to enter here.  Official Contest Rules here.

Photoshoots with Flying Cameras, Bulldozers & World Class Athletes [plus Other Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Antics from my Aspen Campaign]

Snow cats. Flying cameras and world-class athletes.  Couple-o-sunrises. One of the most unique locations I’ve found in my career (a coal mine?!) and a superfun campaign for one of the top mountain destinations in the world…here’s behind the scenes for my most recent campaign to drop –> Aspen.

ChaseJarvis_20130313_CJ_Aspen_3_AAA1167_Edited_2rev

This past March, you might have caught wind of my live updates while shooting the 2013-2014 campaign for my friends at Aspen/Snowmass ski resort. In the midst of the controlled chaos of a high-altitude photoshoot, while obsessing over the weather, we were able to share a few the scenes photos. chasejarvis_aspen
Today we’re dropping “ChaseJarvisRAW: Aspen/Snowmass Behind the Scenes” timed to coincide with the launch of the campaign in action sports magazines worldwide. We’re also sharing those ads below (See below for a few examples with the original photos) before they land in magazines and on billboards worldwide.

As is always the case with a project of this scope, the story behind the final imagery is something I enjoy sharing via the photos or videos themselves.

Last March, we rolled into Aspen with a fast-n-light crew of six of my Seattle-based team to join Aspen’s marketing + media teams and their creative agency Factory Labs) To produce this video and the images below, we coordinated around 45 people and quite the pile of gear in an unpredictable, high-altitude, always-changing environment over a span of 5 days. Standard challenges apply

Working in an alpine environment can be difficult, but there’s another challenge to shooting in Aspen: telling a unique story about one of the most written about, filmed and photographed places on Earth. So we ventured north from Aspen into the Roaring Fork valley looking for a new angle. And we found it.

Backstory on our unique location and how it tied to the campaign. Aspen Skiing Company is one of America’s most outspoken corporations on climate change, and it backs up its talk with innovative efforts to both mitigate its own pollution and to model climate-friendly business practices. That’s smart, forward thinking for an industry that depends on consistent snowfall for its survival – so we incorporated this into on of our shoot locations….
ChaseJarvis_Davenport20130312_Aspen_1_AAA9873 So here’s the crazy part – Aspen’s newest addition to their sustainability program is based at the Elk Creek Coal Mine. How does that make sense you say? Here’s how it works: First, Aspen BUILT & OWNS A system that captures methane emissions vented from mine (a mine that has been under operation for a long time – no going back on that) and uses this gas to generate electricity, which is fed into the grid. NOT the coal, but capturing the energy put off by the off gassing. By preventing the methane—a greenhouse gas twenty three times more harmful that carbon dioxide—from entering the atmosphere, the project eliminates three times the carbon pollution that Aspen Skiing Company creates each year. Boom. If that’s not thinking outside-the-box then I don’t know what is. It also happened to be a perfect place to find a unique photograph. So we went to the mine to capture a gritty, industrial snow shoot with this, what I consider a unique backstory, about how Aspen is being inventive around how it invests in clean power.

Shooting on location in the mountains comes with the usual crazy challenges: cold weather, even colder hands and feet, crazy wind, scorching sun and altitude, but shooting at a coal mine with skiers and snowboarders – that was a first for me as a professional and a wicked creative way to tell this great story. And were the bulldozers, cranes, choppers and other nifty things we needed to build the shoot.

But that is what makes Aspen great – they do things differently and allow the artists that work with and for them to operate that way too. While some of my previous BTS videos show that originality, we wanted the focus of this video to be the ways we captured the photos, the people, the athletes and the action. We skied, hiked, snow-catted, ate, drank, danced, piled gravel and pipes and laughed our way through this job – a helluva a lot work, but even more fun. Hope you enjoy. Here are some of the images and the final ad creatives:

chasejarvis_coalmine_aspensnowmass

Chasejarvis_coalmine_aspensnowmass

ChaseJarvis_chrisdavenport
ChaseJarvis_Dav_BurntMountain_Powder_NovResortGuide_FINAL

If you’ve ever wondered what we use for a video and photo shoot like this…here are the essentials on our GEAR LIST:
[Available from Adorama]

// (2) Nikon D4 bodies
Nikon 14-24mm f2.8
24-70mm f2.8
70-200mm f2.8

// BTS camera kit:
Canon 5D MarkIII, 16-35mm f2.8, 24-105mm f4, 70-200mm f4, 35mm f1.4

// Sony F3 35mm f2, 50mm f2, 85mm f2
// Kessler CineSlider
kessler pocket dolly
kessler electra drive for timelapses

// (1) Octa-copter

// (7) GoPro Hero 3s – strapped to my head, my leg, to an octo-copter…and more.

// Broncolor Scoro 3200S
(2)Broncolor Unilite 1600,

Some other nuts and bolts from the shoot that are not obvious from the BTS vid, but that you might be interested to know:

// The Elk Coal Creek Mine/Aspen initiative is the first project west of Mississippi to turn coal-mine methane into electricity,

// Among the many shredders we worked with is legendary Chris Davenport, one of the best skiers of all time. Chris has climbed and skied all 50+ 14,000 peaks in Colorado in one year and recently skied off Everest. Follow him here @steepskiing. Total badass. Consummate pro. And he’s in Washington DC lobbying for climate solutions as you read this.

// We shot the entire campaign and video in 5 days

// Aspen is releasing a 6-part series to go with this campaign video – tune in here.

Also – final note. MY GOODNESS is the band responsible for the rocking tunes in the video. Three songs in the video: Check your Bones, Lost in the Soul and Cold Feet Killer. If you dig the tunes, you can listen to an entire live performance they did shot by cjLIVE here in video form, and you can also stream the performance on soundcloud here. Please enjoy – take a listen, and share with your friends.

Learn more about My Goodness here - http://www.facebook.com/MyGoodness

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