Photographing with Remote Helis & World Class Athletes in Crazy Locations — Behind-the-Scenes in Aspen
Remember last year’s Aspen campaign? Well, we’re back at it again this year with even better conditions. We’ve been up before dawn and burning the midnight oil. Out the door right now – but stay tuned via social channels to follow along. In the meantime here’s a gallery of behind-the-scenes photos. Enjoy.
I have been a long-time, huuuuge proponent of taking time to pursue personal work. Its in fact my pursuit of personal work to which I attribute a good bit of my success. In short, it’s by taking time to investigate your personal vision that you will be rewarded. My homie Joey L., has been finding time to uncover personal gems throughout his career. And you’ll see in his guest post below – it has paid off for him bigtime. Take it away Joey. – Chase
UPDATE: Joey is actually giving a free, LIVE class right now on creativeLIVE. Check it here…
Thanks Chase and greetings Chase Jarvis readers. I am humbled to be able to post here, and speak to you directly.If you’re familiar with my photography and behind the scenes blog, you probably already know that I’m a huge advocate of photographers spending time on personal work.
Although I’ve shot many commercial photo shoots you may or may not have bumped into on the street or on a magazine rack, I’m glad to say I’m actually most associated with my portraits of people from Southern Ethiopia, and the Mentawai Islands in Indonesia.
The Image above is a Panoramic image of Hamar Women at Sunrise, Southern Ethiopia. Photographed with Mamiya 645DF with Phase One P65+ Digital Back. Lit with 1 Elinchrom Rotalux Deep Octa and a Profoto 7b power pack.
When I say “personal work”, I’m referring to any body of work that wasn’t paid for by a client; work you created out of sheer passion. Now, I’m not saying I am not passionate about my commissioned jobs! Lately I’ve been fortunate to work on some truly interesting stuff that keeps me wired all day long. However, what I am talking about is a project that comes 100% from your soul. While your commissioned work may be an artistic collaboration with a brand or product, your personal work is an extension of yourself.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share how committing to personal projects can directly benefit your portfolio and career as a whole. Even if a photographer has never done a commercial shoot before, it doesn’t mean they can’t get hired off a body of personal work that relates to a brief. Whether you like to shoot landscapes, beautiful women, quirky characters or still life, there is a client out there that is looking for this type of work. For me, its environmental portraits. Images of humans in their surroundings extends to everywhere around the globe, not just the endangered cultures in remote locations I choose to focus on. There is a market for this type of photography, as well as many types of photography you like to work with, I’m sure.
The movie poster above, shot for National Geographic’s “Killing Lincoln” just came out the other day. I think it’s a perfect example of my personal style extending to a commissioned job. The lighting is actually quite simple. A Briese DP90 camera left, high above eye-level of the actors, angled in such a way to get dramatic shadows on the opposite side of the face. Inside is a 5K bulb, which allowed me to get an exposure ideal for my Phase One back- which only really shoots up to ISO200 before the grain is terrible. There are 3 constant lights on the background set- 2k Arri fresnels at the left and right side, and a 5k Arri fresnel in the middle. A hazer machine brought in a thin layer of “fog” to help the light feel more painterly. The microscopic particles of the haze catch the light trails. To view more information about this project, check out my blog post here.
Now, I realize a lot of you are like me, and enjoy nerdy gear-related technical information too, so I’m dropping some of those goodies below each one of the photos.
Okay, let’s start with the 3 main points:
1- Personal Work Keeps The Portfolio fresh
Above you will see me half submerged in Lake Turkana, Ethiopia, photographing a man named Shallowgo checking his fishing nets. The final image is below. I’m shooting with Mamiya 645DF with Phase One P65+ Digital Back. Assistant is holding Elinchrom Rotalux Deep Octa and a Profoto 7b power pack.
You’d be surprised at how many artistic people there are out there who reach a certain level, then simply give up on improving their craft. Even photographers with extensive client lists who were once busy can find themselves going through dry periods because they forgot the value of progressing their work to even greater heights and creating something new.
In the past, I have absolutely been guilty of this. Sometimes I work myself into a creative funk and it takes months to realize I haven’t been pushing myself hard enough. Then all of a sudden, a storm of new ideas hits me, and I start experimenting and trying new things I’ve never done before. Sometimes these new shoots work out and provide valuable pieces to my portfolio, but sometimes they don’t work at all. Even if I spend a week in pre-production, a whole day shooting, and walk away with one new picture that is portfolio worthy, I’m happy. I recommend a photographer’s portfolio to not last over 30-50 images, so a single photo every once and awhile is going to build this body of work in no time.
The best thing about testing new ideas in a personal setting is that there is no pressure to deliver. A real commercial set where people have paid you to deliver a certain amount of key images is not exactly the place to be testing new wonky ideas you aren’t sure will work. So, you start a guinea pig project on your own time to try new things, and hopefully you can implement what you learned on paid gigs later.
Failure is okay. After all, as photographers and filmmakers we don’t even have to show the world the work we failed all. In our portfolios, all we show is a pretty little selection of where we succeeded. The rest can stay hidden on a hard drive forever, (which you can decide to keep or destroy with a sledge hammer, depending on how bad it was.)
2- Passion Draws Eyes
When he was young, Lal Baba’s parents arranged a marriage for him. Uncertain about his future, he ran away from home in Bihar Siwan and took up the lifelong task of becoming a sadhu. This was taken in Varanasi, India.
I like to show people updated portfolios. Whether I meet new potential clients, or co-workers who have known my work for years, I always like to start the meeting with new personal work. This way, these new images become a conversation piece, since there are usually some interesting stories behind how the images came to be. “I got a flat tire in Ethiopia and was stranded for days” can be an interesting conversation.
Passion doesn’t lie. When other photographer’s show me their work and I can hear an undeniable sense of excitement in their voice, it gets me interested in what they have to say. Instead of pretending to be excited about work that’s several years old, it’s much better just to go out and create something new that keeps your blood pumping.
Sharing personal work is one simple way of showing passion. The last person someone wants to hire is someone who doesn’t care about what they do, and only creates when they’re on a job. There is a way better vibe, and it is easier to be productive around motivated people.
The above portrait I took of Robert De Niro was for Screen Actor’s Guild which has light reminiscent of my personal portraits. When you photograph a subject or in a certain style that interest you, it’s usually the same style you end up getting hired to shoot. An art director has a lot of confidence in hiring a photographer who has already shot something that vaguely matches their vision for the project. Personally, a lot of the times I am hired because of what’s already in my portfolio. I often hear something like “we used this photo of yours as a reference, and we’d love if you could create something similar for our photoshoot.” This doesn’t mean you should do the exact same thing you’ve already done, it just means that you’re being hired for what you’re most passionate about! Now it’s time to apply those skills for other purposes. I’ve developed a lot of skills I wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for keeping myself busy. For example, I’ve found that working with foreign subjects who aren’t used to photography has really boosted my communication skills in every aspect of my life. Another example, is that I use a lot of the same lighting styles first developed in a safe, controlled studio setting when shooting in the field.
Another key thing I’d like to mention here is spreading your photographs by using the power of the internet. With todays technology there’s no excuse for your work not be seen. With social media, blogs and photography contests such as PDN, if you do good work, someone is going to see it and share it. This doesn’t mean that these tools do the work for you, but it does give you a platform that spreads your work instantly. The more eyeballs on my portfolio, the more likely it is that a single one of those pairs of eyeballs can translate into a real job.
So now a plan of action. Ask yourself these question: What’s something you’ve always wanted to photograph that excites you? How are you going to photograph it differently, and make it yours? And most importantly — how are you going to make it happen?
My Next Personal Project
I want to share my next kickass personal project with you. It’s overly ambitious, and recently keeps me up at night with extreme jolts of both fear and passion. (A good sign- this means it’s something worth doing.)
People of the Delta is my first major film project, which was written in collaboration with the tribes I’ve photographed in Southern Ethiopia while working on my personal series “The Cradle of Mankind.” This video pretty much sums up everything I could write about the film in this post, so if you’re interested, take a gander here:
You can check out everything about the project on the Kickstarter website here:
I’m not going to ask you to back this project unless you can get something valuable in return. I’ve set up a bunch of interesting rewards geared at photographer’s to help this project happen. On the Kickstarter site, you’ll find all sorts of rewards. There are downloads of the final project, a complete lighting and production tutorial on the creation of the film, gallery prints, gear with my photos on it, and even portfolio reviews where I’ll sit down with you on Skype to have a one to one chat.
Another reward I just launched is an NYC photography workshop with me, and spaces are quite limited. If you’d like to meet me and see me ramble about Lighting, Photoshop and other stuff related to our industry, this would be a good chance.
I’m guessing that if you’ve sat there and read this whole article, you’re passionate enough about what we do to go out there and start your own project. You don’t need fancy tools or a plane ticket to some remote place, all you really need is a vision and a strong desire to make it happen.
People of the Delta Kickstarter:http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/joeyl/people-of-the-delta-film-project
Portfolio Website: http://www.joeyL.com
Behind the Scenes Blog: http://www.joeyL.com/blog
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joey-L-The-Photographer/166804470002802
I stumbled on this gem via Kickstarter a week or two ago and reached out to my camera tech pal Sohail to get his take. In short, we cranked out this review in short order to give you a first look AND… I’ve got another prototype en route to my studio now to put it thru the paces of an actual commercial job… Will report back again after all is said and done, but in the meantime, Sohail goes deep with this little monster and validates that this motion-control timelapse dolly is a worthy endeavor… Take it away, Sohail… – chase
Often, the simplest of ideas, executed without bloat, result in the most elegant and useful of solutions. That is what the L’il Mule personifies. In fact, when it was handed to me, my first reaction was, “That’s it?”
That was, in fact, it. The L’il Mule is a trackless dolly that is the brain child of Warren Herndon, the man behind the popular Omni-Tracker line of video dollies. Warren appears to have taken the feedback he received from the Omni-Tracker to heart and has used it to build a dolly that, if you’re interested in video or timelapse, you should take a good look at. The Kickstarter project that he used to launch the L’il Mule is still ongoing, and has been funded at over 200%.
UPDATE: The LIVE broadcast is January 30th – 11am SEA time (2pm NYC -19:00 London) – mark your calendars and flip your dial to http://www.chasejarvis.com/live.
Les Stroud combined his love of the outdoors as a professional survival instructor with a passion for film and photography and created a new genre of television with the highest ratings in the history of both OLN Canada, the Science Channel US, and among the most popular shows ever on Discovery Channel US. But more importantly he created the life he wanted to live through his own creativity. As the only producer in the history of television to produce an internationally broadcast series entirely written, filmed and hosted alone, Les is a seriously accomplished creative. And obviously, when he is alone in the wilderness, life hangs in the balance of good decision making. One wrong decision can make the difference between living and dying. The consequences are well-known to Les, who has spent a lifetime surviving everywhere from the Amazon jungles to the vast Arctic tundra. But what about the decisions he has made as a creative? What decisions did have to make to pursue his dreams and share his vision? Tune in to find out.
WHO: You, Me, and a LIVE conversation with internationally known ‘Survivorman’ Les Stroud.
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, January 30, 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
Think YOU couldn’t do this or something like it? Think again. By following his passions, Les is the autonomous star of a show which is licensed for broadcast in over 120 countries worldwide and millions of people tune in to each episode. Join me n’ Les on the couch in my studio to discover:
_How to face and overcome your fears – in a survival situation and when it comes to your creative work
_What it’s like to negotiate with a cable network and the pitfalls to look out for
_Why you should pursue your creative vision and live the life you want
_When to outrun a 1500lb Bull Moose – and what not to do when you see one in the wild
_What it takes to survive for 10 days alone stranded in the middle of the Norwegian winter
_How to combine passions into your creative work
See you on the Wed the 30th. LIVE from my studio… In the meantime, here’s a teaser for Les’s new show:
JOIN US LIVE.
If you want to be part of the live, in-studio audience, send an email to email@example.com with “Les Stroud” in the subject line. Winners will receive a confirmation email with attendance instructions. Bonus points for tweeting about the show and sending folks here.
HELP US PROMOTE THE SHOW AND WIN GEAR:
For a chance to win: Send out a creative tweet promoting the show with #cjLIVE +@manfrotto_tweet + the short link to this page (http://bit.ly/WLMOLK) included.
_Les Stroud Ultimate Fan Package:
-Les Stroud signature harmonica, Stranded DVD & Les Stroud cooling bandana.
THIS IS HUGE – DURING THE LIVE BROADCAST WE’RE GIVING AWAY GOPRO HERO3 BLACK EDITION
But you’ll have to tune-in to find out how.
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View Official Contest Rules here.
It’s been out in the marketplace for a while now – but the conversation and questions continue to churn around the D600. Is it all that and a bag of chips? Or is there a catch? Is it a good choice for the working pro and how does it compare to Nikon’s D800? At a pricepoint that is majorly accesible, it offers similar features as the DX-format D7000 and seems to represent a big leap for photographers. For those of us who have been around for a while, it’s interesting to think back only 4 years ago when the D90 landed and changed the way we use our DSLRs forever. (Check out that vintage video I made to launch Nikon’s first-in-class here) In fact, it was just over a decade ago that the first full frame DSLR was announced (Canon EOS 1Ds). At that point it was the realm of the elite pro or wealthy enthusiast at $8,000. Today, the D600, can be found for less than $2,000. We’ve come a long way baby. Given the response to my post on the launch of the D600 , I invited my friend Ben Pitt to continue the conversation with a hands on review of the camera. [At this moment, I'm climbing Kilimanjaro with some friends to bring awareness to clean, safe water in Africa. I've loaded up content for this week with the help of experts like Ben.] You might remember Ben’s last post that described How to take a 7-Gigapixel photo. Take it away Ben. – Chase
When Chase asked for your thoughts about the D600 in September, you didn’t hold back. There was a surprising number of negative comments, but perhaps it’s not so surprising. After all, $2,000 is an amazing price for a full-frame SLR, so anyone with a healthy dose of scepticism will be looking for a catch.
I’ve been shooting with a D600 for a few weeks, and I can confirm that there’s a huge amount to love about this camera. The 24-megapixel full-frame sensor delivers what is, for me, the perfect balance of high detail and low noise. It also allows for 5.5fps continuous shooting – a big improvement on the pricier D800′s 4fps. The controls are almost identical to the D7000′s, but that’s not a criticism – all the key functions fall under the fingers.
Having said that, the Auto ISO mode is more sophisticated than on the D7000 (adapting the shutter speed in line with the focal length) and is quicker to switch on and off. The viewfinder is as big as the D800′s, the screen is just as big and sharp, the weather-sealing equally substantial, and it includes mic in and headphone out sockets. It’s a little smaller and lighter than the D800 but it’s still a comfortable fit in the hand.
There’s not much to report about image quality. We know what Nikon’s JPEG processing engine is capable of, and it’s firing on all cylinders here. Details are sharp and noise is far lower than any cropped-sensor camera. It’s a little lower than from the D800, too, thanks to the lower pixel density.
But surely there’s a catch? Otherwise, the D800 is dead in the water. Yes, there are a few downgrades compared to the D800, which I’ll run through below (I’m not counting the sensor, which for me a sideways movement with its lower detail and lower noise). It’s up to you whether you see them as deal-breakers.
Smaller, simpler autofocus sensor
The D600′s 39-point autofocus sensor uses the same layout as the D7000′s. I’ve got no issue with the number of points – after all, Canon’s rival 6D only has 11. However, while the array of points largely fills the D7000′s viewfinder, they’re much more bunched in the centre of the D600′s full-frame viewfinder. This makes it harder to track erratic subjects. Subjects towards the edges of the frame require a focus-recompose-shoot technique.
No aperture adjustment during live view or video capture
Live view generally works well, taking about one second to autofocus – not great but better than many SLRs’ live view. However, while you can adjust the aperture value, it only adjusts the aperture blades just before you take a photo, so there’s no real-time preview of the depth of field.
Personally, I’m not too bothered about this. I’m more bothered by the limited aperture control for video. Here, the only way to adjust the aperture is by exiting live view, spinning the command dial and then re-entering live view. It’s not possible to adjust the aperture while composing a shot on the screen or while recording (unless your lens has an aperture ring). Shutter priority isn’t available for video, either – it’s fully automatic or fully manual only.
No 1080p/60 video
On the subject of video, it doesn’t seem unreasonable in 2012 for a $2,000 camera to be able to record 1080p at 60fps. There are enough $500 cameras that can do it. 60fps shooting is great for slow motion, but on the D600 it’s only available if you’re willing to drop the resolution to 720p. Then again, the same applies to the D800 too. Otherwise, this is an extremely capable video camera, with crisp details and the same colour output as in JPEGs.
No AF On button, PC sync or CompactFlash slot. Different button layout to other full-frame Nikons.
These issues might put off people considering the D600 as a backup camera to a pricier Nikon SLR, and who don’t want to have to give a moment’s thought when switching between cameras. For those coming from the other direction – perhaps going full-frame for the first time – there are easy workarounds.
AF-On lets you assign autofocus and shutter release to separate buttons to avoid unnecessary refocusing when taking a string of shots. The D600 doesn’t have a dedicated AF-On button, but either the AE Lock or front-mounted Fn button can be assigned to this task. You still get a dedicated DOF preview button as well as this Fn button.
CompactFlash – the fastest 16GB SDHC cards costs $40 – it’s not worth worrying about your old CF cards.
1/200s flash sync
A few comment posters complained about the relatively slow flash sync speed. This seems to be more a criticism of the general direction that Nikon, Canon et al are going – after all, 1/200s isn’t much slower than the D800 and D4′s 1/250s. Besides, switching the D600 to Auto-FP mode (short for Auto Flash Power), I had no problem syncing an off-camera strobe at 1/250s. If you want 1/500s flash sync to reduce the amount sunlight in your flash photography, get yourself a D40 – no current full-frame or cropped-sensor SLR that I know of can do it.
Mysterious dust problems
Various reviewers and forum posters have noticed a build-up of dirt on the D600′s sensor. There’s a risk of this with any SLR, of course, but I can confirm what others have found – the D600 does appear to be more prone to it than most, particularly in the top-left of the frame. More worryingly, the dirt seems to be coming from inside the camera. I’ve been shooting with a single lens, which hasn’t come off since the camera arrived, and there are dust spots now that weren’t there earlier. They’re just about visible on plain areas of photos (such as clear skies) at f8, but in most cases I have to shoot at f/16 or higher for them to show up. That doesn’t excuse it, though. I’ve asked Nikon for a comment, and it’ll be interesting to see how they respond. I’d be tempted to hold out parting with any cash until they do.
The D7000 was – and is – a fantastic camera, but the D600 is a compelling upgrade, delivering the lower noise and extra detail that comes with full-frame but without the usual prohibitive price tag. The smaller autofocus sensor area and dust problems are the only lingering issues for me – hopefully the latter can be resolved. If so, I’d happily pick the D600 over the D800. In the end, it seems there is really no catch.
Professionals looking for a backup camera are probably better off with the D800. It will feel more familiar, and its 36-megapixel sensor is a welcome compliment to the 16-megapixel D4.
You can buy the Nikon D600 from B&H here.
How To Prepare for Your Commercial Photo or Video Shoot — 10 Things Clients Expect In Your Production Notebook
One golden rule to a great photoshoot is to start with great production. A smooth production puts everyone and everything in the right place for the shoot to succeed long before the shutter button gets pressed. That said, I have some of the best producers in the biz on staff. And here, Megan outlines one essential to every commercial production – the production notebook. Use this info to help make your next production run smooth like butta’… Take it away, Meg.
Hello peeps, Megan here, producer for Chase. We’re gearing up for a several big international jobs, so as I’m booking travel and working with a local producer on locations + permits, I’m also putting the Production Book together. This is critical information that all professional production houses put together and it’s something clients and agencies expect from you on any large-scale shoot. Think of it as a one-stop shop for all pertinent details. It can be distributed to all parties via email prior to the shoot, and a printed copy should accompany you to set. Not only does it help make you look super professional, it just might be the most practical thing you carry (aside from your camera, of course).
You don’t need special software; start with a Word or Pages doc. Just keep an eye on formatting. It should be clean, easy to read and align with your brand. Once it’s complete, save a template you can always use to generate this doc for your next shoot, then output a PDF for the production crew and send it out!
Here’s a basic list of things to include (as applicable):
1. cover sheet: a nicely laid out page that identifies the client, the production company and/or the photographer
_client + photographer logos
_name of job
2. contact info: detail the names, titles, phone numbers + email address of all associated parties
3. shot list / creative: detailed shot list and/or photo references
4. travel itineraries: who’s going where and when?
5. accommodations: where is everyone staying?
_check in/out dates
_directions to/from airport
_meeting room location + details
6. location info: every shoot happens somewhere, whether it’s at your studio or the Mojave desert
_contact info (i.e. site rep)
_certificates of insurance for each
_copy of permits
_contact info for city or governing agency (i.e. FilmLA)
7. talent: actors, models, friends, guy you scouted on the subway
8. vendors: a list of any and all 3rd party resources involved in the shoot
9. shooting schedule: what does each day look like?
_travel to/from locations
_HMU + wardrobe prep
_lunch + breaks
10. production calendar: all pertinent deadlines should be identified here
_pre-production hot items (i.e. location + talent selection due dates, permit approval process, etc.)
_post-production requirements (i.e. number of rounds to client, amount of time allotted for feedback, proofing, due date of final images, etc.)
There you have it! Start with these categories as a template, and add or subtract as needed. May seem kind of tedious as you’re doing it, but I promise you, it’s so worth it. Until next time! Stay tuned for some behind-the-scenes goodness from our shoots, trips, and travels! -Megan the Producer
Update: The LIVE broadcast is TODAY Wednesday December 19th. Check out the post below and be sure to tune into http://www.chasejarvis.com/live — 11am SEA time (2pm NYC -19:00 London) — and enjoy the show. See you on there.
I am an advocate of personal work. Finding time to create personal projects has been one of the most valuable experiences of my career as a visual artist. My guest on the next week’s episode of chasejarvisLIVE is Ian Ruhter. Ian’s commitment to his personal work has been turning heads. A professional snowboarder turned photographer he was at the top of his game as a staff photographer and commercial shooter for the most respected magazines and brands in the snowboarding world. Then, more than 2 years ago, he had a vision of a photo that had never been taken – and he needed to be the one to create it. In a moment he went “all in” and started his pursuit of a new, completely unique, creative experience. He spent all his savings and converted a box truck into a tintype camera and started traveling around the country in his camera taking wetplate processed tintype photos – some of the largest that have ever been created. Check out the video above for a teaser on Ian and his work.
I’m so stoked that Ian is coming to Seattle next week to share his experience on chasejarvisLIVE. And even more exciting – he will be shooting the camera with me, my team and YOU. Dont miss this. It will be LIVE, un-scripted and inspirational.
WHO: You, Me, and a LIVE photo shoot with Ian Ruhter’s wetplate camera-truck + worldwide gathering of creative people
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, December 19th, 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
We will be giving this signed photo of Ian’s away during the show – you have to tune in to find out how to win!
THIS IS HUGE – WE’RE GIVING AWAY TWO MANFROTTO GEAR SET UP.
Help us promote the show by sending a creative tweet out to your friends to help promote this show @manfrotto_tweet + #cjLIVE [note: you must follow @manfrotto_tweet to be eligible to win]
Bundle #1: Manfrotto Bundle composed of:
_Manfrotto 290 3-section carbon fiber tripod with quick-release 3-way photo head
_Manfrotto Midi-36 LED Light
_Manfrotto Stile Bella V Black Shoulder Bag
_Manfrotto Lino Apparel Soft Shell Jacket
_Manfrotto Lino Apparel Photo Cap Winter
Total Bundle Value: $780.00
Product Bundle # 2:
Manfrotto Bundle composed by:
Manfrotto Compact Photo Head Kit
Manfrotto Klyp Kit with Case for iPhone 4/4S + ML 240 LED Light + Pocket Tripod
Manfrotto Stile Bella V Black Camera Shoulder Bag
Manfrotto Lino Apparel Soft Shell
a Manfrotto Lino Apparel Photo Cap Winter
Total Bundle Value: $ 474.98
ALSO – FOR EVERYONE RIGHT NOW
We’re working with our good friends at liveBooks for 50% off an Emerging Predesigned Package site. Use the promo code CJLIVE. The discount is good for a yearly package, expiring 12/31/2013.[You can get it for $99 - regularly $199]
Special thanks to our sponsors who help make this show possible – please follow them and let them know you appreciate the free content that they help us deliver. Respect.
View Official Contest Rules here.
ANOTHER UPDATE 12/19: today Instagram did a much better job in the media explaining their position – specifically around not “selling” your images as in “here ya go company X, use this in your next billboard”. As an artist & entrepreneur, having been involved in IP licensing all my professional career and navigated these waters before…as such I think I understand their challenge better than most. The legalese required around IP creators (in this case photographers using the platform ) in a social sharing environment is tricky and has some specific requirements and often positions such a service in an unintended light. Clearly IG wants to make money in/around your photos – they’re a business. But without getting in the weeds on that, the key point they articulated more clearly today is their lack of intent to outright “sell” images. That’s not their game – at least not yet. I’d guess those inside the org are trying to position the widest possible array of future revenue streams so that they don’t have to change the ToC much in the future as these things always create a shitstorm for the social sites and they can’t do that without going to great lengths to explain this to their community. There are still open issues that many creators will take up with such ToC (as there are in Fbook for example), so there is still work on their part to be done, but there is likely a future where the words in the ToC can better capture the ground between Instagram and it’s users. TBD.
UPDATE 3:00pm Pacific Time 12/18: Instagram has rescinded its position. I applaud them. I hope what comes back (and it will) will be better, and more in accordance with the community they created in the first place. Check out co-founder statement here.
NEWS: You might remember the well-known mobile phone app Instagram made big news a few months back when it was acquired by Facebook (FB) for $1 billion. Instagram is back in the news today, especially…ahem…with creatives and photographers, with an update to its terms of service that will let the company sell users’ photos to other companies.
Users can’t opt out of the new provisions. The only way to avoid them is to delete your Instagram account.
This is a rather
ANALYSIS: Instagram is blowing it hard on both the WHAT (selling out your images with no profit to you) and the HOW…by changing the ToC to gobble up your imagery bound to by using the service after allowing users to build up huge followings and large libraries of imagery. Lame sauce and an assault on your work.
Let’s call it what it is… this idea isn’t new, it’s just a shitty way – the shittiest way – of going about monetization. In truth, I had plans to allow photographers to opt into a sales program as a source of income for photogs if they so desired back in 2009 when I launched Best Camera app, the first photo app to share images direct to social networks (top 20 App of 2009 – Wired, NYTimes, Macworld, etc), but there were key differences then…the same key differences that, if I were in charge of Instagram’s ToC (and what I had in my roadmap for Best Camera before it was derailed), could make/have made a huge benefit for photographers. Here’s a different approach that would be acceptable
1. Make the program an opt in program. Check a box in your user settings that says “this image can be sold (or x’d or y’d whatever)”, with some legal jargon, and have only those images be available in the marketplace. Make it image specific. For the people who want to manage that – who want to earn money – this won’t be a burden. For those who don’t want to play, it’ snot an issue.
2. Assuming #1 above, then split the revenue with the photographer. As the creator, you should own the right to exploit the work you create. A simple rev share would generate tons of dough and be perceived as a win for photography, not an attack on it by a multi billion dollar company.
There are just two things that could have changed today’s news into a huge win
instead of a f*&king disaster. And FWIW, there are 100 other ways to monetize their platform that could be a win for content creators instead of an assault. If they need help, Kevin (founder), just give me a ring. I’ll help outline some alt options for you.
I’m flattered that not so long ago Instagram was a lift and stamp copy of Best Camera. I had my reasons for letting BC go that way and I think they did a marvelous job of executing – better than I ever could have done, especially without giving up my career as an artist. I love the results of what they’ve been able to build, almost flawlessly to date, a massive global community creating photos! But let’s face it. Instagram was a silicon valley startup on its second pivot (translation: tap into something hot right now and try to make it happen to get your investors money back…which they did). They saw market opportunity, not photography. The founders are nice guys (we have lots of the same friends) who certainly “like” photography, but they are not photographers, and they don’t have the sensitivities IMHO required to navigate the creators’ landscape (or if they have them, we have’t seen them yet…). I hope they can recover. For them, for you. I actually think they CAN recover. These guys are super smart and I’ll be in support of them if they can change and adapt to what the world wants – fair terms. But… For now, I recommend that those of you on the platform let them know that this isn’t cool.
I’ve always been a fan of photographic works by Andreas Gursky and others that are huge in scale and still maintain amazing detail. While Gursky is a living legend and none of us are approaching his sphere any time soon, there are a variety of more accessible approaches to creating massive images that maintain incredible details available to most of us
As such I want to take a second to introduce Ben Pitt. Ben is a tech / photo geek who has been reviewing digital things and software for more than 15 years – and as this post demonstrates – he knows a thing two about making these multi-gigapixel images with insane detail and will walk you though it in this post… Be sure to click on the link to this crazy 7-Gigapixel photo here (requires Flash) to get a sense for what I’m talking about. -Chase
Thanks Chase. Modern digital cameras’ excessively high resolutions really bug me. Seriously, who needs more than 12 megapixels? (Don’t answer that.) So it’s ironic that I’ve recently caught a different kind of bug: creating gigapixel panoramas. It’s done by taking hundreds of photos and stitching them together on a computer. The image above weighs in at 7 gigapixels. Printed at 300dpi, it would be 61 feet wide.
As Chase mentioned, take a second to check out the 7-gigapixel image at by clicking one of these links Gigapan (requires Flash), Gigapan for iPhone/iPad or Photosynth (requires Silverlight). Hit the Full-screen button and see if you can track down the four details below. Go on – zoom right all the way to the sidewalk where you can peep into the lives of millions of San Francisco locals going about their day.
Gigapixel panorama stitching is a stiff challenge for the computer, but the technique is surprisingly easy and the equipment needn’t be expensive. There’s some high-tech kits out there, such as the GigaPan robotic camera mounts, but my image was captured using a normal tripod and an inexpensive ultra-zoom camera I happened to have with me on my trip. A long telephoto lens is crucial, and the Panasonic FZ200 was perfect with its 600mm (equivalent) maximum focal length and crisp focus. I generally prefer to use an SLR or mirrorless camera but I love how versatile, compact and affordable these ultra-zoom cameras are.
Step 1: Shooting
First, shooting was pretty straightforward. I mounted the camera on the tripod, switched the exposure, focus and white balance to manual and zoomed in. All that remained was to zigzag across the scene, capturing it a row at a time with about 30 percent overlap to ensure an accurate stitch. I took 1,229 photos, captured in 16 rows of about 75 shots each. It took just over an hour. The weather in California is thankfully a little more stable than it is in my native England, so the light didn’t change much throughout the hour.
Step 2: Stitching
A week later I was back at my PC and finally able to stitch it together. I used a free Windows utility called Microsoft ICE (short for Image Composite Editor). The stitching process is entirely automatic – simply import the JPEGs and the software identifies common features in overlapping photos, adjusts each photo’s geometry as necessary and stitches them all together. It takes hours to process hundreds of photos but you can just leave the software to get on with it.
Step 3: Troubleshooting
I’ve found that automatic panorama stitching is rarely faultless, and there were four areas where ICE ran into trouble in my San Francisco shot. I’d anticipated two of these – the sky and the hillside in the foreground – as I knew that there wouldn’t be enough detail in these areas for the software to identify common features in overlapping photos. I got around this by shooting the skyline again at 195mm, which gave me enough sky so that I didn’t have to crop Sutro Tower out of the shot. Zoom in and you’ll notice that the sky isn’t as sharp as the city, but it’s only really apparent in the aeroplane just above the blimp. For the foreground I stitched a dozen shots at 25mm. That’s far less detail than the rest of the image, but considering that the foreground is out of focus, the join is fairly imperceptible.
Step 4: Photoshop finishing
Next, I loaded these three stitches into Photoshop CS6, resized the smaller ones to match the biggest and blended them together. This is one job that’s not worth considering without Photoshop. I tried various editors to see how they’d cope with the 15GB PSB file, and Photoshop was the only one that stood a chance. If you don’t own it, bear in mind that you can now rent it for cheap.
The trees in the foreground confused ICE too because they were blowing in the wind, so I returned to the original photos to patch this area. There was also one small spot that I’d somehow completely missed, so I had to rebuild it with some Photoshop trickery – I owe a beer to the first person to find it.
Step 5: Sharing
Sharing – and even saving – gigapixel panoramas is another challenge. JPEG and TIF formats won’t go that high, so Photoshop’s PSB format is the only option I’ve found to save it to disk. The best way to view and share them is via online hosting sites. These work in a similar way to satellite mapping sites such as Google Maps, downloading small sections of the photo as they’re requested. I uploaded to Gigapan.com using its free uploader utility, and to Photosynth.net using a plug-in for Photoshop. You can also upload to Photosynth.net directly from Microsoft ICE.
There are some breathtaking panoramas on GigaPan, Photosynth and elsewhere – check out Martin Kulhavy’s work at www.martin.kulhavy.info, and this 30-gigapixel, 360-degree monster by Matt Uyttendaele, who happens to be the man behind ICE. These are the photographs that inspired me, and I’m happy to have produced something that – technically at least – is in the same league and yet was achieved with a cheap camera and basic tripod.
I love the fact that I created and published this image but I haven’t seen most of it. It’s a photo for exploring – finding the finer details. Like the man in the red cap reading a book on a roof, two toddlers planning their escape from a playground or the masses of street art that stretches across south San Francisco. There’s something satisfying about how this image is inquisitive but non-judgemental. From the fire-ravaged house façade to the man in the park with his tent, this is what San Francisco looked like on the 13th of October, 2012. I hope you find something interesting in there too. I hope you’re the man in the red cap, reading this now. Either way, If you’ve got a long lens and a couple of hours to spare, I’d love to see what’s happening in your neighborhood.
What: bike shot
Why this angle: the air + the trail tells a good story. plus all those vertical lines kept the scene clean. Nice light too…looking up really “opened up” the image. Simplicity almost always wins – in this case it does.
How: I laid under the jump and motor-drived the action at 9fps. we shot several attempts to ensure the rider was in the right spot relative to the rest of the scene…plus we added in the little bike tilt for some flair.
Gear n such: Nikon D3s. Nikkor 14-242l8 lens shot at 15mm. ISO 800. f3.5 1/1000sec (Here’s a link for you gear folks)
Feel free to let me know what you think. Or just tell me you like it.
Give. Whether to yourself or to a fellow artist in need. Every photographer, director, painter, writer, creative, entrepreneur, whatever mold into which you fit (or don’t) has basic needs. And thankfully, these needs are mostly free of charge. I’ve read 100 artist biographies, studied my own life and the creative LIVES of those around me and distilled some of the commonalities — and the outliers — for how and when, under what circumstance creatives kick ass. A pattern emerges. Therefore I suggest that you immediately (or ASAFP) give to yourself or to others….
1. Adventure + Experience. Whether in mind and spirit OR in actual physical practice, give yourself adventure and experience. Do stuff. Some stimulus, some INPUT is required as the raw building materials of a creative life. Profound is good, but unnecessary. What’s necessary are emotions, highs & lows, chinks in one’s armor, dents, road wear, and a range of experiences. What are yours? Some people go looking, others get hit but the truck, but in every case an experiential narrative is required for inspiration. So let me be blunt. Get off your ass. Given the chance to “go” or “stay”, you go. Whether you really go looking or metaphorically do, you won’t find “creativity”, you’ll find the stuff that creativity glues together. You’ve got to either cultivate, dig up, source, uncover or live these raw materials, these bricks, the sticks, and the meat to make something that only you can make. Live a life so that you can have a point of view.
2. Space. Creative synthesis doesn’t happen during your adventures, amidst the chaos and the noise. The mayhem and the delight of life gives you the ingredients, but synthesis only happens when you’re quiet, when you’ve got space, a moment to breathe. Sometimes it doesn’t require much space: a sleepless night, a shower, or an hour inside your head. Other times it requires more. But I guarentee it won’t be while you’re in the thick of it. Inspiration might rain down upon you, but building that inspiration into something meaningful takes more room than you’re giving yourself right now; it takes time (even a sliver), and it takes iteration. Rarely if ever will something come to you fully formed, despite all the fairy tales you’ve heard. Provide some respite, some space after inspiration, and harvest you will.
3. A Mirror. Give yourself a mirror. Not literally, but a figurative mirror to reflect on that voice inside your head, and capture that voice in an emotion. The raw materials of which I spoke above, are certainly out there in the world, but a quick reminder that you’ll not find any answers per se “out there”. All those answers – and I mean every one — are “in here”. In you. Things coming from you – from an only-you-could-have-made-this perspective is a requirement of outstanding art and creativity. Hence the mirror. No opportunity to reflect, no creative answers.
4. A Schedule To Make, Ship, or Do. Give yourself the schedule you hate – the one that says make it today, ship it, build it, do it. Chuck Close said (paraphrased) that… “If I sat around and only made art when I was ready, I wouldn’t have made much art.” It’s because Chuck knows that we excel at what we practice. And if we practice everyday – even in the absence of the raw materials, the mirror, the space, we’ll certainly be ready when all that shit lines up. Trust me on this one. And don’t try and say I’m contradicting myself. given the above points. You’ve got skills that need honing, even in the absence of the creative moon lining up with the creative Venus. Make things every day. Publish, launch, post, iterate, share. By God it’s the only way anything gets done.
5. A Break. Give yourself a damn break. You don’t have to be weird, unhappy, in ecstacy or pain to create great stuff. You have to be there. You have to be in the game, not on the sidelines. Adventuring and synthesizing, and reflecting and creating and shipping all take work; and that work won’t always be great. Don’t be a critic. The lives of critics are boring, ugly, short and full of yuck. Haven’t written a book? Don’t hate on one. Haven’t made a film? Be generous in your commentary. Don’t take, give. Give time, give gratitude, and by all means give yourself and others a break.
And don’t think you’ll get by with just one of the above. You’ve gotta wrangle all 5. Trust me on that.
UPDATED AGAIN WITH A TREAT: SPECIAL OFFER: This is LIVE right NOW. Buy the Tim Ferriss creativeLIVE course #4HourLife and get a free copy of Tim’s new book. Click for details http://cr8.lv/4-Hour_promo. Sale ends today! (somewhere around a $35 value …book + shipping)
UPDATE: Tim is LIVE NOW… both today and tomorrow. Tune in here at creativeLIVE.com/live
Short version: renowned 4-hour-everything guy Tim Ferriss is gonna be on creativeLIVE next week for 2 full days of badass, actionable inspiration and instruction. Go here for details.
More detailed version and how this relates to you: One of the most important characteristics in making one’s way through a creative career or any entrepreneurial endeavor is learning what’s most important and executing against it. What do I need to know and how do I acquire that skill, be it learning how to light with strobes, make a music video, dominate at Photoshop OR…. literally anything else. In short, you want to learn how to learn. How fast you can learn, grow, be in the system while simulataneously hacking it is, in my humble opinion, crucial to success in any field.
Enter, my pal Tim Ferriss. Tim takes all this to the next level. I’ve personally learned more from him about ‘how to hack learning’ than anyone else. You’ve probably read or seen one of his previous #1 NYTime Best selling books (4 Hour Work Week + 4 Hour Body) OR seen him on one of my most popular chasejarvisLIVE’s ever (I taught him how to build a studio set and then he photographs a bikini model), but the real news I want to share with you here is twofold:
1. He has a new, super badass book coming out in 2 weeks; and
2. More importantly he’s bringing this new book + BOTH previous books to life in realtime on creativeLIVE (the online learning channel I co-founded) next week. Two full days of live, interactive learning with Tim and host of world class experts. Not gonna lie to you, I’m canceling all other obligations and will be sitting in the soundstage during the entire broadcast.
I’ve seen the syllabus for the course, it’s insanely inspiring and ambitious. I’m an excitable guy, but I’m rarely as hyped as I am for this workshop. Learn how to learn anything from the meta-learning expert. The course is live on creativeLIVE on November 14th + 15th. Check it out here if you want more info or to register to attend online.
Here’s his creativeLIVE pitch:
Photography is in my blood, and space has always held a fascination for me. Easy to see then why photographer and NASA astronaut Donald Pettit’s talk about photographing in space held me rapt. No models or art directors, editors, agents or clients, just this one man an his small struggles to capture an environment that not many get to experience.
Watch the vid to learn about his work, his equipment, and a surreal existence aboard the space station for 370 days over 3 trips to space. Couple photos below to whet your palette for the talk…
[Saw this via PetaPixel - and big ups to our friends at Photoshelter for hosting Donald at Luminance 2012 and sharing this content.Check 'em out.]
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