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Kickstarter of the Week – The Glamour & The Squalor

Before the Internet made sourcing new music and rising bands a simple matter of keystrokes, bookmarks and RSS feeds, there was the radio DJ. Those with an insatiable thirst for the fresh and undiscovered relied on the savvy DJ with the right connections to feed us a steady diet of the up and coming, the unsigned, the ones-to-keep-an-eye-on.

For the unsigned and undiscovered, it was said DJ who provided the air time, created the buzz and could ultimately set the stage for stardom. Or at least greater notoriety.

One DJ who epitomized this role was Seattle’s Marco Collins, a local legend whose work on 107.7 The End helped propel the careers of notables like Weezer, Beck, Deathcab for Cutie and The Prodigy. And that’s just using the fingers on one hand. As Chris Ballew of Presidents of the United States of America puts it: “He was the on/off switch for your potential career.”

Such is the story behind Marco’s rise (he’s in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a DJ) and fall (battles with addiction) that Seattle-based director/producer Mark Evans & his team have set out to create a documentary on the man, which they’re calling The Glamour & The Squalor. They’ve interviewed 32 people for the film but need a little help rounding out the interviews and editing down the footage and archival material.

Marco’s story deserves to be told. He turned his passion for new music into a career and he battled some seriously determined demons along the way. And he’s still standing.

Check out the Kickstarter video for The Glamour & The Squalor above. If you are keen to help see this project through to the end, donate here.

Marco Collins, still hard at work. With Allen Stone. Photo by Michael Profitt Photography.

Dream Job — Color Cannons, Flying High & Turning Dreams Into Photographs for Samsung

A NO BRAINER.
When someone comes to you and asks you if you’d like to create a photograph of your most vivid dream on their dime — let’s be clear on this one — you say YES.

Such was the case with Samsung and their creative agency Possible several weeks back. I got one of “those cool phone calls” where all your hard work comes into focus just for a second. (Dialogue in my brain = Wait a minute. Any photograph I want? Of my dreams?! And you’ll be my benefactor to make this happen? Yes Chase, creative freedom. We want to enable your imagination. Are there any images you’ve been excited to try to create but haven’t had the means or the opportunity?) Um. Hell yes. They had approached me with a completely blank canvas. Their only requirement? That the image would be a colorful expression of a dream to prove out the color quality on the Samsung Premium Monitor Series 9 for professional photographers. My only requirement? That I could make a video of the process to show you how we pulled it off.

It was a deal.

THE CHALLENGE.
I immediately knew the image I’d make. I’ve had this reoccurring dream where I’m floating in a sea of insanely vividly colored clouds. You know those flying dreams… well, this is similar, except more floating than flying or falling. (there’s water below in my dream, but that’s of no consequence here…) In short order, I pitched them the idea, they loved it, said “yes”…and then I jumped in… only to realize a moment later that I had no idea how I’d possibly make this happen. How does one “make” clouds? How could I pull this off with in-camera capture? How could I accurately translate the stunning colors into real life? And how would I do this with just a couple weeks lead time? Gulp.

If you’re a photography buff or just plain curious, then read on to get details on the process, how we made the set + the “clouds”, the gear, the monitors, the final image, and all the good stuff that went in my mouth and up my nose.

ENTER–> THE PROCESS.
chase jarvis powder compSketch of the idea. My original sketch was so neanderthal in nature I can’t believe my team had any clue what we’d be up to. The first whiteboard scribble led to this superquick, subsequent mock-up, a speedy photoshop file using some of my other photos and some puffy clouds tweaked into rich colors. It was a hackjob at best, but it got us started down the path of what to do next. We had to find those clouds.

The colors from my dream. This was fun… I went into a paint store and, from memory, selected a handful of paint chips that matched the colors from my recurring dream. This was the basis of moving my dream into reality. The goal is that my wardrobe, the clouds, the environment and the final image would be a perfect match based on these paint chips.

Chase and Loren matching the Celebration Powder to the colors from Chase's dream.

Clouds. First we worked through 101 ways to make clouds, from A-Z, smoke machines to mist. And where we ended up — after a good bit of experimenting — was absolutely awesome. Know that stuff called “celebration powder“? If you happen to be tuned Hindu celebration of Holi in India then you know what I mean…it’s a big thing. It has also migrated its way into seemingly endless fun runs here in the USA. In short this powder is made 100% bio degradable and non toxic from cornstarch. You can eat it (and I ended up eating a LOT of it). This powder, we discovered, can be ordered from some select outfits online. We ordered about 40 pounds of this stuff… some pre-made, others made to match the paint chips (above) we sent the manufacturers. Huge thanks to the Art Department on this shoot –> Loren and Darcy made this shoot happen because of the ingenius way in which they sourced the powder and — even more importantly — devised the “air cannon” mechanisms through which to fire it up into the sky and make the perfect clouds. The air cannons are, like the video explains, simply a series of tanks of highly compressed air with quick valves that can be tripped remotely. Upon flipping the switch – BOOM – you’ve got canned air firing that powder into the sky.

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Hindus celebrated Holi and believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colors and saying farewell to winter.

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Testing the powder canons

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Boom!

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Loren and crew setting up the powder canons

THE SET
The “cloud tent”. Now this stuff is messy. And when I say messy, I mean…like the messiest stuff you’ve ever dealt with. After myriad of outdoor tests we discovered, duh, that it gets EV-ER-Y-where. So we built the set to be a giant visqueen tent in very large sound stage to keep it all contained. Approx 30 feet x 30 feet x 20 feet high. Our own gigantor see-thru cube.

Flight. Anytime I get the chance, I’ll do my own stunts. Since we’d agreed in advance that – if this were my dream – I’d need to be the talent… So into character I went. In order to get the floating sensation, we decided after some practice, that a trampoline was the best way to create the look in the studio. With a couple of pulled neck muscles and some body position tweaking, it’s possible to get this floating / hovering look right at the apex of a big bounce on the trampoline. Took me a few hundred tries to be able to nail the effect on autopilot, but it indeed became automatic. Not gonna lie, it had been a few years since I’d jumped on a trampoline, but this was good fun… And, as I was to soon learn, it’s an entirely different thing to do it in practice vs. wearing the wardrobe, goggles and having canons fired at you… but more of that later.

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Moving the trampoline into position

THE GEAR
Stills. For the still portion of the shoot, we shot with the Nikon D4 tethered to our monitoring station, which consisted of three Samsung Series 9 monitors + Mac Pro.  As for glass, we used the Nikon 24-70mm zoom lens stopped down around f/11 for a nice deep depth of field. The Nikon D4 was secured to a light stand and raised to a hole cut into the visqueen at the height that I would be jumping to so we could get a clean shot without jeopardizing the electronics of the camera. And of course it was tethered to the computer so it could be fired remotely and – most importantly so that the images could be reviewed immediately on the Series 9 to check focus, color + file integrity.

Strobes. We used two Broncolor Scoro A4S Power Packs and four Broncolor Unilite 1600′s to give us the light we needed. And since the strobes were positioned outside the visqueen tent (for safety and cleanliness) – aka- the one huuuuggge softbox — the only modifiers we used were directional dishes soas to aim the light in the general direction of yours truly, the bouncing kook. We used PocketWizards to fire the Broncolors remotely off the camera.

Continuous light. Since we were also making the BTS video above, we knew we’d also need continuous lighting for the motion capture. As such we decided to go with two 9000 watt Maxi Brutes. The Maxi Brutes (9 x 1000 watt bulbs in a single unit) were phenomenal pumped out the continuous light needed for the high speed behind the scenes video cameras to get the exposures and frame rates that we wanted. This also allowed us to have to use less light in the strobes above, which kept the flash duration way quick. The Maxi Brutes are huge, look here:

Here’s a quick sketch of our lighting + setup diagram:

chasejarvis_samsung_diagram

Motion Capture Cameras. For the behind the scenes video capture, we thought it’d be fun to bring out the big guns…and the small guns too. We hired our pal DP extraordinaire Chris Bell to shoot with his fancy Arri Alexa [stay tuned for another video about that camera]. We also brought along a Sony FS700 to shoot high speed…480+ frames per second, a Canon 5D mkiii for quick on-the-fly shots, a Canon 7D for timelapses, and lastly, we grabbed every GoPro we had in our shop – I think it was 9 of ‘em.  These came in handy for rigging up shots that we didn’t want to stick our expensive high-end cameras in. We wrangled some Manfrotto pods + spreader dollies, plus a tasty Kessler crane to keep things moving. And you gotta know we made this sweet quick-and-dirty array for a Matrix-esque shot that you can see in the video if you watch it a couple times…:

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Cinematographer Chris Bell with his beloved Arri Alexa

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The Sony FS700 shooting into the tent.

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Post capture - reviewing the work on Samsung Series 9 - happy with the results.

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Image + color review

The Aftermath

HERE’S A FINAL CAMPAIGN IMAGE (keep eyes peeled in all markets).
ChaseJarvis_Samsung_Series9_1000px.jpg

If you made it this far and wanna see more stuff like this, here’s the coordinates to subscribe: facebook.com/chasejarvis, twitter.com/chasejarvis, G+, or my extra special email list.

IMPORTANT NOTEA ABOUT MUSIC!
Music is a huge part of the fun we have when making these BTS videos. As such, huge shout out to the legendary beat maker Big Chocolate, without whom this vid would not be possible. You can catch him at his fBook here, twitter, or pickup this very track and other radness here (please support him) on iTunes here. Alas, he will also be crushing it all summer long on the Vans Warped Tour too.

OTHER RELEVANT STUFF.
In addition to the final still image which you may see all over the globe, there is a web commercial produced some good friends of mine – that is pretty damn funny. Check it here.

Super duper big shoutout to crew who worked on this…obviously the art dept, production, and cinema crews got shoutout, but also to my stylist on this one Alvin Stillwell.

For monitor specs etc go here and for more Samsung vids here’s the Samsung YouTube channel.

For more badass work from Possible Worldwide, go here.

Thanks yo!

Size Matters: How to Build a HUGE Panoramic Photo, From Capture to Final Image [272 Gigapixel !!]

Earlier in the week I shared my gear list for the hike up Kilimanjaro with Summit on the Summit. While on the mountain I snapped off a slew of panoramas and sent them to my buddy Mark, who does digital retouching with his company PARADOX VISUAL. I wanted him to build a BIIIIIG panorama that could be auctioned off for Summit on the Summit. And when I’m talking big, I’m talking 4 feet tall and 20 feet long. (see them in context of the gallery at the end of this post). Big, right? I’ve asked Mark to give us a little insight into the methods he used for creating that panorama, which you see in digital form above. I’d say he did a bang-up job. Take it away, Mark.

Thanks, Chase. First things first. I want to thank Chase and his crew that I worked with on building these panoramas — Kate, Megan, and Norton. It was a privilege working with you and a privilege to be a part of Summit on the Summit’s campaign for water conservation and awareness.

Now on to the technical business.

The advent of digital photography has not only created easy access to photography like never before, it also has opened up creative and technical possibilities in image making that were once unimaginable. Creating large panoramas with theoretically limitless resolution is just one of those new frontiers. Photographers are pushing the processing limits of computer hardware with interactive panoramas well past the gigapixel range. The largest I found is a 272 gigapixel panorama of Shanghai, China. Pretty huge.

I’ll be talking about something a little easier to attain for those of us working on Mac Pros and iMacs (and even Windows machines I guess) — panoramas composited from far fewer frames than that needed to get a 272 gigapixel panorama.

SOME BASIC TIPS TO SHOOT FOR PANORAMAS
To get the best results it is recommended to use a tripod. Ideally you would also shoot using a tripod head that allows the camera to rotate around the nodal point to avoid issues with parallax. Unless you plan on shooting a large amount of panoramas, these tripods may not be an investment you want to spring for now (unless you wanted to rent one). Luckily there is plenty of software out there to save our bacon, let us shoot handheld and still get great results.

Of course there are a few tips to help while shooting handheld:

_The wider the lens you shoot with, the harder it is for software to overcome distortion. It’s preferable to shoot with a 28mm over a 14mm or make multiple rows with a 50mm over that 28mm to cover the same area. And the bonus is you get even more resolution in the end.
_Shooting more frames with the camera in the vertical position reduces the apparent distortion.
_Most recommendations are to have at least 15% overlap between frames. I tend toward 33% to give software as much real estate to work with.
_Keep the camera level through all the exposures.
_Shoot in manual exposure mode to lock in the same exposure settings through all the frames and to have the same depth field through all the frames.
_Shoot in manual focus mode to keep the same focal distance through all the frames.

There are many sites on the Internet with plenty of additional tips and tricks. Have a look around and you’ll have no problem bumping into one. This article will focus on the stitching process involved in producing the gargantuan panoramas Chase Jarvis shot on Mt. Kilimanjaro with Summit on the Summit. We did five panoramas but I will focus on the one panorama that needed the most work.

THE MT. KILIMANJARO PANORAMAS
Chase shot several panoramas on a Nikon D4 and a 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens. We ended up building five to be auctioned to benefit Summit on the Summit. The frames were shot vertically and there were 5-8 frames per panorama. Up until now I have used Adobe’s Photomerge that is part of Photoshop to stitch panoramas together. Before I saw the panoramas, all I knew was that Chase wanted them printed large. Really large. They were to be 44 inches tall, which meant some of them would be nearly 14 feet wide. I thought this would be a good opportunity to purchase a piece of software I’d been admiring for awhile. PTGui is one standalone panorama stitching application that caught my eye. I had researched many of the stitching software applications available and I chose PTGui based on many good reviews, a personal recommendation from a photographer that had been using it for awhile and the fact that it has the capability of creating HDR panoramas for use in CGI image based lighting. Knowing how big these panoramas were to be printed, I wanted the best tools at my disposal. And why not take a little risk testing new software to make some of the biggest prints I’ve ever made for? What’s life without some risk taking, right?

Adobe’s Photomerge is pretty amazing in its own right and I’ve had it stitch some wobbly frames into some clean panoramas before. It’s main drawback, though, is that there is not much user control (other than the type of projection it stitches the frames with) if it runs into problems. If it can’t create a clean panorama, that’s the end of the road. There will be much repair work to be done in Photoshop.

With PTGui you have the ability preview the panorama before it is actually rendered. You can try out different projection methods to see which best suits your needs. I used cylindrical projection for most of the panoramas. It offered the least distortion to the horizon. But I still needed to do some warping in Photoshop to get the horizons perfectly straight and level and to pull the corners out to fill the frame.

While we’re on the subject of warping, I prefer using the Warp tool over the Liquify tool for larger tweaks of pixels. When used for little tweaks Liquify is great, but when used for larger movements over larger areas the stretching and smearing of the pixels can be quite apparent. First, I draw a selection with the marquis tool that is significantly larger than the area that I’ll be transforming. I then hit Command+J (Layer/New/Layer via copy) so that I can work on the area without affecting the main layer. To bring up the Warp tool hit Command+T (Edit/Free Transform). Once the Free Transform handles are visible use either Control+Click or Right Click to bring up the contextual menu where Warp is found. You can manipulate any of the points and/or handles or click+drag directly on the areas in the middle of selected pixels. The trick though is to only manipulate the middle areas. This leaves the edges unaffected so they remain seamless with the surrounding areas. Once you’re satisfied with the Warp hit Return/Enter or doubleclick on the selected area to accept. If the manipulation is significant you may have a seam appear at the edges. Simply add a layer mask to the Warped layer and subtly mask the little area out and you should have seamless image again.

If PTGui can’t get a clean seam for some reason, you can help it along by giving it more information to work with. You are able to access PTGui-created paired control points between frames that identify shared features between frames. Sometimes the paired points PTGui automatically creates are lined up correctly. You can go in and manually move the points to make sure they are over the same spot in each frame. You can also add your own control points to help PTGui identify where the frames align. The more points the better.

Control points.

Another powerful feature of PTGui is you are able to force the software to include or exclude portions of specific frames. Along the left third side of the panorama PTGui was not creating a good seam of the ridge in the background. I played a bit with forcing PTGui to only use portions of the #2 frame. It helped it create a cleaner seam along the ridge. In the screenshot, the green is where I painted and PTGui was forced to use that area of frame #2 to create the final panorama.

As good as software is these days, they can’t do everything perfectly. No matter how I cajoled PTGui there were some areas of the panorama it couldn’t pull off seamlessly. In a few spots the ground gave PTGui trouble. If the final destination of these panoramas was just the web, these slightly soft seams would probably have been unnoticeable. But at nearly four feet tall they would be obvious. In these cases I needed to process individual frames from the original RAW files of the ground to bring into the panorama. Since any panorama software distorts individual frames to create the final panorama, these portions I brought in needed to also be distorted to fit into the panorama. I’m guessing one of the least-used layer blend modes in Photoshop is Difference. How it works is quite simple and can be useful in the right situations. This is one of those situations. When a layer is set to Difference and the pixels below that layer are exactly the same, it displays them as solid black. If they display as any other color they are different. This often works great for aligning layers. You can see in the screenshot below several spots that are black.

Once the patch layer is as close as possible, it then took some delicate masking to fit the patch in nicely. I find it works best to paint the mask to an edge already in the image, like one of the rocks. The natural edge is a good way to hide any edge created from the mask.

Ground, before.


Ground, after.

A small touch that I find very useful when scaling images well beyond their native resolution is adding some simulated grain. It is also useful for panoramas because in the stitching process pixels get stretched and squeezed and the natural noise pattern or texture of the camera’s sensor is warped. So, the simulated grain can cover up some of the pixelation from scaling the image up and create a uniform texture over the whole image. Even if the grains need to be large to cover up the roughest parts of the image, it most often looks better than the distorted and abused pixels underneath. Adding noise or grain can also help if you are having any banding issues in areas with gradients.

The grain process is simple. Create a new layer with the blend mode set to Overlay or Softlight. Fill it with 50% gray, the neutral color for these blend modes. Add noise — Gaussian, Monochromatic.

Adjust levels by bringing up the black point and bringing down the white point. This adds contrast and makes the noise a little more clumpy or grain-like.

And last, it needs just a touch of the Gaussian Blur Filter. When the Grain layer is set Overlay, the grain will be more apparent. Setting it to Soft Light makes the grain a little less apparent.


Please note, these settings were specific for this size image. Adjust to suit a particular image’s needs. One last note on adding grain: add it after you’ve scaled an image up to its final print size. If you add it before, the grain gets scaled with everything else and will huge and scary and ugly.

The other bits of retouching I needed to do were less specific to building a panorama. I had to remove all the people other than the group on the rock on the right. I replaced that group on the rock with another group from a separate frame Chase shot just of the group specifically to put in the final panorama. I was also provided PSD files with layers of the panoramas as guides. I just needed to repurpose and fine tune the adjustment layers from those files in the final panoramas.

Two important points I like to remind folks of when I teach:

_In Photoshop there is rarely only one way to get from A to B. I share how I work as a starting point for people to start experimenting and to help get a better understanding of how Photoshop behaves.
_I find it extremely helpful to have someone else look at my work to see if I have done it cleanly and believably. After staring at an image for a long period of time, sometimes it can be difficult to be objective. In my case, I have a client who is making the final judgment call on an image. But the second person can be a friend or spouse who can look at the image with completely fresh eyes. If another person is not available, take the image to what you consider final. Go away for awhile. If you have time, go away for some days. Then take another look over the whole image looking for problem areas, especially for seams that are soft and unnatural looking.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Want more Panorama tutorials? Check out this past post on How To Shoot a 7 Gigapixel, 60-foot Wide Photo in 5 Easy Steps.

chase jarvis summit on the summit sotsk

Never ‘Work’ Again — On Following Your Passion with Photographer Ian Ruhter [When Dreams Collide]

They say that when you leave your old life behind and walk the path you’re meant to be on, be prepared to leave some friends behind, and be prepared to make new ones. This has definitely been the case on my own personal path. When I finally ditched the things in my life that everyone else wanted me to do and began a fulltime charge of my life’s dream of being an artist, it put my life on a collision course with energy, vitality, and some seriously creative / talented people who have both inspired me and strengthened my resolve to continue on this path. That’s not to say shit doesn’t get hard, and that there’s an unending amount of work…but it’s just one kind of work – the kind that draws you in – not the kind that sinks your soul.

One of those cool people I’ve met along the way is my homie Ian Ruhter, another man on a mission to be different, not just better. If you keep your eyes peeled here on my blog, you know that one of the ways he’s done that is through his most recent personal project titled “Silver and Light,” in which he creates photographic art using a wet plate process that dates back to the 1850s with a camera the size of a truck. I had Ian on the show last year to demonstrate his technique and teach me how to wet plat. (Episode at the bottom of this post)

Ian’s latest video posted up top, “When Dreams Collide,” he documents his journey before our meeting -across the past and present and up to his drop-in on #cjLIVE. This particular vid, while beautifully shot, really delivers on how he crossing all boundaries and bowled through all obstacles to follow his dreams. If you need to abandon your current dead-end path, it’s worth your time.

Follow Ian across these channels:

website
Instagram: ianruhter
Facebook
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Moving The Camera Pays Big: New Gyro Game-Changer used by Teton Gravity Research [interview + video]

Teton Gravity Research Aerial Reel – The Bay Area in 4K from Teton Gravity Research on Vimeo.

Fancy gimbals are the rage these days and I love ‘em all. Not withstanding some homies of mine from my action sports days, Teton Gravity Research, recently announced a partnership with Gyro Stabilized-Systems and launched the GSS C520, a game-changing 4K camera platform that makes that footy that you and I shoot look like sh*t in comparison. Having worked with these cats a bunch (see here – that’s me hanging out of the heli with Todd…) and having seen a sneak peek of the Bay Area aerial footage video above, I wanted to know more. So I sat down with TGR founder Todd Jones to get the scoop and see the new work behind this aerial gimbal game changer.

I know the details of course, but share with the readers your production company Teton Gravity Research.
The short version is… TGR is an action sports brand founded in 1996. We specialize in media creation and distribution. The core components of our company are films, television, commercials, film tours, and our digital platform, www.tetongravity.com.

From a creative standpoint what does this crazy cool GSSC520 do for you as a filmmaker?
From a creative standpoint the GSS allows us to capture the highest quality footage we possibly can. In the past, when working with 16mm film and DSLR’s, we had amazing tools, but they had their limitations as well. Our push now is to use the same tools and cameras that the most high profile films in the world are shot on. We believe that the ultra hd/4k movement is here and is necessary to provide a certain level of quality delivery to the audience. I never bought into the HD cameras and distribution space. It just was not equivalent to film. I was always impressed with the cineflex footage for its stability, but it also had the HD video edge too it. The C520 allows us to get those super stabilized motion shots at true cinema resolution. We have already been getting calls from some big feature films that are interested in using it on their films. It is pretty cool to think that Hollywood is now calling us to help them create their films with our camera systems. After all, 18 years ago we were just a couple of kids who wanted to make a ski and snowboard film from our point of view.

Break it down for me and the people…what’s the difference between this camera gyro and what you’ve used in the past?
This system is the first 4k resolution system of its kind. It has the most highly sophisticated stabilization technology that has ever been released. There are so many creative ways to use this system. We film highly visual action in stunning locations. To be able to have this camera in those scenarios is a dream.

Yeah, but why is this a game changer?
I think I was touching on it above, but it is the camera system of the future. We also have the ability to put the newest cameras in the world in it. We are currently working on putting the Sony F55 in it and will follow with the new 4k Phantom. The fact that we can rapidly integrate the newest cameras in the world into this system is huge.

Give us a glimpse into the future… Does this technology point to more/new things to come?
I think it does. For one thing it points to the Ultra HD/4k movement. That is coming at us fast. If you’re going to rent helicopters and shoot aerials you might as well shoot them in cinema resolution if you can afford it.

Ok, handwaving and high-fiving is nice, but give me a specific example of where this camera creates an advantage for you…
On the above point, any footage shot with our system will be relevant as the Ultra HD movement takes over. We are already in a situation where the 16mm film we shot for years has very little stock value beyond historical pieces or the TGR brand story. It will need to be presented as archival footage in those scenarios. We can’t even put some of those super epic shots on reels anymore. I am really psyched that the stuff we have been shooting is more future proofed – at least for the next iteration of technology.

I know the answer on this one, but for the benefit of those who might now, what makes you and the TGR team so uniquely qualified to create with this tool? Hollywood here we come?
We have been filming aerials for 18 years. We have worked with limited resources up until now and made them work. Shooting with this system is crazy. The quality of shots is like nothing we have ever captured and it opens doors for us. I just spent the last three weeks working with it in Alaska and it is our best footage to date. We can’t wait to show it to the world.

And we can’t wait to see it. Thanks Todd.



A Good Interview. Photography + Entrepreneur Stuff [ Tearing Down Walls - A Podcast with Jenni Hogan]

I had the distinct pleasure of being a guest on Jenni Hogan’s “Next Big Thing” podcast a couple weeks ago to talk a bit about my life path(s), pivot points and the way that creativeLIVE is systematically re-shaping access to the best education.

For those who don’t know Jenni, she’s a super smart, sharp journalist who has a passion for connecting with like-minded people who impact, inspire and inform. Equally at home in the worlds of tech, media and fashion, Jenni pressed me on my origins as a creative, from my early pivots away from school and PhD’s in philosophy of art to my career as a photographer and entrepreneur.

In these days of media sound bites, those of us who are lucky enough to get a stage rarely get to give lengthy accounts of our experiences. This is a more lengthy account.

What we discuss:
-beginning as a photographer
-how “making it” is really not “making it” at all – just another chapter
-my #1 iTunes app from 2009 (Wired, Macworld, NYT top app) Best Camera – and what I learned
-how creativeLIVE came to be
-how creativity is the new literacy and cL is a big part of that future.

Big thanks to Jenni for having me on the show. Here is the complete podcast, below:

Chase Jarvis TECH: Packing Photo Gear For Hiking [whether for a day trip or up to 19,030 feet on Mt. Kilimanjaro]

A few months ago I was fortunate enough to be part of an expedition to bring greater awareness to the scarcity of fresh drinking water experienced by many countries around the world. Called Summit on the Summit, the expedition was a 60 mile hike up Kilimanjaro and included some artists, educators and guides who shared my interest in this awareness project, including Mark Foster, Justin Chatwin and Beau Garrett.

I put together this short video to give y’all a glimpse of the gear I packed for the trek. I kept it pretty light and stuck to two main camera systems:

_Nikon D4 platform
_14-24mm
_24-70mm
_70-200mm
_Other Nikon Lenses

_Olympus OM-D platform
_12mm
_14-42mm
_40-150mm
_75-300mm

Other Gear:
_Manfrotto Support
_MacBook Pro + Macbook Air
_GTech External Hard Drives
_LowePro Bags
_Dakine Photo Brick

Watch the vid for the full deets on my tech choices for this amazing journey.

Those slick beats underneath the video are compliments of the one, the only mr BIG CHOCOLATE…here on iTunes.
Big Chocolate Facebook
@bigchocolate

We Are Not Our Toys. Or Are We?

Ragnar - Iceland

A recent NPR story “Why Politicians Want Children to be Seen and Heard” spoke to the effectiveness of children as political messengers. Federal gun law supporters use images of children to play on the emotions of the masses. “Save Our Children” and all that jazz. Annoying as hell to get ‘used’. But real. And effective stuff, no doubt.

Children have long been the fodder of photogs. Back in January I shined the bloglight on Danny Goldfield, who spent seven years photographing children from over 169 countries — all of whom happened to live in New York City. The portraits are heartwarming and powerful for their diversity and depiction of the innocence and resilience of youth.

Flashback also to the World Press Photo of the Year. The cries of anger and sorrow captured in the faces of a group of men carrying two dead children.

Which brings us to today’s work, with a twist. Gabriele Galimberti’s “Toys Stories” project took 18 months and brought him everywhere from Malawi and Zanzibar to China and the Ukraine. His concept was simple enough: capture children from around the globe, posing with their favorite toys.

Despite the obvious socio-economic differences apparent across the subjects captured, Galimberti observed a thread common to every child he shot:

At their age, they’re pretty much all the same. They just want to play.

We are all the same, right? Well, interestingly, Galimberti did find one difference of note… that the children from more affluent backgrounds tended to be more possessive of their belongings, requiring a bit more coaxing and persuading from the artist to get them to share. Of the children from poorer countries, Galimberti had this to say: “In poor countries, it was much easier. Even if they only had two or three toys, they didn’t really care. In Africa, the kids would mostly play with their friends outside.”

You can connect the dots on that one – I’ll say nothing.

Regardless, here’s a fantastic sampling of Galimberti’s work below. Please pay him a visit to view the project in its entirety here. #respect.

Bethsaida - Haiti


Stella - Italy


Pavel - Ukraine


Tangawizi - Kenya


Ryan - South Africa


Shaira - India


Norden - Marocco


Niko - Alaska


Kalesi - Fuji Islands


Davide - Malta

Chase Jarvis 60: Macklemore

I’m grateful to have so many friends in the Seattle community who influence and inspire me. Among them – Ben Haggerty.

Known to the world as Macklemore, Ben and his talented musical partner-in-crime Ryan Lewis have been on rocket-ship ride to hip hop stardom in the last 7 months. They have been touring non-stop and sold millions of downloads their #1 hit song Thriftshop from the incredible album The Heist. They have appeared on Jay Leno, Saturday Night Live, Letterman, Colbert Report and all the other major talk shows and venues along the way. It’s been fun to watch. We were fortunate enough to have them on our humble little show chasejarvisLIVE back in October of 2011. After the show I caught up with Ben for this portrait. Enjoy the moment.

Macklemore is a talented and a wonderful human being who reminds us all to be honest, fun and grateful. To see what I’m talking about check out this blog post he wrote last week – here.

Kickstarter of the Week – Stop Motion Love Story: Interview with the 11 Year Old Director

I don’t know what you were doing when you were 11, but I know I wasn’t directing movies. Hell, I wasn’t even standing in front of that pool. Trinity Anderson, on the other hand, has jumped into the deep end and seems to managing just fine, thank you.

The 11-year-old and her father, Barry Anderson, are wrapping up production on her latest stop-motion film (a genre she’s been at since she was 4) and have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help cover the rest of production costs. The film is titled Me & Ewe. It is a sheep love story.

I caught up with Trinity and Barry before her performance rehearsals (she’s also an actor) to talk a bit more about her project.

For the record, this is my first time interviewing an 11-year-old.

How did you get into movies and directing? How old were you and what drew you it?

Trinity: When i was 4, we went to Hawaii. I used to get up early, but where we were staying was right near a big cliff and my parents didn’t want me going outside on my own. So they got me a video camera to play with inside. I had Playmobils at the time and I used to make up stories and started using stop motion. I also really liked acting at a young age. When we go to California every summer I get to go to an Shakespeare acting camp. I’ve been doing that every year for a while now.  

Tell me a little bit about this project. What have been the biggest challenges? What have been the biggest breakthroughs?

Trinity: We had a lot of problems with the main tree in the film. As filming went on, the tree started to shed its leaves, so by the end we sort of had this giant dead tree. You can kind of see it in the film, but as it goes on we show it less and less. In the first opening shot it’s green and lush. As you watch it, it kind of dies on you. 

Our biggest breakthrough happened when we were shooting one shot and we ran out of battery. It was a long shot and we didn’t want to retake it. We were about to disassemble when we decided to see if we could recharge the battery while it was still attached to the camera. That worked, so we were able to continue.  

Barry: It was a Switronix PB70 external battery. We couldn’t have plugged it in and saved the shot had we been using a regular canon battery.

Nice. A technological breakthrough.

So tell me, how has this project help you grow as a director? What’s it like being in charge of a project and managing other people?

Trinity: This project was bigger than all the other projects. I’ve made little stop motion films with friends using the iSight on the computer, but this one used real props, real cameras. It is much better quality and we’ve spent a lot more time at at and it’s being shot in an actual studio. We’re planning to enter it in film festivals and put it online. So it’s just bigger than anything I’ve done.

As far as managing, well, we don’t have many people working on the film. Besides my dad there’s my great uncle and grandpa. My dad and I do most of the animated work, and we also have one other animation guy who is doing the background sheep. I pretty much told him what to do and he did it.

Barry: We basically spent a lot of time finding people who would put up with us.

In many ways this project is co-directed by you and your Dad. What has that been like? Has it been challenging making sure the visions are aligned?

Trinity: We have limited amount of camera angles, so there isn’t much decision there. We decide on which camera angle would be best and worked together to figure out the placements. My Dad helped a lot  with the lights. But otherwise it was pretty straightforward as to which lens we should be using. I guess I was in charge of placement of sheets.

Barry: Trinity wanted to be lead animator. We spent some time talking through the story and came up with some rough storyboards. We figured out what the scenarios would be. Once we had the story down, we agreed on things. It wasn’t a major Hollywood production — there were some limitations and once things fell into place and we put on the lens we got dialed it in. 

In the beginning I was tech guy at computer, making sure we weren’t going to fast to slow and Trinity was in charge of bringing the sheep to life on the screen. But once she got over her intimidation of the technology, she had no problem assuming that role, too!

Artists and creatives often get asked “who or what are your influences?” Influences can be other artists or directors, it can be books or a series of books, movies or a series of movies. Who or what are your influences?

Trinity: I always wanted to work in movies. For a short time I went through an archeology phase, but my Dad has always been directing movies, so really I’d have to say my Mom and Dad. Aside from them I really like Stephen Speilberg and his movies like Jaws, ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Indiana Jones. I also like It’s a Wonderful Life and some other black and white films like, Maltese Falcon, The Navigator and Some Like it Hot.

I really enjoy comedy. Movies that aren’t funny aren’t my favorite. Buster Keaton has been an influence for me. I do some circus performance and he’s really made my comedy better. 

Do you have a particular favorite stop motion director of film?

Trinity: Nightmare before Christmas. But I also really like A Town Called Panic. It’s a French film. It uses a real unique animation form. It’s different and it fits the story. 

I also like the Fantastic Mr Fox. The models are good and I love the voices of the actors. Also the score is beautiful. Our test score is mostly taken from that movie. It was done by Alexandre Desplat [who did Argo]. We actually sent him an email to see if he’d do the score for our movie, but we haven’t heard anything yet. 

Wow. Let’s hope he comes through. That would be something. 

We have a lot of gear heads who read the blog. They’re going to want to know a little bit about the gear you use in the film. 

Barry: For cameras we used two Canon 5D Mark II’s. We’re using Dragonframe software to do the actual animation. It’s been used in a lot of features. It’s powerful and not that expensive.

Trinity: It’s great because it’s not as complicated as some programs, but it’s not so simple that it can’t do all the things you want. It’s really the perfect medium. The other cool thing about the project is that most of the lighting is done with lights we got at Home Depot.

Barry: We used to 1K source lights with soft boxes, but every other light was a Home Depot light. We built a grid over the field and used everything from 15 watt up to 300 watt, both clear and frosted.

Trinity: And a lot of gaffe tape. 

To help Trinity and Barry finish their project, contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, here.

Here are some behind-the-scenes stills from the set of Me & Ewe. Enjoy:

Nikon D7100 — A Definitive Review with Meaty Details [photo comparos + spec highlights]

The Nikon D7100

Although gear isn’t even close to the most important part of photography, it’s still important. And choosing the best camera for your particular needs can be a daunting task – which is why I often get new gear to bang around with and it’s also why I associate with smart gear guys like my pal Sohail. In this review, Sohail puts the new Nikon 7100 through its paces in a way that I haven’t got the patience for…the details, with side by side photo / setting comparo’s and the like. Me? I just shoot the thing and feel it, take a peek at the files. But Sohail goes deep. So sit forward and read the good word below. Feel free to holler with questions – we’ll pick em up as best we can. Take it away Sohail…
__

Introduction

Thanks Chase. Nikon’s D7100 has been an eagerly-awaited-upon update to the enormously popular D7000 (remember back when Chase launched that camera for Nikon with this bts video + campaign + blog post…). Now crowned as the flagship of Nikon’s DX-format lineup, the D7100 brings some pretty cool features to an already solid camera — though what it leaves out may disappoint those users waiting for a D300s replacement.

About the update

Like its little siblings the D5200 and the D3200, the D7100 boasts a 24MP sensor. Unlike pretty much all of Nikon’s cameras (the D800E is an exception), it does away with the Optical Low-Pass Filter (OLPF) that is present on the vast majority of DSLRs. That filter, which is designed to reduce moiré in digital images, softens the image up a bit in the process. Leaving it out means that the camera can now resolve more per-pixel detail, though images can be a bit noisier at higher ISOs.

Autofocus has also been improved in this update. We go from 39 AF points with nine cross-type sensors to 51 points, 15 of which have cross-type sensors. One nice surprise is that the center AF point will autofocus at up to f/8, which means that you can now use a 2x teleconverter with an f/4 lens and still autofocus.

There’s plenty more. Liveview now has two modes for still and video, and the dedicated movie record button has been moved to the top of the camera, near the shutter. The LCD is of a higher resolution, and there’s a stereo microphone built into the camera. Other features include: a new 1.3x crop mode that creates small (about 15MP) files and bumps the max framerate from 6 to 7 frames per second, exposure bracketing is now increased from 3 frames to 5, and the camera is a hair lighter overall.

Initial impressions

While the D7100 is lighter than the D7000, it actually feels more dense. The handgrip feels more rounded and less angular, giving my fingers a more comfortable grip on the body. The shutter button is angled a bit more, letting your index finger lie very comfortably on it.

The new arrangement on the D7100 (right) is more ergonomic than the D7000 (left).

The new arrangement on the D7100 (right) is more ergonomic than the D7000 (left).

On the back, the 8-way rocker switch has been moved higher, which adds to the ergonomics of the camera. It’s much more comfortable to move that focus point around now. The AE-L/AF-L button doesn’t get recessed when you push it — which seems like a small thing, but when you use it for back-button-focus like I do, it’s not such a small deal anymore.

The fine detail tweaking on the D7100 makes it a much more comfortable camera to use, especially for longer periods of time. Nikon seems to have put some more serious thought into this body, and the fit/finish feels more high-end to me than the D7000.

In the Field

Here’s where I was both disappointed and delighted in somewhat equal measures. When Nikon crowned the D7100 the “flagship” of the DX-format line, there was a contingent who hoped that it would be a replacement for Nikon’s previous flagship crop-sensor body, the D300s, a model that’s pretty long in the tooth.

Wildlife shooters, for example, would love to have an APS-C sensor body that will shoot up to 8 frames per second, as the D300s does, but with an updated sensor and processing engine. Canon users have the 7D, which brought them a weather-sealed, fast frame rate body, but Nikonians have been without an update to their equivalent for some time now, even as Canon allegedly prepares an update to the 7D.

Canon's 7D is the main competitor to the new D7100

Canon's 7D is the main competitor to the new D7100

Well, those Nikon fans are going to have to wait just a bit longer. While the D7100 does improve on the D7000 in many ways, it isn’t a replacement for the D300s, at least not in the area of frame rates for fast-action photography. Those eying the 7D on the Canon side still don’t have a fast-action camera with a decent buffer they can get on this side of the aisle, at least not until you hit the D4 range. Nikon really needs a camera that delivers for wildlife and sports shooters that doesn’t cost $6000.

True, 6 fps isn’t something to shake a stick at, but the problem factor here is the buffer. As you can see in Nikon’s specs, shooting at RAW, you get exactly 7 frames in the 12-bit lossless compressed format. That’s about a 1-second burst. Not exactly ideal when you’re trying to capture, say, birds in flight.

The new 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II from Nikon pairs wonderfully with the D7100.

The new 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II from Nikon pairs wonderfully with the D7100.

Dropping down to JPEG improves things a lot, as you get a 33-shot buffer in this mode. Drop it down to JPEG Normal mode and you get 100 shots in that buffer. But compare this to the 7D, the Canon body that the D7100 goes up against, and you have a 25-shot buffer for RAW images at an 8 frame-per-second burst. I’m not sure why the D7100 dropped the ball a bit on the buffer, but there it is.

Still, I wanted to shoot some fast action with the D7100 to give its autofocus a workout. I chose the new 80–400mm f/4.5–5.6 II lens for this test, and fortunately managed to secure one from my buddies at BorrowLenses.com (it’s back-ordered already, and with good reason). I dropped the file quality down to JPEG, and went off to shoot.

Shooting fast action

Let me say this pretty definitively now. Here’s the part of the D7100 that absolutely delighted me: it just plain rocks in the AF department. Shooting with a tight cluster of 9 AF points around the center, I was nailing focus far more than I ever did with the D7000. In fact, short of the D4, I don’t know if there’s a current Nikon out there with a better AF system.

Take the image below; these little blackbirds are ridiculously quick, and getting one in focus is, well, not easy, to say the least. It’s not a great picture, but for me it’s something of a minor miracle, as I’ve rarely gotten a shot of them in flight.

Blackbird in flight. Image © Sohail Mamdani

Blackbird in flight. Image © Sohail Mamdani

The other pleasant surprise was the D7100’s metering system. I usually set my camera to manual mode, then fire away, chimping every few minutes to monitor light changes. This time around, as a test, I set the camera to shutter-priority mode, set it to 1/2000 (or, occasionally, 1/1600 to compensate a bit for shadows), and enabled auto-ISO on the D7100.

To my great delight, the 2016-pixel RGB sensor that the D7100 inherited from its predecessor, combined with whatever else Nikon has baked into this new body, metered the situation very, very well, adjusting aperture and ISO as needed. In fact, in the cases where I did see clipping, it was minimal, and often restricted to highlights, as you can see below.

The built-in metering system does a great job, with minimal clipping. Image © Sohail Mamdani

The built-in metering system does a great job, with minimal clipping. Image © Sohail Mamdani

Detail was another area in which I was very pleased with the D7100. Remember, Nikon has chosen to leave out the OLPF filter, which means that images from this new body are going to be a bit sharper than a camera with the same sensor. In-camera, with the “Landscape” picture style set, the results, as you can see below, were extremely good for a camera in this price range.

The D7100 holds detail really well. Image © Sohail Mamdani

The D7100 holds detail really well. Image © Sohail Mamdani

All in all? While it’s not exactly D4-style sharp, it’s not bad at all. Given a RAW file, I’d have teased out some more detail and sharpened it selectively — another reason I missed having a larger buffer.

Shooting nightscapes at high ISO

Everyone wants to know how the newest camera does at high ISO. Here’s your answer: Not bad, but not great.

Starting at ISO 800, the noise starts to reveal itself. The file is still pretty clear, however, and needs but the slightest of noise removal in Lightroom or Aperture.

At ISO 1600, it’s pretty apparent, though the images are still usable. There’s some smearing in the shadows, but it’s there only if you pixel-peep at 100%. Noise reduction in your software of choice will get rid of it.

At 3200, it’s not that much worse, surprisingly. Compared to the D7000, there’s less color noise, more luminance noise. What’s apparent, as well, is the the D7100 is holding on to a greater dynamic range at that ISO, while the D7000 is showing just a hair more sharpness in some areas (but not in all).

ISO 3200 comparison, with D7000 on the left and D7100 on the right

ISO 3200 comparison, with D7000 on the left and D7100 on the right

By ISO 6400, the noise in the file is obvious and pretty bad, and applying noise reduction tends to blur the image noticeably. Nikon has nonetheless done a great job of controlling color noise, and most of the noise is luminance-based. Compared to the D7000, the dynamic range at ISO 6400 is still better in the D7100, and the RAW file holds up pretty well in post. The images below are DNGs in Lighroom.

ISO 6400 comparison, with D7000 on the left and D7100 on the right

ISO 6400 comparison, with D7000 on the left and D7100 on the right

If you’re wondering why the D7000 controls noise slightly better than the D7100, the culprit can likely be found in that OLPF — or rather, the lack thereof. Without it, images are naturally more noisy.

But if you look past the pixel-peeping, the fact is that the D7100 (and its predecessor) are incredible machines at high ISOs for the price. Is it D4-good? No. But it’s also a fifth of the cost of a D4. For what you’re paying, you’re getting an awfully good machine.

Portraits and Skin Tones

Okay, this is where I admit to making a goofball of a mistake. I shot portraits of my friend Ben right after shooting birds in the wetlands around San Francisco. If you recall, I’d set the camera to shoot JPEG for that… and that’s where I left it. Accidentally.

Yes, you may now proceed to call me a moron. It is well-deserved.

Yet the JPEG files from this shoot actually held up pretty well through Lightroom and Photoshop edits. The image below is the JPEG output from a TIFF file that Photoshop created from the original JPEG file exported to it with edits from Lightroom.

Yeah, my head hurts thinking of that too. But it worked. The original out-of-camera JPEG is on the left.

JPEGs from the D7100 hold up pretty well in post. Image © Sohail Mamdani

JPEGs from the D7100 hold up pretty well in post. Image © Sohail Mamdani

Now, this may be old news to you JPEG shooters out there, but for someone who’s been shooting RAW for the majority of his digital photography career, I didn’t think you could get away with this kind of torture on a JPEG. It’s a bit amazing how much we tend to depend on RAW without giving JPEG a chance.

For those of you interested in seeing an un-tortured file from a RAW image, with no camera/Lightroom/Photoshop interference, the image below, taken of my friend Courtney, is straight-out-of-camera RAW, exported from Lightroom with the 2012 process and Adobe Standard profile.

Processed RAW, no adjustments, exported from Lightroom. Image © Sohail Mamdani

Processed RAW, no adjustments, exported from Lightroom. Image © Sohail Mamdani

I have no complaints about the images — RAW or JPEG — coming out of the D7100 when it comes to portraiture. The white balance was set to Auto for this shot, and the lighting was two Profoto 2X3’ softboxes, with Elinchrom Ranger Quadras shooting through them. The D7100 rendered gorgeous skin tone and color, with just outstanding detail, even at 200% (below).

Courtney's portrait at 200%. Image © Sohail Mamdani.

Courtney's portrait at 200%. Image © Sohail Mamdani.

Conclusion

The D7100 is not the camera all Nikonians were hoping for. I wanted faster frame rates and a bigger buffer. I’m sure there are many who wanted more megapixels, or fewer. We all have our notions of what the next camera from Nikon/Canon/Sony/Olympus/Fuji/Pentax/whatever should have.

I do think Nikon needs a solid competitor to Canon’s 7D, and the D7100 isn’t it. But if you put that notion aside, and look at the D7100 on its own merits, what you have is an absolutely outstanding camera that’s just packed with bang for your buck. At $1299, this isn’t a body that can be called underpowered or anemic in any way. Rather, it’s an extremely capable and well-rounded body that will be a worthy upgrade to anyone using a current Nikon DX-format DSLR — including D7000 owners. The additional resolution, the lack of an OLPF, the great detail and color, autofocus, and metering all combine to make this worth every penny of the $1299 it costs, and then some.

For what it’s worth, I would have no hesitation using the D7100 as a secondary body to my D800E.

Gear provided by BorrowLenses.com - where still photographers and videographers can rent virtually everything.

So You Want to Be a Commercial Photographer? Here’s How… [Joey L on creativeLIVE]

Update: It’s official now, I’m dropping in as a guest on JoeyL’s show TODAY at 10:45 Seattle Time (1:45 NYC; 18:45 London). Join us – ask questions. I just was sent over the topics he’s going to grill me on and I haven’t given an interview this in-depth about commercial photography in more than a year. Tune in HERE to watch…

Occasionally I hand pick certain people that I’d like to see on creativeLIVE. Joey L is one of those people — and starting NOW, AND for the next 3 days, he’s going to be sharing everything he can muster about his approach to commercial portrait photography and personal projects. Specifically he will be walking photographs from concept, thru lighting, posing, shooting and post production…and doing it all LIVE (so you can ask questions) and FREE.

Why did I choose JoeyL?
Here’s 3 reasons you should watch:
1. Few photographers today know how to make the pictures they see in their mind. But Joey can do this as well or better than any long standing pro – he turns his vision into reality. In truth this is one of the hardest things for people trying to “make it” as a photographer, and Joey shows you how.

2. Professional photography is more than just capturing the image. This is the simple secret that few people know. It’s about 3 distinct steps… planning for the picture, taking the picture and then making it come to life in post production. In this course, Joey walks you thru all 3 steps with flair.

3. Combination of hard work and technical execution. Most photographers I see in the world have one of these keys, but not both. You can’t succeed with just hustle and yet having shitty technique. And you can’t succeed by being a genius technician without any hustle. JoeyL exudes both of these, and you’ll be able to learn the balance of these in action by watching him.

So check it out. (I’ll be roaming around off set for 2 of the 3 days, maybe even drop in. Hope to see you.)

Resister FREE here to get updates and info about the class each day
Just drop in LIVE here anytime here.

joey L on creativeLIVE

21 Behind-the-Scenes Photos from an Un-Belizeable Photo Assignment

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If you’ve been following along socially you’re in the know that I’m on a commercial assignment in Belize that targets the life and wonder of the world’s water, lakes, oceans, etc. [...You might remember this video of the SuperPod of dolphins from the South African leg of this campaign with long time friend Mike Horn...]

In short, I can’t say enough good stuff about Belize. It’s seemingly impossible to take a bad photo here…even without the high-falutin’ tools that we’ve been using –helicopters, boats, diving rigs, etc)… If you just had your phone, you could slay it here. Anyway – wanted to share some quick behind-the-scenes shots that let y’all in on a little of what we’ve had going. [#HumbleBrag?!]

Lots of love for Ambergis Caye + Placencia. Costs in Belize are reasonable – especially given the epic-ness of the visuals. Special props to the great resort down south… Robert’s Grove. En route back to the USA now – but keep your eyes peeled for a few definitive RAW and TECH videos that we made while down there, based on your requests for more o’ that stuff. Hit me with questions about Belize or our trip – happy to help inspire / enable as many people as possible to learn about this fresh spot.

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Robert's Grove, Placencia

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Lazy Caye - Erik and I filming a TECH about our GoPro set up - stay tuned!

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Fishing out of Placencia with Elroy

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The Blue Hole from above

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My good friend Danny and his wife Susan have been cruising the Caribbean with their two children for 15 months. Their 50-foot catamaran the S/V Blue Kai was a great model too. Almost as good as Danny in this photo. www.svbluekai.com

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Walking on water to get the shot at Roberts Grove, Placencia

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Jerard doing some underwater work for the shoot - not a bad office

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Jerard and Clifford got after this little Hobie Cat. In fact, they flipped it about 5 minutes after this shot. #WorkingHardPlayingHard

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When working in tropical climes I try to keep my crew hydrated - with margaritas.

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