It’s All Good

Hi to All the Ships at Sea,

Let’s see if I got this right-I don’t like Photoshop, right? Right. I don’t like software where you can manipulate images…right? Right. I believe everything should be done in the camera…right? Right. Never crop, right? Right. Less is more, right? Right. Digital will be just like 8-tracks, it’ll never last. So let’s check out the reality, I guess it’s impossible to be right all the time.

The photograph of this young lady catching a cod-fish off the coast of Prince Edward Island, up until today, was flat, muddy, indistinguishable and almost two stops under. There’s a technical  term in photography for a photo like this…it’s blank blank blank blank. Well through a little bit of work in Photoshop and NIK software it came alive.  The young lady’s name  is JoAnne Kalish.

All the Best,

Joe D

You can now follow me on Twitter @dimaggio_photo
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I Invented the GoPro— NOT

© Joe DiMaggio

One of the greatest assignments I had an opportunity to do was a three-week assignment for Sports Illustrated on three brothers, the Whittington brothers, who inherited nine hundred million dollars. They had an affinity for cars, planes, and all things exciting.  Their 1979 Le Mans entrance won first in their class. A small part of my assignment was to have the three cars together at speed, so I ordered a Mitchell mount from California, mounted a Nikon f2 with a motor with a 15mm lens, and a remote cord into the compartment where I sat on four roll bars. I explained that we only needed to go 40 to 50 miles an hour. Unfortunately, race cars like to grip at much higher speeds. We did one pass at about 100 miles an hour, I changed film, and on the second pass, I could feel the remote button and my camera was out of film. I believe my quote was “we can go back to the pits, I’m done”. I will never ever use those words again. Bill Whittington kicked in the turbo and we went from 100 to 160 in what seemed like a millisecond, until the rear end broke loose (please keep in mind, he had on his Nomex, his balaclava, his gloves, his helmet, and all of his racing belts. I had beech nut gum and a death grip on the roll cage). He took the emergency road, locked up all the brakes, came to a full stop, popped out of the automobile and I was still frozen. Paul Newman looked over and said to me “You must be out of your mind to get in a car with that wild man”. Once again, Paul was right.

As everyone knows, I was brought into the digital world kicking and screaming. Now that I’m working on my memoirs, I realize what  I did with this series cost several thousand dollars and someone could have gotten hurt (namely me). In the world of digital, using two GoPros, one on the front and one on the back of the car would’ve been safer. I don’t have to be in the car, so if they would like to do 180, so be it. The overall cost would be less than $600 with a safety wire. God bless digital.

Shot at 1/15th of a second on Kodachrome 25 at f11.

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio
Paul Newman with Don and Bill Whittington

99.9% Keep Shooting

© Joe DiMaggio All Rights Reserved

To All The Ships at Sea

Today is Tuesday. I’ve had three back to back days – 14 hours, 15 hours, 12 hours and today I’m doing a short segment on Ricky Boscorino for our Photo Retreat in July.  Late last night or early this morning (I genuinely forget) I stumbled across an essay I did on Mountain Biking.  One frame got my attention. When we pick up a camera, we all strive to make a new photo but 99% of the time it’s been made before.  So we try to put a new spin on it. Guess what?  99% of the time someone’s already done that.  It’s up to us though, to keep trying. That’s what we do.  It’s all Good.  Canon film camera 14mm lens 1/250 f/5.6 film Velvia 50

Peak Action

©Joe DiMaggio

I had an opportunity to teach at the University of Arizona. It afforded me time in the desert, in the dead of winter to photograph some interesting characters. Here’s a young man taking a short cut. I had no idea he was going to do this. The lesson of the day is to make sure your camera is ready to go. Pre-select shutter speed, aperture, color balance, ISO, type of metering, and exposure compensation. The next part of the equation would be experience and some would say luck, I believe you make your own luck. This photo was taken with a 35 mm camera, a 100mm Macro lens, ISO 50, shutter speed 1/500 f/4, single exposure. 

PRE-PRODUCTION, EXPERIENCE, EXECUTION

Gitzo, whats old is new again

The problem is with making anything world class, tremendous quality,and so reliable that it can outlast most of the patrons that use it. Like an old pair of socks or an old work shirt, I have a problem discarding old friends. Approximately  in 1972, I purchased a large heavy Gitzo tripod. It virtually went around the world with me. It went to several Olympics, a World Series, major advertising assignments, and at the Apollo Soyuz. That tripod held a 400mm, a 600mm, and a 800 mm, and was the Rock of Gibraltar. About 10 years ago my studio manager complained that the tri pod was too big and to heavy. I procured a smaller Gitzo and two Manfrottos. They are fabulous tripods, but I missed the big Gitzo. Who knew 40 years ago, that much of my work in 2012 would be with DSLR’s for videos, I certainly did not. I decided to resurrect my first Gitzo as the new technology. I gave a call to Chris Brunngraber. I purchased the new 504 HD bridge, of course I did not tell him I was going to put it on the old Gitzo, and soon found out that my tri pod had a 150mm yoke. Two days later Chris sent me a 75mm adapter. WOW! how cool is that?! I am now able (with the help of Manfrotto) to breathe new life into an old tripod. To all the ships at sea, obviously I am not taking any thing away from the new technology. Let’s just call it a green thing. Wow I’m acually keeping up and recycling. Hell it is all good, go out and make some new photos, that’s the most important thing.


 To all the ships at sea II, in the lead photograph there are two absolutely fantastic people Ron Thompson- senor tech adviser for Nikon ” and a lot more.” Ralph Morse- the best LIFE magazine photographer when it came to the space program, and much more. A separate blog will follow

Birthday. The Bertster.

Everyday of our lives, is an important day. Six months ago I made a decision to teach a work shop at Gleason’s Gym. When my studio manager reminded me that it was my birthday I said great. I consider work a privilege and what better to do then teach photography at Glesons’ Gym. Its just does not get better then that. I knew it was going to a very special and an amazing eclectic group. From Brazil, Chili, Colombia, England, Norway, and all over the east coast. A great balance between men and women, and great help from JoAnne Kalish, Larry Malang, Peter Poremba. It was a hell of a great day. Life is funny, I was on a great natural high, and I got back to the studio. Did not check my voice mail, did not check my email, downloaded the cards, checked facebook. I don’t check it that often and I find one of my close friend died of a heart attack. It was Bert Sugar. On Wednesday, I called Bert, he answered me as usual “Uncle Joe.” I always call him the “Bertster”. I asked him how he was feeling, and he said” I have lung cancer, and have internal bleeding but that’s not the problem.” Then I asked him what the big problem was? He said, “I have F@$!#ing terminal acne.” Thats the Bertster, no matter what the dialogue is he always finds humor in it. He was loved by millions, hated by thousands, he was a true Damon Runyon character and a great friend. I will miss him, yes I will miss him… Off the record, he suffered “Cuttysheimers”, his words not mine. RIP Bert Sugar.

                                 Bert Sugar, Playwright Budd Schulberg, and son Benn Schulberg

                                                           Bert Sugar

                                            Captain Lou Albano, Bert Sugar

Bert Randolph Sugar at his finest at Gleasons’

All photos copyright Joe DiMaggio

The Student Becomes the Instructor

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Joe,
     Well, next year it’ll have been 30 years since I loaded film into your Nikons at the 1982 Indy 500.  It was a complete thrill to finally be able to work the other side of the fence after growing up at the track each May tagging along with my Dad.  Of course things have changed a bit since then.  In addition to the digital revolution, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has undergone a major facelift and is a World-class facility.  I started shooting the 500 for Reuters in 1990 and have been back ever since.  Last year, I had the honor of having my college-aged daughter, Ainslie, join the family “business” and become the 4th generation of Millers to pick up a camera at the 500.  Back at the 1982 you captured the memorable image of the Johncock/Mears finish, and who knew that 24 years later in 2006 I’d repeat the feat by capturing the Hornish/Andretti finish that would appear double-trucked in SI as well as the NY Times.
Peace,
Geoff Miller
_________________________________________
Geoff,
     I am so proud of you not only as a photographer but as one hell of a fine human being. There are very few young people that would give up their bed back in the day so we could get to the Indy 500 at 5 A.M. to beat the traffic. And like many of my assistants, you did so much more than just load film into my Nikons. Without your help, that photograph would not have been done. It’s something that I’ve been aware of my whole life. We tend to think we work in isolation. We tend to think how important we are. But the same way that Rick Mears would say “It’s a team effort”, I say the same thing. We worked as a team. Your work is amazing. You deserve everything that you get and some more. And who knows- maybe in the next couple of years, we’ll have an opportunity to work together again. Keep on shooting and remember the first rule of photographing racecars: Never turn your back on one. 
Thanks,
     Joe D.

All photos ©Geoff Miller

Goodbye Old Friend

Photo © Joe DiMaggio 

Well I guess it’s time to take my Beret off for the last time for an old friend Kodachrome Film.  Yes, it’s true that I’ve not shot a roll of Kodachrome in 10 years but in the beginning, I was not only weaned on Tri-X but Kodachrome I and II.  When it came to color film, my film of choice for over 30 years was Kodachrome 25. I will never forget the look on the Director of Photography, for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, John Dominis’ face when I turned in 100 rolls of Kodachrome. At the time, I had finished up an assignment photographing the Wittington Brothers, who coincidentally inherited 900 million dollars and won LeMains in their class.  It was a feature piece I was working on and I did not have a drop dead deadline so I chose to shoot with Kodachrome. Another fond remembrance, was Max at the old, old B and H  I had a standing order with Max of 100 rolls of Kodachrome 25, 100 rolls of Kodachrome 64, 50 rolls of Velvia 50, and 50 rolls of Fuji 100.  There would be a line 2 deep at B and H at their 4 cash registers at the time.  Max would see me come into the store and yell, “Sorry I kept you so long waiting, Mr. DiMaggio, your order is ready” and everybody on line got very unhappy as I moved to the front of the line.  I really liked Max. 

Both JoAnne and I certainly don’t have an exact count of our photo archives, but we have to have over 1 million, two hundred thousand photos.  We probably will still be making scans from Kodachrome for many years to come.    I guess I had this roll still lying around because it was a 20 exposure roll and not 36 frames

GET WITH THE PROGRAM & TAKE A BATH

All Photo©Joe DiMaggio

The old cliché how do you get to Carnegie Hall, is practice, practice, practice. Cliché’s become that way because they’re true. I spent a couple of decades becoming proficient at a certain type of photography and have rules that never, ever change.

At one point in my photography I had one camera designated for Kodachrome 25, another camera designated for Fuji 100, and a third camera for Tri-x, rated at 400 (but I really exposed it at 200.) Why? Because you never want a thin negative. I always wanted to print on number 2 paper. So you spend all of this time learning the zone system, and of course you can’t really use it, unless you’re shooting a 4×5 or 8×10 view camera. Well then along came digital. So, what do I do? I set the ISO to 50 and I shoot all day at 50. It never dawned on me that I should change it. Of course I know I can change it, but I just didn’t. That’s the way I looked at digital for the first few years. Now, on the same CF card, I’m shooting 45 shots the equivalent of Kodachrome 25, 60 shots equivalent to an ISO of 50 (for when I used Fuji Velvia), 18 at Tri-X 400, 28 at ISO 800, 1600, or even higher.

What I’m saying is we all have to get with the program and change in order to grow. Bathe yourself in the new technology. Move on and upward – it’s exciting. I feel like I’m 16 and I’m re-shooting everything that I’ve ever done and having a ball doing it. Every once and a while, I even get paid for it. It’s all good. Joe D