My Friend Jim Morton

© Photo by Jim Morton

A friend, Jim Morton Sr., a really good photographer did this portrait and I would like to share it.

This is what Jim wrote me when he sent it along.  “I was asked to photograph our local Fire Department.  They needed head shots for their department folders and a group Image of all current firemen and the Mayor along with the chaplain of the Department.

After doing the formal portraits I asked if anyone would like to do some pictures with their fallout gear on in the engine bays.  All of the firemen said they would like to do it so it was time to have some fun.  I used the Dynalite Baja B4 with the Dynalite 47 inch Grand soft box. I asked Captain Eric Pearson to sit on the front bumper of the new department Pumper.  When looking through my viewfinder I noticed his reflection in the grill, and asked him move forward about 3-4 inched so his reflection would be seen completely.  I never told him why I wanted him to move because I wanted to surprise him when the image was printed.

This was not the original image I had in mind but once I saw it, I knew it was the shot.”

 

Dynalite Makes Its Own Light

© Peter Poremba

To all the ships at sea, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years as a photographer and  filmmaker, it’s that I don’t have all the answers. Hopefully, I’m smart enough to go to the people that do have the answers. Peter Poremba, the CEO, president, and senior electrical engineer of Dynalite was kind enough to go to Malibu on two separate occasions, and with the minimum amount of equipment he was able to light 30% of the arena: just one light and one power pack (if it was for SI, he would have brought in six power packs and eight lights). The combination of the electronic flash and the hypersync on my Canon 7D and Peter’s Nikon D7000 made for some photos that could not be taken back in the day. Some of the other photos in this blog I threw in just because I wanted to, will have a follow up.

Tech information: triggering device was the new Pocket Wizard Flex, power pack MP800, SH2000 Studio Head, SP-45 reflector, Nikon 85mm 1.4 lens, Canon 135mm lens.

Nikon D7000 exposures: 1/800 of a second, ISO 400, f4

Canon 7D exposures: 1/1200 of a second, ISO 500, f4.5

Peter Poremba, © Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio, no strobe

© Joe DiMaggio

Holiday Greetings




Would like to thank all of our great students who sent us greetings for a wonderful Holiday Season.  


The Dyna-lite alumni group has recently got in touch with us and requested a second advanced Dyna-lite studio workshop.  We will be adding it to our 2011 schedule. For those interested date will be announced in an upcoming newsletter.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

It’s Springtime

© Joe DiMaggio

I had an assignment to photograph a springtime event. I chose to photograph a mother bird feeding her newborn babies. How would I go about doing this? One way would be to walk around find a nest, set up a camera, wait for the mother, and spend 2-3 weeks photographing mother and her chicks.

Possibly this alternative is much simpler… At the end of the cycle of life, mothers and babies abandon their nest. So what I suggest is to go out and collect one or two nests the year before and put them in an elevated position extremely close to your home in a place safe from harm. Why would you do this? Because it allows you a mini studio. The mother discovers the nest, she lays her eggs and you now have a period of 3-5 weeks to make some interesting photos. Your going to want to shoot at least 1-2 times a day over a period of a couple weeks. This is also a great opportunity to utilize your electronic flash. What I used for this photograph was a 300mm f/2.8 lens and a 1.4 extender, at maximum aperture. You want a very shallow depth of field to throw background clutter out of focus. I used a Dyna-lite Uni 400 and a Jack Rabbit power pack on absolute minimum power. We were not looking for a flash photograph but rather a fill light and a catch light. By moving the strobe away and using less power I was able to utilize mixed light successfully. I also used a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod, self timer on-camera, and a Lastolite reflector. You may read this and say to yourself, isn’t that an awful lot of work to get the photo? The answer is no. Preproduction is what its all about. One of the greatest sports photographers in the world was Neil Leifer. Neil had literally hundreds of Sports Illustrated covers and the reason for this was he was a fanatic about research & pre-production so he would get the best possible photographs. He covered all the bases all the time. There were no accidents.