Archive for June, 2009
I have been dreaming of ths idea for some time, the idea being to try and somehow capture a kayakers perspective of the river using a stills camera.
This idea has been used within skiing and boarding for sometime with photogs strapping cameras to magic arms or chest mounts to give the skiers/boarders perspective of the action. Jordan Manley has had some great success with this and has produced some amazing work quite often just using himself as the subject. I distinctly remember a front cover of his were by he had mounted a camera onto a ski pole and got a tight shot of himself skiing some deep pow. I remember at the time being interested in the shot and wondering if similar themes were possible within kayaking.
After a day of zipties, etha foam, duct tape, cam straps more cam straps and finally some duct tape I finally had an extremely dodgy rig to mount my D3 onto. With the D3 in the also sketchy ebay waterproof housing I slid into the Upper cheakmus river to test the system praying that I wouldn’t loose my camera in the process !
The first test of this system proved to be far better than I initially thought it would be. The kayak was pretty tail heavy and unbalanced, but you could get away with paddling easy class 4, I did feel extremely nervous about the possibility of a roll though, I think the weight and inbalance of the rigg may make it extremely difficult to get back up once capsized and a swim would be unthinkable !!
Anyway here are some of the first results. They have lots of room for improvement and need a lot of work to produce the shot I have in my mind, but I am quite happy that they are in focus, there are so far no condensation issues and most of all my camera is still in my possession and works !!
Check out Banksy’s recent display in a Bristol Art gallery ……
Yesterday was spent shooting alongside Anthill films again for the up and coming Tourism Whistler B-roll campaign. the day began with a shoot in Meadow park of a family open canoeing down the River of Golden dreams, followed up with an afternoon on the valley trail with Darcy setting up super complex cable camera shots to link together a trail running shot with a golf shoot. After watching Darcy’s cable camera shot live I can’t wait to see the finished product, it’s is definatley going to be some of the best Tourism B-roll outhtere, not many towns can say they that have that level of production put into there Advertising campaigns.
The morning shoot gave me chance to mess around with my latest toy, a waterproof camera bag/housing. I have messed about with all kinds of systems in the past for housing video cameras, but spent little time with an SLR housing. Most of the options used by surf photographers and divers are ridiculously expensive and tend to be dedicated to your brand and model of camera back. when you consider the rate that camera backs are outdating themselves these days, a 2-4 thousand dollar investment on a underwater housing is not that realistic unless you are selling a huuuuge number of surf or dive images. In the end I threw down on a made in China, ebay special, rip off of the ewa marine bags.
So far the bag seems to be staying dry, but I can’t say I am still not shitting myself putting my D3 into the water in a cheap ebay bag !! There also seems to be quite a learning curve as to what works with the bag as the most obvious half in half out shots really seem to require a lot of light and crystal clear water. at present most of the shots that seem to have been working are water line shots using the reflections and ripples in the water to create interest…
As far as kayaking goes, I haven’t had chance to use the bag, but I can’t wait, maybe the bottom pools at Tatlow creek might make for some super cool under water shots ?? we shall have to wait and see, in the meantime , lets hope it doesn’t leak in and flood my D3 ! that will certainly leave me up shit creek
check out some interesting words from Chase Jarvis on the subject of your creative portfolio…….
Interesting ideas if nothing else…
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of having a portfolio. I understand it’s a core convention of creative professions and that it does the heavy lifting when it comes time to “get work”… But in recent times I’ve become increasingly disenchanted with the concept of “the” portfolio in our digital world and I’ve noticed–in myself and others–that the metaphysical weight alone of the word portfolio can crush the creative spirit rather than enhance it.
What to do? Ditch it.”
Elinchrom are a Swiss based manufacturer producing high end studio flashes for the fashion and action sports market. They are very popular within the action sports market due to their rugged builds and super fast flash durations, combined with a short recycle time. There are lots of manufactuers producing high quality studio flashes (alien bees, profoto, hensel etc etc) , but Elinchrom seem to produce the product best suited to shooting outdoor action sports with.
In the past I have spent a lot of time and effort working with the strobist model of utilising small speedlight strobes to create outdoor lighting set ups. Most of my time was spent using METZ C45 and the Nikon SB800′s with the pocket wizard radio remote triggers. There are lots of advocates for using small flashes (joe Mcnally etc etc) but they tend to be more portrait based or sponsored by Nikon ( 20 odd speedlights in your bag ). Personally I found the small flashes needed to be extremely close to the subject to achieve any results and also the ambient light had to be very low in order to over power it. This can be an acceptable path to go down for sports such as skateboarding, certain MTB shots, but I found for sports that put the subject further away from you such as skiing, kayaking etc etc, the speedlights produced nothing but lots of failed shots and frustration…
So after spending countless hours planning amazing outdoor lighting scenarios only to be shutdown, by moisture problems, battery issues, lack of duration issues, I finally threw down the dollars on what seems to have become certainly in the ski industry the strobe of choice the Elinchrom Ranger RX speed.
So the last week has been the initial learning curve on using the elinchrom for kayaking and biking shots specifically. So far the elichrom has been fantastic , it is super reliable, it fires every time, recycles fast enough to pop two shots in a sequence and most importantly has a short enough duration to freeze motion in the water and the kayaker. The build quality of the Elichrom is also an important factor as it is fully sealed on both the pack and head, as you can imagine this is a deal breaker for use around water and snow.