Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Louisiana Redfish - Thoughts on Photography

This past week I was privileged to host a great group of guys down to southern Louisiana for a little bit of fishing. If you are here for a fishing report, I have written one on the Somethins' Fishy Blog. I am just going to talk about my experiences on the photography side of the trip.

Going in, I had all sorts of gadgets I wanted to try out. Along with the gadgets I wanted to experiment with some ideas I had been playing with in my head. As I listed in my previous post, you will notice that I had packed a shoot through umbrella and a manfrotto magic arm. Shoot through umbrellas create unique light and I wanted to experiment with that light as a fill inside the boat. In the past I have just used the standard hot shoe flash for fill. I wanted to add something different, though. With the magic arm, umbrella mount, and super clamp combined, I was working with a miniature, mobile studio setup. I could position the light anyway I wanted, anywhere I wanted. My immediate issue was the enormous amount of sunlight. In order to get a proper exposure in my particular situation It would have been necessary to have 2-3 speedlites setup. So I really didn't get to use the umbrella the way I intended. I was hoping for low light situations which would have given me the opportunity to create some soft, dramatic lighting. Maybe the boat is not the place to bring such equipment. It never hurts to try, and I definitely will try again to see if it's worth having. Aside from the experimenting, I did my normal thing and shot at every angle possible trying to pick up something fresh and new. Did I achieve fresh and new? I guess I will leave that to those that view my photos.

I did find use for the umbrella indoors, though. In the Spirits Hall, which is where the bar is, I setup the umbrella on the balcony. Spirits Hall has high walls and ceiling which made it easy to bounce light. My one umbrella lit up the entire room allowing me to get a higher shutter speed when shooting hand held.
It was a great trip and I learned so much. It would have been great to have water clarity for underwater shots, but I always have Los Roques to look forward to for that! For all the images on this trip please go to my website. http://www.theflyphoto.com

Friday, February 12, 2010

Louisiana here I come.

I leave for Louisiana on Sunday for 4 days of incredible saltwater fishing. I'm not sure what I am more excited about, the fishing, or the photography. Part of me is thinking about the massive 35lb redfish that will be cast to. The other part of me keeps going through so many cool shots I would like to get with my camera and underwater rig. I started to create a gear list for photography and then thought it would be better to just make a blog post about it. So here is what I will be dragging along with me....

Canon 30D
Canon 5D
Ikelite Underwater Housing
Canon 10-22mm f/3.4-4.5
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L
Canon 70-200mm f/.2.8L
Canon 400mm f/4.5-5.6
Boom arm
24x24 Soft Box
Lastolite 3 in 1 umbrella
(3) Pocket Wizard
(2) Circular Polarizer
Re-Chargeable batteries (for speedlites)
Canon 580EXii
Canon 430EX
Manfrotto Magfiber tripod w/ballhead
Manfrotto Magic Arm w/quick release plate
Manfrotto Super Clamp
Manfrotto Swivel Umbrella Adaptor
Pelican 1510
Patagonia Great Divider

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Fly Photo Magazine: Issue #1 releases April 15, 2010!

With all the advancements in recent web tools, technology, ect., I have decided to approach marketing my photography with a more unique direction. Aside from photography, I spend a majority of my time as a graphic designer, so I figure I would put it to use in favor of myself. So, to the point...

Over the past 3 months I have slowly been designing a self promoting magazine which will be uploaded into an online page turner. This publication will be similar to that of This is Fly, and Catch Magazine only a bit shorter. I plan to add content related to all the destinations I travel to, with some other small stuff on the side. Originally I started out designing this to send out to editors and other potential clients to pick up work or sell photos. Throughout the process, it has slowly evolved into a short magazine. I am now creating this for everyone's viewing pleasure, in confidence that it will grow and create opportunity amongst others in the fly fishing/outdoor industry.

If it wasn't for my full time job, this would have been a two week project. I guess it doesn't matter though. I am twiddling my thumbs and making final touches until I travel to Louisiana to chase some bull redfish. This will be my closing story for the first issue of "The Fly Photo" magazine. I will attempt to make this a quarterly release, which solely depends on the content I can gather throughout the months in between. It would be great to bring in a section to feature another photographer looking to expose his/her work, or something along those lines. If you are interested in something like this, please email me here.

Issue #1 will consist of:
  • My latest season as a guide in Alaska with photos and a short intro of how I became a serious photographer
  • The wildest day I've ever had in Baja (as a photographer) with photos and short story
  • Upcoming trip to Louisiana with photos and short story

In addition to photos, I will include information about the gear I use, various prints that are for sale, photography tips, and other various goodies.

In oversight, this is just another fun project for me to work on in my spare time. The common phrase "practice makes perfect" is inspiration to me. For this project I will be able to continually practice my design, writing, and business skills. I hope that I can inspire other folks in the industry to take a hold of what they are good at and run with it. Please stay tuned for further updates and look for The Fly Photo magazine to be released on April 15, 2010!!

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Behind the scene: Fly photography

This is one of many posts that I will add over the next few months regarding product photography.

Yesterday I got back into the product photography routine, consisting mostly flies for now. For those of you that don't know, I work at a fly shop/travel company called Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co. in Dallas, Tx. We are amidst a new website and I have to capture product photos of everything we carry. To the point....

Something that has been an issue with fly photography is blowing out the highlights in the brighter colors. I am shooting on a white background, which needs to be blown in order for clean placement in our catalog and website. For darker flies this is no problem, but for the lighter ones it's a big problem. If I need to blow out the white background, the lighter materials in the fly will be blown out as well, and I lose detail. I put together a solution that has worked decently. Instead of taking my two softboxes and shooting directly down on the fly, which is what I have done in the past (don't get me wrong, it works great), I have created a system to where I have a light shooting from above and below the fly.

What I did was take a picture frame, strip it down to the glass only, and placed a piece of bright white photo paper in the frame. I placed the frame on a box I had constructed out of white foam board. I now have a way to shoot light from underneath the fly which will not only help blow out the white background, but will create a silhouette of the fly. This is very helpful when shooting brighter flies that contain white or neon colors. Now instead of powering two lights from above, I can bring in subtle light from above with one speedlite. Here is the set up:
You can view all of my photos in my product gallery here