Why Old Pros Weep

Watch this video done by Erik Bragg and ย featuring skateboarder Ryan Sheckler using cheap HD Hero video cameras.

The video itself is amazing and the editing is even better. BTW on all the videos crank up the resolution to 1080 and run the sound through a decent sound system to get the full effect.

These guys are in their 20s and they’ve read the camera manual and they’re making a video which most pros couldn’t get close to doing using pro-level equipment.

This is the future folks. (BTW the video has been seen 758,502 times as of today.) And, you won’t catch me jumping off anything with a HD Hero attached to my head. Heck I just go seriously injured last week stretching in my yoga class. Namaste to you too.

Who Is Eric Kim?

And the second part to this headline should read: And why is he so damn cool? ๐Ÿ™‚

Eric Kim of Eric Kim Street Photography is a young man with a camera. He’s also a young man with a camera with a vision and passion for street photography. Thanks to his blogs and workshops, Eric Kim has become one of the inspirational teachers of street photography.

So what is street photography?

It’s the shooting of images in (mainly) public places of people and things.

Street photography is almost as old as photography itself. It’s first master was a Frenchman, Henri Cartier-Bresson. Born in 1908 Cartier-Bresson had a Box Brownie camera he used to take family vacation photos. He lived an adventurous life and sometime in the 1930s took up photography as a serious pursuit using a tiny Leica camera and 50 mm lens. Eventually he formed the Magnum Photo agency with several other well-known photographers including Robert Capa and David Seymour. Cartier-Bresson became world-famous for his style of photography which captured “the decisive moment” (photo on left) on film thanks in part to his artist training in composition and the use of fast 35mm cameras.

Why is Kim so popular. If you’re interested in street photography is blogsite is a wealth of information.

He shoots great images. (See photo on right called Shiny.) But I think the secret is hidden in an online video his girlfriend did for him.

The video is a promotion of Eric Kim’s workshops which he does around the world now and I suggest that while you watch the video listen to the lyrics in the music that closes the video. It goes: “Because we are your friends, you’ll never be alone again.” Kim isn’t selling a photo course. He’s selling an antidote to loneliness. Shooting photos, especially street photography is a lonely and singular pursuit. It’s what I did for decades as a newspaper photographer. it’s what I still do and Kim is selling the promise of connection and understanding that all photographers long for.

This is a powerful message to all but especially to young people. It’s marketing genius.

Three Tools For Pros

Most of the time, special event photographers don’t have (or take) the time to set their equipment up to take the very best images possible.

To be honest, there are events where I don’t even shoot RAW images!

I shoot JPGs when on family vacations and when the situation demands JPGs over RAW images. Such was the case when I shot the Mayor’s Baseball Tournament a few years ago. The organizers wanted the images immediately after the last game for projection during the dinner that followed.

Wow! Talk about a high-wire act. First, I need images small enough to download instantly but large enough to project. Also, I wasn’t going to have a lot of time to delete the images which were out of focus or badly cropped or exposed. So medium size JPGs were the order of the day.

Another advantage of shooting JPGs of medium or even small size is your high-speeed frame rate goes to maximum and the buffer can hold a ton of images. Don’t try this on RAW settings as the camera will bog down under the size of the files it’s recording.

If I want to use a lot of post-production filters and image manipulation then RAW is the only way to go. I shoot RAW images of the Toronto Zombie Walk and most of the jazz festivals as the images really benefit from a splash of NIK’s filters.

These days I occasionally shoot models, engagement shots and, for my sins, the occasional wedding.

Now these shoots require above all perfectly exposed images. Not images based on what the camera thinks. Not even images based on what I think. So it’s time to get out the photography tool box.

First thing I’d recommend is really decent light meter that measures incident light and flash.

Two light meters come immediately to my mind and both are made by Sekonic. The first is Sekonic’s new L-308DC for HDSLR and cine. This compact light meter is perfect for those of us shooting video on our DSLRs and who also shoot with flash off the camera. I’m not going to review all the reasons to buy a light meter as Sekonic has a ton of videos on their site that explain why.

The other light meter I highly recommend is the one I own and it’s a L-358 FlashMaster. One accessory I need to buy is the Pocket Wizard radio transmitter module which allows the flash to trigger the remote flashes that are being controlled by Pocket Wizard remotes. Very cool and essential if you’re working in a studio setting.

Number two on my list is the xrite ColorChecker Passport.

Here is an explanation on how the Passport works as posted on The Luminous Landscape site.

But even special event photographers can benefit from using the Passport. Here’s a report from a sports photographer who used the Passport to create colour profiles for his two cameras.

Finally the third tool is an ExpoDisc. The ExpoDisc very quickly allows digital camera shooters to create a custom white balance. It’s always shocking how wrong the automatic white balance setting in a camera can read the light. Even going to a pre-set white balance can miss the mark.

Here’s a great tutorial on white balance that will help explain what happens in camera.

These three accessories will take your photos from okay to spectacular when it comes to getting the exposure right. Essential for landscape photography and portrait photography once you get used to incorporating these tools into your shooting routine you’ll wonder how you ever did without them.

One Flash Magic

I did not shoot the photo on the right.

I’m not that good ๐Ÿ™‚

But thanks to David Hobby who publishes the wonderful Strobist blog I am now.

David has always been the go-to-guy when it comes to flash photography and this shot proves he’s the master of magic light.

Shooting black skin, especially against a black background means you’re going to need at least three lights and lots of time to get it right. A flash meter is a must and so is a ton of equipment.

David shot this portrait with one light and I bet you can’t figure out how he did it. I give you a clue that yes there are a couple of reflectors involved but where the heck is the light source? Go to the Strobist site to find out.

Simply amazing portrait photography that anybody could do after reading David’s blog.

This made my day ๐Ÿ™‚

Rick Sammon Coming To Ontario

Rick Sammon is one of the travelling pros I’ve always wanted to take a lesson or two from and now I’ve learned he’s coming to Ontario in September.

Here’s the link to the weekend workshop in Kitchener. Sunday is already sold out! If you decide to get a ticket please mention my name ๐Ÿ™‚ (There’s nothing in it for you but I get a small finder’s fee which I will gladly spend at the bar Saturday night buying you a beer!!)

Rick has published 36 books on photography and from what I’ve seen of his online work I think he’s got something to say when it comes to creating better images.

As those of you have taken one of my own workshops over the years I book myself into three or four workshops conducted by other pros as a way of keeping my own shooting at a top-notch level.

Rick’s workshops come highly recommended and for the price (which is inexpensive to say the least) I think anybody who can get a ticket for the Saturday workshop would love the workshop.