Switching to Sony A7 series and shooting portraits...

Rough with the Smooth.

So Last time I was saying how I was all set to start practicing shooting moving images again. As far as I was concerned everything was set and I was ready to invest time and money on the first practice production. I had been in communication with the "talent" for weeks and she was seemingly keen. However as I sat in the location I had hired it began to become apparent that she was going to be a no show. Now this happens from time to time, but on this occasion I was set to pay her for her time so I found it strange. As it turned out later she has a reputation for this, I just wish I had known sooner as I would have booked someone else. This is the down side of this industry sometimes, you just come across unprofessional people, I suppose that is not exclusive to this industry and equally frustrating to everyone afflicted by it. So that is the rough part dealt with.

Positively, I have made a lot more friends in the industry here in Taiwan and found a better model for the reshoot as a result. I will be (hopefully) shooting at the end of April and this time it should be a success, keep your fingers crossed for me.

Continuing the ups, my third commercial shoot of the year went really well and the client is happy with the work, I can't show it as it hasn't been published as yet. I am proud of the shots and will show you as soon as possible.

I think it is ok to show you an image from one of the earlier projects I was booked for at the start of the year though. It was a really fun to be involved with and brought a bunch of new challenges to my table, which I enjoyed very much.

This image combined my studio skills, directing skills, and post production skills all coming together to create a final image to demonstrate infield use of a rugged, tough and great product. Cool right!

Along with my investment timewise toward film making I was investing some money. I had bought the Sony kit as I explained in my last blog.

Now I purchased a Zhiyun Crane 2 gimble.

I like the Crane 2 and it certaily has it's place in my production tool kit. However it is not a magic tool for everything and certainly a Ronin may offer a more stable platform. For me though, and with a bit of practice it is ok and I am begining to produce smooth, clean and dynamic shots using it.

Realising it was not a wonder device for all images I also invested in a Manfrotto MVMXPRO500 Video Monopod and a Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid head for my tripod.

Looking at how each one of these, the Zhiyun, the Monopod and a Tripod with fluid head can be combined, I have gone over my story board. Now all the camera movements and tools to be used are indicated. If there is one thing I have learned it is preperation, preperation, preperation. The more pre-production you can do, the more dialogue with your client you can have, the smoother the shoot will be on the day. If you can shoot smooth and to plan, then often you will have extra time to develop and produce something really amazing.

To continue my practice with my Sony kit, I have been making a portrait series intitaled "Portraits of Girls". The concept is simple, find subjects in Taipei, give them full choice of location (just as long as it is in Taipei), and just take my camera and use what coditions I am given. Hope you enjoys these...

Now I have created 10 with these great girls, I may start to look to shoot a "Portraits of Boys" series in Taipei, perhaps once I have a collection of 20 portraits I could look at an exhibition which could be fun, we will see. I am unsure whether exhibitions are valid anylonger, as I said though, time will tell.

Currently I am lining up fashion editorials, more commercial work and as I said earlier the second attempt at my micro movie.

I am always looking for opportunities and projects so if you have anything please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Hopefully you enjoyed this episode, and got an insight into the work that I do, and effort that we all put into it to produce beautiful images.

If you want to book me for work get in 

touch

 so we can discuss your needs and get started making a great project together.

You can also check out my 

Instagram

 , 

Tumblr

Twitter

 and 

Linkedin

. Remember to LIKE COMMENT, SHARE and FOLLOW.

Thank you and love to all.....

20 years with Nikon, time for a change. Hello Sony...

A steep curve to learn.....

I was primarily a Nikon shooter for 20 years or so, that is a long time to invest in a company and a brand. Over the last few years though I had begun to look elsewhere, to stray from my preverbial marraige to Nikon. My first daliance was with Fujifilm, and this has blossomed beyond a romance and into a full fledged relationship, no one makes a sensor like the X-Trans and my X-Pro2 is easily the best street and travel camera I have ever owned or used.

It was the introduction to a mirrorless sytem that got me over the hurdle and open to the possibilities of moving away from the traditional mirrored systems I had been using for so long. There has been a new player to the pro camera market really making splashes over the past 5 years or so. It's a huge company with plenty of history in image making, but never before had I really considered it a true rival to Nikon or Canon until the A7 range landed. Yep, I am talking about Sony. With the release of the A7RII I was convinced and then the A7RIII arrived and I was sold completely on the new system in my arsenal.

It isn't just the cameras but also the GM glass that Sony has begun to produce that totally convinced me that now was the time to invest. So at the end of 2017, I sold all of my Nikon kit bar a couple of nice lenses (which I adapt to my Sony bodies) and invested in a A7RII and an A7RIII. Why get both you may ask, well a couple of reasons. I always want a back up body and as the new model was iminant the RII was at a good price, I also want to start to video my shoots and either camera is capable of doing this. Along with the bodies I splashed out on two GM lenses, a vertical grip for each body (I have big hands so better ergonomics and want longer battery life), and I also bought a Sony speedlight. I don't do things by halves, I went all in.

Wanting to test shoot as soon as possible I organised an editorial and on a rainy day made the first leap toward really learning the Sony system.

As you can see the condidions were somewhat tricky but we pulled together and got some good shots in the bag. All the time I was fumbling about with buttons and the menu, but I had to learn, and to learn you have to know what you need to learn. First thing I did when I got back was customise all the buttons, now both of my A7R's are set up the same and are feeling more familiar and natural everytime I use them. 

I shot in mixed light, including daylight, strobe, flurecents and tungsten all in one day, my A7RII handeled that superbly. 

My concern about using flash and the EVF (Electronic View Finder) where allayed, as soon as I attached my

Cactus

V6IIS the auto realtime exposure overide kicked in and the viewfider was bright and beautiful to use. Also the EVF is so nice to review images, much easier than squinting at a screen on the back of the camera on a bright day.

I only could find a couple of drawbacks, the first was a shutter lag issue, which was later cured with a firmware update for the RII and never a problem for the RIII. The second was with the 24-70 2.8 GM lens; teamed with the 42mp sensor the images were so detailed it meant I had to do more work in post production to hide that our lovely model had not shaved her legs haha. Even in the shot from above looking down at a distance I could see that much detail, amazing.

And so I picked up the A7RIII the day after it's release and made a more determined editorial, this time for

HUF Magazine

.

I am so proud of this editorial, and all of my team who worked on it, Zoe Chen, Eddie Shi, Queena Tsai, Anjen Lee and Kazuki Itchinose, great work all of you.

So that was the end of  2017 but the start of a new relationship. The begining of 2018 would see me take the Sonys into battle on the commercial stage. It was a running start to the new year and a very happy one to boot. 

The title to this blog is not just refering to the learning of the new system, but also my return to film making and the world of moving images. I haven't shot moving images since the early 90's but now I have started again and am excited to be doing so. My intention is to show all of my videos via a Youtube channel. I want to help others learn and see that it is ok not to be perfect straight away. It is indeed a steep learning curve, a curve I am embracing by scripting and planning my first micro move to be shot on the 22nd of March, a total commitment as always. I also want to have my shoots filmed and let people see exactly what a crazy day shooting editorial can be, so keep an eye out for that all coming up.

I hope you enjoyed this episode, and got an insight into the work that I do, and effort that we all put into it to produce beautiful images.

If you want to book me for work get in 

touch

 so we can discuss your needs and get started making a great project together.

You can also check out my 

Instagram

 , 

Tumblr

Twitter

 and 

Linkedin

. Remember to LIKE COMMENT, SHARE and FOLLOW.

Thank you and love to all.....