Archive for 'Shop Talk':

We Need To Be About Our Work

July 12, 2012 | Shop Talk • Philosophy

Recently a guy made a web site touting a top ten list of things you can do to help start your photography career. I’m going on a rant and it’ll be the last one for awhile. If you care to read it, hit “more”. If not, no worries. I need to get this out of my “system” and then I should be good to go.


Wedding Photographers Deserve Our Respect.

I put a call out a few weeks ago to see if anyone would let me shoot their wedding in any way that I wished to. There’s a reason I want to shoot a wedding or two this year as an experiment. I’ll get into that in a bit but this blog post is more about several conversations this request sparked, both online and offline.

No. I’m not starting a wedding business. Just doing an experiment and having a bit of fun.

Let’s get in the WayBack machine and go ALL the way to 1999′ish. Digital was coming of age. DSLRs were now hitting the $5k and below mark on pricing and a number of photographers were jumping out of the film ship and into the binary seas. The photojournalism scene back then was dying and many daily paper jobs were being cut. Day rates for the wires were less than I was making as an assistant. Photojournalists were looking to the editorial world but rates there sucked as well. They still do. Anyway…


Street Photography :: Photography Is An Enigma

This week Complex Magazine named me as one of the top 50 street photographers right now. I’m part honored and part embarrassed by this. Part of it has confirmed something inside of me. Part of this has depressed the hell out of me. On one hand I feel empowered to go deeper and on the other hand I feel I owe a lot of street photographers an apology. If I had a third hand I owe some photographers a big thank you. Let’s see. Can I be more random? How about this. This post is best read late at night while listening to “Last Confession” by Hilltop Hoods.


Teaching w/ Joe McNally :: Hong Kong & Malaysia :: This July

May 23, 2012 | • Workshop

Dork and Numnuts in one place? It’s a duo so unbearable we had to ship it overseas to avoid riots. :)

Seriously. I’m going to Asia with Joe McNally. No pressure. No pressure. No pressure. Seriously? I don’t believe this either but it’s true. It’s such an honor. Like bowing my head low and walking out of the room backwards while mumbling “I’m not worthy” kind of an honor. Louis Pang is bringing both of us in for Creative Asia where we will be speaking, judging, and hanging out at this amazing conference. We then head to Malaysia where we will each be teaching a three day intensive workshop.

Of all the people I know in this industry no one does it better than Joe McNally. No one. He teaches. He shoots. He helps. He gets published. He’s been doing it since I took my first steps. He’s seen it all. He’s lost it all. He’s rebuilt it. He’s a “personality” in this industry but not one of the overnight flame outs. He’s the real deal. No one can refute that. Thanks Joe and Louis.

Dates ::

Hong Kong :: July 16-20 :: Creative Asia Conference (speaking, judging, hanging out)

Kuala Lumpur :: July 24 – 26 :: Three day advanced workshop

Kuala Lumpur :: July 29th :: OneLight vs. ManyLights

Get all the information about it here. Hope to see y’all there! Can. Not. Wait.



$100,000+ 112 MP B&W Camera? Yes Please!

May 18, 2012 | Shop Talk • Gear & Gadgets


Zeke, from Spectral Instruments, builds some amazing cameras for space and scientific uses. I’ve always heard about these cameras and have wondered what it would be like to shoot with one in a studio or on location. Evidently Zeke has been wondering about that as well and is wondering if there is enough public interest in having them build one of these cameras for use on the ground instead of in space. I was shocked when he added my name to people he’d like to see use one if they build it. Yes please! There’s large format photography then there’s MASSIVE format photography. If you’re keen to see one of these cameras put into use by several different photographers let him know in the comments below!

Oh, if Zeke looks familiar to you maybe you’ll remember this shot I made of him in Dubai…

He’s a trooper. We were shooting at a marble factory and he fully immersed himself into the location. It was the kind of place I doubt we could take the $100,000 camera.



Ummm. Maybe. Ummm. Yes. :: Fuji X-Pro 1 Review

April 11, 2012 | Shop Talk • Gear & Gadgets

I’ve had my hands on the new FujiFilm X-Pro1 for a little over a month now and I have put it through the paces in three countries and on various jobs. If you are a frequent reader of this blog you know the deal. If you are a new reader of my blog let me explain the deal. I don’t pixel peep, shoot side by side comparisons, show images of color checkers and resolution charts, or talk about the new technology packed into whatever camera. Heck, I really don’t do “reviews” that often.

This review is more of a “how-does-this-thing-work-in-the-real-world-and-is-it-something-that-excites-me-or-does-it-just-become-a-photographic-appliance?” kind of review. Also, let me state for the record that I was hired by FujiFilm Middle East, and was paid in camera gear and cash to take this machine for a joy ride. The first thing I said before taking this gig, though, was if I was going to blog about it they needed to understand that I would say whatever I wanted to about it. The good folks at Fuji said they expected nothing less. Especially after my x-100 review. It was that review that put me on their radar in the first place and it was the good folks at Gulf Photo Plus that convinced them they should send me to India. I’ll be doing some stuff with Fuji North America as well. So, full disclosure now aside, let’s get into it after the jump…


Testing The Fuji X-Pro1 :: Quiet Hounds

February 26, 2012 | Shop Talk • Gear & Gadgets

How have I gotten hold of the new Fuji X-Pro1?

[montypython]The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft the Fuji X-Pro1 from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Zack, was to test the new X. [/montypython]

That is exactly what happened. Well, not really. The X-Pro1 isn’t waterproof. I got an email asking if I’d be interested in using the new camera since I loved the x100 so much. Will this system have the same soul as the x100? I won’t reveal that yet but as I unboxed it I think I said OMG 26 times in a row. :) I’ve never been asked to test a pre-production camera before so this is going to be fun. I’m also allowed to say anything I want to about it. I can love it, hate it, or be indifferent.

I will be running the camera and it’s three new lenses through the paces on assignments and personal work over the next three weeks and will report my findings here. If you have specific questions about this camera please let me know in the comments. Many of you have already been asking questions on Twitter. Focus speed, manual focus, ISO performance, lens performance, overall image quality, is it worth the money, is it a DSLR killer, does it eat M9′s for breakfast, etc, etc. As always, I won’t be counting pixels or describing bayer patterns or burning villages because of menu layouts. I’ll let you know how it actually works in the real world instead of a testing facility with Macbeth color charts and thrift store knick knacks. Off to find some squirrels.

In the mean time, check out Quiet Hounds. They played their first show last night to a packed house and I have to say they are one of the best new bands I’ve heard in recent history. Meg has been going on and on about them and she’s right. (She’s always right) The show was amazing. Sign up on their email list and get their music for free.99. The image above was shot under extremely challenging lighting with the X-Pro1 and the 35mm f1.4. F1.4 @ 50th @ ISO 1000. Shot B&W jpg in camera, cropped in PS, slightly sharpened for downsizing for web. (.2 pixels @ 80% @ 0 threshold) Blah, blah, blah.



Anatomy of an Editorial Shoot :: Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent

I was hired by Harvard Business Review to photograph Muhtar Kent who is the CEO of The Coca-Cola company . I thought I’d post about the process of an editorial shoot from start to finish instead of just showing the photos.

The art direction for the shoot was to photograph Mr. Kent at the headquarters building in Atlanta. The editor asked for two portraits. One was to show some architectural details of the building. “Maybe with a bank of windows or something in the background.” The other shot was to incorporate something with Coca-Cola branding. The name, the Coca-Cola red, a bottle, etc. After that I was free to grab anything else I had time to which, on a job like this, means anything I can grab with the extra thirty seconds I have to work with. An editorial shoot is usually a few hours of standing around and a few minutes of taking pictures. You’ll regularly spend more time emailing with the editor then you will clicking the shutter release of your camera. I was also instructed that while they wanted a mix of vertical and horizontal images, they used a lot of square crops as well so the images needed to work well 1:1. The full process after the jump.


Why I Moved To Medium Format :: Phase One IQ140 Review

February 4, 2012 | Shop Talk • Gear & Gadgets

I’ve recently moved to a digital medium format system and I thought I’d blog about the process of choosing a system and why making this jump was worth every hard earned penny to do so. But first, let’s enter the way back machine. If you are fairly new to photography and DSLRs have been your entrance into this industry then this an important part of the blog post. Bear with me. All of it after the jump. (If you don’t see the video above just hit refresh. Not sure what’s going on with the embed code)


Canon Switch Update :: All is Well

December 8, 2011 | Shop Talk • Gear & Gadgets


I recently wrote in length about my switch from Nikon to Canon. I thought I’d update you on a few things since making that switch.

#1 – Lately I find myself predominantly shooting with the 35mm f 2.0 and 85mm 1.8. You could weld one of those on each body and I’d be set for life I think. Except that 35mm f2. When I made the full switch I kept the “decent” Canon 35mm f2 and bought the crockstar 24mm 1.4 lens. I now wish I would have switched that decision. I’m just not shooting that 24 nearly as much as I thought I would. I’ll be replacing that 35 at some point. It doesn’t have to happen tomorrow because the f2 is still an amazing lens but I’ve tried the 1.4 and I know that would get welded to a camera body to never be removed. Live and learn right?

#2 – I really miss the in-camera multiple exposure feature in Nikons. I didn’t think I would but once you don’t have it you want it. Multiple exposure images are easy enough to do in post production but it takes the fun out of it. When doing it in-camera you either get it or you don’t and there’s lots of room for really interesting mistakes and WTF moments to happen that you just don’t get when doing it in post. Oh well. I don’t shoot it that often but I do wish I had it. The image above is a “triple exposure” done in post. I try to not tweak things too much. I want the chips to fall where they may as though I did it in-camera.

#3 – I thought I would shoot the 135mm f2 more than I do. I’m surprised I go to that cheap little 85mm 1.8 so often but that 135mm f2 lens is one of the finest lenses I’ve ever owned. For me I like to have a healthy amount of space to use that thing. Many of my assignments lately have had me in pretty tight quarters so it hasn’t been put to use that much but there is zero regret in getting that lens. Oh. Emm. Gee.

#4 – I do miss the D3 body but I’m still happy with my switch. Aside from that lens decision I would reverse I’m pleased with my switch. I most love having one complete system instead of two half assed systems. If I were to add anything to this kit it would be the 14mm f2.8 lens. That is a beast of a lens but I’m good without it.

And… I’m done with 35mm DSLR buying for a long time to come. Bring on the five dee mark three point two sub paragraph nine whatever. I’m good.



PS – Yes… I’m on my annual social media hiatus. I find I need to unplug from most things as we head into the darkness of winter. It’s my time to figure out what in the hell I’m doing with myself. That’s hard to do with all the noise. I’ll be blogging and despite it falling in the social media genre, I’m still on :) Hope you are all doing well!

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