Archive for 'Misc. Photos':

de_VICE :: Streets of NYC with the Fuji X100

In case you haven’t read my 1,000 something tweets about how much I love the new Fuji x100, then I need to let you know that I love the Fuji x100. I’m working on a full review of the thing right now. It will NOT be a pixel peeping, button counting, megapixel masturbation fest of flowers and cats. It will be more of a review about how it fits in the life of a working photographer and how to work around the number of “quirks” the thing has.

I’m in New York this week getting my book looked at and stuff. It’s a fantastic process and I’m meeting some fantastic people. The brand is done. The site is 98% complete. I’m having some issues with the portfolio PDF download. Working on it.

Here are a few more from the streets of NYC. It’s a little series I’m calling #de_VICE. We are tethered to our devices to the point they may be a vice. I know I struggle with it. Once you are in the iWorld it’s amazing how unaware you become of your surroundings. Like, some guy taking your picture of you doing whatever it is you are doing there on your device.

More images to come with the review. It’s an awesome camera and a total pain in the a** at the same time. I absolutely love it.

Cheers,
Zack

Oi! London!

Oi! Man, are we ever having a jolly good time in London right now! I love this city. Why have I never been here before?

This is Carl Spring. He was attending today’s OneLight. He’s an amazingly good dude.

Cheers, Zack

Working On My Portfolio :: Book 1 of 4 :: Dubai

As Lightroom churns through some images I’m working in PhotoMechanic on a few new portfolios for web and print. The one capturing my attention right now is the selection of images from my two trips to Dubai.

I’m still trying to figure out why I love Dubai so much. There’s something about that place and something about the people that has really caught hold of me and I can’t let go of it. I’m sure if I were to go there around this time of year it would change my ideas about the place.

More images and thoughts after the jump ::

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Listener :: Finding Inspiration Outside The Craft

I get asked a lot about where I get my inspiration. That’s a hard question to answer because there are so many things and people in my life that inspire me. Let me tell you a story about a white guy from Arkansas that raps.

More after the jump ::.

Last night Meg and I were able to get a babysitter and go see our friend Dan Smith play a show. His project is called “Listener“.

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Dan has a schtick. A persona. A presence on stage. He does this “thing” that is amazing. Dan does “talk music” and it is his own thing. Love him or hate him, when Dan takes the stage people get off their phones, stop chatting, and watch. His stage persona is mesmerizing. It never bleeds into background music. His music isn’t ever going to make the top ten on the billboard charts and I think that’s just all right for him. He’s not following. He’s not replicating. He’s not trying to find what is popular and pursue that.

I met Dan about six years ago when he was more of a hip hop artist than folksy/indie/something/talk music artist. I was introduced to him through this cat in Nashville named KC Jones. KC said to me, “You gotta hear the Listener. He’s a white dude from Arkansas that raps.” That introduction was enough to pique my interest. :)

The first song I heard was Train Song (mp3 download).  ”It’s my habits that make my fingers weak…” Listen closely to the story. Pretty amazing.

Decadence (mp3 download) is one of my favorite tracks from his more hip hop centric era. It also features Manchild who has a flow like no other. Yes, I do have permission to link to these files.

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It’s been interesting to watch him change. To watch him find who he is. To start at one place and end up somewhere else and to see he’s not “there” yet. Dan has always been Dan, yet with each new part of his project he is becoming more true to his core. He’s walking through the shit of life and stripping off the non essentials and building back from there. It’s really an amazing process to watch from the outside.

I need to sit down with him sometime and see what it’s like from his perspective because I know for a fact it will be much different than my perspective. Maybe I’m wrong about how I see Dan. Maybe Dan is wrong about how he sees himself. Sometimes people on the outside see the real you. The “you” you can’t see. And sometimes people from the outside have the wrong idea about who you are. Hmmmm. This reminds me of something Meg is working on but that’s not for this post. (Dan, next time you’re back in Atlanta let’s talk it out)

If you listen to his older music you can hear the framework of his newer work. Meaning, you can look back and see the progression but you never see it when you are moving forward. The same thing goes for photography. It’s called personal style and it takes years to develop and you can’t really see your style until you have some years under your belt and can look back.

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Dan is a huge source of inspiration for me. That inspiration doesn’t change how I look through my viewfinder but it changes how I look through the eye in my brain if that makes any sense at all… Which it doesn’t. I went to public school so trying to flowchart how inspiration works for me is a bit difficult. My brain eyes connect to my face eyes which connect to my viewfinder so maybe he does inspire how I see the world. How “inspiration” like this works for me is the music gets in my head. I listen to the stories in the lyrics. I connect the dots from the songs to the dots of my own life and those thoughts sort of lead me down a path of more thoughts that eventually lead to actions with my camera and with my business. Inspiration for me isn’t seeing one person do something and then I go do something similar to that. I think that’s more like plagiarism than inspiration.

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Dan’s magic really comes through his show. He’s brave. He’s full on. He doesn’t hold back. He doesn’t care what he looks like. He just lets the f#ck go and pours it all out. I’ve seen him perform to a packed venue and to 8 people in a living room and he brings everything he has to the stage with every performance.

You can find his new album here. Be sure to give “Wooden Heart” a listen. Buy a copy and support an artist. Don’t you want someone to give you some support in your endeavors? Pay it forward.

You can stream his new album. Sorry iPhone/iPad users. These are flash embeds.

This is his last album. It’s called “Return To Struggleville” and it’s about a traveling knife salesman and it’s brilliant.

His songs are stories. They are pulled out of his head and out of his experience. He’s living his story. Are you? Are you aware that you’re walking out your story? Are you keeping your eyes far out ahead and busting your ass to get there or are you sitting around on said ass looking backwards? How’s that working for you? I saw a great quote on Twitter yesterday…

“Don’t ask God to guide your footsteps if you aren’t willing to move your feet.”

Dan’s played more than 800 shows and he has 800 more to go. He’s doing it. He’s sharing his life. He’s changing. Growing. He’s moving his feet. Stripping it down to the essentials. He’s inspiring thousands. He’s just a white dude from Arkansas that raps and he is a really important character in my own story. Fun trivia – His 800th show was at a Mexican Restaurant. 800th show.

Where are you getting your inspiration from outside the photography world?

And…

Are you moving your feet or sittin’ on your ass? I’d rather have sores on my feet than on my ass. There’s a t-shirt.

Cheers, Zack

Personal Tests ::

Nothing much to say. Just sharing some recent work.

Hair by Max Sanchez from DragonFly Makeup by Jennifer Bennett & Lani Martz Talent from SSP

Cheers, Zack

"I need a rooftop. In Manhattan. Tonight. With a garden hose."

I just finished editing my first music video this week. I shot this in New York last fall thanks to the help of friends, twitter, and Kmart. Read a little story about it after the jump.

I had a few extra days in New York last fall and I spent those days shooting as much personal work as I could. I was in the area to shoot a wedding with Marc. Assistant and intern extraordinaire Brian Hall was along for the ride as well. I reached out to as many people I knew with connections in NYC to find musicians to shoot. It turned out that Snowden frontman, Jordan, was in the city at the same time. Snowden is one of my favorite bands in the world and I’m blessed that they are from Atlanta and I’ve been able to work with them a few times.

Jordan and I decided we would meet up Sunday night and shoot some new promos for him. He sent me a few of his new songs for me to listen to before our shoot. I heard this song Lemon Peel and loved it right away. Saturday night I’m riding the train and I decided we should shoot a music video instead of portraits. I sent Jordan a text and he was down for whatever. Sunday morning I put out a message on Twitter that read something like,

“I need a rooftop. In Manhattan. Tonight. With a garden hose.”

Ten minutes later I get a message from Neil at Nomadic by Design. He had access to a rooftop on the upper west side and it most definitely had a water hose we could use. The only caveat was we couldn’t make a lot of noise because we would be standing over his friend’s apartment and their two year old would be asleep. So no screaming, jumping, playing loud music. Ok. No worries. I thank Neil for helping me out and we plan to meet at his place later that evening.

Now then, I had flashes for portrait work but I sure didn’t have any video lights with me. The 5d MkII does pretty well in low light but not in no light. I knew that I wanted to build off of the water references in the song and I knew that water looks best if it can be back-lit. I also had to do this on a budget of “not much”. Like, less than $50. I went to the Kmart at Penn Station and bought six flashlights. I would have bought some more but that was all they had and I still had another band to shoot AND take 10 portraits of 10 strangers so I didn’t have a lot of time hitting up the entire city looking for more flashlights. On a tech note, these are those focused LED beam lights and they were making odd patterns of light on the roof behind Jordan. I needed to diffuse them to get rid of the pattern so I used the white plastic Kmart bag they came in to do that. I ripped the bag up and put pieces of the plastic over the front of the flashlights and that got rid of the patterns. Ghetto Video Dot Com!

Marc and Brian came along for the evening. Marc was on the flashlight lighting Jordan. Brian was on the water hose. Everything and everybody was soaked by the end of the sixth take. The wind was really unpredictable and we just had to deal with it. Jordan’s MacBook playing the song was wet, the 5d was dripping wet, and Brian turned out to be just as soaked holding the hose as Jordan did getting hit by it. All in all… it was a great night.

So why did it take me so long to edit? Because the idea I had for the edit sucked and I couldn’t re-envision the project. I had it set in my head that it was going to be one way but that way turned out like crap and I couldn’t “see” anything different. That happens to me a lot. I get an idea for a shot. I see it in my head. I pick up the camera. I take a photo. The photo sucks. It is nowhere close to what I see in my head. In photography I have learned to let those things go until another day. I couldn’t let this one go until one evening this week. I’ve been editing images for a new portfolio and this Snowden video was bugging the hell out of me. Jordan froze his ass off for this video and I still haven’t pulled anything out of it. I divorced myself from my first plan and just started fresh and new without a plan and I knocked it out in one night. Seriously. One night. Done. WTH? It’s like doing taxes. No, no it’s not.

So yes… my first music video. I’m happy with it. I’ll hate it soon enough but for now I’m really glad I dropped my first idea for the edit and went in a different direction with it. Am I going to sell my self as a music video director? Nope. Do I want to do more of these? Absolutely. Yes. Just spoke with a past client last night about another one of these. Hip to the hippity hop!

Cheers, Zack

PS – I won the last GOYA shoot out! I really thought it was going to be Robin (photographer E). I’ll do another post later.

GOYA Shootout :: Mirror

May 10, 2010 | GOYA Misc. Photos

We had another one of our GOYA shootouts today! This time we have visitors to the studio. David Jackson and Trevor Nackers joined us today on the shootout. Here’s the set up.

We decide to do these things at a moment’s notice. Today’s challenge was that each of us would head out with a 12″ square mirror and we had to incorporate that mirror into a photograph. We had just under two hours to complete the challenge and we could post one single image to the blog. You decide who did the best job. Meaning, you vote on the photo you like the best. The winner gets something. We never know what.

Today’s crew consists of Dan Depew, Robin Shetler, David Jackson, Trevor Nackers, and myself. Sherri left the studio with full intentions of participating but she decided to play the LAME “it’s my birthday and I have better things to do.” card. Whatever. Loser. (Actually, she won the last shootout.) What is GOYA? It’s a term we use around here meaning “Get Off Your Ass.” … and go shoot.

Here are our images.

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To refresh your memory, here are the slices and who they correspond with…

Who made the best image for this shootout?
Photographer A
Photographer B
Photographer C
Photographer D
Photographer E
pollcode.com free polls
We will end the contest this Friday afternoon EST.

Cheers, Zack

The Burj Khalifa :: From The Air

March 9, 2010 | Misc. Photos

I’ve had such a great time here in Dubai that Delta decided to blow a circuit card in an engine so we could stay just another day or two.

Thanks to fellow GPP teacher, Chris Hurtt, for hooking us up with an aerial view of Dubai a few days ago. I was able to get this photo of the Burj Khalifa. It is the tallest building in the world stretching about half a mile in the sky. When you are on the ground you can tell that the thing is huge but to really grasp the scale you have to see it from the air. This image was shot at 1,500 feet. All of those buildings around it are your typical city sky scrapers. 40, 50, 60 story buildings. I think the Burj is 160 something stories.

Ok, now I have to get on the horn with Delta to see if we are going home today or tomorrow. I should be making this post from home.

Cheers, Zack

Gulf Photo Plus :: My Shootout With David Hobby & Joey L

March 6, 2010 | Misc. Photos News • Workshop

Meg, Hawke, Dan, Sherri, and I have had an amazing week here in Dubai being part of the teaching crew at Gulf Photo Plus. This is my second year teaching at GPP. Last year, being the new guy, I had to take the group photo of all the amazing photographers that teach at this event. This year Mohamed Somji, the organizer of GPP, decided it would be fun to have a shootout between David Hobby, Joey Lawrence, and myself.

The rules were simple. We would be given a subject to photograph in the main auditorium in front of a live crowd. We would have twenty minutes each to shoot tethered & edit a photo while our images were projected on a large screen. We all would have the same subject to photograph and we were not allowed to see what the other was doing. Hobby went first. I was second and Joey brought it up from behind. We were also told there might be a surprise or two.

The surprise was A) we would have two subjects instead of one and B) Joe McNally would have a microphone and be giving live commentary as we were setting up a shot and shooting. Two people? David and I asked the same question… “Do they both have to be in the photo at the same time?” :)

No pressure.

So the photo above is what I came up with. It was a great teaching exercise if anything and we all had a fun time with it. Yes… there were video cameras and it will be online as soon as we have links to it. David and Joey will post their photos at some point I’m sure. Joey… well he threw us all a curve ball. :) Lastly… an official winner was never named so… IMHO the best shot was

Six days of non-stop teaching and the stress of having to perform to a packed auditorium has me worn out. I have two days of personal shooting to do now. Can’t wait to share more images from this trip. I have had such an amazing time here in Dubai. I love this city. Usedfilm Dubai? I don’t hate the sound of that. :)

Cheers, Zack

Mych :: Teaching This Technique In March

January 19, 2010 | GOYA Misc. Photos • Workshop

Did some testing with Mych (pronounced Mike) this week.  He has an amazing range of emotions.

Shot with a silver 86″ para on the cyc wall.  I’ll be teaching this technique at Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai at the beginning of March and again at Photoshop World in Orlando at the end of March.

Cheers, Zack


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