I’m proud to have been chosen as a Finalist in the 2016 One Eyeland Awards for my series Moments of Passion. A series of tango photographs in the Mohave Desert I created in November of 2016 with professional Argentine Tango dancers Patricio Touceda and Eva Lucero.
Click here for the entire listing of winners.
UPDATE: February 18 2017
Today I ran an eight hour studio session for a client’s upcoming season brochure. I was able to use the Flashpoint Junior Steel Wheeled Stand – 12′ for an entire day. I should explain that this day involved shooting seven different scenes with different talent for each, so moving lights around was constant. I will simply say that the stand performed FLAWLESSLY and I will not hesitate to purchase another and another. The wheels are incredible and roll over extension cords with ease. Granted none of my strobes use cords, but my smoke/haze machines/wind machines do! These stands are highly recommended for its performance and value. Be forewarned these are not sissy stands, they’re heavy and beefy, use them in studio only!
In December 2016 I was searching for a portable printer and discovered on Amazon a small printer called the PickIt. What attracted me beyond its size was that it used dye sublimation rather than ink jets to produce the image. In my former life I used dye sub to print marketing materials so I was impressed that such a small unit used the same technology.
On December 2, 2016 tragedy struck not only the Bay Area, but my family when the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland claimed the life of 36 young adults. One of them was Jenny Morris who just turned 21 and was the former girlfriend of my son. Jenny and my son dated for about 18 months, but had ended their relationship almost a year prior to the tragic fire. In many ways I feel blessed that my son did not perish in that fire. Had he and Jenny still been a couple I’m positive he would have been at the event and perished along with the other young adults.
I have decided to add a small travel review section to my blog. I travel extensively for client work and sometimes find hidden nuggets on my journeys. I should say that when I was ‘a suit’ in the corporate world I was able to travel well, first class air travel (prior to 9/11 and when airlines served real food), hotels like The Plaza in NYC, the Hay Adams in Washington DC, the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City, the list goes on and on. I listed some of the places I’ve stayed not to brag, but to give some reference to my point of reference. Staying on an expense account is very different than paying on my own dime.
Throughout my life other men I’ve known often talk about “The Unicorn” which in my circles means a woman who like the mythical horned creature exists only in fantasy. Too good to be true, too wonderful for reality yet an entity we all wish and hope is true.
Three years ago I was hired by a ballet company in Dallas, TX to create some promotional imagery for their troupe. It was at that time I met Christy. A bubbly positive young lady who like her fellow dancers is incredibly athletic and talented. I’m fortunate to meet so many talented artists and at first Christy fell right into that category to which I’ve become so accustomed. And believe me, I know I live a charmed and blessed life.
UPDATE: November 21 2016
I shot with the 1200ws head during an on location tango shoot in the Mohave desert. The unit performed flawlessly and gave me the ability to do things that would have been difficult or impossible with only a 600ws head. The innovation and flexibility Godox/XPLOR offers photographers is excellent.
Each year I photograph the dance department at the Oakland School of the Arts, or OSA as most of the students lovingly call it. Their Dance Emphasis department is headed by Reginald Ray-Savage along with Alison Hurley. Equipment used: 2 Adorama Xplor 600, Godox AD600, 2 H600 remote heads, 1 CononMark 120cm inverted octa bank, 1 PCB Omni reflector, 1 Bowens Maxlite reflector, Canon 1DX Mark II.
I had watched an excellent video review by Shoms Photography about the Godox XT32C trigger. Two primary reasons prompted me to purchase and try the trigger. First and foremost he mentioned that his favorite trigger is the PCB CyberCommander and to date I too have yet to find a better transmitter. Now IF YOU plan on trying to argue with me ‘to be right’ like a forum troll, don’t bother. I’ve used transmitters from almost every major player and in six years of using strobes professionally I have yet to find a better transmitter for my purposes – period. The second reason is my first Godox transmitter was their FT16 which in my usage was a bullet proof and very reliable and simple transmitter. I felt that the new XT32 seemed to be the same in terms of simplicity compared to the X1 units I’ve been using for HSS and Second Curtain Sync. The XT32 is not ETTL capable, but I’m not a TTL user, so no big deal.
I started as a suit, a corporate climber, chaser of money, hopeful head of a corporation. Two kids later with college looming I got stuck in my own golden handcuffs as COO for a Fortune 100 company. The kids grew as did the tuition and careers as industries changed for me. But I always remembered the days in high school where I took portraits of young women to meet young women and the tactile feeling and smell of developing my own photos remained hypnotic. And then one day after the kids had graduated I was called into my bosses’ office and told “My position had been eliminated.” So at 50 I decided that there was no way I was going to interview with 30somethings and be asked “What is your five year plan?” Answering “Fuck You” would not be conducive to getting a job, so I opted to man up and begin my career as a pro photographer for the arts.
Why the arts? As a suit I encountered people who pretended to be someone else. In the arts I met people who were themselves but whose job was to play other people. And the reality of why I love photography is not the shot, it’s the people. Actors, musicians, script writers, dancers, acrobats the list is endless. And did ‘they’ enter their careers to chase money? Not at all, they entered their world for the simple love of what they do with others who love what they do. And in return I not only get to do what I love to do, but with people who I adore. Do I miss Direct Deposits, vacation time/health benefits? Those facets can be planned and bought. What I get now can only be earned with passion and love.
About the only online forum I check with regularly is on Flashhavoc.com. Why? Because the members there are civil and interested in helping one another unlike 99% of the other forums where most of them are trolls and ‘have to be right.’ One of the members, Randell John asked a question of the membership inquiring if anyone was experiencing misfires using the Flashpoint Portable Extension Head 600 versus the AD600. (Please note that throughout this review I use AD600 or H600 as a generic term. Currently Cheetahstand and Adorama are the only US retailers who carry the AD600/H600, but under their own brand names. And as of this writing Adorama is the only US retailer to carry a TTL version.) I had just completed an on location ballet shoot and could not recall having issues. So I called my son to see if he recalled any issues and the reality is the only time we used the H600 was during our last session at the ocean. I did recall that the strobe failed to fire, but only a few times. So I decided to conduct my own test to see if there is indeed a difference. I depend on excellent radio to strobe signal and plan to use the remote heads and Xplor/AD600 units for an upcoming studio dance shoot next week. So being confident in the gear is paramount.
All of the testing was done indoors at 45 feet from camera to strobe with complete line of sight from camera trigger to strobe. Camera used was a Canon 1DX Mark II. A Godox X1C trigger was used for all H/AD600 lights. A PCB CyberSync trigger and CSXCV transceiver used on the Einstein. So I could do other things like watch TV I used my intervalometer to trigger the camera. Although I had it set for 199 frames in some instances it took less than that with the lowest count being 180. Below from low to high are my results:
I’m an early adopter on lighting gear. Always have been. And like all early adopters I run into the quirks and problems associated with early development of gear. I always test gear before I use it commercially, but sometimes my testing is not exhaustive enough to anticipate every situation. And as any working pro knows, something ALWAYS goes wrong on every shoot no matter how much you plan. It’s just part of the deal.
I was one of the first adopters of PCB’s Einstein 640ws strobes. Excellent t1 performance in a small package was enough for me. I’ve used Einsteins for over 7 years exclusively in studio from the time they were released. When Adorama released their Flashpoint 600ws Rovelight I was intrigued. Rather than having to haul an Einstein and a Vagabond II, the CyberSync triggers on location the Rovelights have a built in battery and receiver. So I bought several, tested them and took them out on a commercial shoot. I ran into issues during that shoot with the trigger’s lack of range. I wrote an extensive evaluation of them and complained with others to Adorama. An friend of mine (NASA!) who is an electrical engineer dismantled the transmitter and showed me the issue which caused the poor range. In the end I sadly returned all of my Rovelights to Adorama. Subsequent to the trigger issues Adorama had them redesigned and developed a RMA program to replace the original triggers to early adopters. As a working pro warranties and customer service are key. It’s one of the reasons I stayed with PCB for so long, excellent customer service. The fact that Adorama took the initiative to replace triggers is one of the reasons I respect them. I respect those that DO much more than those that SAY.
This post is about the people rather than the picture. Sure I’m a professional photographer and make my entire living shooting for clients, so of course I have to produce imagery! But the primary reason I chose to do this for a living is to meet interesting and authentic people.
Unlike work for clients, my personal work gives me complete freedom to art direct and create imagery that fits my vision. When shooting for clients those images must fit what they have as a vision for their product. My ability to season the mood of their images depends on each individual client. Some allow me more input than others, but by continuing to do personal projects it keeps me fresh with new ideas and concepts. After 39 years of being a ‘corporate suit’ this is the vocation I chose to do for the remainder of my working days. So I keep my creative mind fresh by continuing to create personal work. The day I find that the artistic satisfaction has left me and it’s ‘just a job’ I just won’t do this anymore. Clients automatically benefit because the ideas I try in my personal work often get used in my professional work. A win/win if you ask me….
I decided to see if there is any power loss using the Godox H600 remote head versus the AD600. Both use the same bulb. The test was shot at 1:1 power for both units, 1/100th shutter speed, ISO 100 and measured with a Sekonic L-358 light meter. Here are my results:
- AD600 f20
- H600 f18
So this shows that by using the H600 you will lose 0.33 (1/3) stops of light. Not much and it will be up to each user to decide if the remote head’s lighter weight trumps a third of a stop loss of power.
Gah! I’ve gone back and forth on which I’d buy if I was considering both. I have two AD360s and one AD600. All are the manual versions, as I don’t find TTL good for my work flow. And I should also state I don’t use speedlights of any brand or kind. I just find strobes better for my work. So I made a laundry lists of my personal likes and dislikes:
Here are two images taken with the CononMark as the key light.
You can see some of the results from a recent studio dance session using the CononMark here.
CononMark was used as the key light in this studio ballet session. Strobe was the Godox AD600 using a H600 remote head.