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So I just got a new app called Shot Designer from Hollywood Camera Work. It’s kind of, you know, amazing. Overhead schematics are the universal tried-and-true way of planning out your shots and blocking for a scene. Many times it’s a scribbly mess of chicken scratch on a piece of paper in a quick meeting at the end of a shoot day for the next day’s work or first thing in the morning, if you’re really tired. But when time is available, planning shots in advance is obviously the way to go. I’ve used the traditional pen-on-paper approach most of the time, but that can become a mess and a waste of paper. Other times, I’ve used Illustrator or SketchUp to plan out shots, but that’s always been a painstaking process as well. It looks great, but it usually takes way longer to do than is worth it and the pen-on-paper approach takes on a whole new attractiveness. Wouldn’t it be great to have something WAY easier, fast, and fun to use? (more…)

Last week I was hired to shoot some testimonials for an infomercial. We shot 13 people at a couple of beautiful homes over two days. We shot on the Red Scarlet with Zeiss high-speed primes (f/1.4). I had plenty of light in the lighting package but ended up using hardly anything for these setups. I’m still baffled by what we got and how we got it. The shots were gorgeous and high key; but because of the native 800ISO of the Scarlet, the high speed of the glass, the desire to have soft backgrounds, and the lack of ND filters, I needed to use so little light that it was almost disturbing. (more…)

I seem to have been doing a lot of talking-head interviews since I was thrown into the world of documentaries with New York Doll. I’m really curious to know how many I’ve done to date.

Here are a couple of BTS shots of some recent ones. Sorry, I don’t have any frame grabs from these to show.

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I was up in Oregon a couple of weeks ago shooting a little mini doc piece about a senior missionary couple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The couple called their  journal, “Serving in the Valley of Volcanos,” because the region they were in (circa Bend, OR) is surrounded by volcanos and buttes. I wasn’t able to take too many pictures because of run-and-gun nature of the shoot, but I was able to steal a few here and there. We shot with our usual setup of 2 5Ds, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 16-35mm, 2 Litepanels 1×1, GlideCam, GoPro, etc. These photos don’t tell much about the shoot, but here they are anyway.

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My wife always says I go on “vacation” when I work. I know what she means. With four young kids and another on the way, parenting can be a challenge—especially when your spouse goes off to work for days or weeks at a time to places you only dream about. In this particular case, I was shooting at La Costa Resort & Spa, a fancy high-end resort in Carlsbad, CA for a series of online fitness coaching vignettes. It was a pretty sweet resort. So it doesn’t help when I post pictures like this on Facebook:

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Back in March, I had the chilling opportunity to shoot a documentary in Alaska. It was cold (understatement). If you missed my post about it, click here to read about it. We went back for a follow up shoot in September and it wasn’t as cold. Daytime highs were in the low 30s, so technically, it was still freezing. But it was a welcome cold compared to the -30s I was in last time.

I had to trade one discomfort for another, though. If you haven’t gathered this about me already, I’m not the outdoor/woodsy guy. Camping? Hunting? No. But on this trip, I got to be involved with both. I can’t say it necessarily grew on me, but it became tolerable. LOL Most of my fears about moose hunting and being eaten or mauled by bears melted away after a day. Sticking close to the guys with the rifles helped. (more…)