A rare portrait of me by Ellis Vener, Monday.
I've known photographer and writer, Ellis Vener, for......decades. We were in school at the same time at UT and we intersected at the Ark Cooperative Darkroom pretty regularly. Ellis moved to Atlanta from Houston a while ago and he's doing well with both his commercial photography business (http://www.ellisvener.com) and as a writer and equipment reviewer for Professional Photographer Magazine.
He's in Austin this week and dropped by my studio to pick up a tripod. He does these incredibly complex image assemblages (far beyond a typical stitched panorama....) and he needed some stout sticks. I lent him the big, black Berlebach tripod. Like a consummate pro, he brought his own tripod head.....
As is our habit, we sat around the studio and swapped stories about outrageous bids, even more outrageous clients and equipment nerd stuff. When the conversation slowed down Ellis announced that he was sporting some new technology and wanted to try it out on me. Here's the technospeek about the technique used to do the portrait, above: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/919822
The new TTL Pocket Wizards have the capability of giving your Canon camera's FP flash sync at much higher shutter speeds than before. Interestingly enough, it's a technique that rewards flashes with fairly long burn times. We hauled out the Profoto 600b with a head and a small Elinchrom shoot thru, umbrella modifier and headed toward the stone wall the runs along the street at the front of the property. Goal: Get portrait with cool, out of focus sky.
After some playing around Ellis added a backlight from a Canon 580 EX2, also equipped with one of the Pocket Wizard TTL transceivers. We found that solid, Texas live oaks can block radio signals but we eventually get everything worked out.
Ellis was shooting with a Canon 1D mk4 (a camera I am very interested in) and the new 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens. Fun to watch another photographer at work from the point of view of the subject. However, as it was close to 100(f) in the shade we quickly headed back into the cool, dark cave that is the studio.
See the shirt? It's one of the Ex Officio technical shirts doing its job and keeping me from sweating. Now if I could only figure out why Ellis PhotoShopped my hair gray........ (humor intended. Signal provided for the painfully serious....).
This is a great way to try out product. I don't have to invest anything till I see how it works, what the tradeoffs are and how I might be able to use it. Another fun topic of conversation was the Paul Buff, Einstein monolights. Ellis showed me some great footage he'd done using the 10 fps of his Canon 1dmk4 along with the fast recycle of the Einstein. Cobbled together from hundreds of jpegs into a Quicktime movie-----it was an eye opener and presages yet another paradigm shift.
Say what you will about Paul Buff but he is single-handedly keeping an entire industry on its toes.......
On the calendar today, Young Ben will be pressed into service as an assistant for another Dr. shoot out on a ranch. I have high hopes for something as fun as the Dr. feeding the baby deer shot I showed a week or so ago. We'll see how the boy does as a videographer and general assist.