Ultimate Lighting Minimalism.

Come to my "One Light" workshop.
We'll start at Lowe's Hardware Store
Where we'll buy four under the cabinet
fluorescent light fixtures for $12 each.
Then we'll buy some packing tape to tape 
them all together with.
We'll add a bungy cord to 
anchor them on the fence post
"light stand."

Then we'll take a picture,
pat each other on the back 
and go home.

And the whole time we'll wander why 
the hell we just did that when we 
have a ton of lights on the shelf just
to the left.

A very busy week means a quiet blog...But I still wanted to thank you for the 13 millionth pageview.

Sculpture. San Antonio Museum of Art.

I'm sitting in the studio making clipping paths for thirty or forty still life images I made for one of my clients on Thursday and Friday of last week. In the same week I also shot some video interviews and also a video shot with scores of people all yelling out one sentence in unison. I wrapped up another job for a joint venture capital company (mostly portraits) and had pre-planning meetings for a handful of video and photo projects for next week. Once you factor in swim practice and walking the dog there just wasn't a lot of time to water the blog. Too many hats?

I have a few observations for anyone who wants them: If you know you're going to have to do clipping paths it sure is a good idea to get as deep a focus as you possibly can so you don't have to mess with diffused (airy, feathery?) edges. When getting into the Zen of clipping paths you should  have a really good, calm music mix you can listen to so your brain doesn't fry. You should get up every hour and look out the window so you don't get vision cramps.

In the pool, if you are swimming with young people in your lane (say 26 year old triathletes and the like) it's important to let them go first so they can wear themselves out while you draft off their wake. In this way you'll be able to keep up for the first half of the workout while they tire themselves out. If you are good at pacing you'll have the stronger second half of the work out.

Another pool suggestion: If you've been pounding away at work you probably should take it a little easier than usual in the pool. Anything more than 4500 yards in a workout is just garbage yardage if you are already worn out.

A few observations about video: Even if the clients say they know exactly what they want make sure to do a pre-production meeting to go over the details. You might find you need an extreme range zoom to get the kind of shot they describe as "not a big deal."  Bring your own microphones! You might find that the ones they swear they have on hand and ready to go never materialize and you don't really want to be that guy who had to use the in camera mics, right?
Video tripods with fluid heads are nice and all but few of them go really tall. Need to shoot someone who's six foot five from above eye level? You'll be happy you had your conventional Gitzo 8 footer in the trunk of the car.... And a hard Pelican case to stand on.

One more point about microphones: If you are running the signal from the microphone directly into your camera be sure to pack extra cables and adapters. Borrowed or supplied microphones are probably XLR plugs and might need phantom power. At the least you might need an XLR or quarter inch to 3.5mm adapter or two.... Don't be that guy.... (Been there..).

Wanna make photo-life easier in general? Custom White Balance All The Time! Custom White Balance All The Time! Custom White Balance All The Time! Custom White Balance All The Time! Custom White Balance All The Time! Custom White Balance All The Time!

My location shoot on Saturday reminded me of the importance of checking the local events calendar when you discuss a location with your clients. We wanted a fun shot of the downtown skyline with the lake in front and my client in front of that. We've shot that shot before and there's a perfect spot down at Auditorium Shores in Austin. As we headed there it became clear to us that this was also the spot of the weekend long Reggae Festival and the attendant 100,000 people. Thank goodness we had a "plan B." 

It's also a good idea to bill as you go. The end of every job should mean having you sit down and bill right then. Nothing worse than looking up after three weeks of work without having time for bookkeeping and realizing you're about to suffer "check lag." A nasty reality of the one man band business model....

Good stuff this week? The a58 is a great little camera and the files are good enough to interchange with the a99 for a lot of critical work in the studio and around town. The new kit lens is good but unless I'm wanting to travel as light as humanly possible I'd rather use the 16-50mm 2.8 DT just for the faster f-stop.

The new fluorescent lights are good. Again, CWB!!! But actually a pretty good balance in with diffuse sunlight. More when I slow down.

We logged our 13,000,000th pageview last night. Thank you for reading and taking time to comment. I routinely just edit out the people who are difficult but I appreciate everyone else's input. Hope you're out shooting while I'm sitting here listening to vintage Rolling Stones and working the Wacom Pad.

Don't forget to bill for usage.  And have a great week. At the end of next week.......Eeyore's Birthday Party at Pease Park. Wear a costume if you are coming. A khaki vest and a heavy bag of old school voyeur cameras doesn't count......