10.23.2014

When it rains it pours. The perpetual motion of running a business and trying to do art on the side....

Renee Zellweger from the old days. Just a nod
to unalloyed beauty. 
Back in the day we colored black and white prints for fun...

I got back into the office on Monday and it's been a marathon ever since. We're currently booked solid between now and about the 11th of November. Shades of the late 1990's. I had a fun time yesterday. I shot a portrait of a CEO in a small conference room. I lit him by blasting a 200 watt HMI light through a 4x6 foot diffusion scrim from one side. That was the whole lighting rig. Oh yeah, I did have to tape some black cloth on the wall opposite the light to bring down the shadow side of his face just a bit... It was beautiful. And the color on the files was just what I wanted. 

When I finished photographing the executive we bounced one HMI off the ceiling and another one off a white board positioned right behind camera, directly in front of the products and then proceeded to photograph six or sever servers, a couple of cool circuit boards with sexy heat sinks, and some interesting connectors, on a white sweep laid out on top of the big conference room table. I shot yesterday with the Nikon D7100 partly because I am a glutton for self-inflicted punishment and partly because I have to admit that the ISO 100 files, when created by an old, 55mm Micro Nikkor, are richly detailed and easy to grind through the raw processing software on their way to becoming advertising materials. 

I hated using the Nikon live view on the camera so much that on the way home I dragged the case with an assortment of lenses and the offending camera into Precision Camera to see how much I could get for the lot in trade for an Olympus OMD EM-1. Not enough to make it worthwhile. It's worse than cars now. Shoot with the stuff for four months and it's nearly worthless for resale. So I decided to work harder on liking the camera and the lenses. And being one of those guys shooting four mismatched systems deep.

I drove out to Johnson City today. Birthplace of LBJ. That president. I needed to quickly scout a location for several shoots that are coming toward me at speed in November. I was there for thirty minutes and then back to Austin in time to spend the entire afternoon and part of this evening retouching and creating clipping paths and masks for the product images I shot the day before. I was going to pace myself and do some of the work on Friday but my very helpful iCalendar reminded me that I'd booked most of tomorrow to shoot marketing images on location at a private school. When we wrap that up I need to head back downtown to attend an advertising agency open house for a firm I work with regularly. If the economy is still bad these folks haven't heard about it, this will be their third move, driven by quick expansion, in three years. Cocktails and face time from five till eight. 

I'm pressing the HMI's into everything. On Saturday one of my favorite people and models, Fadya, is coming over and we're going to spend the afternoon making HMI driven portraits. I hope I can find time somewhere in the schedule to clean up the studio....

As business gets more compressed and frenetic I'm gravitating more and more to using the GH4 as my primary production camera. It's quick and easy to use. The files are great and the lenses are wonderful. I'm smitten by the look and feel of the Oly EM-1 but my comfort zone is definitely in the Panasonic camp. 

No Lawn Jockeys in my area of Texas. It makes me smile when I see this image.

Finally, a wonderful sign of the times in business: I did a major job the week before Belinda and I went to Saratoga Springs. I was half way into the trip before I realized that I hadn't sent the client a bill. I hadn't even written one. That's unlike me since I'm always trying to bill quickly to get the payment clock running. I put that piece of billing on my "to-do" list and was all set to get busy doing paper work when we returned.  But first I checked my mail. There was a check from the client. Issued two days after the job wrapped, before the agency post production had even begun. They paid the full amount of the estimate. And there was a little note attached. The accounting person wrote. "This is the amount we had on the estimate. If there are other charges we need to pay please let me know and we'll send out a second check....."  Nice.


Something is wrong with trees in the north. The leaves become discolored and fall off. 
I hope it isn't some sort of wilt or blight.....

Nature planted these trees too close together. 
Which one am I supposed to focus on?







11 comments:

Duane Pandorf said...

Glad to hear you have a client that's willing to pay in such a timely matter. I would consider that a very class act these days.

John Krill said...

They still have the annual Texas World's Fair in Luckenbach, Tx. I think that was the town. When we went there in '76 we also stopped by the LBJ Ranch and visited the Johnson homestead in Johnson City. Made for a nice weekend trip.

Rufus said...

Like many followers, we do watch your gear anguish unfold with great interest.

We can't help but have opinions when it comes to the gear. Here is my take on your vacillations:

Your Nikon D7100 is too close to your m4/3 stuff in performance to really make a difference. And deep down you like using an EVF these days.

You also like using old manual glass.

Just bite the bullet and get a Sony A7 already.. They are getting cheap now. They have an EVF. You already know the menus. They work great with manual lenses including your micro Nikkors. And being full frame they will have a genuine niche over and above your m4/3 gear.

Sure, the A7 is a bit clunky here and there. I am sure the next iteration will be more refined. But given that they aren't that expensive these days, owning one seems a no-brainer to me.

Pandabilt1 said...

Beautiful shots ..as always. I understand your pain about the allure of the M1. Now that it is down to about 1K ...it is getting closer to be in my hands.

Joseph Ferrari said...

I like how you post process the images!

AaronL said...

Nice work as always Kirk.
Your lust for the Oly EM1 is strong! despite having the GH4 with the stabilised zooms.
If you were starting from scratch with the m4/3 systems would you pass on the Panasonic and go for the Olympus?

Kirk Tuck said...

Aaron, I'm a sucker for a perfect shutter sound and a beautiful design so if I were starting from scratch it would be the OMD. Then a couple of months later I'd be craving the feature set of the Panasonic. It's a never ending circle...

And just today I shot the most beautiful portrait of a kid. It's the best piece of art I've done in many years and it came effortlessly from the camera I was talking about trading in two days ago....the Nikon D7100. Go figure.

AaronL said...

I want the Fuji xt-1 sensor, with 5 axis stabilisation in the Olympus OM1 body fitted with the Panasonic Gh4 Battery. And if you could stick a Nikon hot shoe on top so I can use Nikon flash system...then I'm all in! Seems like a reasonable request :)

Anonymous said...

Face it KT- its your work not the camera/lens that makes things tick.

But the grass it always greener....

Joe

neopavlik said...

" And being one of those guys shooting four mismatched systems deep. "

We who are about to save money salute you !

Bassman said...

Speaking of Zellweger ...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/fashion/why-the-strong-reaction-to-renee-zellweger-face.html?ref=todayspaper