A zany day of shooting. More zaniness to ensue.
The GH5 worked well in our tethered shooting today. We used the new, Lumix Tether software and it recognized and shook hands with the camera instantly. We were less lucky with our final destination software, Lightroom Classic. Though we'd practiced the set up and connection routine a number of times in the studio something wasn't working this morning when we set up at the location. The one failure always happens when the clock is ticking down toward an impending start deadline.
Seems that the Lightroom Classic needs to check in with the Adobe mothership when going one I.P. address to another and, of course, I'd forgotten the password. That brought everything to a screeching halt until Ben reminded me that one could check in with Adobe products by using a Facebook account. We did so and for the rest of the day Lightroom was well behaved.
You can do all the usual stuff with Lumix Tether, as far as controlling the camera goes. The files go from the camera to a watched folder and Lightroom takes over from there. We did drop a connection two or three times during the course of the day but troubleshooting traced the issue down to Kirk's bad cord management. The micro-USB three connection was fussy. We'll fix that before we go back tomorrow.
The images on the calibrated laptop looked great. On the big TV monitor they were quite acceptable but a little cooler, more contrasty and subtly flavored with mild sharpening halos. The clients all thought they looked great. I can only wonder at whether they will like the final retouched files in the same way. After all, discrimination of quality tends to be subjective. And contextual.
The laptop and connected computer brought us a lot of speed and control as well as providing a third tier of redundancy (card slot A, card slot B and the laptop hard drive). I'm finding that shooting tethered somehow puts the brakes on my rapid shooting style and I'm making due with 10 to 12 images per person instead of the 25-50 I usually shoot.
Ben is walking each client through the post process and helping them choose a perfect selection. We'll take each select and do a mild retouch overnight and then deliver via e-mail. It's actually a perfect compromise.
Tomorrow promises new challenges. I just saw a weather report that says we probably won't get above freezing for the next 36 hours (starting tonight at midnight) and new forecasts are calling for rain, sleet, snow and the possibility that the temperatures will hit 18 on Tues. night. People up north are used to this kind of nasty weather but in Texas we'll see hundreds of car wrecks, thousands of broken water pipes and a total shut down of all commerce and government. The schools have already announced closures everywhere.
Along with the client we've changed our schedule for tomorrow. We'll start later (noon, if we can get up the hill from our house) and go a bit later in the day. The premise being that by noon most of the roads will have been made passable by coffee addicts and workaholics who feel compelled by their addictions to get out early and tempt fate. My hope is that they've bought enough coffee and risked enough lives that they roads will have drivable ruts through the ice that allow us to reach the client by midday.
We'll bring extra food, blankets and a compass just in case.
Wish me luck, it's going to be a Revenent kind of day out there...
P.S. just heard from the swim club. No practice tomorrow morning! You know it's bad when they close the pool !!!
An Early Morning of Packing and Some Notes From the Week.
After the trauma and drama of my family's "holiday" it felt so good to get back to work last week. My first project back was to create video of an interview with Abe Reybold, who is one of the artistic directors at ZACH Theatre. I went "old school" with my audio, running two inexpensive Audio Technica AT70, wired lavaliere microphones into the Panasonic DMW-XLR-1 audio interface and then into the GH5. Say what you will about the miracles of wireless technology but the hard-wired microphones were very clean and the audio from the session is impeccable.
I chose to go with "lavs" because the room we worked in can be noisy and the close proximity of the omni-direction microphones goes a long way toward damping down background noise. There's also an argument to be made that fewer electronics (mic transmitters and receivers) in the pathway of the audio makes for a cleaner sound.
The next day Ben and I headed over to our favorite, big accounting firm to do another flurry of headshots for them. We set up the cordless monolights (Neewer Vision 4) and a neutral gray background and had a very pleasant morning just meeting new people and easing them into the process of looking great.
It was so much fun to have Ben there to help me set up, tear down and cover all the minutia that I find burdensome. From there the rest of the week was about post processing and video editing. We knocked out a two minute rough for one project (with Ben at the editing helm) while creating web galleries for our accounting client (my purview...).
Having distilled my selection of working cameras down to just the GH5's is very liberating. There's no question which cameras and lenses will be in attendance when we head out the door on an assignment. I keep rounding out the lens selection but keep coming back to the 12-100mm Pro and the 40-150mm Pro (both from Olympus) every time I fire up the cameras and point them at profitable subjects. The more recent lenses, and the primes, seem to be my "hobby" lenses.
I photographed an unusual children's play on Saturday. It was done with puppets and puppeteers. It was done in two languages. Again, the 12-100mm was the lens of first choice but I also got some shots from the 30mm f1.4 Sigma that arrived last week. I shot with that lens wide open or stopped down to as low as f2.2 and I was impressed by how sharp the resulting files are. The GH5 is perfectly adept at making good looking photographs at ISO 1600. Not too much noise in the blacks. Not at all.
Sunday was a day dedicated to family stuff. I headed down to San Antonio right after an early breakfast and visited my dad in the memory care facility. That was yesterday. It was a good visit; my dad was sitting in is favorite easy chair and was dressed in pressed slacks, a nice shirt and a sport coat. Yesterday, at least, he was telling me that he is at a very nice conference hotel and has been attending continuing education sessions about hospital management. He was a little embarrassed because he didn't have any cash with him but I reminded him that I had "borrowed" twenty dollars from him and brought the money with me to re-pay him. That was a big relief... His room is well appointed, large and filled with his own stuff. Family photos, books, knick knacks and a small bowl of Hershey's Kisses; his favorite. He seems to have settled into the "perennial" conference quite nicely but would like me to check and see what happened to his subscription to the New York Times.
I spent the rest of the afternoon pulling out bags and boxes of receipts from closets and drawers around the family house in order to get all my parents' financial papers together and stored safely in one of my lockable filing cabinets back in Austin. I think my mother's approach to filing and organizing financial papers was to put everything in a big stack in one room, toss in a hand grenade or two, and then close the door. At least that's the way it seems in the moment.
We've created a process for paper processing the involves three big boxes. One is for trash (store coupons, solicitations, junk mail), one is for financial papers and the third is for "memorabilia" which could be letters from grandchildren or cards or photographs. The last box are things I would normally toss but which need to be seen by my other siblings before any action is taken. Not in the business of generating regrets...
This morning Ben and I are packing up for our three days of tethered shooting. You are reading this because of a personal error I made this morning: I woke up and mis-read my watch. I turned off my alarm clock and took some satisfaction at having awoken without the alarm. I was drinking coffee and looking the news when I glanced at my watch and realized I'd gotten up for my shoot an hour early.
Ah well, I guess that gives me one more hour in the day.
We are packing too much for the shoot. We are setting up at the end of a public hallway, in a Westin Hotel, adjacent to a wall of windows. I asked that the windows be draped so we aren't fighting the sun the whole day but we'll see what happens. Since we are in a public space that can't be secured it seems like I'll be pulling down the set and packing the car for each of the next three days. Every shoot seems to present some glitches but this one has been glitchier than most. It stems from a changing of the guard. The person who booked us was a great client and one we'd worked with for the better part of a year and a half. With changes afoot at the company my ally decided to resign and start his own marketing firm.
The person replacing him was caught, I think, a bit off guard and has a lot on her plate. We have not been able to get the kinds of details we normally get when doing a project of this scope; headshots of large numbers of upper management and sales pros. We're more or less taking the creative reins and implementing our own style. This could mean "course corrections" at any time during the process.
Ben and I practiced our tethering techniques several times last night and Belinda designed us a log sheet that makes organization of the selected photo files a breeze. Now we'll see if the location works and the scheduling is effective. It's all random chaos now but then that's part of our purview: to bring visual order to corporate chaos. We relish the challenge...
A few tech notes: The 12-100mm f4.0 Pro Olympus lens continues to distinguish itself with a blend of flexibility and optical happiness. The Sigma 30mm f1.4 DC DN is as sharp wide open as advertised and super at f2.2, 2.5, and 2.8. Well worth the $339. The Panasonic "Lumix Tether" software works well and is very straightforward. The integration with Lightroom works well too.
The Vizio 32 inch TV/Monitor I bought could be operated while blindfolded and it seems like it will come in handy for all kinds of stuff down the road. A nice addition to the usual set ups.
All of this prep may be undone tomorrow morning when we are expecting ice storms and dropping mercury. The forecast for Tuesday's early hours is: "rain, ice, snow, and temps falling from 32 down to 23." In Austin that means all travel grinds to a halt. Snow tires? Never heard of them. Salt on the roads? Nope; only on the brisket. Fingers crossed......
Keep the coffee flowing and the shutters clicking and we'll settle back into the new normal. Thanks for reading along. I hope all of you have a great and productive day.
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