Monday, January 31, 2011

DSLR Video with Bruce Dorn

Please join Camera West and Canon, USA as we welcome Bruce Dorn, a distinguished Canon Explorer of Light.  Bruce will demonstrate and demystify the latest techniques, camera capabilities and products for shooting high definition video with DSLRs.  The event is free for all attending but we are respectfully requesting for your seat reservation.

When  : Wednesday, Feb 2  from 7-9 pm
Where : Shadelands Art Center
              111 North Wiget Lane
              Walnut Creek, CA 94598

Please RSVP right away as seating is limited (925) 935-1424

See you all there.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Weekend with the Seals

Jason Bradley reports that they had some of the best conditions to photograph the elephant seals during the Bradley Photographic Workshop at Piedras Blancas last weekend.

The Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery just north of San Simeon and Hearst's Castle is the place to be in the winter when female elephant seals come ashore to raise their young and males battle for control of the beaches. It is one of the most dynamic wildlife spectacles in North America.

Check out some of the great images the workshop participants took.

More can be seen on Jason's website :

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thirty Years of BAD Photos

Former National Geographic photographer Bruce Dale has prepared a wonderful retrospective of his 30 years spent shooting for the magazine, complete with audio commentary and explanations of the challenges involved in capturing some of his well known and complex photographs.

Treat yourself to some BAD (Bruce Albert Dale) photos in this 9 minute video.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today's DSLR Too Bulky?

Check out the Chobi Cam One, a pint-sized DSLR that accepts interchangeable lenses, shoots 1600X1200 px still photos and video (VGA) at 30 frames per second.

The camera supports microSDHC memory cards of up to 32GB, and costs ¥9,800 (~$118) with a basic lens. Currently available only in Japan.

A sample video from the camera :

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Step by Step : Shooting Video with the DSLR

The Magic is in the Edit

One of a series of posts aimed to help still photographers produce better videos with their DSLRs.

I love editing video. I find it's in the edit where the creativity shines through, more so than in the shooting.

I find the process of shooting video more a task than a creative endeavor. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy being out shooting video. Shooting video still requires thinking and creativity, however, I look at the shooting as more of a gathering process. Trying to get as many angles and viewpoints of each scene as possible. Unlike still photographs where I'm ready with finger over the shutter button actively pursuing that peak moment; with video, its more of a waiting process, setting the camera up in anticipation of something happening within the frame. If you're lucky or if you planned your shot well, you'll get that peak moment, and the moment leading up to it and away from it. But you need to catch all of those moments from many different angles to help you in the editing process.

And that is one of the most important things to remember. Shoot a lot, and shoot some more - it will make your edit easier.

And when you start your edit, avoid at all costs opening with a talking head. That is the kiss of death. You have to grab the viewer before you bring in narrative. Best way to do that is with strong visuals. Lead with your strongest, or second strongest clip first.

One of my favorite things to start my video with is a series of quick sound bites interspersed with natural sound. A quick hit of sound like a ball hitting a bat, the sound of a shovel digging into a sand pile, the closing of a car door.

Try using the classic literary technique of opening your video by teasing with the middle or end of your story.

It’s important to define your story in the opening 15-20 seconds. You want to grab the viewer's attention or they’ll be gone.

Or you can make your opening vague and mysterious. But be careful with this. Don’t try the viewer’s patience or they’ll bolt.

Open with great natural sound. I sometimes open my video with black and just play sound. It’s mysterious and hopefully makes the viewer want to follow the sound into your story.

Finally, look at picking up the pace to capture the viewer’s attention. Too many long clips will chase the viewer away.

If you shot and edited your story well, you can create a magical video, one to be proud of.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Leica S2 Firmware Update

A great camera keeps getting better and better. Another firmware update is now available for Leica S2 owners. Some of the features of the new update FW are lossless DNG compression, a new maximum exposure time, improvements in the histogram display, expanded memory card compatibility and an increase in autofocus precision.

Download details here :

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Win a Leica M9 and Lens

Leica's Oskar Barnack Award, 2011 international photo competition will be open for entries starting January 15 with a first prize worth close to $19,000, which includes cash and a M9 camera and lens. To enter, participants need to submit a series of ten to twelve images expressing "the interaction between man and the environment."

The competition is a memorial to Oskar Barnack (1879–1936), the inventor of the Leica.

Submissions are open until 15 March 2011.

For more info and a look at last years winning images :

Monday, January 10, 2011

Aperture 3 for $79

With the release of Apple's new online App store, the award winning photo app Aperture 3 is now available for all mac users for just $79. Prior to this, it would cost you $199 so this is a huge savings.

I have not had the opportunity to play with the app, however I've heard great things about it so if you've been on the fence, trying to decide between Aperture, Lightroom or even Photoshop, this price point may tempt you to try Aperture.

Lightroom currently costs $299 and Photoshop CS5 is $699. (If you buy them at the same time, you can get 30% off the Lightroom price.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Step by Step : Shooting Video with the DSLR

Shooting in Sequences

One of a series of posts aimed to help still photographers produce better videos with their DSLRs.

When I am shooting a story, I’m always asking myself: “What's my lead…what's my ender?” "Where’s the action headed?" "Where do I need to position myself to be in the right spot?" "What shots do I need to get me from point A to point B?"

When shooting a sequence you have to anticipate the action. Still photojournalists are skilled at this. The way you shoot your story will either lead to an efficient edit, or a hair-pulling nightmare of unrelated clips.

Define your story before you start to shoot, and then shoot with sequences in mind.

Sequencing helps compress time in a video. If you are shooting someone leaving their house, walking to their motorcycle and riding off, it may take a minute or more to show the entire process in real time. We don't have that amount of time in a short video, so we do a three-second shot of the subject coming out of the house, a two-second tight shot of his feet walking into and out of frame. A four second shot from behind the subject walking up to the bike. Then a shot of the subject sitting on the bike, cutting to a tight shot of his foot kick-starting the engine. Then another tight shot of his hand revving the throttle. Finally, we get a shot of the subject riding off in the sunrise.

Edited together, you can compress that one-minute real-time clip into 20 seconds or less. The cool thing is the viewer understands this sequence and accepts your compression of time. Why? Because they see time compression everyday when they watch TV or a movie.

Top 10 Tips for a Better Shoot
  1. Find your story on the shoot, not when you sit down to edit
  2. Find great moments, compose your shot and be decisive
  3. Get great audio
  4. Shoot wide, medium and tight
  5. Anticipate movement
  6. Hold your shots and record extended moments
  7. Allow subjects to enter and exit your frame when applicable
  8. Use motion and sound to match the feeling of the scene
  9. Shoot action AND reaction
  10. Wear headphones when you shoot and listen carefully