22
Apr 10

Earth Day: Favorite Teton Spots

Cloudy Tetons

Since it’s Earth Day, I thought I’d post a few shots of some of my favorite places in the Tetons.  Had to leave out Yellowstone shots by necessity; otherwise it’d just get excessive.  Enjoy:

Sunrise on Jackson Lake Star Trails, Elk Ranch Flats Cathedral Group Turnout
Antelope Flats Rendezvous Peak Summit North Fork Cascade Canyon
South Teton Summit Teton Pass Glacier View Turnout

21
Apr 10

New York Voices: Joel Sternfeld

Joel Sternfeld talks about photographing the High Line in New York:

It’s been a while since I’ve been to New York City, and I can’t really say that I’ve ever known New York all that well, even during the time I lived just two hours north.  So my discovery of the High Line has been purely internet-based, but I’ve always been fascinated by these places that are very much out of context with their surroundings.  I’ve always loved abandoned buildings and spaces in general, but industrial decay is a bit of a one-sided theme.  It’s even better to find spots like this that have taken on a life of their own, where there’s an air of wilderness and exploration and separation (another favorite is St. Dunstan-in-the-East in London).  Since this 2002 video, the High Line has received a ton of funding and is now a city park.  It might be a little less wild than it used to be, but at least it’s preserved, attended to, and accessible.  Well done, New York.

Click for more of Joel Sternfeld’s photos from the High Line:

Walking the High Line


19
Apr 10

Phantom HD – Slow Motion 5D Shutter

Here’s a sweet video from James Pearman of a Canon 5D shutter firing in super slow motion, captured at 2000 fps by a Phantom HD.  It would be really cool to see this sort of thing with a 1D mkIV in continuous shooting mode at 10 fps.:

Jackson-based Brain Farm Digital Cinema is also using a Phantom HD Gold to create some absolutely stunning footage:

Brain Farm is currently working on a multi-year project with Travis Rice that, much like That’s It, That’s All, is sure to melt faces…  I can’t wait.

Click on the Phantom HD Gold below for Vision Research, Inc.’s Facebook Page:


14
Apr 10

iPhone Japan

There have been lots of iPhone photos floating around lately, and for good reason. It’s a great little camera, and gets even better with the hoards of sweet apps out there. I have a few – Chase Jarvis’ Best Camera, Camera Bag, TiltShift, Hipstamatic, some generic self-timer… yeah, they’re all great. Even though I brought my 5d mkII setup to Japan, I ended up shooting about 250 iPhone photos too. Here’s a quick gallery of some of the shots:

Lanterns, Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo Shinjuku, Tokyo Boat, Miyajima Torii Gate, Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima
Daisho-in Temple, Miyajima Pagoda, Miyajima Torii Gate at low tide, Miyajima Koi fish, Miyajima
Mt. Misen, Miyajima Ryōan-ji, Kyoto Tree at Ryōan-ji, Kyoto Flowers at Ryōan-ji, Kyoto
School Kiddies, Kyoto Bamboo Grove, Sagano Arashiyama Random sign, Sagano Arashiyama Beer vending machine, Sagano Arashiyama
Creepy? Hotel Taiseikan Hotel Taiseikan Sign Hotel Taiseikan Tram Sign
Closest I got to Mt. Fuji Road from Hakone Shibuya, Tokyo Sunset over Tokyo Bay

13
Apr 10

Elinchrom Ranger Surgery

ranger_header

As I mentioned in the first post, I had a bit of trouble with one of my Elinchrom Ranger RX batteries a few weeks back.  The battery was connected to the head and the Pocket Wizards on both the camera and strobe side seemed to be working just fine, and the flash head test fired as normal when you pushed the test button on the battery.  It seemed to me at that point that it had to be either a). the sync cord, or b). some internal disconnect having to do with the sync port.  Andy shot down to my office to grab a new battery and a new sync cord, which of course solved the problem, but we were then burdened with carrying around a useless extra pack and extra 20 lb. battery, which, well, sucked.

I was pretty sure that something had gone wrong on a park shoot earlier in the season – we were out there at sunset, and the temps dropped from somewhere in the 20s to just about zero in a matter of minutes after the sun went down.  There must have been some moisture or condensation in the sync port, because the sync cord was frozen to the port at the end of the night, causing the whole sync port to stick and spin when I tried to unscrew the sync cord.  Anyway, I later learned that this caused one of the wires inside – attached to the bottom of the sync port – to twist off and break.  Lesson learned here – if your sync cord freezes to the port, just let it thaw out before you try to unscrew it!

On to the fix, which was really simple.  I searched a bit for a warranty contact, but wasn’t too excited about sending the heavy battery anywhere, not to mention being stuck without it for a few weeks.  The fix is as easy as removing the battery from the case (you had to put the battery in when you got it, so I’m presuming you know how to do this), unscrewing the top, carefully lifting the top off to expose the interior wires and circuit boards, and then stripping the end of the loose wire, and re-soldering it into the bottom of the sync port.  It might also be a good idea, once you’ve removed the battery, to turn it on to drain any remaining juice out of the circuits.

Ranger Battery Case Top
Ranger Insides
Top view, with key screws indicated
Inside view

Seal ‘er back up and you’re done!  It should work fine.  This isn’t exactly neurosurgery, but it’s better than spending the cash and wasting time on sending it in for warranty.  That said, this probably voids the warranty, but what doesn’t?

Also, the shot from the original night sesh where the Ranger died can be seen on my site here.  Video (thanks to Karl Steslicke) here.


06
Apr 10

Japan

japan_header

I just got back from an 11 day trip to Japan with my cousins, and I’m finally getting around to posting the photos.  I’ve wanted to go to Asia for a while now, and it wasn’t a very hard decision to go when we started talking about it last fall.

Japan is – by my judgment during this very brief glimpse – a country defined by extraordinary contrast, a rich history, and deeply rooted sense of place.  Bullet trains – the shinkansen – speed by rural fields, ancient castles, sacred mountains, and massive cities at 300 km/h.  The people we met were curious and eager to share their country with us – many wanted to know where we were from, why we were in Japan, and a few even wanted their pictures taken with us.  The Japanese are very serious, hardworking and efficient, but mostly full of humor and quite often absurdly hilarious. Our itinerary was packed, taking us from Toyko to Hiroshima and back, with stops in between in Miyajima, Kyoto for a few days, and Hakone.

There’s really too much to try to try and go back and talk about, so here are a few photos from the trip.  The full gallery is posted here.

blog_japan_03

Tokyo

Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima

Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima #2

Kiyomizudera roof, Kyoto

Bamboo grove, Sagano Arashiyama

Golden Pavilion, Kyoto Fushimi Inari Torii Gates, Kyoto Kyoto from Fushimi Inari
Buddha statue, Daishō-in, Miyajima View of Hiroshima Bay from Mt. Misen Torii Gate, Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima
Tourist Photos, Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima Dragon carving, Daishō-in Temple, Miyajima Odiaba Ferris Wheel, Tokyo
Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower Tokyo skyline from World Trade Center Observatory View of Shiodome, Tokyo

02
Apr 10

Flashing Lights

IMG_2131banner

With the gift of a late-season storm cycle in Jackson, we went out yesterday to the Crags to try some strobed pow shots.

After an initial Ranger malfunction and subsequent down time, we managed to get shooting.  The snow was touchy, and often a lot less soft than it looked from above.  There are lots of ski photogs out there shooting with strobes these days, and I promise you, it isn’t an easy task.  Lots of wallowing around, test shots, waiting, shot composing, trying to explain exactly what you want the skier to do…  And then the execution – you only have one chance to get the shot, no 10 frames/sec to make things easy.  Not to mention that it isn’t like a park shoot, where you can just adjust your timing for the next shot – once the pillow is flattened, it’s time to move to the next feature and try again.

In any case, there was a lot to learn for the next time, and a few of the shots turned out pretty good:

IMG_2091

2010.04.01
IMG_2125
IMG_2137
IMG_2099

Can’t wait for the next try. Huge thanks to Andy Bardon for assistance and skiers John Beal and James Toth.