Did you know today is National Coffee Day? I don’t really know what that means as it’s always coffee day for me. I wouldn’t exist without it. Speaking of, last month I went into the studio and shot a personal coffee story, so I figured today would be an appropriate day to share! It centers around coffee moments and all things coffee. Enjoy, and while you’re up can I get a refill? Thanks.
Archives for September 2014
Confession: I love when someone asks me what camera gear I travel with. It gives me a chance to geek out and talk cameras, which I can literally do for hours. Hours. It also allows me the opportunity to ask what others carry around and compare notes. I mentioned I could go on for hours, right?
As I was packing this morning for an upcoming trip to South America I thought why not snap a photo and talk about what I’m taking with me? I’ve long been mesmerized with magazine features of what photographers and avid travelers carry in their bags as well as sites like Shotkit. So here’s what I’m taking!
For this trip I’ll be shooting primarily with a Canon 5D Mark III and Mark II. I’ve put these cameras thru the wringer, and they never let me down! I’d love to take my studio set up and shoot medium format with my Phase One 645 IQ180 on this assignment, but because I’ll be in some pretty remote areas and constantly on the go I’ll use something a bit lighter.
I’ll be using a Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS, Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L, and a Canon 50mm f/1.2L. I should be able to cover just about everything with these lenses, from detailed food shots to interiors and landscapes. And on-location portraits made with the 50mm? Oh so beautiful.
I’ll be bringing my Canon 580 EXII Speedflash for any moments where I need to fill in some light. I don’t use flash much but it’s great to have on hand. And so that I may use it off of my camera, I’ll be bringing a pair of Pocket Wizard Plus III which will allow me to fire the flash from across a room or from behind the subject if I’m facing them. Basically wherever.
Lots of extra Canon batteries, an international adapter, and a travel power strip. I always carry a power strip when traveling as so many hotels (and airports) don’t have enough. It always comes in handy. I also never leave home without my duo of Ankor Astro E4 batteries. These suckers will charge an iphone and/or ipad 5 to 6 times on one charge, and having 2 just means I won’t be caught without power.
Memory Cards, Cables, Back Up, Card Reader, Light Meter
All my camera’s memory cards go into my Think Tank wallet, and I carry two 500-gig Seagate USB portable drives as well. Provided I have enough of a robust wifi signal, I also upload to DF Studio for extra safety. I also use a Lexar Compact Flash reader… it’s fast! Oh, and that orange cable from Tether Tools allows me to download images from my camera to my laptop or shoot tethered. I always carry it with me! And I’ll be taking my Sekonic L-358 Light Meter so that I can get accurate and proper exposures as well as balancing flash with available light.
For those moments where lugging around a big dSLR might not be ideal, I’ll shoot with the Sigma dp2 Quattro. Its unusual design is a joy to handle, and the Foveon sense always gives me fantastic images! This camera is on loan from my friends at Sigma, I promise to keep it safe!
Because there will be live updates of my trip and lots of hashtagging happening, I’ll be shooting with an iphone 5S and 6 plus. I purchased additional lenses from Phocus (it’s that camera-looking iphone case next to the phone) that will allow me to get some telephoto and macro action while out and about. And let me say this: those lenses make for some beautiful images! Go iPhone! Go Phocus!
Oh, and I’ll be using VSCO Cam and Snapseed to edit on my phone and a small remote to trigger the shutter for those very important selfies with my travel mates 🙂
Color is always so important to me, so I’ll be using a very small little portable grey/color card that I can keep in my pocket for proper color balancing. I’ll be shooting lots of food, tropical fruits and vegetables, beaches and foliage so this will definitely help me get accurate color.
All of this stuff goes into my Think Tank Airport International V 2.0 bag. It’s durable, compact, gives my arms a break, and allows me to slip in my laptop, as well. I love this bag! And those red things in the upper right? Those are Think Tanks’ Red Whips, which make cable management (and life in general!) so much more organized! Everyone around me LAUGHS AT ME because I carry them around EVERYWHERE! But I can’t help it. They are fantastic!
At the end of every day I download images to my Macbook Pro and do basic edits in Capture One. I also carry a Moleskine notebook and tons of Pilot G-Tec C4 pens in 0.4. Ok, am I obsessed and a bit picky about writing instruments? You bet! Oh, and all the little cables for everything go in their own bag so I didn’t show you, thankyouverymuch.
Also Not Shown…
You should really have insurance for your gear and any necessary carnets. I cannot stress this enough! Insurance, people!
Note: I’d love to ask you what you carry with you as you travel, but I’m currently having issues with comments as I move to a new set-up here. As always, you can reach me via twitter any time if you have questions or just wanna chat!
I always feel like a proud papa when I hold a cookbook that Adam and I worked on. Maybe even more so when it comes to our friend, Aaarti Sequeira. You may know her from her TV show, or you might just be one of the lucky souls on this planet to know her in person. Her energy, humor, smile, humility and her family all radiate with the light of a thousand suns. Aarti is beautiful inside and out, so when we began working on this cookbook last year I really wanted to do my best to honor her story, her recipes, and her family heirlooms lent to us to incorporate into the photography. And you know what? I think we did a pretty smashing job!
But wait, I cannot take all of the credit. Aarti was right there, at every step of the way to advise, direct, hold my hand on a few occasions, and provide the guidance and levity a team needs when embarking on an endeavor of this magnitude.
(And ssssh, just between you and me, that 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000-watt smile is never-failing, always-present, illuminating any and every photo she takes. And if you don’t believe me, come over and I’ll show you outtakes. All gorgeous.)
And those recipes? Holy smokes. DEEEELICIOUS. In fact, after photography last year we served one of her dishes to guests at a dinner party, but we were all sworn to secrecy since the book wasn’t out just yet. It was a hit, just like so many other things in this book. Tracy knows what I’m talking about.
How about some images? I’m only sharing to entice you to go out and buy this book. You WILL go out and buy this book, won’t you? You better. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
(UPDATE: I am having wordpress/thesis issues right now so I am currently migrating to a new design. There’s no way to comment at the moment but I’ll let you know because I want to give away a book, darnit! THANK YOU!)
GIVEAWAY! I’m giving one copy away of Aarti Paarti to a random reader! I mean, you’re not a random reader. I’ll choose randomly. Yea, that’s it! Just leave a comment below, you can tell me your favorite Indian dish, or favorite moment from Aarti’s show, or heck, tell me anything! I’ll pick a random comment in the next few weeks and send you a copy! Disclosure: The book copy is coming from my stash, and this post is not sponsored, I’m just doing this because I love this book that much! Oh, and I photographed it. Duh. Will ship internationally, too.
When you are a photographer, people ask questions. Who do you photograph? What do you photograph? What camera do you use? What camera should I buy? My answers are usually always the same: Chefs, Authors, Celebs, Everyday People. Food. Phase One, Canon, Sigma. And lastly, anything Canon.
The conversation then goes like this: But I don’t need anything fancy, I don’t even know how to use it and I just want something simple to photograph my family/kids/friends/vacations.
And still I say Canon.
Having been a Canon user for so long, I always feel confident pointing them in that direction, telling them to start with a dSLR from the starter’s section. It’ll do what you want, you’ll be able to learn and grow, and you’ll love the images. But when my colleague Christopher emailed and asked if I’d give the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 a spin, I thought why not? I’m always telling people to use it, shouldn’t I get my hands on it and try it, too?
So I did!
Never one to be mired down with deep technical facts (although I really should!), I look for quality, ease-of-use, resolution, image quality, and how it suits the user. These are the factors I always consider. But would this little tiny camera work for me? I decided to take it for a spin!
First things first: I’m not one to read manuals. I know, SORRY SORRY SORRY! I just don’t have the patience, which explains why I’m the guy with all those extra Ikea parts laying around after assembly. Oops! I wanted to see how similar the menus and operation of the SL1 are to other Canon models so I hit the ground running! But first I removed the 18-55 kit lens that ships with the camera. I am not a fan of that lens at all. Granted, putting a Canon 5omm f/1.2L lens on this little body made it look funny (see above), but this way I knew I could remove any lens issues from the equation and really evaluate the camera’s sensor on its own. Well, at least that’s what I think I’m doing 🙂
My verdict? I love this little thing! It’s small, accessible, and makes me feel like I’m using a Canon. The touch screen is nice, and I’m rather happy with the images. I did not try out the video feature, maybe next time. But I’m happy to confidently recommend this camera to anyone starting out who wants something small with great quality. It’s just lovely.
Let’s look at some images, shall we?
This Kalanchoe beharensis in our backyard strikes an imposing stance, and I wanted to see how the blue ceramic planter would look against the corten steel fence.
I have a thing for 6pm, lens flare, my backyard. As usual, the SL1 didn’t disappoint me with this it-could-sorta-be-difficult-to-expose-for-shot.
Caesalpinia pulcherrima from the front yard. Also known as Mexican Bird Of Paradise, it’s from the pea family. Makes the most beautiful arrangements, too! Shooting this wide open let me blur out the background and make it all prettypretty.
Fountain in the yard, side light. I was thrilled that the SL1 managed to hold detail in the lights and the darks simultaneously.
I took it to Las Vegas, and it was nice to not have a a big giant camera to lug around!
It does well in low light, like most Canons do. In post I had to open up the shadows just a wee bit. I took this photo before cocktail time at Mandarin Oriental, which is good because drunk.
MOZen Bistro, Mandarin Oriental for breakfast.
Congee at Mandarin Oriental. Let me get this off my chest, please: IT IS MY FAVORITE HOTEL IN LAS VEGAS. It’s the only way I can bribe Adam to go to Las Vegas. It’s truly an amazing property with phenomenal service and I get to have congree every single morning. Win win all around.
Beautiful delicate touches in the rooms like petals in a bowl. Lovely.
You might not know it, but this was photographed in their rather dark spa, shot at ISO 800 and still manageable.
Don’t want none unless you got buns, hun. I took the camera to the studio for some fun!
(notice how I truncated the above sentence to remove anaconda? MY MOTHER READS THIS BLOG, Y’ALL)
Those famous hands adjust avocados.
Behind the scenes of a taco shoot for Gaby. I was happy how the SL1 handles color, but of course I wasn’t surprised!
Happy to have detail in the shadows, and nice punchy highlights everywhere else.
The prop table! Thank you, Alicia!
And the final shot for Gaby, a big dip situation! The Rebel really performs well!
Thanks to Canon and Christopher! Disclosure: Canon provided the EOS Rebel SL1 on loan, I was not compensated for this post. All images adjusted for color, contrast, and resized for web. Photographed in manual mode, various settings, always raw. Edited in Photoshop. #Canon #BringIt
Oh goodness, IT HAS BEEN FOREVER AND A MOTHERFLIPPIN DAY that I have waited for this. Zoe Nathan’s first cookbook, Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets and Recipes From Our Kitchen, Chronicle Books, 2014. I had such an unbelievable and obscene amount of fun working on this, I cannot even tell you. And true to form I did indeed taste every single thing I photographed. Yep. EVERY. SINGLE. THING.
If you know Huckleberry in Santa Monica, then you know Zoe. And if you know Zoe and Josh then you know they are filled with so much spirit, joy, humor, care, and kindness that it’s difficult to not fall in love. Being in Zoe’s presence (and her bakery and her home) is to be surrounded by love. And most oftentimes that love is handed to you on a plate, in a cup, or a pastry bag. She has one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen, and this book captures her spirit and humor so perfectly. And the recipes? THEY ARE EVERYTHING.
The cookbook is out this Tuesday, September 9th, and I am a̶s̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ telling you to immediately pre-order it now. NOW. You’ll want this book and I can pretty much guarantee that it will stay on your bookshelf for years to come, if not forever. Congratulations to Zoe, Josh, Laurel and the entire Huckleberry Team, and to Chronicle for making such a beautiful book. It was an honor to photograph it.
And to Heidi Swanson! 🙂
Patrons were given plenty of notice over the 2 weeks we worked on the book.
Next time someone says to me “Oh, you’re lucky. I don’t have a studio to work in so I don’t have the luxury of all that” blah blah blah (because yes, people do say that all the time) I am going to show them these pictures. You see, shooting on location in a busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy bakery during business hours can be a challenge. Frenetic, wild, hyper, loud, and at times super intense, you must make things work. You must always make things work. Luckily the customers at the bakery were so delightful and didn’t mind cables and cords as we played Twister to reach our shot.
(Confidential to one of my most favorite actors on the planet who came over to say hello and see what we were doing: I love you even more now. Really).
Propping was minimal, only a few cutting boards and trays were needed. I take this small tablecloth that I bought in Paris with me everywhere, and I loved seeing how the light hit it. Speaking of, there’s such great light in that bakery!
One is never hungry for long when you are with Zoe. Every day involved eggs and bread and I will never ever ever say no. Ever.
We tried not to leave a huge mess, we really did. This was our set, all 3 1/2 feet of it.
Tripod moments were scarce, there simply wasn’t enough room which meant high ISO, lots of handheld, and the world’s best digitech and friend.
Working in a bakery meant early morning call times, which meant Zoe’s breakfasts. No way to resist, really. Thank goodness. Here we are at Milo & Olive for a quick pick up shot.
Make sure and get your copy of Huckleberry or else we can’t be friends. I’m serious. I’m off to my kitchen now to make page 187!