Monday, November 1, 2010

Review: Canon 1D MK III

I purchased my Canon 1D Mark III in November of 2007.  At the time the camera was hard to find and I ended up ordering mine for the people over at 17th Street Photo.  I have provided a link to the left that will allow you to purchase the camera though Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate and purchasing though the links provided helps me to run my blog.  At the time in 2007 there was a lot of debate about wither or not the camera focused properly.  To read about the saga for the Canon 1D Mark III focus issues visit Rob Galbraith's website.  Rob also has a much more in depth review on his website that maybe helpful to some people trying to make up their mind about this camera here is the link to Rob's review of the camera.  

In the three years that I have owned my Canon 1D Mark III I have professionally covered: high school and college basketball, high school and college football, high school soccer, high school swimming, NASCAR, IRL, head shots, public relations events, concerts, dances, commercial shoots, etc.  You get the picture I have used this camera in a number of demanding environments for three years.  In that time I have had no issues with the camera.  The camera has performed fine in temperatures above 100f and below 0f.  The camera has been used in the wind and in the rain, and dusty environments.  The camera has even been dropped on several occasions.

The camera has an excellent focus system that has 19 user selectable points that focuses with amazing speed and accuracy.  The one week spot in the cameras focus system is when it is tracking an object that is coming toward the camera and the object changes speed.  Having said that it is an issue that if you know it exist you can work around.

The camera is very well constructed.  Like I have said mine has lasted 3 years in some extreme conditions and has stood up well to everything that it has seen.  My camera has well over 100k exposure taken with it.

High ISO performance with the 1DMKIII is phenomenal.  The camera is usable in a photojournalism setting up to its max ISO of 6,400.

If I were to purchase a camera again in 2007 it would be this camera.  Today I would not recommend purchasing a new 1DMKIII.  I would recommend either buying a used one or if you insist on buying new I would go for a Canon 1D MKIV or Canon 5D MKII depending on user need.  The 1D MKIV really does improve on the focus of the 1DMKIII.  Also the extra MP of the MKIV and extra high iso resolution are welcomed editions to the camera.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Gear Reviws

I'm about to start a series of gear reviews.  These reviews will be based on my personal experience with the equipment both as a photo assistant and as a photographer.  I will only review equipment that I have personally used.  I do not receive compensation from any of the companies that produce the products that I will be reviewing.  I am an amazon.com associate so if you purchase the equipment from on of my links or click though I do get a small amount of compensation that helps me keep my blog running.

Let me know what gear you would like to see me review.

The first three reviews will be on the Canon 1DMKIII, Elinchrom Ranger RX AS Speed, and the Pelican 1510.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Evernote Review

I couple of weeks ago I wrote a review of David Allen's Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.  As a companion and implementation tool I use Evernote available for free at www.evernote.com.

Evernote is a digital, take everywhere, filing cabinet. I use Evernote multiple times a day across multiple platforms.  Evernote is available for Mac, PC, iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Android.  Evernote allows you as it says on their website to capture an idea, access it everywhere, and find it fast.  Evernote allows you to synch your info in its cloud and it allows you to access it from any computer over the internet, your desktop, and other mobil solutions.

Evernote allows the user to have a giant well organized filing cabinet with out any mess.  You do not have to worry about sending the files from one computer to another that has already been done the software will sync itself.  Evernote allows you to create text notes, web clips, pdf, snapshots, and audio clips.  Evernote allows you to create a virtual treasure trove of information ok.... so what about organization?

Evernote allows an amazing amount of organization with a simple layout.  Evernote gives you three basic tools for organization: tags, notes, and notebooks.  In my Evernote system I have nested tags that help me get everything organized.

Evernote allows the user to create web clips which is really handy when you are without internet say on a long flight.  I will often clip a webpage that I want to read but do not have time to and put it in a tag on Evernote of To Be Read and then it will sync with all of my computers when they are connected to the web.  Later when I am without a internet connection I have that saved webpage ready in my Evernote on my laptop.

I have been using Evernote for about six months and I can say that it has helped me to be come more efficient.  It has helped me to remember more things.  It is a great program and is very useful.  Photographers this is a great project management tool.  If you do a quick web search you can find a ton of resources about how to implement a solid Evernote system.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Camping Trip




Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Featured on Pizzazzerie.com

A couple of weeks back I photographed a birthday party for one of my wife's co-workers. It was a great childrens birthday with a lot of cool DIY decorations. Any 5 year old would be jealous of this birthday party. Here is a link to the photos http://www.pizzazzerie.com/parties/childrens-parties/alice-in-wonderland-tea-party/

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Really Right Stuff BH-55 Review



For my birthday I ordered a Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head (you can order yours at www.reallyrightstuff.com) . I have had the ball head for a little over a month now. I can safley say that it is the best ball head that I have ever used.

Fit and Finish:

The fit and finish of the BH-55 is absolutely stunning. The BH-55 is made with very high quality parts. The BH-55 has a nice heft to it when you hold it in you hand. Despite being mass manufactured the BH-55 is artfully crafted. All of the knobs have a nice drag to them and an excellent feel. The quick release is well made and has a smooth and quick operation.

Use:

The BH-55 ball head shines above all others in usage. It makes using a tripod a dream. Before using the BH-55 I did not like using tripods. The main reason for my dislike of tripods was that the ball heads that I have used in the past sagged and were hard to operate. The BH-55 has absolutely no sag even with my heaviest combo of a Canon 1DMKIII and Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS. The thing that makes the BH-55 shine is that it allows you to have a set tension on the ball that allows for a nice drag. You can move the camera around with the drag set properly and then release the camera and it will not sag or droop. It also is an extremely smooth ball because of the size.

Recommendation:

I would recommend this ball head to anyone that can afford the price. The price is hefty, but this ball head is worth every penny. I will primarily be using this ball head in the studio. If you need a travel ball head I would look to one of the other Really Right Stuff designs that is smaller and lighter.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action | Video on TED.com

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action | Video on TED.com

This morning on twitter I found a link to the above video. It is a great inspiring video about leadership. The tweet was from Dave Ramsey who I think embodies the golden circle concept brought up in the video.

Book Review: Getting Things Done by David Allen






My workflow has always been inefficient. From my earliest days in school till just recently I have been an unorganized mess. While my quality of work has always been high, the amount of time and effort involved in obtaining that quality was on the long and difficult side. From elementary school though my junior year in college I was grossly inefficient at getting things done. I would always finish my projects on time, but things were never well organized. Things were never well organized because I had never been taught how to be organized. My senior year in college I read a blog post about being more efficient with my time. I started blocking out 4 hour chunks of time to work on projects and doing them one at a time and taking no breaks. This method worked well for me, but I still had other things on my mind that made me ineffective with my time.


Since graduating college, getting married and starting my own business my organizational skills really started showing up as being quite poor. I was terrible at managing my time. I had a very hard time making time for my business, my family, my friends and also wanting to get more involved with other organizations. I figured it was time to try to get things prioritized. There had to be a better way to do things then they way I had been doing them.
I was on twitter about a year ago and a friend of mine tweeted about David Allen's bookGetting Things Done. They said that they were going to start a getting things done system, and sent me two links about what that was. The first link was to an article about using Gmail as your central “Get it Done” inbox(to http://lifehacker.com/5321180/turn-gmail-into-your-ultimate-gtd-inbox) The second link was to an application called Evernote that one man used to change hislife(http://www.40tech.com/2009/08/25/getting-things-done-gtd-in-evernote-with-only-one-notebook/).
These two links got me started with GTD. Later I decided to buy the book.


David Allen has a simple concept.  Get things out of your head and on paper.  David Allen says that if you can get all of the ideas swirling around in your head on paper that you can be more productive.  David advocates writing all the ideas down and putting them in a filing system.  David has a great system that I have implemented in my life.  I have become more productive with his system.  Writing everything down and organizing it into distinct areas and projects has helped me to get more done and to remember more stuff that I need to do.  I recommend GTD for those that are looking to help out their workflow in any industry.  The concepts that David presents can be implemented in any knowledge or creative job.  This is a great read for photographers.  You can apply the workflow discussed in the book to your creative process.  You can apply the concepts to client meetings, post processing, and your daily life.


I purchased my copy from Amazon's Kindle Store.  You can purchase your though this link Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity


Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Review: Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity



A couple of months ago Mary Sobon of Management Solutions Group recommended for me to read Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod. Mary told me that it is a book that all freelancers should read.


I decided to pick up the book on Mary's recommendation.  I purchased my copy from Amazon's Kindle store.  You can purchase the book at your local book store or on Amazon Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity.


Hugh MacLeod is an amazing cartoonist and author. Hugh started out his professional career as a freelance copy writer in NYC with a 10 day gig at a major Manhattan firm which later turned into a full time gig. In his first couple of weeks in NYC he started doodling on the backs of business cards. Hugh found it to be a great medium for his art because it was pocketable and could be taken anywhere at a size of 2.5x3in.


MacLeod eventually took his cartoons and and started a blog with them. With each cartoon was a pithy saying, insights, and a healthy dose of humor. The blog is still active although MacLeod no longer post new cartoons on the blog. His blog is www.gapingvoid.com. You can still get new cartoons from MacLeod if you sign up for his e-mail list.
I call MacLeod an author because I view him as an amazingly talented writer. He takes writing to an art form. With an incredibly few number of words he paints amazing clear and vivid pictures of reality that are augmented with his cartoons.


Ignore Everybody is a collection of 40 cartoons and written sections to go with them. The book started out as a series on his blog called "How to be Creative" the book is a tamed down version of his original blog series. The book still might be a bit racy for corporate stiffs or small children. Nevertheless, it is one of my favorite books on marketing/creativity/leadership.


I had a few big take-aways from the book. The first big take away is ignore everybody, the second sex and money, and third the world is tougher than most young people think. When MacLeod says ignore everybody he is not saying to just write everyone off. He is saying that when you have that bright ah-ha moment that you are going to get some terrible advice from those around you. You have to treat the idea as your baby. You can't sell out the idea you have and keep true to you idea. He also points out that great ideas change the dynamics of relationships. The second take-away is sex and money. MacLeod says that everyone does what they do for two reasons: either sex or money. You have to put bread on the table and that is the stuff you do for money, but you also have to have your creative side that you do not for money but because it is your passion or sex to you. Take-away three is that the creative world is a lot harder than we think when we are young and ideallic. MacLeod is not saying to you to not go out and do it, he is providing inspiration.


This is a photography focused blog. I think that every photographer should read this book. It gives amazing insights to the creative professional. In the world of commercial art we sometimes forget the fact that we are indeed artist. We are artist with our own vision. The art director is not the end all and be all of the creative endeavor on set. As creatives we have to have our own vision and ultimately that is why we get hired. This is a book that can make you think about your marketing, photography, creativity, and leadership in new and different ways.


I will fully recommend this book to anyone that wants to read it. So go check it out!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Really Right Stuff BH-55

I just ordered a new ball head. The Really Right Stuff BH-55. This is an industry leading ball head. It is noted for its exceptional build quality. I will be posting a full review as soon as it arrives.

Here is a link to the specs on the BH-55 Really Right Stuff BH-55

Razzle 900

Just a few days back I had my 25th birthday. It was an amazing day thanks to my friends and family. My wife had a little something extra to surpass me with. That little something extra arrived today in the shape of a Razzle 900 camera. I have not had time to do a shoot with the camera, but I will be doing one soon. I will update this blog with pictures of the camera asap.

The Razzle 900 is a Polaroid 900 body that has been converted to shoot with a 4x5 back, and has a nicer lens this particular one has a Fujinon 150mm f5.6 W lens. The beauty of shooting 4x5 is that you have a large negative which is just stunningly beautiful. The images quality form this camera will be amazing. Especially considering that it is a small folding camera that can be hand held.

The front page of the Razzle website has a picture of my camera. Here is the link.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Milk Tooth




Last month the amazing Make Up Artist Amy Lynn Larwig http://www.amylynnlarwig.com/ set up a test shoot with the band Milk Tooth http://www.myspace.com/milktoothmusic. Here are a couple of the photos!

Amy Lynn was awesome for setting this shoot up.  This was a test shoot done for both of our portfolios. A lot of work went into getting this shoot together and Amy and her husband Mark were responsible for the majority of that work.  A big thank you to both of you!

Mark took video of the shoot for a promo for Amy I have embedded it below.


Amy Lynn Larwig, Makeup Artist. from Mark Brown on Vimeo.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Steeplechase Look Book





This year I had the privilege of working with Michael Gomez on the 2010 Look Book for Steeplechase. I worked in my usual capacaty as a photo assistant. We spent two days at Winners Circle Farm in Leapers Fork, TN. Michael took some amazing photos for the Look Book. The Fashion Director for the shoot was Connie Cathcart-Richardson. I had the pleasure of taking a few photos with the models either before or after Michael had finished up. The photos I took are displayed above. You can pick up a copy of the publication in many Nashville stores.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The other day Wes Aldridge had a test shoot up at Studio Daylight with an amazing model Christina Crawford. I got the privilege of shooting Christina for a few minutes before I had to leave for a meeting. The above is the result of my quick 5 min shoot with Christina.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Client First

I have spent a lot of time as a photographers assistant. One of the things that I have noticed about photographer success is that photographers that have a I'm the boss attitude seem not to be as successful, while photographers that have a clients first approach seem to do very well. Photographers who listen to their clients and then take what the client says and offer their own advice do even better. It is not enough to only bring your creative juices to the table. Photographers have to listen to their clients, the wants of the client and the needs of the client. And not just pay those wants and needs lip service, but use them and put them into action on a daily basis. A photographer is not just a technician, but an engaged, creative professional that relies a great deal on the client in many different ways.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Katy Grace






I had a great shoot last week with an amazing model Katy Grace.
Model: Kati Grace
MUA: Joel Green
Stylist: Brandon Hood

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Step Back

In September I did a photo shoot and I showed no one except for my client the pictures. The client loved the images, but I thought they were sort of lack luster. The photos were beautifully light, had amazing models, and had great hair and make up, but I just had a blah feeling about them. Last week I happened to show another photographer these images and he loved them. Since then I have shown them to many people and had nothing but positive reactions. This is just to say that sometimes you have to step back from your own work.

Friday, January 15, 2010

2010

I have beens struggling to come up with a new blog post about the new year. What do you talk about? Resolutions? Success? Failures? I'm not really sure. I will say this 2009 was an amazing year. In 2009, I started this blog, my photography business greatly expanded, and I married the woman of my dreams.

May 2010 be as great as 2009.