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Humbled

January 28th, 2009 by admin

On my recent trip to Japan, the crew from bodykit manufacturer ChargeSpeed, took us out for dinner. I have photographed a fair few of their cars, around 8 from memory, and for some reason, they are fans of my work. At the conclusion of the dinner, Kay from ChargeSpeed presented me with a gift, a new camera. I was humbled and thankful that they took the time out to get me a present, for no real reason. Thanks! It’s an interesting camera, a 3D film camera. It uses 4 lenses to shoot on the size of 2 35mm frames, so each lens exposes a half frame. I think I may have some trouble finding someone to develop the prints.

Nishika 3D camera

I’m not 100% sure on how it works, but I think the final print is what is called lenticular, which you might remember those animated plastic images with fine ripples on them, as you moved it from side to side the image became animated.

Packing.

January 7th, 2009 by admin

I don’t mind packing now, with all the travelling I have done in the past 4 years, (mostly domesically) I reckon I’ve become quite good at it. Flying to Japan from Au isnt too bad, its about 9.5 hours from Sydney to Tokyo, just long enough to watch a couple of movies, have a nap, eat dinner and be there in time to catch a Tokyo sunset. One thing I struggle with, is fitting all my gear within the weight limits. One suit case of 20kg is it. U.S. folk have it too good. 2 bags of 32kgs. That’s massive, and it’s no wonder I buy up big on every U.S. trip I do. The rest of the world unfortunately has to live with 20kgs. As a result, I pack most of my gear into my carry on bag, a Lowepro CompuTrekker Plus AW. It’s about the biggest backpack that is carry-on approved in Lowepro’s range and here’s what I stuff into it:

gear

Canon 70-200 f2.8 L
Canon 85mm f1.2 L
Canon 24-70 f2.8 L
Canon 17-40 f4 L
Canon 15mm f2.8 fisheye
Canon EOS 5D plus grip (if anyone wants to lend me a 5D mark II I’d love one)
Canon EOS 20D plus grip (or two)
Canon 580EX II
2x Canon 580EX
Canon charger
10x BP-511A batteries
2x AA chargers
3x PocketWizard Plus II
PocketWizard Multimaxx
24x Sanyo Eneloop AA batteries
Lexar CF reader (waiting to find a firewire800 expresscard)
Approx 8 CF cards of various capacities
Power plug adapters
Canon OC-E3 flash cable
Sensor cleaning kit
3x Canon flash stands
LumiQuest Softbox III
various PocketWizard cables and flash adapters
2x Hoya ND filters (ND8 and ND400)
Hoya Polarising filter
Flash colour gels

So all in the bag it looks like:

packed

And I think I’ll squeeze my Dell 1710 laptop in there too.

Razor

December 15th, 2008 by admin

After recovering today from Auto Salon’s last event for 2008, Final Battle at Sydney Olympic Park, I began sorting and processing the 2500 odd images I shot over the two day event. They will be going into a future issue of Auto Salon Magazine, so I can’t post many, but I will post this one.
I used my new 85mm f1.2 L lens for some shots of the contestants in the Lonsdale Miss Auto Salon competition, and it really blew me away. This is a completely unedited 100% crop pic from the 85, ISO400 f2.2. Click the image for a larger version, still a 100% unedited crop. Is there such a thing as too sharp? Naaa.

85mm f1.2L at f2.2

Review: LumiQuest Softbox III

December 10th, 2008 by admin

I have used a few flash modifiers in my time, and haven’t been really happy with any of them. I thought I would give LumiQuest‘s new Softbox III a go, as it looks like one of the biggest portable flash softboxes you can get.


LumiQuesti Softbox III

The all plastic device attaches to you flash (in my case a 580EX) using Velcro, so fitting and removing it is quick and easy. Notice the central oval in the output side? That is designed to further diffuse the direct output of the flash, and make use of the entire area of the softbox.

LQ III

One reason why I went for a unit such as this, is its portability. Folded down its completely flat and smaller than an A4 sheet of paper, making it light and very easy to carry in most camera bags.

SQIII folded

Here are my test images, using a 1:18 scale R34 GT-R.

No flash:
no flash

Raw direct flash (mounted on camera):
raw

Softbox III fitted (flash mounted on camera):
soft direct

Softbox III fitted (flash off camera above car):
off camera

naked flash (flash off camera above car):
raw flash above car

And finally here’s what it looks like hand held:
example

As you can see, the difference is subtle when the flash is still on the camera but becomes more noticeable when the flash is off the camera. It is an improvement in the softness of the light, and perhaps this is not best illustrated using a shiny, sharp edged model. I have used the softbox on a stand and photographing a car’s interior and engine bay and I was happy with the results. Once those images are published I will post more examples. This is the first flash modifier I have decided to keep.

Pros:
Affordable, portable, easy to use, well made.
Cons:
Subtle difference, not as soft as a large, twin layer softbox, can block flash IR sensor.

LumiQuest

The new hotness.

November 28th, 2008 by admin

85mm f1:1.2

I used to use prime lenses a lot in my early days, they were clearly superior to the zoom options available back then. And of course, my medium format system was entirely prime. With the excellent quality of Canon’s 24-70 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8 lenses I hadn’t really needed to use primes all that much, however with the imminent release of the 5D mark II, I will be needing as much lens quality as I can get. My first addition to my prime arsenal is one of Canon’s best, the 85mm f1.2 L II. It’s a huge and heavy chunk of glass, but looking through it makes the weight worth it. Super creamy bokeh and amazing sharpness at any aperture.

Here’s a couple of pics I took walking back to the car after picking this bad boy up, and I can’t wait to use it in a shoot.

85mm water

85mm Pineapples

Long Weekend. Very.

October 6th, 2008 by admin

Thursday 2nd October 9:30am.
Leave home and drive to the office.

Thursday 2nd October 6:10pm.
Leave the office and drive to North Sydney for an Xbox360/Game party.

Thursday 2nd October 12:43am.
Arrive at home, quick pack for the trip tomorrow.

Friday 3rd October 5:38am. 29 degrees C.
Wake up, finish packing, drive to the office (very bad M5 traffic), park the car, catch a taxi to the airport.

Friday 3rd October 9:42am.
in flight
Cruising at 41,000 feet, heading from SYD to LST.

Friday 3rd October 11am. 9 degrees C.
Arrive in Launceston, tour, drive to Burnie.
I have previously been to Launceston for a round of the Drift Australia Championship, so it wasn’t all foreign to me. The luggage system there is still interesting;
LST Luggage
No conveyors here.

Friday 3rd October 2pm.
Stop at etc for lunch.
etc

This establishment is in a very small town on the way from Launceston to either Davenport (where the driving tourists come from) or Burnie (an industrial port town). I was impressed with the modern feel to it, and everything we ate was fresh, tasty and well priced.

Freckles
They also have a nice selection of cakes and check out their monster chocolate freckles.

Friday 3rd October 3:30pm. Arrive in Burnie.
The reason for the trip to Burnie, was that I was asked to shoot the ACL Race bearings sponsored R35 GT-R. Driven by Russell Newman, the car and driver were making their tarmac rally debut. I can’t say much more, you can read about it in an upcoming issue of Auto Salon Magazine.

Friday 3rd October 11pm. Dinner followed by several JD & Cokes at Burnie’s only Irish pub.

Saturday 4th October 6am.
Early start to make it to the various stages an hour or so outside of Burnie. I have heard Tasmania has some spectacular roads and they did not fail to impress me. Smooth surfaces, amazing scenery, mixture of slow and high speed sections with 110km/h zones. Nice. I need to drive it one day.
Tasmanian Road

Tasmanian Corner
Just off these roads the environment is rich and lush. And no we didn’t spot any devils or tigers.
Tasmanian wilderness

Saturday 4th October 4pm.
Drive back to Launceston, for 7:45pm flight to Melbourne.

Saturday 4th October 9:30pm.
Taxi from Tullamarine to Melbourne city.

Saturday 4th October 11pm.
Showered, ready for dinner and party time in Mel.

Saturday 4th October 1:30am.
Party at Baroq House.

Saturday 4th October 4am.
Back in hotel, catch some zzz’s before the show on Sunday.

Sunday 5th October 9am.
Auto Salon Melbourne. Another massive and successful Melbourne show.

Sunday 5th October 8pm.
Due to fly back home to Sydney. Apparently Qantas can’t find a co-pilot (even with me suggesting I’ll give it a go). So we spend another night in Melbourne (more details to follow)

Monday 6th October 6am.
Awake to darkness and another taxi ride to the airport, with another attempt at getting home.

Monday 6th October 10:30am.
Finally home and glad about it.

Total shots:
pics
I have shot more in less time, but this wasn’t a bad effort for the actual time I had to shoot, the rest was eating, drinking, travelling and as you can see, very little sleep.

Carbon CRX

September 26th, 2008 by admin

In case you are wondering where the image in my banner came from, it’s this image:

Carbon CRX

I shot this during the Auto Salon show on the Gold Coast earlier in the year. The location is at the Gold Coast Convention Centre, which is currently undergoing a major expansion. Walking around the venue I spotted this area through some no go barriers, but with a little persuasion I was able to take a few pics of the car. Pressed for time, the shoot was rushed and I ended up completing it in around 40 minutes, including the eventual cover image for Auto Salon Magazine Issue 70. Everything seemed to fall into place, the torrential rain had stopped, the sky remained cloudy and the water on the concrete was dead still. I like it when that happens.

Canon 5D, 1/320th f3.2, ISO400, EF24-70 f/2.8 L at 30mm.