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Tuesday's Tips: Let the Campaign Begin!

Happy Tuesday!  

One of my great passions throughout my career as a photojournalist has been photographing presidential campaigns, especially in the very early phases, which is where we are now.  Campaign 2016 is well underway!
Every 4 years, I photograph a lot of people who think they are qualified to be president.  This is my 10th Presidential campaign.  I started doing this when Carter first ran.  My first great success was shooting the Newsweek cover when Ronald Reagan won the New Hampshire primary defeating George Bush.  I was on assignment for Newsweek covering George H.W. Bush in Manchester, NH.  After Bush gave his concession speech, I quickly left his campaign headquarters and drove from Machester to Concord to see if I could make it before Reagan gave his acceptance speech.  I made it in time and nicely pushed my way through the crowd to the third row behind two rows of fellow photojournalists and positioned my 50mm lens between the other photographers. Today, due to security this would never happen.   I sent off my film and would have been happy to have a photo in the magazine.  When my agent, Howard Chapnick of Black Star called on Thursday early evening and asked "how does it feel to have your first Newsweek cover?'  I respond with "how would I know".  That excitement of covering politics has never left me.  I still believe I have the best job in world. The person I am with could go on to become the president and today they are shaking hands with a few people in a drug store.

 

So far this campaign, I have photographed, Jeb Bush, Chris Christy, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ben Carson and Rand Paul.  With in the next few weeks I will photograph at least a dozen people who think they are the one to lead our country.  It is an unique experience.  Whether or not you agree with them politically, it is fascinating to spend time with this amazing group of people and hear their political views.  

Over my 10 presidential campaigns I have learned a few things that have worked well for me covering the campaign trail.  

 

Dos & Dont's:

Do: play nice with others!

Get to know the candidate, they may become president!

Get to know their staff, they control access.  Get to know the national and local politicos.   And very important, get to know security.  Whether it's local police or Secret Service, be polite, understand their job.  You may want to make a photograph, but they have to protect the candidate.  I learned a long time ago, never challenge a person with badge and a gun.  You will not win.  If you are nice and you get to know them, you will get your shots.
 

 

 

Do: Play nice with fellow journalists!  They can make your job some much easier or much more difficult.

 

 

Do: Travel Light
Some times there is not much light and high ISO is the answer.  I would always rather use the native ISO of a camera.  If the stage is not lit, sometimes I will light it with my own strobes, my strobe of choice is a Dynalite Baja, set up in the back of the room.  I'll fire the Dynalite with a Pocket Wizard Plus III.  I can have nice light with direction and make portrait in a situation that is not optimal and have the flexibly to move around the room.  I was able to shoot Chris Christie at ISO 400!  You can read more detailed info on "how to" in my past blog post "Lighting Politics!"








Do: pay attention to color balance. All of my strobes have a Rosco CTO and 3304 fluorescent filter attached with Velcro to the top of the flash.  It's always there when I need it. 

This is me using my Rosco 3304 fluorescent filter, covering Ben Carson in NH.




Do: Keep an eye out for items that add to your photos.  If there is an American flag or a campaign sign, add to your photo.  Place your photograph, look for things that show the location of the event.

 

 

 

Be ready, the great photographs happen in a second.   Pay Attention for candidate's entrance and exit .

 

 

 

Do: Use negative space in your images.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't:
Don't block other people's view.
Be award of the people you are working around.  Be respectful of the people whose lives and homes we invade.  A journalist who is inconsiderate makes us all look bad and makes our job harder.

Don't: carry too much equimpemet with you.   During a long campaign day, your equipment will feel like it gains weight as the day goes on.  
 

 

What I usually carry on the campaign trail:
2 Nikon cameras
Nikon 17-35 f2.8
Nikon 24-70 f2.8
Nikon 70-200 f2.8
2 Speedlights with Rosco CTO and green filters.
ThinkTank Retrospective bag.

Things I sometimes carry:
Nikon 16mm Fisheye
Nikon 105mm Macro lens (great for portraits)
Nikon 300mm f2.8
Dynalie Baja 400WS Strobe
PocketWizard Plus III
Chimera 22" beauty dish
Induro tripod.

When I need my 300mm and my computer at an event,  I carry a ThinkTank Street Walker backpack.  

 

One last do:  Enjoy this amazing experience!

Here is a list of my upcoming workshops! Hope you can join us!

April 25
Miami Photography Workshops, Miami, FL

May 7
B&H Photo, New York, NY

May 16-17
Hunts Photo, Melrose, MA

Happy Shooting!!

Tuesday's Tips: Lighting a London Asylum!

My destination Location Lighting Workshop held at the Societies Photographic Convention, aka SWPP in London resulted in some wonderful images and was  an event teeming with an abundant source of gear and creative alternatives.   The workshop was held at the Asylum, at Caroline Gardens Chapel in Peckham, London..  The Asylum was built between 1827 and 1833, bombed during WWII and semi restored.  This provided an incredible  place to hold a lighting workshop as it afforded us endless possibilities to create moods and scenes depicting a variety of situations.  We had 2 great models and masses of equipment from The Flash Center, Rosco, PocketWizardChimera Lighting and Rogue Flash Benders

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The lighting on this image was an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra strobe with a Chimera Strip Light on the right side of the model. On the left side of the model and slightly behind her was another strobe with a Rosco #83 Blue gel.  Placed in  front of the blue gel was a grid made out of Rosco CineFoil to control the light direction and break up the light beam.  The smoke was created using a Rosco Vapour fog machine.
If you back light your smoke, it will  have a greater effect.  This is true when using a fog machine or when photographing smoke from a cigarette or cigar.  This photograph was shot on a Nikon D-800 with a 24-70 Nikon lens at 35mm, 1/100 of a second at f5, ISO 100.

The photograph below is a mixture of strobe and ambient light.  The light on the models face is from a strobe through a Chimera 30" beauty dish.  The light on the left side of the background is ambient light and the colors were from the bright sunlight  shining through the stained glass windows about 20 feet above the floor.  This was shot on a Nikon D800 with the lens at 24mm , 1/125 of a second, at f 4 ISO 1000.  

 

Here are a few more images from the Asylum workshop.

                

 


 

 

 



 

At every "Location Lighting Workshop™" we create our "Silly Group Photo" Here is  the Asylum image.  Thank you to Canna Gray of Rosco and Ian Pack of The Light Side for all their help during the workshop.

Please join me at one of my upcoming "Location Lighting Workshops™"  Click here for the schedule.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday's Tip: Lighting Hyunah

This week's Tuesday Tips is a photograph from my studio.  As a photojournalist and corporate photographer, I do the majority shoots on location, although I do use my studio for some assignments.  Quite often, I use my studio like my test kitchen exploring new lighting techniques and testing new equipment.  All of the light in this photograph was produced using 3 Speedlights and a plant!  Ok, I used some other equipment.

My wonderful model for this shoot is Hyunah Jang.  A superb photographer, now working in Hawaii. 

The main light in this photograph is a Nikon speedlight shot through a  Flashbender XL Pro Strip Diffuser.   The hairline light another  speedlight with  a Rogue Grid  and a 1/2 CTO orange gel on a boom overhead.  For the background we placed a third strobe on the floor behind the screen with a blue gel  and fired it through a plant to give us the pattern on the screen.  We  used a piece of foam core to bounce the light from the Flashbender back on to our model’s face.  ISO 125 Fstop 7.1 and Shutterspeed 1/100.  

This set up works in a really small space and with the exception of the screen and plant is really portable.   The end photograph just does not feel like it was shot in a  really small space.

 

    Gear used in this Shoot:

    Nikon D800
    Nikon 70-200 f2.8 zoom lens
    Nikon 3 Speedlights
    4 PocketWizard Plus III
    ExpoImaging Rogue XL Pro Strip Diffuser (main light)
    ExpoImaging Rogue Grid with gel (Hairline light)
    Rosco Blue gel (background)
    Formcore
    Manfrotto Justin Clamp (to hold a form core)

     

     



    Tuesday's Tips: Lighting the Parade

    For this week's "Tuesday Tips",  I photographed the Betances 2014 Puerto Rican Festival Parade in Boston's South End, in close proximity to where my studio is located.  I have photographed the parade numerous times over the years and this year I wanted to do something different, so I lit the images.  In the photo below I asked Keiko Hiromi, whom I work with, to  stand on the opposite side of the car and hold a Nikon Speedlight with a PocketWizard TT5 to light the beauty queens.  I underexposed the ambient light by a stop.  There was still plenty of available light, while the strobe gave the light direction and pulled the viewer into the image.

    Gear Used to cover the event:
    Nikon D800 camera
    Lens:  Nikkor 24-120 
    Nikon Speedlight SB 800 
    2 PocketWizard TT5

    My camera was set on manual and the Speedlight was  set on TTL.  The photograph was shot at  ISO 200, at F 5.6 & Shutterspeed 1/250.  The Speedlight was fired using a Pocket Wizard TT5 on the camera and a second TT5 on the flash.  
    The flash compensation was dialed up 1/3 of a stop, to give it a bit more light on the subjects.