Our first snowfall of the year turned out to be a big one. I wanted to try and capture some silent night downtown shots, so I headed out a little after midnight last night to try. We had only received a few inches by this point and not much accumulation on the roads and sidewalks. So while they aren't quite the massive winter wonderland I was hoping for they did capture the spirit of what I wanted.
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I've been relatively silent here, and for that I apologize, but I've been more active on Facebook and G+ and if you were following me there you may have seen me announcing my Ironman shoot where I was going to be shooting Endurance House team members all day. I ran a 10 day countdown with a different poster each day from the 2013 race where I shot Endurance House as well. Well, that day has come and gone along with the mad rush to edit and upload all of the photos which wound up being some of the hardest work I've done. With the starting gun going off at 7am on Sunday, the entire project took about 60 hours minus prep time across 3.5 days or so, ending early Wednesday morning.
Today was a double event of cats... and cars. Being International Cat Day, what better way to spend it than with cats. So I headed off to Rock Springs, WI where Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue was holding a fundraiser with a car show in town. Just up the road is the actual sanctuary, so having got to the car show a bit early we headed up to the sanctuary to check out some big cats. All of these cats are rescues from closed zoos or hoarding/breeding situations. It's quite the sight to see all of these very non native species within the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. Before I knew it I had spent 3 hours there photographing them all.
On Sunday there was the threat of severe weather across the state, but it wound up not forming much except in the far south and east and over the lake and in to Michigan. This meant one thing; awesome towering thunderheads in the distance. So I went out right about sunset to see if I could capture anything. I didn't get much that I liked, but as it darkened I realized these were some pretty active storms. Now I'm thinking forget the pictures, let's get a timelapse.
So that's what I did. I headed to the southern edge of town to a field where I knew I'd have an unencumbered view south/southeast. The only problem was the street lights. I kind of didn't want them there and yet I also did. I thought the lights lighting up this field would provide a nice contrast and color combo, but it's a bit overpowering at times. So much so that there's actually flare in my 16-35mm (the wide shots) and the light is literally behind me.
So what's the setup?
- Canon 5Dmkiii with 16-35 f/2.8L II
- 3,297 shots at 16mm f/2.8, 2s, ISO 3200
- Canon 6D with Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 Di VC USD
- 1,668 shots at 70mm f/4, 2s, ISO 3200
There are actually about another 900 shots taken, but I wound up not using them. I shot some at 200mm, and quite a few with my 400mm f/5.6. I thought I could end it by zooming into the moonrise. While it worked, I deleted it because it was so out of place for the subject of the video. Going from lightning to a crystal clear moon shot changed the subject matter way too fast.
In the end, I took them all, batch edited in Lightroom, exported and ran them into a 1080p 60p project in Final Cut Pro X. So each second represents 2 minutes of real time. A soundtrack and sound effects were then added to recreate to the atmosphere, with a tad bit of creative freedom.
I was asked recently to be a part of an event for a band that I had shot last year, New Hiram Kings. It was a free public performance at a small music venue in Milwaukee, but in reality it was a family event for the lead member and quite a few people in attendance. I was asked to surreptitiously photograph a certain person in the audience, but also in general photograph the entire event and the band. So my task was set.
At first it was proving difficult with the very low light situations in there that even extremely high ISO couldn't handle. However, I came prepared. For the first time ever I shot a music event with flashes. I bounced two remote flashes around the room to light up both the crowd and the band. The band was lit somewhat by a snooted flash aimed at the ceiling hiding behind a speaker stack, while the other was bounced into an extremely tall diffuse window where the crowd seating began. This second flash was the key as it allowed it to light up the first few rows of tables which made all of the people shots possible, as well as provide some fill into the band.
In the end, I managed to get quite a few shots that meant a lot to the family involved, but I wanted to take it a step further beyond just photos. What I also did was record the entire event in audio. Nothing fancy like soundboard recording, but just ambient air. I then took one song that was clearly the highlight of the evening and made a small slide show out of it. This would end up being what sold the entire night more than anything else. It was a simple extra touch, but I've been told time and time again how much it meant to them. That alone made me very proud to be a part of this event.
So, in lieu of posting some pics, here is that video.