My 10 minutes with Chase Jarvis

I had the very fortunate and unique chance for a small sit down with one of the big current photographers out there, Mr. Chase Jarvis. As this was more of a talk than an interview this will be more of an impression rather than a transcript.

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First of all I showed my portfolio on my iPad. And on several moments he was kind enough to compliment my pictures with words like “wow”, and “amazing”. And I must say, if you hear things like that from such a celebrated photographer, you get goosebumps and just feel humbled.

Basically, what he did say to me, was to get external input. Get rid of any personal attachments. While some shots are absolute top, and some are just okay. So basically, I should go to a professional editor and let him make a good selection. Better 3 great pictures than 3 great and 5 mediocre. He did tell me that I had a great eye for what is good and not.

Also, camera wise, he did recommend a D800 for me. (and a D600 if it would be released). So that solves that problem.

He was also in the same position as I am. Will I become a fulltime photographer. And while it is scary, if you make the step, the survival instinct will kick in, and you just keep working hard and go for it.

“Keep shooting, keep doing what you are doing, and keep getting paid.”

Thanks Chase, from the bottom of my heart. If you ever are in Belgium, I will show you some great places, and beer is on me.

More soon!

So, Shanhai.

I’ve always loved traveling, having spent many summers, springs, autumns and winters outside of Belgium. Sometimes close, sometimes thousands of miles away. Mostly with family, but on my 18th I got the pleasure of flying to Star Wars Celebration III in Indianapolis, USA on my own. Or with friends to London, Scotland and Ireland.

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But the call I’ve got 2 weeks ago tops everything. A representative of Edelman called me. It’s a public relations firm representing Hewlett-Packard.

Their question was simple. Would I be interested in covering an HP press-event 9 and 10 May. In the Shanghai Expo Centre. Shanghai, China.

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Yes, I am interested.

So, if the journalist visa gets approved, I will join the 250 European journalists in the Shanghai for their big presentation. Items on the agenda: Showcase innovations, partnerships, customers. Launch new commercial and consumer products, services and solutions. And their angle on Windows 8.

So, with a bit of luck, in 2 weeks you’ll get a lot of pictures from the other other side of the world.

For more info, stay tuned on my Facebook page.

The picture that sums it up

Everything is well in photo-land. A lot of opportunities and big projects are coming up for me, whom I can not yet reveal. This is a blogpost about opportunities and dare to be different.

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This picture was made today at a local museum, and it shows exactly how I work.

The statue is Don Christophe, a big spanish giant who helped Hasselt. Once every 7 years he is shown to the public for the Virge-Jesse Procession. The other 6 years and 8 months he is kept in a museum room, hidden from public except some small peeping holes. You can only see some details, like a leg, a knee.

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But that shot of one of the youth mascots of Hasselt was not enough for me. I wanted something special. I wanted to see the statue. Show it IS real, that it sits there waiting, only divided by some plywood and 2×4’s.

So I looked around and saw that there was a way to get on top of the crate and see how it looked. I then bargained my way in a closed-down bit of the museum, and got the shot I wanted.

If I see something (as in, see a special angle, something worth photographing, a special way of photographing something has seen a thousand times before, …), I will try and get the shot. No matter how complicated. It might not always work, but when it does, it’s great.

Again, it takes a pair of brass ones and a way with words at times.

Like that time I snuck into the Red Carpet premiere of Harry Potter in Ireland.

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Or got permission to shoot both in the National Library of Ireland and Marsch Library on the same day. Both strictly prohibited to photograph.

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It’s like urban exploration. In 2008 I was planning my new website skyline, and as a research I managed to gain access to the attics of City Hall, city buildings and some churches. Even a police tower. Back then I only had my point and shoot, so I didn’t make amazing pictures, but I did get the data I was looking for, and a lot of contacts and memories.

Last february when I got asked to do a special wedding shoot, I knew just the spot that could give it the extra punch for these amazing people.

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I think the moral is, dare to dare.

Be crazy enough to let yourself have the crazy ideas. To Paraphrase my favorite quote:

“Because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can (…), are the ones who do”.

Be yourself, and don’t let anyone stop you from become what you want to tell people. Your vision is yours alone. Nurture it, and let it grow and flourish. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you are the top. You are not. I am not.

If you look at old images, it’s only natural to think ‘WTF was I doing back then”.

And that’s good. It doesn’t mean you sucked, it means you’ve learned. Keep analyzing yourself, finding your mistakes

“Stay hungry, Stay Foolish”.

Stay open for opportunities. The biggest things evolve from small and unimportant things. A tweet can be enough to get you in the national news. A picture at the right time and place can be enough to launch a career. A friend at the right spot can lead to big things.

If I told you how everything in my life came to be, you wouldn’t believe me, and call me insanely lucky, or crazy. Or both. And I guess I am.

It’s time for me to wrap this one up, upload some pictures to the site of the newspaper, and go to bed.

‘night.

Using natural light

When I came home, and I opened my door I saw this amazing bit of golden light shining on my door, and only my door. The rest of the street was covered in shadows, except that little golden square. Perfect for a quick self-portrait.

No models, no filters or anything fancy. Just me and my phone.

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Shot with the front-facing camera in the regular Camera.app, edited with Instagram.

Lighting diagram of the the biggest reflector in my kit. ;)

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I think basically, just use what is out there.

DIY €35 Beauty Dish

Since I started model photography, I always wanted to create something better and better. First it was outside with a very open aperture when I got my 50mm 1.8. After my 105mm 2.8 came, I started using that as it was razor sharp, and then .. it started with strobes. Luckily, I got a very old working strobe from my mom, and a more modern one from dad. I got myself a reflector screen, some sessions with a photographer, and my video lighting experience.

Now is that next step. After seeing some DIY Beauty Dishes, I had to have one, or at least, make one, and the quest for a perfect bowl began. I found a great bowl from IKEA in the closet, but I don’t think my dad would approve of my hacking in one of his pasta bowls.

So to the stores I went! I was planning on hitting Blokker first to get some plastic bowls, but in a stroke of luck, I passed by the CASA, and dived in, looking for anything round and/or/ Shiney! Didn’t finding anytihng, I headed to the exit, when I saw this. A huge INOX Champage bowl, including a foot! Right size, right color (shiney silver!), and a possible way to hacksaw the bottom off.

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I used a hammer and a chisel to dis-assemble the already welded foot. With my talent for destruction, this was no problem!

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When trying to drilling the holes, I found that INOX is a damn strong material, so of to my favorite metal workshop it was! (Vleminckx NV in Hasselt!) After a quick bit of magic computer fixing, they made me happy too!

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After all the required holes, a trip to the store it was for some threaded wire and nuts. (M6)

The bowl got attached to the strobe and a tripod (an old one that I once got with a halogen spotlight)

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So quite harsh light. All pictures now in the kitchen are all at the same settings. Now came the part where we finetuned the dish. Because it’s not a usual bowl shape, we get a lot of light loss, but that’s what we want, right?

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It seemed the strobe flashed too wide, so the we moved the smaller dish closer to the source, until there was no more light leaking.

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Great! It’s not 100 uniform, but I really dig the texture.

Time for a self Portrait!

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Not bad for 35 euro eh!

Here are some pics of the finished result.

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The Shot …

You know the feeling of having that one shot, that you always think of when you pass a place, but never have been able to capture it like you want it to?

Well. My place is famous and huge: Ford Genk.

For years I have been taking pics of the canal whenever I passed it. I think I have hundreds of snaps, with different camera’s. All like this. The first one is the earliest I could find, in 2007. Last one was 2010 new year’s morning, with my dad teasing me by braking while making the shot.

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Slightly (of very, very) blurry, no framing, road in the way, etc. Blaarg. All until yesterday. Thanks to _NF_. Testing a brand-spanking new D700 in the industry filled forests of Genk. A shot can work in the mind, but you have to take the time to make it.

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For the ones interested: D700, 35mm f/2 lens. 1/1000 – f/9. Check out the finished shot here in a larger format.

Thanks again Nadia :).

Evolution of a Flashy Shot

A great portrait depends on various factors. Composition, Light, Model. When one of those 3 fails, the picture fails. In here I will show you the set-up we did on a shot last night, in fading daylight, 2 remote triggered flashes, a reflector, and a willing Model: Fran.

First test-shot about the flash placement.

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We see all light needs to be adjusted, and so does the angle (of course). So I dropped down on my knees, and made the second shot.

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better, but I want there be more of a surrounding feeling, so I change my lens from the 28mm f2.8 prime lens, to an 18-105mm f3.5-5.6 lens. Since we are using flash, we can use a closer aperture.

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The model placement is fine, now we need the back light to be more direct, and we need a front light. The model needs to look a bit looser, so we loosen her hair.

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And the jacket

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The back and keylights are fine. But we are missing a fill light. Enter a gold reflector.

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That’s more like it! Now we work with the model. Fran is a musician, so not a professional model. So we have to catch her off-guard, and make her smile.

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That’s nice!

And now we let her look off-camera, and make her work that gorgeous smile!

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finished shot, cropped for dramatic reasons to a 8×10. All in all, a very nice day. and again, a thanks the _NF_ for the material. :)

Galyway Photo Guide

Just gotten this mail.



:: Schmap Galway Tenth Edition: Photo Inclusion

Hi Kris,

I am delighted to let you know that your submitted photo
has been selected for inclusion in the newly released tenth
edition of our Schmap Galway Guide:

Sea Cruise Connemara
http://www.schmap.com/galway/activities_connemara/p=86625/i=86625_16.jpg

If you use an iPhone or iPod touch, then this same link
will take you directly to your photo in the iPhone version
of our guide. On a desktop computer, you can still see
exactly how your photo is displayed and credited in the
iPhone version of our guide at:

Sea Cruise Connemara
http://www.schmap.com/?m=iphone#uid=galway&sid=activities_connemara&p=86625&i=86625_16

Thanks so much for letting us include your photo – please
enjoy the guide!

Best regards,

Amanda Brooks
Editor, Schmap Guides


Cool :)

Use Photo Booth and an iPhone to view negatives.

An English post for once. I just got back from the lab, getting y freshly developed Nikon F4 Negatives in Black and White. Or at least inverted.

But I have no scanner here. Now what? Sure, I can wait, but I still want to see how they look.

Well, que Photo Booth. With the standard X-Ray filter, you get a grayscale view of the world, but just a little bit inverted.

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So all we need is a backlight that serves as a backdrop for the negatives. In this case I used my trusty iPhone with one of the gazzilion free Light apps, and voila, an instant negative / positive viewer.

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There also are extra effects (More iChat Effects) that show a colored negative, but these are not really that effect. See for yourself:

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Still, for those quick grayscale views, it’s perfect!

Of Course, if you could set the iSight to manual exposure, it would be easier, but we can’t have all, can we? :)