Epson’s Finish Strong Contest

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Jake & I were really honored to be part of this great campaign, and now YOU can too! Click on the photo to learn details. Dano is a GREAT guy to work with along with the entire team. Talk about bigtime fun! Good Luck!

Epson’s Finish Strong Campaign

I’m honored to be part of the newest Finish Strong campaign by Epson. A year in the happening, the shoot took place in June and the campaign just broke today. I wanted to give you a little sense of what went on to bring it all off. I’ll be telling the story at the PSW NAPP Safari but I think the video (to be posted later, couldn’t get it up with slow interent at hotel), which is 14min long does a good job of giving you a sense of it all. As the closing slide in the video makes apparent, there were a lot of folks involved to make this happen. I thank them all for an amazing day and amazing shoot! Jake made me look good.

Start Where it Makes Sense

Beech V35
captured D810 / 70-200f4 AFS

I receive a number of emails asking where do you start in regards to an air to air? Folks see my images with rare and exciting aircraft and naturally think that’s what one starts with. Of course, it is possible but not likely. At the same time, starting with something “less” naturally seems like a let down. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! Photographing GA (general aviation) is a great place to start for every possible reason. Access, ease on the wallet and the best, leads to bigger and better. This is a prime example, a 1954 Beech V35 V tail shot over Kansas years back. This was actually a test shoot for the Epson Finish Strong campaign, shooting with the then new D810 and 70-200f4 AFS. It’s like many things in photography, you might not want to cut your teeth shooting for the top wrung but rather, start at the bottom and work your way up making mistakes and learning when the stakes are as high. But what’s most important for your photography is, start where it makes sense.

Pilot Portrait Project

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It started as a single photo for a single article. It evolved into a book project that I’m truly enjoying working on. We travel the country photographing very special pilots and this past week, we worked with a couple more, Larry Perkins being very special to us. He has flown many a photo mission for my lens, the Epson Finish Strong campaign in the Super Corsair #57 one of the most memorable. Our relationship with Larry goes back to day one of our aviation work and that really helps when setting up the shot. Until you see the finished book will the single portrait make sense. But with Larry, the P-51D Mustang was the perfect backdrop for this gifted and amazing pilot.

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The majority of these portraits I do by myself so the system I have is based on that. This time, I had Sharon which does help when it comes to making exposure adjustments (she’s a stand in during testing). The set up is rather simplistic so I can do it by myself. I’m shooting with the D750 / 24-70VR with lighting provided by a pair of the amazing Profoto B1s with a 5.0′ RFi Octa Softbox and OCF Softbox (1×3′) attached. The Octa is left and provides the side lighting. The Strip is on the C Stand right over the lens barrel. You can see them in the photo, the one stand with no head might make you wonder. That’s my stand in for the subject. It’s set to the subject’s height and placed where I want them to stand permitting me to roughly set up light points and frame framing.

There is a 81a Gel in the main light, the strip box and none in the Octa. When it comes to exposure, I go old school, all manual. This is in part to maximize the power from the lights. It also permits rapid change in exposure for ambient light (shutter speed) and the flash (aperture). You might be wondering if the cone connected to Larry’s elbow an accident or not. That is very deliberate and my own little story in my head of the Mustang nudging Larry to go flying. Larry’s elbow cocked as if telling the Mustang to wait another minute. I set up with the sun still up and shot after the sun was below the horizon. The shooting took minutes, set up and break down an hour. And the whole time, we laughed and told stories which comes out in Larry’s smile. This was number 32 so they are getting easier and me, more confident. And all of them, very enjoyable!

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