Q & A with Travis Burke

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Travis Burke’s diverse and creative approach to action and adventure photography stems from his own perspective on life. He approaches it with a dedication to conquering anything thrown at him and to not living with regrets. Whether hanging from a 500’ bridge, riding a jet ski over shark infested waters or hiking alone in the dark of night to remote locations, Travis is constantly pushing himself and the limits of his photography. Travis’ client list includes working with world-class companies such as ESPN, Skullcandy, GoPro and more. His drive for adventure and mastery of photography has earned him the staff photographer position for GrindTV.com. He is currently satisfying his thirst for adventure shooting stories for Grind’s featured blog called “The Bucket List”.

 

Tamrac: How did you get into photography?

Travis: Back in 2008 I was planning a solo road trip to Yosemite National Park and decided to pick up a DSLR camera to try and capture the experience. I had no knowledge of shutter speeds, Aperture, ISO or any other camera settings at the time. After spending a week camping, exploring, and hiking to the top of Half Dome with my camera, I knew I had found something I was passionate about. Its been an amazing journey ever since.

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Tamrac: You were recently featured on Yahoo for your assignment into the Antelope Canyons in Arizona.  Can you tell us more about that?

Travis: A few months ago I took a ninety-five day road trip around the Western United States and got to explore some amazing places. I wrote a story for GrindTV about one of my favorite locations, the Antelope Canyons. The unique shapes, light, and pure beauty of these slot canyons make them some of the best in the world. My boss at Grind submitted the story to Yahoo News and it ended up being featured on the front page. It brought some great exposure and we’re currently working on getting some more featured stories up soon!

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Tamrac: Not only do you love to photograph Action Sports but you also love to be a part of them yourself!  Do you have a favorite sport and why?

Travis: Ever since I can remember I have had a love for all action sports. I started skateboarding at age 3 and as a teenager skateboarding took over my life. I got to the point where I was attempting tricks that few very skaters in the world were trying at the time, but after multiple ankle injuries I basically had to give up the sport. That left me with a very empty feeling inside and it wasn’t until I started pushing myself again in multiple other action sports that the feeling went away. Now any free time I have is spent devoted to trying to progress in every sport. From rock climbing, mountain biking, surfing, kite-skateboarding, slacklining and a million others.

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Skateboarding and action sports in general have taught me a tremendous amount about life. If you have confidence, dedication, willpower and a positive attitude you can accomplish just about anything in the world.

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Tamrac: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers who want to shoot action and adventure photography?

Travis: Be passionate about what you’re shooting! I have found that if I participate in the activity and know it well, it gives me a better understanding of the angles, tricks, timing, and overall representation of the sport.

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Tamrac: Tell us one place that you have not been but would love to photograph and why?

Travis: There is a little place called Havasu Falls in Arizona that I am excited to check off my bucket list later this year. It’s a mixture of backpacking, breathtaking waterfalls, remote locations, and cliff jumping. Everything I could ask for in an awesome adventure.

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Tamrac: How has Social Media helped you as a photographer?

Travis: Social Media has played a huge role in my photography. It’s a great way to share my images as well as follow other creative individuals that inspire me. I have met new clients, made friends, sold images, and obtained sponsorships because of it. It’s a great tool that everyone should be utilizing these days.

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Tamrac: What is your favorite action movie?

Travis: The Art of Flight. It’s a snowboarding movie that has incredible cinematography, extreme progression of a sport, adventure and an awesome soundtrack.

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Tamrac: What do you love about your Tamrac bags?

Travis: I’ve been using Tarmac bags since my first exploration into Yosemite. The diverse selection available makes it easy to find a bag that fits my exact needs. They are rugged enough to handle the elements while protecting my gear and still making it easy for me to access everything I need.

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Tamrac: What Tamrac gear do you use?

Travis: Expedition 7x, Adventure 10, Jazz Messenger 2 and Explorer 15.

Time Lapse Guru Tom Lowe Q&A

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The Astronomy Photographer of the Year award winning image which features features a 4,000 year old bristlecone pine tree against the Milky Way. This photo is actually a single frame of time laps footage featured in Tom’s film TimeScapes.

Recently we caught up with Tom Lowe, time lapse photography guru, to pick his brain about his technique, gear, and adventures! If you’re not familiar with Tom’s work, you should be! Tom and his production company Dreamcore were instrumental in the resurgence of time-lapse photography by pioneering new techniques and designing motorized time-lapse dollies and motion-control systems for capturing the mesmerizing visuals that define the genre. He is also working on bringing like-minded creatives together through his online community forum at TimeScapes.org.

Tamrac: You have done some impressive work with time lapse photography. What is it about time lapse photography that has drawn you to this
technique?

Tom: The main draw for me was the ability to film at night, capturing the stars and the moonlight.  You simply cannot do that with conventional movie cameras or techniques. Second, time lapse is a great way to get into film making, because the gear is relatively inexpensive. When I first started in late 2006, using a $600 Canon 350D Rebel,  I was able to shoot incredibly sharp 1080p+ video that totally blew away the images from Sony’s top-of-the-line, $200,000 F900 digital movie camera.

Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Producer, Tom Lowe

Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Producer, Tom Lowe

Tamrac: Your film TimeScapes [view the trailer at the end of this post] showcases your stunning time lapse photography work and is the first film to be released for purchase in 4K. Along with pushing the boundaries of distribution, what are some of the boundaries of the time lapse technique that the process of making this film gave you the opportunity to push?

Tom: Without question, no film has ever contained anywhere near the amount of dark-skies (Milky Way) astro-time-lapse that “TimeScapes” has.  Director Ron Fricke and  producer Mark Magidson’s 1992 film “Baraka” was and remains a huge inspiration to me, but they were limited in what they could shoot at night due to the low ISO/ASA rating of chemical 65mm film.  Basically, they could only shoot in moonlight, but they could not capture the Milky Way. The higher sensitivity of digital cameras, especially when coupled with modern cinema and stills lenses, also allowed me to really push the boundaries of how time lapse cameras can move.  Instead of just using dollies, sliders and jibs, I was shooting astro-timelapse from moving cars and boats.

Tom attaching his camera to the windshield of his truck.

Tom attaching his camera to the windshield of his truck.

Tamrac: TimeScapes took you 2 years to film during which you spent 250 nights sleeping outside under the stars as your cameras shot through till morning. Do you have any  funny/interesting stories you’d like to share that happened on your two year adventure?

Life of a time lapse shooter. Members of the Dreamcore team, Ben and Mike, camping out on an unfinished tower in Dubai

Life of a time lapse shooter. Members of the Dreamcore team, Ben and Mike, camping out on an unfinished tower in Dubai

Tom: Well, let’s put it this way.  Aside from gas and food, our largest line item production expense on “TimeScapes” was… beer!  At Dreamcore, our motto is “Film like Terrence Malick, Party like Led Zepplin.”  So we had hundreds of epic nights blasting dubstep at
all-night bonfire parties in some of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth.

Location scouting and camping under the stars in Yemen.

Location scouting and camping under the stars in Yemen.

Tamrac: What kind of cameras and lenses are you using to capture these images?

Tom: Our main camera on “TimeScapes” was a Canon 5D Mark 2, with a Canon 16-35mm lens.  That is a timelapse workhorse combination.  But we also used a special, modified Canon 1D4 camera with a PL mount, which allowed us to use the 1D4 with the super-fast 16mm f/1.2 Zeiss/Arri Master Prime 16mm lens.  Without the Master Prime, I simply would not have been able to successfully film the “astro boatlapse” sequence at Lake Powell, for example.

Getting ready to shoot with his Canon and Optimo combo in Dubai.

Getting ready to shoot with his Canon and Optimo combo in Dubai.

Tamrac: What kind of equipment are you using to get such fluid camera motion?

Tom: I used Kessler and camBLOCK motion-control gear on “TimeScapes.”  We actually invented some new rigs while shooting as well, like the Kessler “Timelapse Crane” setup. That piece of gear was spawned from an informal phone conversation I had one morning with Eric Kessler.

Sunset time lapse with the Kessler Crane CineDrive motion control system in Jordan.

Sunset time lapse with the Kessler Crane CineDrive motion control system in Jordan.

Tamrac: You sent us a really cool picture of a number of Expedition backpacks piled in the back of an SUV getting ready for a shoot. So how many Expeditions are you using for all your gear and what is it that you like about your Expedition backpacks?

Loaded up with Expedition 9x after Expedition 9x.

Loaded up with Expedition 9x after Expedition 9x.

Tom: Haha, we probably have 15 or 20 Tamrac Expedition 9x bags. The 9x is our main method for moving gear around, whether we are talking about motion-control kits, lighting, or cameras.  We actually keep our Red Epics totally built inside the 9x… that’s one of the main reasons I love it, because I hate disassembling cameras.

Packing up the Expedition 9x's for a shoot.

Packing up the Expedition 9x’s for a shoot.

Tamrac: What are some words of wisdom you might share for someone interested in   trying time lapse photography for the first time?

Tom: If you really want to become a great time lapse photographer, it’s not patience that you need, it’s dedication.  It’s easy to pass time while the camera clicks away, but it’s hard to get your ass up at 3am in the freezing cold and move a camera dolly up the side of a  mountain. Dedication is the key.

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Tamrac: How can people find out more about you and your work, and keep up with what you’re doing?

Tom: They can follow me at

http://www.facebook.com/tomlowefilmmaker
http://www.facebook.com/DreamcorePictures
http://twitter.com/DreamCorePics

View the TimeScapes trailer!

TimeScapes: Rapture 4K from Tom Lowe on Vimeo.

And they can purchase “TimeScapes” here:
http://timescapes.org/products/default.aspx

Thanks so much to Tom Lowe and his crew at Dreamcore for answering our questions! We’re excited to see what you guys will come out with next!

For more information on the Expedition 9x backpacks. Check them out here:
http://www.tamrac.com/frame_exp.htm

 

Maring Visuals Q&A

CharlesandJen_Bio_8x10_300Maring is an International Award Winning studio where creative storytelling shines. We’re a group of photographers, cinematographers, graphic designers, master printer artists, and book binders working in unison to bring our clients a one of a kind experience where the words “artistic integrity” ring true.
We tell stories in print, on the big screen, online, and we even design custom mobile applications for smart phones and tablets in which we blend the creative content we produce into gorgeous interactive publications that can be private or monetized online.
Often we get to photograph and create content for some well known personalities and companies like Donald and Melania Trump, David Tutera, Star Jones, Tom Clancy, Disney, American Express, etc…
You won’t find Maring everywhere or advertising in local magazines, etc… Instead, we work primarily on referrals from past clients who know that we will deliver on our promise of excellence. Whether your project is personal such as a wedding, private party, or a family portrait…. Or, your project is commercial as an interactive catalog, a business portrait, or a viral video.

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Tamrac: How did you get into photography?
Charles/Jennifer:  Both Jennifer and I are lucky in that both our fathers were into photography. We both come from families that were experimenting in the photographic processes, both behind the camera and in the darkroom, our entire lives. So, it’s something both of us have always held close to our hearts and something we dreamt about growing up.

Tamrac: You guys excel in shooting diverse photographic styles.  Do you have a favorite?
Charles/Jennifer: Thank you for noticing this… We don’t really have a favorite style. We simply like telling great stories. We have just as much appreciation for photojournalism as we do for pro-active work. We strive to be the best we can at both and feel there is a time and place for both as well.

New York Photographer

Tamrac: You guys created a really cool app for the iTunes store called Modern Light, can you describe it to us?
Charles/Jennifer: Modern Light is more like an interactive book that an app per say. It covers a lot of basics, terminology, light shaping tools, etc… for those that are just getting started. However, we also included videos, diagrams, and examples of how we personally use these tools in a variety of ways from lighting reception halls to celebrity portraits to fashion. It chronicles some of our shoots over a 6 month period and shares advice on how to light with purpose.

New York Photographer

Tamrac: You guys have been on several episodes of My Fair wedding.  Can you tell us about that experience?
Charles/Jennifer: Yes we have… We actually photographed David Tutera’s personal wedding quite a few years back after he fell in love with our style and quality. We went on to co-produce several books with David on entertaining, and just recently photographed him and all of his commercial brands as well for upcoming product launches. Our work with My Fair Wedding was really more behind the scenes although we appear many times and are the focus of a couple of shows. David came to us regarding creating a My Fair Wedding book. So, most weddings had their own photographer, and our job was to capture the details of the design and from a behind the scenes perspective. It was a lot of fun to work on set with cast and crew as well as to be a guest expert.

New York Photographer

Tamrac: Do you have any unique or funny moments while shooting on location?
Charles/Jennifer: Nothing to crazy that happened to us personally. Luck favors the prepared mind I guess. I’ve dropped a few lenses over the years, but have been quite lucky.  But, we have seen some crazy things. One time at a wedding the grooms mom got out of a Lincoln Town car at the ceremony, which was driven by a neighbor. She walked behind the car and the neighbor ran her over breaking her leg severely. Luckily an ambulance arrived to bring the grandmother at the same time, and they had an extra wheelchair. In trauma, the grooms mom refused to go to the hospital. So the overall view of the ceremony was with two wheelchairs on each side of the aisle. Looking back, that was kind of lucky as well as the shot balanced quite nicely.

New York Photographer

Tamrac: What are projects are you working on that we can expect to see soon?
Charles/Jennifer: We are working on numerous projects right now on the personal front. We never sit still, and if things are slow on the client front, we ramp up personal projects. We are very passionate about personal work above all else. Too many photographers focus only on client work instead of their own ideas and dreams. In the end it is personal work that ultimately feeds client work somehow in our experience. Plus you may succeed or fail in the end, but what matters is that you grew in the process, and have something spectacular to show for it.  On the video front, we shot several short films this year, along with a feature film, with the New York Film Group. This is a creative group of directors, producers, writers, actors, and cinematographers, and we are one of the key players. Some members are seasoned professionals that work in broadcast, others are students, and still others are aspiring. We team up to help each other get projects off the ground and, as a group, we see them through to completion and off to film festivals. The group has nearly 200 members, but is growing at incredible speed. We expect 1000 members by the end of 2013. So, we are working on finding meaningful scripts, and producing several shorts and two feature films in the coming year.  We also have been shooting stills, video, and time lapse films of the growth of a new park in NYC called the High Line for the past few years. We are on the verge of launching the pilot issue of a magazine called HighLine, which will be available on the iPad summer of 2013. The magazine has interviews with entrepreneurs, artists, gallerists, etc… and is a publication that brings the area to life in a new creative way. Digital publishing is the next wave, and we intend to be on it.

New York Wedding

Tamrac: What Tamrac gear do you use?
Charles/Jennifer: Since we are in NYC, well-made roller cases are big for us. The rolling studio cases are incredible because we now do so much high production value video work. On set, everything remains organized, visible and easily accessible.  As you know, we shoot weddings and portraits as well… We absolutely love the line of Tamrac Messenger bags because they piggy-back the big wheels speed roller cases. This is ideal for travel as it all fits as a carry on.

Tamrac: What do you love about your Tamrac bags?
Charles/Jennifer: What we love about our Tamrac bags is that they are extremely well made, and they last a very long time. They are also well thought out in terms of ergonomics.
Feel free to drop us an email or give us a call. We hope that you’ll expect the best, because that is what we strive to deliver!

Behind the Scenes of NBA Photographer Andrew D. Bernstein

You’ve seen the images, now hear the stories behind them!  LA Lakers, Clippers, Kings and NBA Photographer Andrew D. Bernstein will be at Samy’s Camera in Los Angeles on March 21st to talk about his experiences shooting some of the most famous athletes in the world.  Come to get a rare glimpse behind some of the most iconic sports images from the last 30 years.  To learn more see below:

To purchase tickets got to: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5413660404/eorg#

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Happy Customer: Troy Daniels

We love hearing from our customers about how our bags have kept their gear safe and sound. It lets us know that we’re doing it right and encourages us to keep making the quality products they can trust. We recently received feedback we’d like to share from photographer Troy Daniels telling us about his Evolution 8.

Penang, Malaysia - Note the awesome backpack

Penang, Malaysia – Note the awesome backpack

About a year ago I purchased the Tamrac Evolution 8 backpack for a solo trek through Hawaii.  Since then it has traveled though the mid-west, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and soon to be Myanmar.  Through all this, this pack has consistently held over 50 lbs of lenses and gear for up to eight hours at a time, been submerged in a river (big whoops), caught in several rainfall deluges and generally been my go to bag for all my traveling and hiking.

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Canon Mark III with mounted Canon 24-70mm. Tripod goes on the outside and I fit a few water bottles or snacks in just below the DSLR.

Middle - Canon 100 mm Macro, Extension tubes on top, Canon 16mm - 35 mm wide angle Bottom - Tokina 11mm - 16mm, Canon 70 - 200 mm (2.8 so its extra heavy), Canon Extender III.

Top – Canon 7D, Canon 24-105 mm lens
Middle – Canon 100 mm Macro, Extension tubes on top, Canon 16mm – 35 mm wide angle
Bottom – Tokina 11mm – 16mm, Canon 70 – 200 mm (2.8 so its extra heavy), Canon Extender III.

I am incredibly impressed by the strain I’ve put on it and how other than my stinky sweat odor remains in pristine condition.  My only concern is that with the consistent weight I put on the shoulder straps (yes, I use the hip strap too), they might eventually tear, but I’ve yet to see that.  I consider it an integral part of my setup and in the event that anything ever happens to it, I’ll definitely be buying another. Awesome product.  Don’t regret the purchase at all.

Troy

Troy will be happy to know that all of our backpack straps are reinforced with internal webbing and sewn through the entire seam twice where they attach to the bag with nylon boot thread. This ensures that those straps will not pull out and explains why they haven’t torn while carrying a consistent load of 50lbs of gear.

Troy wanted to give a shotout to Eldar who’s a sales associate at ePhotoCraft.com where he purchased his Evo 8. He’s thankful that Eldar highly recommends Tamrac bags, and gives him great advice along with an occasional discount. So thanks, Eldar!

Here are some more images that troy sent us taken during his trek through Hawaii.

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Big Island, Hawaii

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Big Island, Hawaii

Oahu

Oahu

Q&A with Wedding and Portrait Photographer Hanson Fong

Hanson-HeadshotHanson Fong of San Francisco, California, is globally recognized as one of the premier wedding and portrait photographers in the industry. With more than 30 years of experience, Hanson has rightfully earned the Photographic Degrees of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman. He is currently a member of the prestigious Society of XXV. Hanson is also a proud member of Canon’s Explorers of Light.

Hanson regularly shares his techniques that apply to both fine art and classical photography. In his course, “Fong Shui, Harmonizing the Fine Art of Posing and Lighting” he demonstrates the Classic 10 Poses that he pioneered, flow posing, body shifting and facial analysis. Complimented with his animated personality, attendees enjoy live shooting demonstrations, hands on posing techniques, as well as large screen projections of his present and past work.

Hanson has lectured at every major school of photography across America and has been invited to speak at various national and international conventions. His work and talent are recognized throughout the United States, Asia, Canada, Mexico and Europe. His work has been displayed in the Hall of Fame, Epcot Center, and the ASP Traveling Loan. Hanson’s images have been seen in numerous publications including “American Photo,” “Bridal Guide,” “Popular Photography,” “Rangefinder,” “Studio Photography,” and “Professional Photographer.” The quality of his work is reflected in the aesthetic appeal found in each of his photographs.

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Tamrac:  Can you describe the moment you knew you wanted to be a photographer?
Hanson: It was 1970, I was in high school and started photographing my friends and family. I enjoyed it very much and my subjects thought I was pretty good. When I enrolled in a community college, I started taking photography courses and knew that was what I wanted to do.

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Tamrac:  What do you think about the new mirrorless cameras?
Hanson: Great possibility of a lighter camera body…it is about 30% lighter! Technology is ever changing before our eyes!

Tamrac:  Tell us a about your course “Fong Shui, Harmonizing the Fine Art of Posing and Lighting” and where can photographers learn more?
Hanson: How I came up with this course title was the fact that when I was taking classes from my mentors, the models they had to pose were just that, models. When I got into the real world to photograph, my subjects were your average everyday people. In order to make these subjects “look good” I had to learn how to make them “look good” by learning how to pose and using different lighting techniques.
Photographers can learn my techniques by checking out my website, www.hansonfong.smugmug.com , teaching programs. I am contemplating doing some private workshops as well this year.

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Tamrac:  Where is your dream location to photograph and why?
Hanson: What better place than Venice, Italy! I love the charm, beauty, romance, architecture of Venice.

Tamrac:  Do you have any unique or funny moments while shooting on location?
Hanson: I once photographed a bride and groom at the Palace of Fine Arts. Swans were passing by and all of a sudden, one of the swans attacked the bride and the other chased the groom away!

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Tamrac:  You offer a variety of products that include photography tip DVD’s to EZ Steps, where can photographers buy your products?
Hanson: Please visit my website, www.hansonfong.smugmug.com, email me at hansonfong@mac.com or call me at (415) 433-7994.

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Tamrac:  What Tamrac gear do you use?
Hanson: I use the Tamrac Rolling Strong Box 692.

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Tamrac:  What do you love about your Tamrac bags?
Hanson: They are extremely well made! The large wheels are able to handle the roughest, uneven terrain. These bags remind me of that suitcase that was indestructible by that gorilla! Very durable and easy to clean! I love the compartments, they are adjustable, designed very well, and protects my gear with tender loving care.

For more info on Hanson visit his website: www.hansonfong.smugmug.com

Photographer Spotlight – Q&A with Max Roper

We’re excited to to partner up with concert-photography maven, world traveler, and entrepreneur, Max Roper. We got to pick his brain about some of the visually striking images he’s captured and packaged it all up this this blog post for your enjoyment! So read on and enjoy!

Mute-Math – Drum Jump!

Tamrac:  Tell us about your first experience with photography and when you knew it was something you wanted to do.
Max:
  I am a fairly new photographer in general, I got my first DSLR back in 2009 and started just taking photos of anything I was doing. I travel a lot so I was very excited to start getting some good documentation of my travels. Music is a huge part of my life so I think once that was blended with photography, I was into it!

Black-Keys

Tamrac: How did you get started with concert photography? Did you know the bands or just show up with your camera in hand and start taking awesome photos?
Max:
I love and play music and was going to shows all the time and I thought that I would try and sneak my camera in to get some shots of this artist I was seeing at a smaller venue. I separated the camera up between a few of my friends and I got it in. After the show, I posted the photos on the artists facebook page and they loved them. It was really unexpected. I honestly really had no idea what I was doing, but they really liked my photos. That encouraged me to continue.

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Tamrac: What kind of camera gear do you usually take on your concert shoots? Do you ever use a flash as a fill or use only stage lighting?
Max: My first camera was the Nikon D80 and I loved it, so now I am a Nikon dude! I use the D700 now and pretty much just the 24-70 f/2.8 and the 70-200 f/2.8. Once in a while I will bring out my fisheye or the 50mm 1.4 if it will work for the shoot I am on. The 24-70 f/2.8 is pretty much my go-to lens. About 90% of my shots are with that lens.  I bought a flash a few years ago and the first time I tried to take it out it got dropped in a lake and that was that. I am a big proponent of using only stage lighting.

Jay-Z

Tamrac: You’ve managed to capture some epic moments in concerts (Mute Math drum jump). Are some of these simply being at the right place at the right time and do you also have an idea of how the show will go so you’re able to plan your shoot out?
Max: Thanks :). That Mute Math concert was actually the 4th concert I had taken photos at so I was still getting into the swing of how it all works. I had never seen them before. They were just unreal! Still to this day, they are one of the most amazing bands touring. That night may have had a bit of luck on it. I was also just so into their energy. I think it contributed to how good all of the shots came out. Since then I’ve been on a few tours with bands where I’m shooting their show every night which allowed me to really learn the pace of their sets. You can be very calculated in that type of situation.

Mumford-and-Sons

Tamrac: From all of the concert shoots you’ve been on I’m sure you’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff. Do you have any funny or crazy stories you can share?
Max: There is always something crazy happening at every concert. Haha. I was taking photos in New York once and it was a pretty insane show; mosh pits everywhere and crowd surfing galore. I was up front and taking photos and some dude from the crowd that was (obviously) pretty drunk decided that it was the best call to pour the remainder of his beer all over me and my camera. My camera was a bit sticky but it was all good. He ended up apologizing. It was pretty funny afterwards.

Tamrac: So what do you like to do when you’re not shooting Jay-Z or traveling around the world?
Max: I have a few things going on. I do tech stuff over at Red Bull and just finished up the Red Bull Stratos project where we had an athlete skydive from space. The project went very well and I am glad he is alive. I also have a tech startup called Appetize. It’s a mobile app that allows you to order food/drinks/merchandise at stadiums and get it delivered to your seat. It is going very well and we have some pretty awesome products that I am very happy about. I love the blues. When I am not working on my other projects, I am playing some blues guitar.

Gimmelwald

Tamrac: Are there any projects or opportunities on the horizon for you that you’d be able to share with us?
Max: I am a licensed skydiver and am trying to get as many jumps as possible to be able into get to base jumping. I am pretty excited about it and plan to start base jumping everywhere I travel to. Hopefully some of my photography can carry over into that space and I can starting getting some new and innovative shots.

Tamrac: Lastly, do you have any advice for other photographers that have been inspired by your work?
Max: Every photographer should strive to be as unique as possible. Just trying to copy someone else won’t get you very far and ultimately will just put you in the cloud of others. Strive to be as personally creative as possible!

To see and learn more about Max:
Website: www.maxroper.com
Instagram: @maxroper
Twitter: @maxroper

Photographer Spotlight – Fashion Photographer Jim Jordan

Jim and his dog Jisele on his mountain of Tamrac bags!

  • “I love my matching Tamrac camera bags, they keep my camera gear so organized and safe, plus I’m always styling when I’m rolling in and out of airports.”
  • “Tamrac has streamlined my work flow and made my life so much easier”

Jim Jordan – Fashion and Commercial Photographer

Growing up as a skater and surfer in sunny, Southern California, Jim Jordan spent his high school days scouting models and finding the next great faces of the coming generation. With a passion for beauty and styling, Jim quickly became a highly respected hair and makeup artist, traveling the world and working with the biggest actors, actresses and supermodels of the time, such as Cindy Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Farrah Fawcett, etc. He worked with the world’s best photographers, such as Herb Ritts, Peter Lindbergh, Steve Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier, to name a few, and after many years of behind the scenes experience as a hair and makeup artist, Jim picked up a camera and immediately developed his own unique style as a photographer. Jim now shoots celebrities such as Leonardo Dicaprio, Drew Berrymore, Charlize Theron, Marisa Miller, to name a few, and shoots for clients such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle, Marie Claire, etc. Jim also directs and shoots seamless campaigns for clients such as Mercedes Benz, J Crew, American Express, Warner Brothers, and many more. Jim now lives in LA and NYC, and shoots in the most picture perfect places around world.”

Want to learn from one of the best?  Jim offers numerous workshops throughout the year where you will get hands on advice from Jim himself.  Keep up to date on all his workshops at www.workshops.jimjordanphotography.com

To see more of Jim’s work check out his website at www.jimjordanphotography.com
Like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimjordanphoto
Follow him on Instagram @jimjordanphoto

Jim’s Tamrac gear:

Tamrac Sponsored Photographer Ted Craig Q&A

Ted Craig – self portrait

We are thrilled to have Ted Craig as part of the Tamrac team and as a Sponsored Photographer.  Ted is a conceptual artist based out of the West Coast of America. His creations of imagination and  pushing art have captured the eyes of both domestic and international viewers. Ted continues to push the boundaries of creativity through is images.  We are excited to share our Q&A with Ted.


Tamrac:
Tell us about your first experience with photography and when you knew it was something you wanted to do?
Ted:  My first real experience with photography would have to be my first pictures for my band’s album cover. I remember grabbing our drummer’s expensive leather chair, sneaking it out past his family, and putting out in a sand pit where we ended up taking the photos. I had no idea what I was doing, but I loved it! With no access to a tripod, I placed it between two rocks. Then, I hit the timer on my moms Nikon Coolpix 7900 and ran like hell only to find out later that it was “artistically out of focus.” From there on I was known as the lead guitarist and designated photographer, I was one hundred percent on board after that!

Tamrac: You’re work is very imaginative and creates a story.  Where do your ideas and inspirations come from?
Ted:  It goes beyond just the capture and the post production. I do a lot of self-portraits because, one: I am always available and two: it is the easiest way to experiment with lighting to conceptualizing. Some people work out, read, or shop, but I simply take photos everyday. And every photo, 99% of the time, is an expression of who I am that day.

Tamrac: You are working on the 365 project.  Can you tell us more about that?
Ted: I took on the 365 project for the first time this year. I believe, and I really stress this to people that ask me about the pros of doing it, this is the best thing you can do to further yourself with photography. What I have found with this project is a personal style, and a way of thinking; that is not something you just simply acquire or can buy. I have had my days when it was hard to pick up my camera, dedicate myself to an idea, and execute it; but those are the days that make you appreciate the project and that you will accomplish it in 365 days. I am on day 302 today!

Tamrac: As an active user on Instagram, you have over 5800 followers and growing quickly. How has it helped you as a photographer?
Ted: I honestly thought Instagram was not for me and did not think twice of it in benefiting my photography. Now, it is my highest traffic source and I have met many connections through it. I am thankful for all the people that have helped me on Instagram to get where I am today.

Tamrac: Shooting your images seem to have quite a process.  Can you share how much time is spent in pre and post production?
Ted: Some insight on how long my processing takes from start to finish: you can actually go ahead and look at my first image titled, ‘chest of drawers.’ (see above) The shooting portion did not take me long, just over 20 minutes. The reason it took me such a short period of time to do so was because I was working with natural window light, which became directly involved and displayed in the image. Realism is the first thing I try to accomplish in my images. I know it isn’t real but if it were to be real that is what it would be like, from light to shadows on all variables in the actual image. There was an hour or so of post work on this image. Again, creating realism within a fantasized world isn’t always easy, but that is probably the hardest part of the process. This is a 7 image composite.

Tamrac: What do you like to do when you are not shooting?
Ted: Outside of photography, I love films. It is still related to photography in a sense and I would love to be in the film industry as a DOP. The work of Ce’sar Charlone in ‘City of God’ got me really interested in the possibilities of creating beauty within film. Getting out of photography all together, I really love surfing, cooking, spending time with family and working on my other company mavenOG.

Tamrac: Lastly, are there any projects or opportunities on the horizon that you can share with us?
Ted: A project that I am exited about is a collaboration with my sister, Paige. She is a brilliant writer out in Denver, CO and that is all I will reveal for now!

Part of Ted’s Halloween photo project…SPOOKY!

To learn more about Ted and is very cool images check him out www.tedcraigphoto.com and follow him on Instagram @tedcraig.

Here is Ted’s Tamrac gear!

Tamrac Sponsored Photographer Kevin Kubota Q&A

Kevin KubotaAmerican Photo Magazine named Kevin Kubota one of the “Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the World”. His photos have been featured on the covers and within the pages of countless popular magazines and photography books. Kevin has been a featured presenter for Nikon and Adobe, and his work with the Nikon digital camera earned him a spot as a Nikon “Legend Behind the Lens”.

Kubota is an internationally recognized speaker, having presented for every major photographic convention in the USA. He created the popular “Digital Photography Bootcamp®” workshop which has been running successfully since 2002. He authored the book under the same name, now in it’s second edition, published by Amherst Media. Kevin shares over 2 decades of commercial and portrait lighting experience in his latest book, The Lighting Notebook, published by Wiley. The companion iApp, is available in the iTunes store.

Kubota Image Tools products have won multiple Hot One Awards as well as the Readers Choice Award. Kevin was personally awarded the 2009 Monte Zucker Memorial Humanitarian Award for social service through photography

Tamrac:
Wedding photography can be very challenging, but your images convey beauty, personality and spontaneity.  What inspires you to create such amazing photos?
Kevin:

Adrenaline!  But seriously, I do actually thrive on the pressure of photographing weddings. I think that certain people are able to use pressure and adrenaline to be creative and solution oriented, while others tend to freeze under it. Good wedding photographers find a way to use the pressure to fuel their creativity. The style of my imagery, I think, comes from my own romantic imagination and my ability to connect and put my clients at ease. I try not to use formulas to create an image, but instead I let my imagination run wild and try to put what’s in my head in to my client’s head – so they become part of the process. I’m also not afraid to ask my client to do anything that pops in to my head – within reason. If they say no, I move on, but I’m not afraid of hearing “no” because usually they say, “Sure!”.

Tamrac:
Have any funny moments happen to you during a shoot?
Kevin:

My wife, Clare, and I would often joke with wedding clients during the pre-wedding meeting about what, if any, unique events they had planned – so that we could be prepared to photograph them. We’d joking say, “Do you have anything special planned? Special guests giving speeches? Slideshows? Fire breathers?”. We’d get a giggle and make a note of anything to watch for.
After one wedding, we were packing up to head home as the wedding reception continued to rage on through the night. As we were walking out, I saw behind the reception tent a woman in a skimpy costume (which of course caught my eye :-) secretly pouring liquid from a can on some sort of baton, and in her mouth. I immediately thought it was some wacky belly-dancing pyro terrorist plot, but then soon put the pieces together…FIRE BREATHER!
I whipped open my (Tamrac) bag, grabbed my camera, and ran back in to the tent just in time to catch the surprise fire-breathing dance show that one of the guests had planned for the bride and groom! It was amazing and certainly something you don’t see at every wedding!
Clare and I laughed, we finally got our fire breather.

Kubota-Fire-Breather

Tamrac:
You recently traveled to Rwanda, can you tell us about your experience?
Kevin:

It was an emotional roller coaster! We went there with some of our staff and a few photographer friends to deliver some funds we’d saved to a woman who ran a large orphanage. I was initially introduced to her by my good friend, Benjamin Edwards. He inspired me – through his own documentary photos, to do something to help her and the orphans. She was Rwandan and didn’t speak English, but after we’d told her we had the gift to give her, she – via a quick cell phone video – managed to convey her sincere thanks, and encouraged me to come visit her in Rwanda. I was moved to tears and we were determined to make the trip happen.

kubota-africa-2
While we were there we visited with her, the children, the volunteer teachers at the makeshift school, and all the wonderful people who’s lives she touched. We documented the journey with photos and video and shared the experience when we returned. I’ve heard from many photographers since then who have seen my work and in turn been inspired to do something charitable like that themselves – just like I was inspired by Ben.
We often never know how our images will affect people and the world, so we have to just take them, share them, and know that the ripple effect has been put in motion.

kubota-Africa-1

Tamrac:
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Kevin:

Create personal projects. One of the hardest things for new AND seasoned pro photographers is to stay motivated and fresh. Whether you need to learn a new technique, perfect an existing one, or push yourself to create something completely new, projects are the way to go. You simply cannot wait for ideas and assignments to find you! You have to create time and commit to doing them until the day comes when client requests overwhelm you. At that point, it’s even harder to schedule time for personal projects, but they are just as important to keep doing. Put it on your calendar a time to do a personal project. Treat it like a real job and commit to it. You’ll grow in leaps and bounds!

Kubota Ninja

Tamrac:
Tell us one place that you have not been but would love to photograph and why?
Kevin:

I have not yet been to Atlantis. I love scuba diving and have started working on my underwater photography. It’s a lot harder than I thought! I think the under-sea world is absolutely fascinating and beautiful. It reminds me of being on another planet (not that I’ve actually been on another planet yet). I enjoy the challenges of learning something new and of photographing things we don’t see every day. When underwater, you generally have to get much closer to your subject to make it come out clear and colorful and this is particularly challenging when the currents are whisking you around or big sharp teeth are smiling at you.

Kubota Tuscany

Tamrac:
How has Social Media helped you as a photographer?
Kevin:

It’s given me another avenue to share my experiences and projects – which often leads to inquiries about new jobs and opportunities. In a way, it is also an incentive to get out and keep shooting or to be more committed to my personal project agendas. When the world is watching, you want to push yourself a little more – and that’s good for our own growth.

Kubota Italy

Tamrac:
What is your favorite movie?
Kevin:

Ooh, tough one. I loved Moulin Rouge for it’s silliness, romance, quirkiness, and dramatic sets. It is just so unusual and entertaining. I also loved Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for its unusual premise, characters, and romantic desperation. Then, of course, I love movies like Lord of the Rings and 300 for their visual amazingness and inspiration.

 Kubota Italy Rock Shore

Tamrac:
What do you love about your Tamrac bags?
Kevin:
I’ve been using Tamrac bags for about 20 years. My mentor when I started wedding photography had a Tamrac bag that he swore by, so of course I had to get one too. I’m kind of a gadget geek and pretty particular about ergonomics and details in the products I use. I’ve been known to buy several brands and types of similar products just to find the one that is “just right” and then give the others away. My Tamrac bags and products have always just fit my needs and held up extremely well. I’ve never had one break, rip, or wear out. The features are well thought out and satisfy my ergonomic pickiness.

Tamrac:
What Tamrac gear do you use?
Kevin:

My main bag has been the Super Pro 14. It is the perfect size for my primary photo gear and I particularly love the computer sleeve in the back of the bag. I use this for my computer, obviously, but it also perfectly fits my 42” pop-up reflector disc (when folded), which goes with me everywhere. I like that this slot is behind the main cover so my disc can stick out a little and I can still secure the front flap over the main compartment. I haven’t seen any other bag on the market that offers as much versatility for my needs.
I also have a Super Pro 13 that I use for my speedlights, wireless transceivers, and other smaller lighting gadgets.
I have a 324 tripod bag, and 3 of the 328 Location bags for my light stands and folding light panels.
I use Rolling Strong Box 692 and 694 for my studio strobes and larger light heads. I love that they protect my delicate gear, are relatively light to move, and have wheels for easy cruising.
When I’m traveling abroad and don’t want to carry a ton of gear I use my Adventure 9 backpack for my DSLR and misc. goodies and an Express 6 compact case for my point-n-shoot.
For my day-to-day work commuting with my laptop and gadgets I use the Superlights Computer Messenger 15. I also have the Superlights Computer Sleeve 15 for when I just need to transport my laptop and nothing else.
And of course, what accessory collection would be complete without a red flames camera strap!

 

For more on Kevin Kubota, you may visit his website at www.KevinKubota.com