Top of the morning, to you all. Welcome back to another edition of Macro Monday. Did you catch what last week’s submission was? ….it was tea bags. Two of them to be exact. I had to keep the brand name out of frame, otherwise it would have been far too easy. Shall we proceed to the next submission? Take a long hard look and tell me what you’re looking at. And please, be as specific as possible.
Welcome back to the hum-and-drum of the work week. I trust your weekend was as fruitful as mine, as I set out with my camera on both Saturday and Sunday to get some shooting done. Only a couple of keepers, but that’s how it goes: not every image can be a winner. Speaking of winners, last week’s submission was……a saw-tooth hanger on a picture frame. Did you get it? Was it too hard? Saw-tooth hanger would have won, or just hanger. Try to keep your minds open as I’m working to include everyday items so as to expand your horizons and encourage you to take a second look at the world around you. As for this week’s submission – can you tell me what you’re looking at?
Good morning ladies and gents! Today I start a new ongoing series called “What’s in Your Gear Bag?” where I ask professionals and up-n-comers alike what it is they keep in their camera bag that they can’t live without. This is intended to help you choose the extra gear necessary for you to complete your job – whether it’s weddings, ballroom galas, red carpet, commercial work – you name it.
It’s only fair that I start us off…I’m not the best, but I shoot a fair amount of freelance work and have a number of commercial projects under my belt. It took me several years to find the perfect two bags for my kind of work (that’s right – you heard me correctly…two camera bags), but now that I found them, its unlikely that I’ll buy another again. My primary bag is for small event shooting. It’s a shoulder bag big enough for my DSLR and main lens (usually my Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8) and another lens, usually my Nikon 85mm f/1.8 D series. The other lens I take sometimes is the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 – that’s the old one…the one before image stabilization. With the 85mm in tow, it leaves me just enough room to fit my Nissin 866 flash, which so far is equivalent to Nikon’s SB-900. If I take my flash, I always take my portable softbox with it. I RARELY shoot that flash without a softbox. And I keep an off-camera extension cord for the flash. The softbox and off-camera extension cord are almost permanently attached to my flash. I do 90% of my flash photography with those two accessories.
As for the nick-nacks I keep in my bag, the lil’ guys that help me get the job done, I have the ML-L3 wireless remote, as well as the MC-DC2 shutter release cable if I’m doing astro photography (pictures of the night sky). I also keep several lens cleaning cloths, lens pens and clean wipes in my bag at all times, and even usually sport one on a little clip on my belt loop so I always have the means of cleaning my glass.
Finally, I always take my battery charger with me, as well as at least one extra DSLR battery (usually two), and plenty of long-lasting non-rechargeable AA batteries for my Nissin 866, and most importantly of all: EXTRA MEMORY CARDS!!!! None of the other equipment matters without the memory cards to capture it.
And that’s just in my shoulder bag….let me spotlight a couple other photographers’ gear bags over the next couple months, and then maybe I’ll tell you what I keep in my backpack for weddings and bigger events. Keep shooting and keep checking in with us as I share what’s in the gear bags of our local pros. In the meantime: Happy Hunting!
Good morning America, and welcome back to Macro Monday. Last week’s submission was a roll of toilet paper. Did you get it? Probably only if you buy the quality toilet paper would you even recognize it. This week’s submission is equally difficult. So…can you tell me what you’re looking at? And please be as specific as possible.
This month in the Photographer’s Spotlight is local jack-of-all-trades, Nathan Black. I find Nathan everywhere: prowling East 6th in the late hours of the night, bouncing at BeerLand or Shangri-La, grabbing a drink with his friends the Riverboat Gamblers after one of their sold-out shows, or in my favorite venue: the local comic book store. And to top it off, he almost always has a camera with him. Two years ago at SXSW, he mistook me for a bruiser and put me in a submission move, trying to escort me out of BeerLand during Thee Oh Sees closing show. Upon recognizing me he apologized like a gentleman, smoothed out my coat for me and asked me to stick around for a drink as he proceeded to kick everyone out of the venue like only a Pit Bull could, which is surprising – because Nathan is usually soft spoken and relaxed.
I’ve known Nathan for almost 6 years now, and few people come as close to being a true Renaissance Man as he. He’s always chasing his Muse, whether it’s on the mat in stunt-man school or building his portfolio through his grass-roots project “I Want to Take Beautiful Pictures of You”. And Nathan will shoot anything. Boxing. Strangers on the street. The Murder City Devils. Everyone that passed through Bearded Lady during EAST (Side Art Walk). You name it. If it grabs his attention at all, he’ll chase it down with the camera and document it. And while not a professional photographer per se’, I include him in the Spotlight because he has drive – far more drive than most of us.
Despite assisting local photography legend Andrew Yates, Nathan’s the first to admit he’s not a pro. “I wouldn’t call myself anything other than a hobbyist. In fact, I love that photography in general has become so populist; everyone’s got a camera these days, whether it’s on their phone or in their pocket. It gives everyone a chance to be an artist. That being said, not everyone can be a good artist. And that is what I definitely strive for: to be a good artist.” Working for a photographer like Andrew Yates (http://www.andrewyates.com/) will definitely inspire you to do just that. I asked Nathan if that’s why he took up the job of assisting Andrew. He said, “Nah. It literally fell into my lap, quite by accident. Sure, I’m learning a lot about photography, but I really took it so I wouldn’t be bored. Andrew is a trip – he always keeps me on my toes and I like that. I get bored easily, so I like that I never know what he’s gonna have me do next. I never know ahead of time what the next project will be.”
While his attitude towards the art of the camera is anything but elitist, Nathan has an eye for quality equipment. He sports the Sony A77 DSLR with the trusty 16-50mm wide-angle zoom lens and a fixed 50mm. All of his gear is great for low light and allows for his occasional professional work, and clearly cost a bundle for someone not shooting full-time for magazine spreads or commercials. I asked him what inspired him to spend so much; ”I was broke for a long time, and I wanted to buy the gear I needed once. I didn’t want to have to upgrade later, so I saved up for two years to get the right ones. You buy the right lens and you’re set for life. I may upgrade the camera way down the road, but those lenses will probably follow me to the grave. Not to mention, Sony can use old Minolta lenses, and you can find used pro Minolta gear for a killer price.” Shop smarter, not harder, mi amigos.
Nathan’s energy and attitude is worth emulating, especially for those of us with full-time jobs that conflict with our artistic aspirations. The man is inspired, and his inspiration is contagious.
For some inspiration of your own, be sure to check out what Nathan Black is up to at http://www.nathanblackphotography.com/ or see his contribution to the Bearded Lady during Austin’s EAST Tour… : http://www.flickr.com/photos/bearded_lady_austin_texas/sets/72157622969069432/with/4172785916/