“Do you shoot Canon or Nikon” is usually the first question I get after I tell someone I’m a photographer. I’ve been holding a Canon since I was 14. The main reason is because my dad had some old Canon lenses that (I thought) looked expensive, that’s it. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentex, whatever the camera, if you rely on the camera to do all your work you’re gonna have a bad day. They are all very nice and capable cameras. Granted I’d rather work with a camera made in 2013 compared to 2003, but still when images are compared side by side it’s arguably tough to tell what image was taken with a Canon, Nikon, etc. This is why the phrase “Wow! Your camera takes nice photos” makes photographers cringe. Case in point, here’s a video of Douglas Sonders rocking a cheap camera.
I won’t go into too much detail yet for this post, but I demoed a medium format Phase One IQ160 from Digital Transitions for a recent Pepsi/Jeff Gordon shoot. Chance had it, this shoot and the Pepsi shoot were just 2 days apart so of course I’m going to test it out for both. Look for a more detailed write-up of the IQ160 when the Pepsi/Gordon shoot is posted.
This lucky subject is a fresh new BMW M6 tuned by GMP Performance on HRE Wheels. This was more of a natural light test. I say “more of” because I popped a speedlight to make the wheels stand out a bit more. But OH MY GOD, the Phase One IQ160 makes my Canon 5DMKIII images look like iPhone snapshots. Medium format cameras really are in a league all of their own… which is a good reason why they’re priced ~$20,000 more than a usual prosumer DSLR Canon. When shooting for clients such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Pepsi, Sta-Bil, Porsche, or simply need nothing but the best, the price is more than justified.
I was most impressed with the amount of tonal range the IQ160 yielded.
Here’s a super detailed scientific graph of what I mean:
[----|-----|----] prosumer 35mm DSLR range
[--|---------|--] Phase One range
Each “-” is a shade of light. In laymen terms the Phase One image sensor is much larger, and basically is able to capture more degrees of color in a single image. Also let’s not forget the files are 60.5 megapixels! “Zoom, enhance, zoom, enhance” has a totally new meaning to me now. Editing color is practically lossless. After using the Phase One I’m hooked, even more so after editing. For any big assignment I’ll break it out for sure. It’s sure to be a huge asset for me in the upcoming 2014 year.
Special thanks goes out to Lance Schad at Digital Transitions for giving me the opportunity to test drive their big bad IQ160. Give him a ring when you’re ready to experience the new world of medium format.
Back to Charlotte, NC to shoot yet another GMP Performance car fresh out of the shop doors. This time it is a brand new 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet on a set of HRE P43SC wheels. All of that is fancy talk for “sleekest car in the neighborhood”… and Charlotte has a pretty high standard of neighborhoods. Very excited to add HRE Wheels to my list of clients, with many more shoots to come.
For this assignment I went with a more natural light approach, shooting super light-weight with only a tripod and a 580ex speedlight to give the wheels some contrast.
Just 2hrs up the road from me is the Giordana Velodrome. A brand new facility in Rock Hill, SC that hosted the 2013 Elite Mass Start Track Nationals. This is a scene you have to see to believe. Dozens of men and women with quad muscles the size of mobile homes on fixed gear bikes flying around a concrete 250m track inches away from each other at speeds up to 42mph. It’s about as close to a modern day gladiator coliseum you’re going to get.
Racing on tight circuits is Rahsaan Bahati’s specialty, and this isn’t the first time he has been in front of my camera. Since a 2010 photoshoot we’ve become friends, so naturally if he’s coming to compete in my backyard, I’m going to pick up my camera. I covered Rahsaan during the Elite Mass Start National Championships.
Justin Williams (left) and Rahsaan Bahati (right) warming up before the race. The decorated Justin is no stranger to being up front either. Looks like I’ll be adding 1 more to my short list of athletes I follow.
Justin Williams rocking a sweet kit from Endo Customs
In all seriousness, Rahsaan is not only an extremely accomplished cyclist, he’s a stand up guy with a genuine heart to inspire kids. His Bahati Foundation has supported under-served youth communities through inspirational speaking and cycling outreach programs. That may sound like a generic marketing pitch, but his actions speak louder than words. Take the words from a complete stranger, Tim Granger, that witnessed Bahati during the 3rd day of racing at the National Championships:
“Crash and 3 flats … and still had enough points for 3rd place … but with all the mechanicals found themselves down a lap. With about 10 laps to go … they made a move to get the lap back … ended up about 20 meters short … one more lap and they would have been on the podium. It was amazing to watch … but what impressed me the most? After having the worst possible luck in a National Championship race where they clearly had the legs … Rahsaan rode two or three laps to cool down and then headed straight to the rail on the back stretch to talk to the kids again! I’m sure he was bitterly disappointed about the race, but he flashed that smile and talked to the kids for about 10 minutes … talked about school and hard work … listened about their bike ride earlier in the day. As a parent, you talk to your kids all the time about character, discipline, and hard work … in 60 minutes … he and Justin put on a clinic for the kids. 1 hour … 50k (31miles) … a crash and 3 flats … 20 meters from the podium … how many people do you know that would handle that with such grace?”
Shortly after I posted my previous story about my “different” photoshoot with some DONK cars, I got another call from Andrew Link to shoot the cover for the upcoming 10th Anniversary RIDES Magazine! Different be damned, give me that cover! In a nutshell RIDES covers everything from 1200hp celebrity cars to 32″ wheel’d street culture. One thing for certain is the laundry list of photographers for RIDES are some of the best in the business. For example in this issue alone, the lineup is: Jeff Creech, Jeremy Cliff, Anthony Anderson, and William “The Beard” Stern. Sharing a magazine with them makes shooting the cover that much sweeter.
The shoot went down in Atlanta, Georgia on a hot summer day. We had a few hours to pull off a killer cover shot, and 2 individual car features. No problem right?? Thankfully even though these cars look like they’re made for a quarantined showroom, the owners were more than happy to drive them around town to find the perfect shooting spots. Seeing the Escalade roll around on 32″ wheels turned a few 1000 heads… and lets not forget the V8 360ci small block rumble from the bright orange Chevelle. You can say my VW GTI on 18″ wheels was the parade leader for a few glorious hours.
BIG thanks to Jonathan Walker for assisting, and editor Evan “Evo” Yates for the much needed company. Tackling a crucially important cover shot + 2 features would of broken my back if I tried to do it solo. As for this trend of shooting “different” cars lately… well let’s just say I have 4 Porsche shoots lined up, and a few OEM shoots already in the bag Can’t wait to show them off, never know what I’m gonna get!