Going Mirrorless Covering Cyclocross Racing in Los Angeles

A lot of photographer talk about ditching their Canon or Nikon DSLRs for something lighter and compact like the new mirrorless cameras. When I ask them if they will, they usually say they are trying out one as a third camera, but not their main camera. The sports shooters have an even lower adoption rate of mirrorless tech, they need super fast focusing and specialty lenses. I have a different perspective. I started out shooting with manual focus lenses and a camera that maybe shot five frames a second. We covered pro sports for the wire services with black and white film a darkroom and an analog transmitter with a manual typewriter for captions. Now if the camera and computer doesn't do practically everything for you, it is no good.

Actually, those little mirrorless cameras are AMAZING. My 2-year old Olympus OMD-e-m5 shoots 9 frames a second, has 5 axis image stabilization, and wicked fast auto-focus. I can't complain.

I just needed 2 camera bodies - the Olympus OMD-e-m5 and the Panasonic Lumix GX-7 and two lenses - a Panasonic Lumix 25mm f1.4 and the Olympus 12mm f2 - the equivalent of a 24mm and 50mm lens, to shoot the photos of cyclocross in Los Angeles' Griffith park. The real trick to make my photos look the way they do is use some small battery operated strobes, just 2 manual LumoPro 180's with PocketWizard radio slave triggers and small light stands that I can haul around the course and set up. I also had a small clamp that I used to attach my strobes to anything and everything. No assistant needed and I was easily able to hike around the course looking for the best angles without lugging around heavy equipment. 

Tricky turn in the sand - Lumix DMC-GX7, Olympus 12mm F2 lens, Lumopro Strobes

Tricky turn in the sand - Lumix DMC-GX7, Olympus 12mm F2 lens, Lumopro Strobes

Hopping the barriers- Lumix DMC-GX7, Olympus 12mm F2 lens, Lumopro Strobes

Hopping the barriers- Lumix DMC-GX7, Olympus 12mm F2 lens, Lumopro Strobes

Detail shot in the sand pit -Lumix DMC-GX7, Olympus 12mm F2 lens, Lumopro Strobes

Detail shot in the sand pit -Lumix DMC-GX7, Olympus 12mm F2 lens, Lumopro Strobes

Falling off the bike in the sand pit- Lumix DMC-GX7, Olympus 12mm F2 lens, Lumopro Strobes

Falling off the bike in the sand pit- Lumix DMC-GX7, Olympus 12mm F2 lens, Lumopro Strobes

Shafts of light - Lumix DMC-GX7, Olympus 12mm F2 lens, Lumopro Strobes

Shafts of light - Lumix DMC-GX7, Olympus 12mm F2 lens, Lumopro Strobes

Cyclocross racers - Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 25mm f1.4 lens

Cyclocross racers - Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 25mm f1.4 lens

Portrait of a cyclocross racer - Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 25mm f1.4 lens

Portrait of a cyclocross racer - Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 25mm f1.4 lens

Ben Berden's pink Lake shoes - Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 25mm f1.4 lens

Ben Berden's pink Lake shoes - Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 25mm f1.4 lens

Water bottle carrier - Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 25mm f1.4 lens

Water bottle carrier - Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 25mm f1.4 lens

A bloody bike - Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 25mm f1.4 lens

A bloody bike - Lumix DMC-GX7, Lumix 25mm f1.4 lens

Fitness photos with model Adrienne Jordan

I spent a couple day on location around Los Angeles with Adrienne Jordan shooting fitness/life style photos. Adrienne is a travel writer and photographer and her work can be seen on her website: www.adriennejordan.com .

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NYC Street Photography with the Sony A7

Trying out the Sony A7 camera and the kit 28-70 lens on the streets of New York. Shot raw and then converted to black and white with Adobe DNG, Adobe Raw Converter, and Adobe Photoshop. 

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Divergent Star Shailene Woodley portrait

Two looks, one high-key and one low-key, of actress Shailene  Woodley during a 10 minute photo session during a press junket for the film, "Divergent", at the Four Seasons Hotel on assignment for the New York Daily News. 

The typical press junket for a major motion picture is for the studio to rent out a block of suites at a nice hotel, usually the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. You can usually tell from a lot of photos if the photo was shot there as pieces of furniture or the same balcony view is used by the photographer. My standard procedure is to set up at least two different looks for the editor, one look involving a white seamless that can be timeless , and another that is less safe and more dramatic.

The safe lighting is usually done with either a big soft box or beauty dish and some fill light that makes anyone look good. Put out some kind of seamless and you will get some useable art for just about any magazine or newspaper.

I watched the trailer on youtube on the movie, "Divergent", and realized the movie was more darker and dystopian, so the second lighting reflected that quality. I set up four small speed lights in the background pointed directly into the camera hoping for some flare and edge lighting and a grid spotted studio head aimed at her face. No back drop was used as I hoped the strobes over powered most of the room. 

One hour of preparation and test shots and then a quick 10 minute photo session with Shailene and I was done. 

The dark and light sides of actress Shailene Woodley of Divergent.

The dark and light sides of actress Shailene Woodley of Divergent.

Actress Shailene Woodley backlit.

Actress Shailene Woodley backlit.

Shailene Woodley with high key lighting.

Shailene Woodley with high key lighting.

Divergent looks for Shailene Woodley.

Divergent looks for Shailene Woodley.