Archive for the 'Photography thoughts' Category

FINALLY! Life Cycles teaser is live


The single most influential element outside of other people’s photography in my own work has been seeing the mountain bike movie “The Collective” by, The Collective back in the summer of 2004.  A co-worker, Kendall Card who was the guy that was keying me into what was cool within skiing at the time was putting on the premiere of the film so I went by to go check it out.  My mind was blown and after I got a copy of the DVD, watched it over and over and over again.  The way the movie was filmed, put together, it was very different from what I had seen in other action sports films at the time.  It had given me a completely different perspective into the way I look at shooting my own realm of skiing.

The second round of that same influence and inspiration has begun for me and FINALLY, the teaser for Life Cycles is live.  Back in April, I got to see one of the rough cuts of this teaser at The Gathering (very different than the current one BTW) and my mind was blown again and then, my creative juices were flowing.  It’s very different, very creative, and for me, very inspiring.  It just oozes creativity.  I can’t wait to see the film and I hope you feel the same after checking out the teaser.  Enjoy, and go pre-order your copy on their website.

FAA Guidelines for flying with strobe power pack batteries


Big pile-o-batteries

For those of us photographers that travel internationally a lot, things could change drastically soon.  With the recent failed terrorist attack on December 25, 2009 there is a lot of chatter on the internet about TSA potentially banning all electronics usage in-flight on American bound flights from outside the USA.  This is pretty lame but if it happens it could mean for a lot of boring long distance flights.  Check out some of the chatter here and here.

About this time last year, things changed for those of us using lithium batteries.  Although the rules are counter intuitive to actual potential dangers, it’s another poorly thought out knee-jerk reaction to some previous problems with some lithium batteries catching fire.   For more information about the lithium battery restrictions check out There is a fair amount of information there regarding lithium batteries on domestic flights.

So, although this is old news…a year old in fact I’m still posting this for a pretty good reason.  My power packs for my Elinchrom Ranger RX AS Speed and my Alien Bees strobes use SLA and NiMH batteries.  NiMH, Alkaline and SLA (Sealed Lead-Acid) batteries are still fine to put in your carry-on luggage.  Sure, you know this.  But do you have a pdf proving to the TSA village idiot you can to include in your Pelican case your strobe pack is in to make sure you don’t have a problem?  I just spent the last half hour looking for mine, and fortunately I found it.  So I thought I’d share it.  Download it, print it, put it in your case/bag.

View the document here

Make sure you have your flash’s user manual as well.  That way the security agents can see for themselves what’s going on in those strobe packs.

Elinchrom Ranger RX user manual

It’s a good idea to read all of this.  Know the rules, have a copy of them.  Chances are if you get an idiot asshole TSA agent none of the guidelines matter and you’ll be stuck waiting for a manager that knows what the rules actually are, but sometimes you can actually convince the TSA village idiots that you are obeying the rules and that you aren’t a terrorist.  Just a photographer with a bunch of gear.

However, all of this being said, if you are someone that happens to have a Hensel Porty strobe kit then you are in for it.  Your Li-ion battery for your power pack is too big and not allowed on the plane at all.  You’ll have to ship it.  Funny since it would be shipped, in a 747 just like you’d be flying in.

Here it comes…Winter


The early snowfall at Alta, Utah

Winter is coming.  At home in Utah we had a early bout of winter but again, Fall has prevailed and it’s warmed up a bit before the next storm rolls through.  Hopefully that next storm will to flip the switch from fall to winter.  The seven months that lie ahead of me are full of snowy roads, planes, sharing two bed hotel rooms with four to ten smelly dudes, being stuffed into rental cars overloaded with gear, all so I get to shoot ski photos all winter.  Yes, I’m looking forward to this.

Continue reading ‘Here it comes…Winter’

Action Sports photographers, are you over it with editorial?


Talking with a lot of the action sports photographers out there, a lot of us are tired of doing editorial work.  Tired of working so hard for so little pay.  Tired of fronting their expenses for the season, to hopefully make it back at the end of the summer, 6 months later.  Tired in general.  So what is the solution?  All commercial work?  Sure, it’s an option.  It’s a more financially stable option for yourself.  Commercial work pays better, it is a lot less work for a lot more money.  It’s completely the opposite of editorial that way and while it’s not making me rich, it’s making my life a lot more comfortable than when I was relying on editorial work in my tiny little niche of action sports.

What good is editorial for us as photographers then?  Most of my work has been editorial work until the past 3 years.  Editorial work does a few things for me.  It builds my creativity, it builds my portfolio, it builds my style and in turn, builds my brand as a photographer.  Sure, for those of you out there that are at the point where you just do commercial work and make a shitload of money doing so it is probably pretty good.  You folk are making a great living, especially compared to myself.  Does this come at an expense though?  Are you so focused on someone else’s branding, are you losing your own style, your own branding, your own personal creativity?

I wish I could remember who told me their views on the panel of finalists in the Pro Photographer Showdown at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler, BC this year…that a lot of the photographers there were jaded by commercial work.  Is this the case or is it just a shift in style?  Does a mass of commercial work make you lose the side of you that focuses on documenting the moments of action, the moments our lifestyles, the moments of our environments?

I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on this.  As much as I want more commercial projects, the editorial assignments I worked on this year pushed me to come up with humor, to find personalities, to convey lifestyles in ways I previously have not.  Would I have done this with commercial projects working with very specific concepts?  Would you have?

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