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Posts from the ‘Gear’ Category

River Monsters

:   With all the recognition that this image has received lately, between the CA Photo Annual and Archive’s Top 200 Ad Photographers, I figured I would re-share the story that was the River Monster’s shoot   :

Lighting as a thought process is fundamentally easy to apply to schemata, water is not. Sure there are the physics that govern the drops via gravity and pull them back to Earth properly, but the abstract way that this is done is a logistical nightmare when combined with good ole electrons. Sure water makes for dynamic imagery when lit well, but what doesn’t get seen is the grey hair that the photographer grows as a result of the set.

When the call came from Discovery to shoot the ad campaign for their show River Monsters, I was thrilled. The concept was strong and the comps that we were to key off made visualizing the final image easy. However, creative potential and potentially dangerous walked hand in hand on this campaign. The idea was to have the show’s host Jeremy Wade wrestling a giant fish in the shallow waters near South Beach, Florida. Now by giant, I mean the kind fish that hangs out with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man on the weekends… probably having a glass of wine with its flippers and talking about the delicacies of krill. Where things get complicated is that we wanted to have Jeremy and mega fish in the water thrashing around…. lit. Obviously we didn’t want a bathtub with a toaster situation, so safety would come first, creativity second, after all electrocuting an actor is not a good way to land another job (the industry tends to look down on this).

River Monsters photographed by Blair Bunting

 

Knowing that this set would be determined by the quality and work ethic of the people on it, I flew assistants in that I had worked with on previous shoots. We approached the lighting situation with Photoflex Tritons, for their safety, weight, and flash duration (we would be freezing splashing water). We had a scout look for beaches with long gradations to the shore line and went to multiple locals just to walk into the water to his waste level. Background would not be important, as we would fade to black behind the subject. For cameras, I brought both the Nikon D3x and D3s to back it up.  Never on a shoot had I expected to destroy a camera more than this, so redundancy would play key to making sure I came home with the shot, even if the camera was a paperweight.

With lighting, safety and concept behind us, it was up to Jeremy to make the action, and he did it masterfully. Often he would bring advice and reality to the table that we could not have thought of in our wildest dreams… mostly because I have yet to catch a 350 lbs. grouper, and also because I don’t fish. However, one comment amongst all the others stood out to me… All of us (7 people, 1 fish) were waist deep in the water at night in the Florida ocean and Jeremy looked up at me and said, “you know, these are perfect conditions for a Bull Shark….” to which I replied, “haha, and when’s the last time you caught a Bull Shark?!?!”…. he replied, “I caught one here….. last night”. At that point, without any direction from me, the entire set moved about 10 feet closer to shore.

We shot for only a couple hours, not due to a time crunch, but because Jeremy, the creative director, and rest of the crew worked so well together that in two hours we had a solid 30 images that would work for the ad. Since we were in the ocean, laptop previewing would be impossible, but seeing the shots out of the back of the D3x, the CD was able to see that we had the shot directly out of the camera. Although this image was not the final one chosen because of the main subject’s address to the fish, it shows the strength of a RAW file, and gives an idea to the situation around us:

Jeremy Wade

Also, here is a short video to show how the prep work went. We had originally wanted to have a complete behind the scenes of the shoot, but with the dangers at hand (be it lights, sharks, groupies, sea turtles) we decided that everyone would contribute to make the shot. My assistant Matthew Coughlin made this video of the prep, and may I warn you, once you have seen this skinny, pale photographer without his shirt on, you might wish you had never watched it…

[UPDATE: Unfortunately the video offended some animal rights groups and out of respect has been removed]

I wish I could take 100% credit for this shoot, but, as in every shot, it is the quality of the people around you that make the image. So, Jeremy, Mike, Linas, Bryan, Matt, Grant, Paul and Lisa, here is your shot and thank you.

 

The Nikon D810

A camera lives a life to do one thing, capture the information that lies before it… nothing more, nothing less.

Manipulated by man, there exists no two cameras that will live the same life, for we as photographers make them unique. Be it our style, our situation, life… there will be outer influences on our camera. However, it is as unaffected as it’s meter is colorblind, for its job remains the same, to show us what light went through it’s lens to its sensor the moment you chose to press the shutter.

On many occasions I have been asked what I wanted in a camera. Many times the person asking the question may have expected a life changing attribute that would make an ad out of every shot.… this is just not the case.

I want one thing out of a camera… a clean file.

Enter the Nikon D810

Nikon D810 side

Being the first camera that has been released since I joined Nikon as an Ambassador, I have much pride behind it and in the direction that we are going. In a step that very much resembles my all time favorite camera, the D3, Nikon chose not to cram more megapixels into the chip, but to refine the pixels that already existed. At the end of the day all that matters is the file.

As photographers, we crave detail as much as we crave the possibility to destroy it. To the audience, proof of existence is in the hands of the creator, and by his or her title of artist, existence is also to their subjection. We can take away what doesn’t attract the eye, and the image still occurred, but we cannot add, for that reality never existed. It is for this reason that the ability of the camera to create the clearest image is the most important of all of it’s functions.

The D810 serves one purpose… to show the world what the photographer truly wanted them to see.

I just hope we’re ready

When Nikon took back the Night

Living in Arizona, the idea of walking around during a hot summer’s day to take photos is not what I’d call enjoyable. Between the heat, the insanely harsh light and the heat again, it is hard to find any inspiration to shoot. On the opposite side of the coin, the nights in this desert are beautiful. With little city light to overwhelm the sky you can see what civilizations saw before us, the night.

For so long, I would walk around after the sun went down wanting to photograph the world I saw. However, the casual walk and shoot was impossible, for high ISO’s were an abstract painting at best and even the fastest prime lens would barely let you handhold a sharp image. Enter the Nikon D3.

midnight

By all outward appearances, this camera was like most other pro camera bodies, built strong and incredibly comfortable to use. Heavy? Maybe. However, it is a weight that I have become accustomed to and prefer (it’s still a feather compared to medium format bodies). Aesthetics aside, this camera had a monster inside.

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A sensor that put quality of the pixel above quantity of pixels. I bought the camera as a complete skeptic, wanting to shoot with it a bit so that I could educatedly say that it was not up to par with all the other high megapixel cameras. This was not the case. I quickly found the files were so clear that upresing them to match other camera’s chips left them just as clean, if not better. Pixel structure was film like and turning the ISO dial was no longer dangerous, it was encouraged.

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For too long, history was made at night and documented once the sun rose. Only now in our existence we are starting to find the reality that light had hidden for so long. The idea of ISO’s above 800 was obscure and only used when all other options were exhausted. If you want an example of this just look back at Olympic photography. Our technological achievements in photography become very evident as they now grace every sports magazine or website.

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However, for me, the D3 has an extra significance to my career. It is the camera that got me through the time when work had left. This is an area that no photographer wants to talk about. It is our job to always sound busy, and we fear that not being busy is not being relevant. You as my readers and friends deserve honesty, so…

From January 2009 to January 25th, 2010 I didn’t work. The phone didn’t ring, the emails didn’t show up in my inbox, the economy had collapsed. I was getting emails from some of my best friends in the industry that were clients, telling me that they had been let go and wondering if I had connections to get them a new job. It was the first time that I had to question the notion of being a professional photographer. While I have always said that I chose my college degrees (business and sociology) to be a backup in case the photography thing didn’t work out, when I got to the reality, I didn’t want to do anything else. Every day I would wake up early (5am) just in case I had a new client on the east coast that called early, I wanted to be alert. All for nothing.

midnight7

At first it was a vacation, then it turned into boredom, then desperation and finally acceptance. Acceptance that this dream was over. All the while I wasn’t shooting, not for work, not for practice, not for fun. One day, my wife came to me and said, “let’s take the dog for a walk… and why don’t you bring your camera.” When I questioned the idea, she told me that before photography was a job, it was my passion, and just because the job part doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean that the passion shouldn’t.

I picked up the D3 and went for a walk around the neighborhood with her and our dog.

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For all I knew, there would never be another client, and this art would be retired to a hobby. What struck me the most is that when the walk was done I didn’t care that the job aspect was gone, I just wanted to take pictures. So once the sun had set, I would walk around the neighborhood photographing everything from light poles to plants with the D3. It was the camera that let us photograph the darkness, and it was the camera that helped me escape it.

I wanted to write this for photographers, many in this situation and many that will someday face it. I want you to know that when the calls stop, don’t be disheartened. Your images are still strong. When you get to a point that you feel scorned by the industry, do not despair. Your images are still strong. Photography is not over the day the work ceases to exist, it is over the day you lose the passion. Find what inspires you to shoot, and photography will live on.

 

 

An Accidental Addy

Some shoots are easier than others, some shoots have setbacks, and some shoots just go to hell in a hand basket.

When this happens on a large campaign, it is the photographer’s responsibility to fix it and he or she should have multiple contingencies planned to make sure that the client gets the shot no matter what. Fortunately, today’s blog is about a shoot that didn’t go as planned, but at the end of the day it was a friend and a photographer trying to see if something was even possible.

I have shot for the last couple years the ASU Women’s Rugby campaign in an effort to help out my friend Ashley and also to give back to my alma mater. The campaigns have been fun, and are usually done on the cheap but with intention to try out some different aspect of photography. This year’s campaign was no exception.

We decided to try and shoot this year’s rugby campaign…. under water. Because when everyone thinks rugby, they think… swimming pools?

GEOOORGE-ASUWRFC-Hardcore

Nonetheless, the goal was to see if we could shoot the girls doing rugby moves at the bottom of a pool. An aggressive goal? Yes, but go big or go home. Where things got tricky was that we didn’t have the budget to get underwater housing for the cameras, lights… heck, we didn’t even have the budget to rent a proper pool. However, it was summer in AZ, and shooting in a pool even if we lost the camera might not be so bad. So with a homemade underwater camera case and a bunch of duct tape, we headed off to someone’s backyard to try and shoot it.

For the photographers reading this post, take some notes so that you can skip over making the mistakes I made. First of all, don’t make your own underwater housing, and secondly, duct tape is NOT waterproof. However, the leaks were controllable, so we proceeded. The next huge challenge we were presented was that the lights can’t be triggered from a source underwater, as radio waves do not travel through liquid. To work around this, we had to run a chord from the camera out of the kinda waterproof rig and have it held about the surface. Once that was done, we found that light is cut quicker than the inverse square law when H2O enters the equation, and had to scrap the lights altogether.

GEOOORGE-ASUWRFC-Sugar

The next problem we encountered was that water in a small swimming pool, like the one we had, is nothing but a reflective element of the environment around, our environment was a pool painted white. What this does from a technical standpoint is that it fills in all shadows with cloudiness and makes it impossible for a camera to pick up contrast in the subject, therefor it is not possible for the camera to focus on the person and we would have to manual focus this one.

The final knife in the back of this photoshoot came when we tried to photograph the first girl doing a rugby move, only to find that it was impossible because… big surprise… rugby balls float.

GEOOORGE-ASUWRFC-Beast

So with that, I had my assistant throw together a quick (above water) setup that he and I had talked about before hand in our, “in case this shoot goes to hell in a hand basket” briefing. With a speedy setup, we shot ten portraits of the girls in a couple minutes and called it a day and chalked it up as a learning lesson. End of story.

Or so we thought…

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I get a call from Ashley that goes something like… “you remember that photoshoot when nothing worked out and we had to just shoot the portraits real quick at the end?”…. Yeah, “so I kinda entered them in the Photography category for the Addys, and you won.”

Somethings never cease to amaze me.

Reddit /AMA

With all the craziness that has been the release of the Thunderbirds video last week, there is one request I have received on many different occasions that I wanted to help with. I got quite a few people that asked if I would do a Reddit AMA (for the non-Reddit savvy, that is “Ask Me Anything”… don’t worry, I just learned that as well). I am always around to answer questions people send over, but am looking forward to having a proper forum to do it in this time around. So whether you want to know how to light a photo, what watch I wear around the house or if I passed out on the F16 flight, please free to ask away. I will be answering questions every spare chance I get until there aren’t anymore. Hope you enjoy it, and here is the link for the thread:

Blair Bunting AMA on Reddit

 

Flying with the Thunderbirds

To all those who have ever wondered…. what is it like waking up in the morning, knowing you are going to fly with the Thunderbirds?

It is SCARY AS HELL!

Perhaps as some sort of twisted joke, the Thunderbirds flight surgeon told me that I needed to get a good night’s sleep before my flight….. Let me put this into perspective… Sleeping the night before flying is like a kid trying to sleep the night before a Christmas where Santa brings him an F-16. Not Happening.

Nonetheless, after whatever sleep I could muster, I got in the car and headed to Luke Air Force Base. As the passengers in my car will attest, I listened to heavy metal for the entire drive, as it was the only thing that calmed me down. Upon walking into the briefing room I was immediately informed that the flight had been bumped up and that I needed to brief with my pilot right away. We would step to the jet in 30 minutes. Sitting there listening to Thunderbird 7 talk about everything from how I would need to sit if we had eject, to how I could stay conscious through 9 G’s was completely surreal. Before I knew it he said, “that’s it, let’s head to the jet.”

USAF Thunderbirds

A quick mental image to tell you how crazy this moment was….

I remember very vividly walking down the flight line and there sat all the Thunderbird jets (the absolute pinnacle of the F16 fighter jet), lined up perfectly in a row. The last jet in the row had the cockpit canopy open, and no sooner than I could take in this sight, one of the flight engineers kindly said to me, “sir, your jet is ready.” Please forgive my swearing, but the moment you are informed that your F16 is ready is UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE!!!

With the Thunderbird crews standing around the jet, I walked up, put on my G-suit and went to climb up the ladder, only to realize that not only was this my seat for the next hour, but the plane also wore my name on the side. There is no way that I deserved any of this, and I can’t begin to tell you how humbling it was.

Bb in Jet 2

Larry Reid / USAF Thunderbirds

Sitting in the jet, G-suit, oxygen mask and seat belts hooked in, the nerves disappear. At that moment the world fades away, nothing goes through my mind. All this time thinking of what it would be like gives way to reality. The moment to wonder if I would stay conscious or get sick was gone. As the jet engine fires up, I know that I am along for the craziest ride of my life…. time to sit back and enjoy the ride… and take a selfie.

After a short taxi we sat at the end of a long runway on an airfield that we had all to ourselves. The pilot asks if I am ready. I could barely get the word “yes” out before the engine starts to run up, almost as if the rocket we are strapped to has just woken up and is angry. He releases the brake and we are starting to move… quickly. Not long after that, he ignites the afterburner and I find that this thing goes even faster. With the wheels up we stay barely off the the ground blazing like hell down a runway as he is calling out speeds to me…. 100 miles per hour, 200, 300 miles and hour, 400, 500 MILES AND HOUR! and then he says the most insane words that I can remember…. HERE. COME. THE. G’s.

No sooner than I could start my breathing he pulls the jet in a straight vertical climb and we scream away from the Earth. Where I could once see my friends and family cheering on the side of the runway, only a moment later we are punching through the clouds as the world curves. I am speechless, as any words that I could write down would never do the view justice. In short, it epitomizes every essence of the word “beautiful” in its most primitive form. As the pilot pulls jet from vertical to inverted I could breath, but was breatheless.

Leveled out, we head north to a range where the pilot can show me “what the jet could do” as if the takeoff wasn’t life changing enough… At this point I just kicked back and tried to fit my smile behind the mask. With no effort whatsoever, the jet tears through the sound barrier. I am sitting in peaceful bliss as the world breaks behind us in a 1000 mile per hour combustion that is heard for miles around. If I had a pen and paper, I could sit there and check off the bucket list items as we did them.

A couple maneuvers down and the pilot asks for a status update. At this point I am just laughing hysterically and every question of, “would you like to try?” is immediately answered with”YES.” Then comes the question that I had been dreading the most, “would you like to see if you can make it to 9 G’s?” Part of me wanted to say, “you know, the 8.5 we pulled on takeoff were good for me,” however, reluctantly I answered, “HELLLL YEAH!”

Now let me try my best to explain what 9 G’s feels like… Firstly, in no way is it comfortable, not even close. I began to feel my face melting away as the skin in my cheeks pulled down to my mouth. The color from my vision was the next thing to fade away, first the reds, then the greens. Squeezing like hell, I did everything I could to get air into my lungs as the G-suit wrenched it out. With all the color of a 1950′s television set, the next thing I noticed was that waves were starting to develop in my vision and a vignette appeared. All the while I am listening to the pilot’s breathing and trying my hardest to match it. At any point I could relax and immediately be unconscious, only to wake up and wonder where I am, but I had trained too hard to let this happen. Then, just as G’s set had set in, they  began to leave and normalcy appeared. However, if I were to relax at that point, the blood would leave my brain too fast and knock me out as well, so I continually squeeze as the G’s lift and my body slowly returns to what sanity it had left.

With the chaos that maneuvers gave, a balance came as we traded G’s  for the world’s craziest site seeing tour. Dropping down to the lowest altitude we were allowed, we decided it would be fun to give someone else a story that no one would believe. We found the highway that runs between Phoenix and Las Vegas and flew along it at a significant speed with the smoke on, topping it off with crossing a bridge low, for all the traffic to see and for none of their friends to believe.

From there we had reached bingo fuel (the max limit that can be used before returning to base). I took a couple minutes to take some pictures with my iPhone and send my wife a text as we flew home. While the engaging portion of the flight may have only lasted an hour, it was already starting to hit me with what I had just experienced. I thought about the kids like myself that looked up every time a jet flew by and the cadets at the  academy striving to be the next Thunderbirds. However, more than anything, I thought about the honor that had bestowed me to be sitting in the seat of a Thunderbird jet.

Bb in Jet 1

Larry Reid / USAF Thunderbirds

Upon arrival, I watched as my friends and family came out to the jetway along side the many Thunderbird crew members. It was like a homecoming party for someone that had been gone for years, all excited for someone who had just sat in a seat and enjoyed the ride of a lifetime. It was the kind of celebration that the men and women that serve our nation deserve every time they come home, not me. I am thoroughly grateful for this experience and will always be in debt to the Thunderbirds for this. Every person, friend, family and crew member felt welcome and important and I can’t thank the entire squad enough.

In the coming weeks, we will be releasing another video of the photoshoot I did of the pilots and all the training that went into the flight. In the meantime, I encourage you all to head over to the Thunderbirds website and check out their schedule. Who knows, they might be in a town near you soon. I guarantee you, just watching the show will be one of the most incredible experiences you can have.

To the Thunderbirds, my crew and everyone that made this happen… Thank You.

Bb: Nikon Ambassador

If you think there is a chance that I typed the title of this blog without laughing with excitement like a child, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Just reading it draws strong emotion… it is an honor, it is a privilege, it is not deserved and I will forever be humbled to announce that I have been chosen as an ambassador to Nikon. With all the composure I have to have on sets of great responsibility, I had none when I got the call with the formal request to be a part of the Nikon family. I was choked up in the brief conversation that proceeded, and after I hung up I just sat on the couch staring blankly out the window.

Being an ambassador to Nikon means so much more than having my name and picture on their site. It represents validity that what I am doing has been enjoyed by others, and for that I am grateful. Money removed, I would still do this job because it excites those around me, it gives us something to talk about. Recently I learned that the father of a man, for whom I have great respect, is going through a very tough health struggle. The father, in the hospital, asked that one of the photos I took be displayed above his bed. This man, is the reason why I create. He and the many of you like him are my pride and my inspiration.

It is for this reason that congratulations to you all is in order. For without you I would not be a Nikon Ambassador. This honor rests on the shoulders of you that wrote me an email, tweet, text and said you enjoyed a photo. It is because of the people that picked up a magazine that had my imagery on it or showed a friend my website because it had a cool car or famous person on it.

For all that you guys do, Thank You so much.

iPad mini Retina for Photographers

Before we get started, I want to make one thing clear… this is a review of the iPad mini Retina for photographers. With that being said, I will not be discussing the camera on the iPad mini because I don’t know if it even has one…. no photographer should, as no photographer (or anyone for that matter) should ever use a tablet to take a picture. Now that we got that all cleared up, let’s chat about this new little tablet that Apple is going to sell a gazillion of this holiday season.

I was fortunate to pick mine up a few days ago and have already fallen in love with its size, performance and capability to help my life become more simplified. For a while I took a break from iPads in general and purchased Nexus 7′s for personal use and client gifts. I thought having Android tablets and iOS phones was fun, and in all reality it worked, especially with the 2013 version of the Nexus 7. Then Apple did their usual, announced two new tablets that made me salivate while watching the keynote. I tried to think of all the possibilities that these tablets would offer me for my job that other tablets couldn’t.

The first one they announced was the new iPad Air. Pretty much the same iPad that we have all become accustomed to using for everything from reading to ordering pizzas. I can still remember when the first one was announced, going to stores everywhere to buy as many as I could so that I could load a portfolio on them and send them to clients. Even then they were beautiful, functioned easily, but as much as we didn’t want to admit it, they were heavy. I found myself still using my iPhone to read news and browse the web while laying around because the iPad was, well, awkward.

Because of the weight of the iPad I gravitated towards the Nexus 7 and it’s small, light form factor. At seven inches it was easy to read and quickly took the place of my iPad. I looked past the contrast of the screen that made images muddy and the consistent crashes, because it was light, and cheap. I remember thinking over and over how it would be nice if Apple made a tablet like this….

Enter the iPad mini (the first one).

I thought it was going to be the answer, but in all reality it was just a smaller version of the iPad 2. The resolution was not all that exciting and the processor was old, but the form factor was great. All this led me to buying the Nexus 7 (2013) which had a spectacular screen resolution, but still the contrast issues I saw in the first Nexus. I could use it for fun, but for work it was not a strong enough picture and the ratio was too narrow for horizontal images to be run full screen.

Enter the iPad mini Retina…..

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Now I have only had this thing for a few days, but have already seen what this tablet will do for photographers. Even though it is considered a 7 inch tablet, it feels much larger, almost like the original iPad. This is thanks to its higher ppi screen and larger ratio than the Nexus 7′s display. The quality of the display is what we have come to expect from Apple and it renders my work better than I have ever seen it on any tablet I have had previously. Even images not resized to the new resolution specs look great, something that I was worried about as I don’t want to resize a book every time a screen comes out. It is the first tablet that I have ever used that truly feels like a book, and in essence the way I always felt a tablet should feel. With the cover laid open the eye can envision turning a page, rather than swipe across a screen.

For work, it is perfect. I can manage emails, iMessages, and social presence from it with ease. While I could type a blog on it, I still prefer a keyboard for that sort of thing and I will continue to designate chores like this to a laptop or desktop. However, tasks such as signing contracts can be done on it, and more importantly, games play well on it, so I’m set for long flights… again.

So we’ve identified the new iPad mini Retina as a invaluable gadget for a commercial photographer to travel with, but the question remains, “will it work as a portfolio?”

Unfortunately, this is a rather tough answer in general. While I would gladly show my work on it and would use it as an on-the-fly portfolio without a second thought, I genuinely can’t answer yes or no. Some feel that the iPad Air will be the modern portfolio, so I purchased one as well and my wife has yet to let go of it. I like the look and feel of it (the Air), but have yet to see how it would offer anything that the mini can’t in ways of a photographer’s portfolio.

At the end of the day, there will always be true physical portfolios, and there will be tablet portfolios. The only determining factor of whether one will get you a job is the person viewing it.

Terps Football: Action through Light

As a freelance artist, I have found that my loyalties to any particular team need to be minimized on set, the only person I work for is the client. This is often easier said than done, but is a must in order to maintain a certain quality level of work over a broad portfolio. In order to stay objective, I intentionally try to stay uniformed about the sports or athletes that I am photographing. It is important that I know only what I need to know in order to be respectful and safe with the athlete on set. From there I have found that most of my subjects have fun talking about what they do to someone that doesn’t try to know too much about their sport.

photographed by Blair Bunting

On a recent photoshoot that I did for the University of Maryland, I let one of the football players walk me through what he visualized as “intensity.” It was speed, it was fluid motion and I was captivated. I began thinking about how to show my viewers the mental imagery he created. I had him walk me through the action that he sees on the field, both in common plays and highlight reels.

photographed by Blair Bunting

Going into the shoot I had researched the aesthetics of the team and school only to find that many people found their jerseys to be cluttered and busy. For this reason I asked myself, “what does motion do to this uniform?” The yellow stripes on the legs, the red and black contrasts, the flags on the gloves… Yes, it was busy, but I felt that it could really sell speed, explosiveness and action.

We shot in the locker room of the football team, not by choice, but because the weather forced us to. It ended up working well as we had the fake grass from the field and a dark environment of contained light.

photographed by Blair Bunting

I often tell people that working with collegiate athletes is easier than working with professionals because they have not yet developed the sense of importance that a pro has. However, I feel that I learned more from this shoot and would extend my concept to this… college athletes often realize that the shoot is important and that there is no guarantee of more shoots in the future. For this reason I feel they give everything they can to make the image. For this shoot, it was a simple conversation that made the imagery.

Midnight will Return

In the day since the announcement of the Nikon Df, I have given great thought to where the paths of photography and happiness cross. Being known for my lighting, it is profoundly ironic that some of my most relaxed time behind a camera is enjoying the absence of light, studying what little light exists at midnight. There is so much beauty in the light that a bright moon and low level clouds can offer you. Studios would give anything to have it, but it is one reserved for us to enjoy, not use.

The tradition started when I got my first Nikon D3 and has continued periodically throughout the years, usually when I pick up a new camera body. At first I just wanted to see what it would be like to photograph at ISO’s in excess of 6400, but I soon saw the artist merit to the imagery.

midnight

I don’t to it to try and land jobs or to decorate my walls, I do it to imagine. I think of those before me that have travelled on nights like these. Even before photography itself existed, the moonlight captivated man, whether it meant calm guidance or coming storms, for the moment that it existed, it meant beauty.

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This brings me to the age old question that photographers ask… Does the camera take the pictures, or the photographer, in short, can I shoot at midnight with any of my other camera bodies? Yes. Where the critics of camera gear often get a little lost is the heavier weight of the grander story being played out. I use the Nikon Df, not because I want to capture the night, I use it because I want to be moved by it.