Friday, January 23, 2009

Health Insurance (revised)

One thing that a lot of younger photographers take a chance on is trying to get away without health insurance, and fewer employers are providing care for their full time employees.   Ceci and Eli racked up over a half a million dollars in hospital bills when he was born between both of their hospital stays, and we won't even start on my doctors bills from crashing into things when I was still racing.

A friend recently told me about some low cost options from Freelancers Union.  They offer a range of plans, including premium family plans and dental coverage,  all of them are pretty inexpensive compared to other options. They have one particular, ($10,000 deductible), plan (assuming you are young and healthy) that seems too good to go without.  For $ 150 bucks a month you are covered against the kind of catastrophic accident or illness that can cripple your finances for life.  

After I posted this the first time Avi Gerver sent me an e mail suggesting that I also mention Fractured Atlas.

This a terrific artist support organization. They actually have an even cheaper plan with a $ 5000 deductible.  

Nice call Avi.

Whaddya waitin for?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More resources is a fantastic resource.  It lists the masthead directory for every magazine in the US.  It's free if you have a .edu email address.  The only caveat is that it isn't updated as often as I'd like.

Rob Haggert's blog, A is fast becoming the best source for news about the photo industry.  I log on at least once a week and there is always something interesting.

EditorialPhotographers. com is full of useful news and information on usage fees and estimating.

Finally, I was shocked to find how few students knew about the Eddie Adams Workshops.  This is a free four day workshop in upstate New York that enables young photographers to work with some of the top photojournalists and photo editors in the country.  Careers have been launched there.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Video fun

I love this blog stuff, it's so easy to put stuff up.

Here's a little film I did for the Machineart (an industrial design firm)  prototype motorcycle. It was shot old school, on a 16 mm Arriflex.

"Get Off"

They're working on a new prototype that will be done by the middle of February.   If everything works out we'll be shooting it as a demo in my Advanced Lighting class.

About two years ago I got to spend one day shooting on the floor of the New York Commodities Exchange for a corporate client.  It was one of the most interesting things I've ever shot; like watching a Superbowl game being played with billions of dollars.  Every day these guys gamble on the value of things like oil and copper, betting on values for dates as far into the future as ten years, often with their own money.  They can become a millionaire in a day, lose it the next, and make it back tenfold on the third.  It is not a profession for the faint of heart.

Later on I was noodling around with the images on Quicktime and created this little slideshow. It's too bad the video window is so small because some of the subtleties of gesture and expression are lost.  

Given the current state of the economy it seemed timely....

"One Day" 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Death to film, Strobist, and a great book

One of my students, Kyle Newberry, turned me on to this site.  It's written by a group of digital techs/assistants in L.A..

It is very techy but full of useful information (including a few video tutorials)  on digital workflow, back up storage solutions, and digital specific exposure techniques for professional digital photographers.  

This is an absolutely amazing site and I'll admit that it was the inspiration for this blog.  It was started by David Hobby, a staff photographer for the Baltimore Sun, and has grown into an internet phenomenon.

Many years ago, back when the legendary Karl Peterson was still assisting me, we invented some techniques for doing quality lighting "on the fly" using small, battery operated strobes slaved with primitive optical slaves. I was shooting transparency film at the time so this technique required real skill and great communication between the photographer and assistant (who was controlling the remote strobe) .  I didn't know anyone else who was doing it then.  As time went on I perfected the technique with different assistants to achieve a mix of production value, and an available light "look", combined with flexibility in a fast moving situation.

As a photojournalist, David Hobby found his own ways to use the new generation of small portable TTL flash units with wireless triggers and started sharing the techniques online in his Strobist blog.  It's the same idea as what I was doing, but David's tools and techniques, combined with digital capture, make it much easier now.  The Strobist blog now has it's own Flickr group (with 50,000 members!) and a rabid fan base on the web.  There is so much information on this site that it actually constitutes an entire lighting class.  I interviewed David when I was writing my book and plugged it several times in the final version. The site is very deep and inclusive.  David now travels the country doing "Strobist" lighting workshops.

Finally, I have to give a shout out to "Light, Science & Magic", the best book ever written on lighting.  For years I have looked for a textbook I could use in my advanced lighting class and I hated them all.  This is the textbook I wish I had written.

Most books on lighting aren't much more than war stories told by photographers on how they did a shot.  "Light, Science, & Magic" is based on the physics of light and optical principals.  The first chapter is heady reading but after that it really picks up and gets into real world problem solving.  Absolutely indispensable for any budding, or experienced, professional.