Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tips for Better Portraits...

Pete Hurley, one of the best known (and most successful) headshot photographers shares some nuggets of information that can help you turn your portrait from the mundane to the marvellous in the article below from the The New York Times.

If you liked what you read, you'll probably enjoy the video below and maybe even tempted to cough up for his DVD. Enjoy !

Peter Hurley: The Art Behind The Headshot DVD from FStoppers on Vimeo.

Deep North...

Nikon - Deep North from Corey Rich on Vimeo.

How's you knowledge of mountain ranges in the Arctic Circle ?, want to see the techniques and organisation involved to set up an adventure photographers shoot ?

If your interest is piqued, check out the video above by Corey Rich and most of your questions will most probably be answered.

Monday, 26 March 2012


You would think a 'Clouds' Theme at the end of winter, beginnings of spring would offer a multitude of opportunities for dramatic sky's.

Well this year is not the case where featureless sunny blue hs been the norm, not that I'm complaining, but it didn't help much in the preparation for the theme.

Despite all of the above, 13 members presented images and with a slight change to the format, allowing attendees the opportunity to voice their comments in advance of knowing who actually took the photograph; the meeting proved lively and active with everyone freely volunteering their thoughts and advice.

Over there on the left is one of my personal favourites from Peter, with a wonderfully composed cloudscape complementing a rather unusual building.

Next theme is 'Cityscapes', see you for more next month !

Invited Speaker - Juan Vaquero (part II)

When you meet Juan, the immediate impression is of a highly motivated, passionate and talented photographer and a highly approachable and instantly likeable character.

These initial impressions were very quickly confirmed as we received a real treat of a presentation where Juan led us through the works of photographers that personally inspire him to his own commercial, exhibition, personal and travel photography (one of my favourites you see here).

If we could of asked for anything more, Juan also graciously answered all the questions we threw at him. Personally I learned a lot and feel that my photographic awareness has been further enhanced even though I only got to spend a short time in his presence.

Juan has very kindly passed on the list of photographers he referenced during the presentation such that we can educate our eyes further:

Many thanks once again to Juan and we hope to see you again sometime soon.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Invited Speaker - Juan Vaquero

The club is very pleased, and honoured to announce that Juan Vaquero, will be visiting us on the 22nd March to give us all a talk on his photography and creative vision.

Juan a professional photographer from Madrid has workied with Museo Thyssen, Louis Vuitton, Cmmunidad de Madrid, Vogue Mexico and SEAT just to name a few. Along with participating in exhibitions as far a field as the United States, Malasia and China.

A very big thank you to Miguel for organising everything and I think that this is an amazing opportunity for all of us to experience closer up, the work of a professional photographer.

You can see more of Juan's work on his web site.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Mary Ellen Mark...

Profoto on Set with Iconic Mary Ellen Mark from Profoto USA on Vimeo.

Mary Ellen Mark, another one of my favourite photographers has gained worldwide visibility through her numerous books and exhibitions where she has addressed such difficult social issues as homelessness, loneliness, drug addiction and prostitution.

Working primarily with analogue camera's using black and white film, she has travelled the world extensively taking pictures that clearly demonstrate a high level of commitment and humanism. It is exactly what you will see from the above video, where Mary passes on some sage advice and you really get to appreciate her persona and begin to understand why she achieves such stunning and touching imagery.

It would not be time wasted, investigating further the work of this master photographer.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Yuri Acurs SteadyPod...

Yuri Acurs is often cited as the world's most successful micro stock photographer and is an avid supporter of the idea that you camera should be supported as much as possible whatever the circumstance. Hence his use of a monopod for almost all of his work.

In the above video he will give a very 'honest' opinion of what he uses and why. All the complaints you will hear above have been recently solved with his partnership with Custom Brackets to produce the ultimate studio and on-location camera monopod setup.

Its called the 'Yuri Acurs SteadyPod' and its a fusion of a very popular manfrotto monopod, suitably modified to fix its common faults and the Custom Brackets tilt head and bracket that can be rotated from landscape to portrait format with the flick of a wrist.

Well the club has managed to get its hands on one of these 'custom' monopods and I have to say that its a pleasure to use. The mix between the ability to adjust the height of the monopod itself with one hand and then the orientation of the camera with the other, is quick and effortless and allows you to keep focussed on your subject.

Another worthy addition to our equipment cupboard.

Whatever you want 2012...

We kicked off the year with our 'classic' whatever you want theme, this year however we have a slightly different set of rules that now allow the members to use an image from any year they want.

32 images were presented and a good turnout ensured that there was lots of lively discussion and critiques going on.

Above is my personal favourite, which is from Celia, and is a wonderful image taken in India, whose strong composition and subject interest kept me glued to the image looking for more and more clues as to the story behind it.

The next theme was drawn randomly at the end of the presentation from the 17 themes proposed by the members and is... Clouds.  Its the first time in my life that I hope that the weather gets worse ;-).

Exhibition poll results...

It was nice to see that there was a fair spread of voting with 73 voters choosing their favourite image from this years exhibition. Given by the fact that 73 people actually took the time to express an opinion is a clear indicator that the exhibition was well appreciated by the ESAC staff.

So without further a do, here are the results:

1st:   Neil - 12 votes (16.44%)
2nd:  Benjamin - 9 votes (12.33%)
3rd:  Ruben & Helen - 7 votes each (9.59%)

A big thank you to everyone that voted and to all the club members that have helped and contributed to this event.

See you all again next year !

Friday, 3 February 2012

Chris Burkard...

Chris Burkard - Photographer from LONELYLEAP on Vimeo.

You probably guessed over the years that I have a bit of a weakness for surf photography... well its damn cold outside and here's something to warm you up a bit (your soul that is).

You may recognise Chris Burkard as the winner of the Red Bull Illume Quest competition in 2010 (check out our blog entry), now 25, Chris started his professional career only 6 years ago, he's a staff photographer for Surfer, and as you've seen above he wins awards, and he also released a book not too long ago as well (The California Book Project), not too shabby eh !

Anyway, there's an interview over on FStoppers that's an interesting read and just spending sometime on his web page and blog will bring back those lost summer memories.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Scott Soens...

Scott Soens is a surf/lifestyle photographer with a strong character and a wonderful outlook on life. Having assisted various professional photographers, including Bruce Webber, he set out on his own and has along the way added cinematography to his skills set.

From the video above I see that he is very driven, although maintaining a level of authenticity which is quite rare these days in a world where a big ego normally win hands down.

Take sometime to go through the images on his website and the wonderful video above does give a good look into the world of Scott Soens, it may also leave you feeling a bit envious of his lifestyle (don't say I didn't warn you)  ;-)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

What was your favourite Exhibition Image...

Thursday, 26 January 2012


This video has great stop motion, wonderful videography and a bunch of complete nutters all trying to get themselves killed. Take a look and you will see what I'm on about.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

I believe I can fly...

I Believe I can Fly ( flight of the frenchies). Trailer from sebastien montaz-rosset on Vimeo.

The above film is a trailer for a film which should be coming out this year and is being produced by Sebastien Montaz-Rosset, whose both a photographer and film maker.

The trailer is absolutely amazing and anyone who likes adventure sports is really going to appreciate this one.

After you've watched the video, head on over to Fstoppers where you will find some more in which he describes some of the techniques he uses to capture these wonderful images.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Landscape tips... the Kai way...

Kai from DigitalRevTV gives us some of his invaluable Landscape Photography tips in his own unique style, viewers with a weaker disposition may want to give this one a miss ;-)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Über Bokeh Monster..

This lens has gained a bit of a cult status and is sort after by both still and video photographers. Its the Russian built Helios 40-2 m42 mount lens.

Originally designed to be used as an oscilloscope lens, I don't know who started to use it on a camera but what a discovery !

Its has an 85mm focal length with a minimum aperture of f1.5, yes, I'll say that again, f1.5 ! That makes it a really, really fast lens and the focal length is just perfect for portraits (for example). But really what is all the fuss about. Well, we arrive once again at something called 'bokeh', and the popular opinion is that this is one of the best. Bokeh really is a personal thing but this lens really does have some wonderful abilities.

Here are a couple of images to give you an idea, and what you will see is that depending on where the highlights are you will get one effect or another, from buttery smooth to crazy swirls.

You've probably guessed it already that the club has managed to get its hands on one of these fine lenses. However, lets get a few things straight, its manual focus, you have to set and 'activate' the aperture manually, and f1.5 means that depth of field can be measured millimetres at close distances, and it has an m42 mount which probably doesn't fit any of the camera's we own, and its heavy.

I know, I know, before you all start shouting at me for such a stupid purchase, we also have two converters for both Canon and Nikon mounts (now all the Nikonians can't start complaining theres no lens for them this year !). The Canon converter does have the advantage that the central focus point will flash when the lens is correctly focussed (neat no !?). The Nikon convertor doesn't have this (because I couldn't find this functionality anywhere), but it is specially built such that the lens can be focussed at infinity.

We are really lucky to have picked one up, and in such good condition, and personally I absolutely love it, I'm having a great time using it, you have to take your time and think a bit more, but the results are really worth the extra effort.

Canon's widest lens for Digital SLR's...

Having a APS-C sized sensor in your digital SLR always means your going to have difficulty finding a lens wide enough due to the crop factor. 

Enter the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM lens stage left. With the 1.6X factor of Canon camera's this gives an equivalent focal length of 16-35mm which is pretty wide by anyones standards.

Bear in mind though, that this is an EF-S lens and consequently will only fit on APS-C camera's made from 2003 onwards (the EF-S mount was actually introduced with the 300D). I don't think anyone in the club has such an old digital SLR, well with the exception of me :-(, so everyone else should be OK.

Why do I mention this... it's because the club now has one of these lens for all the Canon users to try out.

But what about image quality, well there are many reviews on the web and lens comes out favourably in all of them, and the image above gives you an idea of its abilities.

This lens is without a doubt a welcome edition to the equipment cabinet.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

ESAC Photoclub Exhibition...

What had started as a chat over coffee early last year finally came to fruition today, as the club opened its first ever photographic exhibition.

The theme chosen was 'LandSeaSky' and has motivated 23 members of the club to present their images which they thought best represented this theme. The results is a great diversity of images from all over the world, both from above, and below sea level, and we all hope they will be of great interest to the rest of the community at ESAC.

The canteen was chosen to host the images as it is probably the only building where most of the site members visit throughout the week, thereby maximising the viewing potential of the exhibition.

Our idea is also to produce a small brochure detailing the images and linking them to the photographers, this will then be made available to everyone in one format or another.

We really hope this will be the first of many further events and we are really excited and proud with what we have achieved.

The club would also like to formally thank site services for all their help and their amazing ability to adapt to any situation that has appeared along the organisation of this event.

In closing, I would like to ask any visitors to the exhibition to feel free to use the blog and leave comments as it's always good to hear the opinions of everyone.

My final thank you goes out to all the club members who have participated and helped out with this event, without your enthusiasm and dedication this event would have been unattainable.

Making of 'The Protester'...

Here's a bit of a behind the scenes video of photographer Peter Hapak taking images for the TIME 'Person of the Year' issue.

He covered all the major protests worldwide in 2011 and his explanation of the stories behind each image are both eye opening and emotional charged.

As I always say its so enlightening to see a pro at work but even if you are not so bothered about the photographical details, as a current affairs study the video is well worth the watch !

Something to make you smile...

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Canon's little known super telephoto...

Super Telephoto lenses start at 400mm, there heavy, there big, they require beefy tripods with specialised heads and there damn expensive right... errrrrrr... well not always.

Here you see the Canon 400mm f5.6L lens, this is the slowest (and cheapest) of the three 400mm's but it doesn't skimp on image quality, which after all is said and done is the most import aspect of any lens.

Its not so heavy and its slim profile allows for 'easy' handholding making it a firm favourite with many Bird Photographers, especially those that enjoy taking pictures of them in flight.

The club is now in posession of one of these lenses, which should give all the Canon users the opportunity to try out this wonderful piece of equipment.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Yearbook 2011 published...

Our fifth edition of the Yearbook has just been published and congratulations go to Nico for his photo of the Elbro delta, which was the most popular voted image on our gallery pages in 2011, and hence, graces the cover.

Considering that this image was presented in the last theme of the year and managed to hit the number 1 spot in just a few days is doubly impressive.

For those of you who haven't seen a print version, the 'Book Preview' above will hopefully give you a small taste of what to find inside.

I still think that each year we surpass the quality of the previous years edition and I am convinced we have done it again. A big thank you to all the members for once again putting in the time and effort to produce the images throughout the year. Without this, the club could not produce such a high quality product. Hats off to you all !