October 29, 2011

Music: Cold War Kids

Good new bands are hard to find these days.  Great bands are even more rare.  Cold War Kids is one of those 'great bands' for me.  I've listened to them for a few years now and with each new album they continue to impress.  They have been one of my top bands to see live and last Thursday they did not disappoint.

Young Man is traveling with Cold War Kids for part of their 2011 tour and they were very impressive as the opening band.  You can tell these guys are musically talented, and after listening to some of the stuff off their album, they are just as good, if not better, live.  

Lead singer, songwriter and creator of Young Man, Colin Caulfield

Now, onto Cold War Kids.  I can't say enough about how amazing they were live.  I mean, I love their music anyways, but it was a whole other experience live.  Promoting their new album, Mine is Yours, they played a good mixture of old and new, with old favorites like "Saint John" and "Hospital Beds" for the encore.  You could tell they love what they do, and they have fun doing it.  If you haven't heard of Cold War Kids pick up their new album 'Mine is Yours', you won't regret it.

Lead Singer Nathan Willitt

Guitarist Jonnie Russell

Bassist Matt Maust

Nathan Willitt with Drummer Matt Aveiro

October 20, 2011

Location: Little Cottonwood

A 30-minute drive from the heart of Salt Lake City and you're in the great Wasatch Mountains.  The light and the clouds were amazing this last week and the dusting of snow made the scene even more dramatic.  I struggled to reduce flare on some of the most dramatic light coming directly from the sun.  With the help of a sign in the Alta parking lot and cupping my hand around the lens I blocked the sun enough to get the beams of light coming through the clouds.  The mountains were back lit and light was flooding through the low clouds.  I composed my shot as best I could with as little flare as possible and it turned out to be one of my favorite shots.  

October 15, 2011

Photo Essay: Occupy Wall Street/SLC

Two men hold signs in support of Occupy Wall Street in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tents set up in Pioneer Park for the Occupy Wall Street protestors.  Salt Lake City, Utah.

Unknown woman holds a sign at a rally for Occupy Wall Street.

Peaceful protestors gather to hear a young speaker in support of Occupy Wall Street. 

Unnamed man holds a sign in support of Occupy Wall Street.

Unknown woman writes out a sign for the Occupy Wall Street protests in Pioneer Park, Salt Lake City, Utah.

A band from Tennessee plays to support the protestors in Pioneer Park Salt Lake City, Utah.

October 09, 2011

Pictureline Digitalfest Seminars

Pictureline hosted two amazing photographers for their Digitalfest this weekend; Alex Buono, Director of Photography for Saturday Night Live's Film Unit, and Corey Rich, Outdoor Adventure and Outdoor Lifestyle Photographer.  Both renowned in their own right and both delivered informative and inspiring seminars.

First, Alex Buono, an immensely talented videographer uses the Canon 5D as his go-to camera when shooting in low light and in tight spaces.  He explained it's versatility and ergonomic value in making both still and video productions.  If you've seen the stylistic intro to Saturday Night Live you've seen some of his work with this camera (see below).  The entire intro, in fact, was done with the 5D.  He offered several tips on time-lapse photography and video techniques that boosted my interest in both.  Alex Buono's seminar only reinforced these interests.  Unfortunately, I don't own a camera capable of the cinema-like quality today's video DSLR's are producing, however, with such relative prices I feel they are well within reach.  But time-lapse is something any camera can do, you just need the right tools.   Alex provided several tips and examples of how he's used time lapse in his own video productions.  One of the coolest tricks, for any photographer, was a fairly new feature on Google Earth.  There are several little toggle options at the top of the screen of Google Earth and one of them is a little sun.  If you click on the sun you can see where it will be at any time, anywhere.  If you're headed somewhere you've never been before you can map it out on Google Earth and see exactly where the sun will be and how the light will hit your subject before you even get there.
Overall, I left excited for the future of photography.  Whether in video or still.  There is so much talent out there and I hope I can continue to improve and create and one day contribute.

Corey Rich presented the next night and didn't disappoint.  He told his story of how he became a photographer with such enthusiasm and excitement.  There was no way anyone left that seminar uninspired.  Corey talked about getting his first assignments with Patagonia and how having his name out there got his foot in the door for other amazing photo opportunities.  Promoting yourself is all part of the journey of a professional photographer.  Starting out as a staff photographer for a small newspaper, Corey learned to document what he saw in an interesting way.
He gave three components that make any photograph:
First, interesting composition.  Filling a rectangle.
Second, light.  Where is it coming from?  What does it look like?  How do you capture it?
Third, catching the moment.  The moment is usually what makes the photo.
Getting all three components is the tricky part.  One or two can give you good photos, but it's capturing those great photos with all the components that make great shots.
Corey's main objective in photography is to tell a story.  Telling a story can be the most important aspect to your photography and how you tell that story is what can set you apart.  Initially I got into photography to document the things I was seeing and experiencing.  Telling a story came naturally.  I came out of the seminar inspired and ready to up my game.  Photographing what he loves is what makes Corey Rich's passion so contagious.  One of the best lines of his seminar was, "There is no such thing as bad light.  Light is what you make of it."  Excuses are for the birds.

All images and video copyrighted by their owners.

October 06, 2011

Great light tonight in the SLC.  The first snow of the season came last night and dusted the mountains just enough to add some drama.  The air is turning crisp and the leaves have turned.  It's a great time of year for photography.  I've enjoyed every chance to get to the mountains and shoot.  I was about to go right back up when I though the light and the time I had was best used for a shot in the city.  A previous shoot had me familiar with a great spot so I returned to capture the best light.  I thought I was too late as the sun was setting quickly, but made it just in time for the sun to peak through the clouds and light up the skyline.  The magic light was gone in minutes.