Wedding season is full-on, and June kicked off with a fine mountaintop wedding in the North Georgia Mountains, near Helen, Georgia.
Helen is a quirky little Germanic alpine town about 1.5 hours north of Atlanta. Mountain bikers know it for awesome trails like the NORBA race courses at Unicoi, and climbers might pass through Helen en route to Yonah Mountain or Tallulah Gorge.
The more adventurous do what the locals do for fun: monster truck rides, a dip in the river, beer and putt-putt... A huge downpour signaled good luck and cleared the skies for the beautiful ceremony, which was held at Lucille's Mountaintop Inn
Congrats to Vanthan & Adrian, June 5, 2010:
My indefatigable assistant Sharif Hassan and my intern Brett May. I try not to leave home without them.
Here's one reason why: shooting at the reception, my Nikon SB800 flash started doing unholy things to the exposure, so I grabbed Brett's brand new SB900 and shot away. It worked, the SB800 did not.
I'm pretty sure the critical difference here was that the SB800 shoots TTL at a maximum ISO of 1000, where the SB900 will work up to 6400. The controls on the 900 are way more intuitive. These together mean better performance in the trenches. I bought one immediately.
Your crew should all shoot the same gear and have it ready to go. It also helps if they can assemble a grease a new racing bike with a multi-tool and a can of mustache wax.
Brock Scott is an artist and musician who I met through a mutual friend at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He's fronted several bands over the years, including the Brock Scott Quartet, Dreamer Boy Dan, and now his latest, Little Tybee.
Progressive rock played on real instruments - violins, piano, acoustic guitar - by real musicians. Intelligent lyrics filled with stories and historical allusions. You'll be humming it at work.
I've used a few of Brock's tracks before, most recently a Little Tybee track called "Spellcheck His Eulogy" for a my stillmotion piece Inline.
For Little Tybee's upcoming album "Humorous to Bees", Brock and I got together to create a music video for "Nero", a ditty on the tyrannical Roman Emperor who famously "fiddled while Rome burned"
(Suetonius actually says he played the lyre)
We came up with the idea of having another SCAD graduate, Mark Montgomery throwing yo-yo as the centerpiece of the video, focused on his craft while all around him the spectacle explodes.
Terrence Green (left) with Mark Montgomery
We did this as a single, in-camera take, which required two things: a skilled Steadicam operator and great talent. Chris Campbell, a veteran of feature films and music videos, was psyched on the project, and manned the Steadicam. You can get in touch with Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
Clockwise from upper left: Brock Scott, me, assistant Sharif Hassan, Chris Campbell and Mark Montgomery
Between myself, Chris and Brock, we pulled in a great group of talent including bboy and hiphop dancers, Falcons cheerleaders, singers, musicians, pinup girls, and photographers. Each "scene" was pulled from a past shoot or funny shoot experience, and it was all shot on a single evening in my studio here at Encyclomedia.
Rehearsing, Mark Campbell on right
We used a Panasonic HPX170 P2 video camera, which allows you to shoot progressive material at variable frame rates. So we could overcrank to 36 fps, with the music playing at 150%, then slow the final footage down to 24fps and sync it with the original track. The 170 also portable enough to easily work with on a Steadicam, or in tight spaces, running around the woods, or lashed to the side of a cliff, so its been my main camera for most of the video work I've been doing lately.
Chris Campbell, left and I go over the game plan with the crew
It turned out everyone had either worked together before or knew each other. One dancer was Mark's neighbor, and there was something about a noise complaint. Hatchet buried. That's the great thing about the performance community in Atlanta. Tons of talent, very little drama or attitude.
Some of Atlantas finest talent going over the steps
Nearing the end of a take
It was more like a live performance than a video shoot. We pulled it off after only 18 takes (and with only one open bloody wound). Chalk it up to the awesome talent we had in the room
Here is the official Nero video. The album will be out in early Fall 2010, complete with Brock's hand-drawn album artwork.
If you have more questions about the video, steadicam or monitoring gear or just want to see the latest awesome camera toys, stop by Showcase Camera. Whenever I have video or audio equipment problem to solve I talk to Frank or Kenny in the video department.
This happened last week with Aimee and Shu, two lovebirds whose Maui wedding I will have the pleasure of shooting this fall. Both are world travelers - Aimee just got back from New Zealand - and we wanted to shoot an engagement session loosely themed around travel.
When we started, we all had some ideas in our head, but by the end we followed some different threads. We hit a half dozen great spots in Atlanta, many of which were new to me.
I love it when a simple shoot turns into a little adventure for everyone, where things don't go exactly as planned. It's risky, but, as I answered Aimee, "I'm not a normal photographer."
Last fall I wrote about a project called Pimp My Wall, where a group of friends, in the spirit of an HGTV Extreme Makeover type show, built a surprise climbing wall for Greg Kottkamp, a climber and med student sweating it out in Augusta, Georgia.
Here is the video from that project, which I showed at the Dirty South Climbing Film Festival in Atlanta last week. Enjoy!
Interview with Photographer Celin Serbo
for A Steady Drip Magazine
My friend and fellow outdoor photographer Celin Serbo recently photographed a campaign for Eddie Bauer's First Ascent line in Norway. Celin spent 2 weeks this February with FA athletes Chad Peele and Carolyn George sieging multipitch ice in the western fjords region and came back with awesome authentic images and video.
When its just you, a camera and a couple riggers keeping up with top climbers in the wild, it takes more than just camera skills. Celin earned his chops from a lifetime spent in the mountains, and more recently as a professional guide. This kind of shooting - especially done for top commercial clients - is rare these days, and I wanted to talk to Celin about this shoot because it speaks to what great adventure photography is all about.
I've known Celin for years as part of that "brotherhood" of climbing photographers that you run into/hear about/recognize over the years, and like most of those guys we are both part of the Aurora Photos agency's Outdoor Collection. Celin is based in Boulder, Colorado.
All images (c) Celin Serbo
Serbo : I got introduced to photography when my stepfather gave me a fully manual medium format film camera in the early 90's. Long story short, I had a lot to learn and started by reading books, spending a fair bit of time in the dark room, and lots of trial and error. During that time I was pretty passionate about climbing, skiing, and biking so a camera was a natural additional piece of gear to bring along.
From 1997 thru 2004 I worked as mountain guide
I'd love to say, "that's when it all took off for me" but that's not the case. It's been a slow but steady process that is still evolving. I've had to work hard to expand my skills set and marketing strategies to reach a more varied clientele.
TBM : How did the Eddie Bauer shoot come about?
Serbo : I did a 3 day ice climbing shoot for them in Ouray, CO in March of 2009. That shoot was a success and it seemed we were on the same page with regards to their image needs. Their First Ascent line is a relatively new brand so the need for image content is pretty substantial. One of their athletes put in the trip proposal for Norway based on the incredible amount of unclimbed ice within the western fjord areas. Everything seemed to line up with schedules and budgets and I was asked to join the trip.
Due to budgets, I could not bring an assistant with me so I had to be as self sufficient as possible. It was mainly about documenting the climbs and keeping pace with the athletes. We did have two riggers, which was a huge help.
TBM : Your riggers were locals, I assume, who knew the area well?
Serbo : O
TBM: How did it compare with some other shoots you've done, keeping pace with the
athletes on the EB shoot?
Serbo : A
(c) Celin Serbo. Click to watch Celin's behind-the-scenes video from the Norway trip:
Serbo : I shot all the video and stills with the Nikon D300s. I was really impressed with cameras performance. It gives you an amazing amount of creative freedom to switch back and forth from stills to video. We had some pretty nasty weather as well and the D300s handled it with no issues. Video was a component in the Eddie Bauer contract. The primary focus was on stills with a secondary priority of video. They are very active in multimedia content for both their website and in-store flat screen displays. I am finding more and more of my clients embracing this trend.
TBM : Do you see doing more video in the future?
Serbo : I am planning on shooting more video. I think in the very near future, [video] will be an expected component to any commercial or editorial assignment. While the DSLR HD video is incredible it does have many limitations compared to dedicated high- end video. I think the crux will be understanding these limitations and finding the appropriate projects and platforms for this technology.
You can see Celin's work on his website at www.serbophoto.com.
Check out some reports from the trip on the Eddie Bauer First Ascent blog here.
This interview is for A Steady Drip Magazine, an experiment in distributed publishing. Click here to see the Table of Contents.