May, 2010

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California State Record Camp II – Skydive Elsinore

Thursday, May 27th, 2010
SoCal Converge Freefly record Camp II

Copyright Iwan van der Schoor

Enjoy the amazing visuals from Skydive Elsinore during CA State Record Camp 2 organized by Socal Converge.

The event was happening at the same time as the 4th Annual Echelon Freefly Film Festival, organized by Andy Malchiodi of Elsinore Echelon.

A total of 37 participants attended the camp and it started off hard on Friday! With multiple no contact formations flown first to get used to flying in your allocated slot in the formation without holding on to the formation. After those skydives went very well, the groups went on to flying 13-16 way linked formations on Friday.

Saturday 3 more smaller formations were flown, and because the team was doing so well in showing discipline and safety on all the jumps, the groups were put together and 2 more formation loads were flown with formations building up to 30+ freeflyers.

The record camp team got back together on Sunday morning, bright and early for 5 more training jumps of 30+ people doing formation load skydives.

A very good weekend overall where the whole team performed very well and I’m sure several people earned themselves slots for the record planned in November 2010!

Thanks and see you all again in August (and hopefully before then)

Link to the event photos on Smugmug

New project: buildings at night

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

In order to challenge myself and my photography skills, and gain more experience in tricky situations (as if taking skydiving photos is not tricky enough) I started a new personal project: buildings at night.

This was inspired by a posting from Scott Bourne (Twitter link) on his PhotoFocus.com blog

The mission is to shoot at least 2 buildings a week, at night.

Reason for this is some of the most amazing light is there at night, some buildings are lit up by natural light (moonlight) some are lit up by lights (like the Golden Gate or the Palace of fine arts in San Francisco) and it always makes for very interesting views. The other reason is.. if they light it up, it’s to make it look pretty at night.. why not take a photo of it right? So last night I took the camera off my camera helmet and shot some long exposures of the building we live in, and since my wife wanted to come along, we ended up playing with light a bit as well!

Night shot of the apartment building we live in

Copyright Iwan van der Schoor

Our apartment building, photo taken with a 30 second exposure.

Playing with the off camera flash

Copyright Iwan van der Schoor

The same 30 second exposure, but now we used the flash twice to light up my wife Sandra, and then light me up.

Sandra being flashed

Copyright Iwan van der Schoor

Another test with the 30 second exposure, again of our apartment building, but since Sandra was walking around through the photo, I figured it would be fun to light her up using the off camera flash, resulting in this fun photo!

Keep checking back for the building series… next time a more exciting building!

Iwan

Exciting news from Sony – an AVCHD camcorder with interchangeable lenses

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

This is very exciting news for Skydiving Photographers and videographers and it surely will be a nice addition to the camera lineup from Sony. What looks like a fairly small size camera:

From Sony:

SONY DEVELOPS NEW AVCHD HIGH-DEFINITION CAMCORDER WITH INTERCHANGEABLE LENS SYSTEM

Sony is developing a new AVCHD high-definition camcorder featuring an interchangeable lens system.
The camcorder, which will be available this fall, will be compatible with “E Mount” interchangeable lenses developed for Sony’s newest digital still cameras (model NEX-5, NEX-3), as well as many  “A Mount” interchangeable lenses used by the existing “a” DSLR camera lineup via a mount adapter.
It will also be equipped with the same “Exmor” APS HD CMOS sensor used in the  NEX-5 and NEX-3 models

News on Sony website

Lodi Sequentials April 2010

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Lodi Sequentials April 2010

Copyright Iwan van der Schoor

Another year, another Lodi Sequentials event at the Parachute Center in Lodi, CA.

The dates: April 30 and May 1st, two days of highly technical freefly formations were planned, but unfortunately the weather decided for us that it was going to be April 30th only.

The last jump of the day was the traditional skydive into Johnny B’s birthday party.

Six very nice looking and challenging skydives were done, organized by MX Bill Halsey and Mike Knight.

Some of the participants: Jeffro Provenzano, Mike Swanson, David Gershfeld, Stephanie Soria, Ty Losey, TJ Landgren, Matt Lewis, Travis Fienhage, Kirby Hughes, Javier Muniz, Karlee Ayers.

Photographs of the skydives can be found on my smugmug site

So… how do you take a picture in freefall? part 2

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

This article is a follow up on the previous article So.. how do you take a picture in freefall (part 1)

In the previous article I discussed how freefall photographers operate the shutter on their cameras, which is slightly different from how photographers do this on the ground.
This article focusses on probably the most important thing in photography:  composition and framing.

The typical way to take a photo with your camera is to look through the viewfinder on the camera or to look at the screen on the back of the camera (with most point and shoot cameras), but this is a bit tricky when you are not able to see through the viewfinder. This article focuses on just that: how do you frame / compose your photos, without using the viewfinder on the camera?

Normally looking through the viewfinder on your SLR you’d see something like this:

Where the circle is the center of the photo you are about to take.

In skydiving however, the camera is mounted away from your eye, and you use a “ringsight”.

Think of a ringsight as the sight on a rifle, like snipers / sharpshooters use. You don’t see through the barrel of the gun, but you look through the sight, which is lined up perfectly with the barrel and whatever is center in your sight, is center for the barrel of the gun.

Ringsights used in skydiving photography are very similar, the ringsight is mounted on the camera helmet in front of your eye, and the center of the ringsight lines up perfectly with the center of the frame on your camera.

The most popular ringsight used is built by Brent Finley:

Brent Finley's Concentric Ringsight

What it looks like to look through the ringsight

The ringsight, has a number of concentric rings in it, that allow you to frame the shots.

The middle of the ringsight lines up with the center of the frame of all the cameras mounted on the helmet, and that is how the shot is framed. The other rings around it are used to size the subject in the shot, and to match the shot seen through the ringsight with the size of the subject in the photo you are taking. For example a subject that covers beyond the outside of the ringsight, might be cut off in the actual photo you are taking. There typically is no “zoom” in skydiving photography, you get your zoom from flying closer, or further away from your subject.

The rings are used to judge your distance between you and your subject.

In the image below I made an attempt of illustrating the center of the shot determined by the smallest ring in the sight:

Illustration of ringsight mounted and aligned with cameras on a camerahelmet

A "full boat" setup with the Canon 40D, Sony HC-1 as video camera and a Ikonoskop A-Cam Super 16mm film camera

In the picture I put a red dot to illustrate the center of the ringsight, and how it lines up with the center of the frame in the other cameras that are mounted on the helmet.

Now with all the gear ready to go, all the cameras lined up perfectly with the ringsight, you are ready to go shoot some photos and / or video!

Disclaimer: USPA safety recommendations are that you have AT LEAST 200 skydives before attempting any kind of skydiving videography or photography. Just having the camera helmet setup perfectly does NOT allow you to go out and shoot photos. This blog is no means of education, it is just for informational purposes. If you are interested in starting out with freefall photography or video, please feel free to contact me for one on one coaching on this subject and for helmet reviews / recommendations.

For your entertainment, a shot of myself landing after “a hard day at work”:

Iwan landing his parachute after a camera jump

Photo by Lany Muller