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Happy new year.. and the first resolution is in progress!

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

First of all a very happy new year to all of you.

My wife has been reading books on Feng Shui, and the latest one is on “Clear your clutter with Feng Shui”, here is the link to the kindle version ( so you don’t clutter your house / office with another book ).

We decided to take it to heart for the business as well, and started off organizing the massive photo library that I’ve accumulated over the last 13+ years of doing photography.

The benefits of this for us is:

– less harddrive space occupied with shots that are not really necessary to keep around

– we know EXACTLY what we have

The benefits for all of you:

more photos on the blog and website, as I have already run into some beauties that were “hidden in the clutter”

Looking forward to another exciting year, and hope to see you all at the different events around the country.

What are your new year’s resolutions for your business?

Shoot what you are passionate about

Monday, February 28th, 2011

As a pretty fanatic Twitter user I spend some time every day reading what different websites, photographers, friends have to say. I love reading the educational pieces that the different websites post.

One of my personal favorites is PetaPixel, which posted a great article on “Shooting a 300ft redwood tree”
Trees is not something I am personally passionate about, but the “how they did it” part of the video was very interesting to me, and the why.

I love the last advice at the end from the photographer Michael Nichols.

The article with the videos is here:
Shooting a 300-foot-tall Redwood Tree

Dark Side of the Lens

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

This video was shared by my friend Anita, and after watching it twice I realized it describes very much my motivation behind mounting multiple cameras to my skydiving helmet and going out and filming my friends, skydiving camps, record attempts. The film maker in this video describes the reasons why I want to pick up the camera and capture scenes in different ways: because I love doing so…

One of my personal favorite quotes from the short film:

“If I only scrape a living at least it’s a living worth scraping.
If there’s no future in it, at least it’s a present worth remembering.”

DARK SIDE OF THE LENS from Astray Films on Vimeo.

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

SmugMug – At a 50% discount!

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

In my search for a new way to sell my photographs online, I started trying out Smugmug

In these times of a tough economy and trying to run my business while saving a buck or two, I ran into this deal on 50% off the annual subscription for SmugMug if you use the coupon code on their site!

Just thought I would share this with the world, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one looking to save some money on his annual service bills!