Let's change things up a bit this week - I've spent the last few posts talking about videos I've been working on, but today I'm going to go over a piece of gear I rented from LensPro ToGo back in October, the Sony 70-200 f/2.8 FE GM OSS G-Master Lens. This post will be a little longer than the last few, but there's so much to talk about here.
A few months back my a couple of my friends, Brian & Kristina, asked if I would photograph their wedding for them. Well, as many of you know, my "job" is video production/filmmaking, and while I shoot 90% of my own projects, I really do view my "photography" as more of a hobby. I've been asked by friends about shooting weddings before (both stills and video), and most of the time I'll refer them to other friends/colleges of mine who do that sort of thing more professionally, primarily because if I'm there for a friend's wedding, I'd rather be there for them as part of the moment rather than looking for the perfect shot through a viewfinder and focusing on the craft.
This was an exception though for many reasons, one of the main ones being that it was a small semi-formal/informal ceremony at CCCT, a space I know how to shoot in well, and there was no pressure to turn out a significant number of really good photos, she just wanted a few nice ones for memories.
Anyway, the wedding. To shoot it I knew I would need a longer and faster lens than what what I've normally got as part of my kit, so I rented the Sony 70-200 f/2.8 FE GM OSS G-Master to shoot the wedding and we also did a little post-wedding photoshoot later that weekend. (And while I had it for the weekend I grabbed some other test shots in Galveston).
The lens is - in a word, "wow".
Its sharp, the stabilization is awesome and it feels really solid to use. Not to mention the depth of field - its amazing what happens to the background of a subject at any "near" distance when shooting at 200mm and wide open to f2.8.
It took me a little longer than expected to find the time to go through the raw photos and pull the good ones. (Which is why this blog entry is so late - I had originally planned on posting this in November!) I was so excited to dig into the photoshop work after looking at the preview on the camera though - many of the pictures looked great with very minimal, if any, work in Photoshop. Most of what I ended up doing was using the RAW images to pull up shadows that would have otherwise faded to nothing.
Between the speed and sharpness of this lens, plus the sensitivity of my A7s, I was able to shoot at a fairly high shutter speed and effectively eliminate any jitter from me hand-holding the camera, even in the darker setting. None of these were shot from a tripod or any other support gear, and all of this was with available light, I didn't use any strobes or other production lights.
Lets take a look at some of my favorites from those shoots. Please note that I've gotten permission from my friend to post these on my site, however for all intents and purposes they own this photos and they are not to be downloaded or posted elsewhere without their permission. That said, lets dig in:
Okay - the teaser's out now, and since I promised we would, this week we're going to take a look behind the curtain at this one:
It turned out better than I expected. My mother, the director of CCCT's production of Black Coffee, came up with the concept and I shot this with only about half of a plan and no idea of how the pieces were going to come together. Not to say the concept was bad - but while I was shooting it I was having a little trouble seeing the final edit - unlike the Christmas Carol or the Titus teasers where Robert and I had some pretty detailed discussions far in advance (we even storyboarded Titus to the music track we ended up using) or even compared to the last Agatha Christie Trailer I shot, Towards Zero, which I also planned out and scripted in advance, this one was very much "shot from the hip".
Okay, so it’s been a little while - Christmas was crazy and I gave myself a bit of a break where I could, but now we’re into 2018 and it’s time to buckle down again. I've got a lot to cover, so let’s just jump in.
My original plan for this post was to have a new vlog ready to accompany it and talk about some of the newer projects I've got in mind and the new progress on the old ones. However, between helping Robert on Christmas Carol and then helping my mother with her show, Black Coffee, I've had little time to work on my own projects. (Let alone get my office cleaned up enough to be "camera ready")
That said, working promotional for both shows has given me some new little projects to work on - you’ve all seen the Christmas Carol teaser I shot, and now I’ve got a teaser for Black Coffee that I’m editing (and hope to have out in the next couple days) I'll probably go into more detail on the behind-the-scenes for that trailer next week.
Thomas Meek is an independent filmmaker living and working in Houston, TX