I've been very busy the last couple weeks, and yet I feel like I've done so little - strange how that works out. Probably just a side effect of winding down from a larger project and going through the holidays. I have worked on a few little things recently, one of those being promotional photography for Agatha Christie's Verdict - check it out:
Along with the crazy couple weeks I've had at work, I've also had a few fun, but quick projects I did for Clear Creek Community Theatre that I thought I'd talk about a little bit:
First of all, there's the early publicity stills I shot for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] last week, which is the next show on the CCCT stage. The director, Steve Sarp, had an idea for publicity to put the Groucho Marx glasses prop on Shakespeare, I then suggested actually photographing the image on the Shakespeare bust that sits on the piano in the lobby at CCCT.
The pictures turned out better than I had hoped:
In my last blog post, I dug into the photo capabilities of my new iPhone X - this week we'll look at the other new "mobile" photo solution I've got my hands on - the Insta 360 One - a GoPro sized 4K 360 camera that I got for Christmas. Now my primary reason for wanting it was to experiment with 360 video, which I have dabbled in a little since getting it, but not to enough of an extent to really talk on it. However, I have been using the still photo mode a lot recently. A couple weeks ago I took some 360's for the office and we'll look at a couple of them today, as well as one I shot as a test.
In my last blog post I went through a bunch of pictures I took with the A7s and the 70-200mm lens. This week I'll be going through some of the photos I've taken on my new phone.
A couple weeks ago I went ahead and bit the bullet and upgraded to the iPhone X - my iPhone 6+'s screen was acting up, and it was struggling to run apps I need to use on a day-to-day basis. And of course with Apple's upgrade program it just made good sense. Granted, the iPhone X is a lot more than just a good "point-and-shoot" camera that happens to be a phone. It responds significantly faster across the board, the camera processes images better, the augmented reality improvements that Apple keeps advertising are fun, the battery lasts longer, the screen looks amazing - I could go on. And of course the 256GB of storage gives me more than enough room for photos and video, especially important now that the phone has the ability to shoot RAW pictures and 4K video.
But for today's post I'm going to focus on what I've learned playing with some of the still photo features (mostly since I haven't had any time to play with the video yet). So lets dig in:
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:
Thomas Meek is an independent filmmaker living and working in Houston, TX