Category Archives: How to & info

Mt. Olympus at Night

Happy New Year! I love the holidays but it’s always nice to get back to work and start a new year. Last week I came down with a pretty nasty cold and by the end of the week was feeling pretty stir crazy from lounging around trying to get better and need to get out and shoot something. I thought it would be nice to get a cool shot of Mt. Olympus at night so at 9pm set out to see what I could find. I drove for a bit to try and find a spot that I could get up on the foothills around Parleys Canyon. I figured that would be a good area to find a nice shot. I parked, put on some gaiters and headed up the mountain. I ended up finding a trail that met up the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and found a good spot that would work to get the shot.

Mt. Olympus at NightI love shooting at night. When I was in college I shot a lot of my assignments and projects at night. I think I like shooting landscapes and cityscapes at night at night because it is a nice change from my normal assignments from work. Here are a few tips for getting shots at night.

-Invest in a nice lightweight carbon tripod with a solid ball head. They are more expensive that aluminum tripods but when you are hiking around they are the way to go. Still stable but much lighter. I prefer ball heads they give you lots of options while shooting.

-Use a shutter release cable. I use my intervalometer. It has a shutter release built into it as most do. On almost DSLR cameras there is a max shutter of 30 sec. if you need to shoot longer than that you must put your camera on Bulb and use a shutter release cable to control the length of time the shutter is open.

-Use a sand bag or some rocks to hang on the bottom of the tripod. Adding some additional weight will keep you camera stable. The last thing you want is for your camera to move while getting your shot

-Use a lower ISO. You will have a tenancy to want to increase your ISO do decrease your exposure time but this will create more noise in your shot.

-Plan on taking some time. Night shots take much more time to take than shooting during the day. Depending on the available light for your shot, it will take at least 3-5 min per shot and sometimes longer. That is just for the exposure. After your camera is done taking the shot, it takes about the same amount of time to render longer exposure noise reduction to the image.  When I went out last week for this shot I ended up taking 8-10 shots and it took me an hour and half by the time and drove, hiked, found a spot, shot and came back down. That’s pretty fast I thought.

-Dress warm, especially this time of year. With a little wind and the cold on top of the fact that once you start shooting your not moving around much. Remember to dress in lots of layers.

Shooting at night is a lot of trial and error. A light meter isn’t much help in these situations. Finding the right focus and be tricky and being mindful of how motion will play into your shot are all challenges of getting the right exposure and shot while shooting at night. I love it and think it is really fun to and experiment with.

The image above is the shot I got last weekend. I’m pretty happy with it. Thanks for checking it out! I shot it at f/11 for about a min. and a half with an ISO of 100. Happy shooting!

 

Top 10 Images of 2014

I Hope everyone had a great Christmas Holiday. I can’t believe that 2014 is just about over. It has been a great year and I wanted to finish it out with my top 10 images from this past year along with a little background and info on how I shot them.

#1- Skaftafell National Park, Iceland

Iceland Glacier WalkNot a big shocker here for anyone that has been following me lately. Iceland was my favorite place to shoot this last year. I’m only going to include one shot from this trip even though I could easily add more. If you want to see more images I shot there you can check it out on a previous post here.  I love the texture and colors of this shot. It screams epic adventure to me and that is what Iceland is about, a giant epic adventure. Shot this with a Nikon D810 and the Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 lens 1/500 @ f/ll ISO 800

#2-Vickie Walker Portrait-Good Housekeeping Magazine

Vickie-1I was really honored to be able to photograph Vickie. She is an incredible person and was really nice to work with. Her husband was tragically killed in the Trolly Square shooting of 2007. She noticed a lack of support groups for people in her situation and went on to create a victims advocate group called Circle the Wagons. She is a great example of how to overcome tragic loss with something good to help others. Photographed with a Hasselblad H5D-40 and 80mm lens 1/125 @f4 ISO 400 Profoto B1 Air and large umbrella

#3-Rancher Portrait- SelectHealth

Rancher-1Nothing too crazy here. I Just loved how this portrait came together. Great location and its always nice when you can get the real deal for a model on an advertising shoot. Nikon D810 with a Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 1/640 @ f/2.8 ISO 125

#4-Railay Beach, Thailand

Thailand-1This shot ended up being my favorite shot from Thailand. Here again I could have included many more but you can see additional images on a previous post here. Thailand has the best beaches I’ve ever seen. This is also a huge rock climbing destination. Really amazing place. Nikon D4 with Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 1/80th sec @ f/14 ISO 200 on a tripod.

#5 Amaze Campaign-SelectHealth

C-1We got this shot early in the morning when the sun was coming up in Downtown SLC. Shot it with available light and a California Sunbounce to fill in the shadows a bit. Nikon D810 with Nikon 35mm 1.4 1/640th sec. @ f/2 ISO 125

#6 Police Officer Portrait-SelectHealth

Police Officer-1I have a great respect and appreciation for police officers. It was fun to work with Trevor he is a great family man and really nice guy to work with. Nikon D810 and Nikon 35mm 1/125th of sec @ f/2 ISO 400 with a Profoto B1 Air and a large shoot through umbrella.

#7 Ripstix Campaign-Zija International

Zija-1This shot of fitness model Debbie Tebbs we created for Zija and was one of my favorites. She is a natural athlete and really good to work with. The client wanted a bit grittier look for this campaign. Really fun shoot. Nikon D4 with Nikon 24-70mm 1/1600th of sec @ f/4 ISO 200 and the sun bounce.

#8-Antelope Island Trail Running

I had been wanting to shoot out at Antelope Island for sometime.  Fitness model Matt White called me up and asked if I wanted to go shoot something with him.  I thought he would be perfect for a nice Antelope Island trail run adventure. Matt and his friend Katy worked out great. Nikon D810 with Nikon 20mm 1.8 1/400th of Sec. @ f/5.6 ISO 64 all natural light.

#9 Cally Grindstaff Portrait-SelectHealth

Idaho-1Captured this image while on assignment in Idaho Falls, ID for a testimonial campaign for SelectHealth. We created this shot mixing available and strobe lighting. Shot mid afternoon on a Nikon D810 with Nikon 50mm 1.4 1/160 of sec. @ f/2.8 ISO 64 with a Profoto B1 Air and medium shoot through umbrella.

#10 Browning Clothing

Browning-2Lastly, I got this image while on a catalog shoot for Browning. After driving around our location I found this nice open field with a windmill that I thought would work well for the truck shot we needed for the catalog. We had a brand new Ford f350 for the shoot and it all came together nicely for this shot. I used a polarizer filter on the lens to bring out the sky better. Again on the Nikon D810 with Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 1/800th of Sec @ f/4 ISO 200 all natural light.

That concludes my top 10 images of 2014. Special thanks to all my clients, my assistants Cory Steffen and Stephen Bain, my stylists: Christie Somers, Michelle Bindrup, Kathy Exhenbrecht and lastly production help from Michelle Drier. I also need to thank my sweet wife Karri for holding down the fort and keeping tabs on our two daughters while I’m out shooting. I couldn’t do any of this without her help and support.

I hope you liked them and I look forward to what 2015 has to bring. Hopefully even more adventures and even better images and opportunities. Got to keep pushing! I’d also invite you check out my newly update website at www.brandonflint.com. Thanks for checking things out. I hope you have a Happy New Year!

Five Tips for Shooting with Video Crews

Now days it’s easy to find yourself shooting various projects in conjunction with video production crews. Agencies and companies like to do this because they can shoot both print stills and TV commercials at the same time. This not only allows for a consistent look and feel for the entire campaign, but it typically is cheaper for them to just overlap the two instead of doing two separate shoots. Photographing in these situations can be challenging for photographers. Here are a five tips to get what you need and keep everyone happy on set.

Behind the Scenes Brandon FlintOne of my favorite clients that I shoot for often is almost always in conjunction with a video production crew.  Sometimes that crew is big and sometimes it’s small. I’ve had to learn to adapt to this working environment for shoots. It can definitely become harder to get the shots you need in the amount of time you are given, in these types of shoots. Here are a few things I’ve learned with my shoots when video is on set also.

#1- As the photographer, you most likely aren’t going to have much say in things before the shoot. In my experience, the video production company and the agency is doing all the pre-production, casting, scouting etc.  As the photographer on these types of shoots, you pretty much have to bring the equipment and necessary crew you think you will need and make it happen. Generally you will know where and what types of situations you will be shooting in,  but rarely will you get to scout them out beforehand.

#2- I hate to break it to you, but the video takes precedent over the stills. This can be hard for us photographers because on a normal stills-only shoot, you are the one calling the shots, but that’s not usually the case here. Video takes more time and is more expensive to shoot, so that typically has priority. That doesn’t mean that what you, as the photographer, shoot doesn’t have value or is less important. The client and the agency still expect you to get great shots. It just means that you have less time with more pressure. You will still be able to direct talent, find the best spot to shoot to an extent, and do what you normally would do; but you usually only have about 10-20 min per shot to do it.

Behind the Scenes with Brandon Flint#3- Depending on who the director for the video is, can make your job easier or more difficult. I’ve worked with directors who tried really hard to get me the time I needed to get my shots and others where I’ve felt like I’ve have to fight for every shot, which is hard.  When that happens you still have to get the shots you need, but be respectful and good to work with, even if the director is making it difficult. Try to be flexible and not get irritated, even if things aren’t going exactly how you want. In order to keep everything going smoothly on set you just have to kind-of go with the flow on these types of shoots. I’ve learned getting frustrated doesn’t help at all. You just have to get in there, do the best you can and make things happen. Even if its not the best time of day, you don’t have the time you want, the talent are already tired, etc….

#4- There is going to be a lot of down time for you. Make yourself and your team useful and get shots where you can. Have lighting preset as much as possible. I’ve always tried to get shots in between takes or if they aren’t shooting audio at the same time they are shooting. This just gives the client more options since most of the time they aren’t exactly sure what they want or how they want to use the stills. I’ve found using a telephoto lens and just getting back and out of the way is a great way to pick up extra shots and keep everyone happy.

#5- Lastly, try and piggyback off the video lighting as much as possible. This will save you time and keep a consistent look for the client.  As much as you can, talk to the director and key grip to see when you can use the existing video lighting to shoot with. Most of them time this will work unless video is moving to a new location. In my experience, using what is there already and adding a single strobe with an umbrella or something quick can get great results quickly. I’ve found allowing video to shoot first, then me second, keeps everything on schedule. There are times when you can shoot while video is setting up, just be aware of what will work and won’t work for each set up.

Behind the scenes with Brandon FlintHope that helps and here a just a few side notes. I’ve had to put myself in the shoes of the director and try to be more understanding. Most of the time the production company doesn’t even know that I’m going to be on set shooting until sometimes a few days beforehand. They have planned the shoot out to make sure they can get what they need and then I show up and tell them I need to get shots also, which can make their jobs more difficult. Be mindful of their needs and in most cases they will do the same in return. Keep in contact with the producer. They can let you know what is coming up and what to expect. Work hard and shoot as much as you can and as quickly as you can and the client and the agency will be happy and want to use you again. When done right, shooting stills and video can be a fun, collaborative effort!

Enjoy and, as always, thanks for checking it out!

 

 

Nikon D810 Hands on Test.

In this post we are going to dive into some of the new features of the latest Nikon DSLR the Nikon D810 that I just picked up. Before we do that however I just want to mention a couple things. July was a crazy month. I had a couple of bigger advertising and commercial jobs come through that took a lot of pre production with castings and scouting etc. Everything went well though, clients were happy.  Still working on finals for them once the run and use them I will post. The other thing is in a couple of weeks I’m heading to ICELAND!!! So stoked! Heading there for 10 days to shoot with a small group of guys and get a few shots for a few clients and explore the amazing landscapes. Definitely a dream to be able to go.

Getting back to things, a couple of weeks ago the latest Nikon DSLR the D810 was released which I was lucky enough to get the day they shipped. (Thanks to Pictureline!) It was announced about a month ago and I was pretty eager to get my hands on one ever since. It is an update to the popular D800. I currently shoot with a Nikon D4 which has been an amazing camera. The D4 is Nikon’s flagship Pro Body designed for sport photographers and photojournalists. The D810 is designed for landscape and portrait photographers that want lots of detail thanks to its 36mp sensor. Since I shoot sports, lifestyle, portraits and landscapes having both bodies is really the best of both worlds.

After I picked up the new camera I decided to test it out in Teton National Park on a backpacking trip I was doing with my Dad. Rugged mountains, wildlife, crazy weather, and tons of activities going on there all the time it’s a great place to shoot. I was excited to try out some of the new time lapse features, see how the improved sensor worked and one of the coolest new things about the this camera the ability to shoot 1080 HD resolution video at 60 fps.

Here are a few of images that I liked from the trip. We ended up having to come out a day early so I didn’t get as much time as I wanted to up there but we got a few nice shots and cool time lapse out of it.

Death Canyon in Teton National ParkThe above photo I shot on my Dads birthday which happened during the trip. He is a champ. Not many Dads want to spend their 58th birthday on a 14 mile backpacking trip but he did and I was glad!

Teton National Park on a Sunny DaySo zoomed out all the way your like it looks good but what is really amazing is this that the images are 24″x16″ and at 100% the image below is what you get. So crazy! It is going to make amazing prints and for for clients it will be great to retain detail in large format presentations.

Tetons_100
Below is a night shot taken in the middle of the night when the stars were bright.

BKF_0223Overall I like the smaller body when you are out hiking or backpacking like we were on this trip. I did miss the backlit buttons of the D4 when shooting at night but other than that it worked great. The images seemed sharper than the previous D800. The new time lapse features are really great for getting nice smooth time lapse videos, thanks to the new exposure smoothing feature. I didn’t get a chance to test the new video capabilities on this trip but will definitely get the opportunity in Iceland later this month. All in all I was really impressed with the camera and look forward to getting out and using it for clients and for my own personal use. Well done Nikon.