I recently upgraded my camera package from my Panasonic GH5 to a new Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K. I went on a hike with my good friend Steve recently to test it out. I shot these stills in 4.6K 2.4:1 Mode in RAW 4:1. I was really happy with the flexibility the files had in post, pulling back highlights and boosting shadow levels. So far I've been really impressed with this camera. The only thing I have noticed is that it needs a lot of light, and doesn't work well past 800 ISO. I've only had it for a couple days so far, I'm really looking to crafting some fun visuals with this camera in 2018.
This month Panasonic released a firmware upgrade for their GH5 series cameras, which added a bunch of new features to the camera. One of the highlights of the upgrade for me was the 6K 200mbps LongGOP anamorphic mode added to the camera. I've wanted to shoot some anamorphic stuff with this camera for a while, but haven't owned the right lens setup to do it. After seeing some great footage online from it, I decided to get myself a lens and try it out.
I settled on the Sankor 16F - Nikkor 50mm f/2 combination after watching some great footage from Tim Moichido. I also saw recommendations for anamorphic clamps via Redstan.com and decided to purchase one from them, which was a great idea. I highly recommend them for their quality clamps and customer service.
I got lucky and found some really clean glass on Ebay, purchasing the Sankor 16F and Nikkor 50mm lenses. After I got them I put them together with the Redstan clamp and attached it to the GH5 via 0.71x Metabones Speedbooster. Here's what the setup looked like:
I did some tests around the house and then took the combo out for a short hike around Prettyboy Reservoir northeast of Baltimore, MD.
Overall I'm quite happy with how the setup works. The 6K anamorphic has some intense flaring and vignetting, but with the resolution it provides it can be scaled nicely to a 4K 2.39:1 timeline. I used a program called EditReady to convert the 6K HEVC files from the GH5, rendering them to Pro Res HQ, and then put together this little edit below in Premiere. Hopefully if someone is reading this and is interested in a similar setup for their GH5, this post has been somewhat helpful workflow wise. :) . Enjoy!
I spent my 4th of July this year close to home, visiting a local carnival in the evening to walk around and watch the midnight fireworks. I brought my GH5 to test out the look of the carnival lights in a low-light setting to prep for a short I'm currently writing for later this summer. I wanted to see how the sensor held up in darker conditions, and I was pretty happy with the end result.
While playing around I decided to shoot a little video combining the lights of the carnival rides with the lights of the fireworks, merging them both in a collection of out of focus textural elements. Here's the short video I shot...
I recently had the pleasure of working with PhotoSquared, an online photo printing startup in Baltimore, MD. I directed, shot, and edited a series of advertisements for them, for social media distribution and for their in-app platform. It was a fun shoot, and I was lucky enough to take home a few PhotoSquares to hang up at home....check them out at their website.
I recently went down to D.C. with my friend and photographer Andrew Mangum. We traveled down to D.C. in 2011 to do a day of casual street photography, and six years later we decided it was time to go and do it again.
We took the MARC train down to Union Station and walked from there all across the mall and downtown. Andrew shot a lot of great photos, and I made a little video. You can check out more of his work at his website.
Made a short little video of Fort Carroll, an old abandoned island a little south of Baltimore in the Chesapeake Bay. Shot on the DJI Phantom 4 Pro.
There are moments in everyone's life, where a choice is made that brings to them into a new era of change. For me, that moment was in August 2011 when I took a freelance job with John Sherman, Beau Kershaw, and Dan Gerlach at Storyfarm. They were a small company of four at the time, and I was a young dude, still figuring out who I was, and what I wanted to do with my life.
I remember immediately feeling at home and welcomed when I walked in the door at their small office in the Canton Can Company. After starting full time with them in November 2011, change was always on the horizon. New offices and people came and went, new clients and cameras passed through, but that feeling of home never changed. Co-workers quickly became close friends, and close friends soon became family.
It's hard to really write out how I'm feeling, but what I will say, is that I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity these last five and a half years. I can't imagine who I'd be today without the beautiful, hilarious, bizarre and exciting experiences I've had alongside such inspiring and talented friends. I've learned so much, grown in so many ways, met a ton of interesting people across the city and the country, and truly discovered a side to the world and myself I wouldn't have known otherwise...
Today was another moment like August 2011, as it was my final day working full-time at Storyfarm. It also marks the beginning of the next era in my life, one in which I look forward to starting many new friendships, growing and learning more, and creating a lot of new exciting content. I can only hope the next five years will be as enriching and inspirational as these past five have been for me.
To those I've worked with at Storyfarm, in the past and present, thank you for the wild ride. I love you all, and I'm sure I'll see you all around again soon.
Spent a day in Gettysburg a couple weeks ago testing out my new GH5 with my girlfriend Heather and our friend Annie. I shot this little video with the Sigma 18-35mm Lens with Metabones adapter, testing out IBIS and other features of the new camera body.
I think the quality turned out nicely, still dealing with a couple hiccups in 10 Bit with Adobe Premiere, but hoping by later this summer they will have that resolved. Enjoy!
I recently took a trip out west for work, and had a few hours the evening before coming back to spend in San Francisco with my friend Louis.
I recently got a GH5 and this was a good evening to test it out. This video is shot entirely with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. Check it out!
Song : Future Islands - Ran
In September of 2016 I took a solo camping trip to the Canadian Rockies. I explored Banff and Jasper National Parks, and then drove back through Glacier National Park in the U.S..
It was one of the coolest places I've ever been. Mountains everywhere, beautiful lakes and trees. It was definitely my kind of place. Unfortunately out of the 5 nights camping, only one night I was able to start a campfire, because it rained the majority of the time. But even the rain couldn't subdue the beauty of what was out there.
I brought some cameras with me and shot a collection of photos and time lapses. Here's a video showing a snapshot of my trip. Enjoy!
I have been looking to get a drone for quite a while now. Looking at the different options out there, I decided to purchase the DJI Phantom 4 Pro. I got it a week back and wanted to test it out, so I decided to take it to one of the most scenic places I knew close to me, the Susquehanna River Valley.
I spent two days flying the drone, getting used to the controls and having fun with the various locales along the river. I created this short piece with the footage I shot.
I would highly recommend this drone to anyone. It's extremely user friendly, powerful both in it's operational distance and flight time, and just extremely fun to fly around. I am looking forward to using it a lot more this year.
I spent a week traveling through the National Parks in Utah and Arizona last spring. I shot a lot of fun footage and time lapses, but during the trip I decided I wanted to make a more personal video with the then newly released Theta S 360° camera.
360° cameras are quickly becoming a more popular storytelling tool, especially with VR becoming more mainstream, so I decided to play around with the format and make a small montage video of moments along my trip.
Here's the video, enjoy!
This weekend I went up to Philadelphia with some close friends of mine. A couple of them are moving away to Seattle next month, so this was possibly our last chance to all get together and hang out for a while.
I brought along a couple cameras to capture some moments while we visited the Fairmount Water Works. I'm happy with how this little video turned out, because I feel it captures the emotions I felt when I was with everyone. One of those days that's hard to put into words, but you know it was a good one.
Last year I purchased a Panasonic GH4 to take on my summer road trip, along with the Sigma 18-35mm art lens, a metabones speed booster, and a couple other accessories. I would say for the price point I think it's a great little camera to have with you if you like shooting video from time to time...I had a couple video ideas that I wanted to shoot with it over the course of the year and so far I've enjoyed the results of what it can do...
First, I wanted to build a rig that shot video through the ground glass of my film camera's viewfinder. I built an L shaped wooden rig that held the GH4 vertical, pointing down into the viewfinder of my Mamiya C330. Building it was easier than I expected, the majority of the time I spent making a cardboard flag to attach to the lens to avoid reflections and flares.
I tested the rig in the woods one weekend with my girlfriend Heather. She's thankfully patient with me when it comes to trying out new camera equipment. :)
I'm hoping to use this rig again, perhaps for some kind of time lapse project in 2016.
Panasonic in late 2015 came out with a V-LOG firmware update to enhance the camera's sensor to increase the dynamic range for grading in post. I went out to Rocks State Park in Maryland to test out the new firmware on the autumn colors. I'm glad that I got the update, I am really happy with how the footage turned out. I can't attest to how much different it would be had I not gotten the update, but I felt the $99 was worth it for making the camera the best it could be.
I also got a chance in this video to test out my Dynamic Perception Stage R tilt/pan head, shooting video instead of just time lapses. I think it works well, although it's quite heavy to lug around hiking...
I also took it to a little beach near my house and shot a sunset, to see how the new firmware looked when confronted with highlights and shadows.
Another thing that I wanted to add to my setup this year was a stabilizer of some sort. I didn't have the budget for anything expensive, I just wanted a simple cheap option as an alternative to handheld. Initially I bought a Glidecam HD2000, but I didn't like the quality of how it felt. Although, I thought it still did the job well. Here's the test video I made with that...
I ended up returning the Glidecam and looked into something a little cheaper but well reviewed. What I found was the Laing P-04s. It's a pretty simple knock-off product of a Steadicam and other stabilizers, but I think it's actually built a lot nicer than the Glidecam. It has a carbon fiber pedestal, a nice dense metal cheese plate quick release, smooth gimbal, and an easy to use counter-weight system. It was only around $279, and I'm really happy that I got it. The only drawback I would say is that it's a weight on your wrist after a while, but they sell a vest and arm that can go with it for about $400 more on eBay. Also, it has a bit of an issue with pendulum swings, but that may have been user error too since it was my first time using it.
Here's a video I made to test it out...
Overall I really love the GH4. I love the built in 4K, the slow motion capabilities (though I only shoot up to 100mbps/48fps usually, I've noticed the video starts to look a low lower quality when the bitrate is stretched past that), I love the size and feel of the camera, and I've always been a big fan of Panasonic's cameras because they are workhorses. For the price I couldn't be happier with the camera.
I'm looking forward to using it a lot more in 2016...(and very curious what the GH5 will look like when that's announced.)
In the summer of 2015 I took a road trip across the United States with my dad. We spent 11 days on the road, traveling east to west from Baltimore to Yosemite and many places in between. I experienced a lot of new places, saw a beautiful cross section of the country, and I got to spend some time with my dad which was something I'd been wanting to do. The last time I drove across country with him was in 1995. It was nice to be back on the road again...
We had a rough outline of where we wanted to go, and the goal was to see new things and take pictures. We both had a few cameras each. I shot mainly on film, I think I ended up shooting about 45 rolls of film by the end of the trip. I'm really happy with how they came out, though it's taken about six months to scan and edit all of them.
We started out going southwest from Baltimore, MD to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.
On the way we came across a decaying town named Cairo, IL. About 90% of the town was abandoned or boarded up...
We arrived in Kentucky and took the walking tour through Mammoth Cave. A beautiful place with a ton of passageways and guided tours, it was a great first stop.
We left Kentucky and drove to Springfield, MO, linking up with Old Route 66, to start our next leg of the journey. We stayed in the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Motel, themed with classic cars and vintage signs.
We spent the next day traveling down Route 66, through Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, and into Texas.
We stayed in Amarillo, TX, and then continued down Route 66 until branching off towards Taos, NM. We first saw Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, and then came across a ghost town called Glenrio, right on the Texas/New Mexico border...
The rest of Route 66 was a bunch of old buildings and souvenir stores, old motels and rundown shacks. It was cool to think what it may have been like back in the 1930s-1950s, but now it's not much more than old roads next to newly built highways.
We stopped at the Hotel La Fonda de Taos for the night, in Taos, NM.
The next day we had a few things we wanted to see around Taos. First, a couple gravesites...
Then we went north to Taos Pueblo, a Native American reservation that's kept in similar condition to how it originally was hundreds of years ago. There were a lot of cute dogs running around, friendly people, and very interesting mud structures.
We left Taos and headed towards Moab, UT. We saw the Rio Grande Gorge on our way out, and a pack of Bighorn Sheep crossing the viewpoint parking lot. I was able to snap a photo or two and then capture them grazing in the distance...
We stopped on the way through Colorado at Mesa Verde National Park, and saw the old Anasazi structures built into the canyon walls. A beautiful tour, I did it when I was 9 years old and still remember it to this day. This time we just took some pictures and continued on.
We ended our night in Moab, UT, ready to take on Arches National Park the next day.
We hit Arches National Park for the whole day, hiking a few smaller trails and taking in what we could. The park is massive, I would need a week there at least to fully take it all in...
After Arches we headed towards my favorite place on the entire road trip, Bryce Canyon National Park...I hiked into one of the canyons many trails and took some pictures. It was wild...
After Bryce we drove through Zion National Park...which is one of the most beautiful places in the country in my opinion...the smooth carved rock, the trees growing out of stone, it's really unlike any other place I've ever seen.
We spent the night in St. George, and then headed west across Nevada. It was basically barren desert between Vegas and the eastern side of Yosemite National Park.
The direction we drove in passed Mono Basin National Scenic Area, which basically was like an oasis after driving through Nevada. We found a neat place called the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Preserve, which was a bunch of strange limestone precipices bordering the edge of the lake...
We spent the night camping in June Lake, CA. It was my first time in June Lake, but it reminded me of the quaint little lake town that you always see in 1980s movies. A bunch of campers, cabins, boats and swimmers in a nice lake beside the mountains. Really cool place, I'd love to go back and spend more time there...
After we left June Lake, CA, we headed into Yosemite National Park. It's one of my favorite national parks, there's so much I love about it; the scale of the valley walls, the vistas, the rivers, waterfalls, forests and wildlife. We entered through the north east Tioga Rd entrance and looped around the valley, up to Glacier Point, and then down to Mariposa Grove.
In Mariposa Grove there are a collection of massive Sequoia trees that loom over walkways through the park.
We left Yosemite and headed north up to Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA.
Once we were in Lassen Volcanic National Park, my dad and I decided to climb Lassen Peak, something he wanted to do since we had started the trip. It's a 3 mile hike up to the top, and the rise in elevation is no joke, so we took our time. I think round trip it took us about 5 hours, but we made it. It felt great to accomplish together, and when we got to the top we were the only ones up there, and we also got to hike back down as the sun set over the mountains. It was one of my favorite moments of the entire trip. It also marked the middle of the vacation, and the point when we started to head back home.
After Lassen we picked up the pace of the trip, starting with driving to Craters of the Moon in Idaho.
After Craters we drove into Grand Teton National Park, WY, and then crossed through Yellowstone. Leaving Idaho Falls was our last night before we slept in our own beds...
We drove across Wyoming, and entered into Bighorn National Forest, a place I haven't heard of before. We drove through beautiful mountains and when we hit the east side, there was just a falloff, a vista about a thousand feet up overlooking flat plains. We took a couple more pictures, and then we decided to go full throttle the rest of the way home. We ended up sleeping in a rest area in South Dakota for a couple hours, then did another 26 hours straight until we made it back.
Overall the trip was awesome. I saw a lot of beautiful new places that I hadn't seen before, spent time with my dad, got to do some hiking, and shot a lot of photos. Couldn't ask for more than that.