Not all shoots go as planned, but always memorable - 2017 IFBB Arctic Pro / NPC Arctic Muscle Fest

I had the privilege of attending the 2017 IFBB Arctic Pro / NPC Arctic Muscle Fest competition in Anchorage, Alaska a couple weeks ago. My Daughter-in-Law competed in and won overall in the Figure Class, we were all so proud! As for myself, after spending the past 7 months working with a trainer and nutritionist, she was truly inspirational! From Alaska, I had to follow-on to Greece for a 3 week hitch at work, where I will be until July 20th.

Photo wise, I had a great seat at the competition and was able to sit in a location and vantage point to the stage where my 200 F/2 filled the frame when the competitors were on stage, so I was thrilled with most of the images I was able to capture from there.

I also really wanted to take full advantage of catching Janee at the peak of her training, hard work and prep, so we decided to do a post competition photo shoot. I scouted out a great location for a true Alaskan themed shoot, Matanuska Glacier... After hiking around for a few hours on Friday, I found a great location near the ice falls, which if you hiked directly to, took about 35-40 minutes. OK.. all set... 

Following her competition on Saturday we headed out to Matanuska Glacier late Sunday morning. Fortunately, Sunday turned out to be one of the nicest weather days in a while with the temperature around 70*. 
After arriving at the glacier, we set out with 3 large backpacks full of studio lights and camera gear for the .86 mile, 40 minute hike. Almost there..
We were about 100 feet from arriving at the ice falls when my model stepped into what she thought was a small puddle.. not so.. up to her neck into the freezing cold glacier water she went.. I can still picture the look on her face.. I know, not funny then, but hilarious now! She was wet from head to toe!!
Even though the air temperature was around 70*, the surrounding ice made everything much cooler and the breeze didn't help any either. Now at this point, what any loving father-in-law should do is turn around and head back out.. but hey, there were still photos to capture.. Honestly, she insisted she was ok for a little while.. So after handing over my jacket and a quick change of shoes, I worked as fast as I could to get the light stands and strobes set up.. It wasn't long though before she started feeling the effects of the cold, so I think we spent maybe 15-20 minutes shooting. Then as quickly as possible, we got everything packed back up and began the trek out. On the return trip, only wearing tennis shoes and having to take each step much more carefully, we made it out without any further excitement.

What a trooper!! Long story short, even though I never really got the lights firing right where they should be, I got some really good images and finally starting to edit.

Thank you Janee! First of all being an inspiration, you were amazing! But also for being a real trooper through the adversity of a cold swim and going on with the shoot! I'll do my best to do your photos justice! 

Much love!   


Gearing up for Great Whites!

I'm finally getting down to the business of outfitting, (purchasing in some cases) my camera and housing equipment for my first underwater big animal project, diving with Great White Sharks at Mexico's Guadalupe Island. Guadalupe Island is probably the best place in the world to film Great Whites due to the extremely good water visibility and abundance of Great Whites that visit the island. One of the main reasons I decided to schedule in October was because late Sept, Oct, & Nov is also when the gigantic females show up to the island. If you happened to have see the footage of the 20' female White Shark swimming past the cages in 2013, that was shot at Guadalupe Island. There are a couple dive operators that go out to Guadalupe, but based on their outstanding reputation, I decided on Nautilus Explorer Liveaborads. Of their three different ships, I've scheduled on their newest ship in the fleet, Nautilus Belle Amie. This particular trip also offered an unusual extra day of diving, so even better!!  

So camera equipment... Because I can't seem to do anything in the "good enough" category, I've chosen to go with Canon's flagship professional series camera, the EOS-1D X Mark II.  To me, 1XD MII was really the only choice due to it's superior low light & high ISO performance, fast focusing capabilities in near total darkness, and oh yea, it shoots stills at a machine gun rate of 14-16 frames per second!  The 1DX Mark II also shoots gorgeous 4K video up to 60fps! So yea, I'm pretty excited about this camera body!! 

Note: The 1DX Mark II was used at the 2016 Rio Olympics as a "robot controlled" camera that captured those incredible underwater images in the pool, check them out here.  

I'll also have the 1DX II matched up with what many consider to be the finest in underwater housings, Nauticam NA-1DXII

My lens selection for this trip will be the wide angle Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM and super wide angle Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens.  I will of course have a longer lens along for topside photos.  Mounted to the housing will be Zen Underwater's DP-230 230mm Fisheye Dome Port

Strobes??  I haven't completely decided yet, but since the water visibility is so clear, generally 125' to 150', and the cages are relatively shallow, at a depth of 30' and at the surface, I don't know whether I'll even be taking strobes.  I'll more than likely opt to shoot everything with ambient light.. 

I'm hopeful this combination will enable me to produce some truly professional quality images! The rest will be up to the sharks and of course my ability to get the job done!!
And for you Nikon fans, yes, they have an amazing top line of cameras which are more than capable as well. I find talking Canon vs Nikon is worse than politics! haha!

Following Guadalupe Island, I have several other really great projects on the radar including Tiger Sharks in Grand Bahama's and Whales in Tonga. 

I'm also extremely pumped because this adds the capability for me to now shoot swimming & water sports as well. Being able to shoot swimming from underwater opens up an abundance of creative possibilities and I can't wait to get this new project underway soon!!   

Thanks & stay tuned!! 


~ Die with memories, not dreams...





Zen Underwater 9" Glass Fisheye Dome Port...

Amazing shoot at Valley of Fire State Park this past weekend..

Behind the scenes photo of our "Valley of Fire" shoot.. 

What a crazy amazing place for photos.. There are literally too many great locations there to shoot! Everything from the deep dark red rocks, to white domes and everything in-between. 

This image was taken by Eric Darensburg, father of the young model I was there to shoot. Eric has been a Photo Journalist and Sports Photographer for many, many years. Thank you for capturing these great images for us!!


Vegas-Valley of Fire Shoot

Off to Vegas this weekend for a Portrait Shoot on Monday at the Valley of Fire.. Really looking forward to this and can't wait to see the results!!

I remember flying all the equipment in for the Star Trek movie scene where Captain Kirk was killed several years ago.. Twice actually, because they went back and reshot it again at a later date..



Now Shooting with the new 5DSR

I have started shooting with Canon's newest 50mp 5DSR and so far love it! As a matter of fact, the 5D MIII is starting to feel a little left out. 
As I get a few more sessions accomplished with this camera, I'll share more, but so far, I'm loving it!!

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