Art from an iconic brand – Ferrari

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In the world of professional photography, the success of the final image is often about style, and what is more stylish than the legendary (and iconic) Italian brand, Ferrari. I love cars, have a studio designed to shoot cars and, finally, a willing and beautiful subject in the 2015 Ferrari 458 Spyder – white with a stunning red leather interior.

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In my photographic world, after having worked for over 44 years, one thing has remained constant – you are only only as good as your latest images. And this is a story about the process of conceiving and creating a set of photographs (and final conceptual graphics using them) that might have an impact on a specialty clientele to whom I want to provide my services.

To those who ask me what it is like to make ones living shooting pictures commercially, I reveal that, for me, the most important aspect of the job is the subject matter and how it is to be staged and presented. Once that is established, my craft and lighting skills and then my gear (cameras, lights, grip, etc…) are to be considered.

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FYI, I shot these images using a Lumix G9 in high resolution mode with an Olympus Pro 17mm f1.2 lens mounted to it. The lights are two ARRI L7C’s (providing the gel colors), a Litepanels SOLA 6+ (projected through a pattern onto the background), two SOLA 4+ lighting the wheels/tires and a number of scattered Aputure AL-H198C’s (at 3200K for warmth). I also have a Chimera 10ft x 30ft light box that is populated with LEDs to light from the top when needed (positionable with ropes as it is suspended from the ceiling using a pulley system). Note that the Chimera can also be very helpful when turned off, acting as a broad reflector.

Since I already have a good idea of how my studio can be used to create an environment to stage a car like the Spyder, when the car arrived, I spent my time studying the lines/shape of the car and the best vantage points to capture and enhance these attributes. In this case I had no specific application for the images (just fodder for the portfolio) but my subconscious is always at play as I shoot, so my general shot list grew a bit as I learned more about the graphical nature of this beautiful car. Also, I have a passion for prints and posters in general, so my graphic designer hat is always on and working in the back of my mind. As a result, concepts began to emerge….

Below are the two posters (digital versions) that I created from this afternoon of shooting. In real life, they are 24in T x 36in W and 36in W x 53in T – to be printed on a Canon Pro 4000 11 color printer.

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To emphasize points that come up in most forums, – is it the gear, the craft, the idea or just dumb luck? While it is sometimes all of the above, it is first and foremost about the idea and how well it is staged and executed (and craft and gear help facilitate the staging/execution). But there is another important component that generally is completely overlooked and one that I often struggle with myself – ingenuity and imagination. Training your eye to truly help translate your imagination (using your craft skills) into an effective finished photograph is not a trick, but rather is built on experience and experimentation. The ingenuity part is how quickly you can visually problem solve when an obstacle arises to challenge (and possibly negate) your vision. Imagination is not easily acquired (it seems innate to me) but ingenuity can be improved and even learned (in my opinion).

Thanks for taking the time to look. Please don’t hesitate to leave a message. If you have questions, I will try to answer them. All images and content ©2019 by Bill Deuster. All rights reserved. (Note: the posters are not for sale, but rather created to demonstrate style and capability and for my own personal use inside my studio.)

Why is M43 “Ready to Rumble”?

As a professional image-maker, I want to say that my objective is to deliver images to my clients that satisfy their needs and help to communicate the message that they want delivered. It may not be common knowledge, but client-guided, copy/headline writers more often than not drive what visuals will be created. Based on this, a lot of pre-planning (creative, stylistic and production) is done to capture the image(s) as quickly and competently as possible. While changes can and do occur on set, the objective is to deliver an image(s) that matches or exceeds a client’s imagination and expectation.

I also want to convey that I am not a gearhead, but a guy who uses gear professionally to create visual images. I have been a commercial shooter for over 44 years and shoot in manual focus more than 70% of the time. I want my gear to get out of my way so I can concentrate on the job at hand. If I am interrupted by my gear, I am distracted from the final image. I like seamless operation and stuff that just works. And though I like improvements in image quality as much as the next guy or gal, the quality of the pixels has been so good for so long, that discussions about “A” being better than “B” is time better spent improving creativity, craft and/or technique (all three, perhaps?).

With the above sentiments in mind, why is M43 “Ready to Rumble”? Simply stated, because it helps to facilitate (in a highly compact and light-weight form) image creation that satisfies the most demanding profession requirements….

Now to address the images I posted last week –

It might seem counter-intuitive, but the in studio set up was shot in high resolution capture on the Lumix G9 (using the Olympus 17mm f1.2 @5.6-7.1) and the outdoor shots were shot using the comparatively heavy Canon 5Ds and the Canon L135 f2 (@4.5-5.6). I have found over the last 10 months or so that the Lumix high resolution capture is equal to or higher quality than the Canon 5Ds in many situations. I think this is influenced by the fact that M43 auto focus lenses are corrected optically so there is no manual “clean up” on RAW import – also, the native lenses are very good, especially the Olympus Pro primes. As the 5Ds is what one might call a bit “grainy” because of the ultra small photo-sites – the G9 high res capture tends to deliver slightly less noise and equal to or better color than the 5Ds when compared at the same settings. Note, as well, that the Lumix file is 80MB and the Canon one is 50MB.

This first BTS photo is just for setting the scene, so to speak – shot on the G9 at 1/30 sec, f2.8 and ISO1250. (At this point in time, the stills in the studio are done and we are ready to record some video of the Polaris RZR UTV.)RZT_BTS_1045023Below is another image (a final client select) that I will use to examine the final results. It was shot on the Lumix G9 using an Olympus 17mm f1.2 Pro lens at f6.3 (1/6 sec; ISO400).POLARIS_RZR1000_Portrait_FL_1034967_WEBWhat follows are several 100% crops from the 80MB file (10368px w x 7072px h) using a 1000px w x 800px selection parameter to isolate the images displayed.Crop_ONECrop_THREECrop_TWOCrop_FOURYou may notice in a couple of the images that there appears to be some smudging of detail and some noise based banding, quite possibly a result of noise reduction or some other digital artifacting that occurred on capture or import. Based on over 20 years of experience, none of this will show up in any form of actual reproduction – especially since most of the images will be down-sampled by as much as 3 times (though final large format prints in the 5 foot range and up might require a bit of touch up to mask the problems. I know things like this cause much consternation online – discussions I generally don’t understand because it can and sometimes (often) does occur with every digital camera made.

 
Next is the Canon image from outdoors (50MB) and its 100% crop. Note that the ISO is 400, but the shutter speed is 1/500 at f4. Yes the noise is slightly less than the G9 in studio (where the lighting conditions are far more challenging), but the file is also substantially smaller.POLARIS_OUTSIDE_DRIVER_3-4_SIDE_VIEW__J7A0374_FPOOutdoors_100p_CropNow, please understand that I could have shot the studio shots on the Canon, but after testing, it did not perform as well as the Lumix G9 in those lighting conditions. I went with the tool I determined to be the best for the job. And outdoors (single capture) the Canon filled that requirement (remember, the G9 is only 20MB in single capture mode).

 

In conclusion – “Is M43 ready to rumble?” The answer is yes. While the format may have been started to attract consumers, it matured to a level where challenging professional work can be handled with seamless ease. Is M43 the perfect tool? No, but it is sometimes.

As there are no perfect tools, in general, but rather a range of tools available that can satisfy a wide range of shooting applications performed by an even more diverse group of individuals who think and see differently, M43 has capabilities not duplicated in other equipment offerings. Pick the tool that is right for you and don’t let internet chatter send you down the endless path of technical one-upmanship and false-equivalency.

 

Observations, questions and comments are most welcome!

All images ©2019 by Bill Deuster. All rights reserved.

Is M43 dead or ready to rumble?

Full frame sensor or a little M43 sensor – that seems to be a pressing question and I want to offer my own not so humble take on this subject. FYI, I have not learned to speak Sony yet, so please accept my apologies for not keeping up to date on technology. 🙂

 
As a Canon shooter for a very long time – early 1990’s on film – (and coming from a view camera background), I first stumbled on Lumix about 9 years ago when the Canon 7D I had purchased simply could not deliver the quality of video I needed to offer the clients I had at the time. I quickly purchased a GH2, liked what it offered and have never looked back. Besides several lenses (mostly Canon TSE upgrades) I only supplemented my iDsIII and 5DII and III with a 5DS, but have purchased and used every iteration of the GH series up until now (GH5 and GH5S – two each). To my surprise, I even fell in love with the G9 and have since purchased two. I cannot wait until I can reasonably justify the purchase of the Lumix 10-25 f1.7 as it looks like a terrific lens for both still and motion imagery.

 
But the reason for this post is to toss my silly opinion into the ring that M43 is dead. That M43 has no future. That only discontents and social misfits use M43 (well, not really).

 
I want to offer my perspective as a product shooter with many years of studio experience (still and motion capture) – as to the comparative qualities I have realized from using both systems side by side for over a year. FYI, (shameless plug) – much of my work may be seen on the homepage of my website, billdeuster.com – just let the slideshow run. Note that the video on my site is entirely shot on GH cameras while the still images in the slideshow are a mix of Canon and Lumix cameras and a broad range of various lenses.

 

First, I want to offer (below) a specific set of images that I have just completed for a client. The images below were shot with two different cameras – one Canon and the other a Lumix. Take a look and see if you can tell which is which (please don’t cheat and look at the exif data). Also note that the studio shots were shot with high end LED fixtures (ARRI LC7 and LC5 fresnels, Hive C100 and Litepanels Sola 4+ and Sola 6C), because I also had to capture UHD video from the same set. In the old days I would have shot only stills and used my extensive Elinchrom flash system to light the subject – not so much any more….POLARIS_RZR1000_NIGHT_FL_1034960_FPOPOLARIS_RZR1000_FRONT_SO_DARK_1035052_FPOPOLARIS_OUTSIDE_DRIVER_3-4_SIDE_VIEW__J7A0374_FPOPOLARIS_RZR1000_REAR_CLOSE_UP_1034997_FPOPOLARIS_OUTSIDE_SIDE_VIEW_J7A0368_FPO

You may be surprised by the results that I will announce in a week or so, and I will go into more of the set-up and shooting details in a future posting (in a about a week). May even add a link to some of the video, if there is any interest.

 
I will leave you with this – in my studio, the demise of M43 is not anticipated and I have no intention of letting my Canon go either. Both systems are invaluable to my image creation and light years ahead of the equipment I used even as far back as the late 1990’s when I shot on Kodak DCS 520’s and 560’s.

 
Stay tuned – and feel free to comment to begin a discussion – thanks for looking!

 

Edit – brain fart! – changed “large format” sensor to “full frame” sensor_09/24/2019

Replaced original images with watermarked images – 09/27/2019

 

All images ©2019 by Bill Deuster. All rights reserved.

Artomatic

I am a denizen of the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area. Though I live in MD, I have the priviledge of participating in an event called Artomatic – organized and produced by Artomatic.org.

Anyway, the 2017 even starts this coming Friday (March 24th) and is being held at 1800 Bell St in Arlington, VA (Floors 3-9). The area is also known as Crystal City and there is a Marriott right next door. There is a lot of free parking in the area that has easy underground access to 1800 Bell St.

What is Artomatic? It is an event that allows artists from the surrounding areas to showcase their work (I am showing large format ink jet prints) – whether 2D, photo-based imagery like my stuff or any other creative art including oil painting, water colors, sketches, sculpture, photography, music and some performance art. The last one I visited in December of 2016 was quite amazing and very much worth the effort to attend. The mix of art (and crafts) was staggering and the quality superb!!!

The artists have been setting up over the last couple of weeks and you will find my installation and some of the work I am showing in the photos that follow. If you are local, I hope to see you there. I am on the eighth floor.

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I am showing three different groupings of my work. The largest prints have been done very recently. They are fairly obvious in the pictures of the installation and are somewhat self explanatory. The four images of “Discarded Faces” (a family of about 40) have been done over the years starting in the mid nineties, with the last one of that series completed about 2008. Then there are two small prints of a series I call my “Geometric Abstracts”. These were done from about 2004 to 2010.

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Rotary Face

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Rusty Disk ManRustyDiskMan

Geometric FurnaceGeometricFurnace

Primal GeometryPrimal Geometry

Images are copyrighted by the artist:  Bill Deuster ©1998-2017. All rights reserved. All the images are available as archival ink jet prints produced on a 12 color, pigment-based Canon Image ProGraf 4000 printer. Inquiries and comments are welcome. Images may not be printed (you must purchase a print), but may be enjoyed for personal use only. Please tell your friends!!  🙂

Conscious Weavings

I have long pondered a curious dichotomy in nature -that organic compounds have a profound ability to organize, replicate and proliferate while inorganic ones get battered – and scattered – about by entropy and all the random forces of nature. Organic organisms, however, coexist resiliently within this chaotic, inorganic world, buffeted by many of the same forces. But the organisms themselves seem to have deeper origins that defy the laws of entropy, even if only for the syncopated rhythms of their short lifespans.

Ponder this –

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What do you see
In a tree,
Beak-crafted from loose findings
Woven into a protective vessel?

On first glance, you may see
A simple bird’s nest….
But I see deliberate strands
Of Conscious Weavings.

I wonder if we are
Too familiar
And lazy in our
Daily Observations.

That we no longer
See beyond the familiar;
To recognize and acknowledge
A more complicated reality.

A fertile abundance
Of cues and hints
That demonstrate
A magical complex at work.

When we see this nest
We think of a bird.
When we see a person,
Many accept the accident of selective evolution.

When I see a person, however,
I infer ultra-complex sophistication –
A bio-mechanical machine, so complex and willful,
That none appreciate or understand it.

Pathways to whose origins
Have so far completely
Escaped our ability
To discern them.

If molecules naturally organize,
Why only into complex, living, functioning structures?
Why do we not see this same level of organization
Across the inanimate world as well?

Thanks for visiting! Your thoughts and observations are most welcome – please don’t be a stranger. May be enjoyed for personal use. ©2017 by Bill Deuster. All rights reserved.

IMAGINE

I cannot speak for others, but life has proven to me that it has a way of creating noise that can be quite overpowering – even stressful at times. I am not talking about the obvious events like lack of money, health issues, divorce and death. I am talking about simpler stuff that can wrap around our consciousness like a damp towel soaked in rotten eggs – stuff that can make us mentally nauseous – enough so that we want to flee the room screaming and pulling our hair out. And usually it is stuff that we could and can deal with if only we stepped back and took a deep breath.

When I wander wilderness landscapes I can easily let go of all the nuisance energy. When I meditate, I can do the same thing. The poem that follows is one way I examine and describe this experience.

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Imagine,
For a moment,
A world
Free
From its legacy patterns.

A world
Where
Thoughts are
Released
From prejudicial energy.

Consider
A Mind
Made from
Opposites
With
A desire for
Resolution….

Ponder
Feelings
Of Love,
And
Of Hate…

Of Respect,
And Disdain.

Of Attraction,
And Revulsion.

Of Experience
Contrasted with Imagination.

Close your eyes;
Blank your mind;
Calm your heart;
Relinquish your legacy prejudices…;
And experience a profound moment
Of Peace.

Rest quietly, for a period.

Open your eyes,
Carefully.
Consider
This Reflective
Peace;
The Neutrality,
That this calm space provides.

Introduce your mind
To you heart;
Breathe in
The delightful scent
Your heart emits.

Temper your mind
With your heart
And coax your heart
With your mind.

Close your eyes again.

Bring forth
Images of beauty
From your memory,
And from your Spirit….

Enjoy, revel in them.
Celebrate the Beauty!

 

Beauty is a very big word. It is a word that honors and describes an infinite range of sensory and spiritual experiences. For me, the word”beauty” is a modifier – a gift that is offered by a divine power beyond our ability to fully understand the experience. We cannot ever fully define this gift with words, but we have a sense in our hearts that it is the most appropriate compliment for the experience itself.

Thanks for taking the time to visit. Your thoughts and observations are most welcome!! May be enjoyed for personal use. ©2017 by Bill Deuster. All rights reserved.

Disassociated Distopia

Sometimes it seems as though all energy is disconnected and disruptive; that all thoughts and communication are disassociated as though haunted by a hidden consciousness bent on destruction. The poem below is my first attempt at wrestling with this state.

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It is a peculiar energy
That magnifies our importance
As reality shows no favorites.

It is sometimes
An argument between
Illumination and darkness.

But more often
An internecine quarrel among
Brothers and sisters.

A collective Hubris
Fogs what little passes
For objectivity.

Data collectively
Overwhelms some
As it seduces others.

Human failings create
An abstraction
That passes for genius.

Inflated self worth
Replaces patience
And all access to knowledge.

Disjointed streams of thought
Crash together
Or never meet.

Consensus and compromise
Create a false
Sense of calm and equilibrium.

Is it possible
An impasse
Is desirable?

I am tired troubled –
Words are quibbles
And ideas sift away.

 

Ripples reveal
Expanding patterns
Of evolving possibility

Light charges
Indiscriminately
Until its captor capitulates.

It is as though a truth
will be revealed
In spite of its prison.

Organic upheaval –
Testing and torturing
On a cosmic scale.

What observer will
See the patterns
And interpret them correctly?

What is knowledge
When few of us can
Tolerate dissent?

 

Your thoughts and observations are most welcome!! May be enjoyed for personal use. ©2017 by Bill Deuster. All rights reserved.