Monday, November 22, 2021

Another nice article in the Los Gatos Magazine - "Call of Africa"

You may remember an article that was written in the Los Gatos Magazine back in June of this year featuring my Olympic work. During that interview with the writer, we started talking about the other photography that I do and she asked if she could write two articles instead of one. She wanted to write one featuring my sports photography and another featuring images from my photo tours to Africa. I was not going to say no to that!

Maria did such a nice job on the first article that I was excited to see what she came up with for the next one. I got home the other day and saw a bunch of copies of the magazine in my mailbox. Once again, I think that she did a great job with the article. Here is her layout with the text below. 

I hope you enjoy the read.







Call of Africa

BY MARIA GRUSAUSKAS


A mere two minutes into our Zoom call, Jeff Cable shows me a video of an adolescent elephant in Botswana, giant ears billowing as it challenges his safari vehicle. The bull’s trumpets are as life affirming as they are loud.

It’s an already-interesting morning in late September, and Cable is exhilarated and still a bit jet lagged from his latest photo tour, teaching photography to a small group on safari in Tanzania, Kenya and Botswana.

“You never know what you’re going to see. It’s always different,” says Cable, back in his studio in Saratoga. “The wildlife is amazing, from the large cats to the smallest birds. That’s what makes Africa so different is the variety you’re seeing, the terrain, the light you’re seeing it in—all of those things combined are what makes it so amazing.”

For Cable, the highlight of this last trip was watching, from a gently rocking photography boat, a herd of 80 elephants cross the Chobe River, testing the water’s depth with their trunks. Though he’s been on 10 safaris now, that was a first.

While Cable teaches photo tours all over the world—from the rainforests of Costa Rica to the lively streets of Cuba, Japan during cherry blossom season, and, new for 2022, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia— it’s Africa that calls to him most vividly.

“It’s totally life changing. The people, the culture, the wildlife,” says Cable. “I tell all my friends, before you die, you have to go to Africa.”

To be clear, the envious life of a world traveling professional photographer takes hard work: within the last 48 hours, Cable has shot a wedding, a party, and corporate portraits in the Bay Area. His trip to Africa came just six days after he wrapped up shooting the Summer Olympics in Tokyo for Team USA. On photo tours, Cable shares the professional skills that got him where he is today while also getting a chance to slow down a little and shoot alongside his guests without the pressure of a deadline.

“I’m teaching the whole time,” says Cable. “It’s like any other safari except we’re looking for the best light and the best pictures.”

Throughout the day of shooting, which begins at sunrise, Cable gives camera setting suggestions as the light changes, and communicates in Swahili so that the drivers can help them capture, say, the light illuminating the tawny eyes of a mother lion and her cubs.

“In Africa, it’s easy to take 2,000 pictures a day,” Cable says. Rich orange sunsets, expressive acacia trees, and wildlife out of your wildest dreams—from Tanzania’s Great Migration of ungulates (large hooved creatures including giraffes, elephants, rhinos, wildebeest herds and zebras), to colorful birds you’ll never see elsewhere, crocodiles, and the largest species of cats in the world. “At certain points I’ll stop and say ‘show me your best five images.’ And we do a critique,” says Cable. “I’ll show them editing, work flow, and how to go through their images quickly—because if you’re shooting that many images a day it helps to go through them.”

Every animal has its challenges, he adds. But challenge is something Cable constantly seeks. Whether he’s shooting a chameleon eating a grub with its 200mph tongue, a high diver at the Olympics, or even a Bar Mitzvah, new perspectives and techniques are what keep his passion for photography alive.

Just as he challenges himself, Cable likes to give the group challenges, too. “As a photographer, the job is to tell a story,” says Cable. “Whether the Olympics or wildlife, you want to shoot it in a way that tells a story.” He’ll invite participants to slow things down and practice motion pans on a flying skimmer or a running zebra—a technique that can take hundreds of shots to get, but pays off in spades with its ability to capture movement. “Or sometimes it’s knowing when to get a tight shot rather than always going for the big picture,” says Cable. “Elephants have amazing eyelashes.”

A unique perk to Cable’s tours is that participants get to borrow the latest Canon cameras and lenses at no charge, thanks to his pretty sweet Canon sponsorship.

Wildlife highlights aside, what Cable loves most about photo tours is seeing people improve their photography skills over their time with him. On this last trip, he says, it was “The look on one woman’s face when she posted her photos on Facebook and her friends couldn’t believe they weren’t from National Geographic.”


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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Cuba, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours. 

__________________________________________________________________________  

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Photographing a wedding: Dealing with harsh light, but telling the story of the day

Last month I photographed the wedding for my nephew and his new wife. Shooting a wedding is always high pressure, but especially so when I am doing it for my own family. Even though I was photographing the wedding as my gift to them, I convinced them to hire my second shooter so that I could be a guest for a small part of the day. 

I can always trust Evan to do a great job, but even with our combined experience we ran into some difficult situations, and I thought I would share this with you all.


The advantage of having Evan there, was that he could cover the men while I photographed the women getting ready. This is one of Evan's photos showing a typical scene with the guys.


While Evan was up in the groomsmen's getting ready room, I was down with Stephanie and the other women as they got ready in the barn area. Instead of getting ready in the small bride's room, they chose to get ready in the large barn area. To avoid the harsh sunlight, I moved them outside for some photos on the shady side of the barn. 


Once Stephanie got her dress on and touched up her make-up, I had her sit down on the chair where they got ready. This area was still shaded but the bright light outside the open barn door created beautiful light on her.  I used the Canon R6 camera with the Canon RF70-200mm lens for almost all the photos that day. I then switched to the Canon RF24-105mm and Canon RF15-35mm lens for the reception.


I did not have to use any flash for these portraits and relied strictly on the directional light coming in through the barn doors.


And then I took them outside to the same shaded area again for their finished portraits before the wedding.



Another advantage of having Evan there to second shoot, was that I could actually be in some of the photos. This is a photo of me and my brother. I am the good looking one! :)


Right before the wedding started, I got all the guys outside their "getting ready room" and had them give me a thumbs-up. Once again, I had them in the shade to avoid the harsh light.

And then Evan and I walked over to the wedding ceremony location, and we both looked at each other like "Uh oh, this is not going to be good!" The sunlight was coming through the trees and blasting right into where the bride would be standing. We both walked over to that spot, looked up, and realized that this was not going to change any time soon. The wedding started and we had to improvise. 


When the parents and wedding party entered the ceremony, the light was behind them and it worked really well.


But as you can see here, the sunlight was only on part of the wedding party and DIRECTLY on the bride. Evan was shooting down the center and he gave me the shrug signaling "I will do the best I can."


While Evan was shooting directly at Dean and Stephanie, he was making sure to meter to protect the highlights. In other words, he had the camera set to darken the scene so that the wedding dress would not be a glowing white mess, knowing we could lighten the other areas in the retouching process. I was moving around to see what other shots I could get in better light. 


I walked behind the gazebo and saw that the light was better from behind the officiant and the couple, so I spent a large amount of time shooting from the back area. 


I was trying to stay low and to the side as much as possible, since I did not want to be a distraction to the guests. But, as you can see here, the lighting was much better from this location. 


I love this shot of Blake (Dean's brother) comforting him during his speech.


The good news was, I could move around and shoot from different angles, knowing that Evan would get the straight-on shots of the ring exchange and first kiss.


For all the formal photos after the wedding, we had very little area to work with, that was not in bad light. 


Eventually the sun dropped to a point where I could get nice portraits of the couple from the spot where they were married.



As you can see from these photos, we now had nice even light at this location, which provided for some really nice golden-hour shots.



We completed all the formal photos, but before heading to the barn for the wedding reception, Stephanie really wanted to get photos amongst the trees in the front of the property. I turned them away from the sun and used my Canon 600 EX-RT flash to light them from the shady side.


Evan suggested that Dean and Stephanie go nose to nose and I captured this shot of them. Truth be told, Evan is better at posing couples than I am!


For the wedding reception, we set up numerous Canon 600 EX-RT flashes around the barn to get directional light on our subjects.


I use a combination of one flash on camera (with a MagSphere diffuser and set up as a master in group mode), and two other remote flashes.


As you can see, the multiple flashes really helps to light the subjects, even in a really dark environment.

This last shot was taken as Dean and Stephanie ran through the tunnel of glow sticks.  Right before this happened, I moved one of my remote flash stands outside the barn. You can see it popping behind and to the left of the couple. It was a combination of that flash (lighting the people in the rear and backlighting the bride and groom) and my on-camera flash (lighting the people closest to me and front lighting the couple) that made this all work.

It was a tricky environment to photograph, but we were really happy with our results. The most important thing is that Evan and I captured the story of their big day and they loved the photos. 

Congratulations to Dean and Stephanie!


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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Cuba, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours. 

__________________________________________________________________________  

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Beijing Olympics: 100 days from now and major roadblocks ahead!

Last time I was in Beijing for the Olympics it was 2008 for the Summer Games. I never expected that 14 years later I would be returning to the same area to cover another Olympics there. And, of course, I would never have anticipated that the world would be in a pandemic that never seems to end.

But alas, here we are 100 days out from the start of the next Olympics and I feel like I just got back from the Tokyo Games. Oh yeah - I did!

Am I ready for another one of these? At this moment, not really. I am still recovering from bring in Tokyo for 3 weeks and Africa for a month. But will I be, I promise!


I thought that Tokyo was going to be the most challenging Olympics ever and now I am beginning to wonder if I underestimated the challenges of Beijing 2022. 

Last week I received an email from United Airlines telling me that my flight to Beijing (which I booked months ago) has been cancelled. I called them to try and rebook and they said that they will not be flying there in January or February. I then called Delta Airlines (who is the new official airline for Team USA) and they said that all flights are sold out. Hmmmm. This could be interesting. I am hoping that Team USA has blocked a bunch of seats and that I can get a seat through them.

Usually when we are 100 days from the Olympics, I have already got my housing and made payment for that. But this has not happened either, and every time I email the Beijing Organizing Committee to get access to the portal, I am left with no response. Let's see what other challenges lay ahead. 

This is all the bad news. The one piece of good news is that the Moderna booster should be widely available before that. So I should be better protected from Covid and not have to quarantine for 21 days in China.


__________________________________________________________________________

Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Cuba, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours. 

__________________________________________________________________________  


Saturday, October 23, 2021

My real-world interview with "Behind the Shot" about the new Canon R3

Join me on the latest episode of the Behind the Shot podcast (@ BehindTheShotTV), as I sit down with Steve Brazill (@SteveBrazillPhotography) to chat about my real-world experience at this year's Olympics with a pre-production @canonusa EOS R3.
 
Watch, Listen, and Subscribe here:
 
https://behindtheshot.tv/2021/10/21/real-world-use-of-the-canon-eos-r3/

 

So many people have asked about this camera, and I think this will answer many of your questions.

Enjoy!

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Cuba, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours. 

__________________________________________________________________________  

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The beautiful elephants of Africa: On land and in the water

I have been home from Africa for more than a month now and I have been swamped ever since. Lots of events to photograph in the Bay Area and lots of work to get caught up on. But Africa is still on my mind and I still have so many photos to go through. After having a year and a half of no travel and little to photograph, I am so happy to have all these new photos to share with you all. 

Today I would like to share many of my favorite elephant photos and stories, including an awesome elephant crossing in the Chobe River of Botswana. So...after not blogging for numerous weeks, lets get to it!


One of the things that people first notice when seeing elephants in the wild for the first time, is the way that the adult females protect the youngsters. The youngest members of the group are most commonly found in the middle of the herds, making them slightly harder to photograph in plain view. 


Luckily, there are still plenty of chances to photograph the little ones as they graze and move from one location to another. I love how this little youngster has its trunk touching mom's back foot. Everyone on the trip was using a long zoom lens to capture their images. I was using the Canon R5 cameras with the Canon 100-500mm lens for all these photos.


I could not decide which image I liked better in this sequence, so I included all three.



I was sitting on the deck of my raised tent in Botswana when I saw this young elephant playing in the water. I grabbed my camera and had fun photographing this little one taking a bath and having a great time.


Both of these images (above and below) were taken at the same time, along the marsh in my "backyard".  I must have been watching at least 10 elephants from my deck at that moment. 



Here is a wider shot of the young elephant playing as its mother was grazing in the nearby grass.


I have always loved photographing elephants in the wild, because they do so many interesting things. Quite often we will see them throwing dirt and water on themselves to keep themselves cool. This always makes for great photos. As always, I kept my shutter speed at least 1/1000th of a second to freeze the action of the dirt in the air.


One of the highlights of this last safari was watching large groups of elephants crossing from one piece of land to another, often submerging deep into the Chobe River. This was one of my favorite photos, with this "two-toned" elephant rising above the others. 


It was fun to watch them climbing over each other...


...and splashing around.


We all watched as this mother found a shallow enough crossing for her youngsters. I love this photo showing the one young elephant climbing on the back of another.


For this photo, I isolated the two youngsters as they made their way across the Chobe River. They are just too cute!


We also took the opportunity to pull the boat up close to shore to get nice photos of the elephants on dry land.



We did spend one afternoon on a land safari and had this one teenage male challenge us. Check out the video above. It was an awesome experience. This did scare one of our guests at the time, but at the end of the trip she confessed that this was the highlight of her trip!



Being low in the water and having the elephants above us on the land gave us a nice low perspective when photographing these magnificent giants head on.


One of the photographic techniques I was teaching was high-key shooting. This is a technique where we purposely overexpose the photo to expose for the animal but blow out the background. This was perfect for converting our images into black and white. 


People always ask me why I love photographing in Botswana, and I always tell them that it is a joy to photograph from a boat on the river. We are at the same level as our subjects and able to capture images of them in their environment. 


This younger elephant was looking for some assistance (and maybe a little love) while crossing the water. 


This female was moving quickly through the water, right in front of our boat. I saw her churning up all this water and fired off a bunch of photos. 

On our last evening on the Chobe River, I told our guide that I wanted to find an elephant on the shoreline so that we could get a photo of the animal with the sunset in the background. I challenged everyone to get a shot with the sun by the tusks or under the trunk. Everyone got a nice shot using this scene. It was the perfect way to end the day!

I hope you enjoyed the photos. If you have not been to Africa, you need to get there!! It is life changing.  We will be there next year and you can find information about upcoming trips here. Join us!


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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Cuba, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours. 

__________________________________________________________________________