Tuesday, May 21, 2024

65 Days Until the Olympics in Paris - Opening Ceremony Challenges!

I am just about two months from my departure to Paris and there is still a bunch of planning going on. First and foremost, before the Summer Olympics I am leading a photo tour to Costa Rica in 2 weeks and then come back for a couple of weeks before heading to Peru to lead another tour. Then I can make the final plans and start packing for the three week trip to France. 

Am I excited? Yes!

In the mean time I have been on numerous calls this month, with the Paris Organizing Committee, Team USA, Canon and others. One of those calls was an informational presentation regarding the Opening Ceremony, and this call left me a little more unsettled than calm. 

As I mentioned in previous blog posts, I have been very excited to cover an Opening Ceremony like no other. With the teams floating down the Seine River as opposed to walking into a stadium. But along with the excitement in that, comes a lot of challenges. Let me explain.

First the first time ever, ALL Olympic tickets (for spectators and press) will be delivered digitally. Although I really love the thought of this (since it might save me having to make the trip back to the USOPC offices in the main press center to get my tickets for the High Demand Events (HDEs), it also could be a nightmare if there are any digital snafus. And the first event that will be trying this new format is the Opening Ceremony with 650,000 people attending. Yikes! 

I also found out that there will only be 250 photo positions at the Trocadero, with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the background. Getting one of those is going to be very difficult! Remember, there are approximately 2500 photographers from around the world who all want one of these spots. So I am already working on plan B and plan C.

The 6km route will be sectioned off into 6 different working zones, so it will not be possible for us (or anyone else) to move along the entire route. This is great for security purposes but less than ideal for photographers trying to capture images from different vantage points. And, for the first time, I will not be able to capture all of the ceremony, since different things will be happening along different sections of the river.

Some of the photo positions are standing only, which will be difficult because we are typically in place for about 9 hours. And to make it even more challenging, most of the positions are not under any cover, so we have to deal with whatever weather is presented to us that day. It could be really hot or it could rain. neither of which would be fun. At least in a stadium, we can duck for cover.

Don't get me wrong. I am not complaining, as I am lucky to be going at all! And...covering the Opening Ceremony is more of a choice than a requirement from the team. As is everything at the Olympics, it will be a challenge to navigate it all, but interesting nonetheless. Sometimes good photography requires a balance of luck, preparation, and skill. We will see how that all works out.

More information to come.

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• Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!

• You can now purchase Jeff Cable Photography images from my new fine art site at: https://fineart.jeffcable.com/

• 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 and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

 _________________________________________________________________   

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Canon R1 has been announced!! (Well...kinda)

If you were up late last night, you may have seen that Canon announced the development of the Canon EOS-R1 camera, which will be their flagship camera for the foreseeable future. They did not divulge many details in their press release, but the tease does reveal some really interesting things. 

Canon says that the new EOS-R1 camera will have some major performance improvements for both still and video. Adding a new DIGIC Accelerator to the DIGIC X processor and adding "deep learning technology" which is going to provide some major improvements to focusing and image capture. When Canon says "deep learning", is that their way of saying AI? 

The press release talks about high speed and high-accuracy subject recognition, using examples of locking in on a primary athlete and staying with that subject. Fast focusing is a huge factor for me, and I look forward to seeing how this translates to real-world images of wildlife and sports. 

The camera also has in-body noise reduction which supposedly competes with the software solutions we are using today. That would be really cool. 

For now, that is all that they have said. 

You may remember that I wrote my wish list for this camera way back in January of 2021. I am hoping that they addressed most or all of these things.

I have already had numerous people reach out to me asking if I am using one of these now, or will be in the near future. And my answer to that is and will be...🤐

I am excited for the future and look forward to using the EOS-R1.


__________________________________________________________

• Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!

• You can now purchase Jeff Cable Photography images from my new fine art site at: https://fineart.jeffcable.com/

• 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 and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

 _________________________________________________________________   

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The latest presentation at B&H is now online!

Last week I did a presentation called "Photographing the Olympics Over the Last 15 Years: How Technology Has Changed Everything". It was a totally new presentation that I created for this event, and while I was building the presentation, even I was amazed at how much has changed from my first Olympics in 2008 until now.

And even though most of you won't be photographing the Olympics, all of this information is pertinent to everyday photography.

You can see the video HERE or by clicking on the image below.


I hope you enjoy the presentation!


__________________________________________________________

• Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!

• You can now purchase Jeff Cable Photography images from my new fine art site at: https://fineart.jeffcable.com/

• 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 and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

 _________________________________________________________________   

Thursday, May 9, 2024

UCSF Hospital Prom - Getting back to Pre-pandemic festivities

Last week was the annual UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Prom, and once again I was thrilled to be a volunteer at this amazing event. If you have been following the blog for the last 10 years, you will likely have seen my post from this event in April of each year. Well...the pandemic changed that over the last 3 years, as they moved to online prom and other activities.  As you can imagine, these kids are more susceptible to infection and diseases, so protecting them from COVID was even more critical than for the average person.  But, the in-person prom is back once again!

This year was the first in-person prom since 2019, and it was still scaled back a little, as a cautious restart. Normally they would have many of the San Francisco 49ers show up to party with the kids, and that did not happen this year. But the dancing and festivities were back and the kids were thrilled to be there.

Now I will share some of my favorite photos from the prom.


Before the kids arrived, I checked out the decorations and met some of the other volunteers. They had a roving magician, so I had him play with his cards in front of the decor, for fun and to determine the best exposure settings for this area.


ABC was there to interview some of the kids. I caught some of that in camera. You can see the ABC piece HERE. And yes, you can spot me a couple of times in the background.


It is always inspirational to see these kids who are battling so much, let loose and have fun for a night.


I even got to hang out with Johnnie the therapy dog. 


There were definitely less people on the dance floor (and less boys) this year, but everyone had a ton of fun.


The caricaturists were a big hit with the kids.



And I think the caricaturists were having as much fun as the their subjects.  


For this shot, I got down low and put the one young lady in between one of the ring lights.


Many of the attendees got their outfits and makeup done by volunteers. 


And yes, it would not be a prom without selfies.


They raffled off a bunch of cool prizes, including Apple AirPods, a Nintendo Switch, cool headphones and gift cards. 


I love the smiles.


For the whole night, the roving magician was working his magic (pun intended). 😀



It was fun capturing the reactions of the kids.


The prom always includes in-patient and former patients, this year was more of the former patients.


You will see one of my remote lights in the background. I used three flashes for this prom. Two of them were on light stands and one was diffused (with a MagMod Sphere) on my cameras. 

Here is the camera equipment I used for the night:


As I have done every year in the past, I waited for all the kids to return to their hospital rooms or be picked up by their parents, and I took a photo of the hospital volunteers. I then rushed off to get home to recharge all my equipment for my full day shoot on Saturday. As tired as I was, I knew that this was nothing compared to what these kids go through on a daily basis.

I hope that you are as inspired by these youngsters as I am.


__________________________________________________________

• Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!

• You can now purchase Jeff Cable Photography images from my new fine art site at: https://fineart.jeffcable.com/

• 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 and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

 _________________________________________________________________   

Thursday, May 2, 2024

A NEW B&H presentation next week!

It has been a while since I have done a B&H Event Space presentation, but the wait is over. Next week, on May 8th at 3pm (EST) I will be presenting on a new topic. This time around I will be talking about how technology has changed since covering my first Olympics in 2008 and how that affects the way I capture the photos, the way I work, and the overall images.  


I am really excited to share this presentation with all of you, as I think it is fascinating to see how fast technology has changed in the past 16 years. 

You can thank ProGrade Digital for sponsoring this presentation, which means that it is FREE for you to watch. All you have to do is register HERE.

I hope to see you next week!

Jeff


__________________________________________________________

• Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!

• You can now purchase Jeff Cable Photography images from my new fine art site at: https://fineart.jeffcable.com/

• 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 and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

 _________________________________________________________________   

Friday, April 26, 2024

A inexpensive and VERY cool product I just found

I don't know about you, but I always worry about my camera equipment, whether it is leaving something behind or worse yet, having something stolen. In the past, I have wondered if there was a way to embed an Apple Airtag into a camera without it being seen, but I knew that this was not possible. I do have an Airtag in every camera bag, but not on my cameras or lenses. Not until now.

I happened to be searching one of the photography web sites and came across a new product that totally caught my attention. It was an Arca-Swiss mounting plate (the most common type) with a hidden slot for an Airtag. How cool is that?! And the product sells for only $20 on Amazon (without the Airtag). It comes from a company called JJC. I think they are a Chinese company, but not positive.



Without much hesitation I ordered 4 of these and saw that the delivery time would be about a week. Following my order, I ordered a 4 pack of the Airtags and had them ready for when I received my new plates.

I am not the most mechanical person in the world, so it did take me a couple of minutes to figure out how to pop off the top plate to insert the Airtag. But once I figured that out, it was a simple process. The Airtag is screwed under the top plate with a small allen wrench, and pretty well hidden from site, although there is a little bit of the white (from the Airtag) that can be seen from the outside. In the near future, I may take them apart and use a black Sharpie to hide the white completely.  

Once I had all the Airtags inside the JJC Quick Release Plates, it was time to figure out which cameras and lenses these would go on. I decided to put these on my Canon R3, Canon R5, Canon R6II and my Canon 200-400mm lens

The plate is not perfect, as is it a bit small for the large 200-400mm lens, but I still prefer to have it attached and locatable.

The plates cost me $25 each and each Airtag cost me about $20 a piece, so that total cost was $45 per device, but I love that this gives me a little more peace of mind knowing that I can track them if need be. Heck, I can even track the cameras when I send them to CPS for cleaning and repairs.

You can find the plates on Amazon HERE and the AirTags HERE.

When researching other options for this blog post, I also found this Sirui plate which also takes an Airtag, but I don't like that it sticks out and implies that there might be something hidden there.

I am happy to say that I have not misplaced, lost or had any gear stolen, but I know plenty of people who have been in this situation. Even my son and his wife, who are photographers / videographers had gear stolen while on a corporate shoot at a convention center. This offers me some additional comfort.


__________________________________________________________

• Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!

• You can now purchase Jeff Cable Photography images from my new fine art site at: https://fineart.jeffcable.com/

• 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 and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

 _________________________________________________________________   

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Photo Tour update - limited spots available for 2024

Hello everyone. I just filled all the spots for my Costa Rica photo tours this year, and many of the other photo tours are almost full as well.  I wanted to let you all know what was available for the remainder of this year and 2025, so you don't miss out!

Costa Rica Rain Forest - June 2024 - SOLD OUT!

Peru - July 2024 - SOLD OUT!

San Francisco - September 2024 - 5 Spots remaining

Indochina (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam) - October 2024 - 6 spots available

Costa Rica Rain Forest - November 2024 - SOLD OUT!

African Safari in Tanzania - January 2025 - 6 Spots Available

Greece - June / July 2025 - 8 spots available

African Safari in Botswana - July / August 2025 - 5 Spots Available

Costa Rica Rain Forest - May 2025 - 8 Spots Available

Alaska - Private luxury boat - September 2025 - NEW! and only 6 Spots Available

Costa Rica Rain Forest - October / November 2025 - Just added!

Costa Rica Rain Forest - November 2025 - 8 Spots Available

I want to highlight a couple of these trips, as they are coming up soon and some of my favorites. First of all, the San Francisco photo tour debuted last year and was a huge success. Leading a tour of my home town is a ton of fun and yielded some amazing photos. You can see many of those images HERE. This tour is a shorter and less expensive trip compared to all the others and I have room for 5 more guests.

After the San Francisco tour I will be heading back to Indochina for the second time with Mike from M&M Photo Tours. We did this tour in October of 2022 and this trip blew away all expectations for our guests and myself. If you look at the photos HERE and HERE you will see why I am so excited to teach another photo tour back to these amazing countries. We have room for 6 more. Come join us for this amazing trip.

Lastly I would like to call attention to a brand new tour that I will be leading in 2025. This one is to the inner passage of Alaska. We will be on a private luxury boat and photographing humpback whales, killer whales, bears, birds, icebergs, glaciers and more. You can see more details on this trip HERE. This is a very exclusive trip, and I can only take 6 guests. First come, first serve on this new photo tour.

As always...you can keep abreast of all the photo tours on the web site at: 


And remember that Canon will loan you whatever cameras and lenses you would like (as long as they have them in the CPS pool, which they usually do) for each trip at no cost

Let me know which trip you are interested in joining and I will get you all set up! See you soon.

__________________________________________________________

• Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!

• You can now purchase Jeff Cable Photography images from my new fine art site at: https://fineart.jeffcable.com/

• 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 and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

 _________________________________________________________________   


Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Really unique senior portraits in Disneyland and more!

A couple of weeks ago I took some really special senior portraits. They were special for a number of reasons. First of all, I was going to be taking the photos down in Southern California, including spending a whole day in Disneyland looking for good portrait locations. And secondly, the images were of my girlfriend's daughter, Hannah, who works at Disneyland and is about to graduate from college. 

We were down visiting my cousin and her husband who have an amazing place right on Laguna Beach, so we thought we would take advantage of that time and location to get some nice photos for Hannah, who lives in the area. Since we were at Laguna Beach, we decided to start there just before sunset.  

We walked down to the beach about 45 minutes before sunset, for me to pick locations and wait for the best light. At that point, the sunlight was still a little harsh, so I took some photos of Hannah in the shaded areas. I was using my Canon R6 Mark II with the Canon RF 70-200 2.8 lens and a Canon 600 EX-RT flash (to add just a little light to the shadow areas of her face).


About 15 minutes later, the sun was much lower and we were ready for the golden hour photos.  


I was shooting at ISO 100 (and no flash needed for these) since I had plenty of light to work with. I like shooting at f/2.8 to isolate the focus on Hannah and not the background.


For this photo I definitely needed the flash! Actually, for this photo I needed two flashes to light her against the very bright background. I had one Canon 600 EX-RT flash on camera and another one that Laura (her mom) was pointing at her. Laura was so close to her that I had to Photoshop her hand and the flash out of the right side of the image. I set the Canon R6 Mark II to f/20 to bring the shutter speed down to 1/200 sec and powered up both flashes to make sure that my subject was not a silhouette. (Expert note: since the Canon flashes produce a much cooler (bluer) light, I selected Hannah in Adobe Photoshop and warmed her to match the color of the sunset.)


As Hannah walked on the beach, I saw how the late day sunlight was hitting hair. I had her turn her back to the sun and shot this portrait.


I saw her swing her hair around to get it straightened and asked her to do that again for a photo. I put the Canon R6 Mark II in high speed mode and took a burst of images to get this one with her hair flying out and lit perfectly by the late sunlight.


As the sun was just about to go down past the horizon, I had Hannah sit on one of the rocks and once again I lit her with two flashes. So pretty, both Hannah and the location! Once the sun set, the light was gone and we were done.

Hannah had classes the next day, so we spent time walking around Laguna Beach until she was done. Then we drove over to Chapman and walked around campus to look at locations and also made some prop purchases at a nearby store.



This is the classic shot that all the graduates take at Chapman University in front of the arch. That was great, but I wanted to do something different. (I was using the Canon RF 24-70mm lens for this photo and most of the remaining photos you will see. )


When we were out shopping, Laura decided to buy a bottle of Champagne for Hannah to pop in front of the school. We got the cheapest bottle we could find and had some fun.


We went over to this wall and had her open the bottle. It was so cheap that it had a screw top. Ooooops! So when she opened it, nothing really happened. So I had her shake it up and keep her thumb over the top. When she let go, even she was surprised. This photo made us all laugh.


Laura and I also purchased some graduation confetti at the dollar store.  It took many tries to get this right, but we had fun with Hannah blowing this right at the lens. We like the little hats that flew up, but ultimately decided that it would have been easier to blow if it was all small confetti. 


As we were heading back to the parking lot, I saw the sunlight hitting this one wall and knew that it would backlight Hannah perfectly.


Before leaving, we stopped by this one wall (on the side of a liquor store next to campus) to have a little more fun.

The next day we planned on waking up at 6:30am to "rope drop" (be there at opening) at Disneyland, and we did just that. 


We got into the park right at 8am and luckily we had cloudy weather which allowed me to get a slow shutter speed for this motion shot. I knew that everyone would be rushing in to get to their favorite rides, so I asked Hannah to go dead center in front of Main Street and stand very still while everyone else hurried by. I set the camera to ISO 50 and f/18, which gave me a slow shutter speed of 1/5 sec.


There was a large group of people trying to get a dead-center shot in front of the castle, but we saw this wall with a clear background. Hannah hopped up on the wall for some photos in this location.



I was really happy to have clouds in the sky to give us great lighting on Hannah and a nice neutral background without harsh sunlight and deep shadows.


Even though this photo does not scream "Disneyland", I loved how beautiful the cherry blossoms were, and had to take a photo with them in the background.


After taking the photos in the Main Street area, we headed over to Fantasyland, to the rides where Hannah used to work. She hopped on the Dumbo ride (for her first ride ever, which is funny because she worked the ride for a while). I took some standard photos with a fast shutter speed and then slowed the shutter speed to 1/50th sec and panned along with her as she went by. This is one of my favorite photos from the day. Hard to get it sharp, but totally worth the challenge!


We then went over to the Tea Cups for a couple of photos. Since Hannah knows the workers, they allowed us to take a couple of photos before letting the next wave of guests into the ride. 


Then I thought it would be fun to get into the tea cup with her for some more slow shutter shots. For this photo, I lowered the shutter speed to 1/13th sec, and fired off a bunch of photos as we spun around.


Before heading to the park, I had asked Hannah for a list of photos that she wanted. On the top of the list was a photo with her and Winnie the Pooh, so we prioritized that next.


And we took photos with some of the other characters as well.


We could not shoot graduation photos at Disneyland and not have photos with Mickey.


We took the afternoon off and planned a return trip in the evening. I looked on the Disney web site and verified that tripods were allowed, so I brought my Gitzo travel tripod in. With lower light, and not being handheld this time, I tried another motion shot on main street. (Note: Tripods are allowed and will make it through security, but one of the photo cast members told me it was not allowed.)


The reason I brought the tripod in was for this shot in the California Adventure Park (next door to Disneyland). I knew that this location would be much better at night vs the day, so it was the last shot on our list. I set the Canon R6 Mark II on the tripod, changed the settings to ISO 100, f/16 with a shutter speed of 6 seconds. I fired the Canon 600 EX-RT flash to add some light on her, but used the long exposure to get a better background. 

The funny part was that we spent most of the day in the Disney Parks and the only ride I was on was the tea cups to get the motion shot. But we got lots of photos for Hannah to commemorate her big accomplishment. 

I hope this inspires many of you to try different camera settings and locations for your senior portraits.

__________________________________________________________

• Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!

• You can now purchase Jeff Cable Photography images from my new fine art site at: https://fineart.jeffcable.com/

• 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 and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.

 _________________________________________________________________