Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Upcoming photo tours to amazing places!

After 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and halting almost all photo tours, things are getting back to some sense of normalcy. Most of my photography friends have started traveling again, and are doing it safely. I have done two photo tours to Costa Rica and two photo tours to Africa and all went amazingly well.

If you are like me, you are tired of being at home and you are itching to travel again. Well...I have good news for you. We have a whole bunch of new photo tours going in 2022 and 2023. These trips are designed to achieve the following:

  • Get you to the best photo locations.
  • Teach photography as we go, giving you advice, tips, and ideas to take your photography to the next level and get you the best photos from those locations.
  • Give you a chance to try new Canon equipment during the duration of the trip for free. (We do have many photographers who shoot Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Fuji and others, and that is totally fine too!)
  • Introduce you to the culture with the best local guides.
  • Have a whole lot of fun together!
Our group in Tanzania (with LOTS of borrowed gear)

My most recent group in the rain forest of Costa Rica 

I have all upcoming photo tours listed on my website. You can see them all here:

https://www.jeffcable.com/phototours

Before hopping over to that page, here is a quick list of all the upcoming trips:

  • April 2022 - Japan - SOLD OUT
  • May 2022 - Costa Rica - 2 spots just opened up
  • June 2022 - Scotland / Ireland - 5 spots left (and closing soon!)
  • July 2022 - Botswana - 8 spots left
  • July 2022 - Tanzania - 4 spots left
  • Oct 2022 - Indochina - 8 spots left
  • Nov 2022 - Costa Rica - SOLD OUT
  • Dec 2022 - Cuba - 8 spots left
  • Feb 2023 - Tanzania - NEW
  • April 2023 - New Zealand - NEW
  • June 2023 - Croatia / Slovenia - NEW
  • July 2023 - Costa Rica - NEW
  • Sept 2023 - Morocco - NEW
  • Nov 2023 - Costa Rica - NEW
We would love to have you join us on one (or many) of our tours. The trips are not designed exclusively for professional photographers. We love taking photo enthusiasts of all levels. 

You can see what others have said about their experiences here:


Feel free to email me for any information!

Jeff



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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. 

__________________________________________________________________________  

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Tips for photographing a concert - Shinedown in action

Let me start this blog by saying that I am not a concert photographer. I know people who photograph concerts and bands for a living, but I am not one of those guys. With that said, I do love the challenge of photographing bands in action! 

For the last two years, the pandemic has made it almost impossible to see a concert let alone photograph one. But one of my favorite bands kicked off a tour recently and made a visit to San Francisco. I really wanted to see Shinedown live but their concert was scheduled just days before the Beijing Olympics. I knew that there was no way I could risk being in a group situation, indoors, before being subjected to the intense Covid protocols in China. But since I pulled the plug on the Winter Olympics just days before going, I decided that the concert needed to happen for me! I called and asked for a photo credential, but it was one day before the concert and that was not going to happen. 

I decided to bring a camera just in case. Since I was entering the venue without credentials, I kept things inconspicuous, bringing just a Canon R6 and a Canon RF24-105mm lens. Luckily, nobody stopped me at the door, and so me and my trusty camera got in with no problem. I have a friend who works at the venue and he was nice enough to escort me into the pit to shoot the first three songs.

That is how I got access. Now let me share the images and some of my tips for shooting concerts. 


Photographing concerts is really challenging, mainly due to these reasons:

1. There is low light which means that your camera ISO has to be set pretty high.
2. The light is constantly changing, going from super dark to extremely bright in a second.
3. The action is fast and you need a shutter speed fast enough to capture the action.


When shooting from up close in the pit (especially in a smaller venue), I find that a 24-70mm lens or a 24-105mm lens works great. Chances are that you will be only feet from the performers.


If there is room to move in the pit, you can move to capture the different musicians. But most of the time you will be stuck in the same location and will use the zoom lens to isolate your subjects. 


As I mentioned, the constantly changing lights make it tough to get your exposure correct in the camera. I shoot concerts in aperture priority mode, using spot metering, and typically under expose by at least one stop to keep from blowing out the highlights.


Every concert has different lighting situations. In this particular venue, they used a lot of red lights on the artists.


I try to capture the artists individually, but also try and get them interacting.


For most of these photos, I was shooting with these settings:

* ISO 3200
* I/O Servo focus (since the artists were moving all over)
* f/4 since it was the best aperture I could get with this lens
* Minus 1 1/2 stops of exposure compensation


I like to capture different poses for each performer.


As you can see in these two photos, there are times when it is good to use the bright lights to your advantage, putting your subject in silhouette.



These three photos were taken within a split second of each other, and you can see the change in background color and the amount of spot lighting on the lead singer. 




After the first three songs, we were escorted out of the pit area (which is the common practice today) and I I shot from farther back in the crowd.


Shooting from farther back is easier than shooting from up close, since the evaluative metering takes in more of the scene and the movement is easier to track.


I was carefully watching the lighting to determine the best backgrounds for photos. 


I saw this moment with a spotlight shining through the legs of Brent and Eric, and fired off some shots hoping to get that starburst through their bodies.


Here are more examples of using the house lighting to create dynamic photos. 



Pyrotechnics make things even more challenging, with a lot of ambient light flooding your cameras sensor. This is why I generally photograph with exposure compensation turned down at least one stop. It is easier to brighten a dark image than to try and darken an overexposed shot.



I like including the audience in some of the photos, since they add to the excitement in the scene.


More pyro!


Just like when shooting sports, I look for the peak of action and emotion. For this reason, I like to keep my shutter speed faster than 1/800 sec.



Just like shooting sports, where the reaction of the crowd can be just as interesting as the action of the athletes, the concert audience is worth capturing as well. 


Barry (the drummer) was often hidden behind the other band members and pyrotechnics, so it made it challenging to capture good shots of him at the drumset.


I love pyro at concerts!


Towards the end of the concert, Barry and Zach performed an acoustic set with minimal lighting effects. You can see the difference with the simplicity of the background. Not nearly as dynamic as with the stage lighting.


This last shot was taken at the very end of the concert. I zoomed out to 24mm and caught Brent with his fist in the air, framed by the excitement of the crowd. This is one of my favorite photos from the night.


__________________________________________________________________________

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, March 2, 2022

I have (finally) made the switch to all mirrorless cameras!

I have been a professional photographer for more than 15 years now and have never made a mass change in the camera gear I use over that time. I have upgraded camera bodies, and at times upgraded to a newer version of a lens. But those are incremental changes, done in small doses. For instance, I upgraded from the Canon 5D Mark III to a 5D Mark IV or a Canon 1DX MKII to a Canon 1DX MKIII. And I upgraded from the original Canon 100-400mm lens to the second version of that lens, since it was much sharper.  Those changes were made over many years and did not require many changes in my preparations, shooting style, or after capture. But then Canon came out with mirrorless cameras that upped the game.

When Canon announced the original Canon R mirrorless camera, I was not very impressed with the camera, and suggested that it was not a camera I would be using. But I did see its potential, and I even wrote that in a blog post back in 2018. Back then I viewed mirrorless cameras as "not ready for prime time".  I know that there are plenty of people who switched to mirrorless before I did, many of them using the Sony cameras. I did not want to switch all my cameras and lenses in one fell swoop, and also had faith that Canon would come out with something better.


When Canon came out with the Canon R5 and Canon R6, that was when I got excited. Not only were these cameras a great fit for my everyday shooting, but they were exciting to use. My images were sharper than ever, and the immediate feedback in the eye-piece was just awesome. I started by purchasing one Canon R6 body with the RF24-105mm f/4 lens. I also purchased a couple of the EF-RF adaptors so that I could use my older lenses on the new mirrorless bodies. This has worked great for the last year, with no degradation in image quality, but I really wanted the newer lighter lenses. I got more of the new RF lenses (RF70-200mm 2.8, RF24-70mm, and RF15-35mm), figuring that these 3 lenses were my "go-to" for most of my event photography.  But the big problem was that I was using one mirrorless camera and one DSLR (either the 5D MKIV or the 1DX MKIII), which meant that I had to pack a lot more gear. To use both cameras, I needed to pack a set of RF lenses and a set of EF lenses. 

I also found it hard to go back to the DSLR cameras after using the mirrorless bodies. I have gotten used to reviewing my images in the eyepiece, which I can not do in the DSLR cameras. And most importantly, I am spoiled by the incredible face and eye detection of the Canon R cameras. 

A couple of months ago I decided that it was time to make the switch to all mirrorless camera bodies and lenses. Well...I am not getting rid of all my EF lenses just yet. I am going to keep using my Canon 200-400mm, Canon 100-400mm, and Canon 15mm fish eye lenses, since they are not available as an RF lens (yet) and are still very useful to me. I have the EF-RF adaptors for these lenses and still use them all the time. 

Recently I did also get the Canon RF85mm 1.2 lens which is amazing for portraits (see below), and the Canon RF100-500mm lens for wildlife and sports. I was thinking I would sell my EF 100-400mm lens but still like it so much that it is going to stick around for a while.

(Canon R6, 85mm f/1.2 lens, ISO 320, f/1.2, 1/250 sec, Canon 600EX-RT flash)

I am now using two of the Canon R6 cameras and a Canon R3 for all my photography. I love the lighter weight of the cameras, the fact that they have two card slots, the ability to shoot in complete silence, the smaller size of the RF70-200mm 2.8 lens, and overall quality of the images. And, as I said before, the eye detection is so darned good that my "take rate" is better than ever before.

Both of these cameras have similar resolution, and each time I shoot I decide on which camera bodies will go with me. For most events I like the light weight and smaller size of the Canon R6, and for any fast action or wildlife shooting, I will grab the Canon R3. It has faster focusing and a faster burst rate if needed. I am still playing with the eye-control of the R3 and determining whether that will yield me better results when taking portraits of multiple people (being able to focus on my main subject just by looking at them). I also like having the larger battery of the R3 and the built-in grip for shooting portraits.

People have asked me why I am not using the Canon R5 in my event photography, and the reason is this: I do not need that high of resolution for my clients, and those cameras are more than $1000 more than the R6. For these reasons, I chose not to purchase the R5 bodies. But, when I go on safari and want the ability to shoot high resolution (to give me the ability to crop in on my images and still have good resolution), I do borrow the Canon R5 bodies from Canon Professional Services (CPS). 

It took a while to make the investment and the change, but it has made a big difference to my everyday work, and I am so happy with the upgrade!

__________________________________________________________________________

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. 

__________________________________________________________________________