Here in the North West, Summer has wound down quickly. To be totally honest, sometimes Autumn, and no doubt Winter is not my favourite time of year to make photographs outside. The same grey blanket settles in. The sky a slate grey for most likely the next 4-5 months. Personally as a photographer it’s a time I really struggle to make photographs I like, but instead of the usual “meh, f*ck it.” I decided to try a technique that is so basic it’s almost ridiculous. Shooting low light with a slow shutter handheld, in low light. A great photographer friend was moving back to Canada and asked if I could come down to Seattle and help him move, normally I’d be “busy”… but as this is a good friend, and an opportunity to ride the train to Seattle I was stoked. The results above are my favourite photographs that turned out from about 20 photos I took. As many have heard me rave, the Fujifilm X100T is one of my most trusted cameras, using it to capture travels abroad and important photographs of family and friends, it’s never let me down and has that simple, tactile feel I love about the camera.
I admit there’s nothing groundbreaking or even all that incredible about these images, with one important exception; They came out exactly as I had hoped.
As a photographer I feel like my entire “raison d’etre” is to convey an emotional and visual message across the viewer.
So if you are ever feeling bored or jaded to your surroundings, why not dig back in to the basics. You might be surprised at the results.
I shot this portrait today of a dear friend of mine whom I work with often. He’s one of the top hairstylists and educators in the US and through and through one of the nicest people I know. Prepping for tomorrows shoot I decided upon Profoto lighting, as I always do when I’m on the road and need quality, reliable, and easy to use lighting.
Like many photographers, I’ve worked my way through many modifiers, and settled on a couple that could be considered my “deserted island” ones. If I REALLY had to chose one it would be the Magnum Reflector. Why ? Because of how incredibly it paints light on your subject, and the beautifully 3 dimensional quality of the light. The portrait I shot had a tiny amount of colour adjustment and dodging in Capture One, but the light is what came out of camera.
I’ve used beauty dishes of various sizes before but found for shooting solo subjects the throw is too wide and using a grid changed the quality of light, and in the past shooting with just a regular reflector the light was too angular and hard. However, with the Magnum reflector you get a wide enough throw but you also get deep, rich shadows that almost wrap in from behind the subject, and a softness not normally associated with just a bare head with a reflector on it. As you can see in the lighting setup (below) for this portrait, with a bit of fill from a larger source, the effect is really striking.
The more the years pass the more I realize that it’s the most simple lighting that makes the nicest photographs, what I’ve also realized is that not all lighting gear is made the same. There’s no doubt that Profoto puts an incredible amount of work into their products and it shows in build quality and consistency. No I’m not being paid to say this, I’m not associated with Profoto in any way, I just really, really like what they do.
Coupled with the D1 Air head this is truly the perfect fashion, beauty and portraiture lighting set up. Moving the Magnum slightly left or right of the subject and adjusting the distance of the light from the subject produces an endless amount of possibilities.
Derrick was about 3 feet infront of the Magnum key light. The portrait was shot with a Canon 5D II, with a Sigma 85mm f1.4 at f8 1/100th of a second, photo captured and edited in Capture One Pro 8.
Well as photographers one of our biggest fears is having our gear crap out. It just makes me perspire thinking about standing in front of a client shooting and have a strobe blow out or my camera fail. Well this is exactly what happened to me a couple weeks ago. Luckily a backup body saved the day. I moved over to shooting tethered about 3 years ago for every studio shoot, and honestly I couldn’t imagine not having the client review pictures as I shoot and the freedom and reliability it’s brought to my shoots. But, with this great innovation comes some dangers; I’ve never had a camera hit the ground but no matter how you prepare or position your equipment, someone on set will find a way to awkwardly squeeze between the camera, computer and say a strobe stand. After a few years of said awkward people squeezing between the camera and computer, tripping over the chord almost every time it happened. The USB on my 5D Mark II crapped out, people tripping and tugging on the mini USB managed to dislodge the port inside my camera, et voila, screwed. After a quick read online I knew I was in for an expensive fix, and as it turns out to have fast transfer speeds the USB port has to be attached directly to the main PCB, mean the entire PCB has to be replaced. I don’t know about you but the less money I have to dump into gear, the better, and the $500 I just paid to have this fixed could have been avoided. How ? Quite simply, because the people of Canon have such big hearts and I paid them $500) sent me along a simple little device that is supposed to stop your tether cable from wiggling and the potential for a break like this.
Simply enough, it pops in the side fitting in to the other plugs above and below the USB. Beside the wiggling that causes a broken USB port, another nightmare is a plug getting kicked, which can rip the USB cable right out of your camera, meaning, wear and tear on your camera and potential for losing photographs that are transferring. Not. Cool.
Another solution I’ve come across you can find on Adorama http://www.adorama.com/TTJS020.html The Tether Tools Jerkstopper. $16 that may save you from a very expensive repair in the future.
I know other variations of these devices exist so I highly recommend you search one out and buy one ASAP and save yourself the 500 clams.
As a kid growing up in Saskatchewan, one of the highlights of every Summer was the Air show. My Dad would load up chairs, snack and my brother and I and we’d spend a day baking in the summer sun and checking out what used to be an amazing display of aeronautics. A fond memory from one year was a massive thunder and lightning storm arriving in the afternoon and we got to hide from the storm inside a C-130 Hercules, at that moment the kid inside of me hoped it would take off to take us for a cruise, didn’t happen. Living in Vancouver, the city of Abbotsford, nearby hosts an airshow each year and this was the first time in years that I was actually in town to check it out.
So my brother, 2 friends and myself packed snacks, chairs, water and other “grown up” supplies and headed to the air show. In my camera bag, simply enough, the Fujifilm X-T1 and the brand new XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR. The XF 18-135 has been called the “tourist lens” due to the fact that it’s focal lengths are perfect for almost any situation, from architectural to portrait. The first thing I noticed was the amount of people that came out to camp for the full 3 days, huge expensive trailers and motor homes, lining the camp site that sat on the edge of the airport. Upon entering it was amazing to see all the young faces so filled with that same excitement I once had, and to be honest, I tapped in to that excitement again with the smell of jet fuel in the air. We were graced with perfect weather and an almost full moon as the sun went down. The XF18-135mm lens worked wonderfully with the X-T1, and as you can see the image stabilization worked wonders in very low light situations.
Photographs shot on the Fujifilm X-T1 with the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR and all photographs processed using Capture One Pro 7. All photographs copyright Kale JF Photography 2014. Photographs may not be used without written consent by Kale JF Photography.
I just got back last week from an amazing 11 days in Europe, mainly in Paris and Amsterdam. When you get to do what you love time passes quickly and sometimes you look up and it’s been 2 years since you’ve been able to take a vacation. So was my wife and my situation. So after a snap decision we booked our plane tickets.
As any obsessive photographers might admit, when planning a trip, one of the biggest anxieties is what will I need ? How much gear can I squeeze in my carry on?. This was my first time out of many trips to Europe where I brought a small kit, and left my DSLR at home. For this trip I packed one of my favourite cameras I’ve ever owned the Fujifilm X-E1 and the brand new Fujifilm X-T1, 3 batteries, and for lenses the XF 18mm f2, XF 14mm f2.8 and the beautiful 35mm f1.4. All this fit into my small shoulder bag, versus the backpack I used to have to lug around.
Outside of my fashion, beauty and commercial work I consider myself a documentary photographer, not for any other reason other than telling my story to the world, and making photographs of things that move me, sadden me, and enlighten me. Having spent almost 4 years living in Paris, and being the birth place of my love and now lifelong obsession of making photographs, I was excited to see the city through new eyes after not visiting for almost 3 years. At the end of 11 days spent in Paris and Amsterdam I shot about 400 photographs with my X-E1 and X-T1, and 2 rolls of film with my little Canon Canonet, all photographs were processed with VSCO presets for Adobe Lightroom. As I’m sure I mentioned a million times, in the end there are two factors in a great camera for me, simplicity in design and use and beautiful RAW files, which is why I use Fujifilm. C’est tout.
The Seine River, Paris, France 5am
The River Seine, Paris, France. 5am
View of the Sacre Coeur from the George Pompidou Centre
A tourist naps infront of the George Pompidou Centre.
The Palais Royal, Paris, France.
Pigeon and flowers, The Palais Royal. Paris, France.
Woman relaxing in the sun at the Palais Royal. Paris, France.
View of the gardens in the Palais Royal. Paris, France.
A man reads the paper infront of the Basilique Notre-Dame des Victoires.
Door of the Basilique Notre-Dame des Victoires.
Roma Immigrants at the entrance to the St. Eustache Church.
Entering the Louvre.
Roma immigrant with a dog on the streets of Paris, France.
A Roma Immigrant young woman and a child, surrounded by volunteer Red Cross workers.
Small street off of Rue des Petits Carreaux, Paris, France.
A couple embraces near midnight along the Seine River.
Man smokes a cigarette as he watches through the packed windows of a local gambling shop.
Elderly lady that I remember from years ago taking a break from the sun near the Fontain St. Michel
I spent 2006-2009 living in Paris, France. It was in this city my life changed drastically. The most important, it’s the birthplace of my love for making photographs. I remember the first time I went to Paris in 2004, emerging from the RER I was immediately in love. The class, the grit, the architecture, streets that were alive at all hours. Having done my fair share of travel, and in spite of all it’s faults, Paris remains my favourite city in the world. 2 days ago I got back from a trip to Paris with my wife, after 2 years of working and not taking a vacation we decided Paris would be the perfect place for a vacation to find some much needed inspiration.
Back in 2006 one thing about life in Paris that struck me was the large number of Roma Immigrants. For many years the Roma immigrants have been a very contentious issue for French people. What does France do to deal with what they perceived as a pest. In all honesty I was blown away at the number of Roma in Paris, taking the RER first thing in the morning I would be serenaded by Roma women, or entertained by young boys with instruments (violins with a single string ), or karaoke machines belting out pop songs to not so enthusiastic French people on their morning commute to work. Anyone whose done the trip from the Chatelet metro station out to the Charles de Gaulle Airport can attest to the hundreds of camper cars packed tightly into any empty work site outside the city. Beyond the singing, dancing there were other methods being used to evoke sympathy from passers by. Puppies. All over the city young Roma men and women sitting on dirty blankets with adorable puppies. Back to my trip this May, I noticed that the puppies that used to garner spare change from Parisians and tourists were being replaced with newborns. Very young looking women, sat on mattresses with newborn babies, or surrounded by multiple children. As mentioned the Roma have been a long debated topic for Parisians, and I myself am hard pressed to see this as a black and white situation. Regardless they are there, everywhere, and nowhere at the same time. Stuck between modern society that expects “integration” and an antiquated style of living outside societal norms.
Since I began taking photographs on the street I’ve photographed conditions of poverty and the homeless. I can’t help that no matter which huge city I visit around the world, I’m hard pressed to ignore what I see beyond the beauty and allure of a city like Paris. A comment made recently on a social media site called my photos in this series “inhumane”. I can’t say I agree with this comment. As a photographer I feel it is my duty to document life as I see it. My hope is that future generations will be able to look at these photos in shock of how people “used to” live. Whether we want to accept it or not, there are growing numbers of men, women, children, and elderly living in extreme poverty around the world, turning a blind eye or ignoring these people won’t make them go away. The following photographs touch on two perspectives of life on the street in Paris. Meant to spur a reaction and hopefully a debate, in you the viewer.