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Medium Format Interview

Monday, September 1st, 2014

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Medium Format Interview

Behind the Shutter: What is your tool of choice?

Mostly I use a Nikon D800, but I love medium format too!

How long have you been shooting medium format?

I started shooting with a medium-format vintage Rolleicord in 1980 when I was working on my first documentary and book, Dancing Naked in the Material World. 

Tell us a little about yourself. What got you into photography? How long have you been shooting? What kind of photography are you known for?

My background [is in] sociology and psychology. This explains my love for documentaries. I decided to go to art school when I could not find a job in my field. I took a photo class as an elective, and the rest is history. First assignment was to do some street shooting in the city. Many of my classmates struggled with this, but I loved it. I am a people person.

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Prague The Hidden Forest

Monday, August 11th, 2014

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Being a photographer is probably one of the best jobs in the world. Not gonna lie, I am, of course, a little biased. But being a professional photographer is not without its challenges.

As I have grown as an artist I have come to realize more and more than the best shots come from a sprinkle of chaos. Not everything needs to be perfectly planned. We have to be able to embrace the moment. A little improvisation never hurt anyone.

While in Prague on a recent trip, we were driving about an hour outside of the city to get away from the flood of tourists. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Prague, especially the dumplings… I digress… but damn, the amount of tourists everywhere made it a very challenging city to photograph and enjoy. To the countryside we headed.

En route, with no real idea of where we were, BOOM! the hidden forest appeared. The leading lines, the light, the grass, the time of day, everything… JUST FREAKING PERFECT!

One major problem…. We were not prepared for a shoot. No model. No hair and makeup. Just what we had with us. Alissa was on deck for any random shoots and it was time for her to suit up. We had a vintage wedding dress that we picked up in London for $75 at a second hand store.

We jumped out of the car and just started wandering around looking for the light and leading lines, etc. Then we found this perfect spot where there was a tree that had fallen or been cut… I thought to myself, “Perfect!”

Alissa started applying makeup while the rest of the team prepared for the shoot, testing lighting, etc.

Here was the challenge, while the lighting was perfect to the eye, it was not perfect for the camera. We needed an alternate light source. Enter the Profoto B1. 500 Watts of portable power wherever and whenever I need it!!

I wanted something soft, natural, and even surreal. That would not happen with a hard light, which is my normal choice when lighting portraits. No light modifiers, just a hard edged light. Time to improvise. We took a white reflector and bounced the light into that to create a larger and softer light source to ensure she was properly lit, but not overpowering the shot.

End of day, don’t be afraid to add a little spontaneity and improvisation to your shoots. You might be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Enjoy.

Camera | PhaseOne IQ250
Lighting | Profoto B1
Glass | Schneider 55mm

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Medium Format

Friday, August 1st, 2014

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Medium Format

Shutter: What is your tool of choice?

Travis Neely: Depending on the subject, I shoot either Canon 35mm with the Zeiss lenses (28mm and 50mm macro) or, preferably, my Mamiya Leaf Credo 80 system with the 45mm or 80mm lens. I try to shoot as much as I can with the Credo.

How long have you been shooting medium format?

I’ve shot with Mamiya’s film cameras for over 10 years, but started shooting digital medium format around two years ago. I worked with the Leaf Aptus 22 before upgrading to the new Credo 80, which is an incredible system.

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Medium Format Photography

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

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Medium Format Photography

What is your tool of choice?

As with most photographers, my favorite tool depends on the project. I shoot the Phase One DF body with 40+ back, as well as Canon, and the Leica M.

How long have you been shooting medium format?

Believe it or not, I started with large format, an old Kodak 4×5 with a press lens. The Mamiya RZ was my first medium-format camera, and wow, that was a wonderful format to shoot film on. I’ve also shot the Contax 645, which I still regret selling. Now I’m working with the Phase One system, and it’s quite intuitive. The images obviously give you so much more information to work with due to the chip size, the resolution and the bit depth.

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