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bradmoore|blog


4.30.2010

I've Moved!

If you're here looking for Brad Moore, entertainment/concert photographer, assistant to Scott Kelby, and former assistant to Joe McNally, my blog is now at blog.bmoorevisuals.com. That's where you'll find all of my concert photography, thoughts on the photo business, lighting walkthroughs, post processing tips, and other ramblings on photography.


posted by Brad @ 2:27 PM, ,





8.03.2008

Mistakes: The Trip from Hades, Pt. 2

We finished shooting for SI and retreated to Coronado Island, outside of San Diego, for a few days rest before heading south to cover the Baja 1000 for Micron. Needless to say, this was quite different than the previous job I had in college, working part-time for a mid-size daily newspaper. Joe reminded me of this as we sat having breakfast on the patio one morning, overlooking the harbor and city, surrounded by palm trees and beautiful weather.

I was enjoying my stay on the island, walking around the nearby area snapping pictures, driving down to the village and shopping for flip flops, and visiting the beach at The Del. Yes, all was going well until the day before crossing the border to Mexico...

As I'm getting things organized, preparing to cross the border, I decide to ahead and pull my passport out of the camera bag pocket I had packed it in. I unzip the pocket, stick my hand in, and don't feel anything.

What. The. Crap.

I proceed to empty every single pocket of every single bag I have with me. Every zipper unzipped, every pocket emptied, every nook uncrannied. Nothing. It's official...

I... have lost... my freaking passport!

The passport that I had just gotten for this trip. The passport that had never been outside of the United States. The passport that had no stamps on any of the pages. Gone.

I go down to meet Joe for breakfast, having absolutely no idea what I'm going to do or how he is going to react. He walks in and greets me, but sees the look on my face and immediately asks what's wrong.

"I can't find my passport."

He looks displeased, to say the least, but gains his composure and immediately begins thinking about how we're going to pull this off. Luckily, this is taking place in 2006, and access to Mexico is still possible with a U.S. driver's license.

Once we figure this out, a sigh of potential relief is breathed (you never know for sure what's going to happen until it happens). We enjoy the rest of our time in Coronado, then prepare to venture south of the border.

The next morning, we awake, load our rental vehicle, and drive south. We arrive at the border, pull out the instructions that have been emailed to us on how to get our visas (the process involves a lot of going from one office to another and then back to the previous office, and it has to be done in a very particular order).

At one point, I am asked for my passport. I smile and say, "Driver's license?" as I hand it toward the officer.

"Passport...?"

Big, friendly smile. "Driver's license...?"

He rolls his eyes and accepts my license, finishes processing the paper work, and we're on our way.

Sweet! I made it into Mexico without my passport! It was a moment of joy for me. Unfortunately, it would be short-lived...

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posted by Brad @ 1:05 PM, ,





7.16.2008

Mistakes: The Trip from Hades, Pt. 1

The second job that I ever assisted Joe on was a portrait for AARP in Washington D.C. The subject was a lawyer who had taken up pottery in his retirement. This being the second shoot I'd been on with Joe, I was still getting the hang of packing gear in the Suburban... Still learning the best place for each item to go. Location work being what it is, we had to park about half a block away from the pottery studio and walk the gear over. Of course, it also started pouring the rain.

This meant that I had to walk back and forth from the studio to the truck, in the rain, to retrieve gear that I had forgotten to bring on the initial trip. Multiple times. One of these items was a knife. The cameras have these L-brackets on them that partially cover the USB port, making it difficult to access when shooting tethered, and thus requires a knife to pry it open. "Hence", Joe informed me, "the knives always travel with the cameras." Okay, point taken.

The shoot went well, and Joe worked his magic to create what looked like daylight pouring in through the studio screen door when it was anything except sunshine and kitty cats outside.

From D.C., we continue traveling and begin working on the NCAA Basketball preview issue of Sports Illustrated. Seven colleges over the course of about two or three weeks to do portraits of the "big freshmen."

Fast forward a week or two, and Joe and I are flying to a different city every other day. This was a new experience for me, seeing that I'd flown a total of three times in my life before this trip.

We're going through security at Salt Lake City Airport one early morning, en route to Tucson, when the TSA agent pulls my camera bag (Joe and I each traveled with one) and says he needs to look through it. Sure, whatever. Nothing out of the ordinary...

So, he begins digging through it, and pulls out a knife. A Leatherman to be exact.

TSA Agent: "Sir, did you realize this was in here?"

Me: "Oh, crap. I wasn't even thinking about it..."

The searching of the bag continues... He pulls another knife. Swiss Army. Suspicious look...

TSA Agent: "Sir, is there anything else in here I should know about?"

Me: "Um... I think there might be one more."

Yep. Another Leatherman.

Me: "Just a second, let me get my boss. He's coming through the other line." I turn around. "Joe..."

TSA Agent: "Sir, is this your bag?"

Joe: "Yeah...?"

TSA Agent presents knives.

Joe: "BRAD!! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!? YOU CAN'T BRING KNIVES ON A PLANE!!!"

Me: (very sheepishly) "But... You said the knives... always travel... with... the cameras...?"

At this point, I think the TSA Agent realizes it's an honest mistake and explains our options. They can either confiscate the knives, or they will allow us to ship them back home via the Hudson News right next to security that happens to sell packaging, stamps, and ship things.

So Joe goes over to package them up and ship them home, while I sit down and feebly attempt to tie my shoes with trembling hands. There is a kind gentleman sitting beside me who saw everything and tries to assure me that it'll be okay.

I finish putting my shoes back on as Joe comes back over, and we begin walking toward our gate. I'm not really sure what to do or say, so I muster up enough courage to glance over and say, "I'm so sorry."

That's when Joe just begins laughing. LAUGHING! After I almost got arrested.

I'm slightly befuddled as to why he's laughing and not yelling at me. He explains that he's pulled his share of bonehead moves during his career, so he has to have patience and be forgiving. The only thing you can do is learn from your mistakes and move on.

I finally muster a bit of a smile and we make our way to the gate. Little did I know that before the trip was over, I would test his patience, grace, and forgiveness as much as humanly possible...

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posted by Brad @ 1:14 AM, ,





7.15.2008

I'm Alive!

Despite what the inactivity here might lead you to believe, I am still alive. This week we are in LA on another high-volume commercial shoot, so I will be very busy. But... if I can find time, I want to get the first part of the "saga" I mentioned on Joe's blog out to you guys. It's written in my head, I just have to find time to type it out.

Until then, check out this video from Ovation TV on Mr. Over-the-Top, David LaChapelle.


posted by Brad @ 10:00 AM, ,





6.25.2008

On Location: Boston

Last week, I was in Boston with Joe working on a high-volume commercial shoot. As he mentions at the end of this post, he shot over 200 GB in three days. To be exact, it was 258.57 GB, shooting RAW+JPG Basic.

Why JPG Basic and not Fine? Basic, being a smaller file, allows for faster transfer/download times, which is critical in a case like this. But it is still large enough for the client to view and make their selects from. The smaller files/faster transfer time also makes it more likely for me to be able to hand them a portable drive with the entire take before they leave location to return home. This saves me time in the long run as well, since it's one less thing I have to take care of upon returning to the studio, and also saves on shipping costs :)

This was a very fast-paced, exciting shoot. We were bombing around the city from one location to another each day (about five different locations each day, with a number of setups at each location). But about 75% of my time on location was spent sitting in a mini-van, downloading images to a laptop, while our second assistant, Rob Brown, was doing most of the grunt work.

My workflow for this particular shoot... Depending on the pace of shooting, I would let the cards (8 GB Lexar 300x UDMA) get down to about 50 frames or so remaining, then snag them from the camera, and replace them with fresh cards. I would then download them to the laptop (with Lexar's UDMA Firewire 800 readers, which are a Godsend!) Once they were downloaded to the laptop, I would then copy them to an external drive (also Firewire 800). Then I would copy them to another external drive. This way if I screwed up in one, or even two places, everything would still be on at least one drive. Only then would I format the cards. If we were transiting between locations, I would download as much as I could in whatever time the transit allowed for.

At the end of the day, I would sort everything in the laptop's folder by capture time (as opposed to filename, since we were shooting with three cameras), and rename the files. I also added Joe's copyright to the metadata. Once the metadata was finished, I would then re-copy everything to the external drives, replacing the original files.

If you haven't noticed already, the key in all of this is speed, speed, speed. This is why we opted for the smaller-but-faster 200GB 7200 RPM hard drive (as opposed to the 250GB 5400 RPM drive) when getting a new laptop. The faster I can get cards downloaded, backed up, and formatted, the longer Joe can shoot without interruption... Which means we finish shooting earlier, get back to the hotel to shower and change clothes more quickly, get to dinner sooner, get back to the hotel sooner, and get to sleep earlier. Every minute counts when your day begins between 4-5 a.m. and ends around 11 p.m.-midnight.

It may sound like I was taking the easy way out, letting Rob do all the heavy lifting while I sat in the van, but that's not really the case. Think about it like this... You spend a lot of time working on a particular shot, and the client is watching the entire time, so they have a really good idea of what they're going to see when they look at the pictures. The time comes for them to make their selects, and they start browsing through the take. But they have a particular setup in mind that they are looking for... They scroll and scroll, hoping to come upon it at any moment, but they never see what the money shot. Where is it...?

"Oh, that card was accidentally formatted before it got downloaded."

Or...

"The camera's filename structure started over, and some of the original frames got overwritten by the newer ones."

Or...

"A homeless guy mugged me and took all the cards!"

Whatever. It doesn't matter.

The point is, card and image management is one of the most important parts of the job. And when three different cameras are being used, all of which have two cards in them, that makes it all the more challenging to keep things in order. While it may not seem like hard physical work, it can be very stressful mentally. One wrong click or keystroke, and everything can go away in a matter of milliseconds. Including the trust the client had in you and your reputation.

Luckily, everything went well and everyone had a great time. Especially at dinner the night after the Celtics beat the crap out of the Lakers...

Celtics Championship Trophy

Doc Rivers


posted by Brad @ 11:56 AM, ,





6.10.2008

Mistakes - Part 1 of Many

Everyone makes mistakes.

I am no exception to this fact. My mistakes are many, and I have no doubt that I will continue to make mistakes as long as I have breath in my lungs. My most recent mistake (as an assistant, that is) happened less than a couple of weeks ago...

A week before it happened, Joe had planned on going into the city (NYC) for a shoot. He'd given me a pack list, which I took, packed everything, and double checked. I was just finishing things up when he came out and told me that the shoot had been postponed until the following week.

No big. Just leave everything packed and we'll be ready to go when next week rolls around, right...?

During the course of the week, things inevitably get moved around, somewhat unpacked, etc. The day of the shoot rolls around again, and I load up the truck with what had already been packed, loosely checking to make sure we still had everything. Looks good.

We get into the city, fight through traffic, and arrive at our destination. Get out, make chit chat with the people we're going to be shooting (friends of Joe's), then start to figure out how we're going to set things up. The shot Joe has in mind calls for firing the camera remotely via Pocket Wizards.

Guess what Joe's genius assistant had put in their own small bag and sat on top of the camera bag (which I moved during the week) during the initial pack, then overlooked when he was re-loading the truck the following week...

CRAP.

If there's one thing that I have learned from Joe since I've been working with him, it's that every problem has a solution. In addition to that, he has a policy to "never let 'em see you sweat," which he talks about in his book, The Moment It Clicks.

We immediately begin brainstorming to find a solution...

Have a car service bring the Pocket Wizards into the city from the studio in Connecticut? Too time consuming...

It's Friday evening... Who is still open...?

Joe gets on the phone and finds a store across town that's open for another hour and has some in stock. I jump in the truck and "race" across town (as quickly as I can in Friday evening NYC traffic, going through Times Square), and make it to the store with time to spare. Grab the Wizards, hop in the truck, and get back to location where Joe is already under way getting things set up.

Hook up the Wizards, do some test firing, and we're good to go.

The rest of the shoot goes pretty smoothly, and Joe was able to get some great pictures (but then again, when does he not?)

So, the lesson here is that you should ALWAYS double, triple, and quadruple check your pack to make sure you have EVERYTHING you might possibly need. Something Joe learned from Alfred Eisenstadt... It does you no good if it's back at the studio.

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posted by Brad @ 5:45 PM, ,





6.02.2008

Pascal Dangin - Retoucher Extraordinaire

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to this article from The New Yorker about one of the industry's top retouchers (though from the article, it sounds like he might be the top retoucher), Pascal Dangin.

With a client list that includes American Express, Vanity Fair, W, Harper's Bazaar, Annie Leibovitz, etc., you know this guy knows his stuff.  He is the founder of Box Studios, which is a retouching house and high-end digital photography studio.

As the article states, he isn't credited in magazines, but he is the go-to guy for the fashion industry and celebrities when they want to make sure their images look their absolute best.

It's interesting to see how this one person has shaped the world of digital photography so much just by his "style" of retouching.  It's not a particular style, though.  It's his ability to conform to the needs of a particular client, and being so good at it that his style is being a master of being good.

The New Yorker: Pixel Perfect: Pascal Dangin's Virtual Reality

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posted by Brad @ 4:07 PM, ,





5.30.2008

The Rest of DLWS Redwoods

As promised and in no particular order, here are the rest of the pictures from DLWS Redwoods...

Redwoods_Mossy_Bark

Redwoods_Leaf

Redwoods_Bark

Redwoods_Inside_Tree

Redwoods_Trail

Redwoods_Mossy_Tree

Redwoods_Worker

The morning that this shot was taken, I think I had more pictures of this foot bridge than of the trees. Leave it to me to be surrounded by nature and end up taking pictures of the texture on this bridge instead!

Labels: ,


posted by Brad @ 11:18 AM, ,





Welcome!

I know many of you have found me through Scott Kelby's blog (thanks Scott!!) I just wanted to welcome you and let you know to check back again very soon as I will have the remainder of my images from DLWS Redwoods posted by the end of the morning.

I'm new at this whole blogging thing, so any feedback you have is greatly appreciated!

Labels: , , ,


posted by Brad @ 10:25 AM, ,





5.21.2008

DLWS Redwoods - Day 1 PM

Trying to play a little catch-up here... We headed to the beach for our second shoot. There were some nice reflections and clouds to play around with.

Redwoods_Reflection
Captured with a Nikon D3 on Lexar CF Media, 14-24mm f/2.8

This one actually didn't see any post aside from dropping a black point onto it, and it's probably my favorite from the evening.


Redwoods_Rocks_Reflection
Captured with a Nikon D3 on Lexar CF Media, 14-24 mm f/2.8


Redwoods_Mountain
Captured with a Nikon D3 on Lexar CF Media, 14-24mm f/2.8

Turned the sky b&w, then deepened it and added some contrast overall.

Labels:


posted by Brad @ 6:00 AM, ,





5.20.2008

DLWS Day 1 AM

I'm about a day behind the curve here, which isn't really a good way to start this off, but I'll get there! The rest of the DLWS staff pretty well has this blogging thing down by now, but being the newbie that I am, it might take me a little longer to get the hang of this.

That said, here are a few images from yesterday morning's shoot on the coast here at Crescent City, CA...

Redwoods_Dock


Started off around the dock area, where there was some nice fog. I really liked the graphic of the dock, so I worked that for a while and came up with this. The raw image was much more hazy, but I wanted to bring the boats out a little. So I took it into Capture NX and dropped a control point to add some selective contrast without completely taking the fog out. Desaturated it a bit, then added some vignetting with Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0.


Redwoods_Mechanical
Captured with a Nikon D3 on Lexar CF Media, 70-200mm f/2.8

After that I walked around for a while trying to find something else of interest and stumbled upon some old, broken down tractor trailers. This was on the back of one of them and caught my eye, so I snapped this. Did some tweaking in Photoshop, then threw the Bleach Bypass filter from Nik CEP 3.0 onto it.


Redwoods_Shipwreck
Captured with a Nikon D3 on Lexar CF Media, 14-24mm f/2.8

I turned around and saw this boat across the way, but couldn't get the shot I wanted (down low from the other side) because there was a fence and a bunch of other junk in the way (as you can see). So I kind of settled for this shot, but couldn't completely pass it up because it was just so odd sitting there on dry land. Did some Photoshop finessing and added the Glamour Glow (again, Nik CEP 3.0).


Redwoods_Ship
Captured with a Nikon D3 on Lexar CF Media, 14-24mm f/2.8

As I was walking back to the van with the rest of the DLWS staff, we wandered into this huge building where they were literally enlarging this already huge fishing ship. The guys working on this behemoth were very friendly, informative, and deservedly proud of their work.


Redwoods_Worker
Captured with a Nikon D3 on Lexar CF Media, 14-24mm f/2.8

As we wandered around in awe of the size of the boat, Joe's eye wandered toward the beautiful quality of light splashing along the wall. So, being the master he is, he grabbed one of the workers and asked him to stand along the wall for a few seconds. Obviously, I did a little Photoshop tweaking on this, a mixture of adjustment layers and high pass, to get the grungy look.

Chances are you found me through someone else's blog, but make sure you check out the rest of the DLWS staff's images as well:
Moose
Joe
Laurie
Kevin
Josh
Jake

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posted by Brad @ 6:27 PM, ,





5.19.2008

DLWS Redwoods - Scout Day

Unless otherwise noted, all images captured with a Nikon D3 and a Nikon 14-24mm lens and edited in Nikon Capture NX.

Redwoods_Ferns

Edited in Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended. I also used the Glamour Glow filter in the Nik Color Efex 3.0 plugin to give it a bit of a surreal feel, then added some high pass sharpening.

Redwoods_Canopy

I also used the Glamour Glow filter in Color Efex on this shot.

Redwoods_God_Beams


Redwoods_Log

Captured with a Nikon 24-70mm. Added some high pass sharpening in Photoshop CS3.

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posted by Brad @ 3:13 AM, ,





5.18.2008

Welcome to bradmoore|blog

As you can see, this is my first entry. It's also very late as I type this and I have to wake up early to go shooting, so it's going to be short and sweet. But I did want to post some sort of explanation about what this whole thing is going to end up being.

In short, it will be a photo blog.

I want to not only share my own photography, but point you to other places and people who inspire me. I also want to share tips and tricks about shooting, assisting, and editing.

I'll post more details later on when I have more time and am more awake, but I just wanted to give you a quick run-down so you kind of know what to expect.

You can subscribe at the bottom of any post, or drop by again later. Thanks!


posted by Brad @ 4:26 AM, ,