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Showing posts from 2008

Danie Nel Photography logs off for the year 2008!

This is a video Jeremy put together, initially as a prezzy for me, but we ended up adding some pics just to round the video off. It's 8min long, so normally I'm not that bandwidth insensitive, but once a year should be fine. It's kinda lo-res to keep you speedy. The intro is in Afrikaans, but basically Jeremy just say welcome, thanx me for the oppurtunity to work there....,and that's it!2008 has been a fantastic ride, the best year business-wise, in the last 8/9 years of operation. At times I was booked up to 5 weeks and more in advance. When Jeremy started, things started becoming less manic in some ways, a little more crazy in others, as you'll notice in the video. To all my clients, thank you so much for the loyal support. My very first client ever, when I was still a photography student, still occupied my studio a couple of days this year! To all the others, my suppliers, colleagues and supporters, thank you so much for a great year. I hope the holidays rejuven…

My Week Dec 2008 Photolog

I've had the good fortune of being asked by my client, MyWeek Magazine, to submit a photolog of a "day-in-the-life-of" ...me. As you can imagine it was a bit strange having a camera on me all day, with my wife, Jeremy and myself taking pics all day long of my mundane doings. Anyways, below is the photolog as it appears, otherwise, if you're in the Northern 'burbs of Cape Town, you'll find a free copy at select restaurants and most malls. Click on the pic to see the big version.

CEO at Webnow

We did a quick shoot at Webnow (www.webnow.co.za) - the guys I use for my nifty newsletters, which you should be subscribing to, by the way - yesterday. Basically the brief was to shoot Jean-Pierre, the CEO, to get some imagery for general PR and media purposes. It's a funky, trendy company, so the images needed to reflect that. Now this just made me very aware again of the need of companies to get a decent profile of media friendly images together for their respective MD's, CEO's, Managers and all who will have some media exposure. I cringe every time I see a photo in a business magazine grabbed while at a party by a mate (because I wasn't looking at the camera, and it looks friendly),  or while making a speech of some sort (grabbed by the event photographer from below, showing podium, powerpoint presentation, and oh, a pic of some indiscernable figure, basked in all colours of light), or the latest fad: the company bought a nice new camera for these purposes and my s…

New Annie Leibovitz book

Celebrity (READ: I'm more famous than the people I photograph) photographer, Annie Leibovitz, has brought out a new book, discussing her behind-the-scenes workings and dealings, explaining a lot of stuff she felt, went through and got around. I haven't read it, but will hopefully be reading it soon.If you're interested:

Lighting Light

The other day we got a call to come and shoot some lamps at a company supplying lamps and interior decor items to some big retail chains. First catch: location, second catch: even background, third catch (my own gripe): lamps have to be lit, but in this case you can't see the power cord... Setting up. We had limited space, so 2 heads had to do the job. Visatecs with shoot-through and reflective brolly box. Jeremy inserting the magic in the lamp. Strobists, it shouldn't be too difficult for you to figure out. Jeremy placing the lamp, me in my default position for the day. Final raw shot. Half-day: 60 odd products. Not bad going.

Good Taste Shoot

I recently shot a article for Good Taste magazine, featuring Giorgio Nava of 95 Keerom fame. The plot of the whole affair is that a chef rocks up at the designated winemaker/punter's house, and needs to put together a dish or 2 with whatever he finds in the kitchen. It was good fun, but called for some shooting and thinking off the cuff, as it all needs to be shot as it happens.Go and view the images and article here: http://www.goodtaste.co.za/Special-Interest/Theres-an-Italian-in-My-Kitchen.htmlAlso see the neat little video - although it's only about cooking, you can see my Speedlite and my figure in the back briefly!

A poem relating to photography

Through Gods eyesA photograph could be just that An image of the all incumbent nature of sense and emotionPasted together by colour and light A woman’s smile A Veteran’s wrinkles A child playing A funeralA treeBehind the lens lies a potent instrument a master’s eye much more vigilant It manipulates the palate and its artificial friend To draw the truth by it’s reluctant thread to the other endThe Sadness within happinessThe long journey towards maturityThe young soul’s vulnerability The farewell to flesh The vessel of timeA photograph could be just thatPasted in a book to fade and grow olderForgotten foreverOr something more mysterious and bolder ImmortalAn exhibition in the gallery of the BeholderBy: Nadine Potgieter

From a different era

I happened to come upon this little optical slave whilst shopping for some manual flashes. I was offered this Nissin Synchro-Eye Slave Unit for a mere R100 as a novelty throw-in with the SB-16 I was buying, which by the way, I overpaid by about R500 (it cost me R600...) .Compare this little thing with the Falcon Eyes (the ones I use) or even an upscale Hama for packaging and presentation. Its just not quite the same anymore!Oh, it works by the way. I think the resin body is ingenious as it lets light in from everywhere. The suction cup sucks and generally it's a neat little product that stood the test of time. It's small, real small, about half the size of a normal slave.I own a Nissin hammerhead flash, which seems new enough, but haven't been able to find any info on this little gizmo anywhere. Anybody?

Support this cause

A message from a muso friend of mine - please support his effort.It's finally here! I wrote a song of hope and peace with 11-time Emmy Award Winner Andy J Gundell and Grammy Award Winner Julie Gold.We're shooting for a World Record of 1000 000 'listens'.Be a part of it - Let's wrap this song around the world together.Visit www.jamesonline.co.zaClick on the BIG ROUND BUTTONSurf around the Khululeka [freedom] site.Listen and watch.If you love it, click 'SHARE' and forward to ALL of your friends. If you'd like to BUY the song, you are welcome to. ALL proceeds will go to the Desmond Tutu HIV foundation. Go for it! Lots of loveJames

3 Ships Whisky

In the current issue of Wine Mag you'll find an article of Andy Watts of 3 Ships Whisky, pictured here in the barrel cellar. He is the distiller, master distiller, cellar master or whatever title one holds as creator of fine whisky, at the James Sedgewick Distillery in Wellington, South Africa. And lately they've been taking some awards home, specifically with the Bourbon Finish Cask which essentially is the whisky receiving its final maturation in old bourbon vats imported from the States (yup, mister JD himself's). In the States, by law, you're not allowed to mature whisky in second-use barrels. So they either sell'em or use em' for firewood. Here we can, and it ads a great smooth vanilla tone to the 5 year to create this beauty.Normally one is not even allowed to answer a cell-phone in a cellar like this for fear of explosions, since whiskey vapour permeates the whole place, and they're busy filling vats with some alcohol of a high proof (% of alcohol/vo…

My hobby

Maybe not all of you might know this, but for fun I make music. Below is a playlist of songs as you'd find them on ilike.com . Check out http://music.danienel.co.za for my seriously DIY homepage for my music. I like music, it gives me joy, I can practice my faith using it, and I enjoy seeing people enjoy it.Go have a listen at:www.myspace.com/danienelmusichttp://www.ilike.com/artist/Danie+Nelhttp://www.last.fm/music/Danie+Nel

Sunu Gonera/Pride

Sometimes it's true. You just don't quite have a clue. I had such an experience recently.Last year I photographed a young guy, Sunu Gonera, for O Magazine (Oprah SA) at Kennedy's Cigar Lounge in Cape Town. As is often the case, you're actually not briefed on who the guy is, or who he is becoming. I found out as I was shooting him, that he was indeed a film director. Now, in a city that spawns hundred and thousands of ads, music vids and features annually, that in itself is not a big deal. He did mention that he had just gotten a great contract in Hollywood and that he would be leaving for the US soon to go and direct a movie. As I've often heard that type of story, I assumed it's a low-budget, possibly TV-movie, or at best, a seriously obscure art movie. Snotty and cynical, I know, and I repent! Anyways, if the guy is such a big deal, why get me to shoot him? (Ok, we all have a  bit of insecurity to deal with!) Also, he was wAAAAAAAAY humble, and cool. My exper…

I enjoyed this shot...

I was recently shooting a story on some current sushi-hotshots -and spots, and had the privilege to shoot Edwin Santa Ana at Chai Yo in Durbanville. I loved watching the chefs work and see their skills with knives.Alas, I still don't like sushi, sorry. It's too jelly-ish, weird,....and raw. Interesting topic to cover though.Find below the pic of Edwin.Strobists: Speedlights only...(C) 2008 Danie Nel Protected by laws, voodoo and all such stuff.

Hemel-en-Aarde-Vallei /Heaven and Earth Valley

This piece of valley in the Overberg region, the Walker Bay area, behind Hermanus, nestled in the mountains, are becoming quite the wine region these days. With such notables as Bouchard Finlayson, Creation Wines, Sumaridge, Hamilton Russel Vineyards, La Vierge, Newton Johnson and more recently Artaraxia, this area is a must-visit for any wine lover. Wine Magazine commissioned me to go and shoot a cellar door comparison at Bouchard Finlayson and Hamilton Russel, then just carry on and shoot a travel supplement of the rest of the valley. But we have between 0900 and 1630 when the last winery closes. Total number of wineries to shoot? 7.We started the day arriving at Hamilten Russel just shy of 0900, then carrying on to Bouchard Finlayson (where we grabbed a quick moment to do a little animation while waiting in the cellar - watch this space in the next couple of weeks) and then hitting the dirt road hard to get all the shots. At La Vierge we got some food and restaurant shots, in Herma…

Early Morning Car Shoot

Last month Jeremy and I had to quickly go and shoot a car at a studio out in Kontermanskloof-area, Cape Town.The shoot presented a couple of challenges:We had to start shooting at 05:30 am and finish by 08:00We couldn't really do much about the light set-up as we were shooting in between film shoots, using their lighting.The film crew was utilizing a reflective scrum, lighting reflectively from the scrum - not great for reflections on cars. The studio was waiting to install a proper shoot-through/translucent scrum, that is also operatable with a pully system from the floor. This one needed rig-setting from the roof, which meant I couldn't drop the scrum. 5000W Bambino's are powerful light-sources, but in a studio of this size, small. Exposure ended up at 1sec f22, 3200K.It was a test shoot, so I wasn't paid!BUTThe studio is amazing for:SIIIIIZE! What you see in the video is less than half of the total space.Huge curve3-phase industrial juiceA revolve fitted in the stud…

Elopers - Michael & Jasmin

A month or 2 ago (sorry, I'll be posting some belated, but interesting projects as well, from time to time), Michael & Jasmin got married at the Slangkop Lighthouse, Kommetjie, Cape Town, South Africa. (They're in good company as Richard Gere (or company at least), is currently filming his latest offering there among other places.) Well, at, is not an accurate description, but rather, in, and more specifically; at the top. 33 meters up a circular stairway, next to a lamp that will take me from caucasian to roughly Pantone Firetruck Red in a glance.All this is still fun, you see, as I don't mind heights, and I have done jobs up there before, and I like different locations. And I'm not indifferent to the odd European elopers who wish to get married in our fair town. Weddings are a creative break for me, and I find focusing on these small, intimate weddings keep my interest in creative, thinking-on-your-feet shooting, without the hassles of big wedding drama etc. I st…

At the Library

Well, the last couple of posts has featured Jeremy, and this one will as well, as after 8 years of working on my own, he is definitely bringing some new experiences to DNP. Last week we were commissioned to shoot "The Library", owned by Minki van der Westhuizen and hubby Constant Visser, in Stellebosch for Wine Magazine.  The general brief was lifestyle, Minki, food etc etc as you would expect on a restaurant featured owned by celebrities. This however is not the point of the post.The Library's decor consists among other things of wallpaper made up of paper-back and other more refined book-covers. To top it up there are shelves put up along the whole restaurant filled with books (which apparently numbers approximately 2500). While waiting around for the journalist (Leigh Robertson) to arrive, Jeremy started looking around. Among the 2nd hand books that was used to create the Library effect he found an old sketch-pad with 2 pastel sketches in it. The rest of the pad was..…

Photoshop Books Worth Reading

For the PS CS3 fans out there, this is a great book. My very intuitive wife bought me this book as a present, a month or so before upgrading to CS3. How she knew I was planning to upgrade, I'm not entirely sure, but anyway, I have it, and it's a great resource.If you don't have a heck of a lot of time to study, but need a quick reference, as to how to achieve certain effects in CS3, CS3 colour corrections and workflow management, this is the one.Another great, slightly more technical book on the topic of colour correction is: With this one, you need to read the book cover to cover, and only then start referencing. It takes you through the whole colour management process, output settings and calibration of various imaging devices to get consistent results. In my opinion, the best book on the topic I've encountered.Technorati Tags: ,,,,,,,,,,,,

Introduction to Jeremy Purèn

As promised, I will introduce the new face at Danie Nel Photography. Some of you might've met him already, while on a shoot, or a delivery, or tearing down the highway on the studio's yellow Vuka. He is pictured here while reflecting on a shoot recently. Jeremy's job description is digital asset manager/assistant photographer, but he does a heck of a lot more. The workflow at the studio has been streamlined, a day at the studio is less lonely, and generally we just have a load of fun. Oh, and my beverage intake has quadrupled. Jeremy is a BA Arts graduate, with a penceant for stop-motion/stills-animation film-making, installations and generally BIG ideas. He has recently been featured on an episode of Headwrap  on SABC1 for a collaboration with a traditional Venda potter in Limpopo. These days the sounds that permeat the studio are that of Fleetwood Mac, Electric Light Orchestra mixed with my own eclectic collecion of Van der Want/Letcher, Dave Matthews Band and also, us j…

Update

I've not been very active on the blog lately, mainly because we've been fairly busy, I've contracted pleuritis (haven't missed a day of work) and had some extensive chiropractic treatment for a back I managed to mess up a bit while picking up a toolbox. Also, Jeremy and I have been getting the studio up to scratch, I've been training him in the ways of the DNP method, and and and.I've promised to put up some piccies of the two of us at work, and Jeremy's been working on a short video compilation of our goings on, which includes shooting up the winelands, shooting the Mercedes S320 CDI at Propaganda Studios, stuffing our faces and drinking totally unbuyably expensive brandy at an Alchemy of Gold food and brandy pairing at Geisha Restaurant, etc etc. But I haven't gotten around to it. And I won't quite today, but soon!So what am I up to now? Meeting clients at a coffeeshop, doing some shopping for the studio and then back to the studio for some retouc…

Self-Portraits

I've recently stumbled across the everyday project by Noah Kalina. Noah is a commercial photographer in Brooklyn, NY, USA. The project is a collection of 2356 self-portraits taken on successive days. With other words, 6 YEARS! He then compiled it into a video and has since been nominated for a YOUTUBE award, and received 9 and a half million views to date! I found the video oddly fascinating, intriguing and somehow disturbing. I think it is one of the best photo projects ever. The photography is secondary - turn the camera around and snap - but the idea and the sheer dedication to the project is inspiring. Check this out. Video below. Shortly after I was asked to shoot some self-portraits for a contributors page for Food&Home Entertaining Magazine (story on Albert Roux at Armajaro/Vondeling Estates - check August 08 issue).Well, I've always had pics of myself on shoots where I did light-tests, like my blog header, but I seldom shoot myself. (Strobists and technophiles - I u…

Kick-Butt Photo Studio Set-Up

I'm in the midst of rearranging my workflow, studio, set-up, work-life, philosophies on work-flow and systems, equipment, financial systems etc etc.I put off to appoint a studio assistant for 8 years, well, now I'll have one. My digital workflow, and especially archiving is undergoing a facelift. My studio is always being worked on, but last month it received its long awaited black walls and ceilings. My equipment is always being updated with little gadgets being added almost weekly. This month alone - new laptop (I highly recommend the guy I bought it from, follow link), boom stand, ThinkTankPhoto bag, servicing of equipment etc. Also, I'm upgrading my insurance, which will double my premiums per month, but I can't risk being without equipment. That however is only for my most essentials. 1.5% per month of replacement value on equipment can amount to 1000's per month.What is my aim? More professional, more excellent, more reliable, and a little more space to breat…

Bragging

I'm the first one to admit that you cannot live life by others' opinions of you, but unfortunately in business, your clients' opinion of your service will determine its success. Have a look at what some of my clients have had to say on my LinkedIn profile.

Position filled!

I appointed an assistant! Congratulations to Jeremy Puren who will be working with me from 1 July 2008. Jeremy is a BA Arts major with a solo exhibition under his belt already. More on the new addition once he is here. Other applicants: feel free to leave your details on the comments (click on 0/1/3/comments) page for others to grab your details.

Wine on a Yacht

It's a yacht, NOT a boat. Before you get on any yacht, take off your shoes and don't refer to it as a BOAT. You'll be walking the plank sooner than walking the deck. Not my rules, but all the yachty types'!

Earlier this year I was commissioned to shoot Wedderwill Wine Estate's Sauvignon Blanc 07 (one of the highlights of my wine drinking year - try and get your hands on some!) on this yacht, moored in the V&A marina. For the sake of privacy of the owner, I'll not divulge the yacht's name. What I'll say of that shoot is that SPF30 cream is essential when shooting in high summer on a yacht. My arms and legs normally have a full stop reflection value in a shot, afterwards I had a 3000K warming effect on all shots. See insert image.

Well, to keep the idea and spirit of the ads the same, I was recently commissioned to do the follow-up shoot. The Cab shot was to be done inside the yacht with the same model - Wolfgang - who also doubles as the companies Mark…

Another cover for Wiel

As I was writing the previous post I recalled last year's cool April cover of the Total Rally Toyota RunX owned by JP Damseaux. In this case a very symetrical front-on studio shot of the car was snipped in 2 for these collector's item covers. It's also a nice way to get people to buy 2 copies of the mag!

Do not be fooled: it didn't take 5 minutes to shoot this pic, but we did get some time to shoot some extras for the 4 page feature inside..., and revel in hearing the engine being started up, and revved for our pleasure.

It's then quite a coincidence that I would drive past this car yesterday on the Sir Lowrey's Pass, outside Somerset West (on my way back from shooting apples in Grabouw), where it was undergoing some tests, or just being driven for fun by its owner presumably.

For you petrol heads go check out the car's specs HERE.

Wiel April 2008 Covers

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The art director at Wiel came up with a cool idea for the April issue of Wiel this year. As it was their 30th anniversary issue, something needed to be done that showed they've got a track record, it's an exciting mag and they're fast, furious, and seriously funky. As the mag's cover is printed using web-printing (not internet-web) technology, it allows to run 3 different cover designs of the same print-run. It was decided that the 30th issue will have 3 different covers, with different colours, and slightly different photos, yet the same in style. This is seriously cool if you're into collecting magz. Go to Wiel to subscribe to this great publication.

We ended up shooting against a black studio wall, with my smoke machine (yup, I have one) doing the honours to create the sense of screetching tyres and lotsa gels and about 2 studio flashes and 4 little flashes off-camera for hi-lites and colour filling. The tread on the ground is real, and not photoshopped in after…