Friday, August 27, 2010

Dangerous Photography Jobs

This is taken from the above article, with permission:

Photography can be a case of life or death. It may sound absurd, but professional photographers often go to great lengths and compromise their safety in order to get the perfect picture. Whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to photograph Mount Everest or a mission to cover the Iraq war, many photographers risk their lives just to do their job. Here are 10 dangerous photography jobs:

  • Extreme Weather Photography
    Extreme weather photographers aren’t storm chasers, but they do have an eye for photographing hurricanes, tornados, thunderstorms and other severe weather in their most vulnerable state. As you can imagine, this job is nothing short of extreme. Extreme weather photographers have to get close to the storm when everyone else is running from it, which puts them at risk for injuries and often death.
  • BASE Jumping & Skydiving Photography
    Seeing the world from a bird’s eye view is the daily job of a BASE jumping and skydiving photographer.
    Although BASE jumping and skydiving have been perfected in many ways, there is still a considerable amount of danger involved in the process. For each jump, these photographers are responsible for taking pictures and sometimes shooting video of the person jumping, while making sure their parachute opens and they land safely as well. This type of aerial photography takes serious skills and a great deal of experience parachuting.
  • War Photography
    War photographers are literally at the forefront of conflict and life in war-torn areas, and have the most dangerous mission of all photographers by far. In order to capture quality photos that accurately report what’s happening, war photographers have to get close to the action and risk their lives for the sake of their job. They are frequently in danger of being captured, injured or killed while taking pictures of battle and events that need to be reported.
  • Travel Photography
    Travel photographers are sent all over the world to photograph breathtaking beaches, gorgeous mountain ranges and ancient lands that are destination hotspots. While the majority of travel photographers’ destinations are beautiful and safe, some are dangerous. International travel can be dangerous for photographers visiting war-torn and conflict areas, as well as places with limited civilization and few visitors.
  • Wildlife Photography
    Wildlife photographers not only get to travel to amazing places, but they also get to photograph nature’s most fascinating creatures. But, getting up close and personal with wild animals does have its dangers. Wildlife photographers risk being chased, attacked and killed by animals, in addition to getting infections and contracting diseases while in the wilderness.
  • Photojournalist
    Photojournalists are reporters who tell a story through photographs. They are often sent to cover car accidents, fires, natural disasters and other catastrophes, such as 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing. In order to get the best and most compelling photographs possible, photojournalists have to get close to the action taking place. In doing so, they run the risk of getting injured or killed while trying to get their pictures, and are often psychologically damaged by the horrific things they witness.
  • Underwater Photography
    Underwater photographers go to great depths to capture animals, plants and other marine life in their rarest form. Considered one of the most difficult yet exciting fields of photography, underwater photographers have to overcome a number of challenges and dangers while scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming. They may encounter heavy currents, tidal flow and poor visibility, which could cause photographers to get hurt or damage their scuba equipment. In rare instances, underwater photographers may get stung, bitten or hurt by animals while taking pictures.
  • Sports Photography
    Just like athletics, sports photography involves speed, accuracy and thinking ahead. Although most sports photographers are positioned on the sidelines, they aren’t always out of harm’s way. With their attention focused on the action, photographers may not have enough time to react to a 250-pound receiver running straight toward them or a line drive to the head. Unexpected injuries or deaths can happen in any sports game, and sports photographers are no exception.
  • Paparazzi
    The paparazzi is known for hounding their subjects and sometimes putting them in danger, but they also risk their own safety by going to great lengths to get photographs of celebrities, athletes, politicians and other high-profile figures. Paparazzi have gotten killed or injured in car accidents from racing to take pictures, as well as assaulted by the people in their photographs.
  • Adventure Photography
    From whitewater rafting, sailing, rock climbing and surfing, action/adventure photography is both exciting and dangerous. In order to get top-notch pictures, action/adventure photographers have to be a part of the action just as much as their subjects. Depending on the activity and level of difficulty, action/adventure photographers have to prepare, train and know what to do in the event that they fall, injure themselves, get lost and other potential dangers.

© All included pictures are from my own dare-devil stunts as a commercial photographer.

2010_03_06_0304 Dropped lens. Danger Factor: 9 – heart attack.

20100120_0099 Shooting Food: Danger Factor 7 – eat yourself to death or into coma.

20100318_0350 Car photography: Danger Factor 6 – asphyxiation by trying to get into the back seat of a Lotus.

20090930_0480pr Food and interiors in low-light: Danger Factor – 1 – looking stupid enough to get smacked.

_MG_0429_1 Car Studio Photography: Danger Factor – 4 – dropping a Bambino light on your head.

20090320_097 Aerial photography: Danger Factor – 8 – what goes up tend to come down.

20090626_0110 Travel photography: Danger Factor 6 - Being mistaken for a cross-dresser in Darling.

20081105_097lr Destination Wedding PHotography: Danger Factor – 9 – Falling of Table Mountain.

20080929_146 Goofing around: Danger Factor – 10 – you will fall eventually.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Amazing Roger Federer trickshot on Gillette ad shoot

The only reason I'm probably justified to post this here is that it happens in a neat photo studio, and it is awesome tennis version of William Tell!

Ok - to justify it being on the blog, let me quickly deconstruct what happened with the pics - my guess, looking at some of the images out there:

2 softboxes on Profoto heads - probably 7A packs for 2.4 KW. Sandwich setting (2 softboxes directly on either side of Roger, in a linear layout, w.o.w. SOFTBOX ->ROGER <- SOFTBOX, brolly box as hair and brush/rim light over should and hair. . Symmetrical balance on keys.

There, I justified posting a totally unphotographic post.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Carling Black Label TV Ads.

I was commissioned to shoot the behind-the-scenes photos for the two last Carling Black Label TV Ads. The cool thing about shooting the bts images is that you see the scale at which companies operate. The drag race scene had about 150 extras alone on set, never-mind the 10 plus trucks full of gear and loads of crew. Seeing the assistant director controlling the lot to let the director get on with what he’s doing, was quite a show!

It’s also great to see how from small snippets and shots, once woven together, a beautiful sequence is born. We were very curious to see the final product, after seeing only the actual filming. Very impressed.


Coming onto the set for this, the second shoot, I had no idea who Ruud Gullit is or was. I picked up he was some sort of big deal in the soccer world, but it took me a bit of research on the wiki the next day to realise that he was actually quite a major deal in Euro-football. Not unlike the time I sat next to Stuart Edwards at a business trade show, the then-CEO of Man United, and asking him if he like coached a school team, or what he meant by “I’m from a sport background”. But that’s a different story. Ruud’s a very nice guy, though. Even Top Billing was there to shoot an interview with him. We made sure we got a pic of Philly in the same vicinity as Ruud at least.

Ogilvy 39804_147189298632302_142378612446704_364924_906902_nThe building where part 1 of the shoot took place.

As the bts photographer, you need to blend in and not be noticed. It’s not always that easy and not unlike the rivalry between long-boarders and surfers, the film guys tend to eye you with a bit of mistrust. Luckily, I have no problem with staying out of people’s way, screwing on a long lens and letting rip. I shoot weddings as well, after all.


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After the set indoors was finished, Philip went on to the field at the Athlone towers to shoot the rest of the proceedings. I unfortunately had to leave earlier. 39804_147189318632300_142378612446704_364930_2040513_n39804_147189325298966_142378612446704_364932_584938_n

Congrats to all involved, great ads!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

BMW 5 Series Launch


Shooting a car launch always promises to be fun. A car launch is a multi-disciplined affair, if you choose to approach it more than just an event. I arrive with a full compliment of lighting, stands and thingemebobs, to make sure I’m prepared for any eventuality. I look to supply the client with: images of the actual vehicle being launched in the milieu of the launch (automotive photos in this case), landscapes, interiors and details shots creating a sense of the environment, shots of the promo material and various elements of the event organising, social images, corporate PR type images for media, and even food if it makes part of the event. No wonder this type of things suits me like a glove.

When you’re shooting a BMW 5 –series, it promises to be stylishly fun. READ: great locations, great food, intelligent conversation. However, if you need to photograph 5 of these monsters being driven by journo’s putting it through it’s paces on a 300km, non-circular route, and you need to catch them from the front as they pass by, on 2 locations…, mathematics and logic will tell that we need to pass them on at least 2 occasions.

Problem: I’m driving a Chev Aveo 1.5 LS on the day. They are driving a selection of new BMW 5 series luxury saloons. They are not concerned about speed traps. Solution: know shortcuts. Know their route better than they do. Have fuel in your car.

We started the day at the airport, where the journalists were received from their various locations, then chauffeur driven (them, not us) to Dornier Estate is Stellenbosch, for a light lunch and introduction to the car and explanation of the route. Then the journo’s got the opportunity to drive the cars. Roundabout here we started speeding like crazy to get to the Du Toit’s Kloof Pass; first lookout. We did this with 30 minutes to spare. How – their route took them via Wellington and Malmesbury. If you do the math, you’ll realise they must’ve been driving a scary speeds to close the gap to only 30 minutes.While waiting we encountered this local and his wild friend:

20100520_0243 The wild friend was wearing nothing but a jock-strap and leisurely watching the world pass in front of his 4x4 mobile home. Ah well. Then, having photographed the first couple of Beemers passing by, we chased back to Franschhoek Pass, while the convoy went over the mountain, approaching Franschhoek from Villiersdorp. Here as well, we had some time to kill and shoot some imagery for our video, below.

After our Franschhoek stop, we chased to Helshoogte Pass, but arrived simultaneously with the BMW’s, which is pretty awesome, given our spec, but not early enough to shoot them coming up the mountain towards Delaire. At Delaire we made some more pretty images of the car, shot the technical presentation that followed, and had to decline an awesome dinner at the restaurant to get back home after a 12-hour shoot day. The next morning early we had another shoot, so we had to get some rest.

Herewith some moments and some final images:


20100520_0027   20100520_008820100520_0058 20100520_0132 20100520_0148 20100520_0147 20100520_016220100520_0198 20100520_0284 20100520_0339 20100520_0356  20100520_0369 20100520_0401 20100520_0438 20100520_0451  20100520_0408




And some of us:

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20100520_0274 20100520_0291

To come: shooting the brand new 2010 Chevrolet Spark 1.2 Press Pack and Launch. Watch this space.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Coolest Project. Ever.

I’m exposed to media, creativity and cleverness on a daily basis. Not often does something come along that makes me stand up at my desk and applaud. You might look at it and not quite feel the same, but this project completed for Levi’s by a couple of okes in the States, really pushed all the right buttons for me.

First the ‘result’.

Then the ‘making of’. I was inclined to tell you how they did it, etc, but rather watch the video. Bravo.