What does it take to get the shot? CAVING

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By Zach Settewongse on

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Photographer Chris Higgins shows us what it takes.

ChrisHigginsPhoto.com

I think we’ve all seen those amazing caving photo images and looked at them in awe, but just what does it take to get those shots? A few months ago I came across a photo by Chris Higgins that was a top five winner in a JOBY, Lowepro, & Outex  joint contest. It started me thinking about all the difficulties capturing just such a shot might entail. So after a few emails back and forth I was off to Tennessee with Joey Hiller (JOBY Web Designer).  Assuming you’ve watched the video I’ll be elaborating a bit more below about what you don’t see, all the gear, and Joey will chime in with his perspective.

 

 

Never again! -Zach

“Never again” we’re the first words out of my mouth as we emerged from the cave. I’ll straight up say it right now; I had an amazing time but hundreds of feet underground, completely covered in mud, and mostly in complete darkness wasn’t for me. This is odd as I’m drawn to extreme activities but I’m also a clean freak. All I know is this was one of the rare times I thought I’d gotten myself in over my head and I’ve literally  crawled out under the wing of a small plane mid flight to get a shot.

BehindTheScenes

BEHIND THE SCENES:

The video is made up of a combination of two days of caving but for the sake of storytelling we combined them into one. The first day we were in the cave 12 hours and it was almost all rappelling. We came out of the cave at about 1:30am and were freezing after climbing up the waterfall. We then had to ride in the back of Chris’s jeep for an hour just to sleep on the ground in a cow pasture. You can probably already guess; I didn’t sleep. The second day we entered a second cave and were in the cave 8 hours. Day two was almost all crawling on our stomach. It was 2000+ feet in and 2000+ feet out. At 4 hours into it on the second day I called it; we had the footage we needed and I wanted to take a shower and crash in a hotel bed.

TRAINING: Joey has experience outdoor climbing and he is comfortable around ropes. I have a lot of structure/ building exterior climbing and rappelling experience but using a different rappel device. Our training with Chris literally was 5-10 minutes each where we both had tried to go up and switch over from the ascenders to the descenders (rappel device). I messed this up both times which resulted in the descender opening. If I had an issue while climbing back up the rope and needed to make a change over to the descender I would have to do it right. On Joey’s ascent before me he had an issue with his crawl (the ascender close to your chest that holds you in place) and almost had to make a change over. The crawl was slipping and not grabbing the rope securely. After he finished his ascent he lowered his harness  and gear down for me to use. I had to use it for my ascent; so you can see why I was a bit nervous.

GEAR:  As you can see in the closing shot we took a lot of gear into the cave with us. Most of it was ropes but I’ll list out everything we used to film it and what Chris brought.

Chris”s Higgins Gear: Nikon D7000, Sigma 10-20 lens, JOBY GorillaPod HybridJOBY Flash ClipLowepro Dryzone 40L When outside of a cave Chris has a variety of other lenses and uses a Lowepro Photo Sport Pro 30L AW and a JOBY GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead- X.

Chris's Gear

Zach’s Gear: Canon 5D mkII, Canon 50mm f/1.2 L, JOBY GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead- X, six JOBY GorillaTorch Flare 125′s, Lowepro DryZone 200, Rode Mic

Zach's Gear

Joey’s Gear: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera, Panasonic Lumix 14mm f/2.5, JOBY GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead- XLowepro DryZone 200, two JOBY GorillaTorch Flare 125′s

Joey's Gear

I couldn’t have imagined myself actually doing this. – Joey

“There was really nothing that could’ve prepared me for this trip. The conditions in a cave are truly some of the hardest I’ve dealt with. It all became obvious when we first entered the cave. With camera rubbing against the rocks and a 150 foot rope around my shoulder pinning me in place, I stopped feeling the jet-lag and the reality of what we were doing really set in.

To get quality video in the cave I shot with the Black Magic Cinema Camera which has a native ISO of 800 and generally performs beautifully in low light. I paired it with the Panasonic Lumix 14mm f/2.5, which isn’t the fastest lens of all time, but has a nice field of view and has the added benefit of being only a $300 replacement if destroyed.” – Joey

Joey Hiller

Chris Higgins

 

JOBY Flash Clamp & Locking Arm Photo Contest

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By Zach Settewongse on

Flash-Clamp-Photo-Contest-Winners

 

WOW there were a lot of entries into the JOBY Flash Clamp & Locking Arm contest. There was also a lot of really, really good entries! Trying to pick just five winners was difficult and in the end we decided to pick five unique approaches to the using a flash.

 

And the 5 Winners are:

Peter M.  - Arches National Park

“This is my first attempt at a star trail taken of Double Arch in Arches National Park, Utah.  The shot is comprised of about 200 30 second exposures.  On the final exposure, I walked around the base of the arches manually popping a Nikon SB-700 up into the arches to illuminate them.”

Peter M - Arches National Park

 

David L. – Blue Fronted Dancer Damselfly

“Here is my entry for the flash clamp giveaway.  This is a Blue Fronted Dancer damselfly, taken along the rocks by a stream running through Robert E. Lee Memorial Park in Maryland.  I used a reversed 50mm prime lens and set of macro extension tubes along with an SB-700 speedlight flash and mini-soft-box. .”

David-L

 

Dale M. – Kayak Spinning Wave

“A perfect night we hit the uk floods, the wave formed in perfect condition steep, fast and fantastic. The wave forms about 330 feet across visibility is low so reliant on moonlight meant without flash a photo was impossible, this shot meant using high speed sync to freeze motion in its tracks.”

Dale-M

 

Jesse R. – Little Reader

“Just as a child’s body needs food to grow, so does his mind. And what better food for a growing mind than a magical book. The photo is of my son and I was inspired by the importance of reading to our children. I used a single flash pointed into the book to reflect back and create the illusion of a magical scene versus simple words on paper.”

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm @55mm, 1/250th shutter speed, Nikon sb900 pointed into book, Nikon sb600 thru umbrella to light the cover of the book.

Jesse-R

 

Jose Q. – Jeep Splash

“Those flash clamps could have been very useful for this picture. I had to use bungee cords and duct tape. Two flashes attached to the sun visors.”  :o( Cheers!

Jose-Q

 

Winners will be notified by email :)

 

Div-Red

 

Additional Awesome Entries.

Here are a few entries that were excellent. We really struggled on choosing the winning images in this contest as so many entries were just so creative.  Some really, really great work. We’ll have more contest coming soon so keep entering.

 

Kevin V. – Girl in Pool – Turning Daylight into Night

“Photo was taken July 28, at 4:46pm. ( bright sunshiny day), in a pool.
Nikon D300, Nikon 24 – 70mm lens, ISO 200, 1/200sec. at f11, 2 external  Nikon SB-900′s”

KeinV

 

Loren L. – Water Drop Collisions

Loren-L

 

Tom R. – Flip

“It took me a lot of attempts to capture my flip with the self timer in such a way that I was equally lit in the air.”

Tom-R

 

Rita M

“It is melting frost on my car windshield.   I caught it as the sun was rising on the opposite side from where I was standing.  I used on camera flash and what I got was pure magical. ”

Rita-M

 

Rob E.

Rob-E

 

Fernando P.

fernando-p

 

Melissa H.

“The most awesome impossible (fake) skateboarding photo ever! Haha”

MelissaH

 

Kelly M.

“Attached is a picture of a beautiful gerbera daisy taken with flash in my home.”

KellyM

 

Tony Y.

TonyY

 

Shawn G.

“The flash (430 ex II) was fired with a small radio trigger. The flash was flat against the umbrella rod, pointing up into it, being held in place by her hand.”

ShawnGraham

 

Steven B.

Steven-B

 

Laura M. – Water Drop

LauraM

 

Travis A. - The Sailboat & The Sea

Travis-A

 

 

Thank You Everyone!

There were many, many more entries that were excellent. Thank you all for participating!

 

JOBY Instameet Birmingham AL #InstawalkBham

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By Zach Settewongse on

Instameet-Post-Birgingham

BIRMINGHAM, AL –  From the photos submitted it was a Lego filled day on the JOBY sponsored Instameet. All of us at JOBY are jealous that we couldn’t come along on what looked like a very fun day at the Brickfair Lego Festival.

Thanks everyone for submitting photos; they all were great!

. . . and now for our TOP 3 pics.

 

TOP 3 Pics BIRMINGHAM #instawalkBham

_allisonjane Capturing the overall feel of the Instameet. So much concentration there! Makes me want to be a kid again if just for a day :)

BrmhAL-allisonjane

 

scotiagirl68 Nice framing and use of filters to create a pretty cool art piece. Digging how you focused the color on just one!

BrmhAL-scotiagirl68

 

wendleeme This shot really captures the scale of the the lego festival and more than anything has me thinking I need to start playing with legos again!

BrmhAL-wendleeme

 

Wants us to sponsor your Instameet? Tell us about your Instameet.

 

Thanks Birmingham!

See you all on the next JOBY sponsored Instameet:)

by :\ Zach S – JOBY Social Butterfly w a Camera

Instagram.com/jobyinc

Instameet_01

 

Learn from a Pro Action Photographer – JOBY Burnout – Action GoPro Clamp

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By Zach Settewongse on

The making of the JOBY Action Clamp Ad “The Burnout”.

JOBY-Burnout-1800

By: JOBY Photographer Zach Settewongse

I’m often asked how did you shoot that from people who are into photography. I also get comments like “Oh which Instagram filter did you use?” from those not into photography . . .  :(

This is a behind the scenes look at what it took to create this action photography product image. You might be surprised at the work that goes into it?

The GOAL: Create an ad about the JOBY Action Clamp for GoPro, Sony, Contour, Drift or other action cameras that show the product used as intended, and do it awesomely.

Saturday 2pm

Step 1 – CONCEPT: This is the easy part as I use both GoPro and Contour action cameras daily during my work and could have kissed the designers when I saw the JOBY Action Series. Upon seeing the product I immediately thought this would be great for when I have to set up a GoPro quickly (in seconds), get my shot, and get out of dodge. I’m often frustrated with the GoPro mounting parts bits, the number of them I need to carry, and the time it takes to frame a shot with them. So while riding my bike I thought of the idea of a rider filming himself doing a burnout. At first I was thinking in the middle of a busy big city intersection but that changed as you’ll see below.

 

Step 2 – LOCATION SCOUT: This is seriously where almost all shoots start as the location can influence the final piece a lot. So I always begin by riding around on my bike and looking, going in alleys, by railroad tracks, industrial sites, new modern buildings, etc. I’m just getting ideas as I go and not dismissing anything; remember I said I already was thinking a busy intersection, but so many times before I’ve found something great is a just around the next block.

Down to two locations: Main intersection in old downtown Petaluma, CA or the parking garage close by. Why Petaluma, CA? Well because it is only 34 degrees outside and as much as I wanted to ride an hour into San Francisco at 2am to get my shot it was just too cold.

Saturday 7pm

 

Step 3 – TEST SHOTS – Time to head back out at night.

Now this sounds like I should take a test of the real planned shot but no. This is just to get a feel for how the elements will look on a bigger screen. Remember it’s a product shot so the product has to be placed right and there has to be plenty of room for the text that is sure to be placed on top of it later. An awesome shot with no clean area for copy will always get rejected; it’s sad but true :(

TIPS: Take notes:

  • Make notes of your camera placement.
  • Measure how far your product is from a fixed point
  • Measure all the elements in the shot’s placement to the camera.
  • Have a bag of fixed lenses. I always test with a 24,mm, 50mm, 85mm for this type of shot. Why? Two reasons. One because it’s a night shot and I want lenses with the lowest f-stop as possible. Two I’m not a huge fan of zoom lenses for ad shots. There is just a extra little bokeh (look it up) magic certain fixed lenses have. The Canon 24mm f1.4 has very little edge distortion if any. The Canon 50mm f1.2 is a staple of perfection giving you exactly what you see and low light magic. The Canon 85mm f1.2 can make a a subject absolutely pop; it’s a tricky lens to use but it can produce amazing results.
  • Move around and look at the subject from all angles. Take more shots.
  • Plan your get away :)

The Intersection: I had my mind set on this and found a nice architectural background. Idea one had it shot from the side of road with the JOBY Action Clamp clipped onto a mirror of another motorcycle. It wasn’t looking right, so how about a shot from the center of the road? That could work, maybe?

Location-Scouting

Parking Garage: Not digging it in testing but lets shoot a few shots anyways.

Location-Scouting3

Saturday 9pm

Step 4 – REVIEW TEST SHOTS:

Hmm time to make a decision, I only have one rear tire for the shot and time to take one. I really struggle on this for all of five minutes and then go for the parking garage.

So what am I looking for? I want a cool background but it can not be distracting. The background is so, so important in any shot. When I look at the images on a big screen the intersection is out and the parking garage looks promising but could be too boring. When all the element of the shot come together it might work; we’ll see!

 

Saturday 12:30 am It’s getting late!

Step 5: THE SHOOT – it’s about time.

Place the elements: I positioned the motorcycle and the JOBY action Clamp with GoPro first. Easy since I took notes earlier and then made adjustments after looking at test shots. Check, double check looks good.

diagram2

Camera & Lens: So I chose the Canon 50mm f-1.2 on a Canon 5D mk II body from testing. This combination is great for low light and the framing and focus DOF between the two subjects was best with the 50mm in this case. I wanted to use the 85mm but 50mm won out.

Place the Camera: I have a good idea of where I want the tripod. Exact placement of the tripod is important as it cannot be moved; you’re thinking “What?” I can’t give everything away but I almost always take multiple shots to create one image and no not like HDR.

START SHOOTING: I bet you’re thinking I should set up the lighting first? Well lets break down the shots:

Shot ONE

  • Move all subjects shoot empty background. You might need this later and will kick yourself if you don’t have it.
  • Put subjects back, remember I have measurements or marks. Check, double check! Is the product perfectly square ?. .  if someones paying you it better be.

 

Shot TWO

  • I use a JOBY Flare 125 to highlight the product and get sharp focus on product. Take a shot.

shot2

 

Shot THREE

  • Elements: I need a shadow on that wall in front of the bike, so I use the headlight from my Mini Cooper (one light covered by a floor mat) to create it exactly where I want it. Take a shot.

shot3

 

Shot FOUR

  • Additional elements: There is one more that is a lighting and focus trick combined. It is a subtle additional element layer that is right there in the photo. I’m keeping this one to me. Sorry :( Take Photo.

 

Shot FIVE the cool one!

  • I then place additional lights behind the bike. Two more JOBY Flare 125′s at max to backlight this shot.
  • This is an action manly photo so it should be sharp. I’m shooting RAW, I always do and it’s a must for this photo for the sharpening effect I want. I’m thinking of the final product and not the photo I’m going to take next. OK time to get on the bike and do the burnout, it’s now 1:30am and Petaluma is about to wake up.
  • . . . . Oops security just showed up and are watching, Pretend to do pre-shots for 10min until they get bored and leave.
  • 1:45am their gone. I get on the bike and my assistant double checks focus. My assistant is my fiancee which is the only type of assistant you can find without pay, who will spend a whole day doing this, and stand there for an hour when it’s 34 degrees. She really is awesome! As I start the 30sec+ burnout which echoes intensely through the garage located adjacent the fire station I try to steady the bike as best as I can. The shutter speed on the camera is slow at 60 so if I’m not holding the bike still while the back tire is spinning it will be blurry. Shots are taken with remote rapid fire as fast as possible. She’s smiling so I know it looks good!

Holy Smokey! The final frame I end up using as the base is about 70% of the way through the burn out.

smokey2

Step 6: GAG tire smoke is not pleasant to breathe and at this point I start dry heaving in my helmet. Thankfully I didn’t puke!

 

Saturday 2am

Step 7: PHOTOSHOP

  • This is where I put all the shots together, all the elements. It’s all these small touches that make the image. I’m adding a few elements to the base final shot (step 5) and being subtle, really, really small adjustments.
  • Change the bike color from green to white.
  • Add a bit of gradient to the bottom. Those cables are a bit distracting.
  • Add a bit of text.
  • It’s 5am

It’s now 5am and I need to order a new tire before going to bed. I bet you never thought all of that went into that one image! Or maybe you did?

FINAL NOTE: Realize you will FAIL repeatedly. I FAIL miserably with shots from time to time. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I was going to have an epic shot and it didn’t pan out. But who cares just move on to the next idea YOU CAN create something awesome! Just believe in yourself and try, try again. After a few years I’ll admit I have much fewer fails but I think it’s only because I can see them coming sooner and move on to the next idea faster.

Hopefully you learned something from my long winded post. Onto the next shot.

Zach Settewongse – JOBY Photographer.

 

 

 

 

 

JOBY Instameet TORONTO #GorillaPod # GripTight

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By Zach Settewongse on

Instameet-Toronto

TORONTO –  You guys nailed it and this means I’m having a very tough time choosing a Top 3. You can really tell when an Instameet is full of creative types having fun. All of us at JOBY really enjoyed the images you Instagramers  took at the JOBY sponsored Toronto Instameet.

1hr later . . .  hmm which three, so many good pics

and 3hrs later . . . OK I picked a TOP 3 + added a few other ones I liked below.

 

TOP 3 Pics TORONTO #jobytoronto

 

1. hagow First tell me where this is I’m tempted to fly there to shoot this; seriously! Back to you :) Maybe the best pic of the Intsameets I have seen yet.  Would I normally shoot this dead center? No and I would have missed this because it works, it works damn well. Why? The color and the contrasting greys. Seriously nice work :)

Instameets-Toronto-hagow

 

2. daromantictech I hope you know how difficult it is to capture a shot like this when you are trying to. If it’s a mistake it’s a great one. The steam :) What do they see? The street sign placement, is it a clue? A photograph that makes you think, ponder, is a hard to accomplish great thing.

Instameets-daromantictech

 

3. crispaza Creative, structured, and just nice to look at. Maybe the most well thought out compositions of the Instameets. I could see this in Dwell magazine easily.

Instameets-crispaza

 

Seriously I had a really tough time on this one as there we’re so many awesome photos to choose from. The Toronto Instameet group really stepped up on this one. Makes me want to hop on a plane and join you for the next one :) – Zach @ JOBY

and a few more I LIKED TOO!

romanac epic in black and white, on a different day I might have placed this on top.

Instameets-ramonac

 

madvillian I hope this is your social media cover photo. It rocks!!!! If you have higher res version send it to us. community@joby.com attn: Zach.  Maybe this will be the new Instameet cover image ;)

Instameets-Toronto-madvillan

 

stanislav359 You nailed the lighting . . .  Perfectly!

Instameets-stanislav359

 

shellche I debated on this for a top 3 ohh so close. Love it! I really love that you looked up. Hmm maybe it should be a top 3. Dang you guys made it hard!

Instameets-shellche

 

notwithoutmypassport – DOF sweetness. Did you just snap a pic of someone else’s postcard? LOL –  Seriously great eye, good work.

Instameets-notwithoutmypassport

 

snap2see You know this is awesome, it’s Pottery Barn window display perfect and because it’s so perfectly delicious, I decided you really didn’t need the kudos of Top 3. Our praise is your prize.  . .

Instameets-snap2see

 

_beautifiedrealisim_ It beautiful and mysterious. That sky is the real subject, it looks like it might be this all encompassing vast storm I could stare into.  (Suggestion – let me see more of what makes this what it is, pull back a bit and make the storm the subject)

Instameets-beautifiedrealism_

Nice . .  a little more light, but such good composition :)

Instameets-beautifiedrealism_2

 

jeffpsamuel . . . um I’m diggin how I keep looking back at this. Amazing what the right perspective can do to something so ordinary.

Instameets-jeffpsamuel

 

nikkopa If I was only more of a dog and not a cat person I would have called this a masterpiece.

Instameets-nickkopa

 

Instameets-notwithoutmypassport2

 

YOU GUYS NAILED IT!

Really impressed with this Instameet group. Thank you guys for participating.

Instameets-Group2

 

Instameets-Group1

 

Wants us to sponsor your Instameet? Tell us about your Instameet.

 

comments by: Zach @ JOBY – I really don’t know what I’m talking about, or do I ?   nah  :)

JOBY Instameets Dec 2013 #GorillaPod # GripTight

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By Zach Settewongse on

Instameet-Post-Dec

WOW – Multiple JOBY sponsored Instameets were held all around the world last month. YOU produced some amazing content! It’s really cool to see the diversity of creativity from the different Instameets. You have inspired us and we are lookig forward to the next round of Instameets with JOBY Instagram fans.

Amsterdam | Georgetown |Queen City, NY | Washigton DC | Embuke Kenya

See the Top 3 Instagram pics submitted from around the world below.

Wants us to sponsor your Instameet? Tell us about your Instameet.

 

TOP 3 Pics Amsterdam #instameetams13

san_ This pic is awesome! Excellent composition with the lines and the direction of the light, jacket, hair. The use and blend of filters is perfect and bring a superhero worldly feel to the image.

rptw Seeing what most miss; love it!

ruu_da Color sets it apart and then the subject implies movement that immediately starts you wondering about his intent. Nice!

Instamet-Amsterdam-San_

Instameet-Amsterdam-rptwInstameet-Amsterdam-ruu_da

 

TOP 3 Pics Georgetown #igdcjoby

dccitygirl Lines with a perfect ending. The multiple lines in this pic all lead you into the city. Normally a pro wouldn’t place that walkway dead center but the framing of the dark trees and the bridge to the left make this a master of composition. Yeah :)

beingdave Color boosted by the shimmer of the rain set this one apart. (Suggestion: Next time make that subject pop. Get rid of the bag. Black dress and red umbrella; oh the potential.)

 bujubonchon A Tilt that makes we want to float away. This scene would pose problematic but you nailed a difficult composition by just showing us enough.

Instameet-GeorgeTown-dccitygirlInstameet-GeorgeTown-beingdaveInstameet-GeorgeTown-bujubonchon

 

TOP 3 Pics Queen City #queencityinstameet

noahturleyphotography Layers of mood are what work here. Just the scenery and it’s cool, just the subject and it’s cool but together it’s great! The subject looking down and almost beaten as he walks off into the surely undersaturated/ sepia scene makes this a photo you could star at for awhile. Hang it on the wall in the gallery :)

s_franklin Hmm some debate on weather this was done in camera or in PS but who cares it’s creative and works. The sharpness of the foreground against the soft cloudy sky really is a nice backdrop.

thedudejunior OK this made me smile :)  I think what we like best about this is that it does make you smile without trying and is visually interesting to look at at the same time. Keep jumping!

Instameet-QueenCity-noahturleyphotography Instameet-QueenCity-s_franklin Instameet-QueenCity-thedudejunior

 

TOP 3 Pics Washington DC #instameetmetro

iamregieblack Seeing it differently without making me understand immediately why. Those of us who live in the city see this scene all the time but you did  really nice job of changing the perspective slightly and then amplifying the subject with contrast and motion. I would hang this on the wall in the office.

melodyinfocus Glowingly an ART piece.  I simply love how the train itself seems to glow; not easy to do in black and white. Perfect perspective, exposure, and mod. Print it in large format, sign it and go place it on the wall in the train station ;)

sriarpita The white lighting the background seems made for the subjects. Pros spend a lot of time artificially lighting a scene to get just that. It looks like a meeting of two spies.

Instameet-WashingtonDC-iamreggieblack Instameet-WashingtonDC-melodyinfocus Instameet-WashingtonDC-sriapita

TOP 3 Pics Embuke Kenya

#instameetEmbuKe

davideandr3 Contrast and Color working perfectly up a path of perspective. A bunch of fancy words to say WOW it’s beautiful in Kenya!

instameet-Embuke-davidandr3

 

Awesome Work Everyone!

See you all on the next JOBY sponsored Instameet:)

by :\ Zach S – JOBY Social Butterfly w a Camera

Instagram.com/jobyinc

Instameet_01

 

Hello ;) by “me” Zach Settewongse New JOBY Team Member

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By Zach Settewongse on

ZachSettewongse-JOBY_02

Zach Settewongse – JOBY Community and Content Manager aka Social Butterfly with a Camera and outgoing Personality

HELLO – I thought I would take a quick minute and introduce myself to the JOBY community of awesome peeps.

BACKGROUND

I call myself a professional Photographer/ Cinematographer/ Adventure and so far people agree ;) I have been working with a camera in my hands full time for five years and love it. If there is one thing I’ve learned it’s to follow your passion, not money. Even when not “working” I find myself creating projects everyday; anything to be creative and use my camera.  More on the” Adventurer” below.

ZachSettewongse-JOBY_01

How did I come to JOBY?

I’ve been a JOBY user and advocate for a few years. I originally found the JOBY brand online and won the JOBY X-Frame stop motion video contest. This landed me a Canon DSLR as the grand prize and I have forever been grateful. I was using a camera DSLR and Pro Video Camera everyday for work and began using the GorillaPod Focus and Ballhead X. I instantly fell in love with them and it would be no exaggeration for me to say they have since been a staple in my pro kit. A lot of my work requires I travel light and the GorillaPod Focus solved so many of my pro needs.

What is that and where can I get one? I was asked this repeated, almost daily while working with the GorrillaPod. Nobody ever asked me about any of my gear before but I soon found myself recommending and going on and on about JOBY products. I became a brand advocate because I was so grateful to have these awesome tools.

They Have Personality – I’ll admit in downtime I have pretended my GorrilaPods were the alien robots from War of the Worlds and they decimated everything on my desktop. Argg!

ZachSettewongse-JOBY_03

I Am An ADVENTURER

Life is the collection experiences and I don’t want to waste a minute. I’ve rode motorcycles since I was 3 and am a speed junkie. 185 is the fastest I’ve ridden; I need a faster bike. I’ve worked as a stunt performer rappelling and jumping of buildings. Skydiving, rock climbing, skiing, skateboarding. Those really just make me a adrenaline nut but when I stepped out onto the wing of a plane to film a motorcycle race something changed and not just the shocked look on the pilots face.

Last summer I stopped everything and set off on my motorcycle for 85 days, 11,980 miles through 27 states and on the way back conquered the Trans American Trail which is an off road trail from TN to OR. I lived out of a tent on my bike and had multiple adventures along the way. I also filmed the whole adventure using Gorillapods for a documentary Pursuit Horizion (in final production).

 

ZACH FACTS:

  • I consume 60lbs of chocolate a year. More than the average person in the top ten consumption countries combined. I have a serious chocolate addiction. You know when I’ve had too much when I can’t stop talking.
  • I’m 50% Thai (Thailand) and 50% French
  • I was a pageant child –  Winner Cutest Little Boy in Reno 1980 – I know you’re jealous :)
  • I’m engaged to the perfect woman for me. She’s beautiful, loves motorcycles & Moto-GP, and is an adventurer.

MY GEAR – What I use the most.

  • Canon 5D Mark II
  • Canon 7D
  • Panasonic HVX200
  • Canon 24mm/f1.4L
  • Canon 50mm/f1.2L
  • Canon 85mm/f1.2L
  • GoPro Hero3 Black x2
  • Go Pro Accessories – Everything they sell + multiple suction mounts.
  • Contour+2 Pro x4
  • Contour Accessories – Everything they sell + multiple suction mounts.
  • Rode DSLR Mics x2
  • Zoom H4N
  • Sennheiser Boom Mic
  • Steadicam HD 4000
  • DSLR Slide – homemade
  • DSLR Skater Dolly – homemade
  • IKEA – Kitchen Timer
  • JOBY GorillPod Focus with Ballhead X x2
  • JOBY UltraPlate x2
  • JOBY Flare 125 x10 (I always bring as many as I can fit in my pack)
  • JOBY Action Clamp x4
  • JOBY Micro 250 x2
  • JOBY Micro 800 x4
  • JOBY Magnetic x4
  • JOBY Switchback x2
  • JOBY 3-Way Camera Strap
  • JOBY UltraFit Hand Strap
  • JOBY UltraFit Sling Strap

 

HOW DO I CARRY IT ALL?

I have more but this is the stuff I find myself using the most. Normally I carry one very large backpack, one small backpack, and two medium size hard cases.

 

Let’s Create Something Together 

I can’t wait to work with the JOBY community and create pure awesomeness!

Zach Settewongse (se te wong)

 

I’ll let the photos say the rest :)

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Filming Mountain Biking with GorillaPod Hybrid and GoPro

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By JOBY Inc on

French videographer/mountain biker Luka Bollonjeon uses just a GorillaPod Hybrid and a GoPro to create amazing videos of his rides through the French Alps. He is working on a video series titled Alone where he films himself biking through many different types of terrain. He’s found his GorillaPod to be the perfect companion on these adventures. Compact and adaptable to all kinds of environments, GorillaPod Hybrid is ideal for getting super cool off-body footage with a GoPro camera. We caught up with Luka to hear more about how he makes his fantastic videos! 

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Hello! I’ll introduce myself. My name is Luka, I’m 25. For the past two years, I’ve lived  in the “capital of the Alps” Grenoble. My passion is to walk the trails with my faithful companions: my bike, my tripod and my camera.

Why do I bring a tripod and a camera on my bike rides? Because I practice self-filming. Self-film, what? Self-filming can be defined as the art of filming oneself, like taking a self-portrait in photography. In other words, if you have an oversized ego, this is not for you. ;) Don’t worry, it is possible to make films just for fun to share your passion or your most beautiful trails. This is certainly my idea of self-filming—the concept is relatively simple: a camera, a bike, time, well sharpened and hopvoila calves!

Self-filming requires a lot of time and effort. Time, because unfortunately, the cameras do not come down the trail on their own. Effort, because those cameras still do not set themselves up on their own. Once you ride past the camera, you must go back to look for it, grab it and carry it down to set up on another part of the trail.

To diversify your shots, you’ll need to have to a tripod. Like the GoPro camera, the most compact tripod is the most practical or filming on trails. The RollsRoyce of mini tripods is the GorillaPod—an articulated 30 cm capable of attaching to any surface. The combination of a Gopro and a JOBY GorillaPod will allow you to capture even the craziest self-filmed shot you can think of!

Watch more mountain biking videos by Luka on his site!

How to Film a Documentary in Remote South America with Xpeditions TV

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By JOBY Inc on

Meet Jerry and Kathy Willis, the photography/videography masterminds behind Xpeditions TV. They’ve spent years traveling throughout South America, documenting their exploration of amazing, infrequently-visited sites. They share their adventures on their site Xpeditions TV in the form of short documentary films. Because their work takes them to the most remote places, lightweight and adaptable gear is essential. On their last expedition they ditched their full-height tripod in favor of our GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead X. Here’s more about their travels, their work and their new favorite tripod! 

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First, can you tell us a little bit about how you got into photography/videography?

We started our tour company in 1992 specializing in trips to Peru. The trips were always between the Amazon jungle to the Andes mountains. At every stop we were surrounded by a vast wild landscape. It was during the first trip I realized how important a camera would be if I was going to share these adventures with others. By the time our second trip was scheduled I had bought a Canon A1 film camera for still photos, and a consumer level Canon 8mm video camera to capture the action. Our early documentaries were a record of the people we escorted through Peru, and events from the journey.

Since then we have expended our interests beyond tours. My wife Kathy and I now trek into remote areas looking for places few have traveled to. There are lost cities forgotten to time, people and their customs whose lives remain much the same as they were a hundred years ago, and fantastically beautiful places few will ever see.

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Can you tell us about the project these photos/videos are from?

The photos were taken during our most recent shoot in Peru and Bolivia. We called this “The Tocache Expedition”, though we actually shot in two countries and multiple locations in each country. As usual, we were determined to document several ancient sites relating to research Kathy was conducting. For more about this best to check in at Xpeditions TV.

How has the GorillaPod changed the way you shoot?

The GorillaPod Focus and Ballhead X have changed everything, and I really mean EVERYTHING. I’ll explain; For years we have carried a tripod with us. You have to if you want a steady shot for a stand-up narration, or if you film at night or while recording a time-lapse clip. We have several tripods to choose from, but even the best one we have is bulky. Most are heavy enough that you wish you didn’t have to have one along. Believe me, moving through the dense foliage of the Amazon or climbing past 14,000′ elevation on the steep slopes of an Andes mountain is challenging enough. Add a tripod and it becomes exhausting. We’ve done it, but were always looking for something more portable and more easily managed.

When we saw the GorillaPod and Ballhead X Kathy and I became very excited. We already knew JOBY made an exceptional product line. We had purchased a JOBY flashlight several years ago that attached to a small magnetic tripod. We still have it, and it was used during this last trip. It will be along with us wherever we go because it is so dependable. That thing saved our life one night while stranded on the Amazon river… but that’s another story. Needless to say, we have complete confidence in JOBY products. Because it is a JOBY we already knew the GorillaPod and Ballhead X is a well made, dependable high quality product. We quickly ordered one and it arrived two days ahead of leaving for our expedition. Without even considering, we left our expensive carbon fiber tripod at home. Good choice!

During the trip it was obvious this is the best tripod and camera mount we had ever used. Maybe the best addition to shooting that has EVER be invented! Sure, it doesn’t have extendable legs to get the height, but no problem. We were able to mount the GorillaPod and Ballhead X in trees, on fence posts, rocks.. anything we chose! We ended up with extraordinary shots that we would never have gotten otherwise! Adding the GorillaPod and Ballhead X to our kit improved our filmmaking by increasing the level of creativity always available, but never approached because of the limitations a normal tripod allows. We will use our old tripods in the future for studio work. But once we head out into the wild places we will not be without our GorillaPod and Ballhead X.

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What is your best tip for using the GorillaPod?

Avoid trees covered by ants! Haha… During one shot at “The Doomsday Stone” I decided to mount the GorillaPod in a tree for a stand-up shot where Kathy and I were discussing the archeological site. We were on location deep into the Andes mountain up the Rio Tocache. This region of the Amazon is where the jungle meets (and flows upon to) the Andes mountains. Because I was hurrying I hadn’t noticed there was a line of leaf cutter ants working this particular tree. They were busy cutting leaves and transporting them to their nest somewhere else in the nearby jungle. I quickly mounted the GorillaPod and camera in a high place, and set the shot. Once finished, I went to remove the camera. I was alarmed to see the GorillaPod and camera was covered with curious ants wondering what this thing was!

Aside from this, I suggest you take some time to become familiar with the GorillaPod and Ballhead X. Play with it, mount it, dis-mount it… Try it out in as many settings as you can. The GorillaPod and Ballhead X are easy items to understand and use. Experimentation is the key to using it. Don’t wait until you need to capture a shot to get familiar with it.

One last thing; You might want more than one size. We have the larger one, but there are smaller ones more specific to less bulky cameras. If your camera is big like ours, the GorillaPod Focus and Ballhead X is perfect. But if you have a smaller camera you might find consider one of the other GorillaPod models more specific for your camera size. You can be sure of one thing about any of these… Anything JOBY makes is the highest quality and will last for decades.

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 Can you share a story of a time that your GorillaPod really came in handy from your past trip?

That’s a tough question! It came in handy for almost every shot we took! But there is one shot I could not have gotten without it.

I already mentioned the tree shot in the Amazon with leaf cutter ants. That was one shot that would not have ever happened if not for the GorillaPod. There is another instance I felt we were able to be very creative.

While hiking back through the jungle to camp Kathy decided it would be interesting if we could get an overhead shot as we passed by. As we were leaving the Doomsday Stone area she found an ideal place to shoot from high in a tree along the path. We always had talked about to do this but never had because there was really no way to secure the camera. I climbed a tree (no ants in this one!) and mounted the GorillaPod and camera about twenty feet above the path. The results are incredible… Had it not been for the GorillaPod and Ballhead X I would never have felt comfortable mounting our expensive camera like this. The GorillaPod gripped the branch like a vice and held it securely in place. It would probably still be there had it been left in place. It was really locked onto that limb! We shot it, and it looks fantastic. That shot was only possible because of the JOBY GorillaPod and Ballhead X.

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What is your best advice for aspiring photographers/videographers?

Anyone can shoot footage. The greatest issue many have is when you think you are not “qualified”, or good enough to produce something others will enjoy. Our advice is, don’t compare yourself to others. You are not them, and never will be, haha… You might think your idea or footage isn’t as good as. Don’t think this way. Instead, be yourself. Shoot what is interesting to, and inspires you. Compose a story, imagine how you can make it look like what you see in your minds-eye. Don’t worry about it – try it out. Sure, you’ll have disappointments. We all do! Use your mistakes to make the next shot better. If you’re unsure or stuck not knowing how to do something, ask for help. I know for sure someone has encountered your issue already and most are happy to pass on helpful information.

Finally, if you ask for an opinion and receive constructive (or otherwise) criticism, learn from it. Don’t be bummed out just because one person has something to say that disheartens you. We have had a lot of that! You might also face this. If you do, think about what was said and go forward. If you really believe you are right their opinion doesn’t matter. If you see their rational, improve from the experience. Don’t be afraid to ask, and expect judgement. Place judgement where it belongs…. in your intellect, not your heart.

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Where can we find more of your stuff!

All our short documentaries are available at no cost at http://Xpeditions.TV.  We have been shooting for eight years. We have tried various cameras, editing techniques, and shooting styles. If you watch each episode you can easily see how our abilities have improved over the years.  We invite you to drop by, spend a few hours, and learn from what we have done. Have questions: how did we shoot  that, etc…?  Feel free to ask. We are always happy to share our knowledge and techniques. Maybe we can help you solve a shooting or editing issue : )

Thanks Jerry and Kathy for sharing your great tips and experience with us! 

 

A Home Away from Home: JOBY at Galileo Summer Quest

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By JOBY Inc on

(JOBY Note: This post was written by Jessica Ellis at Galileo Learning which hosts awesome innovation camps for kids. Check ‘em out!)

On a warm summer morning in Palo Alto, twenty middle school students are busy at work planning their set for the world’s next great movie, so they proclaim. They are equipped with Pentax adventure cameras, a sense of determination, a willingness to collaborate and, a JOBY GorillaPod Video tripod. Summer camp is not the typical setting for JOBY users, but these tripods are no less valuable here.

Galileo Summer Quest: GorillaPod Video Positioning

Campers need equipment that is weather resistant and can withstand eight straight weeks of heavy use. Galileo provides over 36,000 weeks of camp to Bay Area kids and providing high quality equipment that enhances the camp experience is a top priority. High quality equipment is important because it enable kids to focus on the art of their idea. Galileo Summer Quest helps campers tap into their natural creativity and empowers them to design and build projects with tools that are often unavailable at home or at school. Their adventure is one of wild imagination and innovation. The JOBY tripod helps budding photographers and videographers push their ideas beyond the confines of a typical class and into the exciting and risk-free environment of an innovation summer camp.

Galileo Summer Quest: GorillaPod Video Notebook

All summer, campers at Galileo Summer Quest’s 14 camps from Tiburon to San Jose have been putting JOBY tripods to the ultimate test of endurance and usability. Galileo Summer Quest offers a wide range of one-week courses in the fields of Digital and Fine Arts, Building and Making and High Technology. This year, JOBY tripods were offered as a compliment to three of these courses: Digital Filmmaking, Digital Photography and Lego Robotics. In Digital Filmmaking, campers use the JOBY GorillaPod Video tripods for shooting a 3-5 minute movie. In Digital Photography, campers use the GorillaPod SLR Zoom tripods with their Nikon SLRs to set up their images for portrait photo shoots and for their Public Service Announcement photographs. In Lego Robotics, campers use the JOBY GorillaPod Hybrid tripods to film their “vlogs” of robot competitions, which they then upload to YouTube to share with parents and friends.

The JOBY tripods replaced the aluminum tripods used in the field last summer. They had been one of the greatest bottlenecks for campers in Digital Filmmaking and Photography. The aluminum tripods continuously broke and were a great frustration to campers who had designed their projects to require tripods for stability in their films and photos. This summer, the tripods have far exceeded expectations. One highlight of the JOBY tripods has been their use in Digital Photography. Campers love the size and versatility of the Zoom tripods. One camper wrapped her tripod around the branch of a tree to get a unique angle and another balanced it on picnic tables for a wide aperture photo shoot.

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The JOBY tripods not only have proven rugged enough for constant handling by 11 and 12 year olds, but have also engaged middle-school aged campers with their bendable and magnetic legs. Stored with the magnet side attached to metal file cabinets and hanging from metal binders, the Joby tripods looks very much at home at Galileo summer camps.

Galileo Summer Quest: GorillaPod Video Herd

 

As the summer comes to a close, the tripods will be packed with their cameras and stored away for next year when campers will return, eager to capture their ever-evolving stories. A sense of adventure and openness to new ideas has always been part of the culture at Galileo and now, so is JOBY.