Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Johnny Eye, aka John The Great Iacono

I'm blessed to have great friends. I'm also blessed to know some of the finest photographers of our time. John Iacono has had an illustrious career with Sports Illustrated, that spanned almost six decades. When he started at SI, his hair was really really dark. Johnny is not only a great photographer, but he's probably the best liked person in the business. He never raises his voice, he never breaks out into a sweat, he never tenses up, and he always comes back with a great photograph.
John is also a survivor. He's been injured numerous times in the course of his work. John, Dylan, and myself had dinner recently and he took a few snaps of me and I pass them along.

It was the best of times

Every once in a while, the stars and the moon align perfectly, and an elite group of photographers get together and share the beauty and the camaraderie of a photo shoot.
What would make it better is not a real photo shoot, but rather a feature film called "Lights Out," for FX. We were all contracted to do something that sometimes we have a hard time doing. And that's to make great photographs, ring side, at a boxing match. By now, you're wondering if when I got up this morning, I drank a half a bottle of white lightning, followed by a crackpipe. The answer is no, I'm stone sober! And I just heard from the other side of the room, JoAnne said, "That's scary!" She's in the other corner.
Our elite group consisted of myself, Joe DiMaggio, John Iacono , Teddy Blackburn, Will Hart, Ken Regan, Craig Blankenhorn, and Al Bello.

The next time you wanna have a 16hr day, call any one of these great photographers, and they will give you the proper direction as applicable to not only your equipment, and your dress, but the overall attitude required to spend over that amount of time for a shoot.

© Photo Joe DiMaggio

Monday, August 23, 2010

2.8 And Be There, Version II

Hi guys & gals,
and to all the ships at sea-

Yankee Stadium, Yuri Foreman/Cotto pre-press day, waiting for credentials. 2 hours to kill, decided to do some environmental portraits in and around the stadium. Ran into a beautiful Cuban musician, by the name of Luis. Asked for permission to shoot a few frames, 300ml, 2.08, ISO 100, 1,000/2.8, works for me.
In this case, shot several verticals and then moved to horizontal. Also, asked and was granted a model release. Subsequently, I have hired Luis on other shoots as liason/interpretor for the Cuban/Spanish/Mexican brothers & sisters in the Bronx. It's all good.

© Photos Joe DiMaggio

2.8 And Be There

I don't know who's the first photographer to say "F8, and be there." I believe the first time I heard it was 1965, but don't quote me. Many great photos were taken "F8 and be there," I'd rather think in terms of "2.8 and be there."
In the case of this spontaneous, informal non-lit environmental portrait of Tony Sirico, alias Paulie Walnuts of The Sopranos, while photographing the Yuri Foreman/Miguel Cotto pre-fight press conference, and weigh-in. Tony was chatting up a few of his "Gumbas," I was moving to field level at Yankees stadium, picked the camera up, 300ml, 2.8, Gitzo monopod, ISO 800, 500/second at 208 (clean foreground and background) focused on eyes, 6 frames, before we stopped to just shoot the proverbial. He's a Brooklyn boy, and he's one of my pisanos.
What we learned here, is always to be ready. Camera, card, charged battery, pre-select the focus point, pre-select the shutter speed and aperture, pick the camera up, tweak the focus,
push the damn button.

2.8 and be there, man.

© Photo Joe DiMaggio

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tricks of the Trade: 360 Degree Video

Recently, I had the opportunity to do a 360 degree panorama in an extremely tight space. I stripped everything down to a bare minimum and decided to triple-shoot it, HD video, with three different cameras. A medium large, DSLR, a Hero Go-pro, and an iPhone 4G. I discarded the iPhone immediately because I couldn't fabricate a bracket fast enough. The Go-Pro and the DSLR were placed flush on a lazy susan, which I quickly fabricated from two pieces of wood I had in the studio, and a teflon/ball bearing LS. I didn't have time to embed a 1/4 20. So I reached into my bag of tricks, took out a piece of modeling clay, and temporarily cemented the camera to the lazy susan. Clean, simple, inexpensive...Oh yeah, and it works. When you try to remove the camera, it's almost like it's cemented to the turntable. But once it pops up, a little bit of denatured alcohol, and it's clean as a whistle. Don't get it in the hole for the 1/4 20! It will take a little time getting that out.. and as we all know, time is money.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Photoshop Vs. A Pruning Tool

I have the utmost respect for the computer mavens who can make the sun rise and fall with Photoshop, and believe me-- I don't say that lightly.We all have to know what we are good at. I would like to believe that I am a good photographer/film maker/designer. But I'll tell you- My Photoshop skills are limited, because that's the way I want it.

Recently, I stumbled across a momma bird hatching 4 eggs, I shot with 3 cameras over a 5 day period. Two hours into the shoot, I realized that I was losing 70% of my photos because of dead branches and vines in the way. I proceeded to do a "Joe DiMaggio Photoshop," which consisted of a 6ft ladder, and some pruning shears. I cleaned up the composition. New idea? I don't think so!

In 1968, I was at my first Indianapolis 500, turn one, eye-level shot, 33 cars, chain link fence, snip snip with the dikes, bend chain link, lens through chain link...Great photo.

I guess there's nothing new under the sun.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tricks of the Trade: Simple is Always Better

On a recent photo safari, I noticed one of the advanced students had a polarizing screen on in a very deep shade situation, with no reflective surface, attempting to do an environmental portrait. What I suggested- He remove the polarizing screen, he said, "It's stuck."
I said "No problem," I tried to muscle it off... It didn't work. I went to my small Kata backpack to retrieve a rubberized jar lid remover. And for whatever reason, I forgot. And then it dawned on me- what I had carried for over 20 years at SI & Time, I always carried a pair of rubber gloves. (Occasionally, a rubber chicken.)
Ok, it was a real chicken.
Concept of rubber gloves- Fingers and palms can be used to remove filters, parts of the camera,etc.. And if you get a flat, you don't get dirty hands.
Oh, by the way, they're only about $1.50 a pair. They also come in handy if you want to hold up the camera store. The obvious problem with that is- there are no more camera stores! Spend $1.50, get a pair of rubberized gloves, keep one in each bag, someday it will come in handy.

© Joe DiMaggio 2010

Joseph- August 5, 2010

Happy Birthday, Joseph.
I love you,