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  • Welcome to my blog!

    I know you're time is valuable so thanks for taking the time to visit. Here you'll find irregularly-timed irregular posts about what I've been up to or about topics that interest me or I think might interest others. Mostly the content will be about photography, cinematography and the such, but I'll also occasionally diverge into my personal life and share slices what I do in my spare time.

Lots of New Work Added To My Portfolio

You may not have noticed but my blog has gone silent for a little while. That’s because I’ve been in the studio for weeks shooting a whole series of new work for my product and beverages/liquids portfolios. A bolt of creative struck and I took advantage of the situation. I have added about 15 new images to my portfolio. Here are some of the images:

 

Here are some of the liquids shots I did.

These two were shot for one of my favorite craft brewers, Fullerton-based The Bruery. They were stoked with the final outcome and we should be seeing them on their website soon.


 

Please check out them all out and more new stuff in the automotive book as well on my main website.

Breaking Through Creative Roadblocks

18 Imaginative Thinkers Break Your Creative Block

by LUKE COPPING

It happens to all of us at some point – you are driving along the creative highway unaware of some oncoming cerebral roadwork slowing the road down to one lane. You lose your focus for one second and BAM!!! You slam headlong into a creative wall. I asked seventeen of the most creative photographers, designers, bloggers, and creative industry professionals I know (and threw myself into the mix for good measure) to weigh in on how creative difficulties affect them and what they do to beat back the tide of artistic fatigue.

…This is just an excerpt from a great blog panel Luke Copping did this week. To read the whole blog post surf over to Luke’s blog

or you can read my contribution to his blog panel below…

JohnEarly LG 525x 18 Imaginative Thinkers Break Your Creative Block

John Early

Most creatives talk about how they sometimes find themselves in a creative rut, and search for ways to spur their creativity to produce new and captivating imagery. I am the opposite. I don’t think in terms of creative ruts, but rather creative peaks. I usually float along in a creative steady-state so to speak. Then every once in a while a creative peak will occur, and that is when the good ideas and inspiration flow freely. I’ll use the analogy of an author. Most authors can’t just sit down and write an award-winning novel on command. Similarly, a photographer cannot expect to produce a great shot on the spur of the moment. Of course one can and this does happen occasionally, but it is not the norm.

As many photographers know, often too much of our daily time is spent running the business, shooting bread and butter jobs, promoting, blogging, social media, etc., and not being creative. These activities usually won’t foster the arrival of a creative peak so when I want to try and bring on a creative peak there’s three things I’ll usually try:

• I’ll get on my mountain bike and ride a good, long, hard ride. I’ll push my limits and ride at least twice as long as usual which for me means three or more hours. It’s not that I can think creatively while I’m riding, because if I did that I’d end up with dirt in my teeth at the very least. I like to mountain bike because I cannot think of anything while I ride – or I’ll crash. So, I am basically doing a clean sweep and optimization of my brain (like a hard drive). When the aprés-ride endorphins kick in and I am in a state of bliss, is usually when I tend to be able to think more creatively. I’ll put on some mellow music and just start brainstorming.

• Or I’ll change my location to somewhere unfamiliar. I might go into a part of town I don’t usually visit and shoot some street scenes or architecture. The point is to experience something different than what I am used to. I find that just putting myself in a new “world” so to speak, get’s my creative juices flowing. Most often this is personal work for me since I am primarily an automotive photographer. But I firmly believe photographers and artists must also create for themselves to keep up their creativity, even if they never show that work. The old saying is true: Use it or lose it. This applies to creativity as well.

• Lastly, I’ll exhaustively scour the internet and magazines for what photographers/cinematographers are currently shooting. I’ll regularly do this 3-4 times a year and sometimes more often. While I would never advocate stealing someone else’s ideas, I find that my creativity is often sparked by viewing great work done by others. It’s just another component in the R&D of furthering my creativity.

John Early is an award-winning automotive and product photographer based in Los Angeles.

In Studio With the 2012 Acura TL

Shooting with the Canon 5DMk2

Recently I was called on by Acura and their interactive Genex to shoot the new 2012 Acura TL. We were charged with shooting both video and stills for their acura.com website. For this shoot we primarily use the Canon 5DMk2 with Zeiss glass. In 2010 I switched to using Zeiss glass whenever possible. The quality is just superior to the Canon L glass. Don’t get me wrong some L lenses are fantastic, but the L zooms (and I know that’s not a fair comparison) we usually use just stand up to the German glass. They are superior in sharpness and color fidelity in my opinion.

For the headlight shot above the crew mounted up  the camera with a Zeiss 85mm lens on a Zacuto baseplate. The kit consists of a Chrosziel matte box, Petroff follow focus, Manfrotto head, Marshall 7″ HD monitor. We split our video signal using a JAG35 splitter and sent one to monitor the creatives could watch.  This was all mounted on a Kessler Crane Cineslider. The funny part is is it’s all mounted on a heavy-duty old-school Gitzo tripod. Hey ! Whatever works right? I’ve certainly seen ALOT crazier rigs than that!

Sometimes I had my AC pull focus and then other times he’d run the Oracle controller while I pulled focus. In the lower right corner of the picture above you can see the controller.

Joel assisting me on set.

In-car set-up using Kessler Crane Cineslider and Oracle Controller

In-car setup close-up

It ain’t pretty but it worked. Here we are mounted up using two Gitzos with custom aluminum L-brackets to mount the slider. Here the camera set-up is super-minimalist due to space restrictions.



We found that leaving a camera mounted up on the slider gave us great flexibility and speed in setting up shots. The Cineslider is such a beatifully designed piece of equipment. It’s a joy to use especially with the Oracle controller. Now if on those motors were silent! Dear Eric: on my wish list would be (1) quieter motors and (2) a case that would hold the slider with motor mounted. I know I could go make a custom case, but I think Kessler should offer one. I highly recommend the Kessler Crane Cineslider and cranes.

Here’s a short video clip of me and the crew setting up a couple slider shots in the interior of the TL.

Shooting the new 2012 Acura TL

I recently shot the 2012 Acura TL for Acura’s website. Today, I received word from my client that the embargo is over so I’ll be releasing some production stills over the next few days. So please listen for the tweets announcing the blog post.

Shooting with the Canon 5D Mk 2, Zeiss 85mm lens, Zacuto rig, Marshall monitor, and Kessler Crane motorized Cineslider with Oracle Controller.

I’m So Over Multi-tasking

I always have thought of myself as an extraordinarily effective multi-tasker. In fact, I am. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. I’m sure it must cause undue stress. It’s not uncommon for me to be burning a DVD of files for a client, retouching a shot on-screen, watching Twitter out of the corner of one eye, while ingesting files from a shoot on another computer, and if there’s a moment those computers are busy I’ll jump up and prime the Keurig for another power boost or surf over to Facebook for a few seconds. But whoops… then in comes an unexpected email or phone call that I have to deal with and the multitasking comes to a halt. Not usually but sometimes I’ll lose track of one of the things I was tasking and remember it 15 minutes later. No biggie, but I just wonder about the overall effectiveness of multi-tasking for productivity.

Even with the multi-tasking my list of to-dos and ideas to pursue, rarely gets shorter and almost never disappears. I’ve been thinking alot about this lately and I think that I would like to cut back on the multi-tasking. I think I would do a better job to focus on one thing until completion (or a good stopping spot) and then take short breaks, then launch into a new task. That all sounds fine and good, but the MT habit is a hard one to break. As I was contemplating this I stumbled on this excellent post over at The 99%. The article is called It’s Time To Kill Multi-Tasking and is worth a read.