• Testing lights and jumping on bonnets

    So I picked up the new Profoto B1 lights I've organised for Decibels Records and of course I was itching to try them out, as I've been reading about them and, to be honest, getting more than a little excited about them since they were released a year or two back. I used to own a Photoflex Triton flash, which was great in that it's battery powered, tiny and provides 300w, generally enough for portraits etc. Unfortunately, the quality just wasn't up to scratch. I was shooting a job last year on location, and all of a sudden it just died. I took it back to the dealer, and they couldn't isolate the problem, even when they started swapping out components with their hire unit (the hire unit started failing as well!). At this point I'd already decided to make the move to Profoto, and this was the final nail in the coffin. I picked up a 2x1000w D1 kit at a good price from my friends at Specular, along with a Jimbei battery unit to sort me out on location, with the idea that at some point I'd add a B1 to the party. The D1's have been fantastic. Super solid, with piles of grunt for when it's needed. Everything about them is just great, a huge upgrade from my tired old Bowens Esprit 1500w (which, mind you are still perfectly servicable). 

    The new Profoto B1's, however, have a few amazing new features which truly seperate them from the D1's. 

    -Powered by an in-built battery, which means no cables to trip over, and they're SO much easier to move around on location etc. Everything's just so tidy

    -TTL exposure, meaning just like a speedlite, it figures out exposure from the camera and automatically sets the power itself. It generally gets it just right. You can also set it to fire at TTL for the first exposure, and then switch to manual.. Or just plain manual. Very cool. 

    -High Speed Sync. I think this is such a cool feature. I loved the idea of HSS on my speedlites, but I found that because it uses more power when it dumps a HSS pop, it was difficult to make it work. However, with 500w of power up the B1's sleeve, it works like a charm. Where HSS can be amazing, is that it allows you to open up your lens and use bigger apertures, even in the direct sun, without the restriction of flash sync speed. In combination with..

    -Tiny flash duration 1/1000 sec. at full power to 1/11,000 sec minimum in normal, and up to 18,000th in freeze mode. Frankly, that's insane. I never really thought about flash duration untill i had a model jump on a shoot recently, and saw the massive blur she left. Crazy. And freezing water drops.. Man. Anyway, so far I've found the B1 duration crisp as hell. Works a treat.

    I'm secretly terrified of using flash, so anything that makes it easier is very welcome, in my book. The other day I told one of my assistants, Emily this, and she was so suprised, saying that she thought I lit really well. How about that huh? I'll start believing in myself one day.. 

    SO ANYWAY HERE'S SOME PHOTOS OF MY MATE. Ashlee is a performer who goes under the Minnie Monroe monkier, and The Distinctive Dame had just did her hair for a promo thinger, so she came over to do some shooting (even though Lucille Ball curls and flowers wouldn't normally be my gut instinct when it comes to hair..). We went out to the back alley behind my house. I'd never looked closely at the shitbox old Corolla which seems to always be parked there. Turns out it must be dumped, it's full of junkie shit and the windows are smashed. Duh. I loved the idea of the contrast between a cute girl all done up all vintage, and an old shitbox in a laneway. Anyway, I had a single head going, swapping between a Zoom Reflector and a Medium Deep Silver Umbrella. I like it. I think I need a B1. 

    I was shooting on my Canon 5D MKIII and going between a 24-70MM 2.8L II (one of the best lenses Canon has ever made) and a 85MM 1.2L I've got on loan from my mate Tim Grey (and now desperately wish I owned).

  • Rosa's Canteen - For Harding Architects

    I've been recently shooting a bit of work for Nick Harding, of Harding Architects. Nick's an incredibly talented architect who is doing some really excellent work around Melbourne, and it's been a pleasure to get to know him. One late summer's afternoon, Nick, Peter Deering and myself went down to the newly opened Rosa's Canteen in the 500 Bourke St complex to create some images. The sun was streaming through the Bourke St trees casting long shadows across the room, and it was all pretty magical. I loved how Nick's design combined materials and used geometry to create areal modern classic vibe. But hey, what do I know about architecture? Here's some photos. 

  • Isaac popped by the studio today..

    My dear mate Isaac De Heer has been travelling in South America for a while, and teaching English. While he was there he did some beautiful recording projects which look set to form his next record (after the one he's about to release). We were doing some simple copy work, documenting the artworks he's created to go with each induvidual vinyl release and I made him pose for a portrait. I'm loving my new Profoto umbrella, the light quality is so close to daylight it's crazy. 

    If you haven't heard Isaac's music, please go check it out. It's great.



  • I got interviewed again..!

    I think this is interview number four for the year. Hilarious! Who decided I had anything to say?

    I think they would have preferred I talked more about food and I might have talked about money too much. Oops. I do like food though.. 

    Go have a read if you like, they asked some interesting questions. It's funny when people cut out bits of your text. I talked about a wonderful surf photographer from Hawaii named John Hook, and they just put "a guy named John Hook is amazing". Oh, go look up John Hook too. 

    Stoked they put my photo of Ross Knight at the top. One of my fav portraits I've ever taken.

  • I wrote something about not being "a knob with a camera" when you're in a restaurant and it was published.

    Check it out, while I was in Bali a few weeks ago I was asked to write some things about taking photos of your food. I seized the oppourtunity to educate people. While my girlfriend was getting a massage I had my toenails manicured (they took my clippers off me at the airport, and this was cheaper than buying more. Why not?) and tapped away on my iphone for half an hour or so.. Check it out. 

    Original link

    How to take better food photos

    Want to post pics of your meals while you're travelling to make your friends jealous? Professional food photographer Kristoffer Paulsen offers his top five tips.

    1. Lighting 

    Flash. Turn it off. Unless you can replicate the ol' Terry Richardson look, or you're using a DSLR with a bounce head, it'll look awful and you'll annoy other diners. Use natural light. Food almost always looks better with natural light coming from one side (preferably behind). If you know you're going to want to shoot your food, ask for a seat near the window. Natural side light gives texture and contrast, whereas light from above or all around flattens things out and does the opposite. If your shadows are too harsh try using a white napkin to fill the shadows a little (and get ready for the looks). 

    In my opinion, food never looks good under moody restaurant lighting. It looks yellow and awful;  a bad representation of the dish, and insulting to the poor chef if those photos go on social media. If you must take pictures of your food at night with your smart phone, think about getting something like the awesome new Expose light by Melbourne company, Knog. You can side light it and it'll look great. 

    2. Processing

    I almost always tweak my photos with some kind of app before posting them anywhere. This is the same with my professional images from my DSLR, so it makes sense that the images from a phone won't be any better! Spend a few bucks on an app like After Light, VSCO Cam or Alt-Photo and learn how to use it. Think about contrast, white balance and sharpness. It's amazing how even some of the presets in these Apps can bring a dull image to life. 

    3. Respect

    Be sensitive to your surroundings. Don't be the one with the big camera blazing away and forbidding others from eating before you've got "the shot". Leave eating cold food to the professionals (like me!). Eating out is a wonderful thing, and you should enjoy the experience, rather than being a knob with a camera. 

    4. Narrative

    I get wannabe foodies follow me on Instagram all the time, and their feeds are awful. Just badly composed sad brown blobs on big white plates. When I shoot food, I want try to make it look like a memory someone could have had. I want to make it look like you could sit down, grab a fork and eat. It's about the story. Rumple a napkin, hang a fork off the side of a plate. Froth up a beer a little. Drop a bit of salt on the table. The key to creating a story in an image is the human element. Without it, it's just a boring plate of food. Have fun with it!

    5. Technique 

    Things like focus point, aperture and shutter speed are really important if you're using a DSLR or even a point and shoot. If you're shooting from the side, try to focus on the protein. If you want to create a sense of depth, go for a smaller depth of field (f stop number). Never go below 1/60th of a second shutter speed to keep things sharp. 

    There you go. GO FORTH AND NOT BE A KNOB!