Olie's Images: Blog https://www.oliesimages.com/blog en-us Olie's Images, LLC (Olie's Images) Tue, 02 Mar 2021 21:53:00 GMT Tue, 02 Mar 2021 21:53:00 GMT https://www.oliesimages.com/img/s/v-12/u535378785-o315170667-50.jpg Olie's Images: Blog https://www.oliesimages.com/blog 120 73 Custom Collage and Vivid Metal https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2020/2/vivid-metal I've created this video to help show you what a Vivid Metal looks like. It's one of my favorite products. 

In this video, you'll also see a Custom Collage example printed on the Vivid Metal print. 

 

 

Subscribe to the YouTube Channel (it's free) to find other product videos and so much more!

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(Olie's Images) artwork custom collage example products vivid metal https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2020/2/vivid-metal Thu, 27 Feb 2020 05:08:07 GMT
Statuette https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2020/2/statuette Are you curious about statuettes? 

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, and I'll be sure to reply! 

Be sure you watch this video, that's the best way to get an idea of what these are. 

Statuettes are made out of compressed wood with your photo printed on them and cut out. They are free-standing and look great!

To purchase your own: 

  1. Find the photo you want to be made into a statuette.
  2. Click "Visit Shop" on the top right side above the featured items. 
  3. Find the "Home Decor" category. 
  4. Statuettes can be found in the "Stands" category. 
  5. Enter any instructions you have.
    1. Example: "keep the horse and steer, please."
  6. Checkout. :) 

 

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(Olie's Images) gift how purchase stand statuette to unique up https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2020/2/statuette Tue, 18 Feb 2020 00:28:05 GMT
Before You Buy a New Camera Read This https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/11/before-you-buy-a-new-camera Before you buy a $5,500 camera, read this...

 

If you’ve stumbled on this blog for the first time let me introduce myself. I’m Olie Moss and I have a little company called Olie’s Images. I specialize in team roping, barrel racing, and breakaway photos as well as a few others. I’ve been in business since July 2014. I started with a basic camera and lens kit. Since then, however, I’ve grown my company to cover the western US shooting some of the best events in the business. I’ve gone through many of the same growing pains as you are probably experiencing. If you’ve been shooting for a while now, you’ve probably already outgrown or simply worn out your first camera or two. We are constantly enticed to buy the sexy new camera body with more capability. Many of today’s cameras have crazy good high ISO capability. The D5 from Nikon, for example, is an absolute beast for capturing details at extremely high ISO. But, is that really what we want? Is ISO 102,400 or more really helping us? Before you buy a $5,500 camera read this. Maybe it's still what you want to do, or maybe there’s a better use for your money. Side note: I have two Canon 1DX Mark II’s and I LOVE THEM! So, I’m not hating on expensive cameras. I love them. :)

IMG_2891Big boy and little guy

Increasing ISO

 

Many of us, myself included, have jumped in the rat race of buying the next best camera that comes out with even higher ISO because we “need” it. Sure, there are tons of other reasons to buy the latest flagship camera but that’s a discussion for another time. I started with a Canon 70D, it was terrible at ISO 4,000 and above (probably ISO 2000 if I’m behind honest). But I was needing to shoot at ISO 12,800 often. To counter that, I bought lenses but the fastest lenses I could get that would also zoom for the way I wanted to shoot were f/2.8. That’s pretty good but I was still shooting at ISO 8,000. Way over the camera’s capability. I upgraded pretty quickly to the 5D Mark III. That was certainly better but I soon wore it out (aka just wanted something new). I got the original 1DX before the Mark II came out. That was pretty good at ISO 8000 but there was still plenty to be desired. 

_LIE4984-EditHigh ISO

Sure, the images were properly exposed and there was some grain still but, I had spent a good chunk of money (about $11,000 for just one 5D and one 1DX). But, there wasn’t a significant difference in my images. They basically looked the same to the casual observer. The direction, quality, and quantity of light weren’t changing. I was still having to use shutter speed to freeze the action. I was still just getting the same shots that anyone else who walked up could get with a basic kit. 

 

That had to change. I wanted to get a better result. I wanted the action to be frozen better. I wanted the images to be cleaner. I wanted the images to jump out. Raising the ISO wouldn’t do that. Getting a different camera or lens wouldn’t do that. The only way to do that is to change the light. Quality and direction of light change the game. 

 

Changing the Quality and Direction of Light

 

In order to change the quality and direction of light we either need to remodel the building or bring in our own lights. There are two basic types of lights. Constant and flash. Constant lights are constantly on. Like the ones in the ceiling, these lights are often used for video work, not photos. For photos we really only need the light to be on during an exposure (when we push the button to take a picture). So, that’s why we use flash. Flash is a far brighter light than the constant lights generally are. Using strobes lets us shoot at a lower ISO but that’s not the only benefit. 

_LIE8807Strobed with quality and direction of light.

Why I Use Strobes

 

Strobes allow me to reduce the ISO, sure. But they also let me change the quality, quantity, and direction of light. First the direction. I mount the strobes (flashes) where I want the light to come from. Personally, I like the look of cross lighting my subjects so that the light rakes across the horses, riders, cattle, barrels, whatever my subject is. This creates shadows that define the subjects. Shadows are opposite the light source and help to give the images a sense of depth. This makes the subjects look like they are popping off the screen or print. Strobes also change the quality of light. Now, the light looks different as it hits the subject. I use the Profoto Zoom 2 reflectors because they create an even spread of light but are punchy enough to give that crispy look that I like. Quantity refers to the amount of light hitting the sensor. I’m using the Profoto D2 500ws lights. These are bright enough to overpower the sun in certain situations. They aren’t the brightest ones on the planet but they are the best ones for my goals. I’ve talked about them in other posts so I won’t go into detail here. 

 

Simply put, strobes allow you creative control over the final look and feel of your images. Their short flash duration is what freezes the motion of the subjects, not shutter speed. 

 

The Drawbacks of Using Strobes

 

The strobes I use are relatively expensive at first glance. But, if you compare to the brand that most of my peers use, you’d need 4-5 of brand X to come close to the specs of the Profoto D2’s. At that point, you are spending a few hundred dollars more and packing around 5 times as many strobes. I haul around 11 of the D2’s everywhere I go. If I had brand x, I’d need 55 of them to keep up. I’d need another trailer just to haul strobes. Another drawback is the time to set up and adjust them. With the D2’s, I just have to set them up. I adjust them from where I sit using the remote. With brand x, you’ll need to physically adjust the setting on the back of the light and make sure the receiver (sold separately) is turned on and has fresh batteries. Either way, strobes are worth it in my mind. You can’t simply buy a nice camera, turn up the ISO and call yourself the world's greatest photographer. LOL 

 

My Advice

 

Before you upgrade to the next camera body that hits the market make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons. If you haven’t invested in strobes yet and experimented until you’ve found the best way to use them, then I think that should be your next purchase. Instead of spending $5,500 on a camera, you might want to save up a little bit longer and get three Profoto D2’s, an Air Remote, and at least a couple ways to mount the strobes safely. You’ll spend about $6,500 or so but that will get you started. I know it can seem daunting but if you buy them one at a time that might take the stress off. It will take a little bit more time but it’s worth it, I promise. No one really cares what camera body you use, or what brand of strobes you’ve got. But, they can tell in the final result. 

 

I hope this information has been helpful to you. Click the link at the top to see the other gear I’m shooting with. Be sure to jump over to YouTube, I’m always updating that content as well. 

 

I’ll see ya at the next one!

 

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(Olie's Images) camera Canon help how to lighting Nikon photography setup Sony strobe https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/11/before-you-buy-a-new-camera Fri, 15 Nov 2019 01:45:00 GMT
How I Travel Full Time https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/11/how-i-travel-full-time How I travel full time. 

C2FED360-183B-4B89-8F2C-E3929C79D564Stop, Hammock Time

For those who don’t know me yet, my name is Olie Moss. I have a little business called Olie’s Images where I get to travel mostly in the Western United States and photograph western equestrian events like team roping, barrel racing, breakaway and a few others. Those events are scattered all over and thus the reason why I travel so much.

 

This question used to come up more often than it does now. I think it was because maybe it’s more obvious now or because the people that are close enough to feel comfortable asking all know now. However, I can see it in the eyes of the people who ask me where I live. I tell them that I don’t live anywhere anymore because I travel full time. Full time travel, life on the road, nomadic wandering, however you phrase it, it comes with a ton of questions from those who don’t do it and especially from those who want to do it. For those who are interested in creating a life like this for yourselves, this blog post might be helpful for you. If you’re of the nature to pack your life in a backpack and travel full time as inexpensively as possible, this isn’t for you. I’m not really one to live life in the most minimal way. Though, I do agree with The Minimalist’s in many respects, I’m certainly not living that life exactly. Though, there is only room in my life for the things that absolutely add value. 

 

Since travel is part of my business and my business is photography that means that I need to travel with photography gear, right? That’s right. Not only do I have cameras and lenses, I have duplicates of everything as well. I also set up a vendor booth and all the necessities to run a business at each of the events I photograph. All of that gear and equipment requires a certain amount of space. To literally answer the question of how I travel full time, I’ll tell you how I physically do it. I didn’t start out this way but after quite a bit of upgrading in a fairly rapid manor, I’ve acquired a 2019 Grand Design Momentum 397 Toy Hauler 5th wheel. (Close to 45’ long.) I pull it with my 2017 Ford F-350 Platinum. I have an onboard Onan 5500 generator with 60 gallons of fuel for those times when there isn’t a place to plug or if I need to stop along the way to fulfill orders. 

 

For the rest of the time, however, I’m either parked at an arena where I’m shooting an event or I’m parked with friends or family. This year, 2019, I had about 33 events on my calendar. Some were two weeks long, and some were two days long but its fair to say that most of the time I’m probably parked at an arena. For example, I’m at an arena as I write this blog post. The rest of the time I’m either en route or staying with friends and family. I’ve been lucky enough to have friends all over the county and many within a short drive of my most frequented arenas. I really appreciate them letting me stay and most importantly let me use their wifi haha! I do my best to repay them, either by actually just paying them or doing something nice for them. 

 

I schedule some events back to back but I do my best to schedule long periods between events so I don’t just work myself to death. After all, I am technically home every night. So, I might as well as enjoy the place that my home is located for the moment. For example, Brenna and I have gone to the Gulf of Mexico to find wild dolphins. I’ve gone to Sedona, AZ for the weekend and taken a helicopter tour. There’s always something interesting to do wherever I am. 

 

No, there’s no inheritance, my parents don’t pay for any of it, I don’t have a rich uncle, I’m not living like a ran away with the circus either. I pay for everything myself or my business pays it. Many things are business expenses and the rest is up to me. But, really, this whole traveling full time thing is probably much less expensive than traveling most of the time but still having a specific geolocation to go back to after every event. I have a truck payment and trailer payment but I don’t have a mortgage. My trailer is kinda expensive for a trailer I guess, but its way cheap compared to most houses. I hardly every need to buy a hotel room unless I need more help than my trailer can hold. It sleeps five comfortably but seven if I really needed it to. Most events I have 4-8 people working it plus myself. Even if we slept two to a room, that hotel bill would add up much faster than my trailer payment but I wouldn’t have anything to show for it much less any room for gear. I have a 12.5’ garage and its full of camera gear, as is the pass through storage and the attic (plus my golf clubs but those are important). 

 

So, while it looks expensive and sounds expensive. Traveling full time the way I do it is actually pretty inexpensive compared to more conventional ways. Even though I’m not living in a beat up old van and showering once a week, It’s really not terribly expensive. It is actually like having an apartment on wheels. I get it though. Many people have kids, pets, and other things that hold them to a home somewhere. I have never had any interest in those things. I’ve always wanted to be free from undue expenses. In fact, I’m working hard to be debt free ASAP. 

 

My photography business is my excuse and reason to travel full time. It is why I’m able to keep it going. Travel is necessary the way I’ve set up my business. So, many expenses can be attributed to the business. That certainly helps, but the sacrifices I’ve made have been the biggest factor to determine the sustainability of this venture. I do my best to have fun along the way and invite my friends to enjoy life with me too! Having a reason to come stay with friends while not interfering with their lives or even using their bathroom, has helped me stay close to my old friends and gain many new ones. All of this while making my own rules, my own schedule, and my own income. I choose to either work all the time, or take a couple months off. As Seth Godin says, I picked myself. 

 

Thanks so much for reading my little blog post. If you’re not already, follow my adventures and possibly learn more about my RV and Photography Life on my YouTube channel. You can find Olie’s Images on Facebook and Instagram too!

 

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(Olie's Images) business full time travel how to photography RV travel work / life balance https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/11/how-i-travel-full-time Wed, 06 Nov 2019 15:40:59 GMT
Portrait Lenses, How to choose the right one. https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/11/portrait-lenses How do you choose a lens for portrait photography?

My friend asked me what lens she should rent for a portrait she was just hired to make for her client. So, instead of just telling her, I’ve made a video to help all of us. 

I own a few lenses that would be great for portraits depending on what the client requires. In the video, you’ll see me break down why or why not to use a lens from 16mm to 600mm. 

I start with the wide-angle lenses. These will emphasize the subject by making them look physically larger than anything that’s further from the lens. Then I jump to the three prime lenses that I have in the middle, the 85mm, 100mm, and 105mm, respectively. These are going to give you the best looking portraits, in my opinion, for those looking for a shallow depth of field look. Next, are the telephoto lenses and teleconverters. Those are lovely all-around lenses that make beautiful portraits. 

My favorite lens for human portraits is the 85mm f/1.2, but for horses, I prefer the 105mm f/1.4. These are my go-to if I’m hired to create a more compelling artistic image with a shallow depth of field. However, if I’m doing work for a commercial client, I prefer to work with the 24-70mm f/2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8. I’ll mount one on each pro body camera because speed is king. I’ll be able to quickly get a variety of shots so we can move on to the next wardrobe or whatever we are shooting. 

Hopefully, you’ve found this information helpful. Please comment below or find this posted on Facebook to comment there. See you at the next one! 

 

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(Olie's Images) camera help how to lenses photography portrait prime telephoto wide angle zoom https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/11/portrait-lenses Sun, 03 Nov 2019 13:13:45 GMT
How I get Mail while Traveling Full TIme https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/9/mail How do I get mail as a full-time RV’er?

 

I’ve gotten this question quite a bit. What better way to address it than in a blog post? If you have a question for me, let me know, and I might answer it for everyone! You probably aren’t the only one who wants to know. Something so simple that we take for granted our whole lives is getting mail. Many people quickly realize how big of a pain it can be once they leave their house behind and hit the road full-time. Lucky for me, I have some awesome friends and family that help me with my mail! The way I see it, there are two types of mail, planned and unplanned/automated.

 

What do I mean by planned mail? To me, that is mail that I ship to myself, such as online shopping, or mail that I receive from friends who reach out and let me know they are sending something. When I’m expecting mail, I’ll look at my schedule and compare it to the expected delivery date. For example, Amazon Prime is generally two days or less free shipping. That makes it easy. I plan for two days ahead and see where I’m going to be. If I’m leaving or I’ll be on the road, then I’ll ship it to where I’m planning to arrive. I don’t stick around for very long anywhere, so I’m often a little pessimistic about delivery times. The last thing I want to do is become a burden for my friends.

 

Unplanned shipments might include online shopping that I’ve done, but I don’t know when the delivery date is precisely. Either I don’t trust the date they gave me, or it has to be built, and there is a long delay. For example, I purchased a tripod off of Kickstarter, and it was still in the development stage. It has been six months with several more remaining. For unplanned shipments, I use my parent’s addresses. If it fits in a post office box, then I’ll use their PO BOX, for everything else I’ll use their physical address. Other examples include accountant bills, IRS letters, insurance, or fan mail. These are all examples of mail that I receive without asking me first.

 

Fan mail is by far my favorite followed closely by online shopping. LOL If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ve probably discovered that I love buying myself nice things. Haha. Mostly these “gifts” evolve around Olie’s Images. Why not love buying stuff for work? I figure, if I don’t enjoy the process, then I shouldn’t bother being in business.

 

Now that I have a YouTube account, I’m going to film the fan mail I get. I love watching those videos. LOL, Hopefully, some of you do too.

 

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(Olie's Images) How To Mail RV Life travel https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/9/mail Fri, 20 Sep 2019 13:39:13 GMT
Where am I Going Wednesday 9-11-19 https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/9/where-am-i-going-wednesday-9-11-19 Where am I Going Wednesday? 

 

Hey everyone! We've wrapped up the 2019 Fizz Bomb Classic Futurity and now we are headed to Gollaher's Arena for the Roper Rally Futurity! 

 

 

Many of you have asked me to bring back the Where am I Going Wednesday series! I've decided to make a YouTube Channel and upload regularly to it. This ongoing series will be used to recap the previous event as well as announce the next event I'm going to. I'll do more than that though. I'll be adding in some other ideas as I go to keep it interesting.

 

Let me know if you have any ideas for me!

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(Olie's Images) Fizz Bomb Roper Rally safety Travel Wednesday https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/9/where-am-i-going-wednesday-9-11-19 Thu, 12 Sep 2019 00:59:12 GMT
I Started a YouTube Channel!! https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/9/youtube I've started a YouTube Channel!!

 

Hey there! Thanks for reading my blog posts. I really appreciate it. Lately, many of you have asked me if I have a YouTube account. Sadly, the answer has been no, but that has changed today. I'm excited/nervous to announce that Olie's Images is now on YouTube too. I'm going to continue to write blog posts, but I'm going to go back to filming vlogs, tutorials, and RV life adventures. 

 

I've posted my first YouTube video below. It's about the standing desk that my friend Eddie helped me build. Brenna and I now have a much better place to work at in between events. 

 

Having a large solid desk to work on is a game-changer. I only wish I had done it sooner. 

 

Enjoy, (Please Subscribe LOL)

 

 

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(Olie's Images) how to RV Standing Desk Travel video YouTube https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/9/youtube Wed, 11 Sep 2019 22:07:37 GMT
Book List https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/9/book-list Books I've Read

 

I didn't always love to read. I used to hate it, and I used to avoid it at all costs. I'd instead go outside, shoot guns, drag Main street, chase girls, or anything but read a book. But, one day I clicked on a video from Tai Lopez (That's embarrassing to admit) that said if you want to get rich, then you have to read books. A little voice in my head said: "I like money" (a reference to the move Idocracy LOL). Anyways, after a while, I started to listen to his advice. He is pretty much right after all. I read a study that found that most C Level employees (CEO, CFO, etc.) all read dozens of books a year. It wasn't long after I began reading regularly that my income started to rise. It helps to be intentional about the books you read. I don't believe that fantasy fiction books will help you become a better leader or innovator. I do, however know that many of the world's great leaders and thinkers have written down what they know to share it with all of us. It's like Tai said, books are like having a mentor on your shelf just waiting for you to learn its secrets. If you let them lessons change your life, you'll be better for it. 

IMG_0083Me and a few good books

Now, I'm more outspoken than ever about how much I read. I have even started a book club to give the kids a reason to read nonfiction books. That way they can experience a small win right away. According to James Clear in his book, Atomic Habits, small wins are a great way to start and maintain good habits. Small wins help the brain to recognize that it wants to do that again. Lately, many of my friends have asked me about books I've read and what I'd recommend. I've been trying to respond to each inquiry carefully, but I realize that I'm giving undue weight to the books I've read more recently. So, I thought it would be better to create a list that I could share with everyone who wants to know what books I've read. This list also has notes written to potential readers so they can get a feel for what I've gained (or not gained) from each book. 

 

Without further ado, here's a link to the books I've read: Olie's Book List

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(Olie's Images) books business fiction how to inspiring kids life changing list marketing money nonfiction photography power read reading rich travel https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/9/book-list Mon, 02 Sep 2019 16:30:37 GMT
25 Days of Creativity https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/9/25-days-of-creativity 25 Days of Creativity

Lately, I've been pushing myself to form better habits. I've read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhig, and Atomic Habits by James Clear. These books have been an excellent insight into habit formation and disruption. A long time ago, I read The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, is centered around the habit of doing your most import thing first. In Atomic Habits, James Clear said to use a habit tracker to start by recording how often you do something without trying to change it. Then, use it to change the habit. For example, if you want to stop doing a bad habit, you first track how often you do that bad habit. Then with that eye-opening data, you can work on disrupting that habit. The habit tracker that I use has keeps track of habit streaks. I know that it is a total mind trick, but if you give in and tell yourself that you care about the streak and keeping it alive. Then, you get a little bit of joy when you can give yourself that confirmation that you have successfully refrained from doing the habit at the end of the day. The same is true for a good habit. Track the habit then try to change it with streaks. Tracing my habits is what I used to get 25 days of creativity without breaking my streak. The app I use is called Way of Life. I've hidden my other habits I'm working on but you can see that this week hasn't been perfect as noted by the red box. 

IMG_42D67A52FD22-1Way of Life App

The Way of Life app has loads of options, but it is so simple and easy to use. When I am successful, I get a green box when I'm successful as well as a "ding" notification. After three consecutive days, the streak counter starts showing up. It will show the longest streak if I have started a new streak after breaking one. That way, I push myself further the next time. There is a red box when I fail. That sucks. There is a way to skip a day and not ruin the streak. I've tried to use this, but it feels like a failure, so I don't bother with skip days anymore. 

I have habit streaks that have lasted over 200 days, but I'm focusing on creativity in this post. I've learned a lot about myself in the last 25 days. For example, it used to be so easy to create often, but forcing myself to create every day was a challenge. I used to think that I had to be in the zone or feeling the creative flow even to start. But, with repeated practice, it becomes much easier to get in the zone or flow state when I start regardless of how I feel. I've broken the streak several times this year. I made it to 25 days by changing the rules and making the goal closer so I can have a small win that usually propels me on to a more significant win sooner rather than later. 

One "rule" I changed is the skip days like I mentioned before. I was using the skip feature for days when I'd shoot photos for work all day, such as a team roping or barrel race. I gave it some more thought, and now I count those days as creating something. It was a silly secret rule that although I'm creative every day for work that it doesn't count as creating. Another rule is what I create. I started by making it a blog challenge. After 10+ days of blogging every day, I ran out of ideas. Or, I was beginning to feel burnt out. I changed the "blog every day" rule to "create everyday." Changing my rules expanded what I could do that would count towards my goal. I was able to get more green boxes and less red boxes, resulting in a better me. Now I can create a t-shirt design in Illustrator, or painting in Procreate, or a photo, or a video, or an advertisement, or whatever else, you get the picture. LOL

There have been lots of cool things that have come from my creativity challenge, and there have been some pretty lame creations. If I had just tried for perfect creations every time, I would still be stuck not creating. I should start and let my mind explore. I can create faster and faster each week that goes by. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you probably have seen the march store growing fast. I've been creating designs, having people vote on them and then publishing the best ones to my store on shirts, hoodies, flip flops and more! Some people have even purchased them! The reward is that I created something and got the green box and the ding of affirmation, but the financial reward when someone buys my merchandise is cool too! I've created stickers with my designs and gave them away for free in my booth and an occasional post. 

I have been getting better and faster, the more I create. I'm sure I could progress faster if I would stick to one thing and do it well. For me that one thing is photography, and all the other stuff is just extra. I'm still learning new things with photography, but the wins are smaller and more nuanced. Though, I could always write about them at length. LOL, I'm using this creativity challenge to try out new things and see how I like them. I'm working on improving my hand lettering, for example. It is interesting to learn how people sketch the letter shapes and not just manipulate a pre-made font. There is a ton of thought that goes into each word and the group of words a whole. I've been investing quite a bit of time learning Illustrator. It's incredible to watch people like Aaron Draplin work in Illustrator. I recently purchased his book (after driving two hours to a bookstore that had one left) Pretty Much Everything. 

If you are a creative professional or want a little bit more creativity in your life, I'd highly recommend committing to a similar challenge Start by just tracking how often you create but don't be hard on yourself. Then start trying to beat your last streak but the most important day is the day after perfect. I'm relatively sure that I read that in Jon Acuff's book, Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done. We are prone to failure, and things come up, life gets crazy. We hit the pillow after a wild day and realize we didn't create anything only after waking up the next day. The most important thing you can do is to start again right away. The streak should not be broken for two days in a row because that is teaching our brains a new habit of not making the habit we want. 

Let's see how long of a streak we can get! Let me know what you come up with. I'm going to get a green box and the ding of success now that I've finished this blog. LOL 

 

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(Olie's Images) books burnout challenge create creativity help Illustrator inspiration life photography Photoshop success video https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/9/25-days-of-creativity Sun, 01 Sep 2019 15:31:58 GMT
10 Things I wish I bought sooner. https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/8/10-things-i-wish-i-bought-sooner 10 things I wish I bought sooner.

IMG_2144IMG_2144

  1. Super Clamps
  2. Super Visor Clamps
  3. Baby Pins
  4. Gimbal Head
  5. Grip Heads
  6. C-Stands
  7. 3/8-16 to baby pin adapter
  8. Friction Arm
  9. Sand Bags
  10. Gaffer Tape

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Super Clamps

These little clamps can pack a heavy load. I trust them to hold up all kinds of things, but 99% of the time, they hold up my strobes. These allow me to mount my strobes to any flat, curved, or angled surface that fits in its jaws. I find that anything about 2” or less will work. I’m often clamping to the flat iron that makes the structure of a steel building, or to the top of a 2” panel, or a square tubing handrail. These clamps come with various handles to tighten them down, but my favorite is the adjustable lever. It allows you to reposition itself to get the maximum force. The super clamps don’t do anything without a baby pin, though. There are a wide variety of baby pin shapes and sizes. I keep a range on hand for many uses.

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Super Visor Clamps

There are several sizes for supervisor clamps. I prefer the larger 9” ones, but I have a smaller one that I got first and soon realized it wasn’t long enough. These have a fixed jaw that receives a baby pin, and the other end is a male baby pin with course threads between them. The other jaw slides freely backed by a handle that you spin down the thread to tighten it. According to Kupo, they don’t recommend using them on anything 2” or bigger. However, it has been my experience that even though they aren’t great for any round object that is 2” or larger, they are great at flat or angled corners. I’ve often clamped to a large flat iron, and it was very secure. I typically mount my strobes to the male baby pin end, but sometimes I need a different style of a baby pin to get my strobe in the right position.

 

Baby Pins

I’m always on the lookout for different baby pins. Several companies make them in different shapes and sizes. I have the standard ones that usually come with the super clamps. These are short and typically have a 1/4-20 on one end and  3/8-16 on the other. If I need something a little taller, I’ll use the 6” long baby pins. They are a straight pin that is three times longer than the standard pin. Often though, I find myself using the right angle baby pin. They are just like they sound like a baby pin in the shape of a capital “L.” When I mount strobes to the vertical pillars on steel buildings, I’ll use the right angle baby pins to keep my lights in an upright position. It feels more secure to me that way.

 

Gimbal Head

If you’ve followed what I do for very long, you know I love my gimbal head. The gimbal head is what holds my camera for me. It attaches to a tripod or anything that has a 3/8-16 thread. A gimbal head will allow my camera to balance in place, so there is no restriction when I’m shooting. It is free-floating until I grab hold of it and shoot. Then when I let go, it just hangs out until I’m ready again. Using the gimbal head beats the old way of doing things with a monopod or, worse, freehand. With a gimbal locked onto a tripod or something else, it is 100% secure. With a monopod or handheld, the camera is loose and could fall easily. The gimbal allows 360 degrees spinning of the camera and a great deal of vertical movement—virtually unlimited options for shooting direction and angle. Bird photographers love this; that’s where I got the idea.

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Grip Heads

It took me a long time to figure out why I needed grip heads in my life. Now, how could I live without them? These are great for so many uses. These have a big knob that you turn by hand that squeezes two discs together. These disks have holes in them that allow rods to pass through but the grip head grips tight. I’m currently using these for all kinds of projects, but my favorite is for team roping. I’m usually set up outside the area with plenty of room around me. So, I’ve rigged up a C-Stand (we will get to those soon) and used a super clamp with a right angle baby pin. I have one grip head that slips over the baby pin to make a hinge. Then I run a rod from that grip head to another grip head. In the second grip head, I mount a baby pin to a 3/8-16 adapter. With this adapter, I attach the gimbal head to this rig. After some trial and error in leveling it each time I set it up, it is the best thing so far. When I shoot on a tripod, I can’t get the tripod close enough to me when I’m sitting. So, I spend all day hunched over. That kills my back. However, this rig lets the camera swing over my lap, so I don’t have to hunch over. Plus, it is easy to escape because I can turn it away too. Check out this picture so you get a better understanding of this setup.

 

C-Stands

C-Stand is short for Century Stand. Why did I wait so long to have these in my kit??? Well, they are not cheap, that’s why. I had to make do with what I could when I started, and I didn’t value light stands as I do now. C-Stands are an excellent way to keep your lights safe and secure. They have legs that come out at 90-degree angles then aim down to the ground. I love the turtle base from Kupo Grip. They are so crazy fast to set up and take down. All I have to do is hold the C-Stand horizontal and with the legs up vertical. Then, I slide the collar back to release the legs. Then I let go of the collar as the legs swing down and into place. It just took you 10x longer to read this sentence than it does for the action to take place. These are easily the best way to mount all kinds of things. They telescope up like other light stands too. The ones I use are 10’ tall.

 

3/8-16 to Baby Pin Adapter

I’ve discussed this a little bit already. The adapter is the top of a tripod, but there is a baby pin instead of tripod legs. It is small and straightforward, but it is conducive to making this whole thing work. This allows me to use anything that accepts a baby pin to mount my camera. Most ball heads, gimbal heads, video heads, etc. are attached to a 3/8-16 thread. This is great because I can attach the baby pin in a grip head and put a camera anywhere. Maybe I want an overhead shot, or I could reach out over an object (like my lap above).

 

Friction Arm

You can think of these a lot like an arm but with a wrist and hand at each end. There is a knob or lever at the elbow that locks it all in place. Instead of hands, though, there are baby pins. These usually have a female 1/4-20 on one end and a female 3/8-16 on the other, but many companies make them in several configurations. These are a great way to mount something in a weird place and lock it off. I have little ones that I use to mount a monitor or small LED light. I have big ones that would hold a camera, strobe, or a laptop tray. I’ll typically put a super clamp or supervisor clamp on one end and then a mount for whatever I’m mounting on the other end. Once the clamp is tight on then, hold the tool in position and tighten the knob. It is so easy.

 

Sand Bags

I fill mine with dry beans because sand always leaks out and makes a mess. But the beans will mold if they get wet. I’ve tried steel shot, but they were way too heavy. LOL, I use these for lots of things, but I use a bunch to counterweight the C-Stand rig I described earlier to hold my camera during team ropings. I use them to prop doors open or to rest my strobe heads on in the bed of my truck during outdoor photoshoots when we are driving to a new location.

 

Gaffer Tape

I saved the best for last. Gaffer tape would be like if duct tape and medical tape had a baby. It feels almost like cloth on the top, but the bottom is sticky like duct tape, and it tears easily. I keep a couple of rolls on hand at all times. I hang up signs with it, hold clothes together to fit models better, repair things, etc. etc. The best part is that it is safe to use, It doesn’t leave a sticky residue, and it comes in various colors.

 

Thanks for reading my blog! If you have any questions, comment below.

 

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(Olie's Images) camera clamp Friction Arm gaff gear grip head help photography sand bag setup super clamps supervisor https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/8/10-things-i-wish-i-bought-sooner Fri, 30 Aug 2019 14:57:51 GMT
2019 X-Treme Team Roping Finals https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/8/2019-x-treme-team-roping-finals We just finished the very first X-Treme Team Roping Finals. It comes to no surprise that Ben and Jodi Clements produced a professional event, they always do. I’m grateful they let me be their photographer, they could easily get anyone in the world to do it. They are excellent to work with. However, this blog post is about what we did at Olie’s Images. I wanna tell you about some new things I tried, some things that didn’t work out, and a couple close calls where we avoided a mishap. 

 

I’m always looking to improve the way I do business. There’s gotta be a better way than my first idea and for the most part, that’s true. The first new thing is the booth layout. For years, at the Lone Star Arena, we utilized a platform that extended out over the bleachers. There was room for 3 tables in a “U” shape. The last time we set up shop at the Lone Star Arena the new owners told me that they are removing that structure and replacing it with something much better and it will be an announcer’s stand. So, it was no surprise when we arrived last week that something was going to be different. After discussing it with Ben, we decided to use the new structure as the print station and then place a row of tables in front of it. This layout, aside from where the print station was located, is pretty common otherwise. We typically lay out a row of tables to use as viewing stations. So, it worked well plus it was nice to have the print station separate to reduce confusion as many people think it is another place to view photos. 

 

Lately, I’ve been trying out a new concept for Olie’s Images, a “self-serve” station. This is a 27” iMac with a 50” TV connected to it. This station is connected to www.oliesimages.com. It allows users to find their own photos and either write them down or place an order online. If they write the photo info down, we can transfer their notes into an order and take care of their order in the booth like normal. If they decide to place their order online, they will either log into or set up their account then finalize their order. Online orders will be shipped if it is a print of any kind or we will email the digital copies. This self-serve station seems to be a good option for those who either already have experience on my website or they are tech savvy enough to figure it out on their own. We will continue to have crew ready to help you like normal for those who aren’t or don’t want to bother with it. :) Also, if you have questions while you’re at the self-serve station, we will be glad to help. You aren’t totally on your own. LOL 

 

Some of you like the behind the scenes stuff or the gear talks. This part is for you! I sometimes think that I’d like a clipboard holder to change how I write the photo numbers down. Last week I was looking at laptop trays that mount to a baby pin. The brands that make such a thing like Kupo and Tether Tools wanted $150-$200+ for such a thing. That’s way too much for such a simple thing. So, I found a laptop desk stand for less than $30 and a wall mounted baby pin receiver for about $40. Then I just used some construction adhesive that have laying around to glue them together. So, for less than half the price of the manufactured options, I was able to build my own. It worked perfectly, except I didn’t find anywhere that I could put it that would be more comfortable to write on and be out of the way of the moving parts. I tried mounting it in the space above my cooler where I normally write but to have it high enough so the lid could open made it uncomfortable to write on. I moved it to the other side but since I’m right handed, it was awkward to write on my left side. I tried to put the fan on it, but someone slammed a steer into the panel and knocked the fan off. The friction arm that I used to mount it was attached to the panel at that point. I kinda ended up not really liking it much. I’ll keep experimenting with it. Maybe, I’ll buy another laptop and get some work done between runs. 

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There are always some things that didn’t go as planned. For example, the laptops overheated. It has been several years since I shot an event where we had any trouble with equipment overheating. Typically, I schedule my events at indoor arenas and/or during seasons that are normally a nice temperature. However, this weekend was a little different. The Lone Star Arena isn’t climate controlled, though they did recently install several Big Ass Fans. It as over 100 degrees almost every day so it was plenty hot inside the arena too. The first day we quickly realized that overheating was going to be a problem. We turned the fans toward the computers and TV’s and that helped get us through the day. Soon after we finished on Thursday, we headed out to Staples and picked up a couple laptop fans to help cool the machines down. I don’t think we had a problem after that. 

 

The chairs that we use are not the most study things in the world but people insist on leaning back in them and doing other strange things while viewing their photos. This leads to fatigue and eventually something has to give. Unfortunately, catastrophic failure happened this weekend. One of my chair collapsed when Brenna sat down on it. I’m glad she didn’t get hurt. We knew the useful life of this chair was coming to an end soon but we’ve gotta milk it to the end. LOL Bye chair, it was nice knowing ya. 

 

We had a close call with the printers this weekend. I know from experience that the printers I have in the booth are prone to failure due to high humidity. I also know from experience that there can be an actual cloud inside the Lone Star Arena if you come inside early in the morning after it had rained all night. When we left the arena to get something for dinner on Saturday evening it was looking like it was going to be a nice night. By the time we made it to a restaurant it was starting to rain. Before we finished our meal though, it was seriously coming down. The parking lot out front was about 8” deep (ask me how I know LOL). Water was rushing everywhere, the streets were flooded and people were plowing though it in their cars and trucks. I immediately thought about my printers sitting there in the booth. Luckily, when we arrived the lights were still on and the manager was still doing some last minute tasks. I told him that I came to rescue my printers from the humidity, LOL. I was planning on loading them in my truck to take inside my trailer for the night, but he had a better idea. He opened up the office and let me put them in there with the air conditioners running. :) That saved the weekend. I just bought two new printers last month because the previous two failed do to high humidity in Rapid City. 

 

That about sums up all the highlights from the 2019 X-Treme Team Roping Finals. At least from my viewpoint. Thanks for reading my blog!  

 

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(Olie's Images) finals recap setup team roping X-Treme https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/8/2019-x-treme-team-roping-finals Mon, 26 Aug 2019 14:51:49 GMT
Myth Debunking https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/8/myths Common Myths that we hear at Olie’s Images. 

Myth: Open Ropers / High numbered ropers do not buy pictures. 

Just about every team roping producer tries to be comforting or helpful or something by repeating some crap that someone either told them or they conjectured by themselves. “You know Olie, these Open ropers don’t buy photos, but you can shoot their photo anyways if you want to. But, if you don’t want to waste your time, you don’t have to.” Or, something similar to that. I’m sure that plenty of other photographers have said the same thing and that might be the truth for them. However, that hasn’t been my experience. Quite the opposite actually. It appears to me that they simply prefer a different type of photo than the rest. I’m constantly experimenting although it might not look like it to the casual observer. I’ve found that not only do the open ropers themselves buy at about the same rate as any other number roper, but they have the added benefit of being sponsored and often those sponsors need photos of them as well. Myth debunked, right? 

Myth: The only way to make money with your camera is to sell it. 

It has been five years now and I’ve found the opposite to be true. I’ve only purchased new cameras and true, I’ve sold all except the ones I’m currently using. Each time I sold a camera however, I lost money on the sale. So, unless you own a camera store, then selling your camera isn’t a good way to profit. However, I have found that selling the photos that I create with my cameras has been quite profitable. I currently own approximately $80k in camera gear, own a $120K 5th Wheel Toy Hauler, and pull it with an $80k truck. The camera gear was all paid for in cash. The truck and trailer are nearly paid off. My only source of income is photography. I’m able to use my $80k in camera gear to bring in a multiple six figure income. If I would have sold my first camera (it was a gift) then I would have made $750.00. LOL That’s about how much my trailer payment is. LOL. Myth debunked, right? 

Myth: Test firing strobes is practice for me. 

NO!! Why is this even a thing? I really don’t understand this. Listen, the strobes you see around the arena are just tools and it is possible that they malfunction. So, when I set them up for the first time, I pop them to ensure they are working. I test them by pushing the test button on the back. I also test them using the remotes test button. I test them by taking a picture to make sure they are syncing with the camera. This isn’t practice because its not a skill. They pop because of a radio frequency from the trigger mounted on top of the camera. That trigger ensures that the strobes fire at the same time I take a picture otherwise they are useless. I like to make sure everything is working throughout the day. If/when a strobe malfunctions I send someone over there to fix it or replace it with another unit. Otherwise the photos do not look good anymore. Myth debunked right? 

Myth: I drive or fly “home” after every event. 

Actually, I take my home with me. I live in a 45’ 5th wheel toy hauler full time. It is a 2019 Grand Design Momentum 397TH. This is my 3rd RV since starting Olie’s Images five years ago but it is my 4th one overall. You can see a video tour that I did of my home on wheels on Facebook and I’ve written blog posts about it as well. If I had to go to a ‘home’ base somewhere I would dramatically increase my expenses. So, I travel from event to event with a week or two off between some of them. Sometimes, I take several months off in a row. It is a really nice way to live actually. The grass is always mowed when I get there. The scenery out my windows changes constantly. The climate is generally pretty nice since I try to schedule events that occur during nice weather. But, every night when I shut the door behind me, I’m home. Myth debunked, right? 

Myth: A robot is taking the photos and everything is automated. 

I’m taking this one as a compliment (I guess). People often say things like “that thing down there sure takes great pictures” or “technology sure is amazing, you guys don’t even have to do anything anymore” or “how does that thing know when to take pics?”. UGH!! I’m not sure why people think that I’m a robot. LOL I guess I’m consistent? Anyways, there isn’t some magic robot with excellent timing. There is just me, Olie, pushing the button one shot at a time. Generally my timing is spot on but I’m not perfect 100% though I try. I wish I had a robot that could take my place. That would be cool but for now, I’ll just keep doing it. Besides, will a robot be able to tell when its a good time to take the candid shots? What about when emotions run high and we need those shots? Myth debunked or need I say more? LOL

Myth: Photos are deleted after a short time. 

I know that some photographers do delete photos after a week, or a month, or a year, or whatever. But, I’ve decided to keep them forever. Barring some fatal accident where my main hard drives and backup hard drives fail, I’ll have every photo since the beginning of time. I’m sure that those other photographers think they are doing the right thing. But, what about when someone’s horse dies? What about when a person dies? What if some people procrastinate?? There are plenty of times that I get an order from way back, all the way to my first hard drive. I typically fill up 1-2 a year now at 4TB each. I can see where that would have been expensive a decade ago. Now, 4TB is about $99. LOL Who cares? I’ll use the small portable ones as my main hard drives and the big tower hard drives with 8TB for the backups. It doesn’t take very many orders to pay for the storage. If you go to oliesimages.com you can find over 2.5 million photos and counting. My website host is gracious enough to allow me unlimited photos. Myth debunked, right?

Myth: I expect you to buy every photo!!

Ummm.... NO. That would be cool, my accountant and banker would be impressed. However, I don’t expect you to buy anything. I’m not saying I want you to steal my photos, or that I’ll give them out for free. I’m saying, if you don’t like what you see, then no worries. I’ll try again. If you do like what you see, please don’t screenshot or otherwise steal from me. I understand if you don’t buy a photo even if you love it, but you don’t have the right to steal it. I won’t get mad, or though a fit. I won’t block you from social media. I will continue to take your photo because I don’t dwell on the past. Myth debunked, right? 

Myth: Discounts are given if I skip the tedious process of editing your photos. 

FALSE. LOL It takes less time to edit your photos than it did for you to pick them out. We are wicked fast. We edit hundreds of photos every week. It doesn’t take but a few seconds to edit each photo. I’m not allowing unedited photos to circulate. That makes me look bad. Plus, we add the event logo and my logo to each photo at the end of the editing process. So, no discounts are given because no photos leave without being edited first. :) Myth debunked, right? 

Myth: It’s totally ok for you to park your horse right in front of me and watch the next team rope.

Why does this even make sense? Did you know that you make a better door than a window? I do have the best camera gear out there, but it can’t see though you. Please keep moving. Maybe you don’t want a photo of your run, fine. But, try to be considerate of others. Even your buddy might secretly buy photos without you knowing it. LOL Is this even a myth? 

 

Thanks for reading! Hopefully we can crush these myths!!

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(Olie's Images) barrel racing event help Myths photography rodeo RV strobe team roping https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/8/myths Sat, 17 Aug 2019 14:38:42 GMT
5 Years of Business https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/8/5-years-of-business 5 Years of Business

 

Olie’s Images has now been in business for five years. It is hard to believe that it has been this long already. It seems like I’m just getting started. Time slips by fast. It was early in July 2014 when my parents gave me my first camera. One week later I shot my first barrel race and quickly realized that I could quit my day job. At the time I was interning with Peabody Energy in Gillette, WY. I was learning tons at work but it wasn’t really diving me. After work, I would spend every possible moment learning photography. I would stay up way too late each night learning as much as I can from every source I could find. 

 

I sought out the most experienced and successful people I could who were willing to share their information. I have three college degrees and the most valuable thing I learned was how to learn. I first learned what I didn’t know and then set out to gain an insight on how I would learn that thing. For instance, I would research sports photography and figure out how the pros were freezing action on the field then I asked my friends to go play disc golf. I put into action what I learned about freezing action and I was able to freeze my friends mid-throw! 

 

That first week I had to learn how to shoot, edit, and print. Then put it all together and teach someone how to do it so she could help me. Ever since then I’ve been doing almost exactly the same thing but I’ve gotten better and more refined. My business model of printing on site came naturally. I had a camera package that came with a nice printer and was able to get quality prints out pretty fast for the customers who supported me that first weekend. 

 

Step forward five years and 2.5 Million photos later, I’ve come a long ways since then. That first barrel race was at my parent’s place near Riverton, WY. As I write this now I have my 5th wheel parked where it all began. It’s kinda crazy to think about how much things have changed but also how the core plan is still almost entirely in tact. I’m still taking photos of the action and hiring someone to show, sell, and print them for customers. The scale of business has changed as has the quality of gear. The biggest change is within me though. 

 

The last five years have taught me a lot about business, photography, work ethic, dive to succeed, and so much more. I’m getting more comfortable with every aspect of it and life is much more stable than it used to be. I appreciate everyone who has supported me and I’m excited about the future of Olie’s Images. Here’s to another five years!

 

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(Olie's Images) back Business looking years https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/8/5-years-of-business Fri, 09 Aug 2019 18:27:17 GMT
Advice to a struggling photographer. https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/7/advice-to-a-struggling-photographer An open letter to a struggling photographer (or creative person)

 

Dear friend, 

 

I wish I could tell you the one little secret that will make it all go easy and you’ll live struggle free forever. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality. I can promise that it won’t last too long. If you’re running your own business then you’re probably struggling with way more than just photography. 

 

When you’re just starting out you’ll find yourself thinking a lot about photography and a little about everything else. You’ll be worried about so much. Do you have enough batteries. Do you know how to handle the situation. What are the clients thinking. Etc. Etc. Etc. Seemingly endless self doubt and anxiousness. Most people think we just walk up and push a button then put our feet up and relax the rest of the day. We know that’s not the case. 

 

As a photographer, you’ll be a small business owner and that comes with a ton of responsibility. You’ll be wearing all the hats as they say. From sales to carrying out the tasks of the day, preparing for the shoot, cleaning up after the shoot, and then editing the photos. You’ll be doing all the bookkeeping, taxes, scheduling, tech support, customer service, and anything else that has to do with day to day running of any business. It will likely be just you at least at first. Or maybe you’ve hired some help but that too comes with it’s own set of challenges. 

 

For me, two major time sinks that no one gives me credit for are drive time and set up time. Both take up many hours of my days and weeks and require my full attention. By the time I’ve driven for 12-14 hours, ate a few time, and found a place to park because I’m not to the destination yet, it’s time for sleep. So, I’m really sorry that I didn’t get to everyone’s order while I’m driving but I have to get to the next one. Early in my career I would pull over every few hours to do the orders that came in. But now, there are way too many and I’d never get to where I’m going. Even though there are two of us working on orders it’s just not feasible to do them on days when I’m driving a long distance. 

 

Wherever you are in your journey, know that the struggle won’t last. I’ve found that it helps to focus on solving the problem at hand by reading books on the topic or search for a podcast or try looking on YouTube. Surely someone else has had a similar struggle in their journey and would be happy to help you overcome it. We’ve all done some pretty stupid things. Whatever it is that you’re struggling with, there’s got to be a way around it. Often, I’ve found the solution in completely unrelated places. 

 

For example. I used to try to shoot team roping and barrel racing handheld. That was a major struggle not to mention highly risky because I was also shooting from my old chair that was 4-6 feet off the ground. If I had dropped my camera, I would have been sunk. I watched some YouTube videos and read some books about how NFL (pro football) photographers carried around their big lenses everywhere. They use monopods to shoot with that heavy glass. I tried that for a while but soon realized that it wasn’t really much better because it limited my range of motion and there was still the risk of the hole thing falling over and breaking. I kept my eye out for some other device that would be better. One day I was studying bird photography. They too have big lenses, even bigger than mine, and they were hands free until they needed their camera. They were using a gimbal head to be able to track birds no matter where they flew. It was quick and easy. I knew right away that a gimbal head on a tripod was exactly what I needed. To this day, that’s what I use. It is a game changer. 

 

You’ll find little things and big things just like the gimbal head. You just need to be patient with the process. It will seem like a year is forever and that you should have figured it all out by now but you’ve gotta be patient with yourself. I’ve learned a ton in the last five years of doing this. But, I continue to learn everyday. For example, I’ve found an interest in grip gear. There are thousands of different types of mounts for your camera, lights, modifiers, and other camera gear. Baby pins, super clamps, friction arms, are just a few of my favorite things. LOL 

 

If you’re struggling with one area of photography, then try a seemingly unrelated field. Just like I did with bird photography. Maybe you’re a landscape photographer, but you’ve struggling with being inspired to “go out and shoot”. Have you tried macro photography? You can find crazy tiny landscapes with your macro lens without leaving your neighborhood. You could bring artificial light like an LED that you can change colors or a speed light and some gels. Suddenly, a light bulb with go off in your head and you’ll think of a new way of photographing large landscapes because of some weird thing that happened in your back yard. 

 

I used to struggle with shooting outdoor action like team roping. But, when I was studying how landscape photographers deal with the ever changing natural light, I started implementing some of their tactics into my action photos. That was the first time that I had someone tell me that my action photo is like fine art. HAHA. They didn’t really know why they liked it so much, but I knew what I did and I haven’t stopped doing it. 

 

Sometimes, you’re going to need to take a break. Maybe for a few hours, maybe for a few days. You’ll want to get your mind off it and try to find something not related to photography to occupy you mind. Other times though, the best solution is to dig in deep and work through it. 

 

When I got my first strobes it was a struggle to figure out where to put them and how bright to have them and what modifier to use, etc. I let them just sit in their bag and ignored them for a while. Obviously that didn’t fix my lack of know how. So, I decided to work though my problems. I started with some object laying around and began shooting it as much as I could. I experimented with as many settings, angles, and modifiers as I could. I’m sure I haven’t done it all, but I’ve spent some real time learning on my own without anyone watching so that I could do it right when someone was watching. Lighting an arena is totally different but kinda the same as lighting a person in a studio. I had to learn how by experimenting. There wasn’t much info that I could find on the subject so I experimented myself. 

 

You can get through this. I believe in you. Practice, Practice, Practice. Find a buddy who can help you. Read lots of books! Watch plenty of videos but don’t forget to practice what you read and watch. My favorite saying is “Learn, Make, Repeat”. I think it’s a great way to get out of a funk too. Stimulate your mind by learning and doing, your future self will thank you. 

 

I’m always here if you need me, 

 

Olie

 

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(Olie's Images) advice anxiety business coping depression help how to letter Photography sadness stress struggle ups and downs https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/7/advice-to-a-struggling-photographer Mon, 15 Jul 2019 04:54:42 GMT
Flashes in the Arena https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/7/flashes-in-the-arena Do those flashing lights do anything? 

 

I want to answer a couple of questions I get often. First, a question from customers and then a question from fellow photographers. I think it’s helpful to clear things up in a concise blog post such as this. These questions are related but they come from different points of view and base knowledge. For the rest of this post, I’ll refer to strobes. Strobes are the flashes that I use for photography. Strobes are normally found in a studio, my studio happens to be a huge arena. LOL Strobes fire a flash of light that can be very powerful, this is great for me since I’m lighting arenas. 

IMG_0276IMG_0276

People often ask me why I put up strobes. They want to know if they actually do anything. I suppose this question comes about because of the strobes fire so fast that they are often hard to perceive to the naked eye. Because most people are probably only accustomed to the flash from their cell phone camera. That flash is really just a fast constant light and not really a flash per se. Also, there’s a related question that goes like this: “how do you get your camera to take a picture at the same time the lights flash?” The strobes do make a huge difference in the final photo. They actually do lots of things for me. Not only do they make an image brighter. That’s obvious I think. The strobes can change the quality and direction of light. Strobes actually will freeze the action that’s happening in the arena. They also allow me to reduce the ISO of my camera because they are so bright. That makes my images less noisy (grainy), while also increasing the dynamic range (the amount of detail from brightest areas to darkest areas, basically), and capturing better colors. Depending on the location, power output chosen, modifier used, and angle, a strobe can change the brightness ratio of the subject to background. You can see my post about the inverse square law for more about that. 

65742CF6-748E-4D28-AD2D-6F833514BE9A65742CF6-748E-4D28-AD2D-6F833514BE9A

So, yea, the strobes do quite a bit for my photos. ;) They can do all this because they sync with my camera via radio trigger. Though there are other ways I can trigger them, I find that using the Profoto Air Remote is by far the best solution so far. The Air Remote sends a signal to the strobes to make a flash the moment I push the button to take a picture. Without getting too technical, there is a maximum shutter speed that they can sync too unless you use high-speed sync but for my purposes that doesn’t work. I use full manual 98% of the time. Nothing else works as well. So, I’ll set up my strobes to get the look I’m going for the day before the event starts. 

IMG_1706IMG_1706

Fellow photographers will often ask me how I set up my strobes to get the look that my photos have. Although there is not a magic setting that works in all situations, there are some general guidelines to follow that will consistently get great results. The first thing you’ll want to do is place the strobes in a location that will get the look you’re going after. For example, I want the background to be slightly darker than my subject while also creating the most even light over a huge area. If interested, check out my post about inverse square law. Basically, I put my strobes as far away as possible. This way the fall off has minimal effect. I’m sorta doing a cross lighting situation where the strobes are located in a way that their light rakes across my subjects, this creates nice shadows that help define and give depth to subjects. I’ll usually set a row of key lights and one fill (for team roping). Check out the posts I’ve made about barrel racing and team roping arena lighting. The fill light can sometimes become a key light when the action gets closer to the fill light and further from the key light. Distance determines brightness all else being equal.  

IMG_1722IMG_1722

Once you’ve placed the strobes where they need to go and ran power to them, you’ll want to grab a camera and go to where you’re going to shoot from. I personally like to start without strobes. So, I turn off the remote trigger so the strobes don’t fire. I’ll then plug in the settings that I think should work. I know my max sync speed is 1/250th of a second on my 1DX2’s so that’s a given. I usually like to shoot at f/4 unless I’m trying to be creative then who knows. lol, The only thing left is the ISO. I do this last usually because I don’t care what it is set at so long as the aperture and shutter are where I want them. The ISO is just setting the overall brightness of my images. Knowing that I’m setting up the camera to use strobes is a little different than normal here. Instead of increasing the ISO until I get a properly exposed photo, I’m lowering the ISO until the resulting image is very dark. Generally, I shoot for 3-stops or more underexposed but it’s not always possible. I do this because I know that I’ll be adding strobes soon and they will be adjusted until proper brightness is achieved. As we discussed above, strobes do way more than that. For all the above to work out, the strobes must be the only light that is registered on the sensor. If you did the opposite and set the ISO for proper exposure then just turned the strobes on to fill the shadows or something, the action won’t be frozen, the color will be weird, the direction and quality of light will be weird, and action photography will be a challenge. That’s not to say there isn’t a time and place where you’ll want to mix the ambient light with strobes but in my case, that’s not what I want to do. 

 

If there’s a situation where even at full power, I’m not able to get the exposure I want, then I’ll adjust the ISO. But remember, doing this will affect the ambient light as well as the light from the strobe. Be careful not to raise it too high. It’s better to pull the shadows a bit in post than have motion blur in your pics. 

 

For team roping, I’ll get someone to help me by walking in the area for me to dial in my strobes. Because of the inverse square law, I’ll have my helper walk about 1/4 of the width of the arena off the fence on the inside of the arena. I’ll set my exposure to be about 1/3 overexposed because I know that I’ll be able to easily recover those highlights when they get too close to the fence. Setting my exposure there gives me the biggest sweet spot possible. However, barrel racing is a little different. Since I know roughly where the action will happen, I just need to set the ideal lighting for each barrel. I’ll have someone stand where I think the peak action is at each barrel and running home. This way I can craft the light to be the best it can be at each location. 

 

Once we are done setting each group of strobes to the right power output, I’ll create a custom white balance. This ensures that my colors are accurate all weekend. In a studio with white walls, this step might not be necessary. But, the light from the strobes might be bouncing off all kinds of colors this altering it a little. 

 

That’s it. You are ready to rock and roll. 

IMG_1705 video_395604c495dc4b9fa90a4f9343f835ad video_69745e5878a04efc927135afdae820b1 video_4a278709ec1b4155a05b1fc5df53fef2 video_014d867daf8d4ae79f13a505bd95d1dd

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(Olie's Images) flash flashes help how to lights photography profoto settings setup strobe https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/7/flashes-in-the-arena Sun, 14 Jul 2019 13:29:17 GMT
Stickers and Freebies! https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/5/stickers-and-freebies Freebies / Stickers / Giveaways

 

Way back in the day, I had a couple of internships on some pretty large construction projects. At my first one, I spent a lot of time in the warehouse getting everything organized and learning about everything in there. I’ve always been hungry for knowledge. Where most people would have just kicked back and barely did the minimum, I found myself hunting down the information to figure out what I was dealing with in there. I wanted to make sure I knew what I was giving out when someone came asking. When I’d call to order parts or tools I’d ask the sales guys what things were and built a relationship with some of these suppliers. One day, one of these guys asked if I’d some stickers to share with the crew out there. I didn’t think much of it but accepted his offer anyway. The day those stickers arrived in a box of parts, it was like dropping a piece of meat in a pool of piranhas. That’s the day I learned that grown men like stickers just as much as kids. I began actively asking for stickers and any other cool logo’d merchandise that those companies were willing to part with. 

Team Roping, Heel shotCap!I started by giving away caps! This was a fun project that will continue.

Now, I have my own company and I haven’t forgotten the lesson I learned working in that warehouse. Last year or so, I bought 5,000 stickers to give away. I thought people would “go crazy over them”. When I announced that I was going to give away free stickers to anyone who wanted them, crickets. . . I found out the hard way that design matters. I’m still sitting on over 3,000 because I’ve been giving them out with every order in the booth. I also use them as a way to label all my things. Haha. Seriously, even extension cords get the treatment. I’ve gotta do something useful with these stickers. They look like a boring label too. They are just a black rectangle with the words “Olie's Images” above the words “www.oliesimages.com". This is my logo, its how I’ve branded my little company. At the time, I wanted everything to look the same. I ordered business cards, made t-shirts, banners, signs, embroidered everything I could get my hands on. All of that is fine for business. It’s not good enough for stickers. 

HoodiesHoodiesI've got so many options for hoodies. LOL

My solution is simple. Design something cool and order small batches. I was seriously putting the cart before the horse on the first ones. Why on earth I thought that I needed 5,000 stickers was beyond me. Just a few days ago I got my first batch of designed stickers. I knew that I needed a different approach this time. I started with a call to action on my Facebook page. I asked everyone to submit their favorite Olie's Images photo for a special project. I then made a big deal about picking the winner. I knew that barrel racers were more active on my page than team ropers so, my first design was a cool barrel shot. I started making hoodies with it and after the first 50 hoodies shipped out, I made two more designs. A header and a heeler. The heeler was the runner up from the first contest but I made a new contest for the header. The winners of these contests each got a hoodie with the logo based on their photo. (Pretty sweet prize if you ask me) 

Barrel Racer WatercolorBarrel Racer WatercolorThis watercolor design was inspired by a trip to an antique store

It wasn’t long after that it was brought to my attention that I left out the breakaway crowd. I soon found an image that I loved and proceeded to pop out a design for them too. I was popping out hoodies left and right. I even had to open a Shopify store to automate the system. LOL For a while, I lost sight of the goal. Making stickers. It was kinda boring just making silhouette stickers, I need a designed sticker if I was gonna get some interest in them. 

 

Below are the first three designs I’ve made. I’ll soon make a breakaway one too. 

Barrel Racer Logo Rainbow MeshBarrel Racer Logo Rainbow MeshThe first sticker I designed! Header Logo Red to Yellow MeshHeader Logo Red to Yellow MeshWire Mesh design was inspired by an ad on Instagram Heeler Logo White to Blue MeshHeeler Logo White to Blue MeshCool Blue for the heelers who are calm under pressure.

This has been a good marketing plan so far. I’ve even been mailing them to those who can’t wait to get a freebie in their order. However, this isn’t just about marketing. This journey of making cool stuff that people will actually like is more about working on my own skills. It scratches my own itch to create. It lets me try new things and experiment then have a final product that I can share with everyone. I’m now ordering these in batches of 100 but next time I’ll probably do 50 instead. If this goes well, I’ll keep popping out some cool designs for you all. It has been a great way to quench my thirst for knowledge as well as continue to live a creative life. 

horseHeader T Shirt DesignThis T-Shirt Design was commissioned from someone on Fiverr.com. They took months to finish it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this little blog of mine. If you have any suggestions for future posts or future sticker designs please let me know in the comments!! :) 

1Team Ropers RWB Wave 2@4xAmerican Team RopersThis will probably be my next sticker in the series. Thick LinesCactus at SunsetI made this for the "other page", The Weekday Wanderer as a nod to Aaron Draplin's designs.

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(Olie's Images) cap cool design free freebie give away hoodie inspiration merchandise sticker swag https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/5/stickers-and-freebies Fri, 03 May 2019 04:24:17 GMT
Getting Your Colors Right! https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/getting-your-colors-right Quickly get PERFECT COLORS.

 

To get perfect colors in our images, we need to get the white balance right. White balance is so often overlooked. It sounds technical, it sounds like it's going to be hard. So, what do we do? Put on auto, right? No. Automatic mode is not going to give you constantly accurate results. When I’m shooting an indoor event, the light from the ceiling is not going to look great. It is coming from a poor direction, it is not very bright, and it can be a weird color. I’ll actually set up my own lights, (A.K.A. studio strobes), in key locations to completely override the quality and direction of light from the ceiling lights or even the sun in some cases. However, you might not have this luxury. You might not have your own lights set up and therefore have to use the ceiling lights (A.K.A. ambient light). Either way, I go through the same process to make sure that I’m reproducing as close to accurate colors as possible consistently all weekend.

White balance ExampleWhite Balance ExampleYou don't want ugly yellow, white should be white. Right?

I just want to clarify right away, there are many great ways to correct your white balance. Some cost lots of money and time, others are free, and everything in between. Depending on how much time I have and how important proper color is to me, I’ll choose the option that suits the shot. Most of the time getting 95% or better accuracy is acceptable. Getting that extra 5% can be a huge hassle as well as cost substantially more. Also, I’m shooting Canon but Nikon, Sony, Fuji, etc… all have a smiler option. Just refer to your owner’s manual to figure out how to do it on your camera. There are of course many ways to correct white balance when you edit but I’d rather just nail it in camera and not have to screw around with it later. I’ll often be shooting 10-20,000 images from the same location in a weekend. It would suck to have to go back and “fix” them later. Also, these tips apply even if you’re going to get creative with your photo’s mood or colors. It’s always best to start with the best colors you can. Be sure to read the Pro Tip at the bottom.

 

My super fast and easy way to get pretty dang good colors goes like this. First things first, I get my other settings pretty much dialed in so I have a properly exposed photo. (shutter speed, ISO, aperture) Then I find something white or neutral grey. I have a little pop-up disc that was less than $20 for this but in a pinch, I’ve used regular old copy paper since that’s usually handy and almost free. Copy paper tends to have a little bit of a blue tint even if our eyes can’t really tell that it is blue, so you may have to correct for this. Using copy paper tends to make your images a little tiny bit yellow because the camera is compensating for the blue tone of the paper. For this reason, I spent the $20 and got something actually white, but we can still solve this problem in camera too.

 

Hold this white object out so that the light that is going to illuminate your subject hits your white object. Then snap a picture of it with the camera you are going to use. It should be out of focus and fill most of the frame. It is ideal to fill the whole frame but I understand that isn’t always easy. Now, you should have a picture of a blurry piece of paper or whatever. It probably doesn’t look white but even if it does, I would still continue.

 

Now, you can put down the object. Open up the menu in your camera and there should be something like “Set Custom White Balance” or “Set Custom WB”. In this menu, there’s an option “Select Image on Card”. Use this to select the out of focus image you just shot. It should be the image that comes up first but if not scroll until you find it. Click the option that lets you use the WB data from this image for Custom White Balance. Then choose “Set as White Balance” or go into your white balance menu and choose the Custom White Balance setting. That’s it. Trust me, it takes way longer to read this blog post than it does to actually do it. You’ll get good at it and soon be able to do it in seconds without having to think it through.

 

Pro Tip: If you shoot with your own lights you can do some pretty creative things with this method. Personally, I love the look of a deep blue sky behind my model. To make the sky blue but keep your model the right color you’ll need a gel. A gel is basically just a colored plastic sheet you put in front of a light source to change the color of the light. For this trick, get a CTO (Color Temperature Orange) gel and put it on the light so it covers all the light coming out. Now, the light coming out will be orange (the opposite of blue). Stay with me here it can be hard to conceptualize why we are making the light orange if we want a blue sky. We are “tricking” the camera by doing this. When we set a custom white balance we are essentially telling the camera that “this” is white. The camera uses the opposite color of whatever it sees to bring the image to neutral. When we show the camera orange, for example, it uses blue to neutralize the color. Take something white like we talked about above, and pop that orange light on it, then set that image as a custom white balance. Now, take a picture of your model using that light. You’ll see that everywhere the “orange” light hits is actually the correct color and everywhere else has a blue tone. If you do this against a blue sky it looks very natural but the sky is a more saturated blue. Feel free to try this with all the other colors! Of course, you can do this is post-process, but it is so easy to do in camera. Plus, it is way faster.

_LIE3418-EditOrange Gel ExampleAn orange gel was placed in my 60 inch octabox so only the light that fell on her was the right color.

That’s all for this one! Hope you learned from this quick tip. Have fun!

 

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(Olie's Images) balance camera Canon color help how to Nikon photography set up settings Sony white https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/getting-your-colors-right Tue, 30 Apr 2019 22:31:12 GMT
Travel Day https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/travel-day Travel Days

 

Today was a travel day. It’s fresh in my head and it’s something that I think will be interesting to at least one person. Everyone of these blog posts so far has been written with one of my buddies in mind or to scratch an itch of my own. If I can help one person or answer one question with a post like this, then I’m doing great. 

 

I wanna give you a peak behind the curtain. I’d love to tell you that it’s magical, whimsical, and overall a dream like experience but that’s just not it. It wasn’t a bad day, but it wasn’t like those motivational posters either. I’m certainly not roughing it. I have a nice 2017 Platinum F-350 with massage seats and a 2019 Grand Design 397TH Momentum toy hauler (also with massage seats). But I’m still parked right next to the sketchy camper van thing at a Walmart parking lot. 

 

Today, Brenna and I got up at a reasonable time, went through the normal morning routine and began to pack up the trailer. No two travel days are alike but today was pretty normal I’d say. The morning routine is basically, shower, coffee, breakfast, customer orders, client work, get dressed... Not necessarily in a particular order. Anyways, we did the routine and then cleaned up. We put most things away and organized the garage so nothing would fall on the way. 

Pretty simple. 

 

Today is the day before we actually set up which is the day before we actually start the roping. So, it’s a process. This extra days means that we aren’t in a hurry. We aren’t racing against the clock in an effort to squeeze a few more minutes out of the day. No, we took our sweet time. Because really, if we aren’t gonna enjoy it, then why bother?

 

We took a nice long lunch break. Where we were staying was about 30 minutes from town. We found a great BBQ trailer and ate outside. Then grabbed some diesel and snacks. It was 35 minutes or so back to the trailer because we took a different way back. When we got back I lubed up the jacks and slides then spooled it all up. After saying our goodbyes to our friends we hooked up and hit the road by about 2pm. 

Hitting the roadLeaving Matt’s house and heading to the Rickey Green Memorial
 

Today was a short drive. We only had 5 hours to go but they weren’t expecting us until tomorrow. We stopped about 30 minutes short of our destination and claimed a small piece of a Walmart parking lot. Yep, I’m laying here in bed writing this on my iPhone in a Walmart parking lot somewhere in the middle of TX. LOL 

 

It’s a glamorous life I lead as a carny...Oops...I mean photographer. My travel days usually look like this. We stopped once to dump the black and grey tanks at a rest area along the side of the road. (An actual RV dump not just in the ditch) My original thought was to ask a campground that was along the route but they wanted $25 to dump. Ha! No way. We only went about 15 minutes out of the way but it actually was better (detours usually are). Side note: I used to program my GPS to avoid highways and always take the scenic route. I highly recommend that if you can. But pulling this 45’ fifth wheel with about 6” of ground clearance isn’t a viable option any longer. We stopped again for diesel and another snack (or 2). 

 

Anyway, we made it without incident safe and sound. We got to see some interesting new parts of Texas that we sure wanna go spend more time at in the future. 

 

My recommendation to you is travel as much as you can my friends! It’s always worth it. 

 

Thanks for reading this short little story about my travel days.

 

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(Olie's Images) life nomad photographer RV travel https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/travel-day Fri, 26 Apr 2019 04:50:07 GMT
Night Sky Photos https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/night-sky-photos Astrophotography

 

I began shooting astrophotography, photos of the Milky Way, shortly after getting my first camera. At the time I had a Canon 70D and the kit lens an 18-55mm if I remember correctly. Not exactly the ideal equipment for the job. After my first few hundred shots, I realized that the gear I had wasn’t going to cut it. The maximum aperture on that lens was f/3.5. I could raise my ISO very high because it looked so miserable. My only choice was to set a really long exposure. Unfortunately, that camera is limited to 30-second exposures. My images were still coming out too dark. I bought an intervalometer so I could shoot longer exposures. I was having to boost the exposure in the computer too but I was getting star trails and not pinpoint stars. Also, anything in the foreground or the middle ground was black or silhouetted.

Shaky and Star Trails LOLThis was so bad. But it was exciting at the time. Dark StackStar TrailsYou can see there's no details in the trees.

I knew something had to change. I was pushing this gear to its limit and still not achieving the results I was after. My first idea was to get more light into the camera. For that, I needed a larger aperture. Of course, money was tight since I was still in college. After some research and I found a 14mm lens that opened up to f/2.8. For about $300 this fully manual lens really got me a long way. I actually still own this lens as of this writing. This wasn’t the magic bullet I hoped for. This lens has a little coma which is basically a problem with low-quality optics where points of light become blobs of light. It also has too much distortion around the edges, though I didn’t notice till later. So, I don’t love this lens.

_LIE5592-214mm f/2.8You can see how bad this looks. But the stars are actually just points of light.

Even though I was letting in way more light, it still wasn’t enough to get the shots I was after. I was able to increase my shutter speed enough to get starts as points of light, but the images were basically unusable at that high of an ISO. It wasn’t long before I could afford to upgrade to a full frame camera. I jumped onto the 5D series with the Mark III. This was a huge improvement. The larger sensor was much better at high ISO shooting. I could now shoot images with my 14mm f/2.8 where I was getting stars as points of light and my images were much cleaner. Cleaner refers to the amount of noise or grain that an image has in this case. But I still wasn’t happy, of course.

_LIE2234-EditMike Holding VenusWe had fun with the gear we had. Better than studying.

My next upgrade was another new lens. I had picked up the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L Mark II for awards photos but since I had it, I might as well shoot some astrophotography with it. I brought it out and started popping off shots. I knew the settings would be the same because I was using the same camera with the same aperture but when I looked at the images on my computer, I was disappointed. The stars were no longer points of light. They were little trails. Ugh. That was frustrating. I soon learned why. The focal length changes how fast an object moves across your sensor. The longer (bigger mm) that the focal length is, the faster the shutter speed needs to be to freeze the action. You might not think there are very many actions with those stars but there is. The earth is spinning but since we are on the earth it appears the stars are spinning around us. I was shooting at 30 seconds with the 14mm but I realized that when I switched to 24mm that it was too long. I had to increase my ISO and increase my shutter speed. It was about this time when I found out that this could be calculated and that all I had to do was plug my camera sensor and focal length into an app called darkSkies. Not to be confused with Dark Sky the light pollution app that I’ll get to later.

Ocean Lake Star Trails-EditOcean Lake Star TrailsEmbrace the star trails. And a Northern Lights too!

I’ve made a few other changes in gear since the early days. Though I’ll still shoot with the trusty 24-70mm f/2.8. I picked up the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art lens. It is wonderfully sharp and it lets in a crazy amount of light. I can reduce my ISO to get very clean images. I’ve also upgraded my camera body to a Canon 1DX Mark II. It’s a beast of a camera. It really isn’t necessary but it does make a noticeable improvement in the final outcome. It’s amazing at high ISO and it has great dynamic range. That combination makes everything else easier.

_MG_6765Fisheye LensMy friends had headlamps in the trees and there's an airplane in the sky.

This setup works great but there is clearly room for improvement. I started to realize that there were certainly better times to shoot than others. It wasn’t just about having the best gear. It was knowing how to use as well as when and where to use it. I needed to figure out better ways of knowing when to shoot. I learned about a free program on my computer called Stellarium. It allows users to go to anywhere in the world at any time of night and see the night sky. This was handy to know when the Milky Way would be visible and what orientation it would be at. Later, I found a much better way of using PhotoPills for my phone but it does cost money. Each of these apps shows where the sun and moon are too. But I’ve found that using an app called MoonCalendar is much better for deciding to go out and shoot or not based on moon phase and location in the sky. For example, if there’s a new moon then there’s no problem, but if there’s a full moon then probably skip it unless it’s going to be setting or has already set.

_LIE0893Thar's RanchGet the milky way to interact with a strong subject.

Once the stars literally align, the moon is where I want it, and the sun is hidden I’m all set to shoot, right? Wrong. So many times I’ve gone out and realized that it’s too cloudy or it looks nice but the wind picks up. There are so many things that are against you when you’re photographing nature. The weather can be tricky. Especially with basic weather reports on TV or popular apps. To get results that most others don’t get, you have to do things that most others don’t do. For the weather, I prefer to use weather.gov. I can narrow the report down to very small geolocations. It’s important to be specific here because normal weather reports are for nearby towns and cities. But when I’m shooting the Milky Way, I’m way out from the nearest town. I look at the charts and graphs for the percentage of cloud cover. Anything less than 30 percent is usually ok for me. Also, check the wind speed. Windy conditions will shake the camera which will ruin images because of the long exposure times involved here. I bring my carbon fiber tripod because carbon fiber doesn’t transfer vibration like other materials. Take note of the humidity level. High humidity can be like shooting through poor quality lenses. Your images will be distorted.

_LIE8396-EditTipi Star TrailsAbout 4 hours worth of exposure. Embracing the spinning planet.

I’ve told you about the gear and the weather. It’s time to get out there and capture some great shots! Great shots are more than the gear and the weather though. You’re gonna need a subject. The subject could be the Milky Way but I think you’ll soon get bored with that. Try putting your subject in your frame so it interacts with the Milky Way. Then add a foreground element that pulls viewers in. I am pretty much always shooting very wide angle photos of the Milky Way. Wide angle lenses lend themselves nicely to leading lines. Look for something long that points to your subject and get way close to it. You’ll notice that the end closest to the camera looks huge in the frame and the background looks tiny. You might need to use a method called “focus stacking” to get everything sharp but the results are worth it.

_LIE8381-Edit-EditTIpi on a Purple Milky WayStepping up my game.

Pro tip: Bring a friend or use the self-timer to step away from the camera. Then use a light source, like the flashlight on your phone, to “paint” light on your scene. This is called light painting and can be a really fun and creative way to shoot in the dark.

_LIE2245-EditLight PaintingFirst try at light painting way back when.

Keep clicking! I’d love to see what shots you create this Milky Way season!

 

Leave me a comment if you have any questions. :)

_LIE3965-EditWindmill Light painting with friends.

 

 

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(Olie's Images) astrophotography camera help how to lens milky way night photography sky stars https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/night-sky-photos Thu, 25 Apr 2019 03:45:48 GMT
10 Apps I use as a Traveling Photographer https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/10-apps-i-use-as-a-traveling-photographer Top Apps I use as a Traveling Photographer.

I just wanna start out by saying I was not paid to do this and these are all apps that are either free or that I purchased. I just use them and love them enough to share. Also, I use an iPhone but I'm sure there is something similar for other phones. I've included some screenshots of these apps in action. 

Google Maps / Apple Maps

Before I get started on Google and Apple Maps it is necessary to say that when I’m pulling my trailer that I do not trust either of these to keep me out of trouble. They assume I’m driving a compact car and intentionally give me bad advice like U-Turns and they don’t care about low clearance issues at all. When I’m pulling my 44’ long, 13’5” tall, 101” wide fifth-wheel I’ll always be using my Garmin RV-GPS. The RV-GPS is a great little tool to help me avoid issues on the road as well as find the things I’ll need on a long trip with an RV. Though it isn’t an app, I wanted to make sure that no one was gonna try to use Google Maps or Apple Maps route their RV. The Garmin RV-GPS knows my truck and trailer’s length, width, height, and weight. It works great 99% of the time.

At the top of this list is my favorite map app…and Apple Maps. LOL, I love Google Maps. It’s my go-to for any time I wanna search for something using geolocation. I’ll use it as a normal GPS to get me where I’m going, obviously but there’s so much more. I’ll use it to get an overhead view of where I’m going to see if I can find a spot that might fit my truck and trailer. It’s so nice because it will interface with Apple CarPlay on the dash of my truck. I’ll have a large screen that even has a satellite view. However, CarPlay doesn’t always love Google Maps. So, I find myself using Google Maps to search then I plug that information into Apple Maps so I can use CarPlay or when towing I’ll plug that info into the RV-GPS. CarPlay will play the audio through my truck speakers and will know to be quiet when I’m in a call.

I find that Google Maps is still kinda glitchy when it comes to CarPlay but for everything else I love it. Both apps will route me around any delays. If traffic is coming to a standstill ahead of me for whatever reason and there’s a faster route it will let me know. Both apps will give me information about a place like ratings, hours, website, etc. but Apple Maps just isn’t as reliable. For now, I’m stuck doing it this way but it wasn’t long ago when Google Maps wasn’t even available for CarPlay. I’m sure Google will soon have it figured out.

NavigationGoogle MapsI save places where I've worked, or wanna go, or favorite places. Apple CarPlayApple MapsNot the best map app but it works well with CarPlay.

RV Parky

RV Parky is great for finding places to camp for the night or an RV park to go to. Though it has some navigation options I just use it as a search tool and use my RV-GPS or Apple Maps to get me there. I like reading reviews of place that other RV’ers have written about a place before I go. For example, I’ll often want just a free place to park for the night. Often Walmart will let you park there unless city ordinance or the local manager says otherwise. RV Parky give me some insight before I go. Sometimes the reviews conflict but then I just call and make sure it is ok to park. It’s good to ask if there is a preferred place for RV’s to park. This app is great because you can easily apply a filter to exclude any places where overnight parking isn’t allowed. This has been a great time and money saver for me.

RV CampingRV ParkyI love this app for finding places to park my RV for the night.

Gas Buddy

Everyone who consumes fuel needs Gas Buddy. This little app can help you find the cheapest fuel. They continue to improve the way searches. They offer a smart way to search for fuel prices that takes into account the distance that the gas station is from you. So, if it will cost you more than you’ll likely save then it’s going to rank those lower on the list. I would say that about 95% of the time I’m going for the top one but sometimes the second or third one is a better choice. My truck has the ability to tell me the same information but it is cumbersome to get that information. Gas Buddy is simple, it only takes a couple of taps to get the info you want. Then simply ask it for directions and it automatically opens in either Google Maps or Apple Maps. Fast and easy, just like I want it.

DieselGas BuddyGotta save some money on fuel!

Local

When I have downtime between events and travel days (so not often) I’ll use the Local app to find things going on near me. Local is made by Facebook and aggregates all the events near me in an easy to read list. I can also filter that list to only show me things I might be interested in. This is perfect for so many reasons. You get a full-screen view of all the info and if I’m interested then I can add it to my calendar with one click. Then I’ll get a reminder to go. If you like to know what is going on around you, then check out this little app. It is the first place I start with when I’m not sure what I wanna do today, tomorrow or this weekend (Haha like I have weekends off).

Facebook EventsLocal AppFind out the what is going on near you.

RV Dumps

It’s actually not very common for me to have full hookups. I’m often only connected to power and sometimes I have access to water. So, after each event, I’ll need to pack up and go find a place to dump the Black and Grey tanks on my trailer. This is where the RV dumps app comes in. Sure, I could use RV Parky and just find an RV Park but often there’s a dedicated dump station that is closer and likely cheaper (or free). RV Dumps is pretty self-explanatory but it gets used often so it made the list.

Black tank grey tankRV DumpsDump stations can be hard to find on other map apps.
 

Reminders

The next few apps are not necessarily traveling specific but they do come in super handy when I’m traveling. If you’re in the Mac ecosystem and you don’t know what the Reminders app is or you don’t use it, then I think you’re really missing out. Sure, there’s plenty of list apps out there, and some have a better interface and maybe a prettier look. However, I haven’t found any that work as well with Siri as this one because it is native to Mac everything. The power isn’t in the fact that it is a list. After all, you probably have a pen and paper laying around somewhere near you right now. The power of this app is when you have “Hey, Siri” turned on. Since manually adding “coffee” to my shopping list is frowned upon while driving, much less while pulling a large heavy load, I do my best not to do it. But, by the time I get where I’m going, I’ll have forgotten to add that thing to that list.

This is where “Hey, Siri” comes in. When I think of something I need to buy later, like coffee. I’ll simply say “Hey, Siri. Add coffee to my shopping list”. She will reply back “adding coffee to your shopping list” or something similar depending on how witty she feels. LOL. I can do this while I’m driving but it is actually easier because I have a button on my steering wheel that I can use to get Siri to listen. I just push the button and tell her to add whatever to a list. If I haven’t made that list yet, she will even make a new list for me. This, of course, works for many other apps like texting, calling, email, and pretty much everything else. It’s especially helpful if you want to reminded too. Just let Siri know a  time or even a location. For example, “Hey, Siri. Remind me to call John when I get home”. She will add “Call John” to my reminders list and then give me a notification when I’ve arrived at home. I suggest you try this out in all kinds of different circumstances. I like to have her remind me to do an Instagram story at 8:45 tomorrow morning so I don’t forget to start the next day with an introduction to where I’m at and what is going on.

shopping scheduled to do listsReminders AppLists and more lists! I love using this with "Hey, Siri."

Books

The Books app on the iPhone is pretty nice. I really like to continually learn and I’ve found that reading books helps a ton. Though, if I’m being honest, I don’t really like to read books on my phone. Plus, it is not advisable when driving. I’m using this app to store the audiobooks I’ve bought off iTunes. While there are tons of other ways to enjoy an audiobook, I’ve found that this is best for me. Mostly because it works so well with CarPlay and because I can keep the books that I buy. I’m not a fan of subscription models because some months I hardly read at all and sometimes I wanna go back and read a book I already read. I find myself in places with a pretty poor internet connection, especially when driving. Having an audiobook already downloaded is so convenient. Plus, I will often listen to a book while I’m shooting at an event. It helps me from getting burned out and lets me learn something. I’m usually reading something about business, self-help, marketing, photography, or something that I can use to make my life better. I don’t really care for fiction, except, “Ready Player One”. That was a really good book.

books audiobooks listen Books AppPro Tip: Try to get books read by the author.

Podcasts

Like audiobooks, podcasts are excellent for continuous education. I’m subscribed to so many podcasts. I love them. They often interview experts in their field. Even if their field isn’t related to mine, I can always glean something useful from them. This app also plays nice with CarPlay so I can listen in my truck anytime. I pretty much treat them the same way I treat audiobooks. I use them to better my life not to be entertained. If you are new to the podcast world and think that it isn’t for you, then you probably didn’t give it an honest try. There are millions of podcasts out there that I’d say there’s one for everyone. For example, if you like Team Roping then check out The Score from The Team Roping Journal. Chelsea does an excellent job with that podcast.

audioPodcastsThis works well with Hey, Siri too.

PhotoPills

I’m often traveling to new places simply to photograph it. Photography is what I do for a career and a hobby. PhotoPills is a crazy app. It is simple enough that most beginner photographers can get enough value to justify the cost. If you’re an advanced user the app really shines. There are way too many features to list here but basically its a planning app for photographers. This app lets you figure out where the sun, moon, stars, and even shadows from the mountains will be anytime in the future or past. (The past isn’t very helpful LOL). There is an augmented reality feature that I use often when I’m on location. It uses the camera facing away from you to show what you are pointing at then it overlays the information on top. For example, I’ll use the augmented reality feature in the Sun “Pill” (Every different feature in the app is called a Pill) to see the path the sun is going to take. I can then scrub through time to see when it will line up perfectly with what I’d like to shoot. I also us the augmented reality in the Night AR pill to determine when I’ll be able to see the Milky Way. It even shows the core of the Milky Way with an orange dot. That way I don’t waste my time venturing out when it isn’t Milky Way season, or when the moon is going to be out and ruin my shot. I’ll also know where to look to see the Milky Way and what orientation it is going to be in. Sometimes I’ll wait until the Milky Way lines up with an object in my foreground. There’s a whole bunch of other great Pills to check out but I’ll have to go over those in a different post.

photography augmented reality AR time lapse star stars milky wayPhoto PillsThis is the toolkit for photographers. Must have

Dark Sky

There are two apps called Dark Sky. One is for whether or something but the one I use is for finding areas where there’s little to no light pollution. Dark Sky shows an overlay of a light pollution map that can be turned on and off. Light Pollution is basically the glow that you see from a city or town but it can also be from smaller light sources close to you. It’s important to get away from light pollution when shooting astrophotography. I’ll use this app in conjunction with Photo Pills to shoot Milky Way Photos. I’ll find a place using the Dark Sky app that is far away from light pollution then I’ll use the Photo Pills app to see if I’ll be able to see the Milky Way or not. Sometimes I’ll shoot from inside the areas with a little light pollution if I know that I’ll be facing away from the source to see the Milky Way.

night photography Milky Way astrophotographyDark SkyFind dark places so you can see all the stars.

Hopefully, some of these apps or ways to use an app are new to you and you give them a try. I could easily write a whole post on each one. I have tons of apps loaded on my phone but these are the top 10 that I use as a traveling photographer.

 

Let us all know in the comments what your favorite apps are!

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(Olie's Images) app apple apps books Buddy dark education entertainment Gas google Local map Parky photo photography photopills podcasts Reminders RV setup sky travel https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/10-apps-i-use-as-a-traveling-photographer Wed, 24 Apr 2019 03:38:07 GMT
2019 Event Map https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/2019-event-map

2019 Event Schedule - Map format

 

I’m way late on this post. We are already almost finished with April but better late than never. My friend Phil with Zenfolio told me about someone else who drew their route, for the year, on a map. They did a nice job with Google Maps and an exact route. But I wanted something a little less precise so I made this myself.

 

My year started out with my first event, a team roping in San Antonio, TX and ends with calf roping, breakaway and team roping in Las Vegas, NV. Instead of writing then I went were, then there, then off to another place, I figured it would be easier to tell you where this map starts so you can follow the line around.

 

It’s a crazy schedule I have. I’m always on the move, always off to the next one. Though I’m not booked every weekend, know that it is by choice and not because I can’t find places to go. LOL, If you’ve read my post about Avoiding Burnout you’ll know why I don’t want to be busy every day. I’m here to enjoy the time between events not just be busy. Being busy is not the goal here. :)

route travel USA photography event roping barrel racing2019 Event MapStart in the South Texas end up in Las Vegas, NV

  • January 12-13 - Winter Rose Classic, San Antonio, TX
  • January 31-February 3 - Wildfire Roping, Hamilton, TX
  • February 8-10 - Brazos Valley Classic, Bryan, TX
  • February 25 - March 3 - The Patriot, Fort Worth TX
  • March 9-10 - The Big Break, Stephenville, TX
  • March 22-24 - South Texas Championships, Gonzales, TX
  • April 12-14 - Texas Championships, San Antonio, TX
  • April 26-28 - Northern States Invitational, Billings, MT (Paulette is shooting)
  • April 27-28 - Rickey Green Memorial, Sweetwater, TX
  • May 4-5 - Cinco De Mayo Classic, Stephenville, TX
  • May 17-20 - Cowboy Capital Classic, Stephenville, TX
  • May 24-27 - Future Stars of Calf Roping, Oklahoma City, OK
  • May 31- June 2 - World Class Invitational, New Town, ND
  • June 21-23 - California Shootouts, Reno, NV
  • June 22-27 - Bob Feist Invitational, Reno, NV
  • July 4-7 - Cowboy Christmas, Rapid City, SD
  • July 11-14 - Glacier Chaser Classic, Kalispell, MT
  • July 19-21 - 5 State Futurity, Rapid City, SD
  • July 26-28 - Dash N Dance Futurity, Spearfish, SD
  • August 3 - Undisclosed Location (Celebrating My Birthday)
  • August 22-25 - X-Treme Team Roping Finals, Stephenville, TX
  • September 5-8 - FizzBomb, Gillette, WY
  • September 12-15 - Roper Rally, Belle Fourche, SD
  • September 24-29 - Wrangler Team Roping Championships Finals, Billings, MT
  • October 9-13 - Pink Buckle, Oklahoma City, OK
  • October 11-13 - Northwest Barrel Racing Association Finals, Gillette, WY (Paulette is shooting)
  • November 2-3 - Chris Irwin Memorial, Andrews, TX
  • November 23-24 Jingle Bell Classic, Stephenville, TX
  • November 28- December 1, Rising Stars of Calf Roping, Oklahoma City, OK
  • December 6-13 - Las Vegas Stars, Las Vegas, NV

 

You’ll notice that a couple of events overlapped this year and that Paulette is shooting a couple of them. I didn’t include them on my map because they are not part of my route but they are still going to be Olie's Images. She will shoot for me so that you still get great shots fast just like I would do if I was there.

 

Let me know in the comments what events you’ll be at!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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(Olie's Images) barrel racing Dakota events Montana Nevada north Oklahoma photography road schedule south team roping Texas travel traveling Wyoming https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/2019-event-map Tue, 23 Apr 2019 01:44:45 GMT
Avoiding Burnout https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/avoiding-burnout Avoiding Burnout.

I’m not here to tell you that I’m the best at keeping it all together and being motivated to work all the times. I think of it more like a pendulum really. Sometimes I work long days where I barely have time to get up from my chair. I’ll even have to have someone bring me food like when I’m shooting a team roping or a barrel race. Other times I’ll take a week off and hardly touch my computer except to fulfill online orders. It doesn’t matter if I’m working or relaxing though because I’m still photographing something. I just switch from taking pictures to making pictures. I feel like it’s important to focus on work and stay driven and motivated. To do that though requires, at least for myself, at least an equal or greater amount of enjoyable time. I’ve made some good choices in career and lifestyle that’s lead to me to a place where I can make my own schedule while traveling full time and working enough to pay for it all.

Behind the Scenes The Chair....LOLThis is where I sit for Team Roping Shooting Team RopingBehind the Scenes

When I’m working then I’m fully working. There’s no time for breaks, no halfway invested. I’m 100% present. If I’m shooting an event then I get there the day before and set up. I roll in at least an hour before the day starts and leave after everyone is gone each night. Then we pack up the day after in most cases. It’s not for the weak or the lazy. This job requires diligence and focus. When I’m shooting photos I have to be “on” all the time. I’ve gotta be ready for the next team to leave the boxes, ready for the next barrel racer to come around their first barrel. I have to anticipate the moment of peak action just a fraction of a second before it happens. I have to keep in contact with the booth and remotely help handle any issues that arise. I’ve gotta make sure everything is working as it should.

BTSFamily Photo SessionHeart Family Photos Behind the Scenes. (Yes my cap is embroidered upside down LOL)

This level of focus and concentration after a 10-12 hour day will take its toll on a guy. After a three or four day event it’s not too bad but after a few backs to back 7-10 day events that are when I could really use a break. I’ve found that I’ve got to keep taking a break to avoid burnout. There have been so many times where I did burn out. That’s hard to recover from. Once burnout sets in, it is like finding that you fell through a hole in the ice and every time you try to use the edge of the ice to pull yourself out, it breaks off again. Burnout needs to be avoided at all costs if I’m going to keep up this lifestyle.

Fun PhotosTexas State AquariumThe moment right before the dolphin tossed a ball to me

This is where travel comes in. A huge reason why I go through all the extra hassle and sacrifice of living in an RV full time is to enjoy the places I get to go. Instead of having to rush back home just to have boring household duties. I just get to stay gone. I generally try to book at least a week off between events. But often times I’ll schedule 2-6 weeks off at a time. I’ve been known to put a hold on working for two months at a time. This helps me avoid burnout. I don’t want to just work and sleep. Haha.  It may surprise some of you but I don’t actually love sitting in one spot for 12 hours a day collecting dust. So, it’s easy to burn out.

TouristWorld's Largest Peanut StatueCheck out my page called The Weekday Wanderer on IG and FB

It’s easy because there’s no joy in it. There’s nothing stimulating about it. So, while I’m working those long days, I will often put in earbuds so I listen to an audiobook or podcast. Those keep me mentally stimulated all day. I have learned so much doing that. I can hear interesting thoughts from intelligent people. Plus it downs out the background chitchat that I get some areas where I sit close to where everyone hangs out.

AquariumJellfishInside shooting Jellyfish.

I used to have a “real” job but I’m so glad I don’t anymore. No offense to my previous employers. I sure appreciated the opportunities that most of you gave me. All but one of my previous jobs was really great actually. I enjoyed the people I worked with and it was certainly educational. However, working for myself is much more my style. I can be highly productive in short periods of time when I’m not working an event. This is when I get to try out the things I’ve learned via audiobooks and podcasts.

travel funDolphin ConnectionWe were so close to these guys jumping out of the wake from an oil tanker

I’ll do my best to get all my ordered caught up in the morning before it gets hot then I move on to something else. Usually something creative or productive but sometimes I just do something for pure entertainment. A favorite activity for me is disc golf. There’s usually somewhere close to play since it’s been around since the 70’s and it’s free. Since I do what I like to do for a living, it can easily slip into just doing it for work and that leads to burnout. I’m always coming up with ways to challenge myself with photography. To avoid burnout I’ll often shoot things completely unrelated to team roping or barrel racing photos. By doing that I end up getting better at team roping and barrel racing pictures.

Montana Travel National ParkGlacier National ParkGetting my shot set up. If you haven't been to Glacier NP you've gotta go!

My suggestion to you is to try something new and completely different from what you do for work. For example, if you train horses for a living then maybe take up fishing. You’ll probably learn something about fishing you can apply to horses. There’s a huge world out there with unlimited ways to entertain ourselves. Keep trying new things and see what life has to offer.

Disc GolfProbably the coldest day of winter. LOL (JK)

Thanks for reading my little blog!

 

Let me know in the comments what you do to avoid burnout!

 

See ya at the next one!

(Behind the Scenes shots of me were taken by Brenna Ramsden. Thanks for letting me use them!)

disc golf springtown tx texas park funDay OffOne of my most frequented courses. bts photography behind the scenesCactus at SunriseGetting some shots right at sunrise in AZ.

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(Olie's Images) burnout entrepreneur focus fun how to life motivation photography self employed travel work https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/avoiding-burnout Mon, 22 Apr 2019 02:25:40 GMT
Indoor Arena Lighting - Barrel Racing Edition https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/indoor-arena-lighting-barrel-racing-edition Indoor Arena Lighting - Barrel Racing Edition

 

If you haven’t read my first edition of arena lighting, check it out here.  It goes over some important background information. So, it’s important that you read it first. Now that you’re all caught up I’ll continue.

 

Like the team roping photos, I started shooting ambient light. But that’s really not the best indoors because the quality and direction of light is far from ideal. Because it’s so dark in there it’s I’m forced to bump up my ISO even though I’m shooting at f/2.8. I have to use shutter speed to freeze action. Which kills the amount of light coming in. Therefore I’m in the same situation where I need to bring in my own lights.

 

The good news is that I use so many lights for team roping that I have plenty of options for barrel racing too. They function the same either way. Unfortunately, it’s much more difficult to get them far enough away to light everything evenly because of the inverse square law discussed in the Team Roping Edition. Also, I shoot from a different location for barrel racing than I do for team roping. I shoot from inside the area for barrels. I sit just off the fence near the electric eye on the second barrel side. I shoot with a long lens so I can sit pretty far back which helps get an optimal angle for the classic shot around the second barrel and it’s easier to cross light the barrel racers.

 

If you read my blog post about lenses you’ll already know that I shoot with a 120-300mm on my full frame 1DX Mark II. If not and you’re interested check it out here. I love this lens because I can shoot further back than I could before when I was using the 70-200mm. It’s also f/2.8 throughout the zoom range and it’s top notch glass quality. I like to give my customers options for different looking shots. As an added benefit, it makes it much easier to create interesting custom collages because we have shots with completely different looks.

 

For the setup. I started using four strobes but it wasn’t long before I added a fifth one. As you’ll see in the following lighting diagram I place strobes all over the place. Haha! I always start with the key light on second barrel (Strobe 1). I aim it so that it doubles as the fill light for the first barrel as well as expose the background behind the first barrel. This requires precise control over my strobes. Which is one more reason why I went with Profoto. I can adjust them in 1/10th of a stop increments instead of 1/3rd of a stop increments. I will then set up the fill light for the second barrel (Strobe 2). I place it over by the first barrel because it’s the key light for the first barrel. These two strobes have a similar position and power. I’m using broad light for the second barrel shot and short light on the first barrel. I do this partly out of necessity but it’s great to have some variety. To finish up the second barrel, I set up a rim light on the second barrel that sits behind the second barrel and basically points back towards me (Strobe 3). The second benefit of this light is to bump up the exposure on the first barrel and run home shots.

BARREL RACE 1BARREL RACE 1I start by getting the light right for second barrel. BARREL RACE 2BARREL RACE 2Then the fill light for second barrel. BARREL RACE 3BARREL RACE 3This is considered a 3 point light setup for 2nd barrel.

The third barrel gets two strobes of its own (Strobes 4 & 5). These lights are positioned further down the arena a little further past the halfway point between the first two and the third barrel. These lights light up the background for all the photos, the third barrel shots, and some of the run home shots. That makes five strobes all popping at once. They have a super short flash duration so they are hardly noticeable.

BARREL RACE 4 and 5BARREL RACE 4 and 5

Thanks for reading my blog! It was a super short one today since it was an add on to yesterday’s blog about Team Roping arena lighting. Links to more blog posts at the bottom of the page.

 

Below are some examples. Hover over to learn more. 

Barrel RacingClassic 2nd Barrel ShotYou can see the highlight on horse and rider's right side (camera left). That's from strobe 3. It's a rim light. Barrel RacingFirst Barrel Short LightYou can see the key light coming from camera right. If you notice the barrel you can see 3 highlights. One from each light hitting it.

Barrel Racing3rd BarrelFor third barrel I'm aiming for a more even lighting setup. For those who don't love the more dramatic lighting.

Barrel RacingRunning Home!Running home shots are in my sweet spot most of the time. Great lighting without any extra effort or gear.

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(Olie's Images) 3-point arena barrel racing canon help how to light lighting photography profoto settings setup strobe three point https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/indoor-arena-lighting-barrel-racing-edition Sat, 20 Apr 2019 15:42:54 GMT
Arena Lighting - Team Roping Edition https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/arena-lighting-team-roping-edition Indoor Arena Lighting - Team Roping Edition.

Lighting a huge area is challenging, there’s no way around it. Like most photographers starting out, I had no idea how to use strobes (flashes) to light up an indoor arena. I also didn’t have the funds necessary to buy strobes when I first started either. As time went on and I kept trying to use the lights that the arena has in their ceiling, it was clear to me that I would never achieve the results I wanted with the ambient light found in any of the arenas I was going to shoot in. No matter how well my camera could handle high ISO. 

 

I started saving up to buy my first strobe. That’s right, I thought one would do the trick. LOL, But, before I bought my first strobe I thought I better get a feel for how much time I had between shots. Because strobes need time to recycle (recharge) before they would be able to fire again. Through research, I learned that most have about 1-2 seconds between shots at full power but I could reduce the power and reduce the time between shots. I thought that I wouldn't need that much power. I was using the dim arena lights in the ceiling so surely a strobe would be way brighter than that even at a lower power setting. I had determined through unscientific methods that I only have about 0.5 seconds between shots in some cases. So, I looked for strobes that would have a recycling rate of 1 second at full power then I figured I could just reduce the power by half to get the 0.5 seconds between shots. That worked however, it quickly became apparent that having one or two wasn’t enough.

 

My first inclination was to put up a pair of strobes at the end of the arena to my left and shoot straight down the arena as shown in figure 1. (Top down view of a team roping arena) As you can see this doesn’t really work for the whole arena. It has a certain ‘sweet spot’ but too far from the lights is too dark and too close is too bright. I tried TTL (Through The Lens) to get the strobes to change their power output to match each shot. In theory, this would work great. But in this case, it was too slow. TTL works by the strobe firing once for the camera to meter then again for the exposure after making an automatic adjustment. This happens pretty quickly for most situations like a photo of a model on the beach. However, it is way too slow for action photography.

Figure 1Figure 1Team Roping Arena. Top Down View

Then I tried HSS (High-Speed Sync). This means that I can increase my shutter speed to freeze the action of the ropers just like I was with the ambient light. I was just trying to use the strobes with the same camera settings that I was using before but just lower my ISO a bit. In theory, they should work great. However, HSS kills the power output of the strobes by a ton. Even at full power, it wasn’t even close to enough.

 

Neither of these solutions was getting me the results I was after. I needed more light because I had an idea that would require a bigger investment. This was about the time I started to go back and study the inverse square law. This describes the rate of light fall off from a point source. Figure 2 and 3 below are made by Elixxier but I found them from PetaPixel's article about Understanding the Inverse Square Law (link here). They show graphically how the inverse square law from physics affects the light coming from my strobes. This made it clear to me that I was trying to light from the wrong side of the arena. It also shows why I was struggling to get the background bright while keeping my subject properly exposed too.

lightfalloffsquareFigure 2 Inverse-Square-Law-Light-Fall-Off-to-the-SquareFigure 3

I had to switch my thought process. Instead of having two lights at the bottom end of the arena I now know that I need lights down the side of the arena and one at the end of the arena. The lights down the side of the arena are my key, or brightest/main, light and the one at the end of the arena is my fill light. The fill light adds light to the shadow areas but isn’t as bright as the key light. However, when the ropers get close to the fill light it becomes the key light and the lights along the side become fill lights without having to change camera settings in most cases. This is simply caused by the inverse square law.

 

You’ll see in Figure 4 a top-down view of an arena. I sit in the corner opposite the heeling box. I have these lights set up in a “cross light” formation. This means the light is more or less 90 degree from my camera depending on exactly where they are in the arena. I like this setup best because it gives me the largest sweet spot possible. As you saw in Figures 2 and 3 above it best for me to have my strobes further away to get the biggest sweet spot in the arena.

Figure 4Figure 4

I still had more obstacles to overcome. The first pair of lights I had were way too slow to recycle. I found that Profoto D2 strobes had a recycle time of 0.6 seconds at full power. That’s exactly what I needed. They are 500-watt second lights which is plenty of power in most cases. The Profoto D2’s also have a feature called a Zoom head. This allows me to adjust the angle that the light spreads from the strobe. These are just what I had been wanting the whole time.

 

Another problem I had was that I didn’t understand how I could use my max sync speed of 1/250th of a second to freeze action. Typically a minium of 1/800 is requred to get pretty close to frozen action. With a little research, I realized that my strobes fire as fast as 1/60,000th of a second. That’s way overkill but that’s all I needed to know. I just needed to shoot with settings that would be about 3 stops of light underexposed then use the light from my strobes to bring the exposure up to correct. Luckily for me, this is super easy with the D2’s because of the Air Remote. The Air Remote is the device that sits on top of my camera connected to the hot shoe. I can use it to adjust the power level of the strobes. So, when I’m setting up the strobes all I have to do is get them in the right position and then sit down with my camera and adjust the power after I’ve determined what settings I need. If the light changes for some reason I can adjust for that too without having to leave my seat. For instance, when we shoot in an arena where lots of sunlight can come through I will lower the power of my strobes when the sun goes down.

 

Below are some example images to show you how the light looks using this cross light with a fill light. You can see that the background is still exposed properly as are the ropers, horses, and steers. Shooting cross light helps to show details in texture and gives my images a 3-D look to them. I get quite a few comments about how sharp my images are and how the ropers seem to jump out.

 

Thanks for reading my blog! Check back in later to see how I set up my lights for barrel racing. If you have any questions or need something cleared up, let me know in the comments!

_LIE0343Wildfire RopingThis shot is perfectly in my sweet spot. You can see there's enough shadow to define. They are properly lit. _LIE0480Brazos Valley ClassicHeel shots are so often in my sweet spot because of the flow of a team roping run. _LIE0020X-Treme Team RopingYou can see the light is brighter on the right from the key light but the shadows aren't too dark because of the fill light. _LIE0167Wildfire RopingYou can see the brighter light is coming from the left here. This is near the end of the arena. The fill light has become the key light.

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(Olie's Images) camera education event help how to inverse square law light photography settings setup strobe team roping https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/arena-lighting-team-roping-edition Fri, 19 Apr 2019 19:03:44 GMT
Full-Time RV Life https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/full-time-rv-life Full-Time RV Life.

 

It wasn’t long after starting Olie’s Images it became clear that if I was gonna do this that I’d need a different lifestyle. When I started Olie's Images I was interning at Peabody energy in Gillette, WY. But I still had one more year of college to finish my second and third degrees. It was increasingly clear that photography was about to consume my life. At the time I had an apartment in Laramie, WY. I was hauling my equipment out on Thursday after class and back on Sunday night when I got home. At the time, everything was fitting in the bed of my truck. I knew that I needed an RV but it was going to be tough convincing a bank to give me an RV loan. I had to find an RV that my truck could handle because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to convince two banks to give a loan to a brand new business owner. 

Tracer - Ultra-LiteShortly after switching to a 1-ton diesel from my Half ton Ecoboost. IMG_0531Outdoor KitchenI really do miss that outdoor kitchen.
 

For this reason, I started my journey of full time RVing in an ultralight travel trailer. It was pretty long and had two opposing slide outs in the back but there was no denying that it wasn’t built for this life. That trailer didn’t last long. It was falling apart fast. After about 8 months I traded it in on a fifth wheel toy hauler. It was an obvious choice. It was heavier duty and it had a garage. I no longer had to store my gear in the back of my truck and on the dinette. I now had a 13’ garage, room for all the booth equipment and photo gear. It was sure nice to step up into a bigger trailer. It is more stable in all situations. It had an automatic leveling system which was a huge improvement over the silly stabilizer jacks on the travel trailer. But it had less clearance and it was actually a smaller living space if you don’t count the garage. 

Time to TradeThis was the day I upgraded to a Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler

I'd have to say that Northern Hills Homes and RV's was excellent to deal with. I purchased all of these trailers except for the first one in Casper from Ron. He's the man. If you're in the market for an RV, horse trailer, or mobile home then go check out these guys. Give them a shot at your business, you'll be glad you did. Doug Lueder is the owner and sponsors many equine events around the area. If you go in there you'll probably see some of my photos hanging up somewhere. Everyone in there has always treated me well. They were really the first ones to give me the time of day when I was starting to look for my first trailer as a new business owner. 

Matching ColorsSooooo much better. :)

That trailer served me well for two years. It has been all over the country with me. Even in plenty of sketchy situations in weird Walmart parking lots, down rough muddy roads, and even blew a tire that ripped up the side. That was the last straw. It was time for me to find a new home. Now, I’m living in my third brand new trailer and the fourth RV I’ve owned. The first was a long time ago when I was living in Casper. My current trailer is a 2019 Momentum 397TH by Grand Design. There are certainly nicer rigs on the market but not many. LOL This trailer is like a mobile apartment. 

Momentum at SunsetWe headed to Andrews, TX right after trading. Seriously, like 3 days later.

I love this trailer. It has so many features that I wanted. After living in three RVs full time I knew what I wanted. It has the bed that comes out on a slide so the nose can be a full-size closet. It has two full bathrooms so my friends that come to help have their own bedroom and bathroom. It has the upgraded stereo system because I love to watch movies in the theater seats with the bass thumping. It has the message and heated seats in those theater seats too. It has a dedicated space to set up my iMac. There’s even space for Brenna’s iMac at the same time. There’s a huge fridge and an island so we can easily move around without being in each other’s way. I wanted a fireplace and I got one. It’s perfectly aimed at the theater seats adding the finishing touch to my movie room. LOL The only thing I wish it had is a dishwasher. Even though I know they are small and don’t wash many dishes at a time. It would still be so nice. 

Driver's SideSlide in the nose for King Mattress and Slide for the Kitchen in the middle.

This trailer is 5’ longer, 3” taller, and about 4,000 pounds heavier than my last 5th wheel. But I can still easily pull it with my single wheel one ton 2017 Ford F-350 Platinum. Most of that extra weight seems to be in the frame. This trailer has the least amount of ground clearance of all the trailers I’ve owned. So, it doesn’t see rough conditions often. There's room for over 150gal of fresh water. Making it ideal for boondocking if I need to or want to. The onboard Onan generator with 60 gallons of fuel means we can get work done even out in the middle of nowhere or along the side of the road. I’ll often need to get some client orders fulfilled when we are on the road. So, we’ll pull over and get to work. Customers are the reason that I can live this life. So, they are a high priority. The last year or so has gotten increasingly more difficult to keep up. It’s been nice lately having Brenna on full time to help me keep up. But there are certainly days when both of us isn’t enough to stay ahead of it. 

Passenger SideBig slide for living room. Rear door to garage front door to living area.

This is my 5th year at Olie’s Images and my 4th year of living in an RV full time. There’s good days almost all the time and a few bad days of course. However, it never really feels like traveling full time. It doesn’t feel like a hotel. It feels like home. Once you shut the door, it’s hard to know where we are. It doesn’t feel like a strange place. It’s stable except for really high winds or one of us jumping around. LOL But otherwise you wouldn’t know it’s a house on wheels. There’s plenty of storage. Even some extra space we haven’t filled up yet. 

Lone Star ArenaRoom for a motorcycle. This was my second bike that got to travel with me.

Most people don’t get it and that’s ok. Especially if they aren’t looking at it with their own eyes. But that doesn’t bother me. In fact, it’s kinda fun for me. I have a really nice home and I’m very happy with it. I love that no matter where I’m at, it feels like home. It’s so nice to be able to go without needing to “come back” to a certain geographic location. We will, of course, go exploring and come back to where the trailer is parked. But generally, it comes with me everywhere I go. With any choice, you make there will be opportunity costs and trade-offs but for me, the benefits outweigh the negatives. 

 

I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a video tour of my trailer so you can see for yourself how we live. Let me know if that would interest you. 

 

Thanks for checking out my blog! If you have any questions let me know in the comments. :)

Rear PatioThe rear ramp makes into a patio with a 3 season door to the garage. Solid or Mesh wall. Leaving AZHeaded to TX with my new trailer. Follow me on IG! Quick Run to MexicoThis was a fun day trip to Mexico. We didn't take the trailer, just the truck and some camera gear.

 

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(Olie's Images) Arizona fifth wheel full time impact Life Mexico momentum motorcycle Northern Hills RV South Dakota Texas toy hauler travel Wyoming https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/full-time-rv-life Thu, 18 Apr 2019 15:45:47 GMT
My Lenses https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/lenses My thoughts on lens choice

There are lots of reasons why to choose a lens over another lens. For this discussion, I’m skipping any discussion over specific brands of lenses. This is really more of a discussion about focal length, aperture, and other lens features rather than sharpness, contrast, or other technical specifications. Not to say those are not really important, but they are for a different topic. Though some people will buy old lenses or intentionally use damaged lenses for a certain look and feel to their images. I haven’t gotten into that yet. For me, I’m always shooting the best glass that I can afford so it’s assumed that they are the best quality. More importantly, is the focal length. All these lenses below will tell a different story. They frame the subject in a different way. Being a photographer means having a working knowledge of how all these lenses will look without having to look through each one to find the right one. It takes practice but with dedication, I think anyone can learn how they work best and what they don’t do so well.

 

For more info check out my gear page: https://www.oliesimages.com/gear
 

NWBRA Final 2018Canon 1DX Mark II, Sigma 120-300mm F/2.8 Sports, 133mm 1/250, f/4, ISO 1000, Flash Fired

I’m most frequently shooting team roping or barrel racing. So, I’m stationary and the action is moving around in front of me. For this reason, I need a zoom lens when working. I’m shooting on full frame 1DX Mark II’s at the time of this writing. So, you’ll have to convert if you’re using a different size sensor like an APS-C, Micro Four Thirds, Medium format or something else. Let's start with the 120-300mm f/2.8 made by Sigma. This is part of their Sports line so it is top notch glass. I love this focal range for barrel racing because it lets me sit further away than if use a 70-200mm for example. I make sure every lens I own has a maximum aperture of 2.8 or faster, except one. We’ll go over that one soon. This is because I sometimes shoot in low light but also because you’ll find that the highest quality glass is typically associated with 2.8 or faster aperture. I also love this lens for team roping. It’s perfect for most areas but I end up swapping it out for the 70-200mm for the lower number ropings. This is because I have a different shot in mind for high number ropers and lower number ropers. Having a certain shot in mind is my main reason for choosing a lens in the first place. I first think about the shot or types of shots that I’m looking for and what kind of shooting situation I’m going to find myself in.
The Patriot 2019 Team RopingCanon 1DX Mark II, Canon 70-200mm F/2.8L II, 252mm, f/4, 1/250, ISO 640

The more control I have over the situation the fewer focal lengths I’ll need to rely on to do the job. For example, if I’m walking around somewhere exploring and I don’t know what I’ll be shooting then I’ll want a zoom lens with lots of range like 24-70mm or 70-200mm. These are both great lens choices for many situations and a staple in photographers’ kits all over the world. However, you didn’t come here to read about what everyone else is doing. If I can just have creative control or I’m looking to tell a specific story then I’ll reach for a prime lens. Prime lenses are also known as fixed lenses. They do not zoom. They are fixed at a specific focal length like 85mm. These are great if you can move in relation to your subject or if you can wait for your subject to move into the right spot.

 

Let's start by going over what’s in my kit and why it’s in my kit. Then I’ll end by going over the lenses I’ve had and sold. I’ll start with my widest lenses (smallest focal length) and go to my longest lenses (largest focal length). For zoom lenses, I’ll put them in order using their widest focal range. Example: 70-200mm will go after the 24-70mm but before the 85mm. This way I’m not playing favorites and it's a more logical post. Also, this will make it easy to skip around to see what I say about wide angle or telephoto or super telephoto or.... you get the picture. LOL This could get a little long winded so it’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure.

 

First, the lens I’ve had in my kit the longest is also the widest one I own. It’s a 14mm f/2.8 from Bower. It’s the worst overall quality lens in there but when I need 14mm then it does the trick. It’s really not bad at all which is why I have it but compared to the rest of the lenses I’m about to talk about, it’s really not on par. It does have its uses though. Also, it was only $250, if I remember correctly, so it’s perfect for beginners. I’ve found that its great for Astrophotography. At f/2.8 it lets a good amount of light in and can yield decent results for shooting the Milky Way. Especially when you need that ultra wide shot. You’ll want something interesting really close in the foreground to draw your viewers in. It’s a manual focus which is what you’ll be doing for astrophotography anyways. I’ll shoot time lapses with it sometimes so I can capture the whole scene.

 

The lens that comes up next in my kit is the Canon 16-35mm f/4. This is a Canon L-Series lens so you know it’s great. It’s my only lens that isn’t f/2.8 or faster. That’s because I bought it to make videos with. It is really quite small and light because it’s max aperture is f/4. But it’s great for so many other reasons too. I’ll grab this lens when I wanna create interesting scenes that draw viewers in. I’ll often place a leading line really close to the end of the lens and shoot stopped way down like f/22 making everything sharp. This lens is great for telling stories. You can show your subject as well as the environment it is in. I’ll often pop this lens on for vlogging (Video Blogging) because it is easy to hold with my arm stretched out. It gets smooth shots because it has excellent image stabilization built in.

 

4G Ranch SupplyCanon 1DX Mark II, Canon 16-35mm f/4L, 35mm, 1/1000, F/10, ISO 3200

 

Since the 16-35mm lens is a zoom lens, this next lens is actually in that range. It’s a 20mm f/1.4 from Sigma. It’s part of their Art series. I honestly don’t use this as much as I should but when it comes to astrophotography, this is my go-to lens of choice ever since I bought it. I typically stop it down to f/2 to get a little more depth of field and extra sharp stars. I feel like it is probably my fault because I can’t seem to muster the patience to find focus at f/1.4. This lens lets me lower my ISO and get really clean shots of the Milky Way. The 16-35mm is excellent for landscapes and wide vistas, but getting up close to your subject can produce some amazing images. Even a portrait, when done right, can be pleasing with this range.

Bottle in Ocean Lake, Riverton, WYCanon 1DX Mark II, Sigma 20mm f/1.4, 20mm, f/1.4, 1/4000, ISO 100

I’ve also used the 24-70mm for astrophotography. I’m currently shooting the Canon L-series version II.  It’s the next longest lens in my kit. Shooting at 24mm and f/2.8 yields great results but this lens has too many uses to count. Anything from landscapes to portraits can all be found right here. Unfortunately, it is not image stabilized but that seems to be the only negative thing I can say about this lens. Like I said earlier, this is a great go-to lens if you want variety and will probably end up needing low light performance. This lens really shines at f/2.8 or f/22. At f/2.8 I’m getting that shallow depth of field for a portrait or letting in as much light as possible for Milky Way photos. But at f/22, 24mm, and focused at 2’10’’ (the hyperfocal distance when shooting at those settings on a full frame sensor). You’ll get everything from about 6’’ in front of your camera to infinity sharp. That’s great for telling stories. Just be sure you have a clear subject. This can look like a snapshot from an iPhone pretty easily. I’ve gone out and shot all day at this setting so many times and those images remain some of my favorite. Get close to a foreground element or have a leading line feel like it is jumping out at your viewers and pulling them in. This lens is a must have in my opinion. In my daily work life, this is the lens we use for award shots. We can quickly switch from one or two people to a whole group with a simple twist and maybe a step or two back. LOL

Sedona, ArizonaCanon 5DSR, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II, 24mm, f/9, 5s, ISO 3200, Bracketed Exposure blended together in Photoshop.

Moving up from there is the 70-200mm f/2.8. I’m currently shooting with the Canon L-series version II but as I said earlier, this is more about the focal length and aperture. This lens is image stabilized so shooting handheld in low light is easy as can be. This is the ultimate workhorse. I’ve shot with this focal range more than any other. It’s so good at everything. I love it for portraits, for walking around, for team roping, and so much more. I used to use it for barrel racing until I got my hands on the 120-300mm. This is a great lens to put a 1.4x teleconverter on to get a little bit more reach in a pinch. If you’re thinking about buying this or you’re just getting started in photography then you won’t go wrong here. You’ll easily get that out of focus background for portraits or anytime you want to isolate your subject from the background. It offers a good amount of background compression. This is easily the most used lens in my kit. I’ve worn out a few of these. LOL

Quincey ReynoldsCanon 5DSR, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L II, 200mm, f/2.8, 1/160, ISO 100.

Next on the list is the Canon 85mm f/1.2L. OMG. If you want to WOW your clients, just pop on this lovely lens and start creating magic. It’s one of the strangest lenses to look at in my kit. It’s short and fat but has a huge aperture. I love my 85mm f/1.2 for portraits for example. I might have my subject lay down on her stomach on a couch shooting wide open at f/1.2. I’ll have to get perfect focus on her eyes because the depth of field is so shallow that her nose will start to get a little out of focus and her feet will be just buttery smooth bokeh. Bokeh is a term for the blurry background. This lens will let viewers know who or what matters most in your frame. It will be clear because he/she/it will be the only thing in focus. The falloff is impressive even a full-length portrait is quite remarkable but it certainly has a sweet spot. I find that if I’m close enough to fill about 1/2 of my frame with my subjects head then I’ll be near minimum focusing distance. That’s where this lens really makes an impression.

Cedar KohrCanon 5DSR, Canon 85mm f/1.2L, f/1.2, 85mm, 1/800, ISO 100, Flash HSS

If I need to focus really close to something really small or I’m going for an abstract scene then I’ll reach for the next lens on my list, the Canon 100mm Macro f/2.8L. This is seriously such a great lens. I’ve shot landscape shots, and portraits but where it really steps up is macro photography. That’s how it got its name after all. If you want truly 1:1 macro shots then this lens will get you there. You’ll get extreme detail. Of course, other lenses can get you past 1:1 even 1:5 but this is such a good choice. It’s stabilized so I’ll often take this into a museum or somewhere and shoot all day with this one lens. Many of my favorite abstracts were found in busy scenes. I just got really close, opened it all the way up and fired away. It’s so good combined with a little pocket light like the Apurture light that is about the size of a business card. I’ll often bring that light and lens combo into an area where flash isn’t allowed or it draws too much unwanted attention.

Sunbathing on a SunflowerCanon 5DSR, Canon 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 100mm, f/4, ISO 1000, 1/160

My latest addition to my kit is the 105mm Sigma f/1.4. This is the craziest looking lens that I own. It’s a little bit longer than the 85mm but much wider. This little guy takes a 105mm filter too. This is much better for full-length portraits. To get a little more compression and fall off than the 85mm when shooting a little further away. It hasn’t been in my hands very long but it’s easy to see that it won’t be leaving anytime soon. I think it will be great for action too when I can get close enough to fill the frame with one subject. It’s also part of their Art series so it’s incredibly sharp with plenty of contrast.

Exploring Old BuildingsCanon 1DX Mark II, Sigma 105mm f/1.4, 105mm, f/1.4, 1/1250, ISO 125

Last but certainly not least is my Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 Sports. This is such an incredible lens. I only wish I had gotten it sooner. It’s my go to for open ropers, barrel racers, or anytime you need to be able to zoom in reach your subject. 300mm at f/2.8 and about 50’ away is about the sweet spot for this lens. I just love the photos I can get with this lens on. I’m often grabbing candid portraits after high team back wins and everyone is cheering. Without switching lenses or grabbing a different camera this lens is perfect for what I do. Plus, if my friend’s kid is playing football sometimes the coach will let me sit on the sidelines and blast a few shots. The best part is, you can get in anywhere to shoot whatever you want with this mounted to a 1DX2 LOL It looks that impressive.

Crago Performance HorsesCanon 1DX Mark II, Sigma 120-300mm, 1/250, f/3.5, 120mm, Flash Fired, ISO 400.

Nearly all these lenses are storm proof, dustproof, and downright tough. I might occasionally blow the dust off the front element after shooting most of the day in a dusty arena but I won’t concern myself with pouring rain. If they are still roping and running barrel then I’m still shooting. I have to be able to shoot no matter what. I can’t afford for my gear to break down. I’m there to do a job and I need gear that keeps up. I hope this little post has helped you. If you have any questions please let me know.

 

Also, you can find links to this gear and most of the other gear I use on my Gear Page. I’ll post a link here:

https://www.oliesimages.com/gear

 

Thanks for reading my post! If you’re interested in some of the lenses I’ve owned but have since sold then continue reading. :)

 

My experience with some lenses that I’ve owned and sold.

 

The kit lenses that came with my old 70D (my first camera) go upgraded quickly. They really didn’t hold up to inspection. I upgraded to the 18-270 Tamron which isn’t a great lens either but it had so much more zoom range. It was good for starting out because I didn’t know what I wanted. Now they offer a 16-400mm I think. That would be a good starter lens for someone trying to learn. But the max aperture on those lenses will leave you frustrated often. I’ve had an 8mm fisheye lens too. That was fun for a week or so but I got it just before upgrading to a full frame and it was made for a crop sensor. I’ve owned a Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 but I wore it out. It was a good lens but the Canon version is built like a tank and has better glass. No brainer to upgrade if you’ve got the money. I’ve recently owned the Sigma 150-600m f/5.6-6.3 Sports lens. It was fun to shoot birds and wildlife in bright conditions but just about the time that the good natural light comes, this lens is a major let down. Shooting at f/6.3 is so awful that I had to sell it. I still have a 2x teleconverter for those situations when shooting at 600mm f/5.6 would be ok. Plus, the teleconverter hardly takes up any space. I’ve probably owned more lenses than I can remember. Typically, I’ve found that if its max aperture is smaller than f/4 that I won’t be happy with it and therefore I won’t even bother to buy it. I’m usually pushing my gear to its limit to get the shots. So, I’m usually at wide open, with relatively fast shutter speed and high ISO.

Backlit TreeCanon 1DX, Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.2, 1/800, f/7.1, ISO 1000, Hand Held

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(Olie's Images) barrel racing blurry bokeh camera canon gear help how to lenses macro photography settings setup sigma tamron team roping telephoto https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/lenses Wed, 17 Apr 2019 15:02:25 GMT
My Thoughts on Collages https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/collages Spanky Haynes Spanky Haynes

 

My thoughts on Collages. 

 

Collages are pretty common. Lots of photographers offer them. I’m not sure how everyone else does them but like everything else that I do, I’m doing it my way. I’ve come up with a solution that I think works best for everyone. 

 

The way I see it there should be a fee to design the collage. Often times your photos don’t fit in a regular template. We taylor fit the collage to the photos you choose. But, I don’t think you should have to pay that fee again for every copy you want. This means that the design fee is separate from the printing fee. 

 

I offer two types of collages. The first is the “Basic Collage”. It’s a simple design with photos that have borders to separate them from the others on the page. It’s what you’d normally think of when you think of a collage. The design fee for basic collages is $50. You’ll still need to pick out what you’d like it printed on and the size.  

 

Next I offer another collage called a “Custom Collage”. This is full blown piece of artwork. Custom Collages require much more time and skill and therefore have a design fee of $250. Sometimes two or more people are involved in the process of designing it. Each photo is cut out by hand to ensure the best quality and precision. That’s usually handled by a specialist who does that kind of work for a living. Then all the photos are arranged by me to until I’m satisfied with the layout. The photos will certainly overlap and that can make them hard to distinguish. I’ll add layer of smoke or a gradient between photos to add depth and separation. Behind all these photos will be a background. Often this background is multiple textures blended together to create something unique. I’ll then add any text like their name or horse’s name. This text will be layered in there and stylized to taste. 

In the example above I added the customers’s name and the words “Come Here Bull” per customer request. 

Once the design is finished to my liking I’ll add the event logo as well as my own before sending a proof off to the client for approval. He or she has the option to change either the basic or custom collages. 

 

This process seems a bit complicated at first but I think it strikes a good balance between ease of understanding and saving clients money.

 

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(Olie's Images) art artwork barrel barrel racing basic Collage cost custom design fee price roping team roping https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/collages Tue, 16 Apr 2019 05:36:54 GMT
My Camera Setup https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/my-camera-setup 88A5B050-0AD5-4363-BF81-2A35F8368C3A88A5B050-0AD5-4363-BF81-2A35F8368C3A{"DeviceAngle":0.0072529544122517109}

Why I think this works
  1. Able to shoot anything 
  2. Simple and Fast
  3. Tracks motion and manual focus
 
The Setup
When I get a new camera I go through and set it up the way that I’ve found works best for me. The goal for me is to be able to switch quick from one type of shooting to another. For example, I generally shoot action photos but I occasionally get the wild hair and wanna shoot astrophotography. So, I need my camera to be set up so I only have to make minor adjustments to switch to a new genre. 
 
I like to start with the basics and build on that. That way I have a very stable foundation to create from. I’m not worried about my gear. I know what it’s going to do and why. The first thing I’ll do is adjust the eye piece, also called the using the Dioptic adjustment knob. It is a small dial on most cameras that adjusts the focus of the eye piece so you can shoot with out without glasses or to correct for your vision. That way your photos look as sharp as they are through the viewfinder. This doesn’t effect the actual photo, just what you see when you look through the viewfinder. 
 
I then move on to the menu system. Since I shoot Canon it’s going to be a little different for other manufacturers but they all have similarities. The order of the menu items are different even in different Canon bodies but I’ll go through my 1DX2 menu and you can adapt this to your camera. 
 
Red Menu 1: 
  • White Balance
    • Generally set to Custom. 
    • Because it’s so easy to set a custom white balance so your colors start out perfect. Or, I’m trying to balance to a light with a gel on it. 
  • Set Custom White Balance
    • This is where you choose a photo and tell the camera to use it to create a custom while balance. 
  • WB Shift/Bracket
    • I use this only when I think the Custom White Balance is wrong. 
  • Color Space
    • Adobe RGB this gives you the most colors
  • Picture Style
    • Doesn’t matter for RAW. 
    • I’ve set up a custom one for my JPGS 
    • This gives me a neutral image that is pretty close to printable. With just minor tweaking in LR. So that we can go fast in my booth at events. 
  • Lens Aberration Correction 
    • All on
    • These help to reduce lens issues. 
  • Multiple Exposure
    • Off
    • This lets you shoot two photos on top of each other for a certain effect. Not very useful. 
    • I create this look in post. It’s way easier. 
 
Red Menu 2:
  • JPEG Quality 
    • L - 10
    • Ignore the rest
  • Image Type/Size
    • RAW
      • I shoot everything in RAW except for action photos because there’s so many and RAW is so large of a file size. 
    • L-JPEG 
      • Large JPEGs are the only way to go if shooting JPEG. 
  • ISO Speed Settings
    • Generally the last thing I think about. I’m setting this per scene. 
    • Range for Stills
      • 100-12,800 on this 1DX2 is fine. Anything beyond that is pretty rough. 
    • Auto Range
      • Same
    • Minimum Shutter Speed
      • Auto is fine most of the time. 
      • I’ll only change this if I need to be handheld and I gotta be fast. 
  • Auto Lighting Optimizer
    • Off
  • Long Exposure Noise Reduction
    • Off
  • High ISO Noise Reduction
    • Off
  • Highlight Tone Priority
    • Off, unless you really need to to capture details in highlights really close to blown out. 
    • It does add noise. 
 
Red Menu 3
  • Image Review 
    • Off
    • This will improve battery life
    • You don’t need to look at every image. 
  • Beep
    • Enable unless you need to be super quiet. 
    • I don’t find that my camera beeps often
  • Release Shutter without card
    • This is super important. 
    • This must be off at all times. 
    • Otherwise you run the risk of thinking there’s a card in there and then none of your images were saved. 
  • Mirror Lockup
    • Off unless doing important long exposures 
  • Delete Dust Data
    • This lets the camera remove dust after shooting a photo. If you have dust that won’t go away after cleaning this is an option. But clean your sensor first. 
  • External Speedlight Control. 
    • Enable Flash Firing
    • Evaluative Metering is usually fine
    • Everything else leave standard generally 
  • Anti-Flicker Shoot
    • Enable 
    • This is great because some lights flicker faster than the human eye can perceive it. So, the camera times the shot with the flicker. 
 
Red Menu 4
  • Live View Shoot
    • Enable 
  • AF Method 
    • Face Tracking is my favorite, especially for video. 
    • FlexiZone is great if someone’s face isn’t large or visible in the shot. 
  • Grid Display
    • Off - Because I don’t like it on the live view 
  • Expo. Simulation 
    • Enable 
    • This makes your DSLR more like a mirrorless Camera. What you see is what you get. 
 
Red Menu 5:
  • Live View Shoot
    • Mode 1 is what mine is set on. 
    • Honestly don’t use live View shooting often
  • Metering Timer
    • 8 seconds seems to be long enough for me. 
  • LV Touch Control
    • Standard is perfect on the 1DX2. 
 
Pink Menu 1:
  • Case 5 because it’s for Subjects with erratic movements quickly in any direction. 
  • But I changed everything LOL 
    • Tracking Sensitivity = -2
    • Accel./Decel. Tracking = +2
    • AF Point Auto Switching = 0
 
Pink Menu 2:
  • AI Servo 1st Priority = Focus
  • AI Servo 2nd Priority = Equal between speed and focus. 
 
Pink Menu 3:
  • Lens electronic MF
    • Enable after One-Shot AF seems to work fine
  • AF assist Beam Firing 
    • I have this off but if you’re shooting with a speedlight in dark conditions then turn it on. 
  • One-Shot AF Release Priority 
    • I don’t use One-Shot so this doesn’t matter to me. 
 
Pink Menu 4:
  • Auto AF pt sel: EOS iTR AF
    • This will try to help you focus on someone’s face. 
  • Lens Drive when AF impossible 
    • Continue Focus Search is what I use because I want the camera to keep trying to focus. 
  • Selectable AF Point
    • I have them all available but I keep in mind that if it’s a difficult situation that I only use the cross type ones. The others will be blinking in my viewfinder. 
  • Select AF Area Select Mode
    • I only use three but 90% of the time it’s the single point AF Point
    • The others are use are Spot AF, and Expand AF Area
  • AF Area Selection Method 
    • M-Fn button is best for me. 
    • I try to have one button/dial per job
  • Orientation linked AF point
    • Separate AF pts: Pt only
      • This is best for me because I’m often switching between vertical and horizontal shots for photo shoots of people and objects.
      • This allows me to set different AF points for horizontal and vertical shots. 
  • Initial AFpt, { } AI Servo AF
    • This works well for my flow. 
 
Pink Menu 5:
  • AF point selection movement 
    • Continuous. No stopping when it hits the sides 
  • AF Point display during focus
    • Selected AF Point
    • This keeps makes it obvious what AF point I’m using. 
  • AF point Brightness 
    • Normal seems plenty bright but if you often find yourself shooting in already bright conditions then brighter might be better. 
  • AF Status in viewfinder 
    • Show outside view is better for me because I don’t want it in the way of my shot. 
  • AF Microadjustment 
    • You’ll want to set this up for each lens you shoot with on that body. 
    • I generally don’t bother with my wide lenses but certainly all telephotos especially fast primes. 
 
Blue Menu 1:
  • Skip. 
    • Complete waste of a menu
 
Blue Menu 2:
  • Skip. 
    • The only thing I changed was the “Image Jump with Dial”. I have it jump 10 but don’t really use it much. 
Blue Menu 3:
  • Highlight Alert (AKA “The Blinkies”)
    • I prefer this enabled but sometimes turn it off for clients. 
  • AF Point Display
    • Enable 
      • This is part of my speed. With this always displayed, there’s no wondering where it’s going to pop up. It’s faster to gain focus too. Speed is king. 
  • Playback Grid
    • Off
  • Histogram Display 
    • Generally Brightness is fine. 
    • Sometimes I use RGB but not often 
  • Skip the rest 
 
Yellow Menu 1:
  • Record Func+card/folder sel. 
    • This is great for organizing photos into folders. 
    • I often use this when shooting several rounds of a small roping. 
    • Or, by keeping opening ceremonies separate from the action. 
    • Record Func. 
      • Standard is where I keep mine. 
      • Auto Switch card is great if you often fill up your cards and can’t be bothered to switch cards.
      • Record Seperately could be nice if you record RAW and JPEG but I don’t. 
      • Record to multiple is perfect for those high value jobs that could cost you big if photos are lost. This creates instant backups of all photos in the second card slot. 
  • File Numbering
    • I use Continuous so that the file names keep going when I put in a new card. 
    • Auto Reset would be nice if you wanted the file names to start over every time you put in a new card. 
    • I often use Manual reset for two reasons. 
      1. The start of an event so I can start with 0000. Because I’m a little OCD. LOL 
      2. If I think there’s a chance that the file name will roll over past 9999 and I’m not ready to switch cards. When it rolls over, the camera creates a new folder and the file names start over at 0000. This is annoying to me and confusing for customers and my booth crew. I try to avoid it. 
  • File Name
    • This is kinda just for fun. 
      • I changed my file name to OLIE####. But when shooting on Adobe RGB color space, it changes my file name to _LIE####. Kinda a bummer really. 
    • I like to make all my cameras have the same file name but you might want yours different. 
  • Auto Rotate
    • This is a big one for me. A small change but a big difference. 
    • Do you ever shoot a vertical shot and try to look at it on the back of the camera but instead of it being full screen. It’s vertical on the horizontal screen. Ugh. I hate that. 
    • So, switch this to On with only the computer icon. 
    • Problem solved. 
  • Format Card
    • Always do this immediately after putting in a card. This helps to keep  only the photos you’re going to take next on the card. This way you don’t have old photos in the way of new ones. 
    • It also improves the health and longevity of the cards. 
    • Do not just delete photos. Format your cards. 
  • LCD Brightness 
    • I like it in the middle for when you look at photos on the back of the screen. They don’t look brighter or darker than they are. 
  • LCD color tone
    • I find that standard has the truest colors. 
 
Yellow Menu 2:
  • Auto Power Off: 8 Minutes is right for me. 
  • Date/Time/Zone
    • I find it’s often useful to have the correct date and time. 
    • Lots of reasons I suppose. Ask if you are interested. 
  • Language: English for me. LOL 
  • Viewfinder Display 
    • Electronic Level: Show
      • Not always the best but I keep an eye on it. 
    • Grid Display: Show
      • Helpful I suppose. Hardly noticeable otherwise 
    • Show/hide in viewfinder 
      • Shooting Mode: Yes
      • Metering Mode: No
      • White Balance: Yes
      • Drive: Yes
      • AF operation: Yes
      • Flicker: Yes
      • This may be a lot of information but start with less and add as you need it. I love having all the info in the viewfinder so I can see it without looking at my back screen. 
  • Info Button Display options
    • I have all of these checked because I like to have all the information but they aren’t used often. 
  • Custom Quick Control 
    • Super handy for doing just what it says. 
 
Yellow Menu 3: 
  • Video System: NTSC
    • I don’t know the difference. I just heard this is what we use in America. LOL 
  • Battery Info
    • I often check battery info. 
    • It’s much more accurate to see the % instead if the bars. 
  • Sensor cleaning.
    • Auto Clean: Enabled
    • Clean Now: only if there’s new dust or something. 
    • Clean Manually.
      • Use this to lock the mirror up and clean your sensor with sensor cleaning tools. 
  • Communication Settings
    • Disabled unless shooting tethered via Ethernet 
  • GPS Settings 
    • Disabled to save battery life
  • HDMI Framerate
    • Auto is fine
 
Yellow Menu 5:
  • Save/Load Camera Settings in card
    • Great for not having to go through and set up all of this on ever camera. Just save the settings from one camera and load it on another. 
    • System Status Display 
      • Serial Number
      • Firmware
      • Release Cycles (AKA Pictures taken or Shutter Count)
Orange Menu 1:
  • Exposure Level Increments: 1/3
  • ISO Speed setting Increments: 1/3
    • This way the math works out best. 
    • The clicks on each dial are 1:1 ratio. 
  • Bracketing Auto Cancel: On
    • You’ll want this on so when you’re done doing bracketed exposures and turn your camera off, then it won’t still be in bracket mode when you turn it back on later. 
  • Bracketing Sequence: +,0,-
    • I prefer this because Speed is king. 
    • I’m kinda lazy sometimes and want to shoot bracketed handheld. I’m usually using AV mode. This the camera is figuring out the Shutter Speed for me. If the first photo is the brightest one (+), then it will be using the slowest shutter speed to get it. If I half press the shutter button to start the meter my camera will show me what shutter speed it’s going to use for that shot. If it’s below what I think I could safely hand hold, then I bump up the ISO until it’s where I’m safe. I know the rest of the shots in the sequence will be faster so I’m good. 
  • Number of bracketed 
    • I use 5. Then if one is trashed I’m still ok. Sometimes the camera’s meter is fooled so having an extra shot on either side of the 3 I’d probably end up using will help. 
  • Spot meter linked to AF point
    • I know most cameras don’t have this. But it’s so handy. I love it. 
 
Orange Menu 2:
  • Safety Shift: Off
  • Same Exposure for New Aperture: Off
 
Orange Menu 3:
  • Restrict Shooting Modes
    • I kinda hate Program Mode
    • I also don’t find myself needing the custom modes
    • I only use Manual 90% of the time. 
    • AV Mode: 7%
    • TV Mode: 2%
    • Bulb Mode: 1%
  • I do not restrict metering modes though I most often use Spot Metering because it’s linked to my AF Point. 
  • Metering Used in Manual Exposure 
    • Specified Metering Mode
      • This lets me change it anytime I want without going through the menu. 
  • Set Shutter Speed Range
    • I didn’t set a range
    • I don’t think it’s helpful 
  • Set Aperture Range
    • Same 
  • AE and FE microadjustments are both off for me. Just don’t see the point. 
 
Orange Menu 4:
  • Continues shooting Speed 
    • High: 14
      • This camera won’t track motion faster than 14fps because the mirror locks up. 
    • Low: 7
      • This feels really slow. It’s easy to just fire off one shot but if you need a burst then it’s ready for ya. 
      • I usually have it set to this if I’m doing natural light portraits or something like that. Otherwise I’m on single shot. 
    • Silent continuous shooting isn’t useful for me but would be cool for a wedding I guess. 
  • Limit continues shot count
    • This camera really doesn’t hit the buffer so maybe this is useful but I don’t limit my shots because if I’m using continues shooting mode then I’m doing it for the reason that I know I won’t be able to have perfect timing. So, I don’t want my camera getting in the way. 
  • Restrict drive modes
    • Off. I use them all occasionally. 
 
Orange Menu 5:
  • Viewfinder Info during Exposure 
    • On
  • LCD Panel Illuminated during bulb
    • Off. 
      • Generally only using bulb mode for time lapses and long exposure work so I don’t want the extra light or drain on the battery. 
  • Record Card, Image Size Setting
    • Rear LCD Panel 
      • One of the reasons to have a pro body. 
    • LCD Monitor 
      • This is nice too though. Just more to look at while you’re trying to do a basic function 
 
Orange Menu 6
  • Warnings in Viewfinder
    • All on except spot meter. I like spot meter most of the time so I don’t want to be warned. LOL 
  • Dial direction
    • Useful is switching from another system like Nikon. 
  • AV setting without lens 
    • Handy when I don’t feel like using Photo Pills to check my math. LOL 
  • Multi-Function lock. 
    • Handy when letting someone else shoot for a while. They can’t change the important stuff. 
  • Custom Controls 
    • Back Button Focus
      • This is the most important of all of them. 
      • This is where you set up for back button focus. 
      • Simply remove focus from the shutter button. 
      • Canon’s have the AF-On button ready for back button focus from the factory. You just need to take focus off the shutter button to realize the power. 
      • I’ve done a whole blog post about back button focus. It’s super important. 
      • Life changing. Seriously 
    • Switch to Registered AF Point
      • This is another game changer
      • I set one of the front buttons so that when I push it, it will switch my AF point to the center only while I’m holding it. 
      • This is super handy for quick candid shots or otherwise when I want to center my subject and I’m using a different AF point. 
Orange Menu 7:
  • Cropping Info: Off
  • Timer Duration: Standard 
  • Shutter release time lag: Shortened
  • I don’t use memos
  • Retract Lens on power off doesn’t seem useful 
 
That’s all for the menu settings. I’m sure that not all cameras have that many menu options. But you’ll hopefully have gained some insight into how my system works with my Canon 1DX2. 
 
This system pretty much is unchanged for years. The point is to try to get your camera setup so it’s a point and shoot camera. That way you can focus on getting great shots, not fiddling with menu settings. 
 
Typically, I’m shooting in Manual. So, I’ve locked in the Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO. All my other menu items stay the same. White Balance has been set. I’m ready for the action to unfold. Now, I can sit back and relax until someone nods their head or heads towards a barrel. Then I grab my camera, fold the back button while holding the AF point on the subject. Then, when the right time comes, I pull the trigger. It’s just a matter of repeating that every time. All I worry about is timing and framing. I’m following the subject around the arena while zooming in and out to keep them in frame. Then taking the shot every time I feel its going to be a peak action moment. There’s a little timing to it because it’s not instant. Though, with a 1DX2, it sure feels like it.  

 

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(Olie's Images) camera canon help how nikon settings setup sony to https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/4/my-camera-setup Sun, 14 Apr 2019 10:59:59 GMT
Wildfire Roping https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/2/wildfire-roping IMG_1642IMG_1642

]]> (Olie's Images) “circle “heel “team “wildfire cactus drewstew images matic” o olie oliesimages ollie photos pics pictures ropes roping roping” t” texas wildfire https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/2/wildfire-roping Fri, 01 Feb 2019 07:25:41 GMT Free Wallpapers https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/1/free-wallpapers IMG_1602IMG_1602

I’ve heard that some of you have been saving my photos and graphics as your phone’s wallpaper. I think that is great! So, I’m explicitly making Instagram stories just for you to screenshot and save as a wallpaper!

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(Olie's Images) “barrel “team cowboy free phone racing" roping roping” screenshot wallpaper https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2019/1/free-wallpapers Wed, 30 Jan 2019 01:35:12 GMT
The one change that made the biggest impact! https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2018/4/back-button-focus Hey Everyone!

I often get asked to help fellow photographers set up their cameras so they can take better pictures. Afterall, that is what we are all aspiring to do, right? Many things come to mind when first asked this vague question. Of course, they probably want a simple fix. There isn't one setting that fixes everything or that would obviously be a factory setting. However, the one setting that made the biggest difference in my photography was back button focus. 

 

  • But what is back button focus and how can it help you?
    • The term back button focus is used to describe the way we engage autofocus. 
    • We start using a button on the back of the camera and stop using the shutter button. 
    • On face value, this doesn't seem like a big deal. But, we will dig a little deeper to see why it makes such a profound impact on my shooting style.

First, most DSLR’s, that I’ve ran across, have a button on the back of the camera that will focus the camera with autofocus if you push it. This is usually turned on from the factory. This is fine but the problem is that focus is usually also controlled by the shutter button. But having the shutter button click the picture and focus seems like a good plan until you don’t want it to do that. 

For instance, maybe I want to do astrophotography and I get the stars perfectly focused manually then I push the shutter button to take the picture. Suddenly the camera tries to focus and it’s too dark so it 'hunts' for focus. You get a blurry picture and that’s frustrating. You could of course switch auto focus off but that’s a hassle and you might forget to switch it back on. Why have one more thing to think about? The fewer little things we have to remember, the more we can concentrate on creativity. 

Another problem is is when you want to focus and recompose. There isn’t always a focal point exactly where you want it. If you try to do this without locking the focus the camera will try to refocus when you move the focal point off your subject. Again, we could focus, then switch autofocus off but then we have the same problem, or we are manually focusing and that slows down the process. In my opinion, that's less accurate. Especially when shooting with a narrow depth of field like 2.8 or faster.  When using back button focus, the camera will only try to focus when you push that button. So, you put your focal point on your subject, press the back button to focus, then release the back button. Now, when you recompose your shot, your camera will not try to focus, it will simply capture the image. 

A third issue is when the subject is moving closer or further from the lens. If you try to use the shutter button, it will be difficult to get the camera to focus on the subject in time to take the photo. This was frustrating to me when I started because I shoot rodeo type events where the contestants are always in motion. When we use the back button in conjunction with AI Servo (Canon), or similar with other manufacturers, we are telling the camera to keep the subject in focus the whole time. Then we push the shutter button whenever we feel the time is right. 

  • How do we set this up? 
    • It varies from camera to camera. I shoot with Canon and its not the most straight forward thing. But you go into your custom button settings and find the shutter button settings. You will choose the option that doesn't have the focus symbol. 
    • Simple as that. 
    • I'd recommend that you also set your camera to AI Servo, or similar. That way your camera always tracts the subject. Even if your subject isn't moving but maybe you are shooting hand held and you are moving. Even a little movement can change your focal plane. If you just want one shot then focus and release the button. 

 

Back Button FocusThe how and the why behind back button focus.

 

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(Olie's Images) action ai servo back button focus camera canon dslr focus help how to photography rodeo set up settings sports tips tracking tricks https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2018/4/back-button-focus Fri, 20 Apr 2018 21:33:55 GMT
Map https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2018/3/map Here is a quick screenshot of the Google map where I "star" all the places I've shot photos as Olie's Images. Most of these are obviously arenas where I've set up shop but some of them are other places I've been hired to shoot photos. I'm constantly updating this as I go to places. If you follow my page, "The Weekday Wanderer", on Facebook then you know this isn't everywhere I've been shooting photos. But, I should do a better job of keeping track of those locations as well. Thank you for checking out my blog! MapLocationsWhere Olie's Images has been to shoot photos

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(Olie's Images) barrel racing blog event map photo photography pic picture road rodeo ropin team roping travel usa https://www.oliesimages.com/blog/2018/3/map Sun, 18 Mar 2018 16:36:58 GMT