Another roll of film. Portra800

The title says it all, I have finished another roll of film and that is a 35mm roll of Kodak Portra800. This film came out with some of my favorite images ive taken since getting my Nikon f4. I take the film camera out for family gatherings or weekend outings and so a recent weekend some of us got together and stayed at a cabin. It had it’s own dock on the lake and it was a good time overall.

We got on the boat, went swimming, played cards, say by the fire and just hung out. I shot all of the photos with the only lens I have for this camera and that is Nikkor 20mm f2.8d lens so it’s a pretty wide focal length but I like how it looks.

Click on the first shot to see the full resolution and click through the gallery!

Dogs, nieces, sisters and the in-laws are all present here in these photos as well as my sister in law and my wife, Terra. It was great weekend and I love the dynamic range the portra800 offered. Worked great shooting in the shadows and not blowing out the highlights on a high sun day where the lighting change is dramatic. I will be using this film again for sure but for now my next roll is just a roll of FUJI 200 color and after that is a special film I am saving for my trip to Dallas in a couple weeks.

Quick note on that special film*

I have a roll of CineStill 800T and I will be using this film for night photography around Dallas. My wife and I will be staying at an AirBNB down in Deep Ellum for a few nights and then over on the west side of downtown for the other half of our trip. I hope to come out with some awesome photos and I cant wait to see what comes from it.

You may ask, why Dallas? Well, before covid we bought tickets to the My Chemical Romance reunion tour and Dallas was the closest city for us and so we followed up with tickets to a Dallas Cowboys game. MCR rescheduled to 2021 and Dallas cancelled tickets and so we got a refund and when they put out the limited ticket sale our normal seats ended up doubling in price which pushed us up a level and this was the year we planned on splurging to a low level so.. We will wait and use our refund for 2021 in hopes we can get the lever we prefer. So with all of that said, we kept our AIR BNB’s deciding we can see parts of the city we never usually get to see and be able to keep safe at the same time so night street photography is on the list, along with a trip to Waco and check out some breweries around the city as well. BrainDead is one of our go-to’s.

See you all next time!

Tiffen Black Pro-Mist Filter – A camera filter worth using.

Title says it all. I have found a filter that is worth the money and worth using. I have used filters throughout my career as a photographer and videographer and I have never been a fan of them. Some come in handy and some are just a waste of time or too clunky to work with. I don’t like to be slowed down by having to remove and add filters to lenses but this one, this one changes it all.

The Tiffen Black Pro-Mist filter is a filter I thrown on and just leave on for photo and video. If you’re okay with the look that this filter gives you, it’s nice to just keep on. I use the “1/4” filter so the look that this filter gives off doesn’t effect the image too much but where it does effect it, it’s worth it in my eyes. This filter adds a nice haze and softens lights throughout the image. I really love it in my wedding videos I have shot this year. It also helps with softening the skin but not too much, just enough that it’s elegant.

I shot a video to show some of the work I have shot with this filter. That included shots from my two wedding videos and some photos. This filter lives on my Sigma 24mm f1.4 art lens. I love this lens and this filter just makes it that much better. My first two weddings I haven’t used any ND filters but I will be trying out a ND on top of it in my upcoming wedding videos and see how it looks.

Foogy morning drive.

Photography has been my escape for awhile now. I need a reason to get out of the house and just waste some time and relax, I grab my camera and hit the road. The road doesn’t have to be far away, it can simply be a back road near my town, gravel or pavement. It doesn’t matter much, I just want to shoot and so I drive until I see something interesting. Now there is one thing that makes it much easier to get images that please me, at least in the morning.

That one thing is fog or a mist from a windy rain. You know, moody shots some would say. Last week, Friday to be exact it wasn’ a morning drive to get out of the house, but a morning drive to work. I get to work around 7am every morning but don’t have to be there until 8. With that much room of time, on Friday’s I find myself more motivated to find photos to take on my drive. I drive a back road all the way to work that is surrounded by fields, cattle, horses and the occasional pond. The fog rolls off of the crops, over the fields and hover over the water ways and ponds. Leading up to this, there were 3 consecutive days of fog filling this pasture of cattle and the sun would hit them from the east and gave a really cool effect so Friday came and I set out to capture that image but some things changes that morning. The clouds were settled in and the sun wasn’t coming through like it had be but the fog was all there. Passing that cattle and the shot wasn’t there, they had moved to the back of the property away from the road, so I kept going.

Heading down the road, you cross over a couple creeks and they usually have a good amount of fog building up over them which creates a cool image in my head but stopping on the bridge to get the shot really isn’t smart, so I don’t stop but I do see a shot coming up of this big tree in a foggy field right past the creek crossing.

My foggy morning drive.

Above you can see the image I took. First I focused on the vegitation in front of the tree and the second I focused on the tree. I do this sometimes with photos because you never know when one of the other might come in handy or surprise you with a look you weren’t expecting. I really like how both of these came out. I shot these with the Canon 70-200mm f2.8.

Now I am back down the road looking for some more photos to take on my way to work. I know of a field with cattle and the cattle are very unique for the area. They’re long haired cattle and may still have their horns so a foggy photo would really be cool! Sadly, that cattle was on the back pasture that morning so the shot in my head wasn’t going to happen. If you’re curious, the cattle this field has are Long-haired Highland Cattle. Very cool for the area, which is SE Kansas, you don’t see that much or if at all! So, I keep driving and I see a shot. It’s a simple cow standing there in the fog eating some grass I get lucky and I can see both the road behind and ahead of me so I knew I had plenty of time to get a couple of shots off in time before anyone comes along.

This photo was shot a 200mm at f2.8. The fog and the pasture sitting slightly above the road really made this image in my opinion. Getting a lower vantage point I feel like made the image what it is. Now I am back on the road and I am almost to town but wasn’t ready to leave the back road and fog behind so I took a turn down another side road that is just on the outskirts of town and there is a field that has pine trees and often is occupied but 5-6 horses every time I pass it. As I am driving to that field, I see some deer just standing there, eating, moving around and they’re 30 ft from the road, perfect for a photo op. I stop hoping not to scare them and pull my camera up and just shoot as many photos as I can, before they run.

I would say, I got a decent shot from the mix of images I got off before they ran. I had some shots of them running but with it being early, my shutter was too slow for the run and jumping so those came out with some motion blur. I really love how this morning went as you can see. Within a 5 mile stretch of road I had captured the tree, the cow and these deer and now hoping to see the field with the horses in the fog.

The horse field is right off of a big creek bridge so the fog is usually pretty dense in this area so I had some high hopes. I pull up to turn so I can see the field and the horses were not out yet. I had never gone by in the morning. I usually see them at 5pm when I am heading home because my route home is different than my route to work, due to traffic. I had one image to take that really caught my eye though. The fog was setting in, the sun hasn’t came out yet and a tree sat alone, framed by two bigger trees just off of the road.

Now picture this. A horse or a couple horses mixed into this shot, with the mist and fog. Wow, I would have been pumped to get that image but this is the one that I got. I really like these images which is why I am writing a blog post for them! Fog alone makes many things look better or more appealing but back road driving with my camera in the passenger seat is the best way to start a day or just get away when you need a break.

I hope you enjoyed these images. Want to see more photos? Follow me on instagram @ DerekLiving

instagram.com/derekliving

Opened opportunity.

Over the years as photographer, I have looked at many outlets to get my work seen and to be noticed in hopes to pick up clients and more paid gigs. Photography alone rocketed very quickly for me after about a year of owning a camera. It took a little bit to figure out exactly where the local need was. We all know, there is many senior portrait photographers, wedding photographers and family photographers and with that said I am not one for posing people.

Posing is not a strong suit of mine unless I know you and I am comfortable with said person. So, jumping into weddings or portraits have not been on my mind as a future for me. Over time, things changed and I have done some portrait shoots and really would love to do more but just have not fully jumped into it. Sports is really where things changed for me. The athletes do their thing and I do my thing to capture the moments, i love it. No posing this way and a more documentary style of shooting. You get the emotion, the anger, the joy, whatever it may be you got it!

Sports photography took me and shaped me into who I am today with a camera. I went from high school sports, to d1 and d2 college sports. Working for multiple newspapers and a couple magazines along the way, one magazine giving me the cover photoshoot. It’s a local magazine to Kansas but hey, it was a start in the direction I was working towards. To get to the big leagues, professional sports that is. I know I had what it took to capture the images, I had the gear and I had the motivation. I was reaching out to colleges, media houses, just trying to get passes to whatever I could to shoot. My location was my downfall though. Being in SE Kansas, there isn’t much here for pro or high end college sports but a few D2’s in the region(Go Pitt State!). Slowing over time I worked out of that drive to make it somewhere in sports. You see photographers of lesser skill, in my opinion given the opportunity to shoot pro and college sports simply because of the people they know. I say that, but that is how it is in all areas of work. If you know the right people, you can fake it till you make it. This is when I started looking in different areas to progress and NO I didn’t stop shooting sports, I just found where it worked best for me and that was sticking to local high school sports and local college sports. I shoot freelance for parents and also for some news outlets. Though I do want more and I still dream to shoot an NFL and NBA game, that has to wait for the right time and I mean, with Covid, it’s not coming soon. Now to the new moves.

Lets fast forward a bit and try to make this simple. I thought, maybe wedding is what I want to shoot. It’s good money, grow as a photographer and build something for yourself. Right… Well, though I love taking photos there is still that fact that I am not good as posing people, or at least nervous too to be honest. I went to a wedding with a photographer to learn and see how things go on a wedding day. It was overwhelming but I know I didn’t have to give up any images from that day so if they all were bad, I could just destroy that idea. Then, he asked if I wanted to work for him as a second photographer and I said yes, because all I would have to do is catch a second angle with a different lens than he is using and I didn’t have to pose. Easy right? I did that a few times but then I went on a portrait shoot to get to know a couple that I would be shooting their wedding. He threw me into the ring to pose them and I froze. Having a photographer so good like he is watch me, caused me to freeze and he took over shortly and we moved on. I never shot that wedding as a solo and I went as a second again with another photographer that he had. Then, came the change I needed, as change where I can strive. It’s an area I didn’t know I wanted or could do and that was video.

I have shot wedding videos for 3-4 years now for him. I simply shot the footage of the day and he took if from there. Everything was his to stay on brand and consistent with his style, I was just the guy behind the camera. I have gone to Kansas City, Detroit, Tennessee, Tulsa and our area of Joplin for wedding videos. I never really thought of doing it myself in my way and style until I work with one photographer who mentioned, “why don’t you do this yourself?” , “Why not work for yourself and build something?”. I seriously never thought I could do it myself even though I owned the gear and have the skill in video editing to do so. Then comes 2020…

2020 is a different animal of sorts. Right before 2020, I started a new job. Same job title, different location. Videographer for a education business and now, came 2020 a month later. Things were looking up, job was awesome, people were awesome, creativity at an all time high! Then came Covid and the world stopped. Prior to the pandemic, I had a couple reach out wanting someone to video their wedding day, I jumped on it with hesitation because I didn’t put out any promotion or post about doing wedding videos. I mean, I did share videos I shot for the other photographer but that wasn’t my editing or style. In short, they hired me and then another hired me and I kept an empty book so moving dates was easy and we fit them in as things opened back up and both videos were and are loved by both couples. You can see them in previous posts or on my youtube and on my video tab on this site here.

The point of this post was to simply share some video stills from my two wedding films and I went on a long back story. So, now I am shooting weddings under my name, in my style of shooting and editing. I try to by a fly on the wall with my videos. Using a 24mm and 85mm lens and keep it simple with just my camera in hand. I ask what the couple wants in the video, not tell them “I need this and that”. I try to cater to them, while keeping it my style of work. It’s worked out well with my first two and I have another wedding confirmed in September in central Kansas and possibly another one in KC before that. 2020 might be crazy but for me to get possibly 4 weddings under my name without promoting in any way has been awesome and I am excited for the future.

Shots are from a 5d Mark Iv with C-Log. Color graded with a Matti Haapoja lut. Lenses used are Sigma 24mm f1.4 Art w/ black pro-mist 1/4 filter and a Canon 85mm f1.8.

Another one done and another signed.

Without promoting wedding videography as a service I have now done two weddings and have another one in September under my name of Derek Livingston Media. Beyond thankful for these opportunities and the growth that has come from it. In my last post you will see my first wedding video under Derek Livingston Media. I say that because I have shot them for 3-4 years now but never under my name and I never had the sticks at the editing bay. Now I do the shooting and editing and its been a blast!

Being able to grow as a videographer in new ways like weddings is awesome. Capturing someones big day and giving them something to remember their day by has been an amazing experience thus far and I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2020 has in store and even more excited for 2021.

I think it’s time to promote myself but I have been holding back to allow my self time to process on how to do it all with a full time job and a freelance sports job that occasionally pops up. Only time will tell and I will assume I will be promoting soon enough.

Until then, I would love for you all to see my recent video I shot in Girard, Kansas. I shoot with a 5d Mark Iv with a 24mm f1.4 and a 85mm f1.8.

Hope you enjoyed at least some of it, as I know it’s a lengthy video to watch. That is another thing I am not sure of, should I go shorter with the edit, or is length good as it’s a big day in ones life. Only time will tell and I know I will be going through both of my recent weddings and picking out some of my favorite shots in a shorter video to showcase them.

Hope all is well with all of you and see you next time!

My first wedding film.

This past weekend I shot my first wedding film. Well, not really my first. I have shot 20-30 over the past 3-4 years of doing them. This past weekend was my first wedding film under my name. What I mean by that is, before this weekend, I had been shooting them for another photographer and all I would do is simply shoot the footage and then he would do his magic in the editing bay. Well, I was approached by a few couples that had seen my work online or instagram or through word and asked if I would shoot their weddings.

Now, I had been thinking of maybe getting into wedding films of my own. Where I can shoot my way and edit them the way I see fit to my style. Working for someone else, you have guidelines to stick to and that is so you keep consistency and style all in tact. My style doesn’t differ but I shoot things more freely and edit differently. Plus, I want something that is mine and something I can grow in. Videography is my full time job as well but that comes with company guidelines and branding you have to stick to. I shoot sports and events and the occasional portrait shoot but video is where I want to move into doing more of.

With that said, I seen these couple of weddings I have booked to really see if this is something I want to do. Do I want to do the shooting and the editing all on my own and build something of my own. Or do I want to stick to the comfort of shooting and leaving the editing to the other guy. I think I am ready and for what I am charging I am going at this from a bare bones perspective. I don’t have too many rules I am trying to stick to. I go with the flow of the day and capture the pure moments, the tears, the laughs and jokes. I capture the audio with a mic on the camera and keep it to a minimal use of putting a mic on someone. You will hear in this video the occasional sound clip to add atmospheric sounds over the music and when it comes to the speeches, I grab some loving or funny moments that keep the spirit high but not overly done.

There are things I would change about this in the future. Maybe less clips of the same moments, Work on being steadier with the 85mm lens when shooting close ups. I shot most of this with my Sigma 24mm f1.4 art lens with a Tiffen pro-mist 1/4 filter. The whole video is shot handheld at 60fps. The 60fps will and did allow me to slow down some clips to capture moments in slow motion and help with stability. Warp Stabilizer is used on some of the clips as well to add the smoothness to them. I used a LUT from Matti Haapoja’s Cine Lut pack. I tried to keep it very basic and very minimal use of transitions. Occasionally I would cut to the beat or tone of the song or just have a hard cut. I thought of adding overlays and adding this or that to help with transitions but I went back on that and kept it pretty raw. I am not one for flashing transitions and what not.

I hope you took the time to watch the video. It is pretty long but it’s their big day and I wanted them to have all the great moments. All in all, they loved it. Which was a great moment for me. I never had a story line or shot list. I just went and let it flow and when putting the video together it all kind of comes together in my head and it worked out and I was personally happy with it as well.

Hope all is well and I will be doing a highlight video on this where I put together all of my favorite clips but that will come in a few weeks. Solo wedding #2 is this coming weekend!

Until next time, stay safe, smile and love those around you.

My new go-to FILM – Kodak Ektar 100

So, I finally got to finish up my Ektar 100 film. A film best known for portraits if I remember right. I tried to focus on portraits with this film but I did take a couple landscape photos and I loved how they came out!

I shot these with my Nikon f4 + Nikkor 20mm f2.8d. With it being a 100 film it had to be used in the day time but I would love to try some long exposures with this film to see how they would turn out. You will notice that this film has a red/magenta look to the skin tones.

Check out this video to see my favorite images from the roll!

Thanks for checking it out and soon I will have a decent blog post about my first wedding video shoot. I am in the process of editing it now and I am in love really.

See you all next time!

Shooting film at night

Well, I finally finished my roll of Kodak Tmax p3200.

Notes: I shot underexposed and should have had the Darkroom push it 1 to 2 stops. Shooting the milky way is way tougher on film without any prior knowlege of the film or research on best practices.

Check out this film to see the handful of images that made it out of the 35mm 36 exp. film.

Remember, to see more film photos, you can find me on Instagram at DerekAndFilm. I also, post mostly digital work and occasional short videos to my regular page at DerekLiving.

Thanks!

Fireworks

4th of July means fireworks and as I have fond memories of growing up in a small town and shooting off fireworks for a whole week and spending every penny I could to get some and even worked some tents for a couple years, I do have one bad memory.

July 5th in 2009 a friend and I were taking apart fireworks and stuffing the insides into a paper artillary tube and added long slow fuses. Well in the mix of creating 10 or so, one of the long fuses from an atrillary shell got mixed with the long green slow fuse and well the rest is history. That one that got mixed was one that I chose to throw. Yep, you can guess it.. it blew up in my hand. My strong dominant right hand. Weeks before I had signed a art scholorship to college for a full ride. I didnt a little bit of everything but drawing and painting were my strong suits, along with anything with clay. Instead of going on and on about this, heres the bullet points.

-Blew my hand open(not going to gross you out with the picture but you could see bone, muscle, tendon..etc)

-Stitches didnt hold so umm, I basically let it heal with super glue and peroxide to keep it clean every half hour.

-Went to college and got my assosciates degree in fine arts.

Now, here we are today, bachelors degree in a digital art form instead. Digital Communication that is. Now, instead of shooting fireworks with a lighter, I point a camera at it, from a good distance.

Here are some images I took on the 4th of July at my cousins firework show. Not much to it but I just shot around with different settings and no tripod this year because of laziness.

I hope you all had a safe and fun 4th of July.

Shooting sports recently

Hey everyone,

Youth baseball has been my go to for the past couple of weeks. I miss sports and so the very little bit of baseball has me in a better place you can say.

I also recently realize that I miss having a sports dedicated camera. I used to have a d3s and it would do 9FPS(Frames Per Second) in burst mode and now with the 5d Mark iv I am only getting I think 6.. That three makes a huge difference!

So with that being said we’re onto another topic that has nothing to do with a sports camera body but something that can aid in sports photography and that is..

USING A TELECONVERTER.

I rented a 1.4x TC to pair with my 70-200mm f2.8 and if you’re not familiar with what a TC can do for you, Ill break it down to the best of my ability. Putting a 1.4x TC onto a 70-200mm f2.8, you initially get a 98mm-280mm f4 lens. The quality will vary depending on the lens you have and how good the TC is. Some cheaper TC’s will just ruin the overall image quality but this was a newer 1.4x TC from Canon. I rented it through LensProToGo.com and I was very pleased with the results.

Check out this video here to see some of the sample images I took during a weekend of baseball in Kansas City.

I appreciate all of you and hope you’re all staying safe out there in this world.

See you next time!

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