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Connecting With Sero: Blog #1 – 2 Years, 1 Van

By | Connecting with Sero | One Comment

Just over a year ago an event happened that forever changed my life. An event that planted a seed. I decided to put my commercial photography career on hold to take on a massive personal project. That project is called Searching For Sero

Not long after the seed was planted for Searching For Sero, the ultimate adventure-mobile was purchased. A 1991 VW Westfalia Camper. Photo Tracy Guenard/Searching For Sero

Not long after the seed was planted for Searching For Sero, the ultimate adventure-mobile was purchased. A 1991 VW Westfalia Camper. Photo: Tracy Guenard/Searching For Sero

First off, let’s clear up what Sero is. Some of you chemistry nerds may have already figured it out. It is short for serotonin, the neurotransmitter commonly believed to contribute to the feelings of happiness in humans. Many anti-depressant medications attempt to mimic or boost serotonin levels.

Some events happen in your life that make you sit down and re-evaluate. Always pursue what you want. Photo Tracy Guenard/Searching For Sero

Some events happen in your life that make you sit down and re-evaluate. Always pursue what you want. Photo: Tracy Guenard/Searching For Sero

My partner, Tracy Guenard, my dog, Rain, and I are hitting the road for 2 years of amazing stories, adventures and photographs from all around North America, living out of our ’91 VW Westfalia. Each week (starting mid May, 2016) we will be publishing photo stories on our website of those who use outdoor adventure to bring happiness and well-being to their lives. We will be documenting their Sero search. Here on the Joby Blog, you will be able to follow along and get an in-depth and behind the scenes look into the photographic side of things. After all you are probably here because you have an interest in photography, and I am writing here because I do too.

Tracy, Rain (dog), and John take a moment to celebrate the purchase of their new Westfalia and big start to a new journey. Photo: John Rathwell/Searching For Sero

Tracy, Rain (dog), and John take a moment to celebrate the purchase of their new Westfalia and big start to a new journey. Photo: John Rathwell

My passion for photography started in 2008 on the banks of the Slave River, Northwest Territories when a friend, pro kayaker Leif Anderson, put a DSLR in my hands for the first time. Not long after leaving the Slave River, I found myself searching local classified for used cameras and picked up a Canon 50D. From that moment, photography took over my life. I spent every moment researching, reading and watching online tutorials to help boost my skills. Not long after, my images started to appear in different kayaking magazines and some outdoor company catalogs. Photography soon became my “career” before I really knew it. If you want to know more about that, or check out my portfolio, you can find it at www.johnrathwell.com.

After hiking to the top of Camp Fortune, John unpacks his camera bag to prepare for the shoot. Photo Tracy Guenard/Searching For Sero

After hiking to the top of Camp Fortune, I unpack my camera bag to prepare for the shoot. Photo: Tracy Guenard/Searching For Sero

In the past couple of years I have focused heavily on my career, working for clients such as Red Bull, Outside Magazine as well as several tourism and marketing agencies. Now that is all being put on hold for Searching For Sero.

Dane Jackson at Michoacan Kayak Expedition, in Tlapacoyan, VE, MEX,

Dane Jackson during the Michoacan Kayak Expedition, in Tlapacoyan, VE, MEX. Image captured by John Rathwell while on assignment for Red Bull.

As photographers, we are all artists. Art with a purpose has always fascinated me the most, whether it is a political folk song or Sarah Hatton’s Bee Works. I never felt like my art, my photography, had much of a purpose except to provide. Until now.

Going where no one else is, is the best. We skinned up a hill and took some ski shots one evening with the Lowepro Whistle 350.

Going where no one else is, is the best. We skinned up a hill and took some ski shots one evening. My preferred bag is the Lowepro Whistle 350. Photo: Tracy Guenard/Searching For Sero

Each month I will be coming to you with photography chat and tips from the road in hopes to not only help you progress your photography, but to motivate you to get out and shoot images that you love. Images that make you happy. Please don’t be strangers, if you ever have questions for me, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible. Maybe you will even spur the next blog topic!

I love to photograph sports. I love to do sports. Sometimes I even photograph myself doing sports. Want to know what I used to capture this image? Check out the photo below!

I love to photograph sports. I love to do sports. Sometimes I even photograph myself doing sports. Want to know what I used to capture this image? Check out the photo below!

For the shot above, I used a GoPro on Time Lapse mode, attached to the Joby Action Grip + Pole. One of my go to GoPro accessories!

For the shot above, I used a GoPro on Time Lapse mode, attached to the Joby Action Grip + Pole. One of my go to GoPro accessories!

Oh yeah, the event I was talking about earlier. That was my father’s suicide. At the end of the project we will be creating a photo book and proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to charities working in suicide prevention.

Cheers,

John Rathwell
#FoundSero

PS: If you wish to follow the project, check us out on Instagram – @searchingforsero, Facebook, Snapchat – @searching4sero or find us on any other of your preferred platforms. We are pretty much on everything!

Up Next: Down sizing my photography equipment for life on the road (and no, I don’t mean going mirrorless).

Adventure always awaits. John Rathwell captures a self portrait while out surfing icy waters. Captured with GoPro on Joby Action Grip.

Adventure always awaits. John Rathwell captures a self portrait while out surfing icy waters. Captured with GoPro on Joby Action Grip.

What does it take to get the shot? CAVING

By | Learn from a Pro, Uncategorized, What does it take to get the shot? | No Comments

1080p-Title-Screen-1

Photographer Chris Higgins shows us what it takes.

ChrisHigginsPhoto.com

I think we’ve all seen those amazing caving photo images and looked at them in awe, but just what does it take to get those shots? A few months ago I came across a photo by Chris Higgins that was a top five winner in a JOBY, Lowepro, & Outex  joint contest. It started me thinking about all the difficulties capturing just such a shot might entail. So after a few emails back and forth I was off to Tennessee with Joey Hiller (JOBY Web Designer).  Assuming you’ve watched the video I’ll be elaborating a bit more below about what you don’t see, all the gear, and Joey will chime in with his perspective.

 

 

Never again! -Zach

“Never again” we’re the first words out of my mouth as we emerged from the cave. I’ll straight up say it right now; I had an amazing time but hundreds of feet underground, completely covered in mud, and mostly in complete darkness wasn’t for me. This is odd as I’m drawn to extreme activities but I’m also a clean freak. All I know is this was one of the rare times I thought I’d gotten myself in over my head and I’ve literally  crawled out under the wing of a small plane mid flight to get a shot.

BehindTheScenes

BEHIND THE SCENES:

The video is made up of a combination of two days of caving but for the sake of storytelling we combined them into one. The first day we were in the cave 12 hours and it was almost all rappelling. We came out of the cave at about 1:30am and were freezing after climbing up the waterfall. We then had to ride in the back of Chris’s jeep for an hour just to sleep on the ground in a cow pasture. You can probably already guess; I didn’t sleep. The second day we entered a second cave and were in the cave 8 hours. Day two was almost all crawling on our stomach. It was 2000+ feet in and 2000+ feet out. At 4 hours into it on the second day I called it; we had the footage we needed and I wanted to take a shower and crash in a hotel bed.

TRAINING: Joey has experience outdoor climbing and he is comfortable around ropes. I have a lot of structure/ building exterior climbing and rappelling experience but using a different rappel device. Our training with Chris literally was 5-10 minutes each where we both had tried to go up and switch over from the ascenders to the descenders (rappel device). I messed this up both times which resulted in the descender opening. If I had an issue while climbing back up the rope and needed to make a change over to the descender I would have to do it right. On Joey’s ascent before me he had an issue with his crawl (the ascender close to your chest that holds you in place) and almost had to make a change over. The crawl was slipping and not grabbing the rope securely. After he finished his ascent he lowered his harness  and gear down for me to use. I had to use it for my ascent; so you can see why I was a bit nervous.

GEAR:  As you can see in the closing shot we took a lot of gear into the cave with us. Most of it was ropes but I’ll list out everything we used to film it and what Chris brought.

Chris”s Higgins Gear: Nikon D7000, Sigma 10-20 lens, JOBY GorillaPod HybridJOBY Flash ClipLowepro Dryzone 40L When outside of a cave Chris has a variety of other lenses and uses a Lowepro Photo Sport Pro 30L AW and a JOBY GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead- X.

Chris's Gear

Zach’s Gear: Canon 5D mkII, Canon 50mm f/1.2 L, JOBY GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead- X, six JOBY GorillaTorch Flare 125’s, Lowepro DryZone 200, Rode Mic

Zach's Gear

Joey’s Gear: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera, Panasonic Lumix 14mm f/2.5, JOBY GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead- XLowepro DryZone 200, two JOBY GorillaTorch Flare 125’s

Joey's Gear

I couldn’t have imagined myself actually doing this. – Joey

“There was really nothing that could’ve prepared me for this trip. The conditions in a cave are truly some of the hardest I’ve dealt with. It all became obvious when we first entered the cave. With camera rubbing against the rocks and a 150 foot rope around my shoulder pinning me in place, I stopped feeling the jet-lag and the reality of what we were doing really set in.

To get quality video in the cave I shot with the Black Magic Cinema Camera which has a native ISO of 800 and generally performs beautifully in low light. I paired it with the Panasonic Lumix 14mm f/2.5, which isn’t the fastest lens of all time, but has a nice field of view and has the added benefit of being only a $300 replacement if destroyed.” – Joey

Joey Hiller

Chris Higgins

 

Enter Our Camera Makeover Sweepstakes! Win BIG!

By | Contests | One Comment

To celebrate the launch of our awesome camera straps, we’re hosting a Camera Accessory Makeover Sweepstakes! Enter to WIN 1 of 5 prize packs filled with great gear from JOBY, Lowepro, Acme Made & Cinetics! The more who enter, the better the prizes, so tell all of your friends!

 

Five prize packs will be awarded based on the number of entries we receive. The more who enter, the bigger and better the prizes!

If 10 entries, prize pack includes: JOBY 3-Way Camera Strap

If 50 entries, prize pack includes: JOBY 3-Way Camera Strap and JOBY UltraFit Sling Strap

If 100 entries, prize pack includes: JOBY 3-Way Camera Strap, JOBY UltraFit Sling Strap and GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead X

If 250 entries, prize pack includes: JOBY 3-Way Camera Strap, JOBY UltraFit Sling Strap, GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead X, and Cinetics Cineskates

If 500 entries, prize pack includes: JOBY 3-Way Camera Strap, JOBY UltraFit Sling Strap, GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead X, Cinetics Cineskates and Acme Made Montgomery Street Backpack

If 1000 Entries, prize pack includes: JOBY 3-Way Camera Strap, JOBY UltraFit Sling Strap, GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead X, Cinetics Cineskates, Acme Made Montgomery Street Backpack and Lowepro Rover Pro 35L AW

ENTER NOW! 

JOBY Winter Photo Contest 2011

By | Contests, Photography | One Comment

Here are the beautiful photos for our Winter Photo Contest 2011! We had so many great submissions and are so impressed! Thanks to everyone who entered!

And the winners of a JOBY GorillaPod Focus and a Lowepro DLSR Fastpack are …

… Teresa Reid

Teresa Pope Reid

and Craig Holquist of Penn Wood’s Photography

Penn's Woods Photography

And now for the rest of the amazing entries!

Andrius Repsys

Anna Caitlin Lackey

Aurora Lampson

 

Ben Podolak

 

Bryan Rau

 

Diego Luison

 

Elise Marks

 

Ernestas Erna

 

Felix Pks

 

Fred Benz

 

Gage Salyards

 

Gus Jockers

 

Ivan Handler

 

Jack Bell

 

Jeremy Sky Crawford

 

John Mccoy

 

Jurgita Maceviciute-Malakauskiene

 

Martynas Dainius

 

Mary Ellen Catindig

 

Matt Baker-White

 

Mihai Miroiu

 

Mike Barbee

 

Olena Taylor

 

Ramune Ber

Richard Johanns

 

Ryan Wakat

 

Sakari Sipila

 

Silvia Cheung

 

Simon Gaudet Binet

 

Travis Fisher

Yashaswi Manjunath N

 

Aren’t you impressed! We’ll be back with more great photo contests in the new year!

Tips from a Pro: Sports Photography Secrets

By | Friends of Joby, Photography | One Comment

Robert Beck is a staff photographer for Sports Illustrated magazine. For over 20 years, he has been behind the lens shooting sporting events all over the world. From golf to baseball, surfing to skiing, Robert captures athletes in action. He shared his secrets to great sports photography with us yesterday in a webinar hosted by our friends at Lowepro.  

©Robert Beck http://www.robertbeckphotography.com

Robert’s Gear for Sports Photography
Musts
-DSLR Body – He uses a Nikon D3s
-70 – 200 mm lens with f2.8 aperture
-Lens hood to protect his lens (instead of a filter)
-UDMA CF Cards in the fastest available speed, 4 GB – 8 GB

Nice to have
-200 – 400 mm lens, f4
-24 – 70 mm lens, f2.8
-16 mm fisheye lens
-Flash

©Robert Beck http://www.robertbeckphotography.com

 Which Camera Settings to Use

1. JPEG and RAW – Shoot camera RAW to capture the most information and have the most flexibility in post-production
2. Autofocus ON – You can change how fast your camera acquires the autofocus info. Set the speed of autofocus to correspond with the sport your shooting. Primarily uses the center dot as the focus pointHas the back button set up so he can focus first and then shoot a general area without the camera re-focusing
3. Vibration reduction software OFF
4. Auto white balance ON. Auto white balance is pretty good on new DSLRs Outdoors set it to “cloudy” to add warmth. Indoors match the light type. in the arena
5. Exposure mode MANUAL.  Robert shoots completely manual to have the most flexibility. Underexposed is better than overexposed
6. ISO as low as possible for the lighting conditions. For example, if it is sunny use 100 ISO, cloudy use 400 ISO.  The higher the ISO, the more noise (pixilation) will occur

©Robert Beck http://www.robertbeckphotography.com

What Makes Sports Shots Good?

 Every published photo is one out of 100s or 1000s of photos taken. This is where practice comes in. The more you shoot, the higher percentage of the photos you take will be good ones. Bottom line: if you want to become a better photographer – SHOOT! SHOOT! SHOOT!

©Robert Beck http://www.robertbeckphotography.com

Backgrounds are the most important thing to pay attention when you’re shooting sports. Find a background that is the least distracting possible to bring your subject out. You want it to be obvious to the viewer what the subject is.

©Robert Beck http://www.robertbeckphotography.com

Light – pay attention to the lighting conditions and work them to your advantage.

-The golden hour when the sun is low in the sky (early morning or late afternoon) is a great time.
-If you’re shooting in the middle of the day, put your subject against a darker background.
-Keep shooting even if its cloudy, rainy, snowy – let the action speak for itself!
-Play the light – Good front light is also good backlight. Try and get both perspectives.

©Robert Beck http://www.robertbeckphotography.com

Aperture – Set it to F2.8 or F4 for a shallow depth of field. This makes the background drop out dramatically so the viewer focuses on the subject

Composition – shoot a mixture of tight and loose shots. When in doubt, shoot looser. You can always crop-in during post-production.

Shutter speed – 1/1000th of a second is the slowest speed if you’re shooting action sports.

©Robert Beck http://www.robertbeckphotography.com

 ***

If you’re interested in viewing Robert Beck’s work, please visit his website. If you’d like to be in the loop for Lowepro’s next webinar, follow them on Facebook.

 

Tips from a Pro: Jack Atley

By | Contests, Photography | No Comments

On Wednesday I attended the Lowepro Photography Webinar with Australian photographer Jack Atley.  Jack Atley is a professional commercial photographer with clients ranging from the Sydney Opera House to Coca Cola to Peugeot to Gucci. His presentation was really well done and full of great anecdotes to illustrate his points. Plus, he has a fabulous Aussie accent!

Lucky for those of you who couldn’t make it, I took notes. Here are Jack’s tips for taking better pictures and becoming a successful photographer.

  1. Shoot lots of images! Practice, practice practice to learn your camera inside and out.
  2. Get good light! And then put your subject in that light. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to shoot. Also chose the lowest ISO for the light available to get the best detail.
  3. Watch your backgrounds. Be mindful of what is behind your subject.
  4. Composition – the rule of thirds. Put your subject (the main thing you want to get across to your viewer) in the bottom, top, left or right third of the frame instead of the dead center for a more dynamic photograph.
  5. Shoot for your viewer, not just yourself. 
  6. Be creative! Take risks! If you look at things the way everyone else is looking at them, you’ll never get a stand-out image.
Curious what’s in a pro photographers bag? Here are the items that are in Jack’s basic kit:  Nikon D3X, wide angle zoom lens (14- 20mm), medium range  zoom lens (28 – 105 mm), longer zoom lens (80 – 200 mm), a flash (Nikon SB900) and his laptop. He fits this all into his Lowepro CompuDay Pack and jumps on his Vespa!
If you want to stay in the loop about upcoming events, sign up with Lowepro here.
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And, have an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S? Great news! GorillaMobile for iPhone 4/4S works with all models! Don’t forget to enter into our Facebook Contest to win a GorillaMobile for iPhone 4/4s!
Happy weekend!

Gigantic GorillaPods + Free Photo Classes

By | Events, Friends of Joby, Gorillapod, Gorillatorch | No Comments

If there is one thing that JOBY couldn’t be more thankful for it is our amazing customers. We really lucked out! Maxwell, our distribution partner in Australia, is a long-time supporter of JOBY and a very creative one at that!  We really appreciate all of the fabulous things that they’ve done to promote our GorillaPod and GorillaTorch lines. For example …

… this fun image shot using both a GorillaPod and a GorillaTorch.  A GorillaPod Focus supported the camera and a GorillaTorch Flare was used write the text. I say that is doubly awesome!

And even more impressive is this super-sized model of the GorillaPod Original that they built from molded Styrofoam! Originally used to promote JOBY tripods at a tradeshow, the Godzilla of GorillaPods now lives on the main sales floor of Australia’s largest independent camera store, Michaels of Melbourne. How cool is that?!?

Thanks Maxwell! You rock! Now if you could just make another 8 foot GorillaPod for us to display at the SF Office …

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Now is your chance to improve your photography with a free webinar hosted by our friends at Lowepro. Professional photographer Jack Atley from Australia with share his advice on how to take award-winning shots and also answer any of your photography questions. The webinar is on Wednesday October 19th from 4 pm – 5 pm PST or 8 pm – 9 pm PST (EDIT: If you missed it, here’s the recorded Jack Atley Webinar). Sign up and more information are here. I’ll sure be there! And below are a few of Jack’s amazing photos to get you psyched on the class.

Winner of the Open Section of The 2011 Moran Photographic Prize …

And a few that caught my eye …

Have an awesome weekend folks!

Vitec Group