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HANGING WITH RORY Part II

Copyright © CRAIG LITTEN

RORY MCILROY

Being limited by Rory's agent, and were only allowed 15 minutes to photograph him in one location, so we had to do the best we could with it including shuffling all the people in the room as we moved him around. The shoot was quite a challenge, but all the years as a newspaper photojournalist had prepared me for this plus lots of prayer for help in actually pulling it off.


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Hanging with Rory

Copyright © CRAIG LITTEN

Copyright © CRAIG LITTEN

Rory McIlroy

After a long embargo, I'm finally able to publish the photographs I took of Rory McIlroy for BOSE. This was shot in Palm Beach when Rory first signed a sponsorship contract with Bose. And as they say, the rest is history. By the way, he's a super nice guy!


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Remembering the Ca d'Zan

Happy Anniversary Ellie & John-Paul!

©CRAIG LITTEN


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C-Standing

©2016 CRAIG LITTEN

©2016 CRAIG LITTEN

Matthews of Hollywood Century Stand

Yes, I know, it's just a picture of a box, but it's not just any box, it's a box containing a real, genuine Matthews of Hollywood Century Stand, or C-Stand for short. Why do they call it a C-Stand? Not sure really but I think it's because it will last for at least 100 years. This is the real deal...the same exact light stand that is used on every Hollywood movie set. Oh yea, I forgot to mention, it's just a light stand. You know, the thing you use to hold up your studio light in a photo studio. So why the excitement you ask? Because they are well built--true American craftsmanship and ingenuity all rolled up into one. Think Harley Davidson or Gibson Guitars. This masterpiece of solid steel is made to take a daily beating, last a lifetime and never fail to deliver for you. If you want a really great blog post on a C-stand, go over to Partick La Roque's blog to get not only great pictures, but a much better understanding what this thing is all about. He got the chrome version, which is the classic model, mine's black.


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My First Sony Camera

©2011 CRAIG LITTEN

©2011 CRAIG LITTEN

Sony NEX 5n w/Voigtlander Color-Skopar 21mm f/4.0 P Pancake Lens

This tiny camera was not only my first Sony, but my first Leica. Not really, but I thought so when shooting with it. At least it was closer to a Leica (in form factor) than any SLR or DSLR I've ever used or owned. At the time this photo was taken, late 2011, I had never owned a Leica, but since then my Leica days have come and gone, succumbing to Sony (see blog post below from last month). The attached lens is about a 32mm equivalent, all manual Voigtlander. It's a great lens, but made for a Leica M camera or a Voightlander Bessa--both cameras that employ the M-Mount. I also owned the Voigtlander Color-Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens, and remains one of my all-time favorite lenses to this day.

I really loved this little camera, took some great photographs with it and had a lot of fun. But at the time I didn't think Sony was ready for prime time so I sold it. A few of the reasons were that it didn't have a viewfinder, I didn't like the lens choices in the e-mount line and the menus were killing me. But the main reason was that this tiny Voigtlander lens, being adapted to the e-mount, had severe magenta color shifts in the corners as well as severe vignetteing. Not because it wasn't a fantastic lens, but because it wasn't "made" for the e-mount with such a shallow lens flange distance to the sensor. I didn't rejoin the Sony revolution until the release of the A7s in 2014 (which I learned about from Steve Huff), then sold everything and completely switched over to Sony for all my work. It took me about a year to completely switch to Sony.

I always regretted selling this set-up, so late last year I replaced it with an NEX 5T (basically an upgraded NEX 5N with some of the features of the a6000). I love the 16MP sensor in these cameras as it's capable of some amazing image quality. Besides that, it's tiny (about half the size of the a6000) and gives me an extra, viable, backup for even paid work. If you're interested in any Voigtlander lenses, the place to purchase them in the USA is Camera Quest.

 

shots Below taken with the NEX 5N & the Voighlander lenses

©2011 CRAIG LITTEN

©2011 CRAIG LITTEN

©2011 CRAIG LITTEN

©2011 CRAIG LITTEN

©2011 CRAIG LITTEN

©2011 CRAIG LITTEN

©2011 CRAIG LITTEN

©2011 CRAIG LITTEN


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The Best Lens for the Sony a6000/a6300

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Sony FE 28mm f2

Using the "Sweet Spot"

If I were to recommend one single lens for the Sony a6000/a6300, it would have to be the Sony FE 28mm f2 lens. It's the perfect balance between focal length, size, weight and price, and as a bonus, it can also be used on the full frame A7-series cameras without cropping the image. I give it a 5-star rating and highly recommend it. All the photos in this post were shot with the Sony FE 28mm f2 lens on the a6000. For the images samples, I attempted to shoot a wide variety of situations, f-stops and distances from the subject as well as different lighting situations. I hope the samples give you a good idea of how nice this simple little lens draws a scene. If I had to say in one word how this lens renders a scene, it would be: "Beautifully."

  • F.O.V. - Field of View: It's a great focal length on the APS-C Sensor at just over 40mm. If you flash back many years, a great camera called the Leica CL came standard with a 40mm f2 lens. And only a few years back, when Micro 4/3rds was launched, the tiny 20mm pancake was all the rage. It too was a 40mm equivalent lens.
  • It's a full frame (FE) lens so it works at it's original focal length, 28mm, on the A7-series bodies and therefore can do double duty. This is extremely helpful if you're someone hoping someday to upgrade to the A7 bodies, or a pro who needs a good full frame lens but also wants an everyday lens for your a6000/a63000.
  • It's relatively small, and very lightweight and never becomes a burden to carry even all day.
  • You're using the best part of the glass when shooting on APS-C bodies. In other words, "The Sweet Spot."
  • It's a downright amazing piece of glass for the money and features crystal clear, sharp images, smooth, even creamy bokeh at wide apertures and a Zeiss-like 3D pop. Most of the reviewers agree and give it a high rating.
  • The price is right.

(click photos to see larger)

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Comedy Central

©2016 CRAIG LITTEN

The Wedding Photo Booth

 

The only thing more fun than a barrel of monkeys is a wedding photo booth

This past weekend I attended a family wedding in Sarasota's beautiful Selby Gardens, and took along my trusty Sony a6000 with the Sony FE 28mm f2 lens. I love this combination because it's so small, light and a joy to carry around and shoot with. I spent some time shooting the hilarity on the dance floor (trying hard to stay out of the way of the official photographer), but I also camped outside the photo booth. The photo booth had a large bright light in the front just above the camera that was always on whether the curtain was open or closed. It was like a giant softbox, and it produced marvelous light. It was especially noticeable in the very dark outdoor location of the wedding lit only by a few bulbs hanging overhead. As subjects entered the booth facing the camera, I was able to grab a few images right before the attendant closed the black curtain, capturing a few fun moments. I was also trying to stay out of the way of the second attendant, so I wasn't able to hang out there very long. The activity outside the booth, where people were trying on different hats and props, was also interesting but too dark to shoot. So next time you're at a wedding, gravitate towards the photo booth--that's were all the great photo ops will be.


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A Thing of Beauty: Rotolight ANOVA V2

©2016 CRAIG LITTEN

©2016 CRAIG LITTEN

Having your cake and eating it too

There are times when you need high-powered strobe lighting when shooting in bright sunlight, etc., such as a Profoto B1. But call me old school; I prefer “hot lights” and I always have. Why? Because you can actually see the light and it’s so beautiful. In fact, at one of the two photo schools I attended (a few decades ago) they didn’t even have strobes at all in the studios, but real hot lights.

Today, with the advancing technology of LED lighting we can have our cake and eat it too. Enter: Rotolight ANOVA. These lights are bright, super bright, but do not heat up at all. In fact, they stay so cool that there is no fan, and they run completely silently (great for you video shooters out there). The light the ANOVA produces is clean and beautiful. I got mine from RTS, the official US distributor.

I’ll be putting it through its paces soon, so please check back.

SIZE COMPARISON: Rotolight NEO, left, & the Rotolight ANOVA V2


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