Saturday, January 14, 2012

Shooting Military air craft with the Canon 600mm f4L

Got a chance to play around with fellow photographer in Okinawa Jim Blankemeier's big Canon L glass the other day. We headed out to the lookout tower over looking the flight line at Kadena Air Force base.

Unfortunately we got there a bit late and missed most of the fighters taking off. When one F15 Eagle did fly by eventually I couldn't get it in my view finder with the1344mm focal length I was shooting with 8(.. Need more practice!

I was mostly shooting with the Canon 600mm F4L with Canon 7D and 1.4x extender attached to really get up nice and close on the air craft. Also played around with the super rare Canon 200mm f1.8L.

Having not shot with my Canon gear for a while (use Nikon most days for work) I was having trouble making the quick adjustments necessary for exposure etc.. as the planes whizzed by but I still managed to get a few I was pretty happy with. Especially with my panning efforts.

For those who are not familiar with the technique panning it involves using a relativity slow shutter speed to emphasize speed by having the background all blurred by the motion of the lens while at the same time keeping the subject crisp and sharp. This can be quick a difficult effect to pull off, especially when your working with 1000+mm of focal length and shutter speeds in the vicinity of 1/30th of a second!

Here are a few of the results I came away with.

Landing Panning 2

F15 climb

Rare 47 Up close and personal


Me trying to catch a F15
Photo by Jim Blankemeier

Thursday, January 12, 2012

This is my dream to try

Ever since I can remember, it's been my dream to fly in a fighter jet. And to be able to shoot while doing it would just be epic. Here's a cool vid I came across of a lucky chap doing just that. Sign me up!

L39 Formation Team air to air photoshoot over Cape Town from Justin de Reuck on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Great Nikon D4 preview video by Fro Knows Photo

Nikon just released the new D4 and it looks like a fantastic upgrade from the previous D3, D3S and D3X. Jared polin of Fro Knows Photo posted this great preview of the new Nikon D4.

36 Inch metal print arrived!

Have finally be making a bit more of an effort to get some of my shots printed and up on the walls recently as most images only stay hidden in the pc and a few get uploaded to Flickr, Facebook and the like. I ordered a 36 inch canvas print a few months back as you can see in an earlier post but have been wanting to try a metal print for ages now.
My first metal print arrived at last from ImageWizards in the US (who are apparently the innovators of metal printing). The box it came in was huge, packaged very well to prevent any damage during its long trip from the US to Okinawa. The 36 inch print looks very impressive printed straight on to this lightly brushed super high gloss aluminium. It gives a saturation and depth to the image which can't be replicated on a paper or canvas. The placement of the print needs a good amount of planning as any foreground lights and windows etc.. will be very visible in the reflections on the print as you can see here.

The print itself with the high gloss lightly brushed aluminium finish set me back about $150US which is pretty good. But because of the size, weight and distance it needs to travel to get here the shipping was initially going to cost me $330! But I was luckily able to get the shipping down to $130 by having it shipped to a friends military APO address. 

Overall very happy with the print and will be trying more in the future. Hoping to try a longer panorama for my next one as I love the format. The staff at Imagewizards were very friendly and helpful and it was a breeze to upload my image for printing. I highly recommend you give them a try and get some of your favorite shots out of your pc and on the wall!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Off Camera Flash Workshop

Chris Willson and I will be holding an off camera flash workshop on the weekend of January 28th and 29th, 2PM to 6PM.

The lesson fee is US$150 and class size is restricted to a maximum of 10 students. The course will take place at Chris's house in Ishikawa, Okinawa and in the surrounding area.

Students should have their own SLR digital camera that they are reasonably comfortable using in manual mode. This is an intermediate level workshop. If you are not sure about things like aperture & shutter speed and how to control them then I’d recommend taking Chris's Photography 101 class first. (The next one will be held January 14th and 15th) If you already have your own flash, sync cords, or triggers please bring them along, but Chris and I will have plenty for people to share and experiment with.

The course will start with an introduction to the types of flashes we will be using, the different methods to sync them to your camera, and ways to both mount the flash and modify the light it produces. If you think PocketWizards and snoots are characters from Harry Potter then this is going to be an eyeopener.

We are going to practice our new skills in various  situations, so you’ll have the knowledge and skills to go out and try them yourself.
I will be showing you how to balance flash with a blazing Okinawan sun. Also feel free to hit me up about any wedding photography questions you may have as I have shot hundreds during my time here in Japan and happen to know a thing or two about the subject.
Off Camera Flash with Wedding Photographer Pete Leong

We’ll also work on ways to control the flash so that your subjects are lit rather than simply blasted with light.
To book a place on the course please email me at or Chris at We will send you a Paypal request for the course fee.

Hope to see you there!