Jeremy Ross

Photography + Blog

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Switching to Mirrorless

Almost a year ago I decided that I would sell off my Canon DSLR’s, lenses and gear and switch to Sony’s mirroless system. It was an uneasy feeling, letting go of cameras that had served me well for years, but this seems to be a decision that many photographers have been making over the last while as more and more people opt for smaller mirrorless cameras and lens systems as opposed to bigger and heavier DSLR’s – For me, this started from a realization of what I wanted photography to be. I was tired of hauling around a heavy bag of DSLRs and lenses. I was ready to downsize.

After trying many camera systems (Canon EOS M, Nikon 1, Olympus PEN) I decided on the class leading Sony A6000. Although the camera was already a couple years old, it destroyed the completition in its price category. Switching to mirrorless has not been without comprises, but there are a few benefits that have completely changed my photography: here are the top 4!

4. Size

Having been used to holding big clunky cameras, the A6000 was a breathe of fresh air-  It’s so small! With the kit 16-50mm, this camera easily fits in a jacket picked and is a ‘go anywhere’ size.  Not just the camera, but the Sony E-mount lenses are much physically smaller than your typical lenses.

3. Rebuilding my kit

When I first started getting in to photography, I learned a lot the hard way. I made some good decisions and some bad ones that have helped me figure out which gear suits my needs and creative ideas. My First DSLR was the Canon 60D and when I bought it, I opted for the gorgouesly sharp EF 50mm f/1.8 II, rather than the mediocre 18-55mm kit lens (good decision). The decision to go prime was never one I regretted, but it took some getting use to. Craving some more flexibility, I eventually picked up a use EF-S 17-85mm f/3.5-5.6 (bad decision). Throughout my years of upgrading equipment and eventually landing at the Canon 5D Mk II and 24-105 f/4L, I learned a lot about what I wanted in my camera bag, and what I didn’t.

Opting for a smaller and cheaper mirrorless camera allowed me to have some flexible funds to build a lens kit that more accurately allowed me to express my creativity and get the right gear for me.

2.  Adaptability

An exciting benefit to the mirrorless world is the relatively short flange distance on the camera bodies– this allows a photographer to take advantage of wide varieties of off-brand or antique lenses by adapting them with very cheap adaptors. Two lenses I love to shoot with on my Sony A6000 are the Canon FD 50mm f.18 and a very old Vivitar 50mm f/1.7. These lenses can be found very cheaply online and are in many cases, optically excellent. If you can forgo the world of autofocus (read: focus peaking), you can really expand your lens collection cheaply by hunting online and even at garage sales.

1. Completely mobile workflow

I have long-believed that the future is mobile and with the innovations in camera technology and mobile hardware, creating a mobile photography is not only possible, but almost essential. In a world of Instagram and Twitter, photography has transformed and the medium we communicate art accross has been forever changed. Having the ability to wirelessly transfer full-resolution photos from my camera to my iPad, edit, and share instantly is amazing. I have been able to utilize an iPad with Pixelamator and iCloud Photo Library to replace work that I used to have to sit down at my Mac to accomplish. It is true that this benefit is not limited to mirrorless cameras, and that most modern DSLRs also have wireless photo transfer; but I’ll point you back to number 1: Size. I can now comfortable carry a camera, a couple of lenses and iPad around with me anywhere– and for me, this what it means to be mobile.

At the playground in October

It’s not every year that we get to enjoy warm double digit temperatures in the second half of October. While Kristin was at work and the kids and I were hanging at home, I decided that a walk to the park was a great way to enjoy the warm fall air (while we still can). It was also a great opportunity to get some photos of the kids outside before the snow flies. As we walked (and strolled) down the street towards the crosswalk, yellow leaves periodically fell on Madelyn from the trees above. Although I thought it was a perfect scene from the movies, she would yell “NO, Leaves!” And hurl them to the ground. Well, we made it to the park and here’s some photos of how much they enjoy the playground..

My #ALSIceBucketChallenge

By now almost everyone has participated in the awareness-campaign-gone-viral, better known as the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. Since posting my video on Facebook, I have had numerous people ask how I shot it. The icy videos that have over taken your Facebook feeds are mostly shot with smart phones which means they all tend to look the same leaving you with the feeling of if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.

Now the point of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is by no means to see who can make the best video. No. The point of the challenge is to bring funds and awareness to a disease that the majority of the population were unaware of. If you haven’t seen it already on Facebook, here is my ALS Ice Bucket Video.

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So here’s how I shot it: the main camera was a Canon 5D Mark II with a 24-105mm f/4 L lens shot wide at 35mm. The bucket-cam was my GoPro Hero3+ black edition, mounted to the bottom of the bucket with an adhesive mount.

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I shot the video at 7 AM before getting ready for work that morning; this meant that I did not have much time to set up and fine tune before hand. I used a rode Video Mic connected to the 5D, but in the end I was not very happy with the audio as it turned out too quiet. It was a good reminder to always check audio levels before shooting.. (Thanks to the Magic Lantern Firmware, manual audio control is a piece of cake!)

There have been a few comments about my lack of actual Ice in the bucket, but rest assured, 3 trays were dumped into the bucket not 15 minutes before filming. As far as editing goes, I brought my cards and card reader to work and used FCPX to cut the quick video during my lunch break. Why black and white to begin the video with? Well, I do profess to having a love for black and white, but in this case it was not planned, I just decided in the moment while I was color correcting. The transition to color during the water pour just happened to add the right feeling in the video and so it made the cut as well. All in all, I was happy with the end product and proud to contribute to the ALS awareness campaign.

Thanks for reading. If you have questions about my video or process, feel free to comment below!

Hello Adobe

Well, the day I have wondered about for a long time has finally come: the day I migrate to Adobe Lightroom 5.

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I must admit that since the release of Adobe Creative Cloud, the subscription based model for software has both intrigued me and kept me skeptical, but it was certainly the right time to shift my photo management and editing over to Adobe Lightroom 5. Here are a few things that helped me make my decision and some of the great resources that I’ve used to learn Lightroom 5.

1) you don’t have to subscribe to the entire Creative Cloud for $49.99/month. I went with Adobe’s Photography package which includes Lightroom and Photoshop CC for just $9.99/month!

2) Lightroom Mobile. Being able to access my Lightroom collections from my phone is beyond useful! It’s already come in handy as I have been able to sort through photos even if I just have 10-15 minutes free.

3) Photoshop. You get the full featured version of Photoshop as part of your $9.99/month – enough said.

4) The latest version. If you’re one who likes to upgrade when a new version of the software comes out, Creative Cloud makes sure you always have the latest up-to-date software and features.

5) Lightroom’s editing features are cutting edge! Very powerful radial filters, graduated filters, healing tool, and great brush control! It’s easier than ever for me to make sure my photos (and clients) look great!

6) Adobe has some great video tutorials to get started with Lightroom!

It has certainly been an adventure transitioning everything over to Lightroom, but I am excited about the rich pipeline of features and support Adobe has coming for photographers.

– Jeremy

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