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We’ve Moved!

July 8, 2014
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Hello Friends of Gamma Nine!

After 5 years we’ve finally settled in our own custom website.

Please visit us over at www.gammanine.com and with all new blog + portfolio content.

We’ll be posting a lot more Lust List features, Travel Guides, and G9 Behind the Scenes over the next few weeks. Stay Tuned!

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G9 Lust List: Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8

September 26, 2013

At Gamma Nine, our arsenal of lenses has been pretty consistent: a walk-around, telephoto, wide, 50mm prime, and a 105mm macro.  The past few months, though, Sigma has made some waves in the photo industry that has also affected our equipment inventory.  Their 35mm prime is a solidly-built and beautiful lens that we loved for the atmospheric and edgy photography we shot for Uber.

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With Sigma’s revolutionary and unrivaled 18-35mm f/1.8 lens, we lusted, and then gave into the temptation and added this super-fast zoom to our camera bag.  This lens will be a game-changer, and here’s why…

In case you needed to give those specs a second glance, yes, you did read correctly that the lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8, AND is also a zoom with focal length 18-35mm.  Designed for crop-sensor DSLR’s, this gives an 35mm-equivalent focal range of approximately 28-55mm.  While our usual walk-around lenses (24-105mm f/4 or 24-70mm f/2.8)  would already cover this focal range, the f/1.8 aperture will gloriously take in more light when we are dim environments, e.g.  indoors during the day, inside restaurants, and the most challenging aspect of our event photography work, dim and dramatically-lit evenings.

What really has us excited, though, is the 11-inch “minimum focus distance”.  This spec wasn’t impressive or note-worthy when we considered and bought the lens, but upon experimenting and putting this black beauty through the ringer, we realized the distance was measured from the sensor-plane of the camera body, meaning we can focus on something that is just a few inches in front of the lens.  This gives us macro-like photography capabilities to fill the frame with food, event decor, or other details, while still having the wide-angle versatility of a general-purpose walkaround lens.

With the amazing combination of a wide aperture for low-light photography and a close-up minimum focus distance, the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 has us swooning.

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All photos in this post are ‘Copyright 2013 Gamma Nine’, and were taken with the Sigma 18-35mm (except the image of the lens itself).  

The Best of SF Chefs 2013 in Photos

September 17, 2013

SF Chefs 2013 has come and gone… and was the best one yet!  We’ll let the pictures do the talking:

Gamma Nine is proud to be a sponsor of the 2013 SF Chefs, working alongside the Golden Gate Restaurant AssociationDPEM Event MarketingAndrew Freeman & CoTannin ManagementNoise 13, and countless sponsors, restaurants, industry professionals, and volunteers to produce the best food event in the world.

Photos in this post are Gamma Nine copyrighted images from SF Chefs 2013.  For media and licensing inquires, please contact info@gammanine.com.

Moving People with Moving Photography for Uber

September 9, 2013

At Gamma Nine, we make a point to differentiate ourselves by highlighting our decades of sales and marketing experience. That’s not just a convenient catchphrase or jargon for a sales pitch — we’re very self-aware of our strengths as more than just photographers, and our passion is to leverage that unique background for our clients.  This was all the more evident in our recent collaboration with Uber’s design team to shoot the imagery for their new website.

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First, make no mistake, Uber is an brilliant company with talented cross-disciplinary leaders, and the support of the savvy design and branding team at Noise 13.  While the local San Francisco tech and startup world isn’t always aligned with typical Fortune 100 or Madison Avenue ad agency workflows anyway, even more so for Uber to be aggressive about re-doing their website in their own way, and without dozens of branding meetings, focus groups, user studies, and involving marketers and media buyers, etc.  Their design team is passionate about the Uber brand, their customers, and the future of their services; with our marketing background, Gamma Nine was also gung-ho and on-board to translate that branding and vision into photography.  Indications so far are that the website “facelift” hit the spot.

The main photos are lifestyle-esque, shot in a fashion photography style, with professional models, make-up artists, and stylists, and various real-life locations.

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Beyond that, we spent days in the studio to iconify the various Uber services with painstaking car photography.

While we can’t reveal the roadmap for all the future imagery and marketing still in the pipeline, let’s just say we’re thrilled for a lot of future projects still to come.

G9 Insider: 9 Events Not to Miss at the 2013 SF Chefs

July 31, 2013

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SF Chefs is the culinary highlight of the year for Gamma Nine and countless other foodies, bars, and restaurants in the Bay Area.   From our years of behind-the-scenes experience, we wish it were possible to see every chef demo and educational panel, taste every delectable sample, and drink every cocktail and glass of wine, but with limited time and events selling out quickly, here are our tips to help you make the most of this amazing gastronomical celebration.

1) Warm up with Thursday night’s Bar Bites party at the Westin

San Francisco isn’t just a mecca for food — our bartenders and mixologists are also world-class artisans.  Come to this party to get your palate warmed up with innovative and masterful cocktails, but not too many because the next morning you should be prepared to…

2) Find culinary enlightenment via panels, demos, and more at Friday’s Food Arts Industry Day

The “Rebel Within” is a physics-defying, mind-blowing muffin and we are beyond excited that its big secret along with other culinary mysteries will be revealed at the “How Did You Do That?” panel.  If that weren’t enough, the rest of the day will be packed cocktail expertise (‘Mixmasters’ Jam’), demos, and food.  We’re not surprised that this event is already sold out, but if you’re an industry-insider, beg and borrow your way in!

3) Enjoy cakes galore at the Friday Night Opening Celebration

The Grand Tasting Tent will launch with a bang on Friday night as San Francisco’s top pastry chefs start the weekend off with their most amazing cakes.  Eat this dessert first, because the rest of the gourmet samples and drinks offered by the evening’s restaurants and beverage purveyors will fill you up in no time.

4) Party the night away at the ‘Best Chefs’ After-Party at E&O Asian Kitchen

Its no secret we love E&O Asian Kitchen, and even sans Hubert Keller as our favorite chef-slash-DJ this year, Friday night is guaranteed to be a kickin’ party.

5) Cocktails before noon is okay if it’s part of the “DIY Cocktail Mixers” class

We’re probably very biased, but because the appeal of San Francisco cuisine is more than the food, it is only fitting that cocktail-aficionados also get a chance to learn from the local innovators and gurus of beverage-craft.

6) Reality TV doesn’t compare to the Eater Challenge

If there is one event to represent the best of SF Chefs, our undisputed pick is seeing local restaurant superstars up-close and personal in a cooking competition.  At this fast-paced, Iron-chef-like battle, you get to watch your favorite chefs create thoughtful on-the-fly dishes with a side of playful trash-talking blended with mutual respect and camaraderie.  Oh, and the judges aren’t exempt from giving / getting a hard time either.

7) Get back in the tent on Saturday night

The evenings are when the chefs come out to play, and on Saturday you’ll see lots of them, both behind the tables and enjoying themselves mingling around the tent.

8) Rule of Thumb: always go to the after-parties.  Saturday’s is at Bluestem Brassiere.

9) Experience the most incredible brunch ever created, in the Grand Tasting Tent on Sunday.

Finish the weekend with San Francisco’s top restaurants cooking up an unforgettable brunch, and yes, have a few more cocktails too!

We hope these tips are a useful guide for your SF Chefs food and drink adventure!  If you see us this weekend, please say hello!

Gamma Nine is proud to be a sponsor of the 2013 SF Chefs, working alongside the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, DPEM Event Marketing, Andrew Freeman & Co, Tannin Management, Noise 13, and countless sponsors, restaurants, industry professionals, and volunteers to produce the best food event in the world.

Photos in this post are Gamma Nine copyrighted images from 2011 and 2012 SF Chefs.

4 Adventure Photography Tips From Behind-the-Scenes at Big Sur and Pinnacles with Triple Aught Design

May 13, 2013

Adventure photography for one of the most epic brands we know means going on amazing shoots.  We’re taking you behind-the-scenes of our most recent shoot for Triple Aught Design‘s spring season with some quick photography tips to guide the way.

Triple Aught Design, Stealth LT, Gamma Nine

Tip #1: Rise before the sun, and be rewarded with golden-hour light.

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Our three-day adventure began with getting up to Big Sur and setting up camp in the evening. By the light of lanterns and headlamps we pitched tents and settled in. We crashed by midnight and a few hours later we were up again… in the dark. Time was precious as we prepared gear, props, and equipment. As soon as dawn broke and we looked at the direction and quality of the morning light and with all-hands-on-deck we quickly developed our camp “set”.  The window of time where the “look” conveyed morning-ness was barely an hour.

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Note: a tent that opens on two sides makes shooting from “inside” a tent possible.

Tip #2: Find your angles, the best shot might be from (very) far away.

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While our mornings were at the campsite, by day we embarked deep into the terrain. During our exploration, we were constantly on the lookout for scenes of powerful landscapes and unique features that reinforce the Triple Aught Design brand design and aesthetic.

The most majestic and grand locales can lack inspiration and soul if you don’t have the proper perspective to capture all of it and successfully showcase the scale of the beauty. The vantage point for the image above was on the other side of the valley.

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Note: Two-way radios are useful to communicate and coordinate — for the photographer and subjects when shooting far apart, and for a scout to hike ahead.

Tip #3: Submerge your subject in the environment, and realism and intensity comes naturally.

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Compelling adventure photography is always…. well, an adventure. If you’re crossing a river, do it with intent and purpose: make sure your subject ignores the camera and let the action speak for itself. No posing needed.

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Obligatory safety warning: Rivers rapids move deceivingly fast! Do not attempt to enter or cross a river without proper training, experience, or equipment. Our team scouted up and down the river, and the first and primary criteria for the “best” spot to cross was a location that was safe.

Tip #4: Carefully add light, and you can make the scene look darker.

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Our trip ended at Pinnacles State Park, which is known for its amazing rock formations, and equally note-worthy caves.  Unlike bats or other animals that do well in the dark, cameras like light — and a lot of it.

To convincingly convey “the dark”, an image still needs to have a range of brightness: something very bright as a reference point, along with the subject being adequately lit, and then deep blacks. In the pitch black of the caves, the deep black was everywhere.  As we explored with headlamps and flashlights, we used those same lights to shoot photos: the subject’s own headlamp in the shot provided the very bright reference point in the shot, and we were able to point our flashlights at different parts of the subject and rocks to create a more natural look than with a flash/speedlight.

Thanks to Triple Aught Design for another incredible project, and Lowepro for outfitting us with the packs and cases that help us shoot effectively and safely — our Pro Trekker 400 is hands-down our new favorite camera bag for carrying all our primary photography gear through these adventures, and our new Photo Sport 200 and Lens Exchange 100 did not skip a beat allowing us to move agilely when switching lenses and capturing behind-the scenes-images, even in the midst of climbing up rocks and scrambling through caves.

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G9 Lust List: Studio Sitges

April 4, 2013

This is the photo studio that even our craziest dreams couldn’t have imagined.

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Studio Sitges is three-floors of incredibly thoughtful shooting and living space — or, as they aptly put it, “Creative work and creative relaxation are all here under one roof.”

The stark utilitarianism of the two studios on the bottom floor would be ideal blank canvases for shooting anything from food and products, to vehicles and fashion.  Beyond just an empty space, though, these studios have a cyclorama, controllable ambient lighting, dressing and makeup rooms, a kitchen and lounge area (perfect to oversee the shoot from and for the photographer’s client to relax/work).

If that wasn’t enough, upstairs is an amazingly-designed and furnished house.  With large windows providing natural light, and stunning spaces (including a spa), this would be a great location to shoot food and lifestyle photography.

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The fact that such an mind-blowing Tom-Kundig-architected facility exists has moved Barcelona, Spain much higher on our list of places to visit.

We lust.

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(All of the images posted are from the Studio Sitges website and their Facebook page; none is that of Gamma Nine.)

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