4 Adventure Photography Tips From Behind-the-Scenes at Big Sur and Pinnacles with Triple Aught Design
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.
Tip #1: Rise before the sun, and be rewarded with golden-hour light.
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.
Tip #2: Find your angles, the best shot might be from (very) far away.
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.
Tip #3: Submerge your subject in the environment, and realism and intensity comes naturally.
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.
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.
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.
This is the photo studio that even our craziest dreams couldn’t have imagined.
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.
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.
(All of the images posted are from the Studio Sitges website and their Facebook page; none is that of Gamma Nine.)
Josh Harris and Scott Baird (aka The Bon Vivants) have raised the bar scene in San Francisco. We salute them for their newly opened libation mecca, Trick Dog, serving some of the most creative and palate-pleasing cocktails in SF. Our favorite cocktail is the “Pennies from Heaven“: Templeton Rye, Amaro Meletti, Leopold Brothers’ Sour Apple liquor, Amontillado Sherry, and The Bon Vivants’ Gold Rush Bitters. We’ve had the rare opportunity to photograph this amazing duo in the wild at both SF Chefs and SF Cocktail Week.
This photo was captured at the Skyy Vodka Afterparty for SF Chefs in 2011.
“The Epic Chronicles” is a Gamma Nine series of images highlighting the influential people we get to interact with throughout our photography journeys. These are individuals that motivate and inspire us and are the pivotal players behind the scenes. Check back every week for a new profile.
Happy National Margarita Day!
Celebrate with us the simplicity and deliciousness of tequila, fresh lime, and pure agave syrup.
Enjoy on the rocks and with or without salt.
Thirsty yet? Head over to our favorite tequila lounge, Tres, to get your Margarita fix.
This target of our lust is an altar to carbon fiber awesomeness, the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento.
‘Sesto Elemento’ in Italian is literally translated “sixth element’ — a nod to the periodic table and chemistry, where carbon has the atomic number of six. Utilizing the latest carbon fiber technology, the Sesto Elemento’s curb weight of just 2,202 lbs is less than that of Fiat 500′s and MINI Coopers! ’Gallardo’ — as in the Lamborghini model from which the Sesto Elemento borrows its V-10, 570 HP powertrain — is the Italian word for ‘bull’. Combining high tech construction with incredible power produced this ridiculously light and epically fast car.
The Sesto Elemento debuted as a concept car at the 2010 Paris Auto Show. This year, much to the excitement of twenty potential owners, Lamborghini produced a limited run that is track-legal only, and also already sold out. That’s probably for the better, as we did not have $2.6 million to spare anyway.
While past “G9 Lust List” heartthrobs like RED cameras, Land Rovers, and Jeeps tricked-out by AEV or TLC Icon could be remotely justified as “production gear”, the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento is pure lust.
(Images curated from Lamborghini’s website)
With the new catchy terms such as “staycations”, “nearcations” and “localvores” being tossed around nowadays, Off The Grid is our hidden secret to economically satisfying our jet-setting habit and unique food cravings. Shooting photography for Off The Grid and their PR team at Wagstaff Worldwide gives us the bonus blessings of being in-the-know about their exciting new markets on the inaugural openings day/nights.
What does this have to do with world travel? Just take a look at the new ‘Lake Merritt @ OMCA’ market that opened last Friday:
Off The Grid captures that same uniqueness, vibe, and excitement that we experienced when we visited the night markets in Morrocco. As Oaklanders came out to eat, dance, and celebrate along with the Oakland Museum of California, the atmosphere was filled with an incredible energy of fun, food, and friendship.
Even for the afternoon markets in the heart of San Francisco, there was an expectant and excited flow of financiers, designers, office workers, and those of all other walks of life as they came to Off The Grid at ‘Vallejo & Front’ to enjoy some new lunch options. As we shot, we were transported thousands of miles away, reminded of the incredible street food we saw and tried in Shanghai.
Last October, we gave you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the judging for the Good Food Awards. Two weeks ago, we were back behind the camera when the Good Food Awards took over the San Francisco Ferry Building to honor and showcase the 2013 winners with a ceremony, reception, and marketplace .
At Gamma Nine, we are lucky to have countless opportunities to sample, eat, drink, and photograph amazing food — all while working alongside talented and passionate people. This Good Food Awards event was no exception; but beyond just deliciousness, this food was truly good.
During the ceremony and reception, with every speech, photo, conversation, and taste, the magnitude of the Good Food Awards’ mission was clear. Producers that believe in the principles of the Good Food Awards aren’t jumping onto a trend for their next marketing campaign — they choose responsible and sustainable methods because its the right thing to do, and the deliciousness of the final product is the unavoidable result of their high standards in all aspects of their commitment to good food.
The Good Foods Award marketplace has grown every year as more and more people are interested in trying the best food from across the country. We could not think of a more fitting location to celebrate and share the winners’ amazing products than in the Ferry Building and alongside CUESA‘s Saturday Market.
After three years of photographing these events, we still feel privileged for every opportunity to capture both the passion of the volunteers who make the Good Food Awards happen, and the distinction, camaraderie, and excitement that each of the winners bring: they are all leaders of their industries, and pioneers in a reawakening of the American food system.