Morton Visuals Covers Microsoft

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011
Microsoft WPC 2011 entrance

Morton Visuals was selected to cover the weeklong 2011 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference last month. Occupying most of the Los Angeles Convention Center, the WPC event was enjoyed by a record-setting 16,000 attendees from 135 countries. William Morton worked with the Filmateria Digital crew to provide coverage of the Microsoft Dynamics trade show presence and their keynote speakers. Additional coverage included a party at The Highlands in Hollywood and an awards program across the street at the historic El Capitan Theatre. The Filmateria crew is well-organized, and William was able to provide images throughout the day to make them available to Microsoft immediately. All in all it was a terrific experience, and Microsoft proves that when they do something they do it First Class!

Michael Park, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft, speaks at the 2011 Microsoft WCP conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Convention photography by William Morton of Morton Visuals.
Corporate VP of Microsoft

A panel fields Questions and Answers at the 2011 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles. Event photography captured by William Morton of Morton Visuals.
Microsoft Q&A Session

Testing PocketWizard™ Flex Radios

As part of my research for a writing position with the fine folks at LPA Design, Inc., I had an opportunity to test the new PocketWizard™ Flex radios for Nikon – the diminutive MiniTT1 and the FlexTT5 transceiver. Without a doubt, these units are game-changers!

For my first test I enlisted the aid of fitness model Stephen Harvey. (Great model – very focused and relentless energy!) I had an idea to test a shot with my Nikon Speedlights in bright sun, so we headed off to the San Diego Convention Center and set up a shot with Stephen running up the stairs and leaping over the camera. (See images below)  I mounted two SB-800 flashes on FlexTT5 transceivers, both set to full power and facing the model head-on as he leapt over the top step. I set the D3 to Aperture Priority mode at f/4, positioned the camera on the ground, and shot up in to the afternoon sun. Without Speedlights I would be expecting a near total silhouette. What I got was eye-opening — the PocketWizard™ units fired with my D3 all the way up to 1/6400 second!

PocketWizard setup
PocketWizard Setup

Fitness model Stephen Harvey leaps up the stairs
1/2500 sec

Next we set up for some running shots before the sun set. Our positioning for these shots didn’t require as high of a shutter speed even at f/2.8, but I’m accustomed to seeing a big black bar when I exceed the 1/250 sync speed of my D3. Here I was synching with the PocketWizard radios at 1/640 sec without the black banding!

PocketWizard FlexTT5 setup
PocketWizard Setup

1/640 sec

So that brings up a valid point about Speedlights. The Nikon CLS system is capable of doing high-speed sync up to 1/8000 with their infrared signals. Two problems arise though. The IR does not function well at all in bright sunlight, as the receiving sensor can’t detect the signal when it’s overwhelmed with sunlight. When it does work, the remote Speedlight must be pretty close to the transmitting Speedlight. Secondly, when CLS needs to sync at faster shutter speeds (where the shutter is never fully open, but rather an open “slit” passes over the camera’s sensor), the Speedlight must fire a series of “mini-pulses” to illuminate each area of the sensor as the shutter exposes it. This uses the lower power “tail” of the flash pulse — resulting in a greatly reduced effective range.

In my first series you see a shot taken at 1/2500 second. This was accomplished using the High Speed Sync feature of the PocketWizard™ radios. Yes, power was reduced and the Speedlights used the pulsed technique — but for the first time I was able to sync this action with my camera in bright sunlight by using the radio signal rather than the invisible IR signal!

In my second series you see a shot taken at 1/640 second. This took advantage of the Hypersync™ feature of the PocketWizard™ radios. With Hypersync™ the MiniTT1 signals the FlexTT5 to start firing the flash just before the shutter opens. The happy result is a full power flash even at a faster shutter speed. This is huge, as it negates the problem previously mentioned with having to rely on the low-power “tail” of the flash pulse.

I tested this by taking a (very unexciting) image of the wall above my desk. I noted that there was a little bit of light falloff or unevenness when I exceeded 1/250 second, but surprisingly my full power flashes showed no black band until a whopping 1/1000 second with the D3. (Other camera models will perform slightly differently.) There was a faint edge of shadowing at 1/800 second, but that would likely not impact a typical image.

Can you think of photographic opportunities to shoot with flash in bright sunlight at f/2.8? I can! And I will be doing more of it soon, now that I don’t have the burdensome 1/250 X-sync limitation. Stay tuned!

Carrier Classic Comes to San Diego this Veterans Day

Mark Larson MC's the introduction of the Carrier Classic at the Hall of Champions
Mark Larson of KFMB Radio

William Morton of Morton Visuals event photography was on hand for last night’s press conference for the inaugural Carrier Classic. Mark Larson, radio personality from KFMB radio, served as the Master of Ceremonies and introduced executives and organizers from Morale Entertainment as well as ESPN representatives.  Mike Whalen of Morale Entertainment Foundation fittingly announced the details of this unique sporting event at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park.

Mike Whalen of Morale Entertainment Foundation talks at the Hall of Champions about bringing the Carrier Classic to San Diego on 11/11/11.
Mike Whalen of Morale Entertainment Foundation speaks to the crowd

Carrier Classic 11-11-11On 11-11-11, the University of North Carolina mens basketball team will take on Michigan State onboard the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) in San Diego, CA. The Vinson just returned home this past week from extended operations in the middle east, most notably conducting the burial-at-sea of Osama Bin Laden. A basketball court will be built on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier, now docked at Naval Station San Diego. Approximately 7,000 are expected to be in attendance, consisting of mostly military members and their dependents. ESPN will televise the event on Veterans Day, the official first day of the 2011-2012 NCAA basketball season. The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Wounded Warrior Project, the San Diego Air and Space Museum and the San Diego Sports Commission are assisting game organizer Morale Entertainment Foundation with various elements surrounding the event. As described by Morale Entertainment executives Ken Kinnear and Mike Whalen, the purpose of this event is to call attention to Veterans Day, to the sacrifices made by our veterans and service-members, to thank them, and reward them for their service.

Morale Entertainment Foundation and ESPN executives for the Carrier Classic
Carrier Classic organizers pictured from left to right: Tom Lee (Morale Entertainment), Nick Dawson (ESPN), Ken Kinnear (Morale Entertainment), Mike Whalen (Morale Entertainment), Coach Don Casey (Morale Entertainment), Dave Miller (ESPN) and Mike Rowe (Morale Entertainment).

 

Lost or Stolen Camera – Now What Do I Do?

Losing a camera, or worse yet having one stolen, is one of a photographer’s greatest fears. When you depend on your cameras for your livelihood, it can cripple your business. Granted, most professional photographers have (or should have) business insurance which can replace the lost equipment — but it takes time to go through that process. And if you have jobs imminent, or are on a job when it happens, you will have other challenges to face. Rentals can get you through the original crisis, but what then?

First off, file a Police report ASAP. This will be necessary for your insurance claim as well.

Once the Police and insurance companies have been notified, try the resources below to try to track down your missing equipment.

Hopefully this will give you a good start on reuniting you with your beloved photography gear. If you have other resources or suggestions, please include them in the comments below!

Color and Light in the Photography Pro Speaker Series

Morton Visuals‘ owner William Morton was one of the featured speakers at the Pro Speaker Series held at San Diego City College’s Career Technology Center on Saturday. Organized by Tony Amat of A/R Event Photography and Thom Hiatt of TBC Creative Multi-Media, this third edition of the series featured three primary speakers. A great turnout of about 70 enjoyed the seminar, complete with lunch provided by NIK Software. Photos below by Johnakin Randolph for A/R Event Photography.

William Morton, Jane Mitchell, and Tony Corbell of the May 28th Photography Pro Speaker Series seminar at San Diego City College.
William Morton, Jane Mitchell and Tony Corbell pose for a group shot after the seminar. Photo by Johnakin Randolph.

26-time Emmy® Award-winning broadcast journalist Jane Mitchell, author of One on One – My Journey with Hall of Famers, Fan Favorites and RisingStars, opened the program. Her new book chronicles a selection of famous athletes’ stories. As described on her website, “No one else has interviewed or done in-depth personal biographies on this particular collection of athletes.  For some, the One on One program is the only in-depth and comprehensive story on their life.  As the television programs have become a part of the sports archives and landscape in San Diego, this book, with Jane’s unique experience sharing their stories, serves as a little slice of history beyond the replays of the TV shows.”

William Morton speaks at San Diego City College during the Photography Pro Speaker Series seminar
William Morton by Johnakin Randolph.

William Morton presented a segment on “Color – Get it RIGHT!” William identified the three major segments of a digital photography workflow and the importance of properly managing your color throughout the entire image-making process. With tools such as the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport, you can calibrate your camera to ensure that the initial image capture renders accurate colors. Then tools such as the Datacolor Spyder3 Studio can take you the rest of the way through the process, profiling your monitor and your printer (for each ink/paper combination). Once everything is profiled you can start a new image-making session with a known good color target to ensure that you start with (and maintain) good color.

Tony Corbell was the day’s “keynote speaker.” Tony’s accomplishments are extensive, and he has become a well-known photo educator. He has written articles in every major photographic magazine in the U.S., Japan, the U.K. and China. He is currently one of a select few Approved Photographic Instructors from the Professional Photographers of America…and he’s the biggest Beatles fan alive. Tony’s presentation on light was all about understanding the quality of light and utilizing light in all of its forms. He definitely kept the audience’s attention throughout, with many of the students seeking him out afterwards to pose for photos with them.

Lorenzo Gunn was on hand to showcase some of the beautiful photo books from Burrell Color Imaging, Phillip Abel was showing off the cool toys from Mamiya America Corporation and promoting their awesome MAC on Campus program, and Matt & Matt of Bongo Bytes were on hand to show software and lots of cool gadgets. Many thanks not only to all those involved but to all those who came out on a Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. It seemed like everyone learned a bit, and hopefully got some inspiration as well.

William Morton Judges SkillsUSA State Competition

William Morton of Morton Visuals photography in San Diego was selected as a judge in the 2011 SkillsUSA California State Conference  in San Diego yesterday. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA’s mission is to help its members become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.

In the photography category, contestants demonstrate their ability to use digital SLR’s, image editing software (Adobe Photoshop) and professional studio lighting. Students perform on-site photography, portrait studio lighting & posing, process and print digital photos and submit two 11×14 or 16×20 mounted & matted photographs in advance of the contest to be judged and displayed at the competition. Contestants are evaluated on their mastery of entry-level job skills. William, along with Professional Photographers of California (PPC) Executive Director Roger Daines, PPC President Phillip E. Abel (Regional Manager with the MAC Group), and industry expert Lorenzo Gunn of Burrell Color Imaging, interviewed 22 finalists from all over California in order to select two student photographers to go on to the national competition in Kansas City this June. This challenging process took approximately 5 hours, with the entire judging panel agreeing on the photographers that were the best choices to represent California this June.

SkillsUSA logoSkillsUSA serves more than 300,000 students and instructors annually. The organization has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations. More than 14,500 instructors and administrators are professional members of SkillsUSA. To learn more about this very worthwhile program, visit http://skillsusa.org/about/infoform.shtml.

Helpful Wardrobe Suggestions for Headshots

Since these questions come up constantly, my favorite makeup artist Mary Erickson put together this handy list of considerations when preparing for your headshots.

  • Bring shirts with a collar as well as different necklines.
  • Bring at least 6 different tops to choose from.
  • No sleeveless shirts for headshots, they can make the arms look big and skin below the face takes the attention away from the face.
  • No solid white.
  • Solids usually work best, stay away from patterns and busy prints.
  • Bring a lint brush or lint roller, fuzz will show on dark colors.
  • Make sure your clothes are pressed and clean – very few photographers have irons or extra time. Photo retouching on soiled clothes will usually cost extra.
  • Stay away from clothes with big buttons or ornaments that shine and compete for attention.
  • If you wear earrings they should be small studs. Keep jewelry at a minimum, because anything flashy will distract from you.

Mary’s website is full of useful information, especially for the aspiring or “up & coming” makeup artists – check out her Q&A page! And if you want to gauge whether or not she knows what she’s talking about, check out her resumé!

William Morton Slated For Professional Speaker Series

William Morton - Professional Photography Speaker at City CollegeWilliam Morton, owner of William Morton Visuals, has been selected to speak during the third photographers’ Professional Speaker Series at San Diego City College on May 28. William reports that he will be the “opening act” for the renowned Tony Corbell, a very popular speaker in the photography industry.

William will talk about “Color – Getting It Right!” In the world of professional photography, accurate color is a MUST. His discussion will include color calibration of your camera, monitor, and output as well as how to ensure that the color you’re capturing with your digital camera is accurate.

Shooting since his days on the Junior High School yearbook, William has 20 years of professional experience. Currently a local Board member and past-President of the American Society of Media Photographers (San Diego) as well as an Instructor for the Panasonic-sponsored Digital Photo Academy, William has also spent 5 years training portrait and event photographers for a national franchise. William’s current focus is on commercial photography and corporate events.

Internationally recognized Tony Corbell will be the featured speaker at this event. Tony’s presentation is titled “The Power Of Light in The Digital World,” and understanding and controlling light quality is at the core of all of Tony’s presentations. Attendees will learn how to see a unique perspective and not be afraid to push the limits of their experience and talents. Tony has been teaching lighting concepts, theories, and techniques for over twenty years and his week-long workshops on the topic always fill to capacity. In the past couple of years alone, Tony spoke to over 9,000 photographers worldwide on the topic of light control.

For those not familiar with Tony’s pedigree, Tony has photographed three U.S. presidents, 185 World Leaders, 65 Nigerian Heads of State, about 600 brides and grooms, a couple of NASA astronauts and lots of famous and not so famous faces. He has spoken at over 400 seminars and workshops nationally and internationally. He is the recipient of the highest honor from the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International with their Lifetime Achievement Award and achieved the status of Photographic Craftsman from the Professional Photographers of America. In 2005, Tony received the “Photographer of the Year” Award from the International Photographic Council of the United Nations and the PPA National Award from the Professional Photographers of California. Tony was also invited to join the prestigious Camera Craftsmen Of America in 2007, one of only 40 members worldwide. In 2007/08, Tony spoke to over 8,000 photographers in 36 cities including London, Glasgow, Dublin, Toronto, Mexico City, Sydney and many more U.S. cities. 2009 will again be busy with Tony traveling to London, Germany and many other cities discussing lighting and image editing. Tony also say’s he’s the world greatest Beatles fan..

Organized by Tony Amat of AR Event Photography and Thom Hiatt of Twin Bees Consulting, this event will be held in the auditorium of the Career Technology Center at San Diego City College, from 10am-2pm on Saturday, May 28. Lunch is included! Tickets may be purchased from the Twin Bees’ website at http://www.mytwinbees.com/professional-speaker-series/.

William Morton Takes DPA to Balboa Park

William Morton led a Digital Photo Academy class in Balboa Park this weekend. The class, titled “Composition In The Field“, is a fun photo safari for the students. The idea is that if you were dropped out of a plane at any place in the world, you would be able to create good, interesting images there. This month’s trek included the beautiful buildings of Balboa Park, along with a variety of flowers in the Botanical building – a few of which are shown below. Each student is challenged with capturing images that illustrate six rules of composition, including:

  • Rule of Thirds
  • Leading Lines
  • Symmetry and Patterns
  • “Primary Point of Interest” Isolation
  • Cropping and Framing
  • Viewpoint and Perspective
Flowers in front of the Botanical Building at Balboa Park
Rule of Thirds
The colonnade of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion at Balboa Park
Leading Lines
The Casa del Prado at Balboa Park
Symmetry
A very colorful flower in the Balboa Park Botanical building.
Primary Point of Interest
The San Diego Museum of Man rises above the trees at Balboa Park
Cropping
(Rule of Thirds)
Palm trees tower over Balboa Park
Viewpoint/ Perspective

William rotates around various locations in San Diego each month. Last month the class explored Old Town, and the month prior to that found the class in Little Italy. To check on the location for upcoming classes, visit the DPA page for San Diego. Note that a variety of photography classes are offered each month, in 24 cities nationwide, all taught by professional photographers. Call or check it out today!

William Morton Shoots Former President Clinton

William Morton joined over 1100 international students at the University of California at San Diego last night in welcoming Bill Clinton to town. The former President was the keynote speaker and namesake of the fourth annual Clinton Global Initiative University, held this weekend at UCSD. As described on the CGIU website, “President Clinton launched the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world. Each year, CGI U hosts a meeting for students and national youth organizations to discuss solutions to pressing global issues. At this meeting, nearly 1,200 attendees will come together to make a difference in CGI U’s five Focus Areas: Education, Environment & Climate Change, Peace & Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health.”

 

Former President Bill Clinton

Chancellor Marye Anne Fox welcomed the students, including approximately 200 from UCSD. She then introduced local business executive Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Qualcomm. Dr. Jacobs quipped that he was sure he’d be forgiven for attending Berkley rather than UCSD since his father elected to build the communications giant Qualcomm here in San Diego.

UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox
Qualcomm CEO Dr. Paul E. Jacobs