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March 18th, 2015

How I Got That Shot: Jamie Kripke’s Ski Racer GIF

© Jamie Kripke

The women’s Giant Slalom at the FIS Alpine World Championships. © Jamie Kripke

Photographer Jamie Kripke missed the deadline to apply for a media pass to the International Ski Federation Alpine World Championships at Beaver Creek, CO. He attended the event anyway. His work on a couple of previous assignments (ex. Olympic gold medalist David Wise) for ESPN involved capturing motion sequences of athletes, so he had an idea of how he could make lemonade from lemons. PDN asked him to explain his process for creating this GIF, a creative visualization of the speed in the women’s Giant Slalom event. Here’s what Kripke told us:

I didn’t intentionally choose skiing as a subject I wanted to [use to test something new]. I just really wanted to see and shoot the race. But I had my cameras, and was determined to come away with one image that was somehow new and different. I had no idea how I was going do to that. Furthermore, there were TONS of photographers, most with way better access.

On the way to the race I had thought about doing some sort of sequence of a racer coming around a gate, but when I got to the venue, I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to get anywhere on the course. So I found the best spot I could, with the cleanest background, on a steep turn, and waited for the racers. I still didn’t feel like I had anything special.

The first woman (champion Anna Feninger) flew by and I shot her as she came into and out of the frame. But at 5fps my camera wasn’t fast enough to get enough frames to make a complete sequence of her. I shot more racers, one by one. After five or six had gone by, it occurred to me that I could do a time-lapse sequence made up of different racers, in different suits, from different countries. Also, in the Giant Slalom, they more or less follow the same line [through the gates], unlike in the Super G or Downhill, where higher speeds take the racers down different lines.

Back in my studio I picked my favorite frames, and had my retoucher put them together into a layered file with rough masks. But there still was no motion and the image felt flat. I started messing around with motion blur and some masking, and after a few days of work, got the image to a place that I liked.

The more I shoot, the more I realize that these “happy mistakes” aren’t really mistakes. They are a product of staying focused and following a path, even if you don’t know where it’s going.

Related: How I Got That Shot: Justin Fantl’s Still Life With Fleeing Cat
How I Got That Shot: Emily Shur’s Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail for WIRED
How I Got That Shot: Ty Cole for Metropolis Magazine

July 15th, 2014

Hey GQ: Do You Like Cedric the Entertainer & Elton Anderson’s Promo?

© Elton Anderson

Cedric the Entertainer © Elton Anderson

Having landed some of his first assignments on the strength of personal work, photographer Elton Anderson has been working on a personal project featuring his favorite celebrities and entertainers to attract the notice of more clients.  Anderson and actor/comedian Cedric Antonio Kyles (aka Cedric the Entertainer) share a common goal–to be featured in GQ–so they recently collaborated on a photo shoot they called “The Road to GQ” to get the magazine’s attention.

© Elton Anderson

Cedric the Entertainer © Elton Anderson

Anderson explains that he was able to approach Cedric by enlisting the help of a friend who was working on digital marketing for Cedric’s TV Land sitcom. Cedric and his team, along with stylist Apuje Kalu and Anderson, strategized ways of incorporating three things that are important to the comedian – fashion, comedy and family – into the shoot. It took place in April 2014. Box Eight Studio in Los Angeles provided a mix of outdoor and indoor locations, and Anderson’s wardrobe stylist brought in a ton of props. Anderson says they were able to shoot six looks in about four hours. “Cedric was funny (of course) but most of all he anticipated what I needed from him as a subject,” says Anderson.

© Elton Anderson

Cedric the Entertainer © Elton Anderson

Though the shoot has yet to lead to an assignment for GQ, Anderson says the results are encouraging. A few GQ editors gave Cedric some social media shout-outs, and Anderson says Cedric has had a few email exchanges with the magazine. “If anything,” Anderson says, “the images have strengthened my portfolio by leaps and bounds and allowed me to set up meetings” with other potential clients, including TV Land, BET, BONOBOS, Essence, Walmart, and Capitol Records.

© Elton Anderson

Cedric the Entertainer © Elton Anderson

Anderson, who would like to shoot more musicians for editorial and commercial clients, also recently photographed his favorite rapper, Kendrick Lamar. Anderson had only five minutes with Lamar, but says, “It’s really fun to take a celebrity and bring them into your world for a minute. I end up making really cool friends along with great imagery.”

© Elton Anderson

Cedric the Entertainer © Elton Anderson

And it’s a a good way to move your career forward. “Personal work is the fuel that keeps me growing creatively and professionally,” says Anderson, a former pharmaceutical sales rep who moved to Los Angeles to pursue photography full time in 2012. “Potential clients tend to gravitate heavily to the work I cooked up in my brain and executed versus something I got paid to do. I actually booked my first big jobs with Disney, Monster Headphones and Walmart because of my personal work so I’m motivated to shoot for myself on a more continuous basis.”

© Elton Anderson

Cedric the Entertainer © Elton Anderson

July 10th, 2014

Announcing the new Elinchrom ELC PRO HD 500 Flash Head

Manfrotto Distribution, Inc. a leading global distributor of premium photo and video support products and accessories, has unveiled the world’s most complete, feature-rich compact studio flash unit from Elinchrom, the ELC PRO HD 500 Flash Head. The ELC is at the forefront of studio lighting technology combining everything a photographer needs and wants with the consistency and reliability that is expected from Elinchrom.

The ELC is the first unit to incorporate an OLED screen that displays every control for the most intuitive, flexible user experience ever. Recycling times are lightning fast while Swiss precision guarantees consistency of power output and color temperature, shot after shot. Furthermore the super-fast flash durations enables users to freeze motion like never before. The unit features Elinchrom’s stop based power scale enabling users to see the power in Joules, flash durations and many other settings. A jog wheel provides easy navigation of the new menu.

The ELC features three exciting new shooting modes including:

  • Sequence Mode – Allows users to sequentially trigger up to 20 ELC’s, in bursts or as a continuous cycle, to utilize the high frame rate of their camera
  • Delayed Mode – Provides the option of first or second curtain sync and everything in-between
  • Strobo Mode – Enables users to take a picture with stroboscopic effects within a single frame

“The ELC is the world’s most advanced compact studio flash enabling photographers to work with very low power flash and continuous light to bring their creative vision to life,” said Paul Zakrzewski, Director of Marketing at Manfrotto Distribution Inc. “The ELC’s auto-sensing multi-voltage power supply allows photographers to use the ELC Pro HD 500 anywhere in the world and its multiple shooting modes makes it one of the most versatile flash heads on the market.”

The ELC PRO HD 500 Flash Head is available at retailers nationwide. For more information visit

(Sponsored Post)

July 9th, 2014

Jasmin Shah’s Impromptu “Team” Portraits of World Cup Soccer Fans


© Jasmin Shah

USA team of fans photo from the USA v Ghana game on Monday, June 16th, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

Chicago-based photojournalist Jasmin Shah spends a lot of time outside of Chicago, finding ways to tell visual stories about her trips, and stretching her creative and technical skills. She’s been to India five times within the last five years, as well as Ethiopia, Mexico, Tonga and Brazil mostly for Operation Smile, a children’s medical charity, as well as for personal projects. Shah just returned from another trip to Brazil, this time to celebrate her passion for soccer and to challenge herself with an ambitious personal project.

© Jasmin Shah

Portuguese team of fans photo from the USA v Portugal game on Sunday, June 22nd, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

Before she left for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Shah brainstormed photo ideas about what it was she was excited to see. Shah says via email, “I was excited for the fan diversity I knew I’d be able to capture—in cultures, races and vivid colors.” She decided to re-create the commemorative 11-player starting lineup photo taken before each match –  two rows, with six players standing in the back, and five players crouching in front. During the pre-game buildup, Shah gathered and posed groups of 11 fans from various countries. For all of the photos she used available light and her 5D Mark III with a 50mm lens. She had to keep gear to a minimum since she was inside the stadium and did not have a press pass.

© Jasmin Shah

German team of fans photo from the USA v Germany game on Thursday, June 26th, 2014 in Recife, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

But equipment was the least of her worries.  Trying to corral and pose exactly 11 people from the same country proved to be the biggest challenge. “There’d be too few, so I’d have to go grab more…while keeping the already assembled fans from wandering off. Or there’d be too many (excited passersby would jump in, thinking it must be an “official” photo of some kind) and I’d have to urge them out.” Out of the 10 group shots, only one fell short of a full 11 “players.” Before USA’s match against Ghana, dressed in full USA fan gear, Shah ran to the Ghanian side of the stadium and asked some fans to come out to the concourse with her for the shot. She lost a few on the way – but that shot, she says is her favorite of the series.

© Jasmin Shah

Ghanian team of fans photo from the USA v Ghana game on Monday, June 16th, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

Fans loved her idea once they figured out what she was doing, Shah says. On a few occasions, fans assisted her by wrangling their “teammates” into the lineup. For the most part, Shah played both photographer and coach, shouting over excited fans.

© Jasmin Shah

French team of fans photo from the France v Switzerland game on Friday, June 20th, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

Shah self-funded her trip to Brazil, as well as tickets for all 4 USA soccer games. (Sidenote: Shah purchased her tickets from fellow USA fans and all for face value!). In addition to personal work, she also shot for Howler, a US-based quarterly soccer magazine, regularly uploading snaps to their Instagram. Her primary photographic goal was to shoot the crowds and capture the exciting 2014 FIFA World Cup atmosphere. “The chants, the flags, the scarves and face paint, the march to the stadium, and the drinking (cheerfully and nervously) that leads to the unruliness…they’re all part of the collective excitement.” Her self-assigned project, she says, has given her both production experience (“talk about an exercise in patience and persistence!”) and confidence.

© Jasmin Shah

Swiss team of fans photo from the France v Switzerland game on Friday, June 20th, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil. © Jasmin Shah

June 14th, 2013

An Unusual Tactic For Portfolio Reviews

© Amy Wolff


Photographer Jordan Hollender was scheduled to do portfolio reviews at NYCFotoworks in New York City this week but was called away on a job. Rather than abandon the reviews, he made a cut out of himself, and had an assistant show up to the reviews for him, placing everything on the table in front of each reviewer. The photo we took shows the assistant’s set up: the cut out of Hollender, portfolio, letter to the reviewer from Hollender, notebook for the reviewer to write notes in, and business cards.

Although PDN did not get the opportunity to meet with “him”, it was a memorable encounter.