The Rig: Olivier Duong

olivier-duong-street-photography

 

Who are you and what’s your profession?
Hey, my name is Olivier Duong, I’m a Haitian-French-Vietnamese dude born and raised in Haiti. Profession? I’ve tried to get a job many times with other shooters and all, I’ve went so
far as to design a whole ebook for someone, explaining point by point how I could help their business, I never got anything! No call, nothing. I was getting nowhere, so much so
my wife told me she felt bad for me. So, tired of asking, I decided to go in business for myself.

I guess everything I do can fall under the banner of entrepreneur. I’m a pro photographer (I shoot weddings documentary BW style), a pro street photographer (I sell prints) and
I’m also a digital publisher. I’m originally a graphic designer and an all around web dude. Jack of all trades master of some I guess :)

 

What’s your rig?
I use to be a gear addict, buying cameras like crazy. Lost 1000s of dollars in all of that. Now I understand that less is more and actually makes you more creative (A principle called
limitation creativity). My main rig so to speak is my pocket, my Ricoh GRDIV and my HP200lx. I shot most of my photography and most of my prints on this.

For Pro work, my camera is the NEX7. I only use manual focus lenses, I got spoiled by the Voigtlander rangefinder lenses and focus peaking….when I hear cameras having  super mega alpha EX ++ autofocus, I don’t really care :)
The focus peaking on the NEX7 is super accurate and easy. I have a Fuji XE1 that I also use as a pro camera. I had the intention of moving to the Fujis completely, but the XE1′s focus peaking pales in comparison with the NEX7.
I wanted an XT1, but it’s too SLRish in handling and the price didn’t make sense since you can get an A7 not too far from an XT1 body’s price.

Ironically enough, the XE1 is my go-to camera for everything else, I LOVE to use it.  I never take my NEX7 out but for assignments, but the XE1 goes everywhere.
My Voigtlander 15mm Heliar is usually glued to it…what a dream! The Fuji Leica M adapter is truly an engineering marvel and performs well.

At weddings, the NEX7 usually does the job, the XE1 is the supporting member. For any other purpose it’s the XE1. If I don’t want to hold anything in my hands when I’m out, it’s the GRD IV.
As bag, I stay away from messenger style because it’s so bad for your back, but when I am shooting a wedding, a man’s gotta do what they have to do, I slap everything is a Lowepro Classsified 140. The best camera is the one you love, find the gear that works for you and run with it.

 

What hardware do you use? 
Other gear include the Dell XPS15, a few minutes ago it just fell from a table. It got a nice dent behind the screen but everything works :) I use anOmnibook 300 to write everything. Back light screens are bad for your eyes, I use this baby to save me some eyesight and it’s distraction free. LOVE IT. I also have an HP200lx, I swap the memory between these two when I am out. Wrote this text on both of them.

Since the NEX7 nor the XE1 support dual SD cards for backups, I use a Hyperspace UDMA to backup my SDXC cards while on assignment. I hate it because the SD card cannot fit completely flush inside it. The Epson p7000 does not support SDXC cards so I have to do with it.

 

What software do you use?
Software wise I use Lightroom and other Adobe suite software. Just like gear I try to keep it simple stupid. I don’t do Lightroom plugins because It’s adding an extra step to the workflow.
I pass everything through Inspired Eye presets, either mine or my partner’s presets. For weddings I use these too but a lighter version.
I can’t live without Postbox, the best looking and most useful email client. I can’t recommend it enough and it’s dirt cheap for the email productivity it offers.

For organization, I think our lives are beyond the simple to-do or checklist stage. Mine sure is. I tried everything software wise and a 20 year old piece of software fit the bill. I wouldn’t be able to
run things without Lotus agenda. I write blog posts, articles, and everything else on it on my HP200lx or Omnibook 300.

 

What would be your dream rig?
My dream kit…I’ll say the A7 is pretty much spot on, but the market needs that in a rangefinder body. I also believe the market needs smaller and more compact lenses. The Fuji 23mm 1.4, Nex Zeiss 24mm,
would be prime examples why. That’s one of the reasons I stick with my rangefinder lenses. I say “The market needs” because I am content with what I have.
There will always be something I don’t have so I’d much rather focus on and use what I have instead of what I don’t. I’m much happier.

 

What’s your favorite photography quote?
I’d say “If your photographs are not good enough you are not close enough”. The problem with it is that many think that photography is therefore reduced to an exercise of getting closer physically.
My friends, a crappy shot is a crappy shot, far or near. Get closer to your work, put more of yourself in it and it will shine. That’s the photo Gospel I walk to.

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Enough Pixels

Fuji X100, X100s, Wedding, Photography

So I’m checking my mail app and in comes in this email from Blurb. You know the type that sometime ago you signed up for and keeping getting the recurring emails, yeah that type. To my surprise the actual title of the email caught my attention ― How to make a meal last forever, so I decided to have a look. Food Photography is something that has always interested me but I have not really practiced it all that much. You know once in a while, I take my compact of choice along to a restaurant and make a few images here and there but that’s a rarity to be honest. So back to video and the title of this post ― Enough Pixels. If you check out the video you’ll see the chef uses a compact m43 camera and make some wonderful images which ended up in a Blurb book and now that book is sort of like a curriculum vitae for this chef. What a wonderful idea and imaginative way to “make a meal last forever”.  Which goes back to “enough pixels”. Continue reading…

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Ricoh GR: Life in Brickell

I’m always amazed at the capabilities of this little pocket camera.  Here’s a sampling from a recent photowalk.

 

images captured the glorious Ricoh Gr and processed in ACR & Photoshop CC

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The Rig: Tom McLaughlan

Tom1

 

Who are you and what’s your profession?

Who am I?  Simple – I’m a lucky person. I have my family and some very special friends, I have a job and it’s one I love (I lead Accenture’s UK government relations program) and I have photography. So I call myself a photographer with a wonderful day job. I’m also a trustee of a London-based human rights charity, the Helen Bamber Foundation (helenbamber.org) – a very, very special organization named after an extremely inspiring woman. I live in the south east of England about a 20 mile commute from London where I work. A few years ago I came up with the term ministract to describe my pictures because they’re sometimes minimal, sometimes abstract and sometimes somewhere in between. My hope is that my pictures might feed the viewer’s imagination and arouse a sense of curiosity; my dream is to travel the world, photographing the wonderful work of Santiago Calatrava; and my wish is to one day see my work in an exhibition.

 

What’s your rig?

Well, here’s where I declare I’m something of an interloper at The Rig – yup, I don’t shoot Fuji! I’m a Canon man (I use a 5d Mark III) although I’ve tried desperately to enjoy my Olympus OM-D E-M5 but it’s a struggle. The weight of the Olympus (or lack of it) is a wonderful thing but I just don’t feel at home with it in the same way that I do with the Canon. It just feels right in my hands and I’ve used it so much that I never have to stop and think about settings. Lens wise, I have a few Canon Ls. My two most trusted friends are the 24-105mm f4L IS and the 70-200mm f2.8L IS II as they’re perfect for my style of photography, which sees my pounding city streets looking for ministract perspectives, mostly of buildings. If I wander in to prime territory then the one I love the most isn’t actually a Canon – it’s the Sigma 85mm f1.4. The lens I’d love to have? Probably the one I sold last year… I love the Canon 100mm f2.8L Macro IS but it just didn’t get enough use and a friend was looking to buy one so I did the dirty deed. I have a few problems with my back, hence why I tried to get to like the Olympus. It’s also the reason why I don’t use a tripod – to heavy to lug around for 5 or more hours at a time – and it’s my excuse for buying lots of bags. At the moment I use a Think Tank Retrospective 7 or a Crumpler backpack but the hunt is still on for the ideal carrier. So if anybody has any ideas then I’m all ears! My requirements are for a comfortable backpack, as small as possible but big enough to hold a Canon 5d Mark III with 70-200 f2.8 attached (that’s usually the killer requirement) and the 24-105 alongside it. Oh, and a little pocket for the iPad Mini too. That’s all :-)

 

What hardware do you use?

I use a 15” Macbook Pro Retina, have just replaced my trusty iPad3 with an iPad Mini Retina and once in a blue moon post pics to my Instagram account, taken with an iPhone 4s. The iPad Mini fits perfectly in my jacket pocket and is an absolute dream as I read like crazy on my daily commutes. Truly one of the best devices I’ve ever owned. I use a couple of Western Digital MyPassport external drives – one for a clone of my hard drive and another for all my pictures bar the current year’s shots (they stay on my laptop).

 

What software do you use?

I shoot in RAW, process in Lightroom (boosting contrast level and colours a bit), crop square (usually) and then export as JPEG. Sometimes I wish I knew how to use Photoshop but, on the whole, I don’t need it and Lightroom – with its friendly sliders – is so easy. Backup is via Time Machine and a Time Capsule, with clones done to a Western Digital MyPassport external drive. I also keep copies of all my images on another MyPassport. I’ve tried to complement all this with an online storage option too (Backblaze) but the initial upload took too long and during that time throttled my internet connection so much that I quit. I’m now looking in to using Amazon Glacier as the initial seeding can be done via an external drive. (The UK doesn’t have many options for seeding online backups and the major US backup firms won’t accept disks sent to them from here). My website used to be on WordPress (using a Photocrati theme) but it all got too complicated so I switched to Squarespace and have been extremely happy there. I just need to add to my blog a bit more often…

 

What would be your dream rig?

I’m pretty much happy with what I’ve got. Sure, a large retina screen would be great but that would require me to have a bigger house with a room I can use just for photography (at the moment my office is the dining table in the lounge) and one day – one day – I’ll find the perfect camera that combines the feel of the 5d Mark III and the weight of the Olympus. Until then I’ll just keep on with what I have :-)

 

What’s your favorite photography quote?

Forgive me for cheating but there are two quotes that really inspire me in my work. One is by Robert Mapplethorpe – “I’m looking for the unexpected. I’m looking for things I’ve never seen before” – and the other, by Emily Dickinson, isn’t really about photography at all but it’s what I hope my pictures will one day manage to achieve – “Ignite the imagination and light the slow fuse of the possible”.

 

Website – ministract.com Twitter – twitter.com/ministract Flickr – flickr.com/photos/daruma Instagram – instagram.com/ministract

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Fuji X-E1 still rocks it

So, I recently processed these three images with usual workflow of ACR and Photoshop CC but this time I used a 15′ Mac Book Pro (Retina) and I was shocked at the level of detail these screens pump out. I’m now posting these from my Mac Book Air (yes a later 203 model) and they don’t look quite the same but one thing is still true and that is that the X-E1 is still a great camera and a great starter for anyone looking to get into the Fuji X-series cameras.

 

 

 images  captured by the Fuji X-E1 & the XF 18-55mm

 

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Grazianos Argentinian Restaurant

2.5 lbs of the best meats per person, sangria and wine to your hearts content, welcome to Graziano’s one of the best Argentinian restaurants in Miami, and one I wholeheartedly recommend. Enjoy.

 

images captured by the Ricoh GR and processed in ACR & Photoshop CC

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