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FAST CLASS: The Outdoor Photography Experience

Lesson 2 of 13

Pismo Beach Walk Gear

Chris Burkard

FAST CLASS: The Outdoor Photography Experience

Chris Burkard

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Lesson Info

2. Pismo Beach Walk Gear


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
2 Pismo Beach Walk Gear Duration:14:30
3 Yosemite Trip Gear Duration:08:27
4 Water Housing Photography Duration:33:39
5 Shooting in the Water Duration:08:41
7 Pismo Beach - Focus Point Duration:10:38

Lesson Info

Pismo Beach Walk Gear

First things first. If I was to approach this situation and this location, I really want to, kind of, go over, a lot of logistics of what I would be looking for. Right? And what I would be, you know, basically trying to, how I would try to approach this place in terms of shooting. And, obviously, we can see the sun. It's literally rising directly behind us, which makes life really easy. But, if I, if the sun hadn't risen yet, I'd probably use an app. There's a couple different ones. I think I use one called Sky Safari. You guys use some of those apps where you can, kind of, see where the sun is? So, I'd probably pull up that app and, you know, if I got here at, like, 6am, like, like I did. You know, I'd look around and be like, okay, where's the sun rising right now? Well, it's rising right there. So, basically, that means that the pier on this side, south side, is going to be perfectly front lit. The other side is going to be in the shade. So, I'm, kind of, trying to base, like, where...

am I going to be shooting, what location am I going to be picking? If my, if my, sort of, objective today is to shoot surfing off the pier, or shoot, you know, any type of action sport, then I really want to approach it based on where the best light is going to be. You know, in addition to that, I think one of the most important things that's really important to, kind of, just consider when you approach any place... First of all, to be there with plenty of time to scout it out, right? So, this morning we were here well before the sun rose. I know this location so I didn't have to, kind of, you know, meander about. But typically, if I was to approach this place, it was new, I had to be here for a client or I was shooting personal work or whatever this thing is, this job would be... I would try to check this place out within 360 degrees. Right? Meaning, if this is, kind of, my subject, this is where the waves are the best. I would be down the beach that way, looking up into it, seeing what it looks like this way. I would go down the beach that direction, looking up this way, seeing what it looks like that direction. I would walk out to the pier, look down on both sides. And that way I've got, like, a really unique three dimensional look at what this subject is going be like. Do you guys have any thoughts or questions on that? Makes perfect sense. Does that makes sense? Right? I mean, like, I think... And you have to understand, like, we're here at the beach today, this is sort of an example, of, of really any location that you might approach. It doesn't matter to me if it's a wedding venue, or if you have to shoot portraiture and you're going to a new place you've never been. It's always good to just, you know, look at it from every perspective. And I'm not just talking about walking, you know, with your legs, but also, just, you know, getting on your belly on the ground, seeing how it looks from that perspective. Getting up as high as you can. Because I'll tell you what, the least interesting angle is probably the one where you're just standing like this. Right? Is that, does that make sense? Yeah, and so a lot of times it's like, you know, I'll be out in the sand and I'll want to get some foreground, so I'm going to get really low on the ground or I'm going to, you know, walk down the beach 'cause I can then compress some of these, you know, lifeguard towers into the shot or I can compress the mountains into this pier into the shot. Right? So, a lot of these, you know, they... You know, we're, kind of, going to go over this stuff. But a lot of these have to do with the different tools you're using, whether you brought to the beach, or you brought, you know, to your shoot that day. You know, a telephoto, a wide angle lens, you know, working within the parameters of what gear you have. So I think that would be a good, this would be a good opportunity to really, kind of, go through really quickly what I brought to the beach today. Just so we can, kind of, see what for a typical assignment like this I might have on hand. And one big disclaimer I want put on this entire session is two things. First of all, everything I say, take it with a grain of salt because I'm really only here to explain to you what my experience has been in photography and the way that I approach things. I'm not here to say it's the best method or it's the most tactful or most useful, you know, smartest way of approaching it. But for me, this is what I've found to be the most applicable. And secondly, you know, it's always important to just consider that, you know, when I'm really approaching these locations I'm trying to think of it like it's anything. Like I could be shooting, you know, I don't care if it's you know, rollerblading, or if it's, you know, you're going to shoot portraits at the beach or you're shooting for a commercial client or you're shooting for, just, on spec editorial or whatever that might be. I would feel like I would be approaching it in the same way. Right? So I want to use this as, sort of, an example because everybody here comes from different disciplines, right? And one of my initial disciplines was shooting surfing and shooting action sports. Okay, so, I want to, kind of, use this location as an example of how we can, sort of, apply this different types of photography to, you know, this one place. Right? So, just in your mind, think about, think about, okay this might not apply to me because I'm not going to be shooting the beach, well, you know, use these, sort of, things we're talking about as a way to apply it to your own style of work. I just want to pull out my bag and, kind of, show you guys what I brought. And this is, this is going to be an excessive amount of gear, because I, just kind of, want to show you the logistics of what I might need. This is an F-stop bag and, basically, just, it's, kind of, like a waterproof more rugged material, you know. If you're hiking around with bigger lenses or stuff like that it's really nice to have something that can, kind of, endure the elements. A lot of times when you're at the ocean you're dealing with, like, a lot of salt water spray that's hitting your camera and your bag. So, nice to have something that's not going to, like, deteriorate or get really crappy. Just, from, you know, kind of, being around salt and sand and all that stuff. Also, too, if you're on the beach, a lot of times you're setting your bag on the ground. Right? You don't want to have a front opening bag where your zippers and everything are getting onto the sand. This goes for anywhere, like I said. Dirt. You know, snow. All that stuff. It's really nice to have a bag that can withstand that material, that type of... condition on the front. Right? And all your camera gear is accessible from the back. So, open up this bag. My mock assignment for today would be, basically, going to the beach to, who knows, shoot the sunrise, shoot some landscapes, shoot a surfer if there are surfers out right now. Typically if it was, sort of, an assignment or an editorial thing I was working on, I would have talent there, you know. I'd have a surfer there, somebody I know, or someone like that and I would set it up more. Now, this is kind of one of those scenarios where I don't know what I'm going to see at the beach. Amazing, you know, sunrise with epic skies, so I might have brought a camera okay for landscapes, this and that. You know, could be really really good surf, so I might have brought my telephoto. So, I'm kind of prepared for any situation, right? And, keep in mind that, like I said, you know, you're approaching this location like it could be, you know any type of assignment, you know. But, for me, today, it's really just a matter of, kind of, waking up knowing the weather's sunny and clear and wanting to kind of bring any type of equipment I could to capture that. You know, whether it's an epic sunrise, whether I'm shooting some surfers, you know, out in the waves, whether I'm going to, you know, really anything. So, I want to be, kind of, ready for whatever comes our way and that's what I've really prepared today. And starting with, probably, this would be the lens that I would and the camera would shoot any type of action with. It's the... Sony A with the 70 to 400 lens. And this, kind of, basically, this camera, this whole kit, is 99 percent of what I would need to shoot action-wise from the beach, not from the water. This is what I would use. So, if it was, it doesn't really matter who it was, probably shooting bike racing, if I was shooting whatever, and I wanted to get that telephoto perspective, that compressed perspective, this is the camera I'd use. So, in addition to, you know, if I'm going to be walking around the beach that way or if I'm going to be walking down the beach that way, this is the perfect camera for that because I can just, you know, get back there and compress some of these objects into the frame. I can compress the pier and the mountains together. I can compress these, you know, cool little lifeguard towers into the shot. And this is probably the main tool I would use for that. This camera, not to spend too much time talking about it, but, I like it because it's lightweight. It can shoot eight, twelve frames a second, I think, as well. It's just super quick, fast focusing. And something that, you know, I love is the whole kit. I mean, there's, I've... Shot with like 600s, 500s, 400s, you know, primes and stuff in the past, and I just love the idea of having a zoom because it's lightweight and allows me to be, kind of, free without a tripod. I can move around, there's no ball and chain. And one thing you'll notice about me is that I really like, I really like the idea of lightweight systems that allow you the creativity to move around. And I feel like what you gain from those is greater than what you lose from not having a big fixed prime lens that's going to be a little sharper and a little brighter, right? For me, like, this is as good as it gets. In addition to that, I would also probably bring a 70 to 200. You know, this lens length covers the same lens length. But, this is just a little bit lighter set up and if I know I'm going somewhere or the waves are a little closer or if I'm shooting off the pier, this is an even more mobile setup to use, right? And this is just the Sony 70 to 200. Now, if, you know, I get to the beach and, basically, I'm like, wow, there's an amazing sunrise, you know, I want to shoot some landscapes or I want to shoot some wider perspectives, some landscape photos of the pier, or whatever it is. I would, you know, be definitely using a 16 to or a wide angle lens. And this is probably my go-to. This is the 16 to 35 Zeiss lens made for Sony. This is an A72, which is, basically, just the, you know, mirrorless A7 series. Are you guys familiar with these cameras at all? Yeah, so great camera. Has really good internal stabilization and this is, basically, my go-to for shooting anything that's daylight, landscape, or anything like that. If I could I would shoot everything on this. Absolutely. But, the reason I have this guy is just because it has a faster frame rate and it is a little more optimized, it's a lot more optimized for these lenses because it's the same mount, right? So this is A mount and this is E mount. Right. They have adapters that'll go from E mount to A mount, but, really, it's just this idea of, like, you know, for me, right now, keeping them separate because it's just easier. I think this lens, for me, is just, it''s my go-to. It's my all-around. I use is 90 percent of the time. This is what's on my camera. Right? And I find that most landscapes, most, you know, stuff where I'm shooting, you know, really close to my subject, even a lot of action I can shoot with this as well, when I have the ability to get close. Now with shooting surfing or shooting a lot of sports, you don't have the ability to get close, unless you're in the water. This is, kind of, my other go-to kit. So, really, all I need is these. Right? This is pretty much...if...if it was any other scenario, I'd just bring these two to the beach. And the one beauty of having lightweight cameras, is the fact that you can have two cameras for the size of, kind of, one. Right? So, I can have this thing ready to go on my neck and then this thing is sitting on a tripod or in a bag or whatever. And, and, you have the ability to kind of go between both. And that's what I love about that system. So, I brought a couple of other units with me here, as well. I have a 24 to 70. And, this is just a lens that I use a lot. It's, kind of, my secondary go-to when I'm shooting any, like, landscape, or any type of, just, nature stuff, or anything really, any assignment. I would say these two: the 16 to 35 and the 24 to 70 are my two favorite pieces. On a day like today, it's not really needed just because I know what I'm shooting and I know how large or how far away these objects are so I don't really quite need that. I would say if there's one camera I had be stuck with it would probably be this A6000. And, it's probably an interesting choice but, what I love about it is how small, how portable it is. When I'm backpacking, you know, through, you know, the...the Sierras or whatever, or if I'm on, in a, you know, intense travel scenario where I can't really bring a lot of gear or I'm just, you know, shooting people in, sort of, a crowded place, I love the ability to have this camera and be able to just shoot 11 frames a second and you can shoot sports with it, you can shoot action stuff. You can also, you know, oscillate the screen and be able to, you know, get perspectives where you can shoot portraits but still be looking at your subject. It has really the...It has... ultimately the exact same qualities as this camera, it's just a different package, right. Because this is completely mirrorless. So with this camera, what I brought was a 16 to 70 Zeiss which is, kind of, just, an amazing all around lens for this camera. As well, as... As well as as a ten to 18 wide angle, right? So, this is a great little lens that I'll use in a housing. It gets me an epic wide perspective if I need to shoot action really close, if I need to shoot in the water. And the reason I choose this in the water is simply because it's so small. And when you're swimming around with a camera above your head or like this, the last thing you want is a bunch of weight holding you down, right? So, size truly matters in that scenario. It's really crucial and it's important. And what I find is that, that, that camera and that package is one of the best systems for using in the water. It's actually, in a lot of ways, revolutionized being able to shoot in the water because in the past... to give you some perspective, in the past, in order to get 11 frames a second out of a 24 megapixel camera, you would need a competitor camera that was, you know, twice as big, twice as heavy, almost three times as heavy with a lens and a system that makes the whole entire package massive. Now that you can fit this all into something that's this small, it's really been incredible because you can take this out into scenarios and situations that you would never really feel comfortable in the past, right? And so that has been a lot of ways game changing. So, we'll, kind of, go over water housing systems a little bit later today. But, now that you kind of know the gear that I have, you've sort of seen, you know, that the... the products that I'm basically bring down to the beach for, for, you know, any normal day. We can, kind of, go check stuff out. And one thing I wanted to just, you know, reiterate, is like, what I really need to get by is probably just, you know, one setup like this. If my objective was just to shoot surfing, this is all I'd need to bring. Keep it lightweight, keep it simple. I've brought, kind of, a variety here really just to show you the different things that I could shoot, you know. I've got my 16 to 35 if I wanted to go shoot some landscapes of the pier, underneath the pier with water moving. If I, you know, if I want to go shoot in the water, I've got that setup. So, it, kind of, changes. One thing I also would always bring that I love about smaller cameras is that they can actually charge through, like, a small portable USB charger. Because they can...because they don't take a lot of amps to, basically, charge the battery. So, I can charge it through any, like, I think 2.4 amp small little, little device like this. So, this is basically what I would bring as a backup as well as batteries, you know. But just in an emergency scenario, I can always charge my cameras with something like this. This is just a Goal Zero Venture 30. It's, like, waterproof, shock-proof, little charger. As well as the phone, right. It's such as crucial part of, like, being able to communicate with who's down here and stuff, as well. So that's that. I guess let's head, kind of, out towards the pier and, sort of, look at some different perspectives of what we could shoot.

Class Description


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Full-length class: The Outdoor Photography Experience with Chris Burkard

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Shooting outdoor photography is a powerful way to commune with nature and experience the fullness of life. Learn how to train your eye on incredible shots and convey the energy of the outdoors in The Outdoor Photography Experience with Chris Burkard.

Chris’s beloved images of life on the world’s coasts are alive with action and emotion. In this class, he’ll share the tools and techniques he uses to capture the photographs he sells to magazines, brands, collectors, and publishers.

You’ll learn about his shooting style and the gear he brings on his global adventures. He’ll also talk about the business of photography and share tips on marketing and selling your work.

If you want insights on how to create rich, dramatic images that let you enjoy more time outdoors, don’t miss your chance to learn from Chris Burkard in The Outdoor Photography Experience.