Pismo Beach - Shooting on the Pier

 

The Outdoor Photography Experience

 

Lesson Info

Pismo Beach - Shooting on the Pier

so now we're going to jump back to this pier location and kind of one of things I want to reiterate when we head back to pismo beach california and our appreciate videos is this idea of sort of approaching the location that you've never been before being now the beauty of one of my favorite things to do is when I have a commercial project is to go somewhere that I've already been before you because you you kind of have a working knowledge right but I mean how often are we going somewhere for the first time you know it's always kind of tough right like you don't know where the light's going to be you don't really know like one of the angles one of the best perspectives is kind of where that you know pre you know shoot google search scout sort of thing works really well but nothing really beats you know just being there on the day of and trying to kind of make the best you know pictures you can write it's always a tough day and you guys you know found these scenarios where you had to lik...

e do something like that where you just like scattered rain don't know where to go don't want to be lights good you know I mean we're seeing a lot of head shaking yes I'm sure you guys can relate but that that for me is one of the most stressful scenarios to be in right it's where you just you don't really have a bearing on where you want to go so um so I love you know this little section of approaching it like it's it's a new location you know what are we looking for you know we're looking for these elements of foreground background you know good lighting contrast and one of those things like the last thing I really want to do is just you know look down from the pier shoot a photograph of someone surfing on blue water you know it's like the most it's like the thing that you do if you want to create the least amount of death you know because your photograph just looks flat you know um and I think you know speaking to the idea you know always kind of having in the back your mind this little editorial idea or concept and when I say editorial I really always me I guess use it kind of loosely because I typically think that magazine photos you know printed photos in a magazine look a lot better than advertisements write sometimes advertisements are really tight there's logo's like very you know add feels like an an ad you know which usually isn't like always the coolest thing um there's a lot of ads nowadays they're coming around look great but thinking editorial it's like you're looking for that rat just awesome shot that could that could be picked for a photo section of a magazine or something so I always kind of having that perspective in the back of your mind when you're shooting you know giving it more space one of the best things too I learned magazine when I interned there years and years ago and just from working with them tons of them over the years was leaving room for space you know for things to be cropped in like I was blown away when I saw one of the coverage go to print and I realized like oh my gosh it's not vertical imagine that they don't need to be vertical you know in fact when I I speak spoken to the director and he had mentioned you know he's like we love having room to work with you mean digital cameras nowadays you're hard pressed to find digital camera that can't be used as a cover of a normal magazine right the quality is so good uh the issue you find is that people don't leave room you know for to be moved around for space for things like that so you're always better I think giving a little more space in your imagery and obviously that comes back to your artistic conception of what you want to shoot but I find that never be too worried about that you know there's always they need room to bleed and cut and add text and do all these different things so it's super important to give a little breath to your images so uh we will jump into this kind of pismo pierre perspective video there's about four five videos and I want to just I want to just kind of between each because of questions or audience has questions let's let's interjected basically have these five videos will kind of go through really quick when you approach any location right you always gotta think like we talked about your equipment right what did you actually bring to use shoot well if your assignment was to go out shoot surfing day you'd probably want to utilize the closest you know the closest place you could get to the surfers is usually the most dynamic unless you have a big telephoto or a piece of equipment that can allow you to get further I'm guessing most you guys you have more wide angle lenses you don't have like a four hundred tucked away in your shoulder bag right so the pier really provides that close proximity but I think that the hardest part really is to come to a location like this shoot a photograph that it's feels a little different feels a little more unique and it always feels three dimensional right I think that's one thing that always sort of looking for in regards to creating good imagery is like what are the things that we can implement our photographs they're going to make them feel three dimensional give them contrast you know uh good use of foreground background the rule of thirds all these things that make it stand out because I think so much of our imagery nowadays is either appreciating a digital space meaning like it's on on our phones or online or some like that or you know they're not not always reprinting our work nowadays too so figure out how things can really jump off that screen and you know and that for me is I'm not here really teach you guys how I shoot specifically but I want you to more just consider all these elements of what could go into a shot so that being said you know we're basically like halfway out to the pier right and we're kind of looking at the light how it how it changes here and all of a sudden we've gotten you know thirty feet above the ground and it's just you can already see how landscape really starts to kind of open up right all of a sudden we've elevated and rather than everything being on this one plain like this right all of a sudden now we're here and the whole landscape kind of peters out before us right so it's really a nice way to get some height right that's one of the best things so like we said before you know you have a zoom lens it's kind of a tendency to still want to like stand back and zoom in you know but the best way you're ever gonna build azuma just using your legs right so elevating trying to get on the higher perspective trying to you know move closer to your subject interact morning and the funny thing about that is that close you get eventually takes you to the water right so for objective like this it would it would be to kind of move ultimately into the scene and be a part of it right but right now we're basically um walking out toward the end of the pier so we're gonna kind of see what that perspective looks like in terms of getting right above the servers of the athlete so I think one thing that you guys is gonna be super important is to really evaluate first and foremost like uh you know where the where the best surf would be right you're on appear you have two sides okay um you have you know the north side and the south side right let's let's study these and think about you know what's going to give us the most unique and engaging shot well it kind of depends on what you want to implement into your photograph right if your goal is just to kind of walk right out to that diamond right there and shoot straight down you know that it doesn't really matter but if you want to include little bit of background well this way you know you have the sun that rose on this side so it's a little higher contrast there's a little more dynamic range going on there's your whites are a little more blown out and because you have the sun kind of coming this direction over here it's a bit more front ley a bit more kind of traditional front lit but you have amazing mountains behind you right so if your goal was to kind of shoot a pullback perspective that would be something really great to infuse into your shot from this location right um and then of course you have to look at both sides of the well where is the best surf you know which side is gonna be the best surfing like I said this should apply to really anything I don't care we're gonna be shooting mountain biking or paragliding or whatever kind of these principles really apply to any location and how you approach it right so on the north side our people moving away from you okay well if the moving away from you then all you can really get is their backside and it could be cool but it might not be a cz unique well on this side of a moving away from your they moving towards you moving toward you it's gonna feel a little more dynamic right now if if we had gotten here right when the sun rose like directly when the sun rose over the hill right over there this side will probably be the one that I would go to whitey the light is all golden it's really beautiful and I love shooting into that light right in the morning right um and it would just give you an amazing contrast now it's you know maybe the son's in prison for about thirty forty minutes right so now the other side is really for me at least a little more visually appealing and it's just to each their own one of the things I like about this location over here is that if you wanted to approach it with a wider angle lens you could fill your frame better because you have mountains and ocean right and you have and sky right so you have this kind of a little bit mohr object you could kind of fill that frame with over here you know you have a lot of beautiful sky and you have the c but it's just it's just kind of starts to get more one dimensional right so this would give you a little more depth because you have that contrasts in that landscape behind it but once he and it all depends on how you want to shoot if you want to shoot why did you want to shoot type I think it's approaching it in any scenario we would be really good well let's keep on keeping on we're gonna walk out to the second diamond here and we're gonna kind of look at it from down perspective so right now we're really in a kind of a really unique location because there's not a lot of places where you khun be basically on a pier or right above someone performing their sport or whatever it is like you know think about ski mountain biking all these things you don't really get these opportunities tonight necessary be right above someone whether doing that so the pier is a very unique perspective but it's also really hard to shoot something different because everyone stands right here right so a couple things that I find that always help shooting in the best light that you can and I don't necessarily mean like perfect sunrise perfect sunset okay some of my best work has always been when that conditions are really crappy and I'm out there anyway waiting for that little glimpse for a moment of light right so if it was totally cloudy and but the waves were good and there was maybe a little tiny like glint of potential sunlight coming through that's where I'd want to be waiting for that light right because it could happen it could be amazing eso always kind of preparing yourself in setting yourself up for opportunity for good light to occur this morning and we're up early which is great um now kind of the problem to the edge here so we can kind of see is you kind of look down at the color of the water you know you can see what is happening with the sun in the way that basically that sun is really lighting up the backs of these waves so for me in a lot of ways that's one of the most unique perspectives on the beach because you know you can shoot front lit into the pier it's beautiful you know that that's a really good safe angle you know when I say safe I mean like you're going to get you know you're going to get everything you're gonna get your athlete and the subject and the whole thing all kind of framing toe one but sometimes it's not the most unique perspective to get right and sometimes I love this because you're shooting into the sun you know you have the ability to capture like that beautiful green light that's coming off back there you see that light so looking for unique lighting scenarios anything that you do write anywhere you approach because because the easiest senator just kind of like walker here like oh cool well sam sam stop but if you kind of try a little harsher perspective you know shooting into the sun here you know nine shots out of ten are probably terrible you might get that one that's really unique and maybe somebody doesn't air maybe somebody you know is all long board and they just like have there you know there cruising on the back of the wave and this really beautiful silhouette right that's kind of what I'm always looking for is what's what's a unique different perspective and one thing I would I would recommend that I think every photographer has a problem with especially me is when you've gone to a place and you shot something that you like never go back to that same location because that's what we do we always do that and it's it's like a sickness right it's like you're just obsessed with like okay I'm gonna go back to the same spot to go back to the same spot and it's always important to kind of go back try something different now today like I said we went to the beach had no set plans right we really didn't really plan to be like great I'm gonna I'm gonna come out here on a shoot like with nestle an athlete that I set up or I'm gonna shoot landscapes I just want to kind of approach the scene and see what looks good one thing that's important you guys though is when you when you do come to your location come with come with an idea come with concept people always ask me you know they say oh you know you're going to iceland you're going somewhere well what you know how do you plan out your shots well two things I do as much research as I can in the place because I really am a firm believer in this idea that the more you know the less you need right so if you come places with concepts and ideas like if your goal was to shoot this peer and you had to shoot all these perspectives what would you want well you know you might you know wanna have somebody you know planned out surfing so you could go and shoot them surfing you might want to have somebody you know on the beach over there riding bikes you could shoot them right you plan out some of these shots and then the second thing is you kind of prepare yourself for the unexpected meaning you allow yourself to be open for things that could just happen like running into a friend who's gonna draw the pier and you how are you gonna shoot that well luckily I've got my wide angle here and I have you know a camera that I know I could shoot this with and I think it's gonna look really cool so let's shoot at them all right so for me I'm gonna grab my a seven a six thousand it's fast frame rate eleven frames a second right I'm gonna shoot it with my wide angle lens on there and I'm gonna shoot into the sun the reason being is because that's gonna provide me the most contrast with his you know dark object black body's going to be jumping with his wet suit on jumping off the pier right here and I can get this totally wide perspective I love the fact that I can show the pier because if he's just jumping often to space I mean it could be a diving board it could be a cliff who knows but I want to give some perspective for where I am remember if my objective is to document this location this pier then I want to give you hints of what what it's like to be there you know why would a subject jump up here you know those things so that this is really kind of more of a study of you know how do we infuse you know this landscape bits and elements of our location into the shot right so I'm going to go through my settings really quick I'm gonna put it on burst mode right I'm gonna make sure that I've actually got like my auto focus on so what are some ways we could shoot this well just just for you guys is perspective you know I might approach this and shoot ah higher f stop because if I'm gonna get the sun in the shot if that's the angle I want to get I it could make the sun into a star by shooting it f sixteen year higher okay you guys familiar with that that method yeah exactly sonny sixteen right so the wider angle we'll give you we'll make it easier for you too so I'm shooting like almost a fisheye here it's like a eighty millimeter um and james what I might do is maybe can you set up right here like right no I just want you to jennifer you're bored but maybe set up right here and then uh like on top of this thing and then I might have you wait I mean have you jump out like this james like if you stand on this jump out this way right but yeah and then as soon as the set comes out have you why have you go stone I don't eat crap alright here's this wave so I assume this wave comes just jump out when you jump out don't talk you're bored right away right so as soon as this one kind of passes underneath us you go all right one two jump out so that's that I'm not sure if you guys could actually see my camera are how I shot it but you're welcome to try if you want but check us out so what I really liked about this was so I've got a little star right where the sun is ok I shot a really white perspective and what I did was I elevated a little bit because I knew that you know he's not going to jump above me right and I can't the problem is if I got low so I would approach in two ways I want him to be kind of a silhouette right I want him to really be identifiable right there's only two ways to do that it's either get him in the skyline or get him contrast against the ocean because if he's you know if I have pills behind him or the city behind them it's just gonna look really busy right it's gonna kind of take away from like the simple nous and sort of the coolness of the shot right so when I decided to do is elevate myself a little bit by getting up on the pier so that once he jumped he was gonna be contrast id in this pool this pool of light over here like where the sun is pushing this big glare he's kind of contest in that big pool of light now this probably goes against ninety percent of like photography rules like you know shoot don't shoot into the sun you know your photo's me blown out well you know to be honest I could care less about those things really I think that the goal is for me is about always creating images that feel engaging and accessible and attainable and I really love this idea of shooting kind of attainable adventure right and this is one of those perfect examples of how you can capture that and you know a good photograph is going is really meant to break all the rules you know you're not really need to shoot perfect light or into the sun or listen that way have a classic just dismal vibe going on right now um yeah but if you want to kind of theirs any nothing else you want to look into the shot you know you can see like once once it's pulled onto the computer to you know be able to see like his body's kind of contrast against their have the pier sort of leading off in this direction yeah the suns in a star you know and I saw how that kind of green cool light right one that's nice about these cameras you khun you can look into here and see it so if you want to check out this little piece because you and I under expo I under expose it just slightly right because I mainly mainly because I know that in post I can just I can rework that but I didn't want to lose the detail the sun star right so I think one one big thing for me in terms of uh and I'll talk about this later in the workshop is just when it comes to post processing as well as shooting um always knowing what your cameras can give you meaning like understanding how much if if this camera's fourteen stops dynamic range using those stops meaning that I know what I can bring back what I can bring out so that I can better capture my scene right I'm I'm always aiming to push my gear to the limit like us faras I can go right cause I want to really make sure it is like maximizing the potential of these cameras right so that means shooting at super late handholding maybe when I shouldn't be shooting into the sun during things like that like you know be a rebel you know I always tell you like the rebel break break the rules right like it's there's there's no set rules I don't care what you read in books or this and that I think that the most important thing is that when you're shooting photos if the images and the content feels engaging to you then it's usually gonna feel engaging to the viewer right so and if it's a moment that feels exciting and stuff like that and that's really the key so um yeah just finding ways to kind of better articulate that and I think when we dive into this this chapter of social media of all things you actually learn ah lot quicker how those things really apply because what we're able to do is use social media as a tool to really understand aggregate information for ourselves to what images people are responding to what they aren't right which is really great because that is should be the tell all of what is really the content we should be shooting right is what is what is kind of what our fan base is interacting with that video uh was kind of a good example of just like shooting a moment that it just happened I actually didn't plan for him to be there we just kind of like we saw in the parking lot on k you might doing this you know for this little thing and it kind of worked out great because he was going surfing that day anyway so it was it was a good example of just china shooting that little off the cuff moment but I wanted teo asked us seventy first of all he has any questions on that last segment we watched yeah we have a phone please do you shoot in the raw file format always always yes okay um how does permitting work for shooting commercial working yosemite rather like parks uh that's a tricky one you know luckily what we were doing in yosemite was had nothing to do with commercial work but I know it would probably be a nightmare I think that the one of the really important things and really the only reason we were able to do this class there was because there was no commercial value attached to it right it was basically just me going on a road trip and shooting on it's back and then kind of basically talking about exactly how I would have I would go inducing like that although if you having clinicians to sell images or if you are going there for brand or a company anywhere um you better be getting a permit to photograph something there or a commercial photography permit or you better be willing to suffer the consequences because that's always something that could come back to bite you in the butt you know because the client or the brand or the magazine they're not going to responsible for it but if I go to shoot a photo of somebody trail running in yosemite and then six months later sell it to a magazine that's usually you do not need a permit for that that's totally fair and square and there's no issue there um but yeah but if you're on on assignment for somebody and that's what you're doing and you're going there then yeah you definitely want to look into that and be educated on that for sure yeah releases ifyou'd for take pictures of ah sir for you it's always your friend whom you asked earlier if it's somebody in the public and he's going something out in nature the there is no need for release on that you know if you're shooting like surfers some random surfer gets printed a surf magazine you know it's a it's a different it's for editorial it's it's totally different if they were on the cover and it was their face and they were using their likeness it'd be different you know but and also tio it's it's completely different for a commercial client you know if somebody was you were selling a photo to some you know thats why it or some like that and there was random people you could you don't know who they were but they could identify themselves then you need to get a permit if you cannot identify that person if they're a little subject somewhere way in the background if nobody could identify them and there's no need for to get a release from them right but like you said what surfing though if you were to show up at the beach and there was people surfing you took a photo of it and someone published it that should be fair and square because they're enjoying a public activity out in the public you know so yes a picture of the skateboarder coming around the bend um is that something that you would need to have a permit forks that was kind of spec work or spec speculation meaning no no even though you may be you sold it to them like it's some later date yeah like I just said just if you're going there to shoot something even if you're going there with the you know hopes of maybe you know maybe if you're going in shooting something on el cap and in the hopes of maybe someday selling it you know if you don't if you don't actually have an assignment you don't actually have a commercial job that's paying you to be there if everything's come out of your pocket you're just they're shooting it for own purposes then you're covered and I'm going to say you know like I said take everything I'm saying with great assault because someone might be out there saying no that's not true of all but and you know it's every case is different I think it's just important for us to kind of do our research look into those things and that what I've usually found is that in a lot of ways you're more protected if you go there not on spector's shooting on your own right because if you go there if you have you know an assignment to do our or this you're shooting models you're setting up studio lights or strobes that's usually a really good sign that you're gonna be there shooting something for a commercial use you know um any of the photographs that I've ever sold from those locations I have usually have always been sold way later you know or they've been or it's been something where it was permanent you know like shooting the dawn wall or something for patagonia it was something that you know I was there for them they already had it all set up and everything but I agree it's a very gray area it's super important for us all to kind of look into and be educated as I'm sure you guys have heard like horror stories or this and that and I've seen them you know horror stories you know a company it uses an image from an area and that somebody shot a year ago and they're like you never permit like well when I shot it there was no need you know it's like I mean my friend climbing somewhere so so yeah I mean it typically the rule of thumb is editorial you don't need permits with um and with commercial you do and then like I said that's just a rule of thumb it's not true for every scenario you know but yeah it's kind of a gray area that's kind of a kind of a sensitive tricky subject you know what that I find too like ninety percent of the time people I'm shooting are just random people so they're friends of mine it's always easy to get a model release you know model releases were always a good thing to have to be honest if you if the person's ever in question if you don't know what they're going to see them again there's amazing apse for model releases right on your phone you can just putting their info they consigned their name it's all done you can email them a copy super easy to dio um I find that always getting him on a release is just a good thing luckily a lot of the guys that that I will shoot photos ever like you know assistant that I have a friend that I know or someone like that um and it's just it's easy to grab them but I tend to usually do that just in case after a shoot you know even if it's a personal trip that I'm doing this that is the worst thing is like I'm out of the country my agents like hey we sold this image of yours do you know this isn't like yeah this guy no idea how to get ahold of them you know dang it yeah it's like a total nightmare and so that's that's always a really tricky thing you know it is making sure that you have those security everything's good to go last thing tio you know I know I know that in the video you know we kind of talked about like looking for that unique lighting situation and you know what I was kind of saying was uh what I was seeing was like the back of the wave but this really beautiful green like light that was kind of coming off right so um I think in any scenario you know looking for something that's unique you know we talk I think as photographers were typically like at least for me I like a lot of times I'm trying to embrace these like dark clouds or this kind of misty you know you know not the bluebird sunny skies right because I think that it can it can really enhance the images sometimes and you have a great question in the yosemite section you know you said like what do you do if you go there and this the conditions are just really crappy you know or whatever it is and I can remember specifically a couple trips I've done liketo iceland you know where I was um another places where I have an idea gone somebody in the weather was just really bad you know andi still shot a bunch of random stuff anyway and it's looking back it's like and I've been back to those places sense with blue skies and I realized that the images that looked the best were the ones where it wasn't the best locations the one where it was soap pea soup fog that you know people were disappearing into the fog and looked really unique or whatever and I think it's just a matter of working with what you have in front of you you know you you you know your assignment is uh you know documenting beautiful coastal california but all you're getting is a pea soup fog well then you know you kind of just have to make do with that figure out what you can do either artificially or or or with natural light to kind of get the best stuff that you can't you know I think I mentioned in here you know if you're working for a commercial client and your job is to get this one shot I mean for me at least you know person by his personal style will go out the window because you want to make sure you come back with the right imagery you know whether that means using strobes or using reflector doing this and that you just kind of make do with it the last thing I wanted to know it was was this idea of really understanding you guys cameras I think that the more you work with your cameras night when I say work I mean like shooting and processing and shooting and processing and taking them into light room and editing them it's going to give you such a better concept of what you can kind of get away with um in post production right so for example I was trying to shoot like this the sun kind of into a star and that was like not a really great example of it but it was kind of doing a little bit of a flair do you guys know what you typically would do two feet too get a star in your image to make the sun into a star yeah f sixteen or higher or a wider lens we'll do it right so wide angle lens or f sixteen basically high have stopped will make well basically dials your son into like a really cool unique star and it's a great way to shoot something like midday and getting awesome effect with it now um for me too it's like maybe that's the effect I want but I can't really get the quite right I s o vs f stop versus shutter speed to get that all in one frame you know so that's where you know knowing like okay I can shoot a little darker I can shoot a little lighter I khun you know I can work these files to be what I want later you know when you have to understand that just like you know the photo shop or the the color correcting process is in a very few ways different than a dark room process of traditional photography you know the way that you know answered a lot of these amazing guys would shoot is so different than what you would see in the printed you know printed on the wall you know they're shooting so that they're you know preserving and basically bringing their image back to a very flat even keel surface so that all the exposure's eurozone metering and you know it is all basically even doubts that when they go into darker that they can work with things individually to brighten up this to brighten up that right and if you looked at the negative it might look really darker might look really bright or whatever but with a digital file it's the same thing you know so in these scenarios trying to shoot based on what I want because I'm never like I'm not going out to always keep on social media is look at my camera check this out right it's like you're you're you're shooting based on how you want to post process and raw files are meant to be post process they are absolutely you know when I used to shoot film it was I'm gonna shoot slide film val via or ect a chrome and val via was what I wanted to shoot to get those amazing rich blues right if I want to shoot actor chrome it was evening time in california because each film had special properties right one would plot amazing greens were amazing blues you'd use them all according to what you really wanted shoot right so that was super important and I think just in the same way every camera sensor you know digital cameras and has different properties and so we'll get into this more tomorrow but I just want to kind of speak to the idea of like knowing your cameras know what they can handle right I try to push my gear to the limit meaning man lenses everything I'm handholding stuff when I shouldn't I'm getting thousands of bad shots to everyone good shot you know I'm really trying to push my mike equipment as faras I can go because I feel like that is really how you make great images you know you you push that you ride that line um but the more that we we known understand our equipment what it could do for us the more we can get away with right so yeah you know corrosion even though they're in a waterproof container like from this all in the actual camera from the salt water never and I mean if they're in a waterproof container just dealing with the environment I mean the key thing really with any camera that's around the salt all the time I mean it's brutal you have winds are blowing like salty air on your cameras really bad you know fresh water he's really not that bad for a catherine like you wipe it down you do all this you let thing dr it's fine I've drop cameras into lakes before and dried them out and they've worked great so it's just obviously depends on how weather sealed the thing is everything but I tend to usually if I'm using it and really salty conditions I will afterwards I'll go home I'll take a rag and I'll just wipe it down with some clean water let it sit blow it out I also have some other products I'll talk to you guys about tomorrow little bit about like how to dry out electronics when you guys um if anything happens to um yeah but I mean I've I tend to kind of try to take care of them as I'm usually really rough on in the mind of shooting and then afterwards kind of like I'm sorry I'm sorry but you know the reason I ask is I paddleboard outright ocean and I don't have a waterproof container so I've been risking it but you know I was just wondering if I'm ruining my camera I mean the more time it spends your assault assault waters by the worst thing that or like magnetic black sand which is brutal too because it actually like adheres to your sensor it's really hard to get off so

Class Description


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.

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