Introducing the Custom SLR Dual Camera Strap

You've been asking for it, and it's finally here! We're excited to announce our newest product, the Custom SLR Dual Camera Strap. Designed with the busy, multi-tasking photographer in mind, the Dual Strap combines the ease of use of our Glide One Strap with the comfort of our Split Strap Technology™ to bring you the ultimate dual camera harness system.

The Dual Strap System - $134.95

    • Split Strap Technology™: Distributes weight evenly to reduce pain/fatigue and provides superior ventilation
    • Silicone Print: Reduces slippage
    • Unique Ergonomic Design: Conforms to shoulder for unparalleled comfort
    • Instant access: Cameras sit at your side and glide up the strap, allowing you to take pictures quickly
    • Universal Fit: Compatible with any camera and fits most users

The Dual Camera Strap Kit - $24.95

For our loyal customers who already own a Glide One Strap, the kit contains a sternum strap and back pad to convert two Custom SLR Glide One Straps (not included) into one dual camera harness system.

Already Own a Glide One Strap? Buy 1 Glide One Strap, Get 50% Off the Dual Camera Strap Kit

We've got an exclusive deal for Custom SLR customers. If you already own a Glide One Strap, you only need one more to create the Custom SLR Dual Strap. For a limited time*, get 50% off the Dual Camera Strap Kit when you purchase it with a Glide One Strap. Here's how:

  1. Add 1 Glide One Strap + 1 Dual Camera Strap Kit to your cart
  2. Enter discount code “GODUAL" at checkout. *Discount code expires 7/12/2015 .

See the Dual Camera Strap

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Behind the Scenes on a KW Suspensions Photoshoot

Words and photos by John Pangilinan

I typically don’t shoot models, and while I surround myself with cars and car culture, I really don’t shoot vehicles too often. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, but I have too many talented car photographer friends in the industry that simply are experts in this field, so I usually leave these projects for them. But when KW Suspensions told me their creative concept for the shoot I couldn’t turn this project done as I’ve worked with the company for several years at various levels, and they supply me with suspension for my project cars. The project called for two shoots with two different models in two locations and with several vehicles for images to be used for marketing materials including two posters.

What initially drew me to the project was the collection of Porsche 911s that ranged from early air-cooled models to their latest flagship for the marque. Each 911 represented a unique style from the Hoonigan RWB 911 with aggressive styling with its wider arched fenders sitting low to the ground to BBI Autosport’s red Carrera that is more performance and sport oriented. The challenge would be to assemble the group of cars together in a fashion that would show off each one equally for the poster. 

The venue KW selected was gorgeous: A private collector’s garage nestled in a secret location in Los Angeles. The recently renovated mid-century factory has been transformed into the ultimate man cave with exposed wood beams and polished concrete floors. The vehicles were positioned with various lighting sources from soft window light from the factory windows to the skylights, but this also created some shadows in unwanted places. To help balance the light we positioned a couple Einstein lights to help light the front of a few of the vehicles. 

The first step was to position a giant ladder off center to give the room a little definition, making sure to include the details of the building, while showing off each of these beautiful machines. For the next part, we strategically re-positioned each vehicle ensuring each one got proper exposure. Obviously, the vehicle on the lift was permanently affixed to that location, but we were able to raise and lower it slightly. 

The beautiful red 911 was placed in the center with a couple of the white 911s flanked around it. A mint green Porsche remained on a lift in the back and the client wanted to keep the parts surrounding the car to maintain the authenticity of the working garage.

Enter the KW spokesmodel, Lisa Marie. I’ve known Lisa for a couple years from her work within the Formula Drift motorsports series, but I’ve never shot her before (remember I don’t usually shoot models). We decided on a couple outfits for the shoot, but for the final poster we elected to use a very simple and clean black dress with high heels for an elegant look to match the sports cars. I chose to not have her stare directly at the camera as I wanted to convey a little bit of mystery. She was a pro and really made my job easy making slight changes in her poses with each flash of the strobe. Here is the end result that was printed as a poster that would be given to KW’s fans at events and to their dealer network.

I took additional photos of each vehicle and Lisa. The photos were distributed among the vehicle owners and could be used for the KW website. Lisa didn’t mind getting down and dirty, which made the shoot much more fun and playful. I try to develop a good rapport with the person from the beginning and this always pays off for the final shots.

 

For the second part of the day we traveled to Downtown Los Angeles to an industrial part of town that housed the clothing brand Hoonigan and the wheel company Fifteen52. Nicknamed the “Donut Shop,” the graffiti-adorned wall would become the backdrop, while professional driver Ken Block’s Ford Fiesta ST street car would be the featured vehicle.

The ability to adapt to various environments is a huge asset when shooting on location. The conditions of this location were not ideal with a lot of dirt and debris on the ground and fresh tire marks. (As we arrived, our friend Hert decided to do an impromptu drifting demo which was great, but also left a mess to clean.) The tire marks actually looked great after we swept the ground before parking the Fiesta in place. I then made sure I didn’t ask the model to sit on the ground until after we got the rest of the shots.

We began the shoot in the mid afternoon and the sun was still pretty high, but luckily the wall provided a little bit of shade and the car was wrapped in a matte charcoal that soaked up the sun's rays rather than reflecting them. To fight off the bright sun, we again used a couple Einstein’s, one to light up the vehicle slightly and one to light the model.

For the model, Angela, this was her first professional shoot. At first she was a bit timid, but she eased into the role throughout the shoot, gaining confidence with every click of the shutter. Part of the job is making sure the subject is comfortable, which may take some coaxing and I’ve learned a few compliments early can pay off. The client wanted a more “street” style shot and the hoodie provided by Hoonigan gave just a slight edge to her outfit. She did a great job, and I had plenty of images at the end to choose from. Here is the end result and a few portraits.

For this shoot I brought along my video team to document the behind the scenes of the shoot and create a couple Instagram videos to help promote the posters and new spokesmodels for the season.

KW and ST Suspensions 2015 Poster Shoot from John Pangilinan on Vimeo.

Additional thanks to Andrew at Stanceworks for a few more behind the scenes photos.

 

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Father's Day Gift Deal: Get a $25 Gift Card When You Place a $100 Order on Custom SLR

Father's Day, June 21, is almost herebut it's not too late! On Customslr.com, get a free $10 gift card when you spend $50 or more, or a $25 gift card when you spend more than $100. So treat yourself to some new gear, and get an instant gift you can email to your dad.

Terms & Conditions: This offer ends at 11:59 pm PDT June 21, 2015. Once you place an order on customslr.com that is over $50 (before shipping & taxes), you will receive an email from us within 24 hours with your gift card. There is no need to add the gift card to your cart. You may not trade in the gift card to be applied to your original purchase. 

Shop CustomSLR.com

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Always Check Your C-Loop Before Use

We get it. As photographers, we’re so used to just grabbing our cameras and rushing to the next shoot that we often forget to check our gear first.

If you’re using the Custom SLR C-Loop, please make sure to always check your C-Loop’s tightness before using it with your camera. Though the C-Loop is made with the highest level of craftsmanship and is intended to stay tight, it can become loose after repeated use. However, it should not become loose easily. If your C-Loop is having issues staying tight or rotating properly, please contact support@customslr.com.

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Shooting at Red Bull Crashed Ice in a Snowstorm

Words and photos by Ryan Taylor

Nikon D4 300mm 2.8 F5.6 1/1250 ISO 1000

The image above is the result of an ongoing evolution that finally came to fruition one snowy night in Minnesota. Over the past four years I have been covering Red Bull Crashed Ice in my home state. It’s an event deemed “The Fastest Sport on Skates,” in which four athletes race down a track made of ice with features similar to what you would see on a boarder cross track. It’s an intense week of shooting and one that I look forward to every year.

Besides shooting the event, part of my duties were to shoot the qualifiers leading up to the event. Since there aren’t existing tracks around the U.S., athletes qualify by racing on an obstacle course set on hockey rinks across the state.

The qualifiers are fun, but shooting so many of them over the years has allowed me to explore different ideas and techniques in order to keep it fresh and unique. I tend to shoot wide and tight, oftentimes low to the ground. I like to feel like I am part of the action, and I want my images to represent that as well.

With that idea in mind, I broke out my Nikkor 14-24mm and skates and got on the ice. I positioned myself on a hard 180-degree turn that I noticed skaters were having to take super sharp, almost coming to a stop at times. In my mind this was the highest point of action in the course.

Nikon D4 14-24 2.8 F3.5 1/1000 ISO 3200

In order to get the camera low to the ground I had to “shoot from the hip” if you would. Holding the camera by the vertical grip and upside down allowed me to get the lens lower to the ice. As an added bit of stability I would pull on the camera strap on my left hand in order to get the camera in the same position every time. After years of shooting like this, I have gained a bit of muscle memory that has allowed me to shoot confidently without the viewfinder at times.

As I tried to get closer and closer, the spray off the skates would hit the lens. For the most part I was cleaning it off, but there were times that I didn't have time or notice between heats. The addition of the water droplets created an extra layer to the image that I thought added an element of energy. I chose to amplify this energy, at times even dripping water off my fingers to add more in the areas that needed it. I also decided to intensify the drops by adding a speed light shot directly into the lens. The results were great, and I got a ton of great feedback from my editors at Red Bull.

As event day approached, I knew I wanted to do something different from the standard event coverage. I had requested access to the track for a private shoot with an athlete at sunset. Claudio Caluori, a veteran and ambassador to the sport, stepped up and agreed to take part in the shoot. Everything was set and scheduled, but as we got closer to the shoot a giant snowstorm rolled in causing long delays and many setbacks for the event. As I watched the snow fall I started coming to the realization that I might not get permission to do my on-track shoot.

Several hours after the scheduled shoot time, and as I was just about to give up completely, I was asked by one of the event organizers if I still wanted to go through with the shoot. At this point I didn't even know that it was still an option, but I knew that we had to do it.

By now it was dark and the snow was coming down like crazy. I had a feeling it was going to make for a better image than if I shot at sunset like we had planned. The temperature was hanging right around freezing which resulted in that heavy, wet snow that sticks to everything. The track had almost a foot of snow on it and the crew from Hangman Productions was hustling to remove the snow, even though it was accumulating just as fast as they could shovel.

I placed myself yet again on the outside of a sharp 180-degree turn that I had scoped out earlier in the week. Without much time, I dove right into the same concept I had been doing with all the qualifying rounds. I placed an SB800 directly in front of me with the expectation that Claudio would cover the strobe on the turn. Then I placed another SB800 directly to my right about 90 degrees to bring up his face and add a little edge. I didn’t do much for a fill light because I knew that the return from all the snow would brighten him up a bit, plus I wanted him a bit on the darker down side to add some intensity.

Nikon D4 14-24 2.8 @14 F5.6 1/160 ISO800

We got about half a dozen tries so we had to move fast. Everyone was exhausted from the day, and the crew wanted the track back so they could clear it for the event that night. It was safe to say that patience was a commodity at this point. After the first couple of tries, I noticed that Claudio really needed to hammer on the turn. He skated back up to the start and dropped in, this time really going tight on the turn causing a wall of snow to land in the lens. Based on what I had been doing in qualifiers, I decided not to clean the lens and sent him for another run. The results are what you see above. The droplets reflected on the lens added even more intensity. Everyone was stoked.

It’s definitely one of my favorite shots and shoots that I have had. And it’s proof that you should always go shoot during the storm. The results will be better than shooting in the expected, and the story is a memorable one.

RBCI BTS from Ryan Taylor on Vimeo.

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