Hasselblad at the Denver Auto Show by Justin Fritts

So it was the Denver Auto Show a few weeks back and while I really wanted to check out the latest from GM, Ford and Mercury (/sarcasm) I kept getting pulled toward the old cars and the super cars.  I carried with me my Canon 5D2 but also on this wonderful day I decided to try to kill a role of Kodak 400TX that I had shot up 6 shots on already but had just been sitting around for weeks.  Let me just say, I was thrilled with the results and the fun of it, I think I got more looks with the Hassy than some of the cars did, I must have looked like some sort of alien out there.  Enjoy.

Initial "Impressions" with the 5D Mark III - Dog Edition by Justin Fritts

I say "impressions" because color me impressed.  So I've only had a few days to play and it's been all play, no work.  Haven't really sat down to do side by side with the 5D2 but let me tell you, using this thing is a pleasure.  It fits better in my hand than the 5D2 (deeper grip, grippier), the AF is amazing, the ISO is amazing.  Unfortunately it's time to learn a whole new button setup, not a huge fan of that but I'm already adapting and can see some of the advantages.  Soon I'll be posting some side by side 5D2 and 5D3 but for now, here's some of my favorite snaps from this weekend (I've spent a lot of time around dogs this weekend as it turns out).  

A few more samples after the break...

And another running one.

And the last, another ISO test with a fun extra.

As an extra little note I had gone through and done MFA adjustments on all my lenses for about half of these, my 24-70 really needed it and took advantage of the new wide adjustment and telephoto adjustment.  Fantastic!  I believe I'm a -14 on the wide side and a -7 on the tele side.  I can't believe I can make that adjustment still.

This week I'm going to take an evening and do side by side 5D2 and 5D3 photos using my 70-200.  I'll take requests from people if they want any, if not I'll just pick them all myself.  Mostly ISO related I'm sure, hard to repeat AF tests.

Another Product Photo - Bulleit Bourbon by Justin Fritts

So I got to spend a little time with Tom Bulleit of Bulleit Bourbon a few weeks back and we got to talking about photos, banners, printing, large format printing, advertising and all that.  Well I showed him a few of the product photos I'd done in the past and he was interested.  So I took it upon myself to throw one together for Bulleit Bourbon.  Always fun to do stuff like this. As always I love to also share the how to.  This is actually a composite shot with the bottle of Bulleit on some black-backed glass giving it a nice reflection.  I then did some exposures moving the lights around to get rim lighting, lighting on the letters, the label, the reflection, the cap, etc.  Then I brought them all together to give me a nice clean image mostly clear of reflections.  I can go into more detail if people want me to but that's the main idea.

Taken with my 5D Mark II (maybe my last product photo with it before the Mark III), my 100mm 2.8 macro, a tripod, a flashlight and a speedlight.

Fritts Photo and Fitz and the Tantrums in Spin by Justin Fritts

So I got to work with popchips again, always fun, and this time to go get some photos of Fitz and the Tantrums just enjoying some popchips at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO.  Well, the photos made it into Spin Magazine, or at least on to their website, no word on whether they'll go into a print issue or not yet.  See it here!


And a couple more bonus shots.  Fitz and the Tantrums were great, nice and relaxed, very cool to meet them.

Playing a little chip toss


Mmmm, try this flavor!

Spring Back to Vail / Captain Morgan by Justin Fritts

So sadly the majority of the snow season is over, probably no more snowboarding for me even though A-Basin is probably still in decent shape.  I did get to close the season out in style though at Vail for the Spring Back to Vail Festival which was great!  Captain Morgan was on the mountain to help keep spirits high in the dark times of the countdown to closure and to help promote and get the word out about the pond skimming competition on Sunday. I got to follow the Captain around and get some photos, including one in which he actually got the Captain Pose while in the air, it was great!

Then on Sunday I got to go to the Pond Skimming Competition which was amazing.  I've never been to one but it's quite shocking how much skill it must take to do.  You hit a jump which launches you up in the air and then you land on the water.  Gotta have enough speed to make it the rest of the way and hopefully have some experience with water skiing.

The Captain held a competition to see who wanted to dress up as a Captain and take on the mountain.  About ten people wanted to take part and take the Captain's place.  The Captain held a vuvuzela blowing competition, a pose off competition and then a quiz about what you think "your best night out" is.  Of course the Captain is all about drinking responsibly and dropped a few hints about it, two people picked up on the hints but Jimmy took home the prize.  Jimmy got dressed up quickly by the Captain and the Morganettes in the Captain suit and climbed the hill.  If that wasn't enough he totally succeeded at crossing the pond having never done it before and then pulled the Captain pose when back on dry land!  Youtube video here (sorry about the shakiness, it's my video but no tripod).

Photos of the fun event below.


More from the event after the break!

Ciroc New Years Party by Justin Fritts

So I was lucky enough to attend the Ciroc New Years Eve Party in Vail, CO.  I wasn't the photographer, just a guy who got to hang out and drink but of course, I took my camera anyway.  The party was hosted a Bol in Vail, a fancy bolling alley with really great drinks and small plates.  We had quite a good time just hanging out and having fun.  I was glad to not be working on NYE. Ciroc on the Bar

The Ciroc Promo Girls

Christina and a few of her girls

This hat wasn't the only thing that ended up on the floor

Nathaniel Rateliff and some band that was not Paper Bird by Justin Fritts

So these are some "old" photos, from all the way back in December.  I know, I've been slacking, truth be told I have plenty more history to blog but this one seemed like a fun break from all the corporate posts.  This was a gig for Nathaniel Rateliff's Christmas (Holiday?) show in Boulder, CO.  It was a great show and I got some really fun photos from the gig.  Chuck Roy MC'd he event and Josh Blue did some hilarious standup. Overall a great night, except what I found out was that Boulder really shuts down over Christmas break.  I met up with some friends and had great plans of delicious food and drink before the show began only to find out that half of the restaurants in Boulder are closed when the students are gone.  Oh well, Mountain Sun Brewery came through for us even when other places failed.

Josh Blue coming on stage

Lunar Eclipse Time and Happy Solstice! by Justin Fritts

Here's a couple quick photos from the eclipse last night, more in the Flash slideshow link.  The photos were taken with my Canon 5D Mk II, Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS L, a Canon 1.4x TC and a tripod.  I did some tethered shooting to try to get the focus sharp but even with that it was hard with the bright Denver lights.  Enjoy.


edit: So I'd like to put a little more work in here because I know a lot of people love to seek out advice on photography instead of just look at pretty photos.  If you'd like to read more about these photos click through to here.


Flash Gallery Link for a Slideshow (edit: I'm having a few issues with Chrome loading the page but IE and Firefox are doing just fine)


More after the fold.

Photos for Me, Lost Lake by Justin Fritts

So I've realized since I started taking more photos for money and for other people I've been taking less photos for me.  There is something about it deep in my brain that stops me from taking photos except when I'm working.  I've even gone out with friends or hiking or whatever, taken my camera and then not taken any photos.  Carrying heavy gear for no reason really.  I think this summer has done well to give me a little space and time. I've thought about it more and realized that I think in reality photos taken of people and things in a forced situation (aka work) are more challenging.  The challenge drives you to be better, to make it interesting, to find that angle or get that lighting even in the most challenging of situations.  Suddenly stumbling upon shots seems easy, so many shots that I used to really enjoy just feel cliché (they always were, I just didn't care) and without a goal to the day when I go out it just gets so hard to make the photos feel like an accomplishment.  I don't know if any of this makes sense, feel free to respond in the comments if you'd like, but to me it all makes sense, I just can't quite express it, need to think on it more.

So all of this means that the last time I went out hiking and camping I knew I wanted to take some photos, I needed to force myself to take some photos.  When I finally did the juices started to flow again, it started to feel good.  I explored angles, exposures, time of day all over again.  Since then I've had the camera out a lot and am taking photos for me again and it feels good.  I'm doing this in conjunction with a lot of work and photos for other people but right now I have no conflict about it.

Lots of words, but its a photo blog, so on with the photos.  A few friends of mine, TJ and Kathy wanted to go get in one last camping trip for the year and invited Christina and me along.  They brought their two dogs and their little girl and we brought our two dogs, it was a bit of a madhouse, luckily the wild was large enough to handle it.  It ended up that TJ got a job offer in L.A. a few days after our little hiking trip so it will likely be their last Colorado hiking adventure for more than just the year.  We drove up west of Boulder, past Eldora to a little area of trails, one leading to Lost Lake.  We really got to test out the Outback, drove it along a fairly shallow length of river for about 1/4 mile and up some crazy dirt roads, felt like a Subaru commercial.  I have an awful photo of the river drive but I gotta share it just cause:

Driving down the river

We then hiked with our packs about 1.5 miles up to the lake.  I brought a good amount of gear with me, wish I would have brought a little less cause damn it made my pack heavy.  Although had I brought less I probably would have brought a tripod and offset any savings, stupid having no tripod.

We set up camp and started to get some food prepared.  About this time the dogs were let off leash, Ruby and Lucy had quite a good time without their leashes on.  We went down to the lake and they even decided to go hopping log to log.

Dogs on a log

The lake was beautiful and very still, practically mirror-like.  As the sun started to set I got some very nice photos it.

Lost Lake Sunset

We went to bed and had a terrible night's sleep.  The dogs didn't like the tent and the moon was too bright.  I don't think any of us got much sleep all night.  In the morning we broke down camp, spent some time hanging out and then hiked our way out.  The hike on the way out had some nice early morning beauty.

Glass Lake


Aspen Changing

Changing Aspen

More Changing Aspen

Post Backlog by Justin Fritts

So I'm currently backlogged about 6 posts, I think.  But in order to continue my procrastination I'm going to post a quick one.  The Boston Market in Greenwood Village now has a drive thru as of Saturday morning. Truck ran through the Boston Market storefront

Trying to get to the other posts quickly but busy and slacking is a hard combination.

Nathaniel Rateliff by Justin Fritts

So I know I said I had plenty more posts to come but really I've just been busy and lazy.  It is time to really take some time for photography, the website and the blog, they've all been taking a backseat lately but at the same time it has been a nice break.  Christina, the dogs and I have a house, a rental but a house none the less and a yard for the monsters to run in.  If anyone is looking for a condo near Wash Park, I can help you there too. Back to the blog here.  I'll come back to the event I spoke about previously for the time being I'm taking this route.

My brother in law has been working with this Denver band for a while.  Born in the Flood.  Born in the Flood became the Wheel, the Wheel became Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel, and then the Wheel part got dropped.  These guys have been great with me.  I've carried my camera to many of their concerts, I got to go to the Sand Dunes for a photoshoot with Brantley Gutierrez (his website gave me a weird error on Chrome but it looks all good to me), back stage photos, lots of stuff.

Well now has come the time, Nathaniel and the Wheel (the Wheel remains, just not in name) have released an album (Amazon, also on iTunes but I don't have the direct link).  It's soft music, not normally up my alley but I really enjoy it although I won't lie, I miss some of the Born in the Flood stuff from yesteryear.  Well, they had a little in-store at Twist and Shout.  I decided to go, unsure what to expect when I got there.  The place was packed, the stage was really cool, in front of some great posters, album art, etc.  The acoustics could have been better but really what can you expect from an in-store?  I didn't move around a lot to get photos, it was only about 5 songs, I missed part of one of them and like I said the place was packed.

Please check out some of the live recordings I took and check out the samples on iTunes or Amazon.  If you like it please buy it, support these guys, they're a great Denver band.

Nathaniel Rateliff Live 1 | Live 2 | Live 3 | Live 4

More after the fold.

Joslyn Chace by Justin Fritts

Baby photos... babies are like dogs, they don't like to cooperate for photos.  "Look this way," "Open your eyes," and the ever so hard "Smile!"  Babies are also not quite like dogs for many reasons (one I noticed is that they can't run away from photos, depending on age) that I'm sure many parents could tell you about, that's not my role. I now have two close friends that have had kids, I must be getting old.  My friends TJ and Kathy invited me up to Longmont to take some photos of their newborn.  I went up within a few days of Joslyn's birth and got some photos in the hospital and then went up that first weekend for a more intimate photo shoot at home. The wonderful thing about baby photos is they have such a more significant meaning than a lot of other photos, at least for a few people.  They will be photos that end up in albums, and Christmas cards.  They are a capture of that moment in life, which I guess is what all photos are, but we aren't all growing at a ridiculously high rate looking different every day.

Pretty much with no idea what to expect I took every lens I have. 5DmkII, 24-70mm 2.8 L, 70-200mm 2.8 is L, 50mm 1.4, 100mm 2.8, and the 580EX II.  I'd like to share some of the photos with the world.


More photos and final thoughts after the fold...



Finally after some food and some napping Joslyn opened her eyes for some photos.

I bet I can eat my whole hand, baby tries to eat hand

Overall, I was happy with the results.  Haven't taken many baby photos, don't spend a lot of time hanging out with babies you see.  And a guy with a large camera and telephoto lens can't exactly just walk up and take photos of babies, culturally that is.  That would just be weird.

Avalanche Game by Justin Fritts

So sports photography is something I don't have a lot of experience with, the timing and quickness at which the photographer must react to what's going on is absurd.  Especially with hockey, planning ahead is very limited.  At least with baseball you know not much is going to happen until the pitcher starts his motion. I don't really have the camera for sports photography, the 1D series are the superior sports cameras but I'm not about to drop $6K on a camera (but seriously 8-10 photos per second, crazy! it sounds like a machine gun).

The other day I landed some tickets to the Av's game, first level behind the net.  I took the 5Dmk2 along with my 24-70 2.8 L and 70-200 2.8 IS L and tried to get some photos.

More photos and conclusions after the fold...


Quincey goes right by Hendrick Sedin

Blocked Shot!


Goal pt 2

Redirection goes wide.

Sadly this puck went high

Damn Canadians, the whole section was full of them

Another save by Luongo, dammit, I’m feeling desperate

Ice in the face!

Looked like a fight about to happen, gloves never got dropped

Oh, and annoyingly enough, the Av’s started the game up 3-0, then 3-1, then another Av’s goal, 4-1.  Then the Av’s gave up 5 unanswered goals (including one empty netter) and lost 6-4.  What a crappy 2nd and 3rd period.