Winter Video Project (So there is collateral fun to this project ) Part 1


So my latest ongoing project is video editing. This project is a little different from my photography projects in the sense that it is not planned out in detail. However the purpose of the project is to create a small amount of video content each weekend that I can then use to edit in Adobe Premiere Pro. The end purpose is to better my editing skill and become more familiar with Premiere Pro. Each weekend my wife and I take the dogs (Pixie & Jake) and head out on day trips. We try to go on both Saturday & Sunday however weather is the main dictator as to whether or not we can get out on both days. Either way I bring along my Canon EOS M3 as my main video camera and I will fill in with my mobile phone if needed.

This now leads me to answer the question that most people have been asking me; Why does you video look strange or different? And the answer is because I have been trying different things that I am very unfamiliar with. See in the past most of my video content was edited in Adobe Photoshop. Yes, you can edit video quite well in Photoshop, however it is a very different way to edit and with very different options as opposed to Premiere Pro. So as I push forward with vlogging I feel the need to expand my video editing abilities, not to mention the fact that if a customer requires a specific kind of video with specific kind of feel I would be able to achieve the task. At this time photography, Photoshop and Lightroom are my strong points, but I would like to add Premiere Pro to that list as well.

So there is collateral fun to this project and that is getting out and having fun with my wife and the dogs. Getting out of the house for an extended time in the winter is not always easy, but this project has given purpose and my wife loves it too.

Ringing Rocks Park (…others were the “bearded hipsters” with their “girly-man” shoes… )

1/8 sec at f/16 ISO 100 18mm EOS M3

1/8 sec at f/16 ISO 100 18mm EOS M3


Part: 2

So I have to talk a little bit about the Ringing Rocks Park trip because I was asked many questions about it. Let me start for those who do not know Ringing Rocks Park is a county park in Bucks County PA. I first visited the park while on a class trip in school many years ago. The park is not all that big and other than a very small parking lot and a disgusting porta-john there is just two main things to see. First is the boulder field and second the waterfalls.

The boulder field is interesting because if you bring a small hammer, steel rod or pipe with you, you can strike the boulders and they will produce a ringing sound. Some produce a better sound than others and only the boulders that lay out in the open boulder field have this quality. If you notice in my video the boulders in the open area have a reddish cast to them. This color is not always seen, it depends on the light or lack of. So after about 10 minutes of whacking a pipe on a stone it’s like “ok___ now what?” So then most people will head to the waterfalls. And this is the area where many have met with problems. To access the falls or I should say the bottom of the falls one must navigate another boulder area that leads to the bottom or I should say “to the creek.” These boulders are a little more challenging because they lay at a very steep angle. Also if there is a lot of water flowing in the creek bed there is no “shore line” to walk along.

So what happens here is many people want to see the waterfalls. You know… it’s that age-old thing of the natural beauty of nature mixed with a little bit of romanticism that draws people to waterfalls. Again… not much to do here but watch water fall over some rocks, however it is nicer than smacking a stone with a piece of metal. But the boulders have large gaps and holes between them. Many times what looks like solid footing is just dead leaves laying on top of twigs and when you step down you fall between the boulders. How hard is it to navigate? Not hard at all for the average outdoor hiker that is wearing good hiking shoes and has limber legs. But if you are the weekend warrior that likes to walk the flat easy-going trails you might want to proceed with caution. While I was there this time we were the only people at the falls, but as we were hiking back to the parking lot the crowd was pouring in, most were first time visitors and were asking “where’s the waterfalls?” Some had small children and others were the “bearded hipsters” with their “girly-man” shoes and I would just point them on to the direction of the waterfalls.

Still all in all a fun place to visit, just go early and leave early to avoid the hipster crowd.



Neutral Density Filter for Video (Sunshine Girl)

1/80 sec at f/3.5 ISO 50 200mm

1/80 sec at f/3.5 ISO 50 200mm

So here we see Sunshine Girl Alyssa shot in a backlit image using a Hoya Variable Neutral Density filter. I have worked with standard ND filter many times in the past, mostly for “long exposure” photography and for some video. I have some outdoor video projects coming up next month and the “Variable” ND filter will be a must have item in the gear bag. I only ever use two brands of filters and they are Tiffen an Hoya, I went with the Hoya on this purchase because of budget. The Hoya was about $23 cheaper than the Tiffen, reviews were comparably the same on both filters so I just went with the cheaper unit.

I need not say (but I will lol) the construction is top notch, the action of turning the outer ring is as smooth as smooth can be. The filter comes in a quality container that is easy to open & close. So what more could a photographer ask for.

So looking at the “Sunshine Girl” we see she is back-lit with bright sunlight. The normal camera setting would have called for something around a 1/500 sec shutter speed, but with the ND filter I could dial down and cut the light letting me use a 1/80 sec shutter speed. I have uses for this in my photography, but it really works well for getting a true cinematic feel when shooting video. I want to shoot video with a 1/60 shutter setting and most times the outdoors light is too harsh so enter in the “variable density filter”.

Step Inside My Head (…that box lacks all creativity. Simply put “that box sucks.)


A rather dark and creepy edit from the Scarecrow shoot.

Ok so I want to let you inside my mind to see where I draw some of my inspiration from. Scary place inside my head… As an artist or photographic artist or whatever you want to call me, I find inspiration in strange places and this, in and of its self is nothing new, many artists do the same. And I can’t tell you all of, and where I find the inspiration because most times I never know when it is going to happen. But the one thing I do know is I have to step out of that box I have been cast or damned to live in. The box that says “50 year old white guy must dwell in here.” I hate that box, that box will make me old before my time and that box lacks all creativity. Simply put “that box sucks.” Now with that said I try not to run around dressing like I’m in my twenties or dying the two hairs I have left pink. But I just don’t want to go back to that box and that is where my photography and Photoshop let me escape and let me feel freedom.

So last October I had done a photo shoot with one of my favorite models, the amazing Kendall Strampel. We dressed Kendall up as a scarecrow and the whole thing was a lot of fun and we had a lot of laughs. While doing the edits I had really went to a strange place with a few of the edits and when letting another well respected artist view them I was looked at like “I had just killed a puppy” or something. My friend just looked and said why? Why would you do this to this beautiful face? But I had just seen a video a few weeks earlier and it kept playing through my mind and I guess a little piece of that video flew out and landed in my edits. So here is the video that inspired the craziness. I’ll bet that like me you will be mesmerized and want to stop it… but you won’t… you sicko lol.


Behind The Scenes With Singer/songwriter Laydee’Fly

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Laydee’Fly Promo from Richard Smith Jr on Vimeo.