Archive for August, 2010

Canon 5D Mark 2: Trial by Fire

Saturday, August 28th, 2010
Me by Shawn Frederick

Me by Shawn Frederick

My 5D Mark 2 system has been getting quite the workout of late.

The other night Tyler Swain came by. Tyler is the talented director, writer, camera operator who, when I am lucky, I get to work with.

He had dropped by after a¬† long day working on an episode of Top Gear, to be briefed on the workings of the Canon 5DM2 which he would need to be shooting a show on in the morning. In explaining the workings of the system to him I realized how truly complex it is if one really wants to utilize the tremendous capability of this camera, And I also realized that much of what I had read on it by so called experts is wrong. Most of it’s advertised shortcomings are simply failure by the operators to own the skills most DP’s and Cinematographers take for granted. yet they wrote about it. Um, yea……

Philip Bloom is not of that ilk.

But in two hours Tyler was off head spinning, to get a little sleep before his 9am call time. If it were anyone else, they would likely be headed for their Waterloo. Not Tyler.

Here is a little early timelapse shot with the 5DM2. One of my first. I have done dozens of increasingly complex ones since. I have shot 3 music videos, 2 feature films, done journalism, action sports, the 2010 Maverick’s Challenge shot while working rescue, swam Bali, done fashion, military training shoots with K38 Rescue. What my camera has produced since it became my first designated principal body for motion capture and stills production is probably the most intense field testing of any camera ever produced. Of course Canon probably does not know this. I am simply a user.

stormtimelapseweb – Computer

Tech is incredible. For the first time in my 12 years shooting professionally, it all is REALLY working. I made a good choice in systems with which to transition from film. And once again, Canon has helped me to feel confident in my ability to outperform while in the field. This camera has been swum, shot from airplanes, boats, cars,thrown off buildings while housed, into a swimming pool, done large format art production, commercial fashion and produced innumerable covers and spreads seen in publications throughout the world and in my library at Corbis Images.

In 1997 I weighed the development plans of Canon and Nikon in a close look,¬† and because of that glimpse, chose Canon. Wise choice. But only a sage DP or commercial photographer will ever really truly “get” what Canon has done and how they have changed imaging forever. The 5DM2 and my training in various aspects of Cinematography and Photography have produced more high profile motion and stills work in the 14 months I have owned mine, than many will get to do in a lifetime.

As I look out across the changing diorama of the imaging playing field, I realize how important it is to understand what you want to accomplish.

Here is the complete Video Tyler created as the anti music video for ElliotMinor. _”AllAlong”. Most of it is the 5DM2. This was one of it’s first tests.

You will see some newer ones shortly here and in a few films.

The images below are a small sample from the 5DM2 that sits here, ready to shoot anything, You would not believe what it has done. I barely do.

Stand Up

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
National Debt

National Debt

Shawn Alladio of K38 Rescue, has composed something beautiful for our warriors, and it also applies to those of you who seek to implement change. Shawn trains these men. She understands cost and expense, better than anybody I have met. She has told me repeatedly over the years, that for every valid action, every effort, you must be willing to give something up. Having seen her live this, I get it.

Not many people I know enjoy being the one standing there, fist raised to an adversary, drawing the line and shouting : You will not do this. I know that I certainly do not. It takes a lot to bring me to the point of action. It is why I will engage in Art and literature forever before I raise my fist. This gives time for consideration, and communication.

But the plain fact is, that the world in which we live, being filled with all manner of motivations and ethos, inhabiting every person and  organization which those people populate, sometimes creates a situation that requires a champion. Someone to go forth and do battle.

So in our world, we have powers that do so. On the higher end it is done at the behest of Nations, which send forth armies to do the bidding of that entity. But where genesis for this really is located, is in the heart and will of the individual.

Ventura City Hall

Ventura City Hall

In American society we have established layers of Governance to champion our will and desires. Federal laws, are mediated in turn by the individual States, which in turn are interpreted at the County, and then at the far end of the thread, at a Municipal level. All of that exists to do your will as an American Citizen. Pretty amazing the freedom that gives you as a lone person in a sea of millions.

As most of us learned in our High School Civics class, this creates a level of responsibility for us all as well.

Look closer, down through the layers of Governance, back though the years, and change, generally came down to one person’s decision to point the finger and say: ” That is wrong. Stop.”

Judge McGrath's Home

Judge McGrath's Home

Remember this saying: “Don’t Tread On Me” ?¬† It was on the very first American flag. It was in direct response and a warning to oppressors. This tenet has historic legs in American law and mind set. You see it all over the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Evan Wright is a journalist whose work I enjoyed in his covering of Marine culture and warfare. His original Rolling Stone three part series was turned into an HBO mini series called Generation Kill. Here is an interesting look at Evan’s perspective. Consider his cost.

Keep in mind that the US Govt. employs these men. So by proxy we do as well. They go because it is their job and what they believe in.

We have a debt that goes beyond  monetary for this. It is to engage in a rule by law, and we do that by standing up for those laws when any organization, entity or person decides to subvert those. That is the moral imperative of civic responsibility.

This is now. This is here. This is Uprising, by Muse. The lyrics in this piece describe much of the changes going on within culture today.

So stand up. If you don’t, no one will. And everyone loses.

This piece was sent along by Tony Luna. Special.

You don’t get a wave without¬† wind. Pretty as this one may be, somewhere there was a storm.

The Goal

The Goal

The Shift

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
American Culture gone awry.

American Culture gone awry.

American culture is at a turning point.

By and large, and in spite of¬† generalizations being just that, we don’t make much in this country any more.

I say that from the perspective of being a Californian, and a former manufacturer, retailer, turned artist. To build anything in California today one must overcome great odds, and many of those are indigenously repressive due to a morass of regulations¬† meant to make things “better” when they were originally concepted.

Farm Field

Farm Field

But no one really considered the cost to those supposed benefits. Those laws and regulations, implemented in a time of growth and leveraged spending, came at an expense never realized till now. California lost the ability to make anything. And as California goes, in many ways, so does the Nation.

Want to see happy and healthy?

Build something.

Seth Godin has this to say about fear.

You may also appreciate his piece on Momentum. You need this.

Sent along by my friend Lori. A beautiful piece from PBS.

The system we created will die hard.

Get ready.

Bloom right where you are planted. Watch what happens.

Do it: thrive.



Focus and Awareness

Friday, August 13th, 2010


In a culture that is enamored with here and now, and proximity of the rapid flow of daily events, we have unwittingly engaged what I think to be a somewhat innocently architected, lack of focus. Sort of like  a baby in a crib so taken by a hanging mobile that he has forgotten his bottle was in his little hand.

We see and read through  newish info age pipelines, of internet, and other rapid response media sources, aimed at prurient human interests, things that seem to take our eye off the ball so to speak, as a culture.

Waves as People

Waves as People

I have never read anybody nail this aspect quite so well as  Seth Godin does in this blog today.

Look around you. Focus.

Take a look back.

It started there.

A look back

A look back


Tuesday, August 10th, 2010


I watched an Airshow at Point Mugu NAS this weekend. I was impressed. The USAF Thunderbirds, a precision flight team, performed. I found myself awed and inspired. Why would a water centric, eco minded, sustainability preaching, artist like me, love what I saw? Because it demonstrated mightiness.

I stand, able to write this blog and engage my world and community, because my country is mighty. That is humbling, and it inspires gratitude in me.

K 38 Rescue sent this link along to a small group of leaders today. It is an interesting look at how a culture embraced something in the course of great social upheaval. That religion has completely shifted the country and it’s ideals. It was seduced. We can be as well. Anyone can. It is a choice. I want to be clear. We all choose.

The ensuing text is part of my response to Shawn and the other leaders. I am sharing it with you now as well.

The concept of Holiness is based on being sanctified, which in essence is the setting aside of a person for use as a vessel of God.

These people are sanctifying themselves, and their God is using them. They are Holy unto their God.

We choose our Gods. They do exist. Oh no doubt about that in me. We become what we serve.

So now this place, a country, is in bondage. Hell does that. When you see bondage, that trail of fear and oppression, you all should know what that is.

The trick is to still be able to walk in love. Can you understand what Jesus did? Do you see why His story really is the greatest ever told?

We live in a time and place fraught with some of the greatest peril I have seen in my life. This is not merely a battle for our culture, ideals, and economy. What we see in this story, is a choice based upon a seductive lie. It is not those poor women who are possessed. It is that nation. They invited it in.

We have done that here in a way. We have allowed it. Change starts with people committed and sanctified to their God. Best to choose the one that created existence. Then you have won. In your winning, the other Gods fall.

When I see intolerance, bondage, fear, within a religion and a culture. I know what that is.

Keep in mind that a religion is anything that we give power to, which separates us from a relationship with God and his creation. It could be anything. Even something as religiously insouciant as an environmental group.

True religion is this, that you love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. If you find you have become less than tolerant. You just gave your power, your might, away. It is where true strength lies. It is how we all come to God. we must believe and rest on His tolerance of our shortcomings. So should we act any differently?

This is why I am constantly harping on polarization in this country.

Right is right. Simple stuff. Does it make sense? Is there a benefit associated to the cost? Tolerance is different than promotion. One can tolerate a person or concept without promotion and personification of the entity.

Amazing how many people fail to ask that, and blindly engage a religion, a cause. That is how evil works. It is seduction, it is sloth. Be mighty. It matters.

Creation is all viral. God designed it to be that way.

I was going to just leave you with a quote from God’s word. But I thought it better to have a look at what happens when a people choose the God of Hosts in this Church. We become what we serve and in turn we proselytize others according to the knowledge of our own truth. That is why it is of the utmost importance to embrace the Way, the Truth, and the Life.¬† Jesus said it was him. I believed him. That was a choice that for me meant no turning away, no other. Why would anybody?

Lies. That is why. We know where those come from.

Our Country was founded on Truth (It is capitalized for a reason) . This is why, in our Constitution it states that all men are created equal, and that they have an unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

This is the essence of true leadership, and why we need to pray for and build up our leaders. It is rare for an organization to fall, other than by attack on it’s leader. This is why we win as a people when our might rests on the master of everything. The concept must be rooted in love, by which it all stands.

Guard your heart.

Sam Shoemaker, doing a raw performance improv. It IS this easy to display your own might and creativity. We need to own it.

Seth Godin has this to say.

A succinct and powerful example of how our system works by Fox News and an opposing Ted Olson.

USAF Thunderbirds precision flight team. Mighty. They matter. So do you.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.