22
Aug

VSCO Film 02 Review

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Review

I have been using VSCO Film for about a year now, and I am still just as excited about it as I was when I first started using it.  Visual Supply recently released VSCO Film 02 which offers an updated list of film emulations to Film 01 as well as some improved options in the toolkit.  When I was using VSCO Film 01, I mostly used Kodak Portra 400, but in VSCO Film 02, Fuji Superia 800 – is my new go to.  VSCO Film 02 also comes with several new film options for B&W images.  I still like Kodak TRI-X 400 – for B&W, but the new Fuji Neopan 1600 and Ilford Delta emulations in Film 02 are just as good depending on the image you are working with.  I use VSCO Film 02 for all of my personal and family pictures as well as all of the behind the scenes images from our photo shoots and productions for work.  There is not really a whole lot more I feel the need to say about it.  We are talking about visual style, so you either like how it looks or you don’t.  It’s just a matter of preference, but for me personally, I am a big fan.  Below are some of my images edited with VSCO Film 02.  Check it out or buy it for yourself here.  You won’t be disappointed.

Here is the review I did on VSCO Film 01 earlier this year.

VSCO Film 02

VSCO Film review

Edited with VSCO Film.

VSCO Film

Edited with VSCO Film

VSCO Film

VSCO Film review

VSCO Film

VSCO Film

08
May

Vanguard Auctus Plus Tripod Review

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Review

Since I am on the topic of thanking companies, I would like to give a very big thank you and shout out to Vanguard Photo.  I have been using Vanguard tripods for the last year, and have had such a great experience with not only the products, but also the people at the company.  The reason I am thanking Vanguard is because they stepped up huge and equipped and supported Becker and I on our trip to the Philippines along with Glazer’s Camera.  We took a couple of Vanguard tripods with us, and not only is the Alta+ 255CT tripod incredible for traveling, but it is so small it can just about fit in your pocket.  Well, it’s not that small, but it does fit on a small backpack and can easily hide from TSA 3 out of 4 times.  I am also a big fan of the Vanguard Supreme 46F hard case which held one of my light kits on the trip.  After getting it back at checked luggage in Manila, I quickly noticed the case was slightly shredded on the bottom.  Turns out, the airline tied it to the back of the plane and dragged it along the tarmac at 400 mph.  Frustrating, but none the less, the gear was totally fine and the case is still like new, except for the bottom.  To no fault of the manufacturer.

So without further ado, here is my review of the Vanguard Auctus Plus 323CT tripod.

The Auctus Plus 323CT is a solid, heavy duty carbon fiber tripod.  It weights in at 7.83 pounds without a head and camera, so it is heavy.  It’s not heavier than you would expect for a tripod of it’s size, but you wouldn’t want to climb a mountain with it.  It can extend up to 71 inches high, and has 3 leg sections.  I regularly use it for studio and most of my location work.  I have traveled several times with it packed in a stand bag which I always check.  Needless to say, it has taken quite a beating by TSA and the fine folks in the baggage department and it’s still going strong.  I love how easy it is to use this tripod, and it is really easy to make smooth, precise adjustments.  The legs adjust to 25, 50, and 80 degree angles, and the rubber feet grip terrain really well.  I haven’t needed to do this yet, but you can also take the rubber feet off, which reveals metal spikes if you need to really stick in somewhere.  I primarily use this tripod  with my Hasselblad H3D-II which is a really heavy camera, and it does not shake, wobble, or vibrate at all.  In the Philippines last month, I shot a series of time exposure portraits (without a cable trigger), each around 4 seconds, and it was so steady.  Even when the camera is tilted to shoot portraits, it’s solid.  As Gob Bluth would say, the Vanguard Actus Plus is solid as a rock.

Just this morning I had a shoot at sunrise, and I took my Auctus Plus 323CT tripod because I knew it would give me the stability I needed in low morning light.  The weight never really bothers me since I am not walking too far.  I also have an Alta Pro 283CT, which is awesome, but I always find myself grabbing the Auctus Plus.

In full disclosure, when I first started using the Auctus Plus, one of the leg connectors broke, but Vanguard quickly replaced the entire tripod for me no questions asked, and I couldn’t be happier.  It’s fair to expect just about any brand or product to have problems from time to time, and how a company handles those situations makes all the difference. I would recommend Vanguard tripods to anyone.  They are solid, reliable, designed really well, and surprisingly affordable which makes them that much more of a great deal.  If you are in Seattle, Glazer’s sells them, otherwise, you can order them from B&H Photo here.  Happy shooting.

The Vanguard Alta+ 255CT tripod with the Vanguard GH-100 pistol grip ball head.

Becker wearing the Vanguard Adaptor 48 camera bag, and using the Vanguard Alta+ 255CT tripod with the Vanguard GH-100 pistol grip ball head.

John using the Extreme Support Height Positioning Wheel on the Vanguard Auctus Plus 323CT tripod with the Vanguard SBH-300 ball head.

01
Feb

January Links

Posted by Izzy / Filed under Press & Interviews, Review

Is January already over? Somebody pinch me, this cannot be real! It has been an exciting month in the Keatley offices, and it looks like it is only going to get better from here! Last month John proved to be a very popular guy around town, with many great blog and editorial mentions regarding his work throughout last year. Some of the more notable ones, well worth a read are the City Arts feature that you can see here, and the interview Mull it Over did, seen here. Very exciting.

In addition to John’s photography getting some great attention, the blog has too. Photoshelter’s 2011 round-up gave mentions of the blog, one for John’s VSCO Film review, and the other for the ever-popular Christmas photo and Woodsman short film that accompanied it. If you haven’t watched it yet, do, and if you’ve already seen it, you probably want to again so, here’s the link.

Plenty more great projects in the works, so stay tuned!

16
Nov

VSCO Film Review

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Review

I was recently contacted by a new company called Visual Supply Co about using a film emulator they have been developing for Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw called VSCO Film.  At first I was skeptical, but decided to give it a try.

I am fortunate to work with a really incredible retoucher on most of my commercial work, but I still have thousands of personal images as well as some smaller jobs which I try to edit on my own.  Problem is, I don’t really like Lightroom, or Photoshop actions, so more times than not, my RAW images just sit in a folder.  Every once in a while I manage to process a few personal images, but it usually takes a long time, and I never really get them looking like I want.

Within the first 10 seconds of using VSCO Film, I was hooked.  It is so fast, produces the results I have always wanted, but didn’t know how to achieve, and it actually makes image editing fun again.  Now I am going through all of my personal images at the speed of light, and everything looks fantastic in 1 or 2 clicks.  I also used VSCO Film on a small job I shot this week, and it took me 10 minutes to do 23 images.  It would have easily taken me 90 minutes had I done it the old way.

Anyway, enough of that.  I don’t like sales pitches, and I don’t want to annoy you with one either.  I am willing to endorse this because I actually use it and really really like it.  Not everyone will feel the same, but I think many of you will.  I have already had several people ask me about how it works with strobe photography, so in my next blog post, I will show some images lit with strobe that I edited with VSCO Film.  I edited the following images with VSCO Film in just a couple of clicks per image.  Here is the link if you are interested in buying, or just finding out more.  Enjoy.

UPDATE:  8/22/12 – Here is another post I just wrote with some new images I edited with VSCO Film 02.

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