Exciting News About the Thing with the People at the Place!

If you’ve followed me on the twitter then you know I like to have a little fun there.  One of the things I do is tweet extremely vague, nearly topic-less tweets that indicate that something might or might not be going on with me, or someone else, or some other people at some random time and place.  Much like the title above.  In a way it is actually my way of expressing a certain feeling, usually excitement, about an upcoming project that I really can’t talk about.  And that happens a lot.  I get assignments that are for ads or media that is forthcoming, and the client wants to keep everything under wraps while the project is being developed.  I’ll post limited content during the shoots, during post and so on, but official announcements of my involvement and who the involvement is with  often times have to wait until the project is long over and the ads or media have been published.  It’s a bummer, as often the glow and excitement has worn a little bit and the announcement sort of comes off as lackluster

Recently, I was approached by a client that I had done limited work with prior about an upcoming project, and a bid was requested.  It was an exciting project for a number of reasons.  I won the bid, and I was in. But for months I’ve had to keep quite as to what the project is and who it is with.  Well, today I can tell you what it’s about and why I’m so excited!  In a week and a half I’ll be on a plane heading to Iowa to cover RAGBRAI (The ride across Iowa).  I know I know… You’re excited about a ride that everyday cyclists do, across Iowa?!


The thing about RAGBRAI is that it’s a giant party, with all kinds of cyclists from all walks of life.   It’s not limited to smug hipsters on fixed gears, CAT 5 Super pro wanna-be’s or tiny coffee drinking Grand Fondo specialists.  It’s just all sorts of people on all sorts of bikes, which is rad.  I grew up in the midwest hearing stories of epic parties, crazy busses following the ride dispensing beer and food, and people everywhere having the time of their life.  So in a way covering RAGBRAI is a little like a home coming for me, even though it’s in Iowa and I’m from Kansas, and I never rode it, nor have I ever been to Iowa except for once in my mid 20’s.

What’s equally exciting about the project is who I will be working with for the duration of the event.  I was hired by WD-40 Bike, and I will be embedded with their tech team, covering the event and their support of RAGBRAI.  I’ve gotten to know a few of the WD-40 team over the past couple years through my coverage of more than a few prominent CycloCross races across the US and they are a pretty rad crew.  They’re great folks, extremely friendly and helpful and fun to be around.  So being embedded with them for the event is going to increase how awesome the whole experience already is.  All in all it’s really exciting.  There is even more to be excited about but again it’s stuff I can’t talk about yet.  Here’s a quick snap I grabbed at the USGP of Cyclocross last October in Ft. Collins Colorado.  It’s WD-40’s own Brian Dallas using the bike wash station in a creative manner to help the mothers of various Junior racers keep their cars a little cleaner after a very muddy race.

Brian Dallas of WD-40 Bike give a junior racer a quick wash, ensuring a somewhat cleaner drive home.

Brian Dallas of WD-40 Bike give a junior racer a quick wash, ensuring a somewhat cleaner drive home.

I head out of town next week for a quick camping trip in the Sequoias with my business partner and some friends and I’ll post a quick dispatch from the field then.  The following week I’ll be at Ragbrai, and will have a field dispatch from there as well!  So definitely check back in!

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Holy Crap… That was quite the weekend

I’m not feeling terribly wordy today.  I had a pretty awesome weekend filled with shooting, bikes, fitness, MMA, parties, more parties, more bikes and more shooting.  It was the kind of weekend that stretches into Monday, not because of hangovers but because there’s so much more residual work to do.  So, lets cut the chatter and get to the good stuff.  On Saturday I spent the morning/early afternoon at SoCal MMA in Eagle Rock shooting some general fitness content.  Joey Alvarado, who runs the gym is my business partners cousin, and he took the extra initiative and brought in some extra folks to get some work done! So here you go!







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Work… Always work

There are a lot of people who have been wondering where I am, where I’ve been and why I haven’t been at many of the cycling races that have been going on in Southern California since early May.  I made a brief appearance at the Tour of California as a fan, but other than that I haven’t been covering any of the racing here at all.  So, when I got some concerned texts and e-mails asking if I was still working it was kind of expected.

To give a little bit of a back story, for the three years Corey Keizer Photography has been in business I’ve been covering cycling pretty heavily.  This is for two reasons.  First, I love the sport, and second I’m fairly well connected in the industry.  So reaching out to prospective clients isn’t so much a cold call as it was a call to someone I’m familiar with.  While I love cycling, it’s a narrow niche sport that, outside of Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France, isn’t highly relatable for the larger American audience.  While I’d love to be able to shoot the way I do and only shoot cycling and make the kind of money I’m accustomed to, that just isn’t realistic.  Thus, over the past couple weeks and through to the beginning of July I’m shooting portfolio projects almost exclusively.  The goal is to shoot content that appeals to a more general audience, content that is more mainstream fitness and lifestyle work.  Over the coming weeks I’ll share some of that content and stories from the road here for you to check out.  This past week I shot with some friends at CrossFit Woodland Hills just out side of Los Angeles.  While CrossFit is a young sport that is a narrow niche like cycling, many of the elements are more mainstream and thus the crossover is better.  Push ups are always more relatable. I have to thank Tyler and Chad at CrossFit WH, those guys are studs.  If for nothing else than dealing with my constant “Coaching” through the shoot.  Here’s a couple edits from the shoot.


This was the shot that the shoot was based around. A portrait of Box owner Chad, while the action of a class was going on.


Tyler doing what I think is called a “Rebel Row”.

The two next shots stem from the “Hitting the Wall” concept in fitness and sports.  I’ve hit the wall a lot when I’m working out, and I’ve always wanted to explore what that might look like in a photograph.  These pretty much sum it up.


Tyler post RX WOD


Chad post RX WOD

So I’ve been working, a lot actually and it’s been pretty awesome.  While I’m expanding outside of cycling I’m definitely keeping to what I love best, which is sports and fitness and the outdoor lifestyle.  Make sure to stop by in the coming weeks for some outdoorsy, mountainy stuff that we’ll be shooting soon!

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Fun Photo Toys. Snapseed by Nik Software

When I’m out I’m either on assignment with the full rig (two camera bodies, lenses, lighting rig…) or I have my iPhone. The iPhone 5 and before it the 4 and 4s are all pretty exceptional when it comes to image quality. The quality tends to be limited to web use, and mobile devices, but that’s where a lot of photo viewing happens these days. When I’m using my phone I tend to use two apps. Whether I’m shooting on location or at an event and I want immediate feedback I’ll use Instagram and then feed it to my Facebook page. I like Instagram for it’s social aspects, but I feel pretty limited with the amount of filters and post processing that’s available in the app. Plus, the square format doesn’t really do much for me. I mean Hasselblad uses it and they are a classic standard, but how many iPhone users are actively trying to make that connection? I’ve always been a fan of the 35mm format, because of the golden ratio. The iPhone’s built in camera shoots at a ratio that’s pretty close to that, but again with post processing its limited to basic edits.

A little while back my partner put me onto Snapseed, which is built by Niksoftware. It’s not as simple as the user interface in Instagram or on the iPhone’s photo library app, but there is A LOT more you can do. There are extensive fixes, such as red eye and cropping, and a lot of different style based post processing. The coolest thing about that app is that it lets you control the “Strength” of different aspects of the style filters. For instance, the Vintage filter is not only a color/hue/saturation filter, but also adds scratches to the images. You can affect each of these aspects by a simple, vertical swipe to activate the menu, and then horizontal swipes to affect each individual aspect. There are often times where the filter just doesn’t look right when I activate it, so the ability to adjust each filter is a nice addition. Additionally there are center-focus and tilt-shift filters, which I don’t use that often. With all of that though my favorite aspect of the app is the frame. The frame selections are just really, really cool. I’ve posted some examples of some photos I’ve played with in Snapseed for you to look at. I highly, highly recommend this app.


Some flowers I saw during a walk. I used both the Retrolux and Vintage filters and adjusted the light leak aspect to get the look I wanted.


Simple B&W filter with custom adjustments such as contract and brightness


No filter. just basic contrast and saturation adjustments… and an added frame.


Vintage Filter with custom adjustments, and then a frame.

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Clik Elite Reporter – Bag Test

I’m not really one for doing product reviews as I really feel that I’m an unfair reviewer.  I THRASH everything.  Seriously, ask my business partner… she’ll tell you.  I recently broke one of our MB-D10 grips for our Nikons, and my old LowePro bag is on it’s last leg after three years of use.  Regardless of that, (And in honor of Full-Disclosure) we have some friends who work over at Clik-Elite.  One of them e-mailed me and asked if they could send some product over for us to test out.  I said sure.  A couple days later a box showed up containing one black Reporter, one of their shoulder strap bags.

The Reporter

The reporter isn’t your typical shoulder strap bag.  It comes with more technical features such as a hip strap, which is removable. Both my partner and I have been using this bag when it’s available.  She likes it without the hip strap, and simply loosens the velcro that holds it in place in the sleeve and slides it out.  I like it with the hip strap.  One of the things that struck me right off the bat about this bag is that it’s genuinely a “Pro” bag.  I shoot with a Nikon D2X, and we have two D300’s with Battery packs.  So our equipment is bulky.  A major issue I’ve had in the past is that bags don’t really fit Pro bodies.  The zippers on my old LowePro bags are always stressed, since the bodies don’t really fit in the bag correctly.  This bag however is built for pro bodies.  It’s deep enough from back to front for a Pro body with a lens, a second lens or flash and another item.

I brought the D300 with a grip, flash and my Nikon Coolpix 7000 which was used to take this photo.  All fit nicely

I brought the D300 with a grip and Tamron 17-50 2.8, flash and my Nikon Coolpix 7000 which was used to take this photo. All fit nicely

I packed the bag up and went for a five mile hike up one of the canyons close by my house.  The bag performed as a bag should, staying in place and out of the way during my trek, but being easily accessible when I needed to get to the things I need to get to.  During my hike I got a call from a friend and was able to quickly swing the bag around to get to my phone placed in the front pocket

The front pocket

This pocket has enough room for a phone, wallet, keys and some other items like filters or card wallets.  It also includes two zipper pockets which will hold up to a 77 mm filter.  It also has a strap for your keys.  Included, but not pictured is the rain fly that tucks under the bottom of the bag.  I didn’t have to use it all, in fact we haven’t used it ever since it hasn’t rained here yet.

I did use the hip strap on this bag, and I was very impressed with the way it performed.  It felt like a very substantial backpacking hip strap.  It was an actual weight bearing hip strap.  This is great, since I have a bad back and shoulder strap only bags tend to enflame the problem.  So having this small, already comfortable bag sit the way that it did, with very limited weight on my shoulder was really, really nice.  I’d later realize that you can run the bag without the shoulder strap and just the hip strap.  I tried it after the hike, but I found it to be a little precarious.  The shoulder strap is good to help the bag stay in place.

Chaise Lounge at the top of the hike... oddly placed, but very very nice after the 2.5 mile hike up.

Chaise Lounge at the top of the hike… oddly placed, but very very nice after the 2.5 mile hike up.

All in all I was very pleased with the bag.  The hike I did was pretty technical and had it’s moments and the bag performed as I felt it should.  If you’re a pro who likes to travel light with a single body and one or two additional items this is a great bag.  The $13o dollar price tag puts it towards the top end of the price range for shoulder strap or hip strap bags that are comparable in carrying capacity, but it’s worth it due to how comfortable the bag is.

Check out the Reporter bag on the Clik Elite website right here

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Pactimo Group Shot Build-Up

A little while ago I attended an ASMP seminar here in L.A. with one of the leading minds in commercial photography and business practices Bill Cramer of Wonderful Machine.  It was an extremely insightful seminar and really helpful.  I had submitted my website for review and it got it’s fair share of criticism, but the thing he said to me that stuck with me the most was “Show how you’re different.  Show the work you WANT to be doing”.  He was referring to a lot of the work I was showing that utilized only natural or ambiant light and commented further that everyone in my niche (Outdoor and Lifestyle Sports) shoots with ambiant light and everything pretty much looks the same at a certain point.  After the seminar I trimmed my pages down focussing on the work that separates me from so many, the fact that I take my experience as an action sports photographer and add to my frames greater and more diverse light.  I try not to over do it, as I like my work to maintain the sense that its a photograph and not an illustration, but I also like my subjects to be more dynamically lit that just the sun hitting them from one direction.  Also, in many cases I’m working under tight deadlines and if the light doesn’t do what I want it to I don’t have the luxury of waiting for a better day.  Dragging studio lights on location can be a lot of added work, but in the long run it’s worth it to have those additional assets.

For the most part, I’m able to light and shoot my subjects in such a way that I can work in a single plate.  I like to get as much in camera and do as little work as possible on the back end.  I’m not a wizard in Photoshop and I like to show that I’m a good photographer, thus I do minimal style work in post and present a finished product that closely resembles what came off the camera. Despite all of that, for a recent project I did for Pactimo Clothing, that wasn’t an option.  In full disclosure, I wouldn’t have had any idea how to accomplish this shot if it weren’t for a good friend named Scott Dukes, another L.A. Photographer who does incredible automotive work.  Yes, two plate build ups are laughably easy, but hey… I want to give credit where credit is due (And he does significantly more complex work).

Pactimo group shot comp.

The completed image.

That’s the finished image.  Basically, due to the width of the road and how bright it was required me to place a light pretty close to my lead rider to get the light I wanted.  

The shot straight off the camera.

The shot straight off the camera.

So, as you can see we have 1 AB800 in frame, then one out of frame at about 10 o’clock to the first rider.  There is also another AB800 straight on to the riders directly behind me.  The sun also played some in the shot, and was at about 7 o’clock to the first rider.  With this frame I also shot a 2nd plate without the lights or the riders.

The back, or 2nd plate

The back, or 2nd plate

Between these two shots I had everything I needed. I imported both frames into Photoshop, layered and simply erased the areas I didn’t want in the picture.  In this case the light and sandbags and some of the flair from the light.  I did have to do some evening in color as the light had changed between the frames, but it was minimal. I also cropped the image later on as well.  I thought about adding some clouds in from a separate plate, but I wasn’t sure what my client would want to do for copy, and I figured a consistant background in the sky would probably be better in the long run.  I know it’s not a terribly impressive build up, but it was my first significant build up for a client.  A second build up I did for the same client is currently being used in their trade show booths.  Like I said before, My preference is definitely shooting single plate work and doing as little in post as possible but that isn’t always an option, and it’s good to know that with a little help from some technology, and good planning in camera that I can still accomplish my overall goal with the shot. 

You can see work from this shoot and the MTB shoot we did later that same week running on www.pactimo.com

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That Project’s done… Sea Otter


Sea Otter is done.  I’m still completely exhausted, and the “Write Words” part of my brain isn’t back on line yet.  So here are some photos from the week.

Presented without comment








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