GPP Shootout, Part Deux

We interrupt today's regular programming, as the 2011 Gulf Photo Plus Shootout video featuring Zack Arias, JoeyL and Photographic Zenmaster Gregory Heisler (not shown) has just dropped into Vimeo.

Confession time: Working in front of 300+ people? Been there. But I sure am glad I did not have to work under the pressure of Heisler's blistering mic. Let's set the stage, shall we?

Following last year's Polaroid Boy fiasco, JoeyL absolutely had to produce. And Zack, ever the stalwart, was gonna do his thing, of course. What they could not know was that Heisler, after dogging them during their shoots, would later decide to pick up a camera himself...

So, who is Greg Heisler, and why do you not want him riding you while you are shooting? Well, because he makes photos like this, this and this. (Each opens in a new window if you have not seen these vids before.)

So yeah, pretty decent photographer. But where's Heisler still a newb? A rookie? A veritable babe-in-the-woods?

On Twitter, that's where.

I think even with the above small taste in the video, you can see just how suited for the medium he is. And he actually has a twitter account, with over 500 followers, just waiting for him to get his ass in gear.

As of this posting: One whole tweet.

If we get him up to over a thousand followers, I say he pretty much has to join in the fun. So I am asking every one of you to follow Greg on Twitter and send an @reply to him, personally inviting him to tweet more than, well, once.

I'm pretty sure he can take it.

In all seriousness, these kind of fun, if sophomoric, competitions are just one of the many reasons GPP totally rocks. I can't wait to get back there next year.



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Blogger Ted said...

I can't wait for you to get back their either. Would love to see you compete there.

March 31, 2011 10:33 AM  
Blogger Chris Cookz said...

Am I the only one who can't hear the audio while they are actually talking their way through how they made their photos? And Greg's commentary? And any sort of reaction? All I hear is the music. When the video cuts to Joey and Zach at the table I can hear them talking just fine. But the important stuff, the stuff about how and why they are doing what they are doing, is completely absent. Very disappointing. I would have loved to hear what they had to say.

March 31, 2011 11:08 AM  
Blogger David said...

@Chris Cookz: All the commentary is on the left channel, make sure you listen in stereo.

March 31, 2011 11:45 AM  
Blogger Go Aweigh Girls said...

So, who won?

March 31, 2011 12:12 PM  
Blogger Go Aweigh Girls said...

So, who won?

March 31, 2011 12:13 PM  
Blogger Andy deBruyn said...

Fab video, fun to watch and even pick up some pointers. Great! Thanks for posting this.

March 31, 2011 12:28 PM  
Blogger Markus said...

Wow! I loved Heislers idea! Would've never come to my mind. What JoeyL did was just too obvious and predictable on that situation and I certainly prefer Zacks shot to his.

March 31, 2011 12:44 PM  
OpenID ritzyfoto said...

it was great and all, but never the same without you man! u need to turn the bus around next time :)

March 31, 2011 1:37 PM  
Blogger Chris Cookz said...

@David Of course lol. I only turned on my right speaker when I listened to it the first time. I'll have to turn the left one on next time. Thanks for the heads up.

March 31, 2011 2:25 PM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

Hat off to Gregory Heisler. This was fun, as usual.

March 31, 2011 6:08 PM  
Blogger Trav Williams and Kacy Spooner said...

While those shots were good, I didn't find them that interesting. At events like that I always hope for some more creative use of the space and models.

March 31, 2011 7:03 PM  
Blogger Ian said...

From the applause, sounds like a three way tie :)

I liked each of them myself.

March 31, 2011 8:17 PM  
Blogger Gene Lee said...

All great shots, especially while under such pressure, but my vote goes for Heisler's creativity. Seems that the contest was missing someone this year. Anyway, who won?

March 31, 2011 9:10 PM  
Blogger Scott Dean said...

I would love to see more of these type shootouts across the US from different Strobist groups. But of course no octoboxes, or tethered Macs to look at. Just some straight-up manual street lighting. Bring your tool kit and do your thing.

April 01, 2011 12:13 AM  
Blogger עמי סיאנו said...

I think this video shows whatyears of expirience can do. Heisler is simply in a different legue than the two.

in the same situation he created Magic instead of just a decent shot.

applause from TLV.

April 01, 2011 12:29 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Gotta say that I was kinda bummed not to get the sound when Greg was doing his thing, is there an unedited version of the shoot-out in the works so when can actually hear what the Heis is saying as he shoots??

April 01, 2011 3:48 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Oh yeah and I vote for Joey's image.

April 01, 2011 3:49 AM  
Blogger dominique said...

Game, set and match to Greg Heisler. However, he had the luxury of knowing what he would be shooting and seeing Zack and Joey go before him.

April 01, 2011 3:52 AM  
Blogger Akif said...

As Heislers jokingly remarked "get a pro to do it", and then followed it up with that great photograph, WOW!!!

Granted, he had more time to think about it, but IMO his shot is so much in a different league than the others - nothing against Zack or Joey - it does set him apart as the "pro".

Thanks for posting the video.

April 01, 2011 5:17 AM  
Blogger Per said...

I wish they hadn't used autolevels on the microphone when recording the applause.

April 01, 2011 5:19 AM  
Blogger Dan Cutrona Photography said...

I agree that Heisler is absolutely in a different league than Zack and Joey. And although he was "joking", there is a little truth behind every joke. I like Joey's shot, simple, and he captured great expression on the dancers face. I think Zack's shot was sub-par, and his lighting explanation sophomoric.

April 01, 2011 9:48 AM  
Blogger Will Kronk said...

I followed Heilserhimself this morning, but as of 12:05EST, Twitter is saying that account doesn't exsist.

April 01, 2011 12:06 PM  
Blogger Keith Woodhall Photographer said...

Great shots all around, but i think Mr. Hobby's last performance at GPP will be hard to beat, both in quality and creativity. The idea of using
"paparazzi" for lighting is still something i keep in mind everyday when running low on creativity. He used his resources and surroundings in ninja like fashion. It was inspiring to say the least, and the photo was amazing.

April 01, 2011 1:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Carey said...

Great job guys. You did great Joey. The good thing about being so young is that you have so much opportunity to learn.

April 01, 2011 1:44 PM  
Blogger Edward Carlile Photography said...

Yep.....Greg Heisler nailed it for thinking outside of the box.
Joey and Zack never really managed to shine at all on that deal.

April 01, 2011 7:39 PM  
Blogger Reed said...

Thanks for posting this clip David -
It was great seeing Joey & Zach working under the gun so to speak. With the constraints they had I probably would have done something in the same vein. Both photos were nice and useable in a National Geographic sort of way. For my taste I'd probably give Joey the edge...

But then Heisler took the stage and really did pump it up a couple of notches by his choice of doing a 180 with the background. His photo is the one that would be used in the worldwide campaign to increase tourism in Turkey, and probably the one I'd want to put on my wall.

Just sayin...

April 01, 2011 10:29 PM  
Blogger L said...

Loved the video! I always wanted to shoot a whirling dervish..I saw that and came up with my own concept on how I could have shot that different and I hope to get a chance at some point to try it out!
Linda Matlow

April 02, 2011 3:21 AM  
Blogger yahel said...

Hey guys,

I'm not sure I understand how Heislers did his thing !!

How did he get perfect outline on the exterior and swirl of color on the interior of the subject ?

Could someone who understood explain the setup for me please ??

April 02, 2011 5:59 AM  
Blogger Batdorff Photography said...

I love watching these two guys shoot it out. I look forward to seeing you and Joe in Grand Rapids in the next couple of weeks. John

April 02, 2011 5:33 PM  
Blogger Akif said...


I believe that the sharpness you see is from the background light "spill". Since the background is really hot (overexposed), and the dervish is pretty close to it, the light on the background will bounce onto him, and freeze him.

Everything else is just a long exposure, getting the swirls, etc.

The freeze from the background spill will be better exposed than the swirls by definition.

Without actually having tried it myself, I'd say that a couple of tries and the Heisler know-how is the final ingredient.

April 03, 2011 2:46 AM  
Blogger Pierre-Alexandre said...

Yahel: He used ambient light on his subject and only used the flash on the background. He had a long exposure for the ambient light, so the spinning guy was very blurred. The trick is the background: the flash light was very strong and very brief, so its light created a hard silhouette. In the dark of that silhouette, the lower power ambient light could shoe, outside of the it, it only showed white.

Here's another way of looking at it. Imagine he was in a perfectly dark room, he used a long exposure and he fired the flash at the wall. Because the room is absolutely black, even with a long exposure the silhouette created by the flash would be sharp because the flash is very short.

But in this case, the room isn't dark. So instead of having a black silhouette, the shape of the silhouette is filled with what the long exposure captures with the ambient light: a colorful swirl.

I hope this helps you understand this very creative setup.

April 03, 2011 11:14 AM  
Blogger MG said...

Late to the party, but THANK YOU for introducing me to another superb photographer and teacher (is it now a job requirement that all lighting gurus must also be witty and great fun?! I'm in awe of y'all...:). I've trawled through your (and Prophoto's) Heisler archives and it's an education not only in lighting, but how to handle portraits and portrait subjects in different contexts. Fantastic stuff!

April 03, 2011 11:26 AM  
Blogger RayPlay said...

Greg Heisler puts photography on another level. Not registering what is there to the eye, but what it does to your imagination. Very creative.

April 03, 2011 2:44 PM  
Blogger Robert Whetton said...

arg!! who put the sound together, listening on headphones is really annoying, having the voices in mono coming in my left ear only! someone re-do this please and put the voices in stereo!

April 05, 2011 12:21 PM  
Blogger Rex-Rizza said...

Greg Heisler's shot was the best. But he already had more time to formulate a better shot and he already saw the other 2 do their thing. Unlike Joey and Zack where they have to wait for their turn.

April 22, 2011 7:08 PM  

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