STUDENT GEAR
VIDEO / CINE
QUEENSTOWN LOCKUP
CAMERA
LENSES
STILLS TRIPODS + SUPPORT
COMPUTER EQUIPMENT
LIGHTING
GRIP + STANDS
CONTINUOUS LIGHT
PROFOTO
BRONCOLOR
ELECTRICAL
BACKGROUNDS / FABRICS
PRODUCTION
EFFECTS / SFX

PHOTOJOURNALISM SCHOOL 2017

More than ever now, we believe it is vital to share information and tell our stories in an honest and objective way. Our environment and our climate is rapidly changing, news is coming out quicker than we have time to digest it, and now more than ever before we are receiving it from not only the mainstream media, but our own social networks. This year, Kingsize Studios launched the first ever “Introduction to Photojournalism” course. This is our story

The class was led by teacher and photographer, Abby Verbosky, who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. The students were exposed to some of the masters of photography and we discussed what makes some of the most iconic images so great. This was put to the test, and the students were asked to make their own photo essays in a short space of time. This involved walking through the neighbourhood and getting outside their comfort and approaching people. A real challenge for some, but they made great progress from the start.

We learned about our NZ Copyright laws, as well as ethics, and trustworthy journalism. The students were able to take away practical information which will immediately help them in their own practice and careers. A big eye opener, and a call to action in many ways.

We took a field trip on Day 2 to the NZ Herald printing press site. This was hugely inspirational, and the students were hardly able to keep away from taking pictures of it all. There we learned the process of how the NZ Herald, along with many others, gets from the factory floor and to your front porch.

The students were given lighting and sound workshops, and they were ready to go out and create their stories. Equipped with interviews, stills, and video, we had a multimedia presentation on the final day to see everyone’s work.

We hope to share some more images, and finished work. Our goal was to inspire and teach our students, and give them practical information that can be used to make this career all the more possible for them.

We may be holding this course again, but if you are interested in finding out more, you can email learn@kingsize.co.nz

SUMMER SCHOOL 2017 – WEEK 1

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“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”

– Benjamin Franklin.

 

Studio photography and lighting is a craft that is practiced, but never perfected. We may strive for perfection, yet despite our best efforts, hard work, and disciplined pursuits, we only ever get close.  In doing so however, we discover a reality not familiar to our own. The frame is our whole universe, and we learn to see through the lens to what’s out there. The images we create become a reflection of ourselves, a mirror. Our Summer School course is about to complete it’s 2nd straight week, and this year marks its 2nd anniversary. The course has developed greatly over the last year, and throughout 2016’s seasonal courses we deliver, we have refined the overall student experience.

 

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We demystify Studio Photography. From camera and software, to lighting and grip, we cover the fundamentals, and strip away what is non essential. If you ever felt intimidated, or insecure in a studio, after day one that feeling recedes. We balance theory with practice, and above all else, we get hands on straight away. I love seeing the expressions on a student’s face when they accomplish something they never thought they would. When you’re inspired, and you realise that you’re not the only person striving for the same goal, your mind becomes limitless. We empower our students to learn and develop their skills over the five days (and they are five FULL days of solid work), that by the end of the week you walk away confident and ready to begin.

 

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Some students have never picked up a camera. Others have never used Manual mode on their camera. And others have never set foot inside a photography studio. The challenge is not to merely teach, but to learn from each and every student, each of which has a fresh pair of eyes and outlook on their reality. To be able to teach the ‘how’ of photography we ask each student to tell us their ‘why’. Why do they create images? Why do certain images move them and others don’t? Why do they keep striving for perfection and work through the failures? The fabric of a good studio photographer is a careful blend of creativity, science and the arts (though, business can help too !).

 

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Spring Break 2016

Written by Christian Espinoza

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It’s always inspiring to see a group of students challenge themselves, and push their own limits to see what they can really achieve. I am privileged, and honoured that I got to to lead the Kingsize Spring Break course this year. We had an enthusiastic group from all parts of the world, and all ages. Here is our story.

 

Day 1

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The focus for Day 1 was to lay the foundation for the days ahead. We knew we had to get up to speed with the fundamentals – Camera, Grip, Stands, Frames. The students were introduced to the full range, from Matthews Grip to Chimera, and everything in between. We worked to set up, tear down, set up, tear down. We did this enough times, and with enough variation, that it became like second nature. Then we were ready to experiment with lighting. We used constant light sources from ARRI and Kobold, and were able to see the results immediately. We created bounced, reflected, diffused, hard, and absorbed light. We discussed light shaping and saw first hand the effects of each lighting set up. By the end of Day one it was clear that we had a long week ahead of us !!

 

Day 2

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After seeing what light does and how to shape it in different ways to achieve specific results, we began day two by discussing another area of control – Flash Photography. For a lot of people, flash photography is something they shy away from. Our students were no different, especially in studio. We aimed to change that. A good mix of theory and practice was the best way we were able to deliver this. The benefit of seeing the results in studio, with our Broncolor flash equipment, was a big eye opener. In the afternoon the students observed light control across different surfaces, and we were able to engage in discussion about our learnings. Another day of setting up, and tearing down stands, grip and lighting equipment… and the students loved it !!

 

Day 3

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We worked in pairs to photograph each other, as well as photographing still life. Playing with some new light modifiers from Broncolor, Mola, and Chimera made the process very interesting for us all. The practice of shooting tethered was developed more, and further elements like adjusting the direction, height, positioning of the light, were all refined as well. This was also the start of my one on one sessions, where I got to know the students and what their passions were, what they wanted to create, and what were the issues they faced (if any). On Day three, the intensity ramped up, and despite all of our new learnings (or perhaps, as a result thereof!) we realised that we had only scratched the surface and there was so much more to go…

 

Day 4

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If you had two days in studio to create anything you wanted, what would you come up with? Each student had to answer that for themselves. For some, this was straightforward, but for others it was a hard challenge. We had a mixed bag, some students had props, some brought their friends, their plants, and for one student it was his brothers Indian Cruiser motorcycle! No matter what the subject matter, we had a chance to experiment, make mistakes, learn, and share the information with each other. We could walk from one studio to the next and step into another stage, another world which we created. The students really brought life to the studios and managed to create some stunning work.

 

Day 5

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Wasting no time, we had our final morning catchup and went straight to work. This day would prove to be the most challenging. We had a model from Clyne in the afternoon, which gave us a chance to practice something new to most of us… direction. It’s one thing to practice light shaping and camera control… but a whole other ball game when you have to direct someone in front of your lens. This brought a range of emotions, however, as with the entire course.. we were there to learn from every experience.

 

Spring Break left us all wanting more. As I had mentioned at the beginning of the course, by the end of the five days, we would not walk away as experts. Rather, we would walk away with a solid foundation and the ability to keep on learning. Whether you’re a hobbyist, or starting your commercial photography career, this course would be a step in the right direction. We are holding a Summer School course in 2017, we would love to see you there.

Georgia Periam wins the 2016 Wikiriwhi Scholarship Award

Recently, Kingsize Studios’ Operations Coordinator, Georgia Periam, has been awarded with the 2016 Wikiriwhi Scholarship Award. Established in 1983, The scholarship is awarded annually to a top Whitecliffe student who shows exceptional talent and is a great ambassador for the college.

Georgia will be going to George town in Penang, Malaysia, to attend the Obscura Photography festival for 2 weeks. One of those weeks will be spent in an intensive workshop with other university students from Melbourne. The other a chance to attend the different talks and galleries participating in the event.

Another win for Georgia recently came when her photobook project called “The Inbetween” won a highly commended award in the self published category at the New Zealand photobook awards earlier in the year. 

We are very proud of Georgia, and we know she is on to big things! Read more about the award on her University page: http://www.whitecliffe.ac.nz/news/wikiriwhi2016/

Winter School 2016

Written by Christian Espinoza

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We’ve just delivered our first ever Winter School course, and we are pleased to say that it was a great success. We challenged our students every single day, for five days, and what resulted was incredible. They really blew us away.

Our group of six students ranged from all ages, and came with little to no knowledge about studio photography and lighting. Half of them made the pilgrimage from other towns, coming as far away as Christchurch. Day One kicked off with a morning bootcamp session on Grip, Stands, Frames, Softboxes, and Booms! After a quick break, we plunged straight into constant lighting in studio. The students were able to see immediately the effects of using bounce and diffused light, as well as hard, raw light, and also negative fill. By the end of Day One, our eyes were opened.

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Day Two introduced Flash Lighting to everyone. After a morning theory session, we were soon straight back in the studio and hands on with the gear. We used a range of Mola Softlight dishes, Chimera soft boxes, octaboxes, and frames, and Broncolor lamp heads. The students paired up and experimented, and it seemed the more they discovered the more exciting it got. I met with each student for a one on one to get a sense of where they were, what they hoped to achieve, and to understand what drives them.

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Day Three begun with a workshop in Product Photography, lead by Fraser Chatham. This was a total shift for the class: there was a different teacher, a different studio space, and instead of shooting each other we were shooting bottles and shoes! This really made an impact on a couple of our students for the rest of the course. Fraser, by all accounts, was a fantastic teacher and made sure to explain everything clearly and was very encouraging. Go Fraser!

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Day Four and Five saw the students engaged in their own self directed projects. This was the last phase of learning through total immersion, and full experimentation. We saw a combination of still life, agency models, champion athletes, and of course our very own Ultratec made an appearance.

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Over the five days, the students made themselves at home at Kingsize and we are grateful for that. Each of them was driven, and had the passion to learn and thus opened themselves up completely. We wish them the very best for their future and hope to see them again at Kingsize!

 

Kingsize’s Fraser Chatham Featured on PDN

Our very own Kingsize Ops Manager, Fraser Chatham, recently entered a competition in PDN (Photo District News), called ‘Objects of Desire 2016’. This is an annual still-life competition which highlights the best of commercial and editorial assignment work, in addition to fine-art and personal projects.

We are very proud to say that out of the thousands of international entries, Fraser came Runner Up with his piece “#1”!

You can check out the full gallery on this LINK

If you want to see more of Fraser’s work, go to his Instagram page HERE

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KINGSIZE SCHOOL – SUMMER // AUTUMN 2016

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The Kingsize School has begun, and we’re taking enrolments. Check out the range of workshops on our website: kingsizestudios.com

You can also download our PDF brochure, just click the link below:

Kingsize Education Flyer – Summer-Autumn 2016

See you in class!

 

The New Canon 35mm MkII // Lens Review by Martin Wootton

 

 

The new Canon 35mm MkII, fixed focal length F1.4 lens.

For me this was an interesting review task, firstly because the last time I used a prime lens of this focal length was on a 35mm Film SLR, this lens is massive compared to the 35mm lenses of those days, secondly I currently use a cropped Sensor camera (7D Mk1) and my main lens selection are all zooms, ranging from 11mm to 200m (plus extender). Just to really add to things on the day I had available to use this lens the weather was rubbish!

This 35mm F1.4 from Canon is a bit of a beast, compared to my memory of earlier film day 35mm’s, but of course the lenses I had then didn’t have the marvel of auto-focus, USM etc. Given its size and therefore weight it was surprising how balanced it felt on my camera, taking I do use a grip.

With its cropped sensor the 7D gives me a 1.6x multiplier, meaning that when on my camera the lens has the effective field of view of a 56mm lens on 35mm Film SLR or a Full Frame DSLR. So for most purposes this lens gives me more like a “Standard” lens field of view rather than anything approaching wide angle. For this reason this review may be of more interest to cropped sensor users than full framers

My normal genre’s are sport, wildlife and landscape. So given its effective focal length, not really being even at the top end of the wide angle bracket, and it being nowhere near what you would need for most sport or wildlife applications this lens, for me, would fit into the possible general (walk around) and people / portrait applications, Which I generally use my 24-70 2.8L for.

I guess the main requirement of any lens is that it gives the sensor the best chance of capturing the maximum amount of detail from the subject in front of the lens. The great thing about this lens of course, to me, is the F1.4 aperture, or any of the stops between that at the F2.8 maximum I am used to.

Given the potential use I would put this lens to, indoors with no flash or added light seemed to be the area I should look at mostly.

The detail seen was excellent, at the focal point when wide open, and a good bokeh was also achieved, even on a cropped sensor camera. In reality though the depth of field, at the distance that was necessary to achieve a filled frame and minimise background was too short.

To get the desired features even at a short distance either side of the focal plane in focus either required stepping down, to a stop approaching F2.8, or moving away from the subject a fair distance (this is where I would miss the zoom capability of my normal lenses), thus introducing more unwanted background.

Moving away and keeping the F stop fully open would of course be OK in a studio with a controlled plain background, or even in a church situation where the blurred background is acceptable and gives context, but in a everyday walk around mode, in low light where you may want to use the shutter wide open, and have the subject fully in focus would introduce more background than you may desire, and the bokeh becomes less pleasing. Looking at the various shots of our cat and balancing the distance and F stop F1.8 to F2.2 seemed to give a good compromise to filling the frame, having a reasonable depth of focus and reasonable bokeh.

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F1.4 – Not unpleasant but closer scrutiny reveals the depth of focus fades as the back of the cat’s head is approached.

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F1.6, slightly more depth of focus, but to me still needs a little more to get the top of the head sharper and more defined.

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F1.8 – This is, to me, is getting more where I would like to see the definition and compromise in relation to background content and blur, although as can bee seen below at 100% the contrast against the background is softer than some may desire.

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F1.8 100% crop – definition on the lower ear and across the head is still soft.

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F2.2 – more definition around the subject edges, but beginning to loose the background blur such the objects start to distract.

The colour reproduction was faithful (auto colour balance) and sharpness of the image where it was needed was good, particularly in the indoor shots, For the couple of external shots I did try, given the bad weather, were a little lacking, but this may be more sensor than lens.

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F1.6, ISO800, 1/25th – straight from the RAW file saved as Jpeg to insert here, the colour reproduction is very accurate.

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F20, ISO 100 1/40th – straight from the RAW file saved as Jpeg to insert here. Given a less than ideal day, never the less the colour accuracy is s little off, not so far that a little post processing in Lightroom wouldn’t fix if the picture was for anything but this.

I also took the above to look at the hand holding abilities ( I know I have a fair bit to do with that of course), particularly in relation to the 1 X focal length being the minimum hand holding shutter speed.

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F20, ISO 100 1/40th 100% crop. Given the aperture of F20 then the focal point should not effect the overall sharpness, so my conclusion is that the blurriness, looking at the building (eliminate wind movement of the trees) is purely related to my ability to hand hold this lens at the 1 x Focal length speed. So with my cropped sensor should I have used something more equating to 1 x 56mm?. Exactly what that might be would require more time with this lens to develop my personal requirements, but needless to say this is a large lens to hand hold at low speeds.

Conclusion

Of course the lens’s optical quality, which appears excellent, construction (as would be expected of an L lens) and ease of use would be the same to users, but the type of use is likely to vary. For my purposes, with a cropped sensor body, this would be in the studio, wedding portrait areas rather than my more normal genres.

I am not a studio type, but if I were, or for shooting weddings, I would be temped by this for close in work, where low light would demand a larger aperture whilst trying to keep the ISO down as low as possible. Maybe on the second body to catch times such as exchanging rings, signing the register in the church vestibule etc., maybe a close up of cutting the cake at the reception.

Given my normal genres this is probably not a lens for me, but it is an excellent lens, if not a little pricy. Without the need for the F1.4, for my money the 24-70 2.8L MKII may be a better buy, for my type of work, because of flexibility of uses etc. but if you are in the portrait and wedding genres I could see this being a big asset.

 

 

KINGSIZE HOLIDAY HOURS

 

It’s that time again, and the Team at Kingsize will be closing our doors:

HOLIDAY HOURS
December 24th: 7:30am – 3pm
December 25th – January 4th: CLOSED
January 5th: 7:30am – 7pm
January 6th: 7:30am – 7pm

If you need to get a hold of us over that time, please call us:
25th Dec to 3rd January: Call Christian on 021 1800 525
4th January: Call Adam on 021 908 179

From all of us at Kingsize, have a safe and happy holiday, and we’ll see you in the new year!

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GIFT IDEAS

Kingsize sells film for 35mm, 120 and Polaroid / Instax cameras. We offer a variety of cover and B&W in a range of ISO/ASA speeds. Often we will stock some unique films that we find from around the world, so there is often some unexpected variety. SHOP NOW

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