The Photo Crony – First Announcement!

Well… I’m not sure what to say.  I’ve been working on my invention for the last couple of years and we are finally getting ready to head over to Kickstarter!   Here is the very first look at the Photo Crony. And now… we are patented! I am an official inventor!

Things are getting into gear.  We have a web page, Facebook page and fun video.  I just finished shooting the introductory video.  I am in touch with manufacturers.  The Crony is coming!

Mounted on Stage RI’ve now filed for a patent over the device itself as well as the centering bolt.  In short, the Photo Crony will be an incredible tool for photographers who work for e-commerce, macro, animation and more.  It helps product positioning, allows for perfect rotation with precise commands and easy settings and much more. The patent-pending centering bolt even allows for perfect product support and positioning.

The Photo Crony can even be inverted and used to rotate a suspended object, or even a camera around an object.  Combine this with the Dynamic Perception Stage R and NMX and use countless keyframes, ramping and more for perfect repeatable movement, animation and camera triggers.


The Photo Crony Conclusion

crony-rotateThis product will blow the doors off of any photo turntable, but more than that will allow for a million other functions.  Unlimited configurations, surface options and a ton of amazing accessories will allow this unit to be configured for anyone’s particular needs.

Check out the video and please be sure to help support us as we try to make things easier for the working photographers of the world.


Heads or Tails
Heads or Tails

Dracast LED Panel for High Speed Photography

Dracast High Speed Video TestHere is the video I put together to evaluate how the Dracast light panels function when used in high speed photography.  I shot video at frame rates from 700 frames per second up to 15,000 frames per second. Mostly, I wanted to see how the lights performed in terms of brightness as well as flicker.  Here is the result. Overall, I was extremely pleased and actually a bit surprised.


Impressions of the Dracast LED

I did not purchase the hybrid version.  If you shoot video in a variety of locations where you may need to match lights, they make sense.  In the studio, where you can configure your own white balance, the trade-off is huge.  Intensity allows for an incredible number of other options – such as the ability to shoot at higher shutter speeds, the ability to have more flexibility in aperture and most importantly, the ability to control lighting ratios.  To me, the ability to have bright, consistent lights is of paramount importance and going with the Dracast Daylight-Balanced lights were the only option.

The Dracast LED panels are not perfect for sure.  I didn’t line up panels to compare but the Dracast had the best features to cost that I could find, but to be clear they are not cheap and they are not the best.  I found them to be a superior compromise.  Things that I love are the weight, power and consistency.  Things that I don’t include the cases (zippers broke on both cases on day one), batteries are not consistent (one charges in an hour or so, the other takes about 4 hours, color balance indicator does not function correctly on the daylight balanced model (it shows an incorrect color temp on both units), etc.  So these issues are uncomfortable given the cost of the unit, but have not detracted directly from the actual use of the units.

Hope that helps!  Drop me a note –


Portraits on the Beach – the Family Portrait

I had a tremendous time taking portrait photos of this beautiful family on the beach in Redondo Beach, CA.  We used a very big light to try to cut down on the 2:00pm light (that was the only time of day we could get onto the beach).  The light did a great job overpowering the sun and we were left with a beautiful color.

One thing that I enjoyed in particular about this shoot was the genuine love and openness of the family. In many cases, the expressions of character and emotion are a not easily brought into the camera, but this was remarkably easy.  Here are a couple of the images (used of course with consent):



Home Tour Demo

Combining still images and 360 degree photography, as well as web content, pdfs, videos, amenities, local attractions and a wide variety of other content, wonderful virtual tours can be set up. This is a simple walk-through of a home – – the virtual tour is ideal for prospective buyers, renters, interior designers, incoming residents and many others. Truly, when it comes to virtual tours, the sky is the limit. 360 images can be captured on the ground and above, and the options are truly without limit.

The Virtual Tour

This tour features a floor plan of the home.  Click on the various icons for images throughout the house or to visit the various 360 degree tours. Check out the tour below – and I’ll add other types of media from time-to-time.

Click below to view the tour. This is just one format. This can be embedded on a web page, or more!

Home Demo Virtual Tour by Mark Nicholas

Aerial Shooting in Manhattan Beach

Sharing this aerial image of Manhattan Beach overlooking an area near downtown, the tree district and heading out over the pier and ocean.  This is a spectacular home in a spectacular town.  Shot with the DJI Inspire and cleaned/finished in Photoshop.

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It is worth sharing a couple of alternative looks which were created as part of this series. One is a high key image and the other is a colored pencil look. Both would look fantastic printed big and beautiful on canvas!

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DroneBase Shoot - June 25, 2015 by Mark Nicholas (Photography in Motion)

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The Aloxxi Photo Shoot

Product and cosmetic is great fun to shoot.  There is always something sparkly, shiny/reflective, specular and so forth. Light is a huge consideration.  The Aloxxi product line continues that tradition both with metallic foil on its labels as well as a white container/box.  Aloxxi is a fine company that makes some beautiful products and we are proud to help them to represent the way in which the product looks.  Aloxxi’s editing of the images is beautiful. The following is a final product image from our latest shoot.

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For a bit of fun, here is an image of an early setup as we were considering how to light the products.  With the two boxes, we ended up adding reflectors, diffusion and more. Shot with the Canon 1DX.  So low to the ground, I think the shoot almost drove my assistant crazy.

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Be sure to check out Aloxxi and I hope you love the images.

The Lighter : Slow Motion Video

In my endeavors to slow down time, I decided to play around with a lighter that I found.  Turns out, lighter’s are pretty incredible devices; creating spark while fuel is released.  The fuel passes the spark and ignites.  In slo mo, at 3500 frames per second, magic is created.  Shot with my Edgertronic and having a blast!

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Hummingbird in Super Slo Mo

There are different moments in nature that impact each of us in a way that we are able to connect. Sunsets, for instance, are pretty universal in their intimacy. With all that I’ve done as a nature photographer — penguins, polar bears and so forth — the most interesting creature to me is the hummingbird.

I recently found myself taking short high speed movies of these tiny (super tiny) little creatures and somehow caught this particular fella fly into the frame, stop and look at me, before continuing on.  This is completely magical and I am enthralled.  Enjoy the hummingbird who lives in my yard at 750 frames per second.

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The Power of the new Canon 5DS / Mr. Phelps’ Stache

Let’s talk about the Canon 5DS. Is this camera worth it? To me, it’s all pretty simple.

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I have been inundated over the past couple of weeks regarding questions pertaining to Canon’s 5DS camera.  That’s to be expected.  It’s a new and expensive piece of gear; and as it turns out, I have one of the first.  The questions of course reflect each person’s dilemma as to whether the camera should be purchased.  Yes… it’s a lot of money; but it’s a lot cheaper than medium format with a whole lot more bells and whistles in its DSLR body and sensor size. Unfortunately, Canon made the evaluation far more difficult than it needed to be by classifying this camera into categories such as studio and landscape.

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The 5DS as a Sports Camera


Let’s just focus on the Canon 5DS as a sports camera (it’s as good an example as anything else). There is incredible virtue in the 1DX’s 12 frames a second; and the 5DS simply lacks that speed in frame rate.  My 5DIII complimented the 1DX beautifully in many ways but it is never something that I would have taken out to shoot sports.  It’s speed did not accompany any significant offsetting benefits. That said, with the 5DS Canon imposed some key video restrictions.  Restrictions suck, but they likely reflect Canon’s desire to not have any one camera be the be-all, as well as reflecting some physical restrictions related to the space required by the USB3 plug. Still, the 5DS focuses brilliantly and the viewfinder is super bright, much brighter than even the 1DX.  This is a simple fact, as attested to by the photographers nearby as I shot the Oakland A’s game with both the 1DX and the 5DS.

Of course this is the best camera in Canon’s lineup when it comes to studio and landscape. Back to the speed thing… when it comes to sports and speed, the fact of the matter is that 12 frames/sec are still remarkably few.  At 1/2000th of a second, 12 frames is a mere 6/1000ths of a second.  Empty space accounts for the remaining 99.4% of the second.  That is why many of the best sports photographers will just as often single-shoot the events requiring the most critical timing (such as bat-on-ball).


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The Virtue of the Canon 5DS

Well… if you decide to stop spraying-and-praying at 12 frames a second, it is worth noting what can be accomplished with the 5DS at 50 megas when you single-shoot whatever subject you may desire.  That is the overwhelming benefit and a reasonable trade-off for speed when the time is right. Here is the original framing of a shot of Michael Phelps (Santa Clara, June 20, 2015), a finished (uncorrected) crop, and a 100% crop of the mustache of Mr. Phelps:



Original and Final Crop Frame

Here is the image of Phelps from the camera (50.3 MP) and cropped as final (21.6 MP).  That is a perfectly sized final image!  If this were shot with a 22MP camera, the crop would be, oh I don’t know, a lot smaller.  By percentage, the crop would have been 43% of the original or 9MP.  That is a massive difference.  I’m not a math guy – but 22 vs. 14, 12, 10, 8 and so on is a huge deal when it comes to a final image for print or media.


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100% Crop of Mr. Phelps’ Stache

This is the unbelievable magic.  You can see every single hair of the stache.  The crop didn’t hurt us at all and this image can be printed on the side of a building and would look truly brilliant.

To me, this is stunning.  The raw data is too-good-to-be-true.  I haven’t felt this giddy since I was a tiny youngster on the first day of Hanukkah. Sports camera?  Not by birthright. This time – absolutely.


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Let the Stache do the Speaking

So in conclusion … you buy the 5DS if you want the absolute in terms of resolution and detail. Light can be managed and frame speed and video is the compromise.  The 5DS is no small difference as Mr. Phelps’ stache can attest. It is remarkable in every sense of the word.  Pixel peepers do your thing. Oh whatever … damn… there are 50 friggin megapixels here.  There are no comparisons.  So… do you want it or not?

P.S.  I do.

What Happens when you Hit Your Kid in the Face (High Speed Video)

This is a rather classic shot — but one that I’ve never gotten tired of.  Slow motion water balloons are just beautiful.

This was shot at approximately 1500 frames per second.  Gabrielle’s reaction the highlight of the shot to me (jumping around as I am about to get hit) is just amazing and completely genuine.  That stuff can’t be planned.  Enjoy!

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