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Hi everybody!

Short notice: My blog moved to www.christianknoch.com/blog

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Chris


Happy New Year!

Hi everybody, I wish all of you a Happy New Year 2013!

Alsfeld, Hesse, Germany – 01/01/2013


Sometimes Life Wants You To Change – My Year In Review

Hello and welcome to this years final blog post!

Well, it’s been a few months ago since my last post and I’ve missed some promised topics. I’m sorry for that, but there was a lot of change in my life this year. And so I want to give you a personal review of my 2012.

Sometimes life wants you to change in a dramatically way. Well, I’m fine – don’t have any kind of disease, luckily. But also “trivial” happenings can touch your mind and cause a change in thinking and acting.

Anyways, my change in life started in January when my girlfriend decided to break up our 11 year relationship. My whole world collapsed that final day in January and I lost the most lovely person in my life that always gave me the power and encouragement to go on through hard times and to realize my ideas and create new visions during all those years of our relationship – from school to apprenticeship to university education and the vision of getting a great job to feed a family. She was always my motivation and inspiration. Nevertheless we failed on our sorrows during the last year which was the most hardest time we went through …

Breaking fresh ground

After I’d lost the love of my life, I still wanted to realize the visions I had all those years, but couldn’t realize for lack of time because of my university education, yet.

Anyways the year began in a good manner. I got a photo assignment of a company that develops and produces technical wallpapers. They hired me to create new product photos and this was a great assignment. Also one of my motocross photos was published in a physics schoolbook of a notable German publisher. That really drove me in terms of commercial photography this year.

In February, Tina, a fellow student, invited me to shoot one of the games of her volleyball team. There I met Fiona and some other nice people which helped me to forget about the trouble of the past month. During spring I had a good time with all those people – no matter if we had barbecue in the garden or had board game parties, visited music events, went snowboarding or just hanging around and talk. I met interesting people and discovered new places and it was worth it.

Due to the snowboarding with Fiona I rediscovered skateboarding for myself. I just wanted to stay fit for snowboarding during the summer so I started to skate again at the age of 29. Well, the most people at home think that this is a silly idea, but it really helped me to get through that hard time of realizing that my girlfriend left me. I found some new kind of sense of life in skateboarding. It’s like music – it helps you to recharge and to strengthen your character and mind for upcoming tasks. And so skateboarding took a big part of my free time this year. And yeah, it brought me new friends, too. Meanwhile I’m loving to cruise through the streets, watching for new spots and coming home totally exhausted, noticing: “Yes, you are still alive!”

Me skateboarding again after canceling it 11 years ago

There was a point where I couldn’t life in our flat anymore because it reminded me of my broken relationship, so I decided to move away just for a few months. I moved to Giessen, the city where I studied and shared an apartment with five other people. I never shared a flat before with so many people so it was some kind of an adventure for me. Here I met Jan, an ambitious amateur photographer. We learned a lot from each other in terms of photography and talked nearly everyday many hours about photography and projects.

I also met another talented professional photographer this year – Kae Hall. She’s a wedding and portrait photographer from Alsfeld. For me she is the best wedding photographer in this area because she has an awesome clean, timeless and modern, bright style. She invited me to take part as a second photographer in a wedding reportage in June. This was the preparing for my first own wedding reportage of my friends Jessica and Timo. Maybe you’ve read last years November posting about my first Engagement Shoot with them. After that they asked me to make a photo reportage of their wedding near Hamburg in July. I accepted and was allowed to document a lovely and cheerful event. Thanks Timo and Jessica!

The Wedding of Timo and Jessica

While living in the shared flat in Giessen Tina told me that she and Fiona wanted to travel to New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. I thought that this would be a great idea to clear my mind from the separation. So I decided to come with them and booked a flight, too. But than I  was dubious about it and if I should spend so much money for this five month trip because my dream was always to travel the USA. I just was a bit anxious about traveling on my own, but accidentally I found an old acquaintance on the internet again – Doreen. I read Doreen’s blog and well, she was traveling on her own through South America. She gave me a lot of needful tips and finally I decided to cancel the New Zealand Trip with Tina and Fiona and booked my flight to the USA in late August to travel along the West Coast from Seattle, WA to Los Angeles, CA to Tijuana, MX.
I made thousands of images and they keep alive billions of impressions that I got during the journey. Here are just a very, very few ones:

The Dodge and me on our tour along the US west-coast

Seattle skyline

At Mt. Rainier, WA

Baywatch 😉

Spaceshuttle Endeavour – its last flight, Los Angeles, CA

I don’t know what to say – just WOW! That was the best travel I made so far! I rent a Dodge truck and drove along the coast through all the great cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, made a short side trip to Lake Tahoe and went on to Los Angeles – I visited a Rodeo in Tacoma and Kurt Cobain’s House at Lake Washington, his memorial park in Aberdeen, Mount Rainier etc. etc. I visited lots of skate parks like the ones in Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Carlsbad and skate spots in San Francisco (thanks to Aaron Kyro), I met a lot of friendly and helpful people. When I stuck in the sand with my truck at Kaweah Beach ten men pulled my car out like it would be self-evident. I really love that country and will come back soon! 🙂
(BTW: If you want to know what camera gear I took with me: Nikon D3, Nikkor 70-200/2.8, Kenko 2x TC, Sigma 24-70/2.8, Tokina 11-16/2.8, SB-800 Speedlights, SU-800 Commander, SuperClamps, ND-Grad-Filters, Gels and a Toshiba Netbook. Everything fit perfectly into my Lowepro CompuTrekker AW. )

Well, beside all that there was also some sports and music band portraiture this year with the volleyball team of my friend Jessica and the band At Eaze.
Those projects were a lot of fun and I am glad they asked me to do the shootings. I did it with all my passion for photography. Thanks!

At Eaze 2012

Ladies’ Volleyball Team  Giessen 2012

After my USA trip I moved to Munich in November – leaving behind my old live on the countryside and finally forgetting about my broken 11 year relationship.
And here I am, living in Munich, Bavaria and starting a new stage of life – on my own, initially.

Home Sweet Home – leaving the countryside …

… moving to Munich, Bavaria

I’m looking forward to new photography projects here in Munich. There’s a lot to experience and many ways to express myself here in terms of photography.

This year showed me that there’s no time to mourn after somebody and believe that live is less livable. There are always people and ways that can help you to find new inspiration and happiness. Just do it! 😉

Well, that was my year in review. How was yours? Maybe you want to post a link to your blog or leave a comment!

Anyways, I wish all of you a great passing of 2012 and that all your good dreams and wishes will come true.

See you next year when I’ll present you my photography agenda of 2013.

Bye!
Chris


The At Eaze Band Shooting

Hi an welcome to my last blog post from Germany for the next four weeks!

Before my plane takes off in a few hours I just wanted to post some images from last weeks band shoot with AT EAZE.
As I said, the shooting was in an old farm house and I used a Nikon SB-800 setup only.
A great thing was to simulate a sunset with warming gels by shooting the flash through the windows. I love that technique.
We had a lot of fun creating these promo shots.

So here are a few ones …

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Next time I will post the first impressions from my USA trip, hopefully. 🙂

Bye!
Chris


What’s up?

Hi and welcome to this short blog entry.

For the ones who are awaiting the 2nd in depth wedding post – I will publish it later this year.

But here are the latest news and projects.

#1: USA Trip
At the moment I’m planning my journey to the USA. I will stay there for four weeks and traveling from Seattle, WA across San Francisco, CA and Yosemite National Park, CA to Los Angeles, CA. I’m very excited because it is my first USA visit. 🙂 It will be hilarious – I’m sure.
I will write about the journey and post the greatest images in this blog from August 27th to September 24th.

If you are living in these areas just let me know – maybe we can meet up for some photo talk and shots. Would be great.

#2: Another great reference
This summer DUDEN released its new physics schoolbook called “Physik Na klar!” On page 152 you will find my motocross action image. This image was shot in April 2011 at the Feldatal motocross race track, Hesse, Germany.

My motocross action image on page 152 of  “Physik Na klar!” – DUDEN /Cornelsen Schulbuchverlag, Berlin

#3: A Band Shoot
There will be a band shoot during the upcoming weeks wit At Eaze. The shoot will be in an uninhabited German farmhouse. A really interesting location. The last time I shot At Eaze here was in 2009. Back then I had to use halogen headlamps because I had no portable strobe solution.

At Eaze, 2009

This time I will use the Nikon infrared system with Speedlights like I do for all of my shootings nowadays.

So far.

Bye.
Chris


In Depth Wedding Reportage – #1 Making Preparations

Hi and welcome to another blog post about wedding reportage!

This time I want to give you an in depth overview about making a wedding reportage.
I will start this series of articles with telling you how to prepare your wedding reportage.

Preparing a wedding reportage is lots of work in general. After you received a job from a client to shoot a wedding you will have enough time to contrive everything well because the client will send you a request well in advance, normally.

A wedding is a sequential procedure so you need to know when you have to be where. Ask the client for a timetable or a listing of all of the important happenings on that day. This timetable may change a lot until the wedding day, but it is very important to you to get an overview of that day as soon as possible because you have to plan everything well and you need chronological indications to arrange how long to stay for the preparations of the bride and the groom or how much time you will have to get from the church to the celebrating location etc. As soon as you got the final detailed timetable go into detail for your arrangements.

There are three main topics of a wedding day:

#1: Preparations of the bride and the groom
#2: The marriage ceremony
#3: The celebration

If you are doing a full day reportage you normally cover all of those three topics. That means to arrange each of this topics in detail.

Take a blank sheet and a pen and start with #1, the preparations.

Write down everything you can think of that has to do with the preparation of the bride and the groom – the location, the address, the time, the possible procedure, how to interact to create an easy atmosphere, the lighting (available light, flashguns or a studio flash with a softbox, on camera or off camera flash, gelling etc.), which lenses to use, the camera settings to stay flexible for unexpected happenings, how to transfer the mood and atmosphere during the preparation, important details to shoot and so on.
Of course you may not have a tangible knowledge about the scenery where the preparations will be, but go through the most possible situations and search a solution for each so that you are prepared for any situation and do not have to struggle with an unexpected situation like a room with a wooden ceiling or colored walls with mirrors on it etc. Also think of how to draw attention to those who are involved. Think of the light you want to create – backlight, sidelight, dead frontal etc.
Set a fixed amount of time for every stay. For example 60 min for the bride and 30 min for the groom.
Think of how to start, for example with an overview image of the scenery, than capturing the work of the make-up artist, capturing emotions of the bride, shoot the dress, shoot details etc.

You should also make you an own timetable with details about when you want to shoot what and whom – send it to the client.

The things you should think of for #2 and #3 are similar to the ones in #1. Just go through the procedure like in #1.

At least you need all addresses and phone numbers of the locations and the people who are involved like the witnesses to a marriage, the church, the priest, the bridal couple of course, the catering etc. Think of the tasks these folks have on that day and get in contact with them. Ask them for their purposes. Ask the priest for permission to shoot the marriage ceremony from the first row etc. Think of all possibilities and how these folks could help you to get the best images possible that document this special day in the (very) best way. So, this is a professional approach, of course. And it fits to my slogan: “Striving for the better picture everyday.”
While others are working sloppy and do not care about arranging everything well ahead but shooting straight ahead without a plan, I contrast from them because I care about a solid preparation to be prepared in the best way to be a step ahead of unexpected situations, to keep cool when it gets stressful so that I am still able to concentrate myself on the main things: Catching the Moment and make great images that match to the clients expectations.

The evening before you sally to the wedding it is time to pack your camera bag.

What you are taking with you depends on the effort you want to make.
For a standard reportage I am using a camera, f2.8 lenses from 11-200mm, tele-converters and a flashgun plus gels and filters.
If there are portraits to shoot you would also need a light-stand and a softbox or an umbrella, a reflector or so. If you plan to install a remote camera you would also need SuperClamps, a MagicArm and a wireless trigger. Lots of stuff you have to carry. An easy way to carry all that stuff is to use a trolley case for the big stuff and a camera bag like the Lowepro Stealth Reporter bag for your lenses, flash, camera.

After packing your bag, check your car: Oil, tire pressure, water. Clean/wash your car – The first impression counts!

Program your GPS with all locations in chronological order and print all routes, too.

Finally, pack your clothing if you have to stay overnight. A suit/pantsuit for the wedding reportage, casual wear for the journey and a pajama to sleep well after an exhausting day of wedding reportage. 🙂

Go to bed early and do not eat spicy food the day before if you do not wish to spend 80% of the wedding day in the toilette! 😉 Finally, start your journey early enough to prevent traffic jams and have a solid breakfast before.

I hope that article helps you a bit to prepare your wedding reportage.

Next month I will post the 2nd article of this wedding reportage series that shows some “behind the lens” action. 

Bye!
Chris


A 2nd Shooter Wedding Reportage

Hi and welcome to another Blog post!

This time it is about being a 2nd Shooter at a wedding reportage.

This was my first wedding reportage as a 2nd Shooter and it was absolutely exciting. Maybe you are asking yourself what the advantages of being a 2nd Shooter are. Well, there are lots: You gain experience of how you have to organize your reportage, how to handle time and communication with those who are involved or just to get an imagination of a wedding procedure, you also can assist and learn how to take portraits and group photos and you can give it a try to shoot a wedding without any stress and obligation – just shoot for yourself and get a feeling of shooting weddings and learn from the 1st Shooter. That is the sense of being a 2nd Shooter: Learn from the best.

In my case, I was an assistant of Kae Hall. Kae is a professional wedding photographer and she has a modern bright, clean and timeless shooting style. To me it was a pleasure to spent one day with her as a 2nd Shooter. Thanks Kae, I learned a lot about shooting weddings on that day!


Preparing the reportage

It was a 6 hour reportage that covered four parts:

#1: The preparation of the bride and the groom
#2: The ceremony
#3: The celebration location
#4: Bridal couple and group photos
The day before I packed my camera bag with the following gear:

–          Nikon D3
–          Nikon D200 (Backup, Remote)
–          11-16/2.8
–          24-70/2.8
–          70-200/2.8
–          2x TC
–          Nikon SB-800 Speedlights
–          Gels
–          ND-Grad-Filter

I would say that this is the standard equipment for any reportage I do.
The Speedlights help me to get a clean and professional looking image quality. I always like to interconnect two Speedlights for better light quality and also half the recycle time.  The ND-Grad-Filter helps me to get rich in contrast when it is impossible to use Speedlights. Finally, gels give me the opportunity to stylize an image in terms of color. For example, a CTO helps me to create a warm light instead of a typical cool flashlight of 5000K.

On the next day I drove to Kae’s studio which is located in Alsfeld. Before we hit the road we get over the arrangement table that shows all stations that we would have to pass on that day.

#1: The preparation of the bride and the groom

At first we arrived at the bride to shoot the preparations.
As a male shooter you have to be very sensible here because there are moments where you should better leave the room – for example when the bride gets dressed. I tell you that because maybe you are pore over your shooting so you would not recognize such moments. This would reflect discredit on you as a great photographer.

So, here are some shots from the bridal preparations. For every station there is set a certain time that is available to get all images that are needed. If there is time left you can use it for some more experimental stuff.

(Notice that every image I took is from the 2nd Shooter view! This perspective is very passive. The 1st Shooter perspective would be much more “active”.)

Preparing the bride

In the image above I tried to give an overview of the preparation and to capture some emotions. You can see the bride’s dress in the background on the far left. In the foreground the make-up artist who concentrates on making up the bride well and the bride herself who seems to be engrossed in thought.

The bride’s dress in detail

Always use the natural available light. If there is a curtain in front of the window like here, it is your lucky day! Use it as a diffuser to create a very soft light. Here it creates a dreamy atmosphere in combination with the transparent and milky cloth of the dress.

The bride surrounded by her bridesmates

Preparing the bride

These are nice shots of the bridesmates that help the bride with her dress. For those I used a 11-16/2.8 to get an overview of the scenery in this small room. To push the light quality I used a Speedlight with a dome diffuser and a WB of 5000K to create a daylight quality. I bounced the light off the ceiling.

After shooting the preparation of the bride we drove to the next station the preparation of the groom.

Preparing the groom

Finally, it is important to give an overview of the location in the beginning and than go into detail. Take images of the preparation and always look out for some interesting details and if there is some time left try some experimental stuff. You can also arrange some of your photos – just ask for permission to put the scenery in proper light.

#2: The ceremony

After the preparations we went to the church in a village nearby. It is important to arrive there before the bridal couple does. When you arrive, also take an overview image of the location/church. Maybe you can shoot the arrival of the bride in a special car or something like that.

The arrival of the bridal couple

I made this image before the bridal couple entered the church. Here you can easily capture great emotions of both.
For this image I used the ND-Grad-Filter to darken the sky to accentuate the drama of the moment – “The big step”.

The ceremony

During the ceremony it maybe not allowed to take pictures all the time, but only at special moments. Sometimes you also may not have the go to shoot in front of the altar. For these situations I like to rig up a remote camera. Here it was not possible to install one so we had to shoot from the far end of the church. To get closer I used the 70-200/2.8 plus a 2x TC. That extended the focal length to a maximum of 400/5.6. I activated the VR and set an ISO of 5000 for this image.

Potential remote camera view in front of the altar

This is an example for a potential remote camera view in front of the altar when it is impossible to get there on yourself because of disturbing the ceremony too much.

After the ceremony

After the ceremony the tension falls off the bridal couple and it is time to celebrate. Right after the marriage there will be also the congratulation which is very hard to capture because of the hubbub. It is impossible to capture every congratulation to the bridal couple so concentrate on the most important persons only.

#3: The celebration location

After the church marriage the next station was the ceremony location.
Capture the arrival of the bridal couple and take an overview image of the location. Important happenings here are the oration(s), the first cut of the cake and so on. Just watch out for great moments and details.

The ceremony location

Cutting the cake

#4: Bridal couple and group photos

Finally, we proceeded to the couple and group shots.
Here it is important to find an interesting and easy positioning. You should prepare this before the shot so you surely know how the image should look in the end.

The bridal couple

It is also good to make a final shot that closes the reportage in a nice way. Therefor I used the following shot where everyone flew heart-shaped balloons and attached the best wishes to them.

Best wishes

Well, that is it. My first wedding reportage as a 2nd Shooter. It was a lot of fun and I am very excited of my own upcoming wedding reportage as a 1st shooter in July. 🙂

Hope this was fun to read and you got an impression of shooting a wedding. I really hope so.

Bye!
Chris