Author Archives: Brendan Lutes

Film

FILM

Shot on Velvia 100 transparency film with a Hasselblad 500C.

Film was what I initially learned photography on. Back in High School and then college at Brooks Institute of Photography, film was the standard. Nowadays, kids hardly ever touch the stuff, and until recently, I’ve been guilty of that as well. It’s the instant gratification of digital photography that I believe has taken a bit of the art out of photography. Film requires you know have a solid grasp on exposure, composition, and timing. You can’t just crack off hundreds of photos and hope one comes out. Shooting on film requires a lot more forethought and planning in order to get a solid photo.

My grandfather was an avid photographer, and not just one that took family portraits and pictures of pretty flowers in the yard. He had a darkroom, owned nearly every size and style of camera available, entered—and won—numerous photography competitions, and even built his own view cameras. To this day, I still have black and white photos he shot hanging on the walls of my house. When I decided to become a professional photographer, my grandmother began handing down my grandfather’s cameras to me. In college, I used his Horseman 4×5 camera, and when I became a little older, I was gifted his Hasselblad 500C. It wasn’t until recently, though—due to getting caught up in work and not wanting to take the time to shoot film—that I decided to dust off the over-30-year-old camera and run a few rolls through it. What came out blew me away. Not only was I surprised that the old camera still worked nearly flawlessly, but the entire process of shooting with film brought back so many memories of my introduction to photography. The process, having to nail exposure, and the excitement of picking up the developed rolls from the lab reinvigorated my love of the art. It’s so easy to get caught up in taking pictures and forget why we do it, but my venture back into film has reminded me why. It’s fun shooting for myself and not having to worry if I get the shot or not. I get to have fun, and hopefully come away with a couple good shots that I can print and hang on my walls next to my grandpa’s photos. It’s also a great way to keep my skills and knowledge of the craft sharp. I’ve already shot six rolls through the camera. I’ll post more once I get the time to scan them in.

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Motocross Testing

MOTOCROSS TESTING

2016-Kawasaki-KX450F-action-1

Testing the new 2016 KX450F. (Photo by Jeff Allen)

It’s really fun to get to still maintain my connection to motorcycle magazine work with Cycle World. As the off-road test editor, I still get to participate in regular bike testing and reviews in addition to creating features for the magazine. When I started Lutes Digital Media, it was my goal to still be in a position to produce content for a media outlet, and this is exactly that. I’ve been riding motocross since I was five years old and to be able to still make a living off of something that I love—and is a lot of fun—is a dream come true. Check out the stories on CW’s website. At the very least, maybe it will help you decide which new motocross machine is right for you. I’ve been riding the YZ450F a lot lately, and I’m beginning to really like the bike.

 

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Movie Work

MOVIE WORK

I’m a huge fan of movies. Not just for the pure entertainment of them, but for the amount of work that goes into making one and the artistic side of the production. I recently got the chance to work on a major motion picture, shooting aerials for a scene in the movie, and it was an extremely cool experience. During our prep day, the camera truck was rigged up with the Gyron and five other cameras for plate shots that were to be used for a scene in a motorhome. We tested out our drone and camera by shooting some shots of the truck driving around. It’s not a very exciting video, but at the very least you can check out the camera truck rig. I’ll post more about the movie once it’s released.

Camera Truck And Drone Testing from Lutes Digital Media on Vimeo.

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In Front Of The Camera

IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA

Working hard at hardly working on set with Caile Noble (right) and Ricky Diaz (left).

Working hard at hardly working on set with Caile Noble (right) and Ricky Diaz (left).

It’s not too often—in fact rarely ever—that I get a chance to be on the other side of the camera at a major photo shoot. But when my buddy Caile Noble contacted me about riding my dirt bike for a top-secret Chrissy Teigan shoot last week, I couldn’t pass it up. Being on the other side for a change, I got a chance to watch how another photographer operates, and in the case of this shoot it was a major fashion photographer. Lighting, assistants, and a crew of almost countless people filled the desert set. It was an awesome experience and one that I won’t soon forget. Unfortunately, I can’t say much more about it until the photos are released, but when the time comes, I’ll reveal everything.

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It’s Been Awhile

Travis Pastrana made a surprise appearance at the Michelin tire shoot.

Travis Pastrana made a surprise appearance at the Michelin tire shoot.

IT’S BEEN AWHILE

I’ve had a crazy past couple of months. In fact, it’s been so crazy that in the last two months I’ve only spent about 10 days at home. Between camera operating on drones and various motorcycle related events, you could say I have had a very full plate, but I’m not complaining one bit.

The hectic schedule began with some one-day drone shoots for a couple television shows. The first show is titled Preacher, and is produced by Seth Rogan. The shoot was out in blisteringly hot El Centro, California, and it was a lot of fun. Not to be short about it, but all I can reveal is that the show will be very entertaining. From there, I jumped on a plane to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for another TV show. This one will air on Sundance Channel and is titled Hap And Leonard. We filmed a really fun scene, but again, I can’t reveal much more than that.

The camera cart for the DP on set at Hap And Leonard. We were on the 2nd Unit while 1st Unit shot at a separate location.

The camera cart for the DP on set at Hap And Leonard. We were on the 2nd Unit while 1st Unit shot at a separate location.

After only a couple days home, I was back on a plane for a 2016 KTM intro in Indiana for a few days—check out Cycle World for the full write up. Upon returning home for a day, it was back on the road again, as myself and brother-in-law Justin Chapman were headed to the U.S. Open of Golf in Seattle, Washington, for two weeks with Fox Sports. The first week consisted of shooting every single hole on the Chambers Bay course, as the footage was to be used to show each hole during the live broadcast. The second week consisted of live broadcasting and flying just about non-stop. For our crew—myself, Justin, Eric Austin, and Seth Austin—it was really cool to be the first to use a drone for live broadcasting during a sporting event. We all went through a lot to get there and get the job done, and it was very gratifying to see everything pan out in the end. After the U.S. Open, we flew down to Sacramento for a week to film the Senior U.S. Open.

While we were at Chambers Bay, quite a few local news channels did stories on the drones flying at the Open. Here’s a link to one piece that aired CLICK HERE.

Getting the big drone prepped and ready while the local police look on. It took a lot of FAA paperwork and approvals to be allowed to fly at Chambers Bay.

Getting the big drone prepped and ready while the local police, FAA, and USGA officials look on. It took a lot of FAA paperwork and approvals to be allowed to fly at Chambers Bay.

With one week off from golf, I booked a shoot with Dispatch Co. to cover a Michelin Tire intro at Cahuilla Creek MX. It was a blast shooting the event, and Travis Pastrana—a long-time Michelin rider—showed up and proceeded to pull a mini-flip off a small vertical cliff. It was also a lot of fun to see all my good friends from various magazines, and get a chance to be on the other side, covering an event while all the journalists try out the products.

Travis Pastrana putting the new Michelin tires to the test.

Travis Pastrana putting the new Michelin tires to the test.

After a little rest, and a BBQ for the Fourth of July, it was back on the road to the Women’s U.S. Open of Golf in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for more aerial filming for Fox Sports. The course was absolutely beautiful; we came away with some incredible shots, and most of our stuff was used during the live broadcast. And now, as I type this, I’m sitting in a hotel room in South Carolina for the Amateur Golf Championships where we are filming more aerials for the Fox Sports broadcast. Yes, it’s been hectic, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

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