Cameron Davidson

Blog

A blog by Washington DC photographer Cameron Davidson.

Virginia Coast Reserve

Personal project using drones to photograph several uninhabited coastal islands along Virginia's Eastern Shore. Islands are part of the Virginia Coast Reserve owned by the Nature Conservancy.

The aerials were shot off of boats, in the early morning and before the spring bird migration.

Almost lost one drone due to loss of signal. That was an interesting experience and I learned how to recover a lost drone be using the camera and moving map. The wind grabbed it and it flew almost two miles on its own, before I was able to gain control of it.

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You can see more of this project in my projects section.

 

Cameron Davidson
Inspire 2 upgrade

I have upgraded my Inspire 2 drone to the new X7 camera system (24 megapixel - Super 35 format) which includes 16, 24 and 50mm lenses.

Also updated the monitors to Crystal Sky for the Inspire 2 and Phantom P4 Pro.

Plus I added the Cendence controller with patch antenna to the Inspire 2 system.

 

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Photo by Kristian Thacker while on location in West Virginia last week.

Cameron Davidson
Graphis Photo Annual 2018

Pleased to see that the two images I entered into the Graphis Photo Annual were awarded a Gold and Silver..

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Many people help you on an assignment, nothing is done in a vacuum.  Many thanks to Sarah Leen, Director of Photography for National Geographic for the assignment. Sadie Quarrier of NatGeo suggested me for the shoot. (Sadie and I had worked together on Smithsonian stories) and to ace photo editor Kurt Mutchler for direction and help with this shoot.  There was a fair amount of pre-planning, getting me to Florida before the Hurricane struck and working with a group of helo pilots at HMC Helicopter at Tamiami airport.

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Funny, I just posted a picture of Wilson Bridge and then this one from last fall won a Gold in Graphis.  I am enjoying shooting infrastructure from the ground as much as I shoot it from the air.

This was a personal shot, testing out a news lens combo on the Nikon D850.

Capture One lens diffraction test
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Testing my Nikon 45mm Perspective control lens with the new Nikon D850 bodies.  Testing out lens diffraction correction in Capture One 11.  Basically, if you shoot at a small aperture (here at f/13) - you will start to lose sharpness.  Capture One has several tools to help you "recapture" sharpness loss from diffraction.  Testing this on the D850 Nikon, a 46 megapixel monster  - the perfect combo.  I've tested the new Nikon 19mm perspective-control lens and it is stellar.  The Nikon 45 and 85mm PC lenses are an older design. 

I am looking for the sweet spot from each lens.  Shooting a lot more infrastructure projects these days and the PC lenses are the perfect tool to use for this type of "architectural" photography.

I often use Wilson Bridge in Alexandria as my lens test subject.

Shooting aerials - Drones and Helicopters

I have shot aerials for most of my career.  Starting off in the early eighties I shot aerials from a Piper Cub for a National Geographic story, quickly switched over to helicopters and now shoot a mix of drone and helo shoots.

Helicopter list (so far) of all the ships I have flown in for aerial photography. (29 and counting)

  • AStar with B350 (Ethiopia, NYC)
  • AStar B350 FX (British Columbia, Alberta)
  • AStar Twin-Star (Squirrel) (NYC, London, New Zealand)
  • Eurocopter 120 (Denmark)
  • Bell 47 (Florida, Delaware, Texas)
  • Bell Jet Ranger (USA, UK, Canada, Jamaica)
  • Bell Long Ranger (USA, Canada, UK)
  • UH-1 Iroquois (Huey) (Missouri Flood -  US Army Guard)
  • Bell 47 with Soloy Turbine conversion (Florida)
  • Bell 407 (New York City, New Jersey)
  • Boeing CH-47 Chinook (Washington DC-Maryland - US Army)
  • Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight (Florida - Hurricane Andrew - US Navy)
  • Airbus MH-65 Dolphin (Missouri - Mississippi River Flood - US Coast Guard)
  • Bolkow BK-105 (Gulf of Mexico)
  • Mil Mi-8 (Wrangel Island - Russian Arctic)
  • Fairchild Hiller FH-1100 (Alabama)
  • Enstrom F-28 (Tennessee, Virginia, Texas)
  • Enstrom 280 (Tennessee, Arkansas)
  • Enstrom 480 (Chicago)
  • MD 500 C (Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Chicago, NYC)
  • MD 500 D (California)
  • MH-6 Little Bird (Chicago, Missouri)
  • Robinson R-22 (East Coast USA - no longer use for aerials)
  • R-44 (USA, Canada, UK)
  • R-66 (Virginia, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico)
  • Rotorway Exec 90 (Arkansas - home-built helo - never again)
  • Schweitzer 300/269 (Idaho, Virginia, New Jersey, New York City)
  • Sikorsky S-76 (Gulf of Mexico)
  • UH-60 Blackhawk (Virginia)
 Schweitzer 300/Hughes 269

Schweitzer 300/Hughes 269

Drones flown/owned so far:

Inspire 2 with five lenses

Inspire 1 with four lenses (sold)

Phantom P4 Pro

Phantom P3 Pro (sold)

Phantom P2 with GoPro Hero 3 (sold)

Phantom P1 with GoPro Hero 1 (Crashed in Virginia - resting in the branches of a national forest)

3DR Solo (Sold)

Around the world - A growing list of countries where I have shot over the years

Ethiopia -  Departures Magazine

Brazil - Corbis

Japan - Getty Images

Venezuela - Standard Drilling

Panama - Forbes Magazine

Mynmar (Burma) - Smithsonian Magazine

Denmark - Corbis

France - USAirways

Scotland - American Airlines, personal projects

Ireland - American Airlines

Jamaica - personal project

Puerto Rico - Preservation Magazine

Hong Kong - Paul Hastings

China - ChinaNet

Russia - Islands Magazine

New Zealand - HJ Heinz

Greenland - personal project

England - American Airlines, HJ Heinz, KHA, Hollinger International, Corbis

Iceland - Personal project

Haiti - CCH, Goals Beyond The Net

Cambodia - Personal Project

Dominican Republic - National Geographic

Spain - USAirways

Thailand - Personal Project

Canada - Rocky Mountaineer, KHA, Hollinger International, Esso, American airlines

Israel - Hollinger International

India - HJ Heinz

Mexico - Kimberly-Clark

Indonesia - Personal Project

Honduras - American Airlines

Archive Posts on Instagram

I've been exploring mixing up the Instagram feed with new and archive material.  This morning I dug through my AerialStock.com libraries and came up with an image from one of my favorite aerial shoots, Christo's - The Gates in Central Park.  Shot from a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter and using a hand-made lens for Hewson Group, a NYC design firm that was a long-time client. Jane Hewson, the founder, is one of my favorite designers/clients/people and she recently moved away from NYC and is semi-retired.  We did three-flights that day.  Early morning, mid-day and a sunset/dusk flight. Since it was winter, my favorite images are from mid-day, the light is bright, clean and casting long shadows.  The hand-made lens was inspired by photographer Mark Tucker's explorations with loupes as camera lenses.  (This was before Lens Babies and tilted tilt/shift lenses were commonly used for commercial shoots) 

Of course, I shot with traditional lenses for my client.  They ended up using a combination of both as large display prints for a law firm office that overlooked Central Park.

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Capture One 11 Workshop for APA DC

Workshop was in two-parts.  First part, on January 20th was hosted at Renee Comet's studio and taught by the good folks at Capture Integration.

The second half was taught by Carlton Wolfe and myself at Hoist Studio on January 27th.

Below is a list of Capture One resources that you may find useful.

Capture One Resources:

Capture Integration: (training and workshop support)

http://www.captureintegration.com

CAPTURE ONE YouTube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJgJWICGMzzvXk2wIgqxVEQ

CAPTURE ONE FILM STYLES: (from Phase One)

https://www.phaseone.com/styles

PHASE ONE BLOG:

https://blog.phaseone.com/

Phase One Professor Tips:

https://blog.phaseone.com/category/professor_tips/

ALEX on RAW.com YouTube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCov7q-fKA2ed8IX6GnRDy2A

Alex on RAW Film styles: (These are excellent!) 

(Alex came out with his film styles several years ago, he updates them often and is brilliant about explaining how Capture One works. Alex gave me a set of the new styles that I have purchased in the past. I often use his Portra set)

http://1styles.pro


Image Alchemist:

Excellent source of information about C1 with a large collection of presets, collections and styles available.

https://imagealchemist.net/capture-one-layers-explained/

https://imagealchemist.net/capture-one-layers-continued/

A previous blog post on C1 presets: 

https://www.camerondavidson.com/blog/2017/6/10/capture-one-film-looks-presets

 

 

 

The Kodachrome Colorists

There are four photographers, who, in my early days, greatly influenced me.  All shot Kodachrome and exploited/explored the limits of the film with primary colors.

They were: Ernst Haas, Jay Maisel, Eric Meola and the great Pete Turner.

Pete Tuner passed away on September 18th, at home in Long Island, New York.

Pete's "Road Song" photograph has stuck with me for years. If I recall the story properly, he was flying into a large midwestern city and saw this fence from the airplane.  He found the fence and made this photograph.

His photographs influenced generations of photographers including Eric Meola (his former assistant), Arthur Meyerson and Gregory Heisler.

Interesting podcast/interview with Pete.  http://peteturner.com/podcast/index.html

The PDN article about his passing is here: https://www.pdnonline.com/features/industry-updates/obituaries/obituary-pete-turner-master-color-photography-83/

http://peteturner.com/Classics/index.html

http://peteturner.com/Classics/index.html
Mercy Street for Visit Alexandria

A small shoot for Mercy Street by PBS and Visit Alexandria earlier this year.

Shoot brief was to show current Alexandria locations that are featured in the television show and superimpose Civil War Era photographs within the frame. 

Visit Alexandria provided the files and I printed the images for the talent to hold. 

All of the locations are in Old Town Alexandria and are featured in the TV show. You can walk to all of them within a few minutes.

DanFoss Campaign

A campaign shot this spring in Texas.

Shot aerial video outside of a store plus interior stills and videos inside the store.  Flew one of my drones down the middle of an store aisle with the drone turning on the lights as it flew past the cases.  My friend Jon Roemer shot loads of B-roll for this project and his shots are also in this video. Check out the second video to see one of my drones flying inside this mega grocery store.

Client: APCO Worldwide

Creative Director: David Sanchez

Client: Danfoss

 

Behind the scenes footage by Creative Director David Sanchez.

Exploring fog along the New River

Set of aerials for Virginia Tourism shot a few years back.  Spent two mornings shooting the New River Valley from a Bell jet Ranger. The fog grew so heavy at times, that we set the helicopter down along the river and waited for about 45 minutes.  Wonderful day. It is interesting (to me) to revisit shoots and take a look at what I missed and how I can grade and process the images in a contemporary manner.

 

Capture One Film - Looks Presets