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In the Field: The Himalaya Defender Shoot

Lesson 14 from: Adventure Photography Pro

Alex Strohl

In the Field: The Himalaya Defender Shoot

Lesson 14 from: Adventure Photography Pro

Alex Strohl

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Lesson Info

14. In the Field: The Himalaya Defender Shoot

This episode is for outdoor photographers who've been commissioned to shoot an important automotive/action assignment. They will learn to build and interpret a brief, how to use shot types to get a variety of images and the unspoken rules for photographing cars.


Class Trailer



Workshop Intro






Gear - My Camera Bags


Mastering Camera Settings


Blue Hour, A How-To


Photos That Move Us


Visual Storytelling 101


Endurance In A World Of Sprinting


Keeping Your Ideas Fresh


Building Your Story Arc


Shooting More: Action Plan


Conveying Emotions


In the Field


The Assignment: Himalaya Pre-Pro


In the Field: The Himalaya Defender Shoot


The Assignment: Canon Pre-Pro


In the Field: Canon USA Shoot




Keywords & Organizing Images


Commercial Grading


Masking & Radial Filters


Perspective Correction


HDR (Hand-Held)


Black & White Edits


Before & Afters


Moody Grading


IG Export Settings


Web Export Settings


Clone Stamping & Patch Tools


Grading in Lightroom


Hand-Held Panoramas


Radial Filters Pt 2


Delivering Files to Clients


Archiving & Organizing Images


My Favorite Software




Let's Talk Business


Building A Desirable Portfolio


How to Contact Clients


Prospecting: Finding Brands That Fit You


Getting Clients To See Our Value


Paid to Travel the World


The Art of Making Moodboards & Treatments


Keys To A Fulfilling Career


Three Things You Need To Know Before Pitching


Finding Your Value Proposition


Media Kit: A Walk Through


How I Built My Audience


Social Media Landscape


Module Recap


Bonus - Everything To Know About Filters


Do You Need Lens Filters?


Filters in The Field


Bonus - Find Your Path


Find Your Path


Bonus - How To Print Your Work


Why Print or Sell Photos


Preparing Photos for Print


Reviewing Major U.S Printers


Lesson Info

In the Field: The Himalaya Defender Shoot

(gentle music) (machinery whirring) (swelling electronic music) (door slams) Welcome to Himalaya field day of the workshop. (bright music) We're in Alpine, we've placed the Defender in a place so it gets the light from the outside and it gets the frame of the hangar, which I think is really cool. There's also a ladder that has nothing to do with this right now, but we'll take it outside after. So I wanna take three photos here before going to a different place to shoot more photos. I got a 51.2 on the R just because there's a lot of stuff in the back, which I'm trying to just blur out with this. So I'm gonna get a side profile of the car and I'm gonna get a few details to support this set. All I want is this side profile, right? But I'm getting a few photos around it to sort of compliment the scene so they can be used as a set. So let's get that for a shot, walk around the car, find some new angles. (bright music) (camera shutter snapping) So in the mood board that I made, there's a ...

photo that I want to take of the Himalaya logo. It's like kind of singer inspired, just because I think it's really cool. So I'm gonna see if I can get it here, see if I can find a good enough background. Otherwise, that's why I have my ladder. So I can go a little higher and block the stuff around. After that I'm gonna be looking just for shapes of the car like details, like in the deck, like the sides I'm just looking around at the outside right now, just closeups. After that, I'll go inside, might do the engine bay and some details like the brakes, but for now I'm just walking around outside trying to match this with the shots I want. So it's really a zen exercise, just a good walk around. Good, meaning that I want the logo to be sharp all the way, not just middle of it. I'm using 2.8 right now. And this is an unusual angle, you know? Like everybody takes their photos at arm height. Well, this is a good frame, actually. (camera shutter snapping) Yeah, this is cool. Maybe my favorite one. Let me show you, or show you in the frame, whatever. (camera shutter snapping) If you were to use a mountain biking analogy or a skiing analogy, this is like a very technical, I love these because it's like skiing a very technical line slowly or biking down a very technical pass slowly, and you just refocus on what you're doing. And this is the same thing, you're trying to find this exact place where the light is. And it's really a moment of zen because you can't just rush through these. It's like every movement is so different. Yeah, so when you're doing one of these shoots, like with the car, just an object you have time to work with, find one of these ladders at Home Depot. They're cheap, and like the amount of value you're gonna have to your shoot, you know? You don't need nothing too fancy. This ladder will elevate your shoot so much because you can see all these different angles you wouldn't see before, right? It's like a mini drone. So now that I've gotten that shot, I feel quite good with this scene. I got the wide and then I got the detail. So I did get two or three just because they can serve as a mini set for the client. Instead of just getting one and moving on, it's gonna be out of the blue, just this photo of the hangar, so this is like this hangar section, and I'm trying to get maybe a bonus one just in case for good measure, but I'm not seeing it yet. It's not giving itself. (camera shutter snapping) All right, here's my bonus shot. Just this. (camera shutter snapping) So I'm getting an HDR shot now. The car's moved, I'm aligning the peak of the house, the A-frame of the roof to the line of the door of the car just because I'm really anal about these things. So now everything's aligned and this feels good, really good. Okay, the light's getting a little hard, so we're gonna move on from here pretty soon. So I will get an HDR now, an HDR because I wanna be able to darken the interior of the barn, the hangar, a lot. So I'm gonna do three different shots handheld HDR. Well, when Joel gets out of the way. So one that's underexposed for my interior for my outside. Yeah, it looks dope. Okay. Aperture 2.4, 2.5. Okay. Real dark inside. Keep my framing on, boom. One middle exposure, over exposed with the car, and another one for good measure. (camera shutter snapping) Okay. Moving on with this place I think, awesome. Let's go to the flats. We'll call it the flats. (exciting music) All right. Second location, pretty dope. The end of the road, there's a road that drives into the lake. This is pretty unheard of. So I'm referencing my treatment again to make sure I don't get too cared away with all exciting things around me. I still wanna get my details. I think this is a good place to do some interiors, so I'm gonna get this cool shot out of the way, which is driving the car out of the water and then do some interiors and some more side product shots, and we'll move on. (exciting music) All right, it's comin' up, comin' up. (exciting music) ♪ Damn amazing, damn amazing ♪ (camera shutter snapping) ♪ Damn amazing, damn amazing ♪ So I wanna get a closeup of the front of the car, and I've noticed that when he comes back there's water dripping off the fender and the tire. And I wanna try to freeze that moment of the detail with the 50 of the front of the car as the water drips, so that's why I'm gonna get it. Joel's gonna drive all the way here, stop, and I have a fast enough short speed of 2, so I should be able to freeze the moment. Might have to do it a couple times. Let's start with this one. (engine revving) First attempt didn't work because there's not enough water coming out, so I'm gonna go just as the car leaves the water. That's where the most water is. Ready? (blues music) Yeah, there's the water. (engine revving) (blues music) Yeah. (camera shutter snapping) Let's see the view. (camera shutter snapping) (blues music) ♪ Tell me what you want ♪ Today's the quintessential, ♪ What you need ♪ the fender shot, for me. There's like the yellow of the grass, the blue of the sky, the mountains. And it's such an iconic roof line and body shape, so I wanna honor that. Try a little bit of higher compositions, a little bit of lower, see where the lines of the current interfere with the background. You know, where the place where the fields meet the mountains. Aside from that it's pretty straight-forward stuff. Just make sure that it's well exposed, 5.6 aperture, just so I can have not too much depth of field. I don't need it here. One more. (camera shutter snapping) A little lower now. So you've noticed I haven't really changed my because like I told you earlier, shooting cars on white lenses is quite finicky. Like the wides have deformation, right? You can fix that in post, but it's never the same. That's why I always try to shoot my cars minimum 50, unless I'm going for like a wide landscape and then the 16, but then I'm not shooting the car. I'm shooting the atmosphere and the lifestyle. This is full on product shots. So with product shots, you're gotta be precise and honor the product. (camera shutter snapping) Actually really cool with that mountain in the back. I'm gonna back it up again. (ladder rattling) The right height, so when I'm looking for the right height, I wanna make sure that the spacing is right between the mountain, you'll have to come up here to see that, between the mountain, the field and the roof of the car, there's like enough spacing so that it feels balanced. Remember, in creating harmony, we look always for balance, right? So I'm looking for this balanced composition and how the layers interact with each other. You'll see. ♪ What you want, what you need from me ♪ Now I'm trying to align the mountain to the roof of the car, just because it's my nature to align things You don't have to, but it feels better. (ladder rattling) Oh yeah. I've been shooting at 5.6, and everything's gonna tack sharp, which is what I want. Now, I'm gonna try one this bit more artisty vibe where I can have a bit of blur between the car and the mountain. So I'm gonna do a few test shots to see what's my aperture where I can have the whole car sharp, but then the mountain blurred out. I am guessing it's gonna be four, F four. Let's try first. I got my curves pulled out too because the sky is bright-ish. (camera shutter snapping) Okay, let's with F four how we lookin'. (camera shutter snapping) See the light on this side is a little less forgiving, not as great. Just a few shots and I'm gonna move on. See, I always like to shoot into the light versus with the light. Okay, so now I've gotten so many back of the car shots in this place, so I'm just gonna turn the car around so I can shoot the front from here. So as you can see, it's all pretty simple stuff. You can do this stuff with like limited resources, a ladder, patience, and a cool location like this one. It doesn't have to be a super cool Defender, it could be whoever your client is. But as long as you look at light, you don't need too many resources because just earlier, by walking around the car, you can see the angles. Just take your time because, with like cars, the paint is so shiny, right? That every angle something reveals itself and might work, it might not work, so just take your time and get a ladder. So today I don't have a stylist, so everything that I wanna shoot I just need to make sure that it's clean, you know? Like it just takes a second or forethought instead of just like click. It's like, "Oh, hang on, all right," now it's clean, you know? Just, you cannot always have a big crew with you, and when you're in these situations where you have to do this kind of thinking, take your time. But it's very clean in here, don't get me wrong. Just a bit of dust on that guy earlier. Yeah, I think this from the brakes, which is quite unusual to see this under the hood of a Defender. (camera shutter snapping) So I got a wide shot of the engine from the ladder, got some shy details. I think I'm good with this. It's easy to overshoot, but I think we're set up right here. Bye. (car hood slams) So now I'm gonna shoot some interiors, and I've parked the car in a way that the light gets in to the side. The windows is rolled down so the most light comes in, and I'm gonna be looking for little details of light. Still got the 50 on, gonna use a pretty shallow aperture, and look away. My point here, like I showed you in the deck is to show the level of craftsmanship that went into making this, and it's pretty astonishing. So it's gonna be a fairly easy job to get photos that make this thing look really good. Yeah, that light's good. All right. Let's go for it. (camera shutter snapping) Slightly underexposed because this leather is very reflective. And with these things it's not always about showing the whole thing, you know? It's like, sometimes less is more. Showing one part of the dash where it says Himalaya is maybe better than showing the whole dash. You know what I'm saying? (camera shutter snapping) Cool. Now the dash looked cool when the car's on too, so we're gonna do that. (engine revs) Come on boy. (camera shutter snapping) So I'm reviewing my treatment right now to make sure that I've gotten what I've told the client I was gonna get, simple as that, you know? Out of professionalism for them. (upbeat music) So now we're on the way to the sand dunes of Idaho. We've left the good light we had this morning towards the north, and it's a little more cloudy now, more gray, a little flatter. So the idea of getting some nice sun in the car in the dunes is pretty much dead by now or might be, but I'm going to be pushing a little more for shooting after sunset in blue hour. I think I'll get some good ones there. That's if Troy doesn't roll the truck, we don't get stuck 'cause we're gonna go drive on sand. Yeah, that's some of the things that might not work out favor, gotta keep in mind, make sure everybody's safe. And I'm hoping that I can see the Tetons from the sand dunes. I can see the Grand Teton, but it's not guaranteed. It feels like it's raining on them. Hopefully don't get rained on either. So anyways, when I prepare for any shoot I know the weather's not gonna be the way I've envisioned it, and that's okay. I think it's, as long as I'm okay with that, I wanna have a good time, and that's what I wanna have. Have a good time and get creative. I'm still gonna be shooting long lens. I'll do some wides, but mainly focusing on the car as the subject. It's not much of a lifestyle piece. It's more like, let's get the car in action now. This is the second part of the sheet, the adventure. So we're about 20 minutes away, and I've never seen this place. Last time I saw it was from the plane and it looks really cool. I'm excited. (upbeat music) Okay, I'm gonna go scout. There I'm trying to find, see the issue is that a lot of little trees everywhere, so I'm trying to find a place where I can just have sand, maybe if I'm in a bowl or something like that. And it looks like there's a promising bowl there. I'm just gonna, I have a budget of an hour and a half and I'm gonna burn a third of that to scout. (dramatic upbeat music) Being careful of what's behind it, it's sky. I really like having the sky in the back. (camera shutter snapping) Cool. Oh yeah, love this. (camera shutter snapping) (dramatic upbeat music) Leaving room too, on the sides of the image for copy, in case they wanna put some logos and stuff like that. Okay, now onto the fun stuff. (upbeat music) (camera shutter snapping) Okay, let's see if we can 35. It goes against what I was talking about of using like different like tighter lenses to shoot he cars, but I think with some sand on the lens, it's gotta filter on, should be good. (dramatic upbeat music) Wow, that's pretty cool. (dramatic upbeat music) Oh, that sky. I'm shooting at 160th of second, F 2.8, and I'm doing some HDRs for the sky. (dramatic upbeat music)

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

A Note From Alex

Ratings and Reviews


Not What I Was Expecting Let me just start by saying that the workshop was very good. There were lots of things that I learned and many insights I took away. Perhaps the greatest bit of wisdom imparted to me was not anything Alex said but how he approached every subject he talked about. I felt that he was talking to me as a friend, very personal and open book. This was both a blessing and a curse as the course tends to meander around and is not as structured as others I've taken. Alex's passion for the highest quality, and craftsmanship in every aspect of his business, is very evident. From the premiums he charges, to the attention to detail in client deliveries. This is where my review is going to give some hopefully constructive criticisms. For someone so focused on a premium experience I was a surprised to find the course a bit sloppily assembled, and the videography and editing lackluster. This is coming from a videographer and someone with a lot of experience in online training. A few short examples to illustrate my point include: repeating segments of the edit (in some instances the exact same segment), poor framing. Colors changing between cuts, and my biggest pet peeve, not leaving photo examples on for long enough to see them. These are all small things, but they add up, and along with the topics meandering, left me a bit disappointed. I'm curious who you would say this class is aimed towards. Amateurs, mid-level, or experts? The assumption of who you are addressing changes throughout the course. I feel like with a bit of work from an instructional designer, and some editing cleanup, you could help hone this course to be one of the best out there. I feel like I need to do a more in depth review than will fit here, to actually explain this well. Let me know if that would be helpful to you. One other note: When I signed up for a workshop on Adventure Photography, I honestly thought it would be more field focused. The field examples were all shoots for products, and not shoots documenting an adventure. I guess I had just hoped to learn that side of the storytelling process more. Getting into the nitty gritty of being wet, cold, and dirty, and still shooting bangers. The section on filters (going out and building the snow cave) was more what I thought this course was going to be. Anyhow, with all that said, I still found it valuable and worthwhile. To summarize, the course feels a bit unpolished and in some ways unfinished though there is still great value. I've taken Jimmy Chin's Masterclass on adventure photography and it felt very structured and highly polished. I purchased "Adventure Pro" on the "finish in a month" discount. I would have felt ripped off if I had paid full price with the course in its current state. Thanks for reading and I hope my criticisms come as helpful. As I've already mentioned I'd be happy to further elaborate.

Topher Hammond

One of the best photography investments I'm only 1/4 of the way through Alex's course and I feel like I already have a loose plan on how I can move forward in my own career as a photographer. I felt like my work was lacking a specific feeling. The way that Alex articulated ideas on how to convey emotion in your imagery and building that overarching story arc for your own life narrative were super helpful to focus on how to make my work better. Super looking forward to the rest of this course. Thanks Alex and team!

Sergi Mas de xaxars Rosell

Great Workshop I learned quite a lot with this workshop. Because I'm in the industry for 5 years now, there were a few things I already knew. On the other hand, Alex showed me different and more effective ways to improve my business. I like the way he gives the lessons, always in a personal and close way. This is the knowledge I wish I had when I started. Totally worth it!

Student Work