01 August, 2008

What's in YOUR Bag Jonathan Canlas?

If you're not familiar with the What's in YOUR Bag? segment here at Pics and Kicks, let me fill you in quickly before we begin. It's an interview style post that goes up once a week (cough, cough. . . from now on I promise!) where I ask other successful photographers questions surrounding gear and workflow. It's awesome! Not to be missed.

Today we are happy to hear from photographer Jonathan Canlas!

Alright, alright, alright. I know Jon is all over this blog as of late, but I've gotten so many requests for a What's in YOUR Bag? on him that I couldn't wait any longer to run the feature. I swear I am not obsessed with him, well at least only moderately so.

If you are a photographer, but particularly if you are interested in film photography this is the post for you. Jon will dish his way to Texas twice without ever holding back. This post is packed with information! ENJOY!

Me: What type of photography do you specialize in?
Jon: I am known for my weddings. However, I also shoot portraits/families a handful of commercial work for a company named Talisker (http://taliskerclub.com) in Park City.

Me: What do you LOVE to shoot just for you?
Jon: Ordinary Everyday Life. I love taking things that to some seem mundane and making them into art. I can't not not shoot what is around me. For example, when I shoot weddings out of state (which is more often than not) I give myself at least a half day to shoot for myself the surrounding areas. I say it is for myself but the client sees it as well and it really helps in establishing the setting of the wedding. Anywhere I go there is always at least 1 camera with me. If you check my blog (http://canlasphotography.blogspot.com), there is more personal work on there than anything else.

Me: You shoot exclusively with film. What keeps you locked in to that medium?
Jon: There are several reasons why I shoot all film but the most important one of them all is the look of it. It just looks different. I love the softness and almost tangible feel of it (circle=grain square=noise). The color palette is fantastic as well. It may sound crazy to someone who does not shoot film, but the workflow is so seamless. Shoot, develop, scan, done and the latter 2 are outsourced (kind of - outsourced inhouse? is that even possible?). But even if it was the hardest thing in the world, I think I would still shoot it. I heart film.

Me: What is your primary camera body?
Jon: Man, that is a hard question. It is all dependent on the situation and the lighting. For formals, engagements, bridals I use my Contax 645. For details and receptions I use 2 Nikon F5's. For personal work I use a modified Holga 120S from Randy Smith over at Holgamods (http://holgamods.com) and a Yashica Mat 124-G. But that is not to say a Nikon F5 does not show up to an engagement session or a Contax 645 to shoot personal work. They all can do the same thing but what I listed above is their primary uses.

Me: What would be the one lens you just cannot live without and why?
Jon: For my Nikon F5 I have 4 lenses. 85mm 1.8 D, 50mm 1.4 D, 35mm 2.0 D, and a Sigma 20mm 1.8. Hands down the 50mm 1.4 Nikon D lens is the one I can't live without as it is the one I use the most. I could shoot a whole event on that lens alone. It is my workhorse. The one I use the least would be the 35mm 2.0. I bought it for group formals as the 20mm was to wide and the 50mm was too long. I just rented a Zeiss ZF lens from LensRentals.com (can't recommend them enough) which is the same lens (50mm 1.4) but it has Zeiss glass. The contrast and bokeh on Nikon Zeiss lenses are out of this world. So, I am slowing adding the ZF lenses to entourage as well. They are definitely not for everyone as they are COMPLETELY manual (focus/aperture) but I shoot everything in manaul (no auto focus) anyway so there was no big adjustment. For the Contax I have the 45mm 2.8, 80mm 2.0, and the 140 2.8. The lens of choice for that one is the 80mm. The Holga and Yashica are fixed lens cameras but on the Yashica I could not live without my close up filters (+1/+2/+3).

Me: What other gear do you drag along most the time (in order of importance)?
Jon: Sekonic L-508 (light meter) which is around my neck at ALL times. Again, I do everything manually which includes metering. I know the meters inside my F5's are supposed to be out of this world but I just does not work for me. Force of habit I guess as I've always handheld metered. I also have a Nikon SB800 and a Nikon SB80, 2 pocket wizards, stroboframe with Nikon sync cord,and lens hoods for EVERY lens. I won't shoot without lens hoods. I know everyone loves flare but on film flare is the devil, a sneaky, pesky little devil. I also have 2 other cameras that don't leave the home studio much, a Toyo 45CX which is a 4x5 camera and a Fuji 680GX (6x8 medium format).

Me: Which other photographers have really inspired you?
Jon: Oh man, this is going to be long.
There are so many in this industry that I have met or know but have yet to meet from forums etc that inspire me daily.

Me: What would be the one piece of advice you'd give to an aspiring photographer?
Jon: Shoot for yourself and do it CONSTANTLY. This is the most efficient way in my opinion to improve your skills as a photographer. The more you shoot for yourself, the more you will really be able to hone in on your vision and your voice in photography. We all are trying to say something through our photography. Pinpointing the "message" is so key in developing our work as photographers. And once you have found that vision/voice it will naturally overflow into your professional work. In other words, the line between your professional work and personal work will grow smaller and smaller. The better you are at personal work, the better you will be professionally. So, GOYA (get off your arse) and go shoot. You have no excuse (especially if you are digital). Also, go read Edward Weston's Day Books (http://www.amazon.com/Daybooks-Edward-Weston-Beaumont-Newhall/dp/0893814458).


You are a remarkable photographer,
a wonderful husband and father and a dear dear friend.
I can't begin to thank you for everything
you've taught me in the last months.
It's always an honor to feature you here on Pics and Kicks.



Don't miss past installments of What's in Your Bag?

Jasmine Star
Michael and Anna Costa
Ed Pingol
Allison Cox

And be sure to check out Jon's killer workshop Film is Not Dead that's coming up here on the North Shore of Oahu in November! If I'm not mistaken, there are only 3 slots left, so check it out quick. This will sell out. It's AMAZING! Read my full review here. Oh, and added perk, I'll be attending again! COME! I'd love to meet you!

Happy Shooting and have a great weekend!


Heather said...

Those last two photos are friends in our ward! Fun! Great interview!

Anonymous said...

This was so informative! Thank you, Natalie, and Jonathan. As you know, Nat, I've had a hard transition to digital, which I continue to try because it saves money when you think of the volume of pictures I used to take. But the artist in me is kicking and screaming every time I see pictures I've taken that aren't as rich, warm, and real! I love film, too.

Lacey Jane said...

LOVED this! Thank you both! So inspiring and informative!

Anonymous said...

Totally unrelated to this post, but thought you might get a giggle out of this. Martha has thought of everything. I saw this on one of her shows years ago and has saved me many struggles over the years with those blasted fitted sheets. Happy folding!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jon! This is AWESOME!

Angela said...

I'm pretty sure as I've read more about Jon on your blog that he took my bridal pictures 6 1/2 years ago when he was just starting out. He was a friend of a friend. I loved my pictures and wished he could have done my wedding but it was in Arizona. I've looked through my pics and there's not a name on them anywhere for me to verify. But I'm pretty sure it was him. Small world. I just thought it was quite funny, and he has such great work!

Unknown said...

If you search your old photographs then we may find them under the bed with dust covered shoes box. Scanning and retouching each photo, slide, or negative would take an untold amount of your time and energy. Give them to a 35mm slide scanning service center.

Elena said...

Greeat read