It’s funny how I go through phases. Like the last 8 years I spent on the mats at Gracie Barra learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (still completely obsessed and train every chance I get). Before that it was tournament softball… and before that it was snowboarding… about 50 times a year. Lately, I’ve been into rock climbing and camping and I’m sort of obsessed with the physics of climbing gear. There’s just something about trusting your life to these ropes and devices while dangling off of cliffs that peaks my interest. Since driving to find decent rocks to climb can take 2+ hours from my house…and I want to be outside (not in a rock climbing gym) I’ve resorted to practicing my big wall ascents by using my gear to ascend tall trees. Now when I drive around town..I catch myself eyeballing random trees along the road, looking for that perfect branch to lasso for my next adventure.
I climbed a tree for this gear shot!
I love finding new and exciting hobbies to pair with my photo work. Photography goes hand-in-hand with almost anything. Mixing my hobbies with photography is what keeps me passionate about my craft. Next wedding season, I’ll pursue some adventurous couples getting married in remote places. Perhaps I can find a couple getting married on a portaledge half-way up El Capitan or Half-Dome.
Check out my recent gear bag shoot for Alpha Universe… All my gear spread out for ya! I even hung from a tree to get this shot!
What’s in Mike Colón’s wedding bag?
Here’s a fun behind the scenes “making of” video for your entertainment :)
Mike Colón Wedding Gear Descriptions (with Links) – Reads like a book – Starting at top left
2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II Lens - Ok, not the most practical lens… especially when paired with my Sony bodies because I lose AF capability. Still, I just can’t seem to kick my addiction to the image quality this thing puts out!
4. Assorted Petzl Climbing Devices (Carabiners, Ascender, Belay, Pulley) - Trust these with my life. (I buy at REI or Campsaver.com when the go 20% off)
5. Gitzo G1578L Monopod with Acratech Panoramic Head with Lever Clamp - I mainly use this monopod while shooting bridal runway in New York. It’s extra tall – like over 7’ – for shooting from a riser in the pit. The Acratech head is amazingly smooth keeping it easy to follow the models and tilt down for close up detail shots. It also doubles as a panoramic head for stitching landscapes when I’m outdoors (Links: G-1578L Mountaineer Mk2 Tele Studex Carbon Fiber Monopod – Supports 17.60 lb (7.98 kg), Panoramic Head)
6. Gitzo GT2940LVL Tripod with Acratech GP Ballhead with Lever Clamp - This one is light, fairly compact, yet stable as an ox. The Acratech ballhead is so precise and fun to use! Great for those low-lit reception room shots, night shots of the wedding venue to set the scene, and of course doubles as a great astrophotography tripod when I’m in camping under the stars.(Link: GT2540LLVL Series 2 Carbon Fiber Leveling Tripod, GP-s Ballhead with Lever Clamp)
8. Giottos Rocket Blaster – This is mandatory for mirrorless shooters being that our sensors are exposed. Sony did a great job with the built-in auto cleaning feature in the a7 series of bodies, but even those stubborn dust specks can’t stand up to this blaster. (Link: Rocket Blaster Dust-Removal Tool (Large, Red))
9. Black Diamond Locking Carabiners – Lock it up lock it in… let me begin. Get these at REI or Campsaver.com
10. Sunpak Readylite 20 Super Battery Light Oldie but a goodie… I’ve had this forever and it still holds a charge for months. I bring this along to my weddings for a little kiss of rim lighting on the cake or tabletops shots. Also great for mounting on my camera and running a little B roll video on the dance floor.
11. Sony HVL-LBP LED Battery Video Light - Another oldie… Sony was way ahead of their time with this lightweight LED piece of genius! This is a beautiful soft light that is daylight balanced for soft fill when shooting the bride’s getting ready shots. (Link: LED Battery Video Light)
12. Sterling SuperStatic2 Red Climbing Rope & Edelrid Blue Webbing - This is for my tree adventures and soon to come big wall climbs. I’ve thought about putting on a mini side show during a wedding ceremony and zipping across the skyline between two trees for an aerial shot of the first kiss. It would be quieter (maybe not less distracting) than a drone for sure.
13. Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T* ZF.2 Lens with Metabones Nikon F to Sony E-Mount Adapter - Probably my most used lens. It gets the job done in almost ever situation. Especially those bride getting ready shots and bridal party portraits. (Link: 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount)
14. Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 Apo Planar T* ZF.2 Lens with Metabones Nikon F to Sony E-Mount Adapter – This is my favorite wedding portrait lens. It’s also pretty much my go to lens for all of my family sessions and engagement sessions. (Link:Otus 85mm f/1.4 Apo Planar T* ZF.2 Lens for Nikon F Mount)
15. Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 ZE Lens with Metabones Canon EF to Sony E-Mount Adapter – I use this for wider shots of the bride putting on her gown. Its handy for landscapes, reception room shots, and any larger group photos. Also a perfect lens for the cake-cutting action photos. (Link:Otus 28mm f/1.4 ZE Lens for Canon EF)
16. Lowel GL-1 Power LED Light – This is what I use during receptions as a kicker light to add that punch to my images. I have my assistant rim light my subjects to help separate them from the background. (Link: GL-1 Power LED)
17. Eno Doublenest Hammock System – Love this hammock.. and bring it everywhere. You may even catch me in my hotel room swinging from this hammock as it’s more comfortable then most beds. (Link: Eagles Nest Outfitters – DoubleNest Hammock)
19. LaCie 4TB Rugged RAID Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 Drive - Super fast, super reliable, super durable. (Link: 4TB (2 x 2TB) Rugged RAID)
20. Alite Designs Mayfly Chair - Light, packs up small, holds up to 250lbs… perfect for camping, hiking, beach, and those concerts in the park. I never leave home without it. (Link: Alite Designs Mayfly Chair)
25. Sony HVL-F60M Speedlight - This is what I use on camera when I need TTL. I love the tilting head that keeps my flash above my lens and shadows down below my subject! (Link: HVL-F60M External Flash)
26. Seaport i-Visor Hard Case SEIV1440K3 (converts into a standing desk for tethered laptop) - This is the case that you see holding my YN560-IV Speedlites and Sony Flash. I had a custom foam insert made at MyCaseBuilder.com to keep it all tidy. The rad thing about this case is that it doubles as my tethered laptop stand for studio work… and triples as a laptop editing station when I get tired of my home office and Starbucks and need to be outdoors. (Link: i-Visor Hard Case with Slim Bundle)
27. Goal Zero Lighthouse 250 Lantern & USB Power Hub - Super bright rechargeable lantern that I take with me camping. It will give my iPhone a charge or two also! (Link: Lighthouse 250 LED Lantern / USB Hub)
29. American Kami ApocalypSpork - Forged out of medical grade titianum sourced from USA made military and aerospace scrap, handcrafted in the good ol’ USA! Berry compliant. Won’t rust or corrode. Non-magnetic. Bottle opener/pot lid lifting hook. Oxygen bottle key/small ‘biner hole. 9.3″ long. Emergency hex driver key. Want flat wear that will last you through the apocalypse? Want something that you can ram through a zombie skull? Here you go, baby. You know you want one! (Link: http://www.americankami.com/swag)
30. CRKT® Eat’n Tool - Not as cool as the ApocalypSpork but they’ll let you take this on the airplane. (Link: Eat’N Tool (Bead Blast))
31. iPhone Sim Card Tool - Can you find it in my photo? It’s so small! I need this for changing out my sim card when traveling abroad.
47. Nestle Vanilla-Caramel Coffee-Mate Creamer & Instant Coffee - Don’t judge me you coffee snobs! Mix this with Maker’s Mark for some amazing Falcon Coffee! #LTFL
49. Black Diamond Climbing Harness and Gloves in Blue – I heard first hand from a friend that gloves can mean the difference of life or death when rappelling large cliffs or canyons. If your gear fails you can slow yourself down enough to survive just by grabbing the rope. No gloves, your hands burn, you let go, and free fall to the bottom.
50. Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Lens – My go to ceremony lens. It’s got amazing separation and bokeh for an f4 lens. And it’s so light! I can shoot on this all day without getting tired. (Link: FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Lens)
51. Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens – One of my favorite lenses by far! It’s like the Otus 85… only with AF! Sick bokeh and unbelievable image sharpness and color across all aperture settings! Sharp edge to edge even wide open at f/1.4! (Link: FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens)
52. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens – My main lens for family formals, bridal party, and dance floor shots. (Link: FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens)
53. Assorted Lens Hoods - Did you notice the happy face?
54. Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA lens - Compact, lightweight, awesome street photography lens. Also great all-day carry lens for outings like Disneyland with the family. I carry it as a backup wide lens in my wedding case because it’s so small. (Link: Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens)
55. Banana (brand unknown) Was perfectly ripe. I ate it immediately after this shoot.
56. Goal Zero Light-a-Life 350 LED Light (x2) – These go with my Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Battery Pack which I forgot to bring for the shoot. You can daisy change a bunch of these lights to light up your campsite. (Link: Light-A-Life 350-Lumen LED Light)
57. And Last but not least… the backdrop that made this all possible… The Eno Islander LED Sunshine Blanket – The edges light up for a very cool effect at night. We have concerts in the park every Friday in Ladera Ranch. This blanket is easy for our kids to find in the sea of people & blankets. (Link: ENO – Islander LED Light Up Outdoor Beach Camping Blanket – Sunshine)
What can I say about this couple? I usually have my photo editor pull out the best shots and throw them up on the blog – saved in the drafts folder to await my approval. I then go through, delete a few shots, and publish the post with little to no comments just to keep fresh images coming. It’s different this time. I tried to hit the publish button, but I just couldn’t. I had to say something about this couple. Well, it’s more about Jackie because I really only met Mike on the shoot so I don’t know too much about him other than he’s married to Jackie (which says a lot) and that he’s great looking, successful, and a super nice guy. Mike, if you read this, please take this as a “I want to hang with you and get to know you more” ok? :) Ok, on to Jackie…
I met Jackie a couple years ago when she styled my NYC shooting workshop. I only met her briefly during the workshop, but knew I was lucky to have her because of the amazing styled shoot she put together for me. You can view some of those images here. I also knew that I was lucky to start this relationship with her because I could instantly sense that she was the kind of person that everyone loved. I knew from the minute I met her that if she wasn’t already killing it in her business that it was just a matter of time because when God gives someone talent, passion, and a genuinely gracious and sweet personality, you know that person is going places. Turns out she was already killing it and still is. She’s the greatest thing the NYC wedding market has seen in quite some time! Check out her labor of love “Merci New York” and see what I’m talking about.
Jackie and Mike gave me the honor of photographing them for my NYC workshop this spring and it just so happened it was on their 4th anniversary! Such a beautiful couple! I wish you guys many many years of happiness together! Can’t wait to see you both again! Read Jackie’s post about the shoot here.
Thanks so much to the wonderful vendors that made this shoot a success!!
Just hours after taking delivery of my new Nikon D4 camera body last week, I headed up to the Big Bear Mountains to play in the snow with my family. The drive was an adventure with more than 12 inches of new snow on the roads, and we woke up the next morning to a picture-perfect sunny day to play in the snow!
I grabbed my new Nikon D4, and a few of my favorite lenses (Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8, 200mm f2.0, 85mm f1.4 and my 35mm f1.4) and headed outside to grab some shots of my wife and four kids playing in front of the house. I had spent a couple hours the night before, after we got the kids settled in for bed, fiddling around with the settings and discovering a few of the new features the Nikon D4 had to offer.
Since I’m sort of a control freak when it comes to exposure and white balance, I shot mostly everything in manual mode and kelvin white balance. I did however really play with the autofocus settings to test out the new face recognition feature. It was pretty cool watching the camera lock onto my kid’s little faces and follow them around as I snapped away. Although I am so used to controlling my focus selector from previous models like the D3 and D3s, this may be a feature I will continue to use on the D4 the more I learn to trust it. One thing for sure is that the D4 is extremely fast and smooth in all autofocus modes but I’m sure it will take a few months to test and decide which modes I prefer the most.
One thing that stood out to me right away is how amazingly quiet the shutter is on the D4 compared to all previous flagship DSLRs Nikon has released. In “quiet mode” it’s even more impressive because I can control when the mirror lays back down. The skin tones straight out of the camera seem accurate and true to what I saw when shooting. My associate Kat pulled some of her favorites from my little family shoot and used a new Aperture film plugin she found called VSCO to process the images. I like what she chose! Hope you like them too!
Chloe tearing it up on the sled
My wife looking hot as usual.. the pink speed disc is so in right now!
If you have not heard of Photoserve; it’s an organization you should definitely check out.
After meeting countless photographers within our industry who shared this vision to not only document beauty and life, but to use that gift and talent to affect positive change in the world, photographers Matt Savage (of Avery House Photographers) and Tony Skarlatos founded Photoserve. To do just that: photos and serve. Their vision to unite with other artists and create an avenue to use their gifts to affect change is both encouraging and challenging.
I am honored to be going on a trip to Acuña, Mexico this September 25-30th. With a team of about 15 photographers we will be building a home for a family that is currently living on the streets. I have no doubt that this trip will challenge and shape every person involved, and I cannot wait to go. We still have a few spots left, and I would love you to join!
My dear friends Jessica Claire & Jeff Norwood just celebrated the birth of their first child, Locke. It was a so much fun taking some shots for them last week. This is a sneak peak…more images to come!
I have some exciting upcoming workshops that I’m stoked to share with you. From September 12-14th I’ll be in Calgary for a seminar and Banff for an awesome shooting workshop. The support that I’m getting from Lynn Fletcher Weddings, The Camera Store, Pixel2Canvas, and Lexar to help make these happen has been so awesome. I can’t wait to see everyone next month! Here’s some more info:
September 12: A Seminar on Branding
In this 6-hour seminar, I’ll be teaching about my unique approach to branding. Topics that will be covered are: Defining Your Target Market, Brand Identity, Creating Buzz, Pricing, Selling, Getting Published, Social Networking, Photography Inspiration, Facing Fears.
Style Me Pretty featured this All-American styled shoot on July 4th. Abby and her team at Style Me Pretty are such hard workers, and it is an honor to be featured on their site. This particular shoot was from my SoCal Shooting Workshop, and I am stoked that several of the attendees were also on the Style Me Pretty Feature. (Way to go Richard Lam and Visual Exposure). Thank you so much to all the wonderful vendors who made up a killer team for this shoot. You guys rocked it! Also thanks to Pixel2Canvas and Leather Craftsmen for sponsoring my workshop, and for your continual support!
To check out the Style Me Pretty Feature CLICK HERE. Also to view Kat’s images from the shoot CLICK HERE, and for our complete portfolio on this shoot CLICK HERE.