With Dave Vasquez
Today, we are super-excited to share the work of photographer and Platypod Max user Dave Vasquez who came to our attention by way of this Radio City Music Hall shot (below) and by way of our truly talented Platypod Ambassador Gilmar Smith!
And we are so glad that he did! This vibrant shot was taken with a Platypod Max, and Dave even gives us some BTS video so you can see Platypod Max in action on a NYC street!
Let’s get to know the man behind the shot in this Q&A with Dave Vasquez:
What do you do now; and how did you get into photography?
I feel pretty lucky to have a career as an animator at Blue Sky Studios in Greenwich, CT. We work on animated movies like Ice Age, Rio and The Peanuts Movie. It keeps me pretty intensely busy during the week and so it's really important to take time to creatively recharge. Photography has been a real blessing in that regard. I've always had a camera nearby throughout my life, but I got more seriously into it after the birth of my daughter about 7 years ago. Since then, I've mostly enjoyed exploring and photographing the places we've lived. We're from the San Francisco Bay Area, but have lived in Los Angeles and now New York.
What is the story behind the Radio City photograph?
I was actually in the city to shoot some portraits (which didn't end up happening) so I found myself capturing some images around the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. The holidays are a great time to be in the city, but it's immensely crowded and the sidewalks are completely packed. I was across the street from Radio City Music Hall and wanted to take a shot, but I couldn't find a good vantage point. I decided to put my camera under one of the steel barricades on the street to get a low-angle view. As long as a passing car didn't hit my camera, I thought I could get something cool!
What was your gear set-up for this photo?
Canon 5D Mark iii, 16-35 2.8L iii, and the Platypod Max with an Oben ball head.
What were some of your biggest challenges with getting this shot?
Since the camera was under the barricade, I wasn't able to look through the viewfinder or see the LCD screen clearly. I did some quick test shots, but in the end I just pre-focused and then did my best to aim the camera in the right direction!
How did you learn about Platypod?
I first learned about them through Gilmar Smith's Instagram page. I had discovered her inspiring work and she'd mentioned them in one of her posts. I knew it would work for me during those times I needed an alternative to a tripod. The thing I love about the Platypod is how it immediately forces you to see things from a different perspective than you might have with a tripod or hand-holding the camera.
What has been your favorite photography lesson this year?
I did a portrait photo walk with Francisco Hernandez over the summer, and it was a great learning experience for using off-camera flash and lighting in general. It's completely new territory for me. I've mostly done landscape/cityscape stuff, but I'm really interested in learning how to take better portraits, head shots and lifestyle shots.
Currently working on any cool projects that you'd like to share with us?
The project that's keeping me most busy these days is the movie I'm animating on called Spies In Disguise. It stars Will Smith and Tom Holland and comes out in September 2019! But, I plan to keep learning more about portraiture and developing more work in that area. I'm also mulling around some ideas for a long exposure project where the Platypod will come in very handy!
We love to post stories of Platypod users and their experiences with the product. If you are interested in being featured, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.