Lightweight, Low-Cost, XLR Adapter Solution

If your knees get a little weak when you check out the price ($500-1000) and the size (relatively humungous) of the XLR pre-amp adapters available for your Sony A7 series, RX10, Nikon and Canon DSLRS,  or your Panny GH4, you’ll like this post.

I first learned of this solution from my friend, the NY-fashion photographer Mike Kobal, and I’m going to link you to his post and please, if you buy any of this stuff, buy it through Mike’s links, because he’s the man who invented this (and check out his pictures and videos of beautiful models too…that’s the kind of stuff I’ve never shot in 40 years in the business!).

This hack will work for any camera, Nikon, Canon, Panny, Sony, etc. with a headphone AND a mic jack.

Basically, this is a two part hack: One is the the iRig Pre, a pre-amp XLR adapter that is designed to adapt an XLR mic into your iPhone. It’s about $30 and you can get it through Mike’s links at B&H, Amazon, etc. It’s tiny, runs off a 9V battery, has Phantom power if needed,  and has a headphone jack–where you’ll be plugging in your  phones because your camera’s headphone (and mic) jack will be filled with adapter plugs to transfer the sound.

And the adapter cord is designed to adapt a headphone to a PC. Mike got his on EBay, but complained about their flimsiness. I found that the six inch cords from www.showmecables.com worked a charm  ( part no: 23-106-001 Headset to PC Adapter – 6IN ).

So, is this solution flimsier than the expensive modules from Panny and Sony and Juiced Link and all the other makers of adapters?  Bien sur, of course, but is it rugged enough for my use? Yes indeed! (and can I afford to carry, ummmmn, let’s see, at least 17 backup sets for the price of one of my Sony adapters…but right now, I only carry one backup set).

I used this sub-$30 iRig Pre and a $4 splitter cord from ShowMeCables along with my Sony Wireless Mic setup on a recent shoot for a friend of mine, fine art photographer Wendy Paton, as she walked through her provocative exhibit at the Michener Museum in Doylestown, PA talking about her work.

John Campbell, an editor with whom I often work,  said it was the cleanest audio he’d ever received from me, which (given that I’m a still guy who just a few years ago, knew bupkus about audio) could be damning me with faint praise. But I’d rather think of it as a nice compliment from a demanding and experienced video guy.

I used some Velcro to connect the iRig to that other element in the picture, the mounting bracket,which is just a $9 flash bracket from EBay (again, please see Mike Kobal’s post and please click through his links) that I’m using until I find the video cage of my dreams for my Sony A7s and Sony RX10….and when I find it, it will be of course, be the subject of another post.

Residential London Conference Photography

Syon Park was the venue for this two day conference, which consisted of keynotes speakers and multiple breakout sessions, as well as an evening event in the stunning Syon House.

I love photographing large corporate events like this one, as I have the freedom to roam around, capturing the different parts of the conference as well as the overall atmosphere.

The conference attendees stayed the night in the Hilton hotel on site, as did I, which was great as it allowed me to start feeling super fresh and relaxed on the second morning.

Here are some of my favourite images from the two day conference in London.

Reframing Dementia

Dementia affects a huge number of people across the UK (and of course the world). My late grandma suffered for the last year or two before she left us, and my family felt like we had already lost her before she died, because she wasn’t really with it, making little sense and not recognising people she had known for most of her 90 years. So I was happy when I was invited along by the great charity, Alzheimers Research UK, to the launch event and private viewing of their exhibition on the Southbank in London, ‘Reframing Dementia’.

There were plenty of interesting parts of the exhibition, but the one that really grabbed the attention of many attendees was the virtual reality exhibit. You could put on the headset and begin to get a taste of what it’s like to suffer from dementia. Such a clever use of virtual reality, it was great to see.

Here are some of my favourite images from the event.

A Red Roundtable

South Place Hotel in the city of London is a chic venue for any corporate event, with a number of different rooms with super cool decor.

The Kuryakin room is a favourite of mine, with a striking red theme. It has a stunning, circular red table in its centre which makes it perfect for roundtable discussions and dinners.

I was there for Legal Business on this occasion for one of their regular roundtable events. Rooms like this one allow me to create images that stand out from most corporate event photography.

Creative Work Spaces…

…don’t come much better than this place. Mindspace has a couple of London locations. I was asked to take some photos for the brand new Aldgate location for PR purposes and I was blown away by how cool this place is. If I was looking for somewhere in the city to work from, this would be high up on my list. I always enjoy photographing London interiors, and this was quite different from the retail photography I often do.

Mindspace has hot-desking facilities as well as fixed offices for small businesses and startups. The decor is ultra cool, with funky artwork all over the place, awesome furnishings and a friendly atmosphere to boot.

Here are some of my favourite shots from the shoot. The first one is a composite photo of several different frames, with my camera on a tripod and each individual being lit in a separate exposure. I love using creative techniques like this to bring a space to life with people.