December 14, 2009

Behind The Scenes: La Ceja:

So we were sitting at my apartment deciding where to go and shoot for the official help portrait day (12-12-09). Over peanut butter and jelly we decided on two towns, the first day we would hit La Ceja (means Eyebrow in English) and the second, El Carmen (no direct translation). They are about 25 minutes apart and they would be easy to reach by Colombia's very good public transportation system.

We pack up our backpacker's studio along with the, what feels like 100 pound vagabond battery and canon printer. A full set of ink cartridges and 40 sheets of paper...oh yeah!!!

Photos and more details of our trip after the break...

We get to the bus stop that everyone told us to go to and we wait for the bus goes by...doesn't stop....two buses...then three...then four. Finally we say....SCREW THIS!!!! We are taking a cab. We flag the first cab down we see and he says he can't take us because it's the holiday season and the cops are being really strict on public transport and he doesn't have all his papers. So about 30 minutes later we finally find a crazy cab driver who is willing to take us to La Ceja for 10,000 pesos each ($5.00 dollars)....the show's finally on the road!!!!!!!!
The cab ride was scary, very scary...we found it almost impossible to write out our wills while the maniac cab driver took Colombia's mountain roads at about 130km an hour. We just couldn't keep the pen on the paper...curse the 6 g's we pulled at every corner.

We made it to La Ceja in one piece and our adventure began....

I'll keep this short and simple and let the video and the photos do the talking, but I just want to point out one EXTREMELY IMPORTANT ERROR that happened to us we think is pretty important for everyone.


We are trying to figure out a method to be extremely efficient with the memory cards so that this doesn't happen again, but consider yourselves warned!! We promise to have it figured out by webinar time (hint hint wink wink)....shameless plug!!!

Here are the pictures, not the best we've ever taken but definitely the ones that made us feel the best....and really...what else matters!!!
note: click on image to make larger

Happy Holidays everyone!!! Now get off your booty and go give a little back!!

Andy & Michael

For those interested, here is a list of the gear we used and where to buy:


Buy it now from Bhphoto Westcott Apollo 28" Softbox Kit or if you prefer Amazon Westcott 28" Apollo Softbox Kit

Buy the 50" Westcott from Westcott Apollo 50" Softbox I haven't found it cheaper anywhere else online.

Buy it from
Buy it from
Buy from
Photoflex Convertible Umbrella

Buy from


  1. Those images may be recoverable with free software, have you tried any yet? Ive managed to recover after formats once or twice now with software called photorescue Wizard PC , I know there are several others out there that work as well, such as PC Inspector File recovery (easier to use IIRC).

    Ive got two systems I use now to prevent the same mistake. The first (and my current method) is to use a zip tie to bundle all my cards together before each shoot. I then drop it in my pocket and simply slide a card out of the bundle and retighten the zip tie after its out. Now I can drop the full card into my pocket with the bundle and have no worries as long as I only pull cards from the bundle to put into the camera. I then religously rebuild the bundle after photos have been downloaded and backed up.

    The other method I have used in the past is similar but involved putting gaff tape over the connection on cards. After a card was downloaded I would format it in camera, remove it from the camera and tape the connector side. Now all I had to do was make sure the card I was about to put in still had its tape, remove tape and start shooting. Worse case scenario a piece of tape would come off in my pocket and I would think the card was full when it was empty, no big deal really. I went away from this system when I started shooting two cameras at once, it got to difficult to format some cards for one camera and others for the second. Now with the zip tie method I just format as soon as I put the card in the camera after removing it from the zip tie bundle.
    hope that helps spur some ideas!
    Brian w ShowFocus

  2. Man... I am loving your blog and work..! So much fun :) thanks and feliz navidad!

  3. Luis,

    Thanks for the blog comment. Andy and I are having fun with photography...that's what it is all about. If you're interested in learning some new tips and tricks watch the webinar this Thursday. We are also giving some cool stuff away.

  4. Brian,

    Unfortunately I've tried with free and paid software, the problem is that we kept shooting and filled up the cards 2 times before we realized it. CRAPOLA, I still can not believe it. Of course it had the best photos of the day, including the old gentleman with the "Ruana". CRAPOLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Your method sounds good, but I think we want something a little more efficient and we will figure it not worry!!!!!!

    Keep watching for day dos, el carmen!!


  5. Michael with Maria - a rare mooment in time. Hopefully that sweet lady can see the video some day.

    The young lady with the pooch - would have been nice to get some light on the right side of the dog for more dimension.

    Cards - you need to take more even if you don't use them. I'm all for efficiency in shooting and only use a max card size of 4GB, but you need to be prepared for (unexpected) overflow. Even the best cards can corrupt on you given the wrong alignment of the stars.

    Looking forward to day two ;-)

  6. Hi Andy,

    Wow the Art you guys create is amazing! I love your style! Looking foward to more of your adventures!
    Laurie Anne Portella
    AKA Miss Bliss

  7. Man you guys continue to amaze me. It really sucks it's -45c out right now, I just wanna get out and shoot!!

  8. Hi Michael & Andy,
    Enjoyed your video, sorry to hear you lost some files it “happens”.
    I have invested in some strobist equipment and will be shooting real soon. I guess your videos gave me the inspiration I needed to have a go. If you think it will help the artistic content in my photography I have “pistachio nuts” on my Christmas list followed by “Spanish lessons”. Have a good holiday; I’m off to take some shots. Keith

  9. CamLS:

    Anonymous (with new strobist gear):
    Let us know about the results with your new gear. If you have specific questions be sure to email us or comment. We'd like to know if you have any sticking points and see if we can offer some tips or tricks. Tune into the webinar Dec 17th...we are going to talk a little about the technical side of speedlights.


  10. Great video, learned lots.

    Look into this to make your backpack studio just that more AWESOME.

    Top of the line there, but I know know you guys love getting quality used gear, and the p3000 isnt bad at all in my book!

    Find them used for less that 200 bucks!

    Anyway this thing has a HUGE screen to show pics, back up files, print files. PERFECT