Archive for July, 2011

Assembling a crew for Southern CA- documentary projects

Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Travel, Video on July 29, 2011 by William Hooks

If you ‘d like to assist me on documentary work in California, based primarily in the Los Angeles area, please inquire. You can write to my blog/site, on Facebook, e-mail or phone me at (951)-255-9568.

I seek  a  Camera 2 operator, still photographer, audio operator, storyboarder, a focus puller who would manage one or more external monitors, a grip who can manage lighting, and a bilingual (Spanish/English) interviewer. Familiarity with Nikon equipment, Zoom H4N audio recorder,  and/or Adobe Premiere Elements 9 would be a plus.

Best regards! And stay thirsty, my friends—–

Initial planning for possible return to China in Sept 2011

Posted in Captain's Personal Log, Music, Photography, Photojournalism, Travel, Video on July 27, 2011 by William Hooks

Today I had a conversation with my main contact in Jinan, China (Ma Xiudong), Dept Director of Shandong Economic and Information Technology Commission, regarding the possibility of extending my documentary to include the Confucius Festival there in September. In addition, we are continuing plans to bring Hu Meng to the USA as a guest artist to exhibit his paintings and conduct a tour.

My schedule will hopefully allow completion of the first edit of my doc’ by around mid- August, at which time I ‘d relay it to them as well. Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing?

Here’s to international cooperation and cultural exchange- I’m excited to be a part of it, and with luck I may even be able to expand my exploration of Chinese art to include its music in the future.

Constructed camera slider from hardware store parts for ~ $50

Posted in Photography, Video on July 24, 2011 by William Hooks

I used a small, c. 1/2″ thick piece of wood as a platform for a 3/8″ bolt and washer to anchor the Acratech ball head and drilled 4 corner holes for attachment of plastic -wheeled cabinet fixtures. These were spaced to match the rails on an aluminum level, which has end holes suitable to placement on tripods to elevate the slider if needed.

The total cost except for the ball head was about $50. My initial tests indicate that it will function beautifully and quietly to allow about 3 feet of camera movement, whether for sliding or trucking (lateral or front-back).


If interested, please contact me for more details.

Awaiting return flight to USA from Pudong airport, Shanghai

Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Travel, Video on July 16, 2011 by William Hooks

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I’m out of the humidity…. business office at the airport convenient for posting here.

I included images from last evening’s river cruise in central Shanghai, as well as shots from other stops recently.The low light capability of the D3s was tested from that boat, I was pleased with it.  I did some flash shooting onboard as well.


Rain stopped, arrived in Hangzhou this evening

Posted in Captain's Personal Log, Photography, Photojournalism, Travel on July 14, 2011 by William Hooks

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Saw the sun for first time entire trip, and had kettle corn… excellent laser/live theater show this evening about the history of this area.

If you want chicken in China you can always visit the Colonel…..finally, I managed to set my electric shaver on fire in my room, due to plugging into the wrong socket.

Rain…. arrival in Wuxi this evening

Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Travel, Video on July 13, 2011 by William Hooks

Visited a large ancient barrier wall erected for preventing invasion of the city nearby-called the Dongshuiguan Ruins; then the venerated Yangtze River Bridge, with its magnificent Soviet-style statues on either side of the roadway, in a rainstorm.

There was a visit to a site where antique methods are still used to produce hand- painted intricate art with fine brushes, on crystal. Then we headed for a large lake where pearls are harvested, surrounded by bucolic gardens  enroute to the city.

At the base of the bridge was an enormous statue of Chairman Mao, with rooms to chronicle the rise of the Revolution and a sort of archive of publications of the period.

We’re cooling our heels in Wuxi and Iam catching up on international political developments on CNN… planning additional interviews for tomorrow if time permits.

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Arrival in Nanjing, China/ Sun Yat-Sen Mausaleum

Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Travel on July 12, 2011 by William Hooks

My GPS at least briefly functioned today in the Nanjing region; rainy most of the day. Extremely impressive burial site for S. Yat-Sen, east of the city. More images below… 

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Review: Sennheiser 400 MKE shotgun microphone

Posted in Reviews, Travel, Video on July 11, 2011 by William Hooks

I selected this microphone for my China trip  due to its very long battery life of about 300 hours, ease of  obtaining and changing its AAA battery, build quality, small form factor and sound quality. The “on” indicator light is only lit momentarily when powering up (which I don’t like), but I feel free to leave the unit on for an entire session to be sure it’s activated when beginning clips. Wind noise has so far not been a problem, although I did bring the deadcat for this mic.

It also fits all standard fishpoles such as the Que Audio with shock absorber which I brought here, making booming easy. I like the shock mount on this microphone- simple , unobstrusive and effective.

One caution- be sure to do sound tests especially if not monitoring levels and pitch with headphones, to ensure proper level and low band cutoff settings for a particular environment.

I highly recommend the Sennheiser for travel.


Raining hard tonight in Suzhou, China

Posted in Captain's Personal Log, Photography, Photojournalism, Travel, Video on July 11, 2011 by William Hooks

Busy day, finally got internet access- had difficulty yesterday in Shanghai.

I’m trying to fit into Chinese society as I would anywhere else I travel, and hope that these images from the current post will help explain my efforts. More to follow tomorrow from Nanjing with luck, including images from landscapes to urban..

Hope all are enjoying this week as much as I am- stay thirsty and if you like, write me at my e-mail address, as not only doesn’t Facebook work here, neither does my Nikon GPS (so far).

Otherwise I have to say that the D5100 and D3s have worked very well- I wish I hadn’t accidentally dropped the lens hood from my 85mm f/1.4 into a river this afternoon……

Interview with Chinese artist Chen Qiye- last day in Jinan

Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Travel, Video on July 9, 2011 by William Hooks

This piece was shot at his residence/studio in downtown Jinan,  and as with Hu Meng I was presented with original artwork produced by the artist to bring back to California.  Mr. Meng and I plan to collaborate in the future, to attempt to bring his art to the USA and perhaps other countries.

A day of  HUMIDITY,watermelon, beer, cigarette smoke, tea, and great enjoyment. Wonderful dinner this evening with hosts from the University of Jinan and others. The people I met here will be missed….

Tomorrow morning , I will board a 200 mph bullet train for Shanghai.