Category Archives: blog

Light Painting in Wanaka NZ.

What is Light Painting?

Light painting is the term used when a long exposure photograph is taken in a dark environment, while a light source (such as a torch, glowstick, sparkler etc) is used to highlight or “paint” certain elements in the frame. The exposure can be anywhere around 3 seconds to 90 seconds. 30 seconds is a common duration, depending on other factors, ISO, F/Stop, light polution and strength of your chosen “brush”. Often for lager pieces several photographs may be layered on top of one another to produce a finished single image. This can allow for shorter exposures. Longer exposures tend to have to close of the aperture to prevent the background blowing out or becoming noisy.  While creating these images it can really feel like painting, as the light falls onto the subject some light is reflected back to the camera. The more light you shine onto the subject, or part of the subject the brighter it will appear in the shot.

The wonderful thing about this kind of photography is that movement of bright light sources such as a torch can really be captured, while non light sources that are moving, such as the artist will not bounce enough light back to the camera to be retained in the image. So, you can move through the frame, painting along the way leaving only trails of glowing light over the top of a more traditional looking photo.

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Last night was another restless night for me. It seems to be a common occurrence! Still, to make the most of my night time I took it upon myself to do the light painting I have been planning. A few local spots have caught my attention and I really wanted to get stuck in once the full moon had gone. Last night though, it was cloudy, and a little rainy, but at 3:30 am i went for it. Came home about 6am…. got a wet arse from a incident on the Dino Slide- Slippy when wet! Was worth the next 5 shots with wet pants though. Quite happy with it. Hope you like. Shot on the Canon 50D for a change.

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First showreel.

SHOWREEL: John-Jo Ritson / RideClass Productions: “From then till now” from John-Jo Ritson on Vimeo.

I recently realized I did not have a showreel. Seems like something I should have done long ago! However it is now done. Was fun pulling together all my favorite clips. There was about 10 mins of stuff I wanted to use. This is how it came out. Hoping to be back to work as per usual soon. Ankle surgery has been healing up well. Lots of physio and the OK for skiing 8 days away.
Stoked.

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Biff Russell at The Half Note, Niseko, Japan. DIE JOE BOO Ep2.

Biff Russell has been around for awhile. He has many strings to his bow. I have heard him referred to as a life coach, a guru, a wiseman, as well as a musician, telemarker, skier, snowboarder. He has built homes and raised kids.

Here he is playing a version of Mustang Sally in a really cool little Jazz bar in Niseko, (Hirafu) Japan. The Bar is Called Hale Note, and can be found, just down from Full Note. Ah hem.

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A day in Japan. Niseko and Otaru.

Here is a little video I made while on a day off in Japan. We rode park at Hanazono (Niseko) and then went on a road trip to Otaru. I will do a proper post soon, but currently hung over from a night out in Sapporo.

February 1st 2013. Japan.
Nick and I did the usual morning drive from Kutchan to Hirafu. Had a nice relaxed game of pool (I think he won but we were both having an awful game and were both happy when it was finally over!).

From Our “office” we then headed over to the Gondola in Hirafu, then up Swinging Monky 2 seater chair. From the top of Swining monkey we had to straight line down to the park at Hanazono. There are some long long flats which can kill on a snowboard! The snow is good right now by international standard but not by Japowpow measuring sticks with no big snowfalls in the last week. The light was in and out as was the snow. I have been wanting to go film for ages but have been tied up with work etc etc so it was nice to finally get the glidecam out on to the snow with a rider to film. We had a bout 3 or 4 laps through the park which has some nicely shaped jumps and a few rails and boxes. It seems a little spaced out in between hits but once the pipe is shaped properly the whole run will be wicked: Pipe into jumps into rails… nice!

After awhile hunger got the better of us and we came back via the Hirafu park. Once home our other housemate Joe arrives back and we decided as it was still early that we’d go on a random road trip to Otaru. Having past the ocean on the train last week we were keen to explore a little in this area.

Hangin out the window with the glidecam was fun if a little scary!

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Wanaka Fest 2012 – Four days of events and competitions.

WanakaFest is an annual community festival held in Wanaka, Otago NZ. It covers food and wine, an urban down hill mountain biking, 10hr endurance mountain biking race, passion for fashion show and so much more!

This festival was the perfect opportunity to use my new Glidecam HD2000. The Canon 7D really came in to its own during this project. Switching between glidecam filming and run and gun photography was easy and efficient. Especially after the new Canon 203 firmwear update which allowed more RAW images than before. Still 8.4fps but a the buffer allows up to 25 images compared to 15 before the update. Was lucky enough to have a friend Civilian Sol, crate a track especially for the video. We worked together to come up with the feel, I gave him a rough edit, and then I re edited to the track. Mad props to Dannie.

For more videos and booking video work please visit:
www.RideClass.com

We just had the final Sponsors Thank you drinks and the first showing of the video. Time to have a drink and put my feet up…. until a timelapse at 4am… 🙂

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“The Lazy Oar”

I get to see my good friends and their family about twice a year. We hang out and I try to put together a little video of each visit, mainly to document how quickly life moves forward. This film I put together today and went with a cinematic look.

Using the Glidecam HD 2000 and my Canon EOS 7D to shoot with made this really fun to do.

Hope you like it. Comments encouraged. What do you think?

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Best Day of the 2012 winter season? Its a big call.

So. Last Monday Treble Cone had 50 plus cms of heavy snow. We thought it was going to be the last dump. In fact I called the video from that day Late Season Dump. And you can see it here:

Late season DUMP! from Treble Cone on Vimeo.

However, during Saturday and into Saturday night, it was raining cats and dogs in town, and cold too…
The forecast was for cloud and rain and snow showers. All things that point to a day editing rather than filming. But I diligently got up early and sussed the situation out. It was clearing… and sunny.

Got up to TC ASAP to capture one epic run of flips and spins on the front side. Once I had had a taste of how LIGHT and DRY the snow was got to the bottom, put the camera way and went and got some! BOOM!

Here is the edit from that day…

Best Day of 2012? Riders and Sliders last day. from Treble Cone on Vimeo.

I ended up getting a couple of laps int he saddle basin before coming back to work in home basin filming the last day of riders and sliders. This is a 10 week program that runs on Sundays. School kids in lessons parents skiing.

Once I had enough footage of that, I once again put the camera away and rode for myself. I landed 2 tame dogs aka nollie front flips off the sides of easy rider which was the first time. I also was busting out my new Burton Ante Up jacket that I got cheap as chips for $99 on www.lastseason.co.nz – i have nothing to do with them other than buying a $269 USD jacket for $106 NZD delivered.

You can see all the videos I have made this 2012 winter here.

And you can see all the Treble Cone videos I have made here.

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Snow Skool Instructor Courses: Wanaka New Zealand.

The winter snow season in New Zealand is from June 28th (ish) until September 30th (ish). 3 months. Even though this is about half the length of the northern winter, coming to New Zeland to train, get certified and keep skills sharp has been a common practice for many snow enthusiasts.

In all of New Zealand there is about 25+ ski feilds of varying sizes. Wanaka in the Southern Alps is the top location with 3 awesome and very different resorts just 35-45min drive away.

Snow Skool run a 10 week programme here and asked me to make weekly videos documenting the course.

Recipe for a week in Wanaka: Snow Skool in Wanaka, NZ. from SnowSkool on Vimeo.

is the latest edit I made on behalf of Snow Skool. I filmed on Monday the 3rd September in overcast skies with 50+cms of new snow! It was heavier and wetter towards the bottom and quite challenging. This made for some funny shots of everyone flailing around in the snow. The next day was sunny and the saddle opened. I just had to get shots for Treble Cone this day and went straight to the bottom of the summit slopes to film, cheer and cry as I got people ripping untracked light pow. Got some good shots that made it on to U Live TV! My first big slot on national television. 40 second clip showcasing TC epic terrain. You can see that video here:

Late season DUMP! from Treble Cone on Vimeo.

All the footage shown on U Live TV was also in this clip above.

Once I had the TC shots I cought up with the Snow Skool group as they rode the Saddle looking fro drops to work on vertical movement relating to pressure. ON the way abck to the home basin I cought up with the skier group and got some shots of those guys working on vaious aspects of paralelle turns, demos and teaching and increased performance.

After that I boosted home to begin off loading CF cards.
On Sunday we headed back to Amigos Mexican place 7 weeks to the day (see that video here) that the Snow Skoolers arrived in town. I had once been nearly knocked over by the “death wings” so got some for the guys to try, to my disappointment I had one to find out it was about 25% as hot as when I had last had it. The boys were still impressed with the heat, but they got it easy let me tell you!

You can see all of my Snow Skool Videos here and all my videos from Treble Cone here. Or just ALL of my edits from 2012 NZ winter here.

You can visit my web site here: www.RideClass.com

Thanks!

John-Jo

Head Honcho @ RideClass Productions

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First Timelaspe Compilation Piece: Arrow Valley Farm – Time at The Ranch.

Timelapse photography can be so rewarding and so frustrating. I have been using my Canon EOS 7D for nearly 12 months now, and have shot quite a few timelapses with it. Once the basics are understood, it is finding good subject matter that becomes the challenge.

While at The Watshan Catte Co. Ranch I was in awe of the amount of stars that were visible each night. Miles from anywhere the amount of light pollution was, well pretty much zero! So, I decided it was time to try and bring together as many Timelaspes of the night sky as possible and see if I could create something that would do it justice.

I had a few unsuccessful nights when condensation on the lens of my Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8 left me with only a few seconds of useable final product. I trashed these small timelaspes and asked for help from Timelaspe veteran Preston Kanak. He passed on a tip that allowed me to shoot right through the night without any issues of condensation / frost on the lens. It was so simple, yet worked so well.

I tweeted: “@prestonkanak any tips for condensation on lens in overnight TL’s?”

His reply was short and to the point “@JohnJoRitz Handwarmers.”

I got funny looks at the local store buying handwarmers and candles in spring, but I think it was worth it 🙂

That night I set about stickytaping 4 handwarmers to the lens hood of the Tokina. I had already set the Canon up for its night shift and checked the handwarmers were not in frame, I hit the start button.

I repeated this process any night when the sky was clear. I wanted to use some light source to add some foreground detail and ended up using a regular candle. I had taken a large Bombay sapphire gin bottle, used and *angle grinder and a lot of safety gear to cut the top off, and placed the tapered candle inside. This was to keep it from going out, but also to make sure I did not cause a massive fire! *I do not recommend using naked flames, or cutting glass as it can cause serious injury!!!

Below is the finished piece. I recommend full screen and HD. I welcome feedback / constructive criticism.

Settings used were:

Exposure: 20-25 seconds

ISO: 600-800

Format: Shot in RAW

White balance: 4000-5000 (adjusted in post to suit)

Picture Profile Setting was Landscape – (although was adjusted in post but it gave a good starting point)

F Stop: 2.8

Interval: 1-3 seconds between the 20 to 25 second exposures.

Equipment:

Camera: Canon EOS 7D

Lens: Tokina 11-16 F/2.8

Filter: a no name brand UVF purely to protect the lens.

Tripod: Weifeng WF-717A

Intervalometer: Yongnuo TC-80N3a

Memory Card: Kingston 16GB CF

Music: from incomputech.com

I hope this has been a useful and informative post. It certainly has been educational and fun for me! If your unsure  about having a go at timelaspe I’d strongly encourage you to pick some settings, take afew test shots, adjust them, test some more, then just have a go. The more you shoot the better they will become. For more information on timelaspe and general shooting, check out Preston Kanak’s website and also  The Red Owl aka Tom Baurain did this tutorial on RAW Timelaspe workflow

 

About the author: John-Jo has been working in Canada for the last 6 months and is now in New Zealand waiting for the Snow season to start. He will be making films in Wanaka for Treble Cone and The Rookie Academy.

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Arrow Valley Farm : : “Life in the Valley”

For the last 3 weeks I have been on Whatshan Cattle Co. Ranch in Edgewood B.C. I have been working for my food and accommodation and loving every minuet of it! Pouring concrete, making spindles for handrails, painted, cutting grass, fixing fences and anything else that life on the ranch required. We started at 9:00 AM and worked till 4:30 -5:30 depending on what was going on. Evenings were often spent on the deck, watching the sun go down, drinking local beer, followed by an awesome evening meal. The sleep here has been the best, deepest, most honest sleep I have possibly ever had.

 

When I could steal away from “work” I took my Canon 7D and tried to capture some of beauty of this place. They grow about 300 acres of hey, raise about 125 cattle, Bluehealers, Pomeranians along with a herd of horses! The nights that looked clear, I often set off  a timelapse. I have wanted to the light foreground of my timelapses for awhile and decided to do it by candle light. I had some issues with condensation on the lens, but thanks to a tip from Preston Kanak, I managed to get some Timelaspes I am pretty proud of. There are some in this video, but I will put a pure Timelapse piece soon-ish.

I didn’t set out to make a mini doco, I just wanted to be able to show people where I had spent my time between winters.

I spent my final day here pulling together my favorite clips and moments into this video. I welcome constructive criticism / comments, but please do take into account that this was more of an after thought than a preplanned production, limited editing time and non existent budget. 🙂

 

 

I hope you enjoy “Life on the Ranch”.

Please visit Arrow Valley Farm website if you have any inquiries about horse sales, hay sales, training, B&B.

If you have questions about horse training please go to Agora Horses.

John-Jo follows winter round the globe. His “summer” consists of  8 weeks a year (in two lots of 4) where spring comes into effect. To see more of his video work please go to his website .