Elon Schoenholz, Commercial Photographer


Cool Tools Show 163: Elon Schoenholz

Our guest this week is Elon Schoenholz. Elon is a former guest editor of Cool Tools and has been working as a commercial photographer documenting art and architecture in L.A. for the past 20 years. He’s a husband and father, gardner and an avid cyclist, and a founding member of the LA County Bicycle Coalition. He raced cyclocross for three seasons, without ever breaking the top 10.

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Show notes:

Gitzo 11-foot Carbon Fiber Tripod ($1,237)
“I’ve had a lot of tripods over the years. Gitzo is known for making the best. I believe they’re a French company. But this tripod is special in that it’s considerably taller than any other tripod I’m aware of. I think with the center column, it gets up close to 11 feet, but over 10 feet. I actually use it more than you might expect at its full height for shooting exteriors and also for getting over very large pieces of art. Sometimes I’ll photograph rugs or tapestries and have to get really high up. … There’s really nothing else in the game that even competes with this one.”

Krane AMG500 ($296)
“Almost more important than my tripod is my cart, because a lot of times … I don’t have a budget for an assistant, but I’m carrying a ton of gear. And for a while I was using a Magliner, which is like what a UPS driver uses. It was just a little bit overkill. And the Krane model that I found at Samy’s Camera in LA is just a perfect in-between for me. I easily get 250 pounds on it, and it’s just great. It folds down very small, so it’s much more portable than a Magliner would be, but it carries more than twice as much as what one of those little folding carts would carry. It has two basic setups. You can have it set up so that the bottom of it is flat, or you can angle the bottom of it, but even when the bottom’s angled, it’s still rolling on all four wheels. I have a Pelican case with lenses, a big backpack with my Profoto lights, another backpack with my camera bodies and laptop, a tripod bag, and then another bag with light stands and umbrellas, and that all fits. And then two sandbags, and that all fits on the cart, and I’m able to move it myself without assistance.”

VSGO Full-Frame Digital Camera Sensor Cleaning Swab Kit ($20)
“I recently started shooting with the Sony a7RIII that came out within the past year or so, and it’s been a revolutionary camera for me. But it’s a mirrorless camera, and so therefore, there’s no barrier between the sensor and the open air when you switch lenses. So I found right when I bought it and started using it, I was getting lots of dust on the sensor, and besides the expense of paying $50 to have a camera repair place clean the sensor, I couldn’t be without it for 24 or 48 hours. So I looked into cleaning it myself and was pretty afraid to touch the sensor, but I went for it, and I got these inexpensive swabs by a company called VSGO. I found it on Amazon, pretty well reviewed, and I watched some YouTube videos. And I did it myself very effectively by a little bit of optic cleaning fluid that comes with it in a kit.”

Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar ($30)
“One of the most useful things I own [is] a pull-up bar that can be taken down anytime. So as opposed to the traditional, old-school pull-up bars that would screw and torque into a door frame, this rests on top of the door frame. Some door frames have sort of the equivalent of a window frame, where there’s a little ledge. And so a piece rests on that, and then sort of due to leverage and gravity, it’s very, very stable. So you can take it off, and you can put it up or take it down in just a moment, and I particularly like that because I like to have it in the kitchen. If we have company over, I take it down. But I do a lot of my work from home, and getting away from the computer and hanging, as I believe I may have heard Tim Ferriss talking about, that’s something that I find is enormously helpful for my back when I’m at my computer all day.”

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