Feature Friday: Using Platypod for Macro Photography (Plus, a Nod to KelbyOne!)
Feature Friday with Jack Kosowsky
This Feature Friday photographer found us by way of one of our favorite photographers out there — Scott Kelby! Thank you, Scott, for sharing Platypod with your people! Friends: Take a moment to get to know Platypod user Jack Kosowsky.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you?
My name is Jack Kosowsky. I live in Central New Jersey. It’s an awesome area to be a photographer. New York City is an hour away. Philadelphia is 40 minutes away. The Jersey Shore is less than an hour away, and Princeton University is just 15 minutes away. All of these are awesome places to photograph.
I presently work as a Table Games Supervisor at a casino in Pennsylvania. I’ve been doing this for five years after spending over 25 years in the Information Technology sector. I absolutely love my job. It’s the only job I’ve ever had that I look forward to going to work every day!
How did you get into photography?
I always had a fascination with other people’s photographs and enjoyed flipping through photo albums even if I didn’t know who I was looking at! I really didn’t get into photography until I was about 40. My son started playing ice hockey in 1999, and I got this idea that I was going to buy myself a camera, teach myself how to use it and take amazing photos that would be of the caliber you would see in Sports Illustrated.
Needless to say, I took thousands of really bad photos and bought three different cameras thinking it was my gear. Still, my photos were awful.
I eventually bought a Canon 1D (which was their top-of-the-line DSLR at the time) and a 70-200mm 2.8 lens. My photos were still bad. At this point, I knew it wasn’t the gear and after lots of self teaching and still more bad shots, I finally began to learn how to use my camera to produce decent shots.
What was your favorite photo shoot location this year and why?
Without a doubt, it was Brooklyn Bridge Park. BBP is a park that runs along the East River on both sides of the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s in a neighborhood referred to as DUMBO.
The Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge are right there, and you are overlooking the Manhattan skyline. It’s a beautiful location with lots of amazing photo ops. Plus the neighborhood is great as well.
What is your typical gear set-up?
I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III. I’ve had it about a year. It’s my first full-frame DSLR and I feel it’s a huge step up from shooting with a crop-sensor body. If I’m shooting in the city, my go-to lens is my Canon 16-35 L lens. I’ll add an ND filter if I’m shooting any kind of water to slow the shutter speed down to produce that nice silky water.
If I’m shooting flowers or other macro work, I use a Canon 100mm macro.
What were some of your biggest photography challenges this year?
Good question. I’d have to say it’s trying to shoot with less-than-optimum lighting conditions and expecting great results.
How did you overcome them?
I think I’ve finally learned the difference between good and bad lighting. I think in the past, I tried to force my shots even when I knew that the light was no good. Now I know when the lighting is right and I know when I need to work very fast as the good light may not last for long.
When did you start using Platypod and what has your experience been?
I learned about Platypod from Scott Kelby and purchased one in April of this year. From the first time I used a Platypod, I knew it was a game changer! For starters, I didn’t need to lug around a tripod or face the possibility of the ‘tripod police’ shutting me down.
From the first time I used a Platypod, I knew it was a game changer! For starters, I didn’t need to lug around a tripod or face the possibility of the ‘tripod police’ shutting me down.
Beyond that, the versatility of my Platypod has enabled me to take shots that I never would have been able to have gotten otherwise. I love shooting down low with the Platypod sitting on the floor or even in the middle of a road. Knowing I can set my camera with a Platypod on any flat surface and produce tack-sharp results has definitely allowed me to produce much higher quality images.
I’ve used fences, curbs, posts, benches and garbage cans as the base for my Platypod shots!
Also, when shooting flowers inside, I prefer the Platypod to a traditional tripod, because I can get it as close to the subject as necessary — something I can’t do with a traditional tripod.
Favorite takeaway from your photography journey this year?
It’s all about the light. If you’re going to shoot outdoors, you’ve got an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening to get the best light.
Where would you LOVE to be in five years?
Another great question. In respect to my photography, continuing to improve. I look at the work of some of the people I consider to be great photographers and know I’m no where near as good as them. Maybe someday!
I have a handful of goals as a photographer. I’d like to have a photo ‘go viral’ in the social-media world. I’d like to have at least one of my photographs hanging in a gallery.
Finally, my number-one bucket-list photograph is of a bald eagle taken in the wild.
Currently working on any cool projects that you'd like to share with us?
I’m participating in a photo contest where the subject is water. I’ve been playing with some ideas that incorporate flowers, reflections and water and plan to do it in studio. Hopefully I can pull it off! I’ll definitely need my Platypod for this one.
Feel free to add anything at all!
My favorite genres to shoot are city-scape, landscape, and flowers. I took an awesome on-line course through KelbyOne taught by Melanie Kern-Favilla. Without a doubt, Melanie is the best flower photographer I’ve ever seen. All of my flower work is based on what I learned from her.
Also, I feel that there are two parts to being a successful photographer. It’s part art and part science. The art is using your mind to envision a great photograph. The science is using the camera, lenses and tools like a Platypod to execute the artistic vision that you imagined.
Without a doubt, Melanie is the best flower photographer I’ve ever seen. All of my flower work is based on what I learned from her.
For me, the science is the easy part. Once I finally learned how to use the tools, I felt that I could look at a photograph, understand how it was created and go to that spot and replicate it. The Art side was the difficult part for me.
Throughout my life, I never felt that I was an artistic person. However, over time, this is a skill that I’ve been able to teach myself and now consider myself to be artistic.
I feel that I’ve trained my eyes to see what the camera sees and as a result, I see great photographs as I go about my day. I see reflections, how light and shadows interact with a subject and now, I do this subconsciously without even thinking about it.
Can you show us some of your favorite Platypod shots?
All of the following shots were taken with Platypod in use. Hope you enjoy them!
Each Friday, we feature the work and stories of our fans and followers on social media. We especially love to post stories of Platypod users and their experiences with the product. If you are interested in being featured, please email email@example.com.