Shooting Atlas Shrugged Part 3 Behind The Scenes with the Sony A7 and Voigtlander lenses By Judd Weiss


Shooting Atlas Shrugged Part 3 Behind The Scenes with the Sony A7 and Voigtlander lenses

By Judd Weiss

Great to be back here again so soon! I was very encouraged by the reaction to my Ephemerisle 2014 photos I shared in a guest post last week , so I asked Steve if he wanted another set of photos from me for another guest post, and fortunately he said YES! I’m a long time fanboy of this site, so that’s cool with me 🙂

Now for something completely different from that last set. And I’m sure there’s some people out there that might find this controversial. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Atlas Shrugged and the author Ayn Rand. So when I was asked to shoot the Behind The Scenes photos for the 3rd Atlas Shrugged movie, I don’t think I let the Associate Producer finish his sentence before I jumped all over this. It’s not just that I’m a fan, but the idea of having real production value and professional actors to capture was so exciting. I’ve been extremely prolific, and I’ve moved very fast, but I’m still relatively new to photography.

When I picked up a Sony NEX-3 four years ago, I first treated it more like a much better quality point and shoot. I had NO IDEA a few years later I would be asked to shoot all these events around the country, and now BTS photos for a movie that will come to theaters and bring my photos to a much bigger audience… wow. Behind The Scenes photos are usually boring, so I was determined to create memorable pieces at the best of my ability. I had earlier gained some notoriety for my event and conference photos. There’s now probably around 10,000 Facebook profile photos of mine floating out there, being used by people for all sorts of other purposes too, from to Speaker Bios to Wikipedia to Book Jackets. And now the Associate Producer is telling me “I want Judd Weiss photos. Can you deliver us Judd Weiss photos?”. Hell the fuck yeah! The pressure was on. Fortunately production was starting the following week in LA, so I didn’t have to wait too long to jump in.




Thank god Sony just released their earth shattering full frame mirrorless A7 right before filming started in January this year. I had been shooting on smaller sensor APS-C NEX cameras before, and I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the full frame mirrorless, following any shred of rumor and news story for the previous 2 years. I knew I needed to move to a full frame setup in order to take my photos to the next level, and the A7 did not disappoint! I had never shot photos of this quality before, and my love for the camera rose along with the excitement from the production team for the quality of photos I was delivering them. I was determined to push past my limits, and over deliver, but I didn’t expect to rise to this level. The producers were ecstatic about the quality of photos I delivered. I was later told by one of the producers that my photos are a blessing and a curse, they’re helping the marketing generate interest and credibility in the film, but there’s no scene of the movie that looks as good as these photos. I really wish I could say I’m in love with how the final movie turned out, but unfortunately I’m not in love with it. But I do love my photos. In January I still had plenty of room to grow, but these photos were a massive leap of a milestone for me. I’m so grateful for that opportunity.



And it might not be a good idea to reveal an on set skirmish I dealt with, but I’m going to anyway. There’s an interesting story I want to tell you guys. So, I live in Los Angeles but I’m not in the movie scene, and I’m definitely not union, the producers just liked my photos from other events and asked me to shoot this. If you know anything about Ayn Rand, it’s incredibly ironic that this was actually a union production, and there was a union photographer, and she was EXTREMELY territorial, and saw to it that I not be allowed near the filming. Which is bullshit because I’m not a wild life photographer. Far away crowd shots are fine, but limiting me to only that is intolerable, after I just blocked out 4 weeks of my life to do this.

I was excited and eagerly waiting to get started, only to arrive and sit on the bench off the field. What’s worse is the union photographer treated the job like any other union laborer, and despite her top of the line Canon gear, her photos were unbelievable worse than a 7 year old with a point and shoot. Out of focus, not properly exposed, her photos were unusable. But after a week on set my photos were REALLY impressing the producers; even though I was severely held back. The producers didn’t want a fight with the union that could shut down production, so they let it be, until I almost resigned after almost a week.

I don’t have a problem with the other photographer, she can do whatever she likes, additional coverage is a good thing, but just don’t get in my way, for stupid petty reasons, that’s crossing the line. So the producers ended up deciding to give her every penny in her contract and told her not to come back to the set. She was happy because she could sleep at home and get paid for the entire month of production filming. And I was happy because starting the 2nd week, the quality of my photos sky rocketed when I wasn’t held back any longer. Clearly that meant they wanted me there. The producers paid for 2 photographers just have me uninterrupted as the sole photographer on set. And most of these photos would not exist if the producers did not take that bold move on my behalf against a very entitled protective obstructive union worker. I’ll always be grateful for that.




Pretty much every single photo was shot with a Voigtlander 35mm f1.2; I used a Voigtlander 21mm f1.8 for some wide shots. I bought both lenses from Stephen Gandy at Camera Quest a few days into the production. The first couple days I was using a friend’s Canon 50mm f1.2 with a Metabones adapter. The Canon lens takes some beautiful photos, but I was much happier when I started using the Voigtlanders because they’re much smaller (than the SLR lens, but pretty big for rangefinder lenses) and because I just LOVE true manual lenses with focus peaking on the A7. I have never used the autofocus function on the camera, and I never plan to. Because of focus peaking I’m now faster with manual lenses than most are with autofocus. Especially with a true manual lens. I love the control you get from really feeling the lens elements move directly with the turn of your wrist, instead of focus by wire from electronic signals in an autofocus lens operating in manual mode.

And when you have lots of moving pieces around you that you’re trying to capture, it’s SO MUCH easier to compose the scene and surgically adjust the focus as people move, rather than autofocus on a subject then recompose, and refocus if anything moves, then try to recompose again, and then repeat again if anything moves again… screw that. The difference is night and day for usability. Personally I don’t ever want to use autofocus again. Autofocus is a downgrade for me. It definitely takes a little bit of practice, but if only most photographers could discover how much more usable manual focus is when you’ve got focus peaking, there would be more attention devoted to creating more compact fast manual lenses for us to drool over.




Also, the Sony A7 was a HUGE talking point on set. EVERYONE wanted to see it. EVERYONE used Canon for EVERYTHING! Who’s this kid causing all this damage with the Sony? And I would tell each of them to sell all of their SLR gear and all their SLR lenses; unless you just like to keep vinyl records and 80s cell phones, mirrorless is the future!

I’m still growing as a photographer, and I’ll keep moving along my path. I hope you like some of these shots I took back in January. I welcome any and all constructive feedback. Thank you for your attention.

Full album and original post can be found on my blog here.

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  1. “I’m just describing what I was dealing with. It seems like the people who are criticizing me for letting ideology color the narrative are the ones doing exactly that.” Judd Weiss

    Very well said.

      • Actually your’s the knee-jerk response of people not used to receiving criticism. The criticism you received was not directed at your political views (if any), but at your lack of good manners, that you like to pawn off as honesty.

  2. Judd:

    I’m not condoning the unit shooter’s behavior, but unit stills photographers are understandably territorial. There are strict union rules governing motion picture production, and producers understand this (or they ought to). In fact, I’m surprised you were allowed to shoot on set at all.

    As to the stills woman who was upset with you, most of the unit shooters spend some serious time banking days, often working for free, to get into the union. It can take a couple of years of hard work and sacrifice just to get in, you must pay a fee to join, and then you still have to market yourself to the producers, production companies, publicists, studios, networks, and what have you.

    That being said, she may have entered the union years ago and never really have been all that passionate about photography — perhaps she was simply offered an opportunity or “break” — or she may have just grown weary of the work … or maybe other things are going on in her life. You just never know.

    With that in mind, if you enjoyed shooting bts on the set — and your work looks solid, btw — you should see if the producers are willing to give you your “days” for this production. All you need is something on paper indicating that you shot unit stills for them (preferably a call sheet), and to say they paid you something (even if they didn’t).

    You can then bank those days towards IATSE 600 membership … if that’s something you enjoyed doing. Once you get in to the union and start getting gigs, the money is good … and pretty regular if your work is good (and, as you’ve observed, sometimes even if it isn’t).

    Just remember that you’ll need a blimp … or an A7s now. 😉

      • Seriously guys? And you’re lecturing me about character?

        I’d really like to keep the vibe here positive, but man, there’s some vitriol here. And I really didn’t want feed it with more comments, but it’s intensifying. Most people are really cool, but some here are just straight up nasty, on the attack.

        And I expected it. Simply because Ayn Rand was mentioned. This always happens when she’s mentioned. People get extremely heated. And it’s actually understandable. She was a firebrand. She challenged thousands of years of established thought about morality, and she didn’t soften her words. It’s understandable that people take strong exception to that, even today, long after she’s gone. At the beginning of this piece I alluded to that, so I saw this coming. I just don’t think I would be getting this hostile reaction from some here if the exact same guest post was presented about behind the scenes photos of a Save The Rain Forest documentary. My writing style here isn’t much different than from my Ephemerisle guest post from a week ago, but that didn’t elicit such a hostile response from some.

        Maybe i shouldn’t have shared the story about the union photographer, and I debated it for second, but it’s a relevant story that I still believe is of interest to some readers. I never called her out by name, or in any way tried to harm her reputation. I just shared my experience on set dealing with possessive union personalities protecting their turf, against the wishes of the people writing the checks. I see that this has opened me up to an opportunity for some to pounce, but I still believe that desire to pounced came as soon as Ayn Rand was mentioned and supported. She is that controversial.

        I use my camera as a tool to boost the narcissism of those around me. I want them to look good and feel good about themselves, and a good photo has a powerful ability to do that very quickly. So many people in this world are so consumed with constantly knocking others down, I’m consumed with lifting people up. People REALLY appreciate when I tell them “I support your narcissism, I want you to feel good about yourself. Look. Look how great you look in this photo I just snapped. What magazine is that from? ;)”. Building up the people around me builds up my network and consequently builds up my quality of life. If someone did something they’re excited and proud of, I would never, ever, even think about telling them that good character dictates that they should silence their excitement and pride. The idea of anything like that coming out of my mouth is just revolting to me. I’m sad that so much of our culture teaches people to behave like that, encouraging people to feel entitled to knock down others when they are proud.

        You don’t need to put a lid on a bucket of crabs to keep them in the bucket. None will escape. Whenever one climbs up to the top, there will always be crabs below pulling him back down.

        For some of you I clearly haven’t lived up to your standards. I do not play by those rules. And I hope I never do.

        For the rest of you, thank you for being so cool. I apologize about the distracting controversy, but I hope you’ve enjoyed some of these photos. I wrote this post up to be an interesting contribution to this site and community. The truth is that I owe a debt of gratitude to this community here. I’ve learned a lot by visiting Steve Huff’s site, and the inspiration I’ve received from the community here has caused me to re-approach how I use my camera. It’s an honor to have my work presented before so much talent, many of whom have impacted me.

        Thank you for your attention.

  3. As a postscript: her attitude wasn’t cool in that it limited your ability to do what you wanted…if you ever do get on a set again, try verbally giving a suggestion of your artistic vision while the director, DP or other professional is doing their job. You were on her turf, interfering with her work. You had no business being there, much less commenting on how she did her job. Nice promotional shots by the professional for the film, by the way. Didn’t see any of your work there.

  4. The set photographer’s job IS to document the shoot, not engage in an artistic or otherwise creative statement. Frankly, the whole unending series of pictures, some shot well, some looking like holiday snaps, gives this article a bad smell, much like the previous films. And, oh would I love to be an AD on that next union shoot. Works without passion? When you work 14 hours a day on a shoot you learn to keep at it and do your job. You aren’t there to facilitate or praise what might be
    his vacuous vision. I’ve been there. I’ve sat zombie-eyed watching producers discuss everything about a shot they know nothing about, and I’ve seen the arrogance of directors that think they have Citizen Kane going into the can when it’s crap. Attitude is everything on a film set. And with this guy’s attitude, he’ll get what he gives.

  5. No, no, no, dear Judd, you should not send in articles without reading over the things you wrote.
    That self-praising in addition to inadequately degrading photography fellows is just so unnecessary and, just for me, overshines your photos by quite a bit (which is sad, ’cause I like some of them, in addition to your good PP).
    “I think you need to grow as a person as well” (Paddy C); that quote seems a little rash, too, but… well, you get the point.
    I think some of the comments have shown you, that you should grow on how to express some thoughts, the least.
    There is no benefit in dissing a person in such an article, which cannot defend herself – especially if it’s in no way connected to your photos. Even if you mark it as your “honest opinion” and all that, it will create an image that might stay; and it’s an image, that you were not looking for :).
    So, all the best.

  6. Wonderful work!! You are my new hero for trying to promote manual focus. Its all I use on the A7 and I have grown bored of AF lenses. I shoot primarily with Voightlander and Canon FD lenses. I am pretty close to getting the Voight 35 1.2 so I am glad to see how well it can be used. I think the peaking on the A7 is awesome once you get used to it. I have tried to convince all of my photog friends to go manual but with Nikons and Canons its not as enjoyable and sometimes frustrating. Love all the photos, love the mood, the colors but I really like your sense of composition. It has inspired me so thank you for that! Sorry for the controversy of your comments. I think you were perfectly clear what you were angry about. Hopefully people can recognize that opinion and freedom of speech is what all artists need uphold and not bash each other for doing. Would it be too much to hope that other photog learns a lesson in not being a terrible person someday?

    • Thanks for those kind and supportive words nyartboy!
      I love manual focus, but I also couldn’t do it with an SLR and an optical viewfinder.

  7. I didn’t have time to read the full text yet, now I did, plus the previous post and some stuff I Googled…
    Now what I wonder, after all this self praise: ‘Who’s this kid causing all this damage with the Sony? ( a 31 year old kid?), ‘I’ve been extremely prolific’, ‘Most places I go lately, I am the best photographer around’, and after he single handedly saved this movie from going into obscurity, why is it that the union photographer’s photos are being used everywhere for promotion? The same union photographer he showed such utter disdain for in really every word he used? Is it perhaps cause her photos don’t show the personality of the photographer; a ‘vibe’ that’s in your face, so much? uses only her photos… as well as… I wonder what she has to say about all this, if someone contacted her…

    • I’d guess the union would not allow them to use a non union members work. About 11% of the US workforce is union, likely a higher percentage ate at McDonald’s last week, and either have about as much impact on the man’s pictures. Or are we only to appreciate art from those who’s views agree with 100%.

    • Yeah, if you want to see what I’m talking about, go to the IMDB page. My photos aren’t up there, perhaps because I’m not union, I’m not sure. I’m not sure why she would submit shots with the actors’ eyes closed, that should have been rejected. The movie site’s gallery has a mix of my shots, and random point and shoot photos. You can kind of tell which are my shots because I shot almost everything wide open at f1.2 and I never submitted anything where people were blinking or otherwise looking unflattering.

      I had no problem with the union photographer, until she went far out of her way to interfere with me, severely. She reported me several times for being too close to the action, and saw to it that I be required to stay very far away from the activity. Should I not be upset about that? Should I have supported her territorial behavior, and not have allowed myself to capture most of these photos above?

      I really wanted to be cool with her, but preventing me from capturing images for such petty reasons is a hostile act. If she didn’t do that we would have had no problems at all.

      I’m just describing what I was dealing with. It seems like the people who are criticizing me for letting ideology color the narrative are the ones doing exactly that.

      • “Yeah, if you want to see what I’m talking about, go to the IMDB page. My photos aren’t up there, perhaps because I’m not union, I’m not sure.”

        You have to create and update your own IMDb page for that stuff to show up.

      • “She reported me several times for being too close to the action, and saw to it that I be required to stay very far away from the activity. Should I not be upset about that?”

        Whether she behaved diplomatically nor not, she was well within her rights to do that … and the producers erred for not taking this into consideration. If they were dissatisfied with her portfolio — or the work she was turning in each day — they could have fired her and requested another IATSE unit shooter. Instead, they incurred her anger, and likely the anger of the union, too. Bad move.

        Judd, just some friendly advice, dude (not trying to be critical here). Even if you felt as though she was being unfair with you, it’s best not to engage in negative reciprocity or call her out in pejorative terms after the fact. It’s fine to tell your story, but I would tone down the vitriol a notch.

        So instead of slagging her or using profanity, maybe think of something like “I invoked the ire of the unit stills shooter who was, understandably, very protective of her turf, and made it difficult for me to get many of the shots I wanted, even though what I saw of her work wasn’t as good as it could have been, IMO” or something like that. And then that’s it. One graph. Boom. Done. Don’t beat it to death anymore.

        If you have any thoughts of working in the industry, best to tread diplomatically with everyone on set. Tomorrow’s Spielberg might be today’s PA. Be nice to the entire crew.

        Admittedly, some of this comes with experience.

  8. Hi, I’m using the A7r with manual glass as well but I have this question for you:

    1. Do you use Magnify Focus or Focus Peaking only?
    2. How do know that the image taken with your 35mm will be focus correctly as the focus peaking only cares about contrast and not sharpness (which means when you zoom in you’ll notice your photo is OOF)
    3. I agree that focus peaking helps to track movement as you’ll just need to make sure the blinking lights is on the subject but then there’s also the problem of no.2.

    Thanks 🙂

    • I mentioned this in a comment above.
      I usually don’t use any magnification, but I do sometimes, and it’s super useful when necessary. I have the “C1″ button set to Focus Magnifier right next to the shutter. A quick double tap magnifies the center of the frame, and a triple tap magnifies even closer.

      I don’t completely rely on focus peaking. I use it to very quickly light up the yellow dots around what I want in focus, and then I quickly eyeball it from there to make sure it looks accurate before I click the shutter. I still miss often enough, but I’ve gotten better.Things are often happening too fast to use the Focus Magnifier, but when I have a chance to, I like to use it to make certain that I got the focus right.

      Despite the challenge, this is still better than spraying and praying with autofocus in my opinion.

      • Thanks, I like to use manual focus as well but it frustrates me when an image I like turned out to be soft-focused and usually it’s harder for me to judge focus on a 35 for example rather then an 85 mainly cause the subject is much smaller in size (unless I resort to focus magnify that is, but that slows down thing quite a lot) and moving subjects doesn’t make it easier either.

        Well your results has certainly inspired me to practice even more!

      • “Spraying and praying”? Another condescending remark.

        Have you ever tried single point AF (move that point with the conveniently placed four way controller as required and previsualised, taking into account the desired composition) with a camera and lens you actually master? Works a whole lot faster than “focus peaking”.

        • If my camera is mounted to a tripod in studio with a subject staying in the same position, that method is great. Handheld and out in the field with subjects constantly moving renders that method of autofocus useless.

          • Well, I guess owing up to your own inadequacies, amongst which not having a clue what “technique” I’m describing, is a start of sorts to self improvement. One has to wonder though how the rest of us manages, not having the luxury of your “awesome” talent.

  9. if you are not on the eat-what-you-kill model of providing for your family, then understanding his righteous indignation will be difficult. dig the photos, especially the helicopter shots.

  10. I love the lighting, color and mood of these shots. Please send my compliments to the Local 600, 728, 80, 800, and 44 artists who created this world for you to wander through and click away at.

    Also, “there’s no scene of the movie that looks as good as these photos”? Assuming you did your job as set photographer, then EVERY scene looks EXACTLY like your photos. You are capturing in stills what the cinematographer is creating – besides the hyper contrast and saturation that you added, of course. An epic drama cannot look like a music video (as your post-production approaches). Regardless, your arrogance is appalling.

    Finally, a favorite quote of mine: ” ‘What’s an Associate Producer credit?’ ‘It’s what you give your secretary instead of a raise.’ ” An AP is one step above doing the Starbucks run, FYI.

    Glad you had fun on set, though.

  11. Primarily this site is about photos. So… I liked a lot of them. Most were above par and there were a few excellent ones. I think a couple should not have been included. #19 and #20, for instance, say nothing. I do not like overly saturated photos. But, the good thing is that the saturation did not ruin the photos and it is not pretentious (some software adjustments really are pretentious and smug, I think you know what I mean).

    I see that one of the actors photographed above played in ´24´ (season 2?). He was very good indeed. Loved the sound of his voice.

    In one way, but #17 is one of my favourites (the newspaper on the table). So very cinematic. Could have been a still pulled from a motion shot. It´s not the most beautiful shot but, well, I like it. Your portraits are wonderful. The one of the girl in the blue shirt is great – not just because she´s attractive. 😉

    Secondarily, this site is about equipment. I agree that mirrorless systems are the future. I am not sure that DSLRs are needed anymore, now we have the OM-D, A7 etc. I find it interesting that some who embranced the change from 35mm SLR to DSLR do not like their favourite toys made redundant (I´m not referring to the people with whom you worked). But hey, whatever. Photographers can choose whatever equipment they want, I guess. 🙂 The Voigtlander lens you used has very nice bokeh.

    Well, I agree with some people above: you should not have used the phrase, ¨the union photographer treated the job like any other union laborer¨. That was uncalled for. Maybe the rest of the criticism was justified. You were right to tell the story but you should have emphasised the situation, not the person. And there´s a golden rule about working in the film business: if you don´t like a film, don´t say it. Say that you loved the people whom you worked with and that you look forward to doing it again. Just IMHO.

    ¨But I do wonder what’s with the leaning to the right of many shots?¨ – Petra

    Well, the producer wanted Judd Weiss photos. And that´s what they got!

    BTW the A7S is almost made for shooting on film sets. But, there are always blimps for ´real´ photographers who choose to use DSLRs. Heh, heh. My speciality is theatre and similar things and the A7S will be mine – eventually!

    P.S. If you had used a Leica, you´d have a few comments such as, ¨It doesn´t matter what camera you use,¨ or ¨You could have used any camera to get these shots.¨ It´s a good thing you used ¨any camera¨. 😉

  12. Lighten up pro-Union folks. It’s ver much part of his story

    It is kind of funny to see the same folk who diss the author about his Union experience are the ones who diss his really nice portfolio too. It’s like an elephant hiding behind a palm tree. Not very difficult to see.

    You guys should just write essays extolling the value of Union photographers. Just make sure your pictures are at least as good…. as if…

    • Trust me…I’m as right wing as they come but the insults towards the union photog were just part of the bigger narrative…namely extolling the virtues of his own work.

    • I think it is worth mentioning that the world he is photographing (his portfolio here, as you mention) was entirely created by the union artists. From sets, lighting, props, classic cars, makeup, even the actors: He was immersed in this world created by IATSE (and SAG) members and started composing shots. He has several nice compositions, but I have to say that having done BTS set photography in the past, it is really shooting fish in a bucket.

      The real skill of the on-set photographer is to stealthily capture scenes from the film for publicity. No one cares about a cool shot of the grips having a smoke. They need publicity stills. AND the on-set photographer must blend into the background. Nothing is more annoying than someone next to camera getting in the way or, god forbid, being a distraction to actors and keys. Union on-set photographers understand this. It is entirely possible that the original set photographer sucked. I wasn’t there. But I’d love to see her stills. I bet they were the boring, yet essential scenes from the film.

      • As someone who is presently doing this, I’m going to have to disagree with the “fish in a bucket” remark.

        Yes, your setups, “models”, lighting, and situations are created for you by a team of talented artisans. That is true, and it’s a nice benefit. But you preferably have to have some understanding of dramatic and script structure, you should be pop culture savvy enough to know the performers before they appear in front of you, you still have to pick angles, you must stay out of people’s way, you need to learn to determine the dramatic moments, you have to contort yourself to get certain shots … move like a ninja, stay out of actors’ eye lines, work with a big, heavy blimp, etc, etc.

        It’s very much like journalistic or reportage photography—the difference is that the story is “manufactured” in front of you, as opposed to being real.

        And unlike being a commercial photographer, where you are essentially the director of what’s around you, on set you are low man (or woman) on the totem pole. It’s not about you, and, yes, you need to stay out of people’s way.

        Finally, your stills do need to be essential, but they should not be boring. Not if you’re good. You have two responsibilities: 1) capture the dramatic beats and high moments of the fictional story to help the publicity and marketing departments sell the property, and: 2) chronicle the story of what’s going on behind-the-scenes, day-to-day.

    • I’m not American and I don’t have any firm opinion on American trade unions (On the waterfront anyone?). I do know the difference between immature incivility and a readable narrative though.

  13. You know….confidence in one’s abilities will get you a long way in life….especially in photography. For every ‘professional’ photographer out there is someone else with way more skill but no business acumen to make a go of it.

    Judd, you have some nice shots here, especially the leading photo with the guy back-lit holding his shades. That said, tone down the narcissism just a touch…it’s not a pleasant way to represent yourself. Honestly, 3 paragraphs in you came across as a self-absorbed, cocky kid. Your further comments about the ‘lazy union worker’ basically didn’t help matters much…and that’s saying a lot coming from a right-wing guy like myself.

    • Yeah, my vibe can be a little “in your face” at times, and I don’t speak or write safely, I try to tell it like I think it is. Some people appreciate it as refreshing. For others it rubs them the wrong way. I can accept that. I don’t plan to change. But I do appreciate that the genuine constructive criticism. It is helpful for me to hear how people are responding.

      • Well I respect your honesty…

        Seriously though…I Googled your name and one of the first hits was ‘’ . Dude, you take self promotion to a whole other level:)

        • Yeah, that was kind of silly. I didn’t create that page, it was created for me as a surprise and a thank you. And it was really sweet. But yeah, hard for me to promote that with a straight face.

    • Ha! 😉
      Funny that I just realized this from the comments. I like angles. That’s not a secret here. And I tilt the camera in all sorts of directions when I’m trying to figure out how I want to capture a scene. For some reason there’s a lot of shots here that tilt right, which isn’t necessarily representative, but pretty funny when pointed out in the way you did.
      Personally I don’t consider myself on the right. I lean right on economics, and very left on social issues.

  14. Word of advice to you. Even if we have all felt this way, you wrote “I’m not happy with the final film but love my photos”…If you ever want to work regularly, NEVER dis your employer. Also, as proud as you are of your photos let others compliment you, do not do that yourself.

    Then again I hate Ayn Rand

  15. Came to check on my favorite photoblog and got Some libertarian drivel too …. but admittedly some nice pictures too…. Oh well into every life a little rain shall fall…. Was this with the A7s or with the A7?

  16. I’m not sure what to think of the photos because it’s all so very set up, and maybe just not my thing. But I do wonder what’s with the leaning to the right of many shots? That became annoying to me. Is this Sony heavier on the right side or so?;-)

    • I think the photos lean to the right to match how the photographer sees the world. His jabs at unions were unnecessary and added nothing to the quality of his photos (which benefit from locations and lighting set up by professional members of the same unions he criticizes.)

  17. Wonderful shots Judd – very cinematic!

    Clearly the producers knew what they were doing when they hired you. The mood portrayed by the images beautifully matches this epic Ayn Rand piece.


  18. I will not comment the photos. I will not comment sony a7. I will not comment the Union stuff. But the vinyl reference? I really don’t get it. I like vinyl because it sound better so I should not like the mirrorless?

    • I think the analogy is accurate. My comment wasn’t referring to quality, but functionality. You can take beautiful photos with an SLR. No doubt about that. But like vinyl records, it’s becoming more and more impractical in light of where tech is going. Vinyl records sound great, but they’re impractical compared to my hard drive with 450GB of high quality MP3s that I can transfer to other devices or to the cloud very conveniently.

  19. Why is it, I wonder that so many of the contributions here include something negative, about gear or, in this case, a person, to offset the many positives? So unnecessary and uncivilized; it really spoilt the narrative for me, in addition to the frequent occurrence of CAPS LOCK syndrome.

    The images are allright, good even, but not particularly special I thought.

    • Seems like you’re doing the same thing. I’m just sharing my thoughts, as honestly as I’m able. As are you.

      • Judd, your narrative would have gained enormously by not including a rather personal attack on a person unknown to us.

        Cheers, Michiel

    • Nope, Geoffrey Rush wasn’t in this movie. I think you might be referring to my shot of Larry Cedar

  20. Very nice photos. Let’s not under appreciate the value of the production team, lighting designers, grips etc. that created the dramatic settings to capture all of this though. Movie sets a team thing. I still remember and appreciate the time I was shooting print along side the video production team on a nascar track for a sponsor. I got to use their setups and crew and my job became exponentially easier. It takes nothing from your ability to see but it definitely make your job easier if you know what your doing (which you seem to).

    • I agree 100% with you Keith Pitts on the lighting situation and the production work. But I had a look at your website and I must say I would just love to marry somebody simply to get some of your photographs 😉

  21. “I’m still growing as a photographer”

    I think you need to grow as a person as well. You come across as uneducated and arrogant. There was no need to mention anything about the union photographer. That’s called professionalism.

    • +1

      I was thinking the same thing. The images were better than the writing, in my humble opinion… While looking at the images I were trying to understand what you meant with what you wrote about the union photographer. Respect others and they will respect you..

      • I agree that the anecdote adds nothing to the feature, but it sounds like Marsha Lamarca had a lesson to learn as well.

    • Sorry, but disagree strongly. There’s nothing sacrosanct about unions and this guys experience with the union photographer was a relevant part of his story. Plenty of people have had negative experiences with unions, I don’t agree that mentioning this makes him unprofessional.

      • It’s the slagging someone we don’t know anything about and who moreover can’t defend her/himself here that’s profoundly unprofessional and uncivilized. And all that to aggrandize your own efforts?

    • +1
      It’s right and natural to tell anecdotes behind the scene about the creative process. And his photographs looks nice, but the tone shows that he wrote that specific part in an upset mood and one can feel that for that reason he could be unfair with a guy that probably had a lot of stress and couldn’t notice that wasn’t polite.
      After that I didn’t feel comfortable to continue reading the text but appreciate the photographs.

      • +1
        I agree. I appreciate his honesty and I think it makes his article much more colorful.How boring would the article be if it were like “Dear Steve, Here are my pictures. I used a Sony A7. Done.”

        Even if he censors his article, doesn’t mean he doesn’t those thoughts. Is it arrogant? Yes. Is it offensive to some? Yes. But at least the guy is being upfront and not being hypercritical about it.

        Let’s just respect the guy’s writing style and appreciate his pictures for what its worth.

        It is nice to get inside a photographers head and learn how he thinks.

      • +1

        I respect his honesty. It would be a boring read if he censors it.

        Is it arrogant? Yes. Is it offensive? Maybe to some. But at least he’s being upfront and not hypocritical about it.

        Maybe it’s just his passion coming out. Maybe he’s just not as tact as some people want him to be.

        Let’s just respect who he is as a person and enjoy his pictures for what its worth.

  22. Not surprising. Ayn Rand adaptations have been terrible since the beginning, with Gary Cooper playing Howard Roark in The Fountainhead back in 1949.

  23. Really nice photos and such a great opportunity! I’m a big fan of the books, Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead, but part 3 of Atlas Shrugged (the movie) was absolutely awful!

    • Thanks Ken. And yeah, I really wanted to be a cheerleader for the movie, but I was a little disappointed with it. That said, I saw an earlier rough cut that had me totally traumatized, as it was far far worse. I’m not the biggest fan of how the final movie turned out, but I have to say that the team working on it really cleaned it up for theatrical release, and it is now light years better than that rough cut I saw that had me extremely concerned. I can comfortably say that the editing team did a great job with what they were working with.

    • Yeah, these were shot with the A7 NOT the A7S. Steve made an error, and must have been confused by my last guest post of photos shot with A7S. The movie just came out which is why I’m able to release these photos now, but everything was shot in January, soon after the original A7 was released, before the A7S existed.

  24. Love it! Absolutely stunning pictures and for hell sure a nice combo, this a7 with VM lenses! I also see some great skill there. I might have the camera and the two fast manual primes, but would I have the eye to see the scenes like you see them? Beautiful! Thank you for sharing ,-)

  25. How much post processing? The photos are great. I love the skies and skin tones, and I’m curious how much work you needed to do in post to get them looking so good.

    • These are obviously processed. Just general settings in Lightroom. I never touch Photoshop or I would never finish and deliver anything timely. Play around with the sliders in the Develop Module and you’ll start to learn them intuitively. I too still have further to go to master them better.

  26. I love the color that comes from your photos. Great contrast while keeping wonderful skin tones. I really enjoyed this set.

  27. I’m being trying to get the hang of manual focus and was curious. How do you have your A7 setup? do you have the auto magnify on (so once you turn the ring it zooms in)? or do you have magnify set to a button and use it only when you need it? Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Love the photos btw.

    • I don’t like when manual focus assist turns on every time you turn the focus ring, it’s far too distracting. I usually don’t use any magnification, but I do sometimes, and it’s super useful when necessary. I have the “C1” button set to focus magnifier right next to the shutter. A quick double tap magnifies the center of the frame, and a triple tap magnifies even closer.

      Glad you like the shots!

  28. Nice pics.

    Steve why would you let garbage like “What’s worse is the union photographer treated the job like any other union laborer” on your site? I’m not in a union, but I image they don’t all approach their jobs the same way.


    • I allow whatever the writer wants to say. It is his story, his article and his photos. I let anyone have a voice if it is filled with passion and they know what they are doing and talking about. I did not write it, he did. I am not here to censor guest writers. He said what he wanted to say and it was HIS experience, not mine.

      • Just to get back to the Camera Blog aspects of this site… I would really like to know if these stills were shot with the A7 or A7s… I ask because the last set of pictures posted here from Judd were mostly night shots taken with the A7s… and this article has some how referenced both cameras… Frankly, I really like the color and pop of these shots… and would love confirmation that they came from A7s

        • The article states he shot this in January while they were filming, (and that the A7 had just been released) so they had to have been shot with the A7 or A7R.

        • Everything was shot with an A7 back in January. The A7S didn’t exist yet. That was an error I was surprised to see today when the article posted.
          I now own the A7S and I highly recommend it!

    • Hey, I know — let’s send links to this inspiring article to the IATSE, Teamsters Local 399, and other film-industry craft unions. That way, next time Judd brings his unique artistry to a film set, maybe the “union laborers” who build, light and dress the sets and costume and style the actors he photographs will be able to apologize in person for “holding him back.” No need to thank me for this suggestion — I’m only doing what Dagny Taggart would have done (minus the ludicrously wooden sex scenes, of course)…

    • I see this comment of mine has led to some heat in the comment section. I normally don’t apologize for controversy I create, but I will apologize for a lack of clarity in my comment.

      I meant that the union photographer treated the gig like a laborer without any passion for what she was doing. There were a lot of cool guys working union jobs that I got along with great. They were doing their jobs well. But they weren’t creating art when they would move equipment and sets. And the photographer seemed to treat photography like just doing her job, with no passion or attempt to create something compelling and memorable. It was as if the actors were in the frame of the shot somehow, she snapped the shutter, and considered that as doing her job. You could say she was doing her doing her job of documenting the production, and that’s fine, but her shots weren’t very useful to the producers for marketing purposes. She was otherwise a nice person. And I would have loved to have gotten along with her. But holding me back from what I was doing was not cool, and I couldn’t tolerate that. I think I had a right to be furious for this extreme interruption of what I was trying to do, for no reason but simple territorial pettiness. Especially when she wasn’t delivering anything worthwhile. This was ridiculous. You can be upset with me about it if you’d like, but if these are the results from protectionist union behavior, then that is pretty damning.

      • Sounds like your complaints (if valid) were about this individual, no need at all to bring in your obvious and sweeping dislike of unions. I could easily point out private photographers with unscrupulous business practices, poor portfolios, or a general malaise and I garantee you wouldn’t want to be grouped in with them. So don’t do the same thing with union workers.

        I also find it interesting how you so categorically dismiss her work as being without passion, but we are of course supposed to know that *of course* you are a true artiste.

        Leave your political bile out of it and let your work speak for itself.

        • You get to choose to use (or not) private photographers – big difference. Those of us who work in the private sector as individuals and have to deal with union/ government labor and over site know exactly what he is talking about. I deal with it every day.

      • What is all the fuss? I didn’t read into this at all that you were making some sweeping gripe about union workers nor did think what you said was as some anti union statement. It was pretty clear to me that you were talking SPECIFICALLY about this photog in which I would have felt the exact same way in your shoes. It always saddens me to hear a story about a supposed artist who doesn’t conduct themselves with grace and compassion. Its just seems so unnatural to me. Go be something else if you are going to be a a$$ about it lol! No need to apologize Judd!

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