Why I’m not buying a Canon 5D Mark IV.

I’ve only shot Canon cameras my professional tenure. The revolutionary 5D Mark II was a Godsend to artists that do video and photo. So when Canon announced the 5D Mark III, like all Canon fans, I screamed, “TAKE MY MONEY!”

Felt the price tag was a bit high for the new features and improvements but it was a push. The dual slots, more focus points, larger screen, faster/bigger/stronger bits and pieces were enough. I thought the video improvements were worth the upgrade, the photography improvements felt less of an impressive leap.

With the 5D Mark IV release date right around the corner, the fan boys (and girls) are starting to get as excited as a lightsaber-wielding-thirty-something watching the latest Star Wars trailer!

For this Canon shooter, I’m pumping the breaks.

Given the price hike trend that Canon started a couple years ago, it’s a safe bet the Mark IV will be close to $4,000. The rest of this will be based off that assumption.

Here is my current position. I have a 5D Mark III as my main photography camera and B-roll cinema style camera. For more video horsepower I’ll use my C100 (mark I, no auto-focus… me= early adapter, maybe another reason I’m not happy with Canon) along with a bag full of L series glass.

I’m completely satisfied with my Mark III. Trust me, it’s a better camera than 99% of us are photographers. Honestly, the Mark II is also. I don’t need better low-light, faster shots per second, more focus points, or more megapixels for Pete’s sake. Wifi and GPS would be nice but not a game changer (and something Canon should be ashamed of themselves for taking this long). I love my Mark III but would only pre-order if they did something drastic like add a medium format sensor (no way that’s going to happen). Would like to see every focus point allow for spot metering also.

A good portion of my work is video and for that, the Mark II and III are a dream to work with. So I ask, how on earth can Canon compete with other ‘DSLR-killers’ 4/3rds or other brand DSLR video beasts like Sony?

The only thing Blackmagic and Sony seem to do these days is innovate at affordable prices. So when Canon announces the 5D Mark IV will shoot 4k at $4k… I’m going to sigh.

Here’s an idea… take that $4,000 and invest it into Canon stock a week after the Mark IV releases. It will probably drop 2-3% and as of this writing you will get about 140 shares… then a year later when they release the Mark IVc buy it for $1,000 less and hopefully in that year Canon will announce something innovative and the stock goes up. Boom, just saved you $1,500. You are welcome internet.

Proud moments of 2014

Took my family to Disney World! A trip that included a few days at the Ocean! Also a trip to Omaha for the weekend. A trip to Branson and a few trips to Caldwell.

My nephew was born and given the middle name Nicholas.

Ran our first 5k as a family.

Coached a couple individuals financially, helping them get back on track.

Exceeded 29 Pixel Studios revenue goals for the year.

Hosted a dinner at the Ronald McDonald House and then later in the year cutting a check for $1,000 to the charity.

Booked twice as many weddings in 2014 than my goal amount. And then hearing the couples say…

“I am driving myself crazy going through them trying to narrow down which ones to print. Soooo many good ones. I almost want to get married again it was so much fun. Will you be our photographer again!?!?!” – C

“THANK YOU! I’ don’t remember having that much fun that day hahahahah” –M

“AMAZING! Thanks again for making our day so special! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE all of our photos and your team was incredible to work with!” – T

“Nick did a fabulous job photographing our wedding. We had a gorgeous day to work with, but it was extremely windy! Nick was able to work with the wind and take some amazing shots. Definitely worth every penny!” – R

“I love the pics, I couldn’t help but already go through them :)! I can’t thank you enough for the work that you did, both on the big day and all of the behind the scenes to make us look great in the final pics. You are awesome!” – L

“Ahhhhh! I love them! Thank you so much!!!” – T

“Omg Nick! Some of these are EPIC”- J

“I blame you for the lost sleep tonight as we went through the photos *smile” –C (I sent a digital copy of their photos late in the night)

“You’ve also successfully brought production at my office to a stop.” –J (they received the photos while at work)

“ahhhhh!! i love it!” – L

“The photos you took of Rachel’s wedding are amazing. And I am an art snob” – L

For all weddings, I hire a professionals as assistants. One, whom who’s work I respect and admire, was available to shoot with me for the first time this year. After sharing the final photographs, I received this note, “…they turned out FANTASTIC!  In fact, I’m blown away… …If it isn’t too daring, I wanted to ask you if you had a special secret…” and later in the email “I’m in love with your B&W processing.  Love all the tonal range.  Well done, sir!”  

Had my first national commercial spot, quickly followed by a second commercial airing in the Midwest. And then getting this in the mail:

“Thanks so much for everything on the commercial! We all agree it is fantastic – and that includes our brand team in the UK who has reviewed it.”

Having photographs in the NY Times. (Then it was used in Renewable Energy Magazine)

Getting this after performing a lightning quick turnaround for LHS:

“I know it was your video that clinched it. We are going to state. The kids are on cloud nine. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You have given these kids a major opportunity. You did indeed make magic happen.”

Had 14,000 minutes watched on my YouTube channel… for some reason that makes me smile.

Performance evaluation snippets, for the contract work I do for the Army:

“Extremely difficult customer and very strong performance. Arguably unsurpassed in CADD.”

“Without question, 29 Pixel Studios is the expert in this area.”

“Superlative effort. Well done.”

Hosted 10 KCVideoCore meetings and gave away well over $10,000 worth of door prizes to fellow video and photo professionals. Thank you to our sponsors!

Every year, in addition to all the little improvements and resolutions, I focus on one big target. Overall I believe I achieved 2014’s big focus point of improvement, hiring help and outsourcing. Looking at the 1099s I’ll be filling out feels like an accomplishment. Looking forward to 2015!

Freelancer lifestyle design.

Freelancer lifestyle and designing a life with the golden years in mind.

Now that you’ve started, where do you want to go?

It has been over a year since leaving the full-time grind to focus on my business. It has been a huge asset to build my client list and experience part-time since 2003. I would recommend that those looking to make the leap from their ‘job-job’ to something they love should absolutely test the waters before diving in. (Probably not necessary to test the waters for ten years though!)

Recently I was shooting a wedding in Southeast Kansas. To arrive at the wedding fresh, I asked a very talented photographer/videographer friend of mine in Girard, KS if I could crash at his house. I’ve offered advice and guidance to this friend for the past few years, trying my best to help him grow as an artist and as an entrepreneur. Late into the night we were talking about ‘big picture’ things (no pun intended) and I asked the question, “What would be your dream job?”

His answer was clear. “Compensated for sports photography,” which is a fantastic answer because he is pretty darn good at it. I suggested putting a plan in action to arrive at the ‘level’ of sports photographer that he would want to become (high school vs. professional level, etc).

Then after further discussion, I fully admitted, I had no plan for myself. Is my current business my dream job? Not sure. On the journey home I reflected on that part of our conversation. What was Nick Schale aiming for?

Retirement! YES, that’s it, that’s the end game. After all, I’ve been saving since the mid-90s for it. Smart thing to do, but stupid answer. “Retirement” to someone like me is going to be a hard pill to swallow since I struggle to slow down in general.

So here is a thought and a fun exercise to do whether you are an entrepreneur, student, or even a full time-grind kind of person. Take a sheet of paper out and write out your dream WORK day (as an aside, this is also fun to do for your retirement ‘day’). Maybe write out your dream week, or quarter, or even year. Then look at that plan. How far are you from having that be your itinerary? How close are you to some elements? How hard would it be to get parts of it right now? Which parts are you a month away from achieving?

Here is a piece of my plan. I’m planning to combine two things I love: travel for leisure, and photography for business. My dream quarter includes one 5-day trip for travel photography (with a lovely assistant of course: my wife). I’ll be sharing my journey to becoming a travel photographer later as this is a five to ten year plan.

Exercise for at least three times a week, read a book a month, meditate daily… these are all elements to my perfect lifestyle design. They are also elements I can implement immediately.

Visualize your perfect day, week, and year. Write it down. How far are you from living your perfect life?

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
–Chinese Proverb

Show Your Work! – Book Review

On my lunch break I finished Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, by Austin Kleon. This is his follow up book to the amazing Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. If you are in the creative realm, do yourself a favor and buy Steal Like An Artist TODAY. It is a very quick and necessary read. If you enjoy Austin’s first book, do yourself a favor and continue the enlightenment with Show Your Work.

New capability added to the wheelhouse. Aerial videography. Super quick cut of a Sunday afternoon in Leavenworth. Shot to spice up the parks videos. Please enjoy!

Full disclosure this is me bringing on team members and takes more than the average coordination. Apparently I might have access to a Blackhawk if you want to go nuts with the budget *smile* *cough* Mark!

Contact me if you need any videography or photography done!

Mindy’s Dance Center Recital 2014

Dance recital highlight reel for Mindy’s Dance Center in Lee’s Summit, MO!
This amazing studio puts on three great recitals, pulling out all the stops they go the extra mile and bring in professional videographers (myself) AND a professional lighting crew… which the videographers ALWAYS love! Check out some of the action –

If you have a studio and are shopping around for a new Dance Recital Videographer or Photographer please contact me and I’d be happy to meet with you and talk about how 29 Pixel Studios, LLC can help you out!