Bruce Dorn Photographer
Show Notes for Podcast Episode #14
Bruce Dorn, Filmaker and Photographer
Bruce Dorn is a Canon Explorer of Light, and longtime cinematographer, photographer, traveler, and raconteur. Bruce has traveled the world extensively as a creative, and has enjoyed a lifetime of interesting vehicles, motorcycles, and exploits. This episode covers broad topics from overlanding to photography, including Canons, Sony, and Leica.
Raconteur- A person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way.
How to Follow Bruce:
My name is Bruce Dorn and I’ve been a full-time professional image-maker since 1973 when I was “discovered” by the editorial staff at Conde Nast – the publishers of Architectural Digest, Glamour, Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, and Vanity Fair magazines.
At the time of my unexpected but most welcome Big Break, I was a college Senior working on a Bachelor’s Degree in Design and paying my way as a grease monkey at the local Texaco station. When I heard the news that I was being recognized as “One of the top creative college students in the nation” I was changing the spark-plugs on my girlfriend’s car. Next thing I knew I was shooting editorial fashion spreads in New York, Paris, and countless other beautiful locations around the globe.
Over time, I segued from Fashion Photography into Advertising Photography and eventually from Still Photography “Only” to the Production and Direction of television commercials for a “Who’s-Who” of Fortune 500 Companies. I was inducted into the Directors Guild of America in 1984.
As a Director/Cameraman working in Hollywood, my areas of specialty have been in the categories of Automotive, Fashion, Life Style, Light Comedy, Aerials, Underwater, and Digital Effects Design. Over the years, I’ve sharpened my skills through professional competitions and have earned almost all of the major industry awards.
Common to all of my many and varied visual pursuits has been my clients’ consistent demand for imagery that is both compelling and visually attractive. With hindsight being 20/20, I’ve come to realize that it’s been my innate ability to recognize and celebrate subtle beauty that has been at the core of all of my successes as an image-maker.
Now it’s time to pay it forward. I’ve learned quite a few interesting and useful things during my long and fruitful career and look forward to sharing them generously on this blog. Positive interaction with my blog’s visitors will be my primary payback so please join me as I continue in a relentless pursuit of beauty. Who knows where this little creative adventure will ultimately lead us?
Canon Explorer of Light
Canon U.S.A., Inc., has assembled a group of the world’s leading professional photographers to provide insight, inspiration and education to future generations of creative photographers. Known as the Explorers of Light, this prestigious panel of Canon photographers delivers seminars, workshops, gallery showings and photo presentations at a variety of professional association and amateur photo groups and colleges across the country as a means of fostering imaging excellence and nurturing the increasingly digital art’s next wave. Bruce Dorn is one of Canon’s most active Explorers and is routinely called upon to test and demonstrate of a wide variety of fine Canon products.
Western Digital Creative Master
Bruce is one of only three photographers to earn the title of Western Digital Creative Master. Western Digital describes their Creative Masters as being “among the most influential photographers in the world.”
Corel Painter Master
The Corel Painter Masters are considered to be pioneers in the Digital Arts and work extensively with Corel’s amazing Painter™ software. Bruce won the International Gold Medal for Portraiture in a competition entitled “The World’s Greatest Painter Art”, and is considered to be one of the best.
Director’s Guild of America
Partial Client List: Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, ABC, Avis, Anacin, Budweiser, Bell Telephone, Burger King, Budweiser, Bristol-Meyers, Betsy Johnson, Canon, Clothestime, Chevrolet, California Lottery, Chrysler, Carnation, Coca-Cola, Conde Nast Publishing, Delta Airlines, Disney, Delco, Epson, Ford, Fox, FJ Westcott, General Electric, General Mills, Greenpeace, Goodyear, Hershey, Herman-Miller, Hallmark, Hyatt, IBM, ITT, Kenzo, Kraft, Kellogg’s, Kirin, Levis Jeans, Lincoln – Mercury, M&M, McDonalds, Miller Brewing, Mitsubishi, NBC, Nestle, Ohio Bell, Okidata, Purina, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Quantum Instruments, RCA, REMAX, Sonia Rykiel, Soloflex, Six Flags, Sony, Southern Bell, Shell Oil, Tyco, Tylenol, Transamerica, Travelers Insurance, Valvoline, Warner Brothers, Women’s Wear Daily, Western Digital, Warner Lambert, and Xerox.
Light and Motion Stella LED Lights: https://www.lightandmotion.com/
One Camera and Lens Combo: Canon 5D and the excellent 28-300mm L
From the Nordkapp story, Bruce getting a kiss from a completely random stranger. . .
Royal Geographic Society Explore Conference: https://www.rgs.org/in-the-field/advice-training/explore/what-is-explore/
Scott Brady: Hello and welcome to the Overland Journal podcast, I am your host Scott Brady and I am here with my co-host Matt Scott. What’s going on Matt?
Matt Scott: You know, not much is going on except for the fact that we have a really good friend of mine, mentor, and all around cool cat Bruce Dorn with us in the studio today, so Bruce, how do we even describe you? I mean, photographer, film maker, commercial director, Somebody who's never worked in their life but seems to always be working?
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, I would say baby boomer layabout . yeah, I'm trying to Coast on past achievements and make it to the final checkered flag without ever doing an honest day's work.
Matt Scott: A role model to all of us *laughing*
Scott Brady: Although I've seen Bruce work harder than anyone else on many days oh, I like the one description you give to yourself rock on tour oh, I think that works well for you .
Bruce Dorn:You know, any story worth telling is worth telling well and having listened to a number of my stories over the years the details remain consistent.
Scott Brady: They do, And my history with Bruce goes way back, close to 10 years now. We did a trip called Expedition 7 and Bruce was on four of the seven continents, he spent 4 years with me traveling around the world, he endured my snoring, and I endured his storytelling. And we really did learn a lot about each other, I learned a lot about photography from Bruce. Bruce is certainly a consummate professional, but more importantly he is a mentor, he will take the time to share his knowledge with others. And I learned so much from him in my personal photography. but before we get too much into Bruce, Matt, what's the most recent cool thing that you got going on?
Matt Scott: Aw man, you know I'm all into the gadgets. I found this thing from AutoZone from griots garage. It's this synthetic play bar, and it has completely changed my outlook on gun life, down to the core of civilization and it has rocked my world. So essentially it's a Magic Eraser for your car, some of you may know, some of you may not, I have this relatively old Japanese imported diesel T Series Land Cruiser that I'm in love with and I've spent far too much money on, anyways pretty bad paint on it. I want to say it came from Covey Japan. Everything that you associate with living in a city, pollution or whatever, has built up on this car. Now the paint looks pretty darn good for a vehicle that's almost 30 years old, I think it's 28 years old now. The thing is 2499, I like it, I'm on my second wind, I love it. There are these things that make a huge difference.
Scott Brady: I think it makes a Toyota paint job look really good.
Matt Scott: That's really hard to do.
Scott Brady:They never really focus on paint.
Matt Scott: Yeah, they just focus on things like reliability.
Bruce Dorn: Are you using it on your face too because you're glowing today.
Matt Scott: Jeez, you're making me blush. It must be your green glasses Bruce.
Scott Brady: It's because you're a ginger.
Matt Scott: I’m not- I'm going to hold my tongue there because I'm just slightly Ginger ish.
Scott Brady: I think this might be something we need to ask everyone on our show, but does Matt look like a ginger to you?
Bruce Dorn: Absolutely. *all laughing*
Matt Scott: I’m not even- Clay Croft is a ginger.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, but you walked from the car to the room where we are recording, and your beet red.
Scott Brady: From 30 seconds of sun exposure
Bruce Dorn: I think you must need to use SPF one-squillion.
Matt Scott: It’s one-squillion, yeah. It's because I'm Swedish, like the Samsung Swedish I came flat-packed to earth.
Scott Brady: How about you Bruce? What's the recent cool thing you've been digging on?
Bruce Dorn: I've been working with some really cool lights. Part of my job as a photographer and as a filmmaker has been defined by working with light. From the very beginning I had one camera, one lens, the first successor I bought was a light, I think I still owe on that light. But lately I've been working with some portable LED lights from, believe it or not an American manufacturer. Oh, there are still American manufacturers. Lights and motion is a company out of Marina California, just a stone throw above Monterey, and they're at a hangar up there around the military base. They manufacture lights for bicycles, headlamps that you use around camps, and underwater lighting. I was doing a dive with a buddy, we were looking for a Megalodon down in the Florida Keys area. This guy had this really wacky, small LED light, we are in a hotel room way up above the beach and he says, “ check out how bright this is!” He turns the lights on the beach, and of course there were many people down thereDoing all kinds of interesting things. And of course it's in total darkness, the light was spectacular but it was extremely blue in color. It was by Design about 8000 Kelvin, which is really high on the blue side of the scale.
Scott Brady:And is that for underwater use?
Bruce Dorn: Yes, because when the light comes through you lose red and yellow in the first 11 or 12 feet, and then it gets to be sort of bluish and greenish. You add your fill light with the blue light and you put a bunch of magenta or red into it and post and you get your color back. I was thinking to myself, if these guys could make a legitimate Kelvin temperature for surface use, I would buy a ton of these things. So I actually approached the company and I've been grinding on them for a couple of years, and now they offer the same units for 3200 Kelvin, which is classically called tungsten temperature. and then 5600 Kelvin, it's high-impact plastic. It's got a very tight little LED array in it, modifiers so you can put it on from chrome and some of their own proprietary modifiers. I think you can drop this thing from a couple of feet on the concrete and it will bounce
Matt Scott: it feels super solid.
Bruce Dorn: waterproof to 300 feet, waterproof not water resistant. I recently shot a little project for the local College. Oh, the theme was drowning under student debt and I sunk a light in the pool with her cap and gown, then I shot some pictures of her struggling with her student debt. for those of us who travel a lot, traveling with lithium batteries is a very difficult thing because it's a lot to carry on. So, because these lithium ions are internal to the lamp, they sidestep all those issues. You can put them in the cargo hold oh, it's a pretty amazing unit.
Matt Scott: What's the name of the company again?
Bruce Dorn: Light and Motion.
Matt Scott: And then the product you're talking about?
Bruce Dorn: The Stella. You'll see them in Gold Rush Banksy, you'll see them on wellourse. they are the light up choice for extreme conditions oh, I've got a couple that are on quick-release super lamps on Wing mirrors on my F250. So I can Spotlight deer, I'm sorry look for campsites along the side of the road. Then I can grab them off of the mirror, go caving, go snorkeling, and use them to light a scene around the campfire. So they are true cinnamon grade in a very small package, and the rugged aspect is what really turns me on about them.
Scott Brady: That's an unexpected Choice, that's nice I like that. You've got so many gadgets that it's cool.
Matt Scott: almost as many gadgets as you, what's your thing?
Scott Brady: You know, I've been riding this Honda African twin oh, it's been an interesting bike to ride because it has the DCT, which is a semi automatic transmission.
Bruce Dorn: you dissed that initially, you said it was too heavy and you couldn't bump start it.
Scott Brady: it's the bump starting that's the problem, it's a concern. But, it's been nice to ride a motorcycle everyday. Oh, that's been my thing. I realized the other day that it's a great bike overall for someone who wants to buy their first adventure bike. Oh, it's a great bike. But I think I would still want the 6-speed manual.
Bruce Dorn: I went and tested Road One, I like the automatic and I found it to be, what do they call it, deep learning, because when I was riding it casually it short shifted oh, it was using the torque. But as soon as you got aggressive then I went, “ oh, this is how it's going to be.” kind of like the little German Corvair that I recently bought. It's an animatic, it's got a clutch, it's controlled by a computer oh, I found it to be really enjoyable to ride.
Scott Brady: And at low speeds off-road, which people are getting new to Adventure bikes, they need to be riding slow on technical terrains so they don't hurt themselves or the bike. This bike really allows that, it's kind of like a recluse clutch oh, so excellent low speed control. So you can be dragging the rear brake and Feathering the throttle and moving through Terrain really competently. solo speed stuff, super good, I don't know if I would be in for the extra 6 to 8 lb that it adds, and the fact that you can't bump start it In the middle of nowhere. But I guess if you're writing with other people it's not a big deal.
Matt Scott: And they make those little lithium jump packs.
Scott Brady: Yeah they do, there are other ways around it, they've got a new model that just came out that I'm excited to check out, but I'm enjoying being on the bike.
Bruce Dorn: I just want to point out to the listeners, since you don't have the visual that when Scott was talking about riding through technical Terrain he was doing that handlebar thing that you do and both his pinkies were in the air as he was riding.
Matt Scott: And he was prancing.
Bruce Dorn: He is very delicate with his controls. *laughing*
Matt Scott: But that is a big thing for somebody who's getting an adventure bike, they're heavy machines, right? The correlation of that recluse, I know a lot of Enduro guys, top Enduro Riders who use those things because it's just easier.
Scott Brady: It's easier to ride for sure, and this is the Adventure Sport model so it's got 6 gallons of fuel, nearly nine inches of suspension travel oh, so it actually performs great it's something that a lot of people don't look at because it misses a couple of those key points like cruise control, stuff that it matters but it also doesn't matter . this new model got all that, it's got all the Wiz bang gadgets.
Matt Scott: so it still has less travel than a KTM 950, and less horsepower than a KTM 950.
Scott Brady: the one that I've got is less horsepower. The new one is a little more, but I rest my case.
Bruce Dorn: But does it have the sex appeal of an electric e-bike?
Scott Brady: That's your new jam? *laughing* Although you have- that's a very cool story, you have this Harley-Davidson that you built thirty something years ago.
Bruce Dorn: Still have. She's 31 years old this year.
Scott Brady: It was in a Mikuni carburetor ads and everything else, and you sold it and it went away. You didn't know where it went oh, you didn't know who had it, and then somebody of yours, what was the story?
Bruce Dorn: I built it in 88, I sold it for a massive prophet. Oh, it was an Easy Rider, a hot bike, on calendars and all that stuff. You know how it is, you feel like once you've built one good one the next one will be better. I sold it for a good piece of change, it showed up on Craigslist out in New Jersey about 3 or 4 years ago oh, I bought it back from the guy for nothing. He put 5000 miles on it since I sold it to him, but he had screwed it up with a bunch of weird changes. So I put it back to the original condition, just like meeting an old girlfriend that you should never have dumped and she for some reason still likes you, and you're back together again. I love that old thing.
Scott Brady: that was the first Harley-Davidson that I ever owned, was your bike. And it didn't suck as bad as I thought it would.
Bruce Dorn: Aw, that's so sweet Scott. *laughing*
Scott Brady: It was super Charming.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, keep talking. *laughing* I remember coming down the hill from Jerome, and I was taking a nap here at the shop by the time you finally rolled in. I think Martin will attest to that, it was probably those Psycho-passes I was making, but I still take it.
Scott Brady: *laughing* I do remember that. So, you are not only a photographer but you are a world traveler, you have seen a lot of the world. And one of the things that we like to talk about on this podcast is how people relate back to how they improve their own Journey. You have done photography professionally, but what are some things- initial things that you would recommend someone that is new to Overland travel, or they have been a long time Overland Traveler and they want to do a slightly better job, or an improved job of capturing their own memories. What are some basics that you like to tell people when they ask you that question?
Matt Scott: How can we be as good as Bruce Dorn in 3 minutes?
Bruce Dorn: *laughing* This is where the crickets sound effects come in. I think about the number one thing is taking the time. We struggled on E7 to a certain extent because we were busy getting going during the prime light and we were busy trying to find a campsite, and making those last few miles during the afternoon Prime light. So if you go with the intention of making imagery as one of the priorities, it will automatically improve no matter what tools you're using. Obviously magic hour is a great time to shoot, having the camera ready at all times. I remember a few occasions of shots that I missed and will kick myself forever Because the camera was just Out Of Reach. You can put a camera in p for professional mode, and it's going to work well for you about 92% of the time, you can go in AV with some kind of aperture priority. I tend to work in manual mode, I'm constantly aware of light. I like the fact that I need to be aware of what's going on with the light and so if you're in Arizona it's sunny, it's the sunny 16 rule on the front side, and two stops open from that on the back side you never need to use a mirror. When you're in scattered clowns, or overcast conditions oh, it's going to be different. If you're moving in and out of different shades oh, it's going to be different. But if you're aware of what's going on, and there's nothing to photograph at the moment but you see the cloud covers have rolled in and the light has changed, color temperature has changed, make the adjustment on the camera console next to you, have the camera ready so that when something happens you're prepared for it.
Scott Brady: You can still capture it.
Bruce Dorn: I was dragging a trailer full of snowmobiles up to togwotee pass and Jackson Hole heading over toward Kelly, toward Wyoming, and we were crossing aTributary to the snake. And I'm driving, trying to keep the trailer behind me on the icy Road, and we saw a line of bull moose walking single-file down One bank across the Frozen stream and up the other bank. I think there were like 15, and they all have these massive racks oh, it was a spectacular shot. I of course tried to get the trailer stopped and get the camera in my hands fast enough, and all I got was the last Moose's derriere as he disappeared Into the forest. I had another occasion where I was driving and I saw we were back in some Backcountry on a Snowy Road, I saw a little flicker of movement in my side mirror and I looked back and there were three wolves bounding through the snow, to Grays and a black. And the snow was very deep so they were porpoising through it. Again, the camera was just a little too far away, so that can only be a neurochrome. In my head I remember both of those shots distinctly. And you'd think, at this point after almost 50 years as a pro, that it would never happen but I was just up in Jackson, I went over looking for some black bears in a berry patch that I know was productive. I had my 200 to 400 zoom on my 1dx in my lap, because I knew up the hillside there were some Berry patches, serviceberries I think they were. As I came around the corner there were two bear cubs not 10 ft away from me on a tree branch. Oh, there was a tree growing up the downhill side of the road slope. They were no more than 10 feet away, posing, backlit, and perfectly framed, and I had so much lens on the camera that I could have shot a nice image of the pupil of one of their eyes, but no way I could get the shot. By the time I fumbled around, everything changed, they were gone. But I came back the next day and got a couple of good shots because I knew they would be in the area. But I think being prepared, being in the mindset of capturing images is number one, familiarity with tools. There's an old saying from the old west, “Beware the one gun shooter.”You know, that Rancher that has a lever action 30-30, he uses it to get his dinner and to chase off scoundrels, I'd be nervous about that guy because he knows that tool. if you are working with too many cameras, too many lenses you can actually create obstacles to your capacity to capture. So sometimes less is truly more.
Scott Brady: So that leads to a question, if you were to have one body and one lens what would it be?
Bruce Dorn: You know, I came to the same conclusion, I think when we were out on that E7 that 28 to 300, something that's got a really long range from really wide to some telly Is going to be a good choice, that 28 to 300 L lens, you are on Mark 3. That kind of combination is good. There's some old really neat cameras that have what they call zoom lens reflexes where it's a fixed zoom, a number of different brands make them, and I think that would be a really good way to go.
Scott Brady: That was a truly special lens, in fact when I migrated to Sony it's the greatest lost for sure.
Bruce Dorn: The only thing that I found problematic is with the 28 end, wide angles are interesting when you use them close, when you get it close to something it really increases the scale of the foreground, the object pushes the background back oh, it's an easy way to add a lot of drama. That particular lens, I think the closest focus on the 28 milliliter end was pushing four and a half feet.
Matt Scott: That's quite a while.
Bruce Dorn: And you want to be able to have it so that you can get 12in from the foreground or something like that. So I went back to my old school roots and got what's called a Barlow lens, not named after Nina. and it's a single element lens that you spin on the front like a filter, and it polls Infinity in so that, the furthest the lens will focus is maybe 10 ft, but then it brings it into about 18 in on the front. Having one of those, and if you can spin it on quick enough then you can make that work.
Scott Brady: What body would you put it on?
Bruce Dorn: Bodies come and go, it's all about the lenses for me. I haven't seen a bad camera in a while. I was working this summer with a young Hopi girl who I am entering as a photographer, and I put her on the little Canon M50 and with a little 18 to 1:35. I dragged her along on some concept fashion shoots that I was doing, and I'll tell you what it was hard to discern the differences between what was coming out of the APS sensor on that and the ESR that I was test driving. At 16 x 20 I would defy you to tell the difference. And of course you can make stupidly large large enhancements, sensor size is not just about pixel volume, it's more about the way the images are rendered. The larger the final capture format, the shallower the depth of any given shot. There are ways that it paints the image that feels different. Four bodies I would just have something that has good weather sealing and good temperature resilience. When we started out at E7 , I got a shot somewhere in the back seat, we had so much stuff, and by the end it was down to a body and a couple of lenses and a camcorder. By the way, those camcorders were disposable. I had to throw them out when I got home because there's not a service center around that will work on a camera that's been sandblasted because it destroys their work space. “ Has that been in the sand? Don't even open the door.”
Scott Brady: Oh, interesting.
Bruce Dorn: So there's no future in it if you get it in the sand. I flashback to when you guys dumped me out there in the sandstorm.
Scott Brady: Was that in Nivea?
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, that little German Village. Picture this: “Oh Brucey, get some shots of us walking from a quarter mile away.” Then they dump me out, and they go by, and they go another quarter mile so that I can get the going away shot. And then they sit there Lounging while I jog to the sandstorm down there. But weatherizing, generally I look for toughness.
Matt Scott: That Cannon R that you've been playing with is pretty nifty.
Bruce Dorn: Oh, I love that thing. It's genome, you know of course Cannon is arriving at the muralist party well underway, and the first offering ESR I would consider to be equivalent to a 6D versus like a 5D Mark 4. It's not. All of the pro content that I think everyone would have liked, but the price point would have been much higher. What a terrific camera, it just works perfectly.
Matt Scott: 4 to 105, I shouldn't say it's little, it's a significant lens. I know you guys were talking about the 28 to 300, that's kind of your money maker. For me it's the 24 to 105, I mean I've shot that my entire career, there's so much muscle memory with it.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, that was oh, you know if you had to do the desert island on one lens, the 105l would be the way to go. The new Mount that Cannon has come up with, this R mount is the mounts for the next 30 Years, I mean they introduced the f-mount about 30 years ago and rode that pony for a long time. The engineer's are saying that they can now offer lenses that they never thought were possible Before because of the diameter, and the distance from flange to sensor. And we are starting to see it, I've sold my beloved 72200 f2a IS to Mercedes who's rocking that thing, in anticipation that the RF would fall out quickly. That lens is so short that it would actually trombone when It changes focal length. it's about the length of an 85. So it's a tiny little thing. And then they're getting super speeds on a lot of the Primes, so I'm slowly moving towards RF mounts but of course they give us some really interesting Mount adapters that will be able to put the F lenses on the RF bodies.
Matt Scott: Plenty of options, I just love the saying. Something that I always look for, I exclusively reserved the center console for all of my trucks for cameras. Because it's easy, it's protected, you don't really have to worry about it rocking around, and being able to have a 70 to 200 that potentially fits in a center console for travelers, I think it's always a concern for travelers.
Scott Brady: Especially if you're off of a motorcycle. If I can't fit it into a tank bag, it just can't go.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, I think the new RF’s on the 200 are about the size of a soda can, more diameter but about that long. I like the idea of compactness in the tools as well oh, and one thing I won't give up for small sizes is battery capacity, you can carry a lot of batteries and that's pretty easy.
Matt Scott: That was the thing that always killed me with Sony, I switched to it because you can charge it by USB oh, they have these small lenses, you know again it's just the muscle memory Canon that I guess one out for me.
Bruce Dorn: Colorescience. Fuji does some pretty good work and of course Sony is out there swinging for the fences all the time, but I've never regretted making the move to Cannon. One of the big things was Canon Pro service, I mean it's just ridiculous how well they treat you, turning this quickly. As a pro, the amateur stuff comes in and gets broomed and your stuff gets worked on, generally when I send stuff out it gets fixed the day they receive it, or worse by lunchtime the next day. So you can order the stuff away, it's not gone for very long.
Scott Brady: You're literally counting on it, not only for a living but to meet your client's needs. And when you're needing to make money, it's the same thing as when you’re Crossing Antarctica. There's a reason why you drive a Hilux, because it's the best tool to take across a continent like that.
Bruce Dorn: never mind the resale values being consistently high, that's a good thing too.
Matt Scott: So I guess while we're talking about Cannon oh, so you're a Canon Explorer of light.
Bruce Dorn: The program started oh, I'm going to say 25 years ago by now. I'm not one of the OG but I've been in it for 15 years. These are the best guys in their category, and they use Cannon. I know some of the companies will go, “ oh, you're really good, will give you some free cameras if you use ours and endorse them.” Canon's policy was to find people that were Canon users, like they just found you. Like if you happen to be the best airplane shooter, the guy shooting the best underwater ceiling, and they know that you're using their equipment, they might reach out to you. And that's what sort of happened to me. I enjoy the relationship, it's been really cool because I've gotten to introduce quite a few of the products that long to do great things. Hiding in plain sight, there's been more than one occasion that I've found, shooting a prototype that everyone was still talking about Canon rumors or something like that, and I've got it in my hands at that moment, actually Beta testing it during that period. The 805 6 and the 202 F2in Africa, I went down there and did a 200 F2 Portraiture and some 202 work with birds. I was the second guy to introduce the Mark2 after Vincent Laufer Mayes weekend with the camera. And original C300.
Scott Brady:You spent a lot of time with those cameras.
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, the ESR, the Mark4, I appreciate the trust that Cannon has put in me. I'm kind of their general practitioner, I'm described as mostly specialists, and I would say I'm kind of the Country Doctor of explorers of light. I do a little bit of everything.
Matt Scott: People can see some of your work on Instagram, you don't really take it that seriously.
Bruce Dorn: I was aware of social media as a coming thing, but I didn't take it seriously enough oh, so I didn't really steak out that much ground in it. I was more busy shooting than worrying about shooting.
Scott Brady: I remember you, I mean talking about the breadth of your career oh, I remember you telling me about an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie you were working on. You have done so many interesting things, which leads me to the question of do you have any regret from that? Is there one thing that you wish you had done differently?
Bruce Dorn: Well, I'll back up in time a little bit. My career has almost been defined by falling into things rather than sea Kings on. I've always done my own thing. The goal is to get up and entertain myself and have some fun, and then on a regular basis somebody notices that enhances me. So I got to Hollywood by dumb luck, I was a still shooter in Phoenix back in the early 80s. A phone call came in, somebody asked me if I should shoot a film, of course I shoot film. I'm a photographer. By the end of the conversation I realized they were asking me if I was a motion picture camera operator. I had gotten so far down the path that I just said yeah sure, then I read all up on it and went to the shoot and was able to make it. that project or the one that followed got me to some big award thing, I think in the Cleo's, and that got me an invitation to Hollywood, and next thing I knew I was a creative director at a special effects house, and at that time was the biggest effects house in the world. And out of that came Pixar people and industrial Light Magic people and Rhythm & hues, we did all the groundwork along with another sister company called DeWalt Productions. We invented computer graphics there. So that was the 80s, and I was living very fruitful, living very large and getting the products you dream of instantly. Now for the regret. The CAA and some other places started sending me Scripts, because that was the time of Tony Scott, and Ridley Scott and Adrian lion, the British Invasion of all the commercial filmmakers, topogun, Miami Vice, visuals were a really strong part of the project. And I started seeing Scripts, and I started reading scripts. And I got to take a big cutting pay to do this movie because as a first director on features, you basically get DGA minimums And maybe a piece of the backside. I was going to take a massive pay cut to do features, And I just decided not to. And I did that for 20, 25 years and I was in a category, not the top top guy, but I was certainly in the top ten. And if you watch TV from 1980 -ish to well, not that long ago I was in a lot of commercials of mine in The Last 5 Years. You saw my work every night, because I did every soft drink company, every car company, every Beer Company, every Airline, every Hotel oh, it was a good ride. But what I like to have is a resume of a half a dozen movies, yes. I was recently over in Hollywood and I went to a sketch comedy show to see some friends of mine who are in an improv group, and I said,” I can pull these kids together to do something.” Who knows.
Scott Brady: So Matt, question for you on photography. What's the current set up, what are you shooting?
Matt Scott: I like to say I have to shoot ups for when I'm shooting for Overland Journal, or a magazine or something like that it's always my Cannon, so if I have to work and make money from those images I don't hesitate to go to my 5D Mark 4. I have a 24 1 F 5 oh, I have Bruce to borrow lenses from him if I need anything *all laughing*. The thing that's really passionate to me is my Leica rangefinders, they're probably the worst camera bodies you could think of shooting with when you look through a lens. When you look through a rangefinder, oh, you're looking off to the side and you're essentially making a measurement based on the parallax between the lens and the rangefinder. But they are fantastic full frame cameras. Oh, they are very small. I spend a lot of time in Southeast Asia, I spend a lot of time in cities and my personal passion is street photography. So I have a Leica M10, and a Leica Summicron 50 which is, I guess Bruce you could chirp in but the 50 ML Leica is probably the best lens you could buy. There are more expensive lenses.
Bruce Dorn: Sumalexes or 1 4 Sumacrons or F2s, Elmreds are 28’s as I recall. back in the day you carried a Leica rangefinder for wide angles, and you carried basically an Icon F for telephotos. that would have been the package for a vietnam-era photojournalist. Because it's really hard to focus a, and I'm not talkin autofocus this is a contemporary generation, ground glass Optical SLR focusing a 21 ML lens is more of a guest than working with a rangefinder. Rangefinders are typically more accurate. Everybody should own a Leica at some point oh, I guess it's like owning a Land Rover or a Land Cruiser, they're one of the classics. You just go,” yeah that feels right.”
Matt Scott: They're pricey but they've never lost their value on them. I'll buy more obscure lenses because I enjoy the pursuit of making those images with different lenses I guess. And they appreciate it, I mean like this year is raising their prices 25%, and it's predicted that the market will just shoot up. So I've had my M10 for 2 years. I always buy everything used from Leica because there are collectors who buy these things and never use them. They're just objects to them, I just buy used. And honestly, I'll get paid to use this camera. It's what it costs you, not what the purchase price is.
Bruce Dorn: I remember, I guess it would have been in the 70s, I was in a camera shop and a guy came in with what I think was an M3, and it looks kind of rough. I said,” what happened to that?” He goes,” I was in my buddy Piper Cub and he dropped it out the window.” They went and found it out in some Indiana cornfield and it was well down into the recently tilled Earth, but they blew it off and it was fine. It has one moving part basically.
Matt Scott: If you need to bludgeon someone to death in your travels on the fence, and he wants a camera you can use afterwards, highly suggest Lieca.
Scott Brady: I've been shooting that monochrome recently. And I like that, with the Sony 5 ML.
Matt Scott: and for those who don't know, the monochrome is a digital camera. It's natively black and white so there's no color filter on it.
Bruce Dorn: They're all RGB, they're not luminance Photo sites. So yeah, it's got dynamic range.
Scott Brady: it's really beautiful, the dynamic range. It's been fun to shoot. Okay we're going to do a little lightning round Bruce we're going to ask you a bunch of questions. What's the weirdest thing you've ever experienced in your travels?
Bruce Dorn: Oh my gosh.
Scott Brady: The list is so long!
Bruce Dorn: It was being at Nordkapp with you. We drove to the- I'm going to say that's as far north you can go.
Scott Brady: it's as far north you can drive on a road in the world.
Bruce Dorn: We were out on one of the Fords, I prefer Chevy's but according to all of the images we had going up there, there was a guy holding a big sculpture of the planet. We arrived and it's extremely foggy and I put you and Greg up on the big sculpture, we take a couple pictures and we're getting ready to leave, and I go,” Scotty get one of me.” So I go up there and I'm posing and out of the Mist came a female who up and kissed me and disappeared into the Mist.
Scott Brady: She climbed up onto the sculpture, turned to you, kissed you, smiled, and ran away into the fog.
Bruce Dorn: It's my personal- this is my kinda thing.
Scott Brady: I remember throughout all the travels, and this was one of the things that I wanted to bring up and talk about is, not only are you a great photographer, but you have this ability to be Charming but disarming at the same time. you wear these bright green glasses, you smile easily, you're very open with people, talk about that a little bit so that people who are traveling for the first time or worried about traveling, how does that change the experience when you come in with that perspective?
Bruce Dorn: I think just assuming the best of the situation rather than the worst. There are many places we've gone that we could have been easily mistaken for special ops, everyone wearing tactical pants and yada yada ya. *talking over each other* We approach everything with a smile oh, and there was only maybe one slightly uncomfortable border crossing were they kind of separated us and were talking to us a little bit, and one of the guys was going,”I sure like to come to America, but it sure sounds scary.” I think the world is, not to say there aren't dangerous out there, there's a story I'm working on that definitely addresses it as a place that you have to have your tactical awareness on at all times. I also feel like the more you give the more you get. When you're approaching people, especially if you're a photographer in some cultures that can be considered a rude intrusion, and another is not so much. But you've got to be able to read the people, read the customs and everything quickly and react and be ready to adjust.For anyone who's going to be doing any international travel oh, you're going to be representing all of us in the community so I say be appreciative of this great opportunity that you have and don't screw it up for everybody by being an ugly Traveler.
Scott Brady: what's been your favorite car of all time? All the way back to the one with the wing that you beat up the bully with or whatever.
Bruce Dorn: That was with the Cadillac that I used as a weapon with the sins. I'm not sure, that's beyond the statute of limitations. *talking over each other* there was a huge gang brawl that was taking place around my car, and I managed to get in the car and start it and crank the wheel all the way to the left and bury the gas pedal. And it kind of cleaned out the neighborhood oh, it was entertaining. Gosh, favorite car, it might have been a race car.
Scott Brady: What was your favorite race car?
Bruce Dorn: Well, I had a race car that I built that was a dwarf car, Superbike engine, car weighed 995 lb and had 220 horsepower. I came in second with a triathlon in Las Vegas. *inaudible* I beat everything, Ferraris, Porsches in a built car that I probably spent 7000 bucks on. It made it street legal.
Matt Scott: So is this the manure spreader?
Bruce Dorn: Yeah, I licensed it as a manure spreader in Wyoming. I had a cabin in Wyoming oh, I got it licensed as a manure spreader and got a plate for it, and brought it back down to California. And I used to wait for Superbike Riders on the Angeles Crest and run them down while they're dragging their adorable little cars around the corners. I had to come up behind them and honk and then pass on the outside or through an Overlook parking lot. *everyone laughing*.
Scott Brady: What's the most favorite place you've ever been, like in the world, the one place you want to go back to? I think I know what the answer to this one is, but if you could hop on a plane anywhere in the world where would you go? What's your most favorite place?
Bruce Dorn: I sure love Norway. And of course I love Botswana, and the Okavango, and I love New Zealand. What were you going to guess?
Scott Brady: I was going to say Moun, you could fly into Moun. You talked about it a lot.
Bruce Dorn: Well you know, I guided there quite a bit. Our mutual friend Andy Diggs, I got into guiding safaris when Andy, whenever Andy forgot that his wife was pregnant and was about to give birth he'd go,” oh darn, my wife's about to give birth, I got a safari Bruce can you cover it questions” I covered a couple safaris for him that way, I got into guiding that way. I would say that okavango, well it's probably as close to eat and as you're going to get.
Scott Brady: That one shot you got off, I think it was a lion coming through the water was unbelievable.
Matt Scott: One of my favorite photographs.
Brue Dorn: Another fellow that was on the trip when I was guiding a group was on the same lens and the same body and I said she's going to come, she's coming, She's getting ready to charge towards us. He won a Smithsonian Wildlife photography of the Year award for that. And then I have the same image but from a little lower and to the right and using the same Canon. And people accused both of us of having ripped each other off. That was a pretty special moment for sure. One in that series that I didn't publish was that same cat coming through the water crossing, submerged to the point that only her nostrils were sticking out and the tip of her tail. The world is filled with special moments, the trick is to be alert and be open to receiving dumpy
Scott Brady: And that brings me to something that I thought we could talk about briefly, is this whole idea that imagery is now this form of narcissism. And I think that people that these moments are occurring where we should be capturing, it doesn't need to be the camera turn towards ourselves, and 90% of the cases you see with so many people and with travelers today they would be turning that camera around, or turning the camera off and actually experiencing that moment as something you can remember, and maybe changes you a little bit.
Bruce Dorn: You can't be a good Image Maker without being someone who's very in touch and aware of what's going on around you. So if all your senses are turned inwards, it's a narcissistic moment oh, you missed all the good stuff. You can miss a lot of stuff by chimping, that is looking at the camera while the action is still going, but you can miss a lot of stuff by thinking about how cool I can look in this situation. image capture in its purest form is about being able to share experiences with people who weren't able to be there. I don't think that necessarily has to include us to prove that we were there.
Scott Brady: selfies are awkward, they've become so commonplace but they should feel way more Awkward than they do.
Matt Scott: I guess if I'm going to take the time to look at somebody's body of work, I should be inspired by it, especially with travel photography. I don't really care about somebody's face that's blocking Angel Falls or wherever that person is. I want to see a thoughtful image of that place, not of them.
Scott Brady: I think the first image I saw that was a photo of you and years, was you sitting inside the new Defender. And that was because that moment, at least for you and I, was super special to be at Land Rover, in the UK and seeing the new Defender, being some of the first in the world to see the new Defender, that was a very special moment. And those are the kinds of things that I want to share.
Matt Scott: I was like,” nobody's going to believe me that this Land Rover flew Scott and I out here months before everybody else, I should probably get a photo of that.” And it wasn't a selfie actually. We weren't allowed to have our phones.
Bruce Dorn: Your phone's, did the pictures come out on Facebook on your behalf? *everyone laughing*
Matt Scott: “ I like Land Rovers, Toyota sucks.”
Scott Brady: What's next Bruce, what's the next big adventure for you?
Bruce Dorn: Well, I'm waiting to hear if I get a new camera to play with soon, which would be nice. I'm going to be working with my young manatee and for a couple of weeks, we've been working with a little hopeful Gala.
Scott Brady: And does she have an Instagram That we can check out?
Bruce Dorn: Yeah I think it's sarah.honanie.and there's an article I wrote about us working together in the October 2019 outdoor photographer magazine. And she and I are going to be shooting some native Rodeo in a week or two. And then I've got a young concept model that I like to work with, and we're trying to sort out doing a concept shoot in the White Sands down in New Mexico, after the weather’s cooled down a little bit.
Scott Brady: And Matt, what's next for you, you've got some stuff coming up?
Matt Scott: Yeah, Royal geographical Society in London for their annual Explorer event, I'm going to be helping with the vehicle based Expedition section of that.
Scott Brady: Anyone who's not been to the Explorer vent in London, I would highly recommend it. Walking those hallowed Halls.
Matt Scott: I think for a traveler or an Explorer, going to that place is selfie worthy. *all laughing*
Scott Brady: it's such a reminder of how insignificant all my travels have been compared to those people, who have been that before me.
Matt Scott: It'll be cool to work with some young explorers, and to work with some legitimate scientists who just need a little bit of help on the vehicle side. I'm really looking forward to that, it's cool to try and pass a little bit of knowledge on. What about you?
Scott Brady: I'm hopping on the Honda, I'm going to ride down to Phoenix and Infinity is launching a couple of new SUVs. And we're going to go down to New Mexico and see the First new space station, it's a space Port that they call it. We're going to go check out the Virgin Galactic Spaceport, and drift various vehicles that can drive off road with SUVs, and that will be fun.
Bruce Dorn: Is that over the very large array in New Mexico? *talking over each other * A couple of weeks from now is the Festival of the cranes they're at Bosque del Apache and I think I'm going to be down there as well. But that's a beautiful time to be there.
Matt Scott: New Mexico is crazy, I feel like it's one of the most underrated Southwest states. I want to say it's the oldest continuously inhabited City in America is Santa Fe.
Bruce Dorn: the oldest continuously inhabited village is MoenKopi on the rez North of Flagstaff, it goes back a thousand years.
Matt Scott: There is a lot of history in New Mexico oh, I was reminded when we went out for Overland Expo when we headed east, and everybody on the east coast is like,” there's no history on the West Coast.” Have fun with traffic.*laughing*
Scott Brady: Oh, so we got some good stuff coming up. Thanks so much Bruce for being on the podcast with us, you have been an inspiration to me. It's amazing that you live here in Prescott oh, that's how we first connected all those years ago, we got to see the world together. Make sure everybody checks out Bruce's work, he does contribute to Overland journal on a regular basis. What's your Instagram again?
Bruce Dorn: @dorn.bruce
Scott Brady: yep, he's the real deal thank you all for listening, not you got anything to say For us before we go?
Matt Scott: No, I'm great.
Bruce Dorn: So will you clay bar my back? Please?
Matt Scott: $27.
Scott Brady: All right everybody will see you next time.