Friday, October 26, 2007
that take longer than that to return a phone call. But I love this lens. The kids are six or seven feet apart, but their eyes are in focus. I tilted the lens to it's max, and everything is totally out of focus except a very narrow plane. Depth of field at 2.8 is very small, so it takes some skill to focus, especially when you're trying to focus on two points at once. This is a manual focus lens, and when you've got it tilted or shifted, auto exposure doesn't work, so there's going to be quite a few bad shots over the next few weeks while I get the hang of it, and hopefully some very unique ones.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Try a polarizer when shooting highly reflective metal or glass objects. People wearing glasses. People with shiny skin. Shoot an LCD computer screen and you can dial it down to totally black.
If you want to get experimental, put a polarizer on your lighting as well.
I shot this using ambient light only. No Photoshop.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
1: keeping everyone in the frame evenly lit
2: with the lights in such close proximity to the subject, light falloff was a major problem. The guys closest to the light were in danger of blowing out, while the ones further away were potentially in darkness.
Ordinarily I'd have the lights much further out to prevent that, but the room was way too small.
(I'm kinda surprised the shot worked out actually.)
Thursday, October 4, 2007
This the first session with Pocket Wizards instead of my trusty Skyports. Lighting was 2 Sunpak 383's either side and slightly behind the band fired into brollys. Front light was a bare Canon 430EX.
I had a fair idea of how Chris was going to jump, so I got Ivan (on the left) to lean over a little so he'd be peeking through the gap.
This was like the second take and it worked out pretty good. Working with musicians is pretty good sometimes because when I count them in for the shot, they're on it. For some people it's like "1-2-3...blink!"
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Lighting was a couple of Sunpak 383 Supers triggered by Elinchrom Skyports. The one on camera right was fired through a 2ft x 2ft softbox with the softbox slightly above head height. This puts more emphasis on the face with some nice subtle falloff below that. You can see the softbox creeping into shot top right. I've since photoshopped it out. A bare 383 fired from camera left lit the background. The post production technique is pretty much the same as I've documented on a couple of my other shots.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Light falloff was a problem inasmuch as the desk was blown out, but the shelves were underexposed. I had to have the scrim some distance away to reduce this falloff effect. Shadows were reduced further by a Canon 430EX fired into an umbrella camera right. You can see the stand in the "before" photo.
I took all the shots for the catalog using a Canon 24-105mm. Normally my favourite lens, but as it turns out, not so good when it comes to barrel distortion. Something I only noticed when I was trying to create a room for the furniture in Photoshop. No amount of work in lens correction could fix it entirely. I could never get the walls looking right. I'm saving up for a 45mm tilt shift lens, but in the meantime my 10-22mm has much better distortion characteristics.
The frame on the wall was made in Photoshop, and the picture is one of my shots from a visit to Bryce Canyon last year.
To see the "before" shot, click on the photo and follow it through to my flickr page.
I've seen some photos on the intertubes like this, but always assumed they were touched up. Seems they were totally real after all.
I guess that's global warming for ya!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I've always pointed the softbox or umbrella straight at the subject, but this time Carly couldn't be bothered standing up, so she just sat on the floor. The quality of light was completely different. The softbox was directed at a point just above her head, but the feathering created a very subtle aura.
Sunpak 383 Super fired into a softbox, triggered by a Skyport.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
One of a series of 30 photos for a Secondary College.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Trying to get 9 hyperactive eight year olds in one place single handed, and then making sure they're all actually in the shot...well, I tried.
I had intended photographing a few of the 80 or so teams, but after two of them, I was so exhausted I had to go and have a little lie down.
Single sunpak 383 Super backlit by the sun.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Backlit by the sun, and front lit by a Sunpak 383 triggered by a Skyport through a little umbrella. I'd just blown all my lunch money on this new umbrella, and I wanted to try it on something, and these guys were very obliging!
I'm breaking a few rules of beginner photography in this one, but I guess rules are there to be ignored. This is in full direct sunlight, and I'm shooting into the sun.
Great guys, very positive and very talented!
Side lighting with groups is very challenging. I'm definitely going to toplight groups from now on! If one person moves even a little, they end up blocking the light from someone else. You spend too much time on technical issues rather than expression.
Also, it's important to get some distance between light and subject to minimise falloff. Put the flash too close in, and some people in the group will be overexposed and some underexposed.
I don't know why it took me so long to figure that out!
2 Sunpak 383's on stands either side of the guys about 5 metres away.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Single Sunpak 383 into an umbrella camera left.
Alarm clock set to 6am.
I remember when Cait and Tys found a dead moth outside, and Cait asked Tys "does it hurt when you die Tys?" and Tys replied " No, but it hurts everyone else." I think he was about 4 at the time.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Single Sunpak 383 Super backlighting. Triggered by Elinchrom Skyport, and front lit by the sun.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Sunpak 383 on a stand just to the left of the camera, firing into a shoot-through umbrella. Another Sunpak, (snooted with a toilet roll) further back down the alley, just out of shot, camera right, aimed at Amy's head. The sun also gave a little bit of backlighting.
Desaturated in Lightroom. That's it. Except for the crowd of onlookers behind me!
It was after this shoot that I finally realised that no matter how careful you are with lighting and location, if expression isn't there, it will never be a great portrait. This is almost wholly the responsibility of the photographer in my opinion. While this shot of Amy is pretty good technically, it was the first of the session, and I hadn't been concentrating on making Amy feel confident and relaxed. It took a while before I was able to make her feel comfortable and we finally got some great photos.
You can see flare from one of the lights creeping into the shot on the right edge of the pic, about 3 metres down the alley. The other light was to camera left. Both lights were Sunpak 383's on stands triggered by Skyports, and snooted with the empty rolls from toilet paper. Snooting the light makes it appear more dramatic. The Sunpaks were set to full power to overcome the ambient light. (it was the middle of the day)
The toughest part was making sure everybody was lit by both strobes.
Two sunpak 383's on stands either side of the camera, triggered by Elinchrom Skyports. In the alley where I work. (I don't actually work in the alley!?) I wanted the sun to backlight the shot, but it wouldn't come out for me. Maybe next time!
I've had lots of questions about the post processing, but it's not really any great secret, but if the lighting and the exposure aren't just right, it will never look right.
I open the unsharp mask dialog box and crank up the Radius slider so that it's greater than the Amount slider. The opposite of what you'd normally do. I then desaturate slightly. Then repeat untli it stops looking good. This look is starting to become a little dated now, with photographers like Jill Greenberg and Dave Hill being much better at it than I am.
This is a single flash setup with a slightly diffused Sunpak 383 overhead and bounced into a reflector underneath the girls. They were five or six feet from the backdrop and I made sure there was no light falling on it.
I used my trusty Sunpak 383 Supers bounced off big pieces of A2 paper taped to the wall. Triggered by Elinchrom Skyports.