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Monday, August 27, 2007

Tyson's billy cart team

billy cart team
Originally uploaded by brendan.oshea
My son Tyson and the rest of his team at the Billy cart Grand Prix last weekend.
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

media crew

media crew
Originally uploaded by brendan.oshea
Video and media crew from Dandenong High School.
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.

Brothers In Harmony

Brothers In Harmony
Originally uploaded by brendan.oshea
Acapella group from Melbourne.
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

Cait & Tys in the fog

Cait & Tys in the fog.jpg
Originally uploaded by brendan.oshea
I've been concentrating less on fancy lighting and more on extracting some of the personality of the subject. Nothing like dragging the kids out of bed on a foggy winter morning to make that happen! Cait's usually a little grumpy first thing, and Tys always sees this as a brilliant opportunity to annoy his sister.
Single Sunpak 383 into an umbrella camera left.
Canon 30D
Alarm clock set to 6am.

Tys in the fog

Tys in the fog.jpg
Originally uploaded by brendan.oshea
My son Tyson in the park on a foggy morning yesterday. The hardest part of this shot was getting out of bed before the fog disappeared. I like the way the flash lends the scene a surreal edge, although it's probably a little overdone. If I brought the ambient light up by a stop (reducing the shutter speed from 250 to 125) it might improve things. Single Sunpak 383 into an umbrella camera left. Background underexposed 2 stops.
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

Girls in the alley

Originally uploaded by brendan.oshea
I always say a good portrait is 99% expression. Well, actually, I've only started saying that recently. But I've begun to realise the truth in it. No matter how fancy your lighting setup, or how good your photoshop skills are, if you aren't capturing some of the essence of the subject, nobody is going to care. I'm not saying that's what I've done here, but I'm slowly moving away from worrying about doing "clever" lighting, and I'm beginning to think about how to make the subject feel comfortable enough to reveal some personality. Unfortunately, clever lighting and tricks have an immediate impact, and when you're early in your career, you sometimes can't afford to be subtle. Or tasteful for that matter. You need to slap the viewer in the face and say "here I am!" Annie Leibovitz said she can't look at much of her earlier work because of the overbearing lighting and contrived setups. I'd argue that without that earlier work, nobody would give a hoot about her current stuff, no matter how brilliantly subtle it is. You need to be loud to get noticed initially. Once you've got people noticing, then you can do tasteful. And hope your clientele sticks with you.
Single Sunpak 383 Super backlighting. Triggered by Elinchrom Skyport, and front lit by the sun.