Reptile Portraits, Anyone?
Last weekend I met my son, Johnny, at an event which represents Heaven-on-Earth for him....the west coast's biggest reptile show. Held annually at the Anaheim Convention Center, this certainly has to be the largest indoor collection of the weirdest looking creatures I've ever seen.
Well, there was this ZZ Top concert in the late 70's.
As far as you could see....an endless sea of caged and uncaged snakes, lizards, spiders, turtles....and their equally interesting-looking uncaged owners.
My son and his lovely wife certainly fall well within the definition of "normal people"....you just wonder about some of these people who make a living raising and breeding these crazy animals. Overall, though, a really nice bunch of folks. And all the vendors were more than happy to let me get in close and get shots of whatever they were selling.
Since we were moving around a crowded convention hall, it's very congested, and tough to maneuver and get the exact angles needed for the best shots.
But, with the monopod, and external flash unit attached to a stick, we must have looked pretty important, cause everyone let us move right in... and they all seemed to enjoy watching this old guy getting excited about photographing a gecko.
Most of these images employed a 2-light set up, which consisted of a mini softbox attached to my new Metz flash, which was tethered to the Fuji S-5 body for full TTL functions. The second light (firing always from behind the subject) was a similar flash unit, which was fired simultaneously with a slave unit attached to the base. This light was set on "manual" power, and the settings were frequently adjusted, depending on the placement of the main-light, which was the soft-box. Two of my sons were there, so each one got the thrill of assisting by holding one of the flash units.
Typically, the ISO was 400, and the aperture set at f/11. In order to render the background a SOLID black, a shutter speed of 1/250th was used to restrict any of the ambient light from being recorded.
Now, I hear the biggest show is in Orlando, right in the middle of the summer. Wow....mosquitos, alligators AND reptiles.
Johnny's already lobbying me to make a trek there in '08.