Sunday, June 28, 2009

Expect The Unexpected

On a recent trip to the Boston area, we took off in the rental car for a morning of shooting along the famous route of Paul Revere.....along Battle Road.

The continuous rain almost was reason to abandon the mission.....but, knowing that these wet, cloudy conditions can provide some wonderful light, we plugged away.

Arriving at the historical landmark, Hartwell Tavern, we were caught in a downpour....forcing us inside to protect the camera gear.

Once inside, we discovered that the period accurate, costumed staff were also inside for a break from the musket shooting demonstrations. Good luck for us, however. I was able to get one of these guys to cooperate for a few minutes, and pose by some incredible window light. The surprisingly dark conditions outdoors had caused a tremendous drop in the light coming in thru the window. The ISO was set to 400, and the shutter speed was one second.....even though shooting wide open at 2.8 with the Tamron 90mm macro lens.

The wet conditions continued to provide me with a stream of portrait subjects. Their cooperation was partly due to the fact that it was simply too wet outside to attempt the walk back to the cars.

So, with the tripod already set up, I asked if a couple of the semi-bored folks would act as models. It always drives me nuts to have wonderful light, a great backdrop, but nothing as a main foreground subject.

Enter the unsuspecting tourists.

Our next volunteer was an attractive teenage girl, from the bay area, with her family on a 3 week vacation. After securing permission from her parents, I quickly shot off a barrage of long-exposure images....trying to maintain sharpness at this wide open and extremely long shutter speed always provides a challenge. And, the unstable 200 year old wooden floor didn't help.

The weather briefly cleared up, and we headed outdoors to see what was shootable.....The wooden frames of the antique windows were pretty interesting, so I asked Jeff Allen, the Tamron tech rep, to go inside and stick his head out the window for an available light portrait. As I suspected, it looked pretty good....but, as I was taking his images, I noticed movement at the window to my left. A young boy was mimicking Jeff, and had posed in the opening....this looked like a carefully planned commercial session. Perfect setting. Great subject. Classic light. All I had to do was frame it up and shoot. Jeff had served as a test subject for the REAL shot.

After seeing this little guy in the window, I quickly went inside to talk with his folks, and try and get a few more images before they took off.

I kept the same 90 mm lens on the camera and asked him to pose in the window light. But, a one second exposure of an active kid is tough. Propping his head on his hands seemed the only way to keep him still enough for a sharp image.

Overall, this was a very productive couple hours.....and, our main objective was to shoot macro photos of the Dogwoods in the rain...with water drops.

Being prepared for anything that comes at you always pays off.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Macro Techniques...Portrait and Flowers

On a recent trip to Boston, I ran into some pretty nice light and some photogenic folks who volunteered as portrait subjects

Check out this video.......

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