Monday, January 18, 2010

Early Morning session in the Snow


My wife and I spent New Year’ visiting my Dad in Eastern Washington state.
We got up early one morning, before sunrise, and went for a walk in the snow.
Just took the tripod and the 18-270 zoom lens, and went looking around.
Had the white balance on the “cloudy” preset, and it was pretty close.  Still had to remove some blue from the final RAW files.  In my haste, forgot to take the Expo Disc



Here's a portrait of my Dad's neighbors, in the home that they built.  Available light from the front, with a slaved strobe directly behind them.  Camera on tripod, f4 at 1/4 second.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Death Valley Flash Fill at Dusk

A couple weeks ago, at a photo workshop we ran at Death Valley, our group was hanging out after the sunset session. About ready to call it a day, I figured I'd try messing around with some off-camera flash, and get some shots of the guys.

The unusual photo at the top shows my wife, Sue, an I testing out the lights for the images below.
We're using 2 radio controlled flash units with Lumiquest modifiers attached.

For all the shots shown here, the triggering was done with the Elinchrom Skyport system....a very small transmitter sits on the camera's hot shoe. And the equally small receiver hooks easily onto the bottom of each flash unit. It doesn't matter what brand of camera, or flash for this stuff. I'm not doing TTL or eTTl.....there's no communication between the camera and flash, other than the simple signal which fires the flash. For teaching, I like to use all the units on manual power, so we can accurately determine the amount of power for each shot. Full power, half power, quarter, etc....all adjustable up or down in 1/3rd stop increments. It makes the learning much faster for the students, and the repeatability accuracy is dead on. Once you find a balance desired, it never varies. With the flash and camera talking to each other, as occurs with TTL, etc, there can be big differences in flash output, from shot to shot.

Here's Mary and Peter Andrade standing, silhouetted, next to their cameras....just minutes before total darkness. But with a pretty long shutter speed, and a couple strategically placed flash units, we came up with a real nice portrait. Playing the part of the light stands in tonite's performance....Kathy Lucas, and Mike Meisinger...our studio manager.

For these dusk images, the metering technique is pretty straight forward. Without using any flash, simply pick the desired aperture, and using the camera's meter, adjust for the proper shutter speed. Take a test shot, and see how the background looks. In this case, the sky.

The image above shows a non-flash-filled Lauren Polizzi, who actually works on the other side of the camera, as a set designer on major productions.

Once this base exposure is determined, then simply add as much flash as needed for the balance you're looking for. Simple.

After a couple pretty standard sessions, a second flash was added as a kick light from the back. And, for no good reason, it was covered with a red Lee gel to add some color to that source, only.

The images at the top show the Lumiquest modifiers which were velcro attached to the small heads. This makes a huge difference in light quality. And, when used in pretty tight to the subject, it rivals studio lighting.

Our grand finale was a group shot of the hat wearing ladies in the group.

Left to right Sue ( my wife) Kay ( Mike's wife ) Lauren ( no one's wife, yet ) and Mary ( Peter's wife)

Click on any of the photos above to see the full size version...
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