Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Black Steel (Winter Tree Silhouette), Lake District

Via Flickr:
Wishing everyone all the best for the New Year to come - hopefully you have fun celebrating its arrival and every success as it starts.

This is a quick black and white tree picture from my day trip to the Lake District on Boxing Day. I saw it winding up to the rugged little Blea Tarn car park, and wandering back down to shoot a couple of frames before setting up at the tarn proper.

I'd recommend this corner of the Lakes especially to day trippers with cameras - it's easy enough to access, but feels authentically remote.

Catching up now.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Flash, Minolta SR-T Super With Demi Tron 200

Via Flickr:
Quick post from the Minolta SR-T Super session, trying my hand at product photography using the Hooded Accomplice's lights and shooting table.

I've been away over Christmas, so am just beginning to catch up now. Hopefully everyone's had a fantastic week whatever you've been up to.

Info for Strobist:

Ambient light from soft box camera right. Snooted YN560ii fired onto background from camera left at 1/32 with Comtrig RT. Second YN560ii fired onto white card beneath translucent shooting table at 1/16 to minimise shadow beneath lens. Lenser MT7 LED flashlight used to add detail and text of Demi Tron flag unit, and LED panel used directly down from camera left to bring up texture on the side of the Demi Tron.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Conversion Chart, Minolta SR-T Super

Via Flickr:
Trying my hand at product photography, shooting with the Hooded Accomplice, and borrowing a lot of his lighting equipment - plus a shooting table.

Product photography seems to be a real worm hole - when you can control every variable of light and geometry, it gives an almost overwhelming a range of possibilities.

I'd like to say that these shots were the result of deep thought about how those variables might be controlled to give some pre-visualised outcome. That would be a lie. In fact, this was the last shot of a session, in which we jokingly realised we hadn't shot the camera from the back. And it happened to broadly work at first attempt, so we tweaked a handful of things.

There's a red and a green version (both separate exposures), and it'd be interesting to know which you preferred - if you've made it through all the above text.

Have a great weekend in any case!

Info for Strobist:

2x Canon 600EX-RT fired by ST-E3-RT, 1x Skyblue Ringflash (catchlight cloned out of viewfinder) and 1x Yonghuo YN-560 both fired as optical optical slave. The Canon's were gelled - one deep red, beneath the semi-translucent shooting table, one CTO, snooted with a Rogue Flashbender, and fired against the backdrop. The YN-560 was camera left, 45 degrees up and 1m back with a diffuser. The ringflash was on camera, 1.5m from the subject. Power settings were; red gelled Canon at 1/8, snooted Canon at 1/16, YN-650 at 1/16, ringflash at 1/32. The green/blue light is from a single LED shone manually through the lens with an ND gel and a colour gel, during the 8 second exposure. Black velvet was piled just out of shot camera left to prevent the red reflecting onto the camera's back.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Super Human (All In Camera Light Painting), London Hyde Park

Via Flickr:
All in camera, as always! This is from my recent Hyde Park trip with Seitrams. Whilst he was shooting some cool shots of the swans and geese, I was messing about zooming mid-exposure. The effect on all the lights of Winter Wonderland was pretty extreme (see above), but it felt like it needed an Akira-esque super power wielding figure to tie it together.

So far as one can tie something like this together.

Packed with technical imperfections - chiefly the overexposure of the static elements in the scene, but that would have been very hard to fix. I'm a big fan of the way the rippled light on the water floats through the middle of scene like psychic energy. And hope you like it too.

Since my last post, ongoing dismay at the lack of input out community is having on up coming Flickr changes/vandalism has led me to set up an account on 500px. I'm still exploring it, but was impressed enough to upgrade my service there and am bit by bit moving my existing images over there. If any of you have an account there, please let me know so I can follow you, etc.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Archipelago #2 (Seaweed & Rockpool), Isle Of Skye

Via Flickr:
Quick post from a session on a rocky Skye beach practising off camera flash shots. The more I try this, the harder I find it to leave home without a strobe and trigger. Clearly the shot's not perfect, but there's a tiny zip of life and drama offered by the flash that I couldn't have conjured any other way.

I hope everyone is having a great week. It's our year end, so I'm only on Flickr in snatches on my commute.

Info for Strobist:

Single Canon 600EX-RT camera left fired low and hard across the rocks from 2m at 1/32. Triggered by RT from ST-E3-RT.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Vector (Katherine Velours), Shrub Hill Common

Via Flickr:
Another quick posting from one of the summer's shoot with h Katherine Velours. Katherine is awesome - check out her portfolio on Purpleport.

There are still heaps of photos I intend to post from our session. This one stood out as overlooked with the end of summer's day glow filtering through the canopy. We could do with a little more light like that this week!

I've been trying out new to processing techniques for portraiture. There's not a tonne done here, but they're new approaches, so any feedback would be appreciated. So I didn't realise you could inverse the effects of everything by hitting Ctrl+I - so the high pass filter becomes a blur, and Gaussian blur becomes a sharpening filter. There's a hint of that in a new layer, brushed in manually on the midtones of her skin which were a little noisy due to my underexposing to keep the bright canopy in check.

Hope everyone is having a superb end to the weekend!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

CREEtaceous Dinosaur (All In Camera Triceratops Light Painting), London Hyde Park

Via Flickr:
All in camera, as always, this is a light painting from a Monday night trip to Hyde Park with Seitrams. The intention was to shoot Winter Wonderland, but we kind of got distracted light painting around the Serpentine and never made it.

This one is shot along the south edge of the lake, with a low mist fogging up the front element. It was creating a neat gas lamp feel around the edge of the frame, so I let it be. That's the strange blur you see in the top left corner - just streetlight on the misted UV filter.

The triceratops (or juvenile torosaurus,if you subscribe to that particular theory) is all hand drawn with a CREE LED, with a sock diffuser. And yes, you can see my legs and anorak behind its forelegs.

We were shooting in this location for maybe an hour, yet it was only when processing I saw the girl sitting on the nbench to the dinosaur's left... Kind of haunting.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week so far!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Hlavné Námestie Christmas Market, Bratislava

Via Flickr:
Quick shot from Bratislava's main square (Hlavné Námestie). I'd hugely recommend its Christmas market. Cheap flights to Vienna generally stop in Bratislava, and it was whilst killing a couple of hours for our flight home that we discovered Bratislava's market. This year we went back and just stayed in Bratislava, and it's a massive favourite over Vienna.

If you enjoy wearing shirts at weekends and "being seen", then I'd suggest Vienna will suit you better. If, however, you like rough and ready over chic commercial, Bratislava might deliver for you.

The market feels much more local, with a much more local crowd in attendance. Everything is cosier and more compact, cramped, lively, rustic and fun. There's a stage with folk dancing, and angels wearing homemade cardboard wings; cut out of supermarket wine boxes and dressed up in cooking foil. All in, it's much more loveable and authentic feeling than the more visited alternatives.

In terms of the shot, there's some in camera banding or noise top left. The 5D MKiii seems to struggle with lowlight blues and it's a pain to fix!

I hope everyone is well. Busy times both at work and weekends have kept me off Flickr for a week or so. It meant I missed the "black" protest to upcoming changes; something I'd like to have been part of. Having been subjected to the (at times compulsory) beta, I can't express without alternating fits of depression and rage quite how horrific, quite how ridiculous, quite how ill thought out the proposed new UI is. I've seen plenty of Flickr tweaks and updates before and, whilst many seemed irrelevant or imperfect, there were none that genuinely vexed or detracted. There's been some big positives recently, like the excellent Flickr app. This new proposed change is utterly barbaric, diminishing "descriptions" and "comments" to a claustrophobic little side bar that stifles and disincentivises any meaningful interaction. If you haven't signed the petition yet, I'd urge you to do so.

Have a fantastic week in any event.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Purple Reign (Lightning Storm Over Bohinj Jezero), Triglav National Park

Via Flickr:
This was my last shot from my Bohinj storm series, as the storm dropped from the mountains onto the far (Ukanc) end of the lake. You can see the rain in the shadows - it was already getting intense. Stood under a tree by the side of the lake in a lightning storm, I decided that retreat was probably the wisest move. Like all survivors, I'm obviously still left wondering if I should instead have shot on. The two distant forks of lightning in this shot were nothing compared to what followed as I raced back to the village through raking walls of rain, buffeted by thunder.

Then again, I am at least here to tell the tale.

The colour is entirely as shot, per my earlier light painting as the storm closed in (see link in comments).

I did Photoshop out the little island I had been light painting on earlier - without a feature on it, it looked distracting and flat. For the rest if the shot, it would have been easy enough to pump the vibrance and contrast, but I've tried to keep it natural and "as shot". With everything boosted it undermined the surprising colour of the storm.

We're back here in April to shoot some more. Might still be some snow around then.

Hope everyone is having an amazing weekend - catching up through the day.