Archive For The “Lighting examples” Category
It’s my Super Son.
It’s been a few months since my last post. I’ve been busy with my real job, which involved some travelling this Summer.
Anyway, we were visiting our friends in North Carolina. They just moved into their new house, as well as having a new child. So of course the wife needed to go see the baby, ooh and aah over the baby…. let the baby unload in her diaper at full force (more powerful than a locomotive) while she was holding her…. You get the idea.
Every time we go to visit, we always end up at this shopping area. It’s a beautiful area, but the one thing that always caught my eye were these old red telephone booths. Every time I’d see them, I’d say to myself “I’m going to get that into a shot.” And every time we would not have time.
This last visit was going to be different. I was bound and determined to get my shot.
We ran out of time. DAMN… it wasn’t any different…
Hell with it…on our way home, I made a slight detour, and headed back to that shopping area.
Normally in my posts, I have a diagram showing where my lights were, my subject placement, etc. I figure I would spice things up a bit, especially since one of my test shots just happens to incorporate everything I would in a diagram. 🙂
So here we go.
Of course when we got there, it was already noon. The sun was blaring overhead with harsh shadows. Luckily the side I was shooting on was getting blocked by the phone booth, so my son was in the shade. My wife was my voice activated light stand.
Crouching down so I was down to my son’s height didn’t quite work for me. It didn’t give off that super hero vibe.
So I got down on the ground. Literally… I was laying on the ground. I got up close and personal with a cigarette butt, some chewed up gum, and ants… Lots of ants…
I think my son is finally getting the hang of when I say “Strike a pose!”
It was a really fast shoot. I think I took maybe 20-25 shots total. In and out. Faster than a speeding bullet you might say…
It seems like life never slows down for the parent of a 4 year old…
Every weekend we have something planned or something going on. A family get-together, playdates, projects, etc. This upcoming Mother’s Day weekend is no different.
However, this is the first Mother’s Day where my family and I won’t actually be at home. We will be going up to Washington D.C. for a 4 day (well, 3.5 since we’re not technically leaving until this afternoon) weekend. My son loves the National Zoo as well as the Museum of Natural History.
I didn’t want to leave the mothers in my life empty-handed this weekend, so last night, after getting home late from running errands, getting my son a haircut, grabbing a bite to eat, and maybe a little shopping… I did a rather quick little photoshoot. I’ve got to give it to my son. He behaved EXTREMELY well, and very cooperative during this process, even though I know he was tired and ready for bed.
My wife had bought me a roll of 53″ thunder grey seamless paper for Father’s Day (a bit early). I figured this was as good a time as any to break it out and give it a try. I also eyeballed a nice wooden crate last time we were at Walmart. She was kind enough to run out after work and pick one up for me. 🙂
The costume I picked up on Amazon. It was the cutest outfit ever. The newspaper I created from a template I found on the internet. If you are able to zoom into the photo, you can actually read the stories I typed up. I didn’t feel right just putting random text on the page.
I think after setting up and after taking pictures, the whole process maybe took 10 minutes altogether. To me, that was extremely quick, especially considering working with a child lol.
Setup was pretty simple. I sat the crate and my child on the seamless. My wife was my voice activated lightstand for the speedlite behind, and to camera left. I had another speedlite in a 28″ softbox slightly to camera right. You can see the diagram for more technical info.
I took maybe 20 photos, and due to it being late already, I only processed a few of them. I wanted the photos to have a vintage feel, kind of like how the colors looked on old LIFE magazines. Processing them with perfectly balanced color just didn’t give them the same feel in my opinion.
Here are a couple of the resulting shots.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you ladies that put up not only with all of your children’s crap, but your significant other’s as well. 🙂
“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” —Abraham Lincoln
“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” —Abraham Lincoln
“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” —George Washington
“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” ―Washington Irving
St. Valentine’s Day
So one of the best days of the year for people in love, florists, and probably the local dentist offices. But does anyone think of diabetics and those that are lactose intolerant? that’s gotta be a pretty bitter and crappy day for them. 🙂
In the United States, about 190 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, not including the hundreds of millions of cards school children exchange. Additionally, in recent decades Valentine’s Day has become increasingly commercialized and a popular gift-giving event, with Valentine’s Day themed advertisements encouraging spending on loved ones. In fact, in the United States alone, the average valentine’s spending has increased every year, from $108 a person in 2010 to $131 in 2013.
My wife doesn’t wear much jewelry at all, which tends to play in my favor monetarily…. Well, not really. The money just ends up getting spent on the child….spoiled brat…
I’ve gotten her all sorts of jewelry over the years…rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings. She’s just not big on jewelry. Same with flowers. They are fine and dandy, but you can blow a nice chunk of change on a bouquet, and they last maybe a week? My go to holiday gift (that’s not Christmas or birthday) is usually a nice, big box of chocolate covered strawberries, or some other type of edible arrangement. It’s especially devious sending it to her place of work, and hearing about how all of the other women at the office are green with envy lol. What can I say… I’m an awesome husband.
So the other day, I realized Valentine’s Day was a week away. I wanted to do a little themed shoot with Liem since, well, he’s freakin’ adorable, photogenic, and if I can catch him in the right mood, easy to capture his personality in pictures.
So, I took the little man, picked out a nice button up shirt, pair of jeans, and my red tie. My wife prepped him with lipstick kisses all over his face.
I set him up in my home “studio”. If you’ve followed some of my other posts so far, you know I try to utilize small spaces around the house as my studio. This shoot was no different.
This time, instead of a bare wall, I setup right in front of the front door. I have a black piece of fabric I’ve had for, I don’t know… 4 or more years. I think I actually bought it when Liem was born so I could do one of those cheesy, overdone hands holding the baby’s feet shots.
Here is a “behind the scenes” pic of my setup. Please excuse the crappy camera phone pic.
Here is a more technical layout.
I had a bare speedlite up and to camera left behind my son to throw some light on his hair. I used my Streaklight 360 (I love this freakin’ light) in a 28″ umbrella softbox to camera right.
And for all of the 30 minutes I took planning, getting him setup, and shooting a few pictures (I think I only took a total of 12-15 photos), it didn’t turn out too bad.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Happy New Year and warm wishes to all.
My son can’t quite handle his sparkling apple cider…poor little guy. 😉
One of my favorite photos of my son is the “Sweet Dreams” picture I took of him when he was 14 months old. I thought an “updated” photo using the same chair and lamp was in order as he is growing up. 🙂
I took a different approach than the sweet, innocent, sleeping child. With New Year upon us, I thought a light-hearted photo of him passed out from too much apple juice would do nicely.
The dollar store provided pretty much all I needed for props. the pile of confetti, hat, plastic wine glass, etc. were all $1 each or less.
My son has upped his fees for the new year. I used to be able to get away with gummi snacks to get him to cooperate. This time he asked for Hershey Kisses. I guess cost of living affects everyone. 😉
56mm @ f/8
The future has finally arrived.
I grew up watching those movies. the one thing I wanted more than anything was a hoverboard (I mean come on… who doesn’t!?).
So today is officially the day Marty and Doc travelled to the future. Flying cars, Pepsi Perfect, Nike high tops with power laces, and Jaws 19 (in 3D), not to mention the Chicago Cubs win the World Series.
I feel like I’ve been in a rut. I feel like I have no time to relax. No time to get creative. No. Time. Period. I needed to get out and do SOMETHING. Back to the Future Day snuck up on me. I had idea in my head for some time, just never got around to executing it, and the clock was ticking.
I knew that this year marked the 30th anniversary of the Back to the Future movie franchise. For some time now (with the help of my wife), I had been slowly piecing together a Marty McFly outfit for my son. It all started when we were at a Kid Exchange event (yeah no…I wasn’t able to exchange my son…it was only for clothes, toys, etc.). Whilst searching for clothes, I came across a vest.
A little holiday decorating fun
It’s been a while since my last post. Life seems to get in the way of all the fun!
Last year for our holiday cards, I thought it would be neat to have a fun picture on it…not the usual stand, pose, and smile for the camera. Well of course by doing that I set a precedence that my wife has decided should be done every year!
Fast forward to December 2014… Here it is, middle of the month, already halfway to Christmas, and we JUST now get our tree (a real Fraser fur…because fake trees just won’t do anymore). Needless to say I hadn’t even thought about any ideas for a photo.
Well….since we just got the tree, it needs to be decorated.
We decided to put the tree in our dining room near the window. I didn’t want a plain picture of us decorating. It needed to be fun!
I pictured my wife putting decorations on the tree, with my son helping. I, being the
neglectful forgetful dad, seems to find whatever I’m looking at on my tablet much more interesting than realizing my son’s mischievous antics on trying to climb up to put the star on the tree.
The setup for this shot were 2 manual speedlites on a Phottix multi-boom, with a Phottix 36″ double folding umbrella as the light modifier. The lighting diagram should be pretty much self explanatory.
The photo was taken in 2 shots. The first shot involved my son’s balancing acrobatics of standing on Christmas decoration boxes in his attempt to put the star on the tree. In reality he was standing on a step stool, with my wife holding him from behind the tree so he didn’t fall. The second shot was of myself and my wife. The two shots were blended in Photoshop. I processed it with a slight vintage feel and vignette.
Wishing you a Happy Holidays to you and your family from mine!
And one of them is living in my house.
Any of you reading this that have kids have surely already heard of the BoxTrolls movie that’s coming out on 9/26/14. If not, take a peak here: http://boxtrolls.com/
It looks to be a cute movie done in the old school stop-motion style animation, inspired by the book “Here Be Monsters” by Alan Snow. The plot (as copied from Wikipedia):
The film tells the story of an orphaned boy named Eggs who was raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collecting trolls called the Boxtrolls. The Boxtrolls are targeted by an evil exterminator named Archibald Snatcher and Eggs has to save his family from Snatcher.
As a way to promote interest in the upcoming movie, Amazon is holding a costume contest where you have to use either an Amazon box, or an unbranded box to make a Boxtroll costume.
I order so much stuff from Amazon as it is (personal and work). Especially with Prime 2 day shipping? It can be addicting…but I’m not addicted…I can stop whenever I want. 😉
Needless to say I had plenty of boxes to work with…
Contest details can be found here: Boxtroll Contest
Once again, my son Liem was my model. It only took 1 bag of gummi bears to persuade him. 🙂
We drove to Old Towne Petersburg (Virginia). It’s an area rich in history, with no shortage of old abandoned buildings. I wanted a old brick background for the shot. I didn’t want a paved or concrete parking lot, or sidewalk either. Looking at screen shots of the movie (as well as the movie poster), it’s a turn of the century setting, with old cobblestone roads. That’s what I wanted, and luckily, Old Towne Petersburg had just that.
Here is a little diagram of the shot:
My wife was my voice activated light stand. I set her up with a monopod outfitted with a Phottix multi-boom, 2 Yongnuo yn560 flashes set to 1/2 power, shooting through a Phottix double folding 36″ umbrella. Both flashes at 1/2 power equaled 1 flash at full power, but faster recycling.
I really wish I would have taken a picture of the setup, but in my haste, I forgot. I would say my wife was holding the umbrella at about a 45 degree angle 3 feet above my son’s head, at roughly 4 feet away.
The sync speed of the Fuji is only 1/180th of a second. Even though it was evening, the sun was still out, so I used the sync speed to try and kill as much of the ambient as I could.
My Fuji X-T1 was set to ISO 200, and I was using the Fuji XF 56mm f/1.2 lens @ f/5.6.
The resulting shot:
As for his costume, I purchased welding goggles and the aviator hat off Amazon for around $5-6 each. I already had plenty of boxes. Amazon was kind enough to provide a download PDF of the labels, which I printed and glued to the boxes. I used black spray paint to make the boxes look beat up. I taped bits and pieces of “junk” to the goggles. The lamp he’s holding is a battery powered LED lamp.
Looks like my photo was not worthy enough to be one of the finalist in the Amazon contest. Oh well. I still had a good time with the shoot. 🙂
Phottix has once again chosen one of my photos for their photo of the week! That’s 3 times now.
By one “Hot” Daddy
According to eMedicineHeath.com:
When to Seek Medical Care
When to call or see the doctor
A fever has many possible causes. Most commonly, a fever is part of a viral infection that will go away on its own. However, there are some reasons to be concerned or worried about a fever; do not hesitate to call or see a doctor for any high fevers.
- Call the doctor if any of these conditions exists.
- If the temperature is 103 F (39.4 C) or greater
- If the fever lasts more than seven days
- If the fever symptoms get worse
You can probably imagine how my weekend went… (Actually midweek through the weekend). Brain exploding migraines, being able to cook off my forehead, and seeing the world like it’s constantly swaying back and forth like a ship. I felt like I was on the S.S. Minnow with Gilligan at the helm…only without the hotnesses of Mary Ann and Ginger to console me…When I took my temperature Wednesday afternoon (and several more times after seeing the results), I decided it might be time to see a doctor lol. I drove myself, and miraculously didn’t kill anyone (or me) in the process. The doctors ran tests, drew some blood, and came up empty handed….Awesome. Well, I figured, if I was going to go by way of a new virus, I’d have it named after me ;-).
Apparently I read some people get delusional, hysterical, lethargical, etc….a lot of “al” words. I’m pretty sure for the most part I was lucid and coherent….well, as much as I am on a normal basis anyway. My wife commented that whenever I get sick, I’m always quiet. I never whine or complain, so when I was grasping my skull with tears in my eyes from the monstrous migraines that fever was giving me….she could tell I was really hurting.
In any case, Saturday rolls around, and I don’t know if maybe it was the antibiotics the confused doctors threw at me, or perhaps the alternating of large doses of Tylenol and Motrin, or if the virus finally got a good look at my head and had second thoughts on further invasion plans….but my fever broke. It still hovered from 100-102, but compared to 104.7, It was like making a miraculous recovery in my book.
I hadn’t taken any artsy photos of my son in a while…and it was due to working, tiredness, laziness, and being….well, a dad. I was determined to get out and get some shots…even if it killed me lol. I figured fresh air would do me good.
I always wanted to do a shot with my son with a “Huckleberry” type theme. The image in my head (whether during a lucid moment during my head’s revolt with viral reinforcements, or a hallucination), I always wanted to do was a setting with him in overalls, standing on a wooden raft in a stream. Unfortunately with him just getting ready to turn 3 years old on the 3rd, that one got vetoed by myself AND my wife.
I instead settled on a country woods theme.
Setup shot below. I used two Yongnuo flashes inside of a 28″ softbox mounted with a Phottix Multi-boom.
The photos were taken with the Fuji X-T1 and 56mm lens with a two stop ND filter, shooting at f/1.2, ISO 200, 180/s shutter speed, in RAW.
The resulting shots. My son was a “willing” participant. It only took him 2 packs of gummy snacks, and a bag of Cheetos to “convince” him to play long. Of course during the shoot he was having a good ol’ time with the harmonica and was moving around to his tunes. I’m lucky I got the shots I did.
Disclaimer: No woodland animals were harmed in the making of these photographs…..but many….many…..MANY mosquitos met an untimely death. My son and I have the battle scars to prove it.
Update 7/11/14: Looks like Phottix Journal liked one of these enough to make it their Weekly Photo. 🙂
One from this series also won People’s Choice on Viewbug.com, and was selected out of 3,299 other submissions. Yay. The contests on Viewbug.com are voted on by members. The top voted images then become finalist. a Panel of judges then picks the “Grand Jury Winner”. The “People’s Choice” winner is the photograph that received the most votes by members.
Duke Gardens Misadventures
It’s been forever since my last post.
So my family and I spent this past weekend with some friends in North Carolina. We went back to Duke Gardens because it’s beautiful, full of lush well-maintained landscapes, beautiful flowers, and neatly cut grass…in other words, the exact opposite of our yard back home.
This past week I literally sold off all of my Canon gear (well…the one Canon camera body, one Canon flash, and one lens I owned). If I was smart, I would have at least waited until after this past weekend to sell my gear so I would have everything I needed to take some portraits at the gardens.
Well I wasn’t (smart), so I didn’t have my fancy “full frame” camera and my Canon “L” lens with a 1.2 aperture. To be honest, I was tired of lugging it around. I was bored. I needed a change. You shouldn’t get bored with a hobby….then it’s no longer a hobby. It’s a chore. All I had was my Canon EOS M “pocket rebel”.
Anyway…back on track… My wife wanted some more family pictures. Unfortunately on this post there will not be any family pictures of us. My little EOS M didn’t have a remote shutter, so I was left setting a self timer and running back and forth from behind the camera to my wife and son to get in the picture. Needless to say I looked either like a blur, or out of breath from running back and forth. Those pictures have been doomed to the recycling bin.
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from the pocket rebel as far as portraits. Granted it uses the same sensor and tech as some of Canon’s other DSLR offerings, but I had mainly only used it for quick pics when a sh*tty cell phone pic won’t do. I was about to find out…
My setup for these shots was pretty simple; a single light source (apart from the getting hotter by the minute Sun), a light stand/boom, a 60″ umbrella, and a couple of flashes.
I had each Yongnuo YN560 flash set to 1/8 power, effectively giving me the equivalent of a single flash on 1/4 power, but with faster recycling times. The Sun was behind the subjects, so I didn’t have to worry about squinty eyes or harsh shadows. The pocket rebel had a 22mm lens (35mm equivalent) set to f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/160s shutter speed.
Meet the Growing Pearsons. One of my wife’s best friends, who’s husband is also a photo hobbyist like myself, and daughter whom my son is in love with lol.
The gardens were crowded, and I can’t blame anyone for wanting to be outside. It was a beautiful day. There were on-lookers standing around looking at what was going on. Some of which had big DSLRs with rather long lenses. Needless to say I heard some giggles and saw lots of smiles. I can only assume they were laughing at my choice of camera. Whatever.
Next up were the kiddies…
My son likes hamming it up for the camera…
And a big flirt…
That’s my boy. 😉
So we packed up all of our stuff and went onward looking for another spot for a photo op.
Finally we needed a break. Hauling everything around was laborious, not to mention two toddlers in tow in the sweltering heat.
My brush with the “Law”
I setup to take some shots there, but within minutes, a Duke Gardens Rent-a-Cop (or so I now call her) raced over to where we were shooting. I mean man…she must have been going a full 8 miles per hour in that golf cart. The only thing that would have been more impressive is if she would have pulled up in a Segway a la Paul Blart. She asked whether I had a permit to take pictures. I was polite and told her I was taking family pictures (of course as I’m saying this, I’m doing a one-legged balancing act off a flower pot so I could get a shot of my wife and son looking up at me. In any case, she explained to me there are portrait policies at the gardens. I could either get a 1 day pass for $100, or become a member photographer for the paltry sum of $450 for the year. 😮
After my stern talking to, she said she would overlook this “incident”. Two minutes later as I’m packing up, she comes whizzing back, eyeballing me as she’s driving by to make sure I’m packing up all my lighting gear.
I decided to employ another tactic…
A big umbrella and a light stand would just be a dead giveaway. However, people use flashes, and people use monopods. I decided to make a “flash on a stick”. I took my monopod, attached a single flash, and a 45 degree grid. I could carry and hold it in one hand while shooting with the other. Quick and easy.
We again wandered around until we found a semi-secluded path. The bright sun was in full force, but the trees were hampering its plans to wash out my shot. There were still people walking around admiring the foliage, but the paths didn’t look large enough to accommodate Robocop’s speed wagon.
Both shots taken with a single, gridded flash set to 1/2 power on a monopod.
I can’t blame Duke Gardens’ staff for scolding me. I should have done my research as to what is permitted in the gardens as far as photography is concerned. I didn’t think twice since we had already ventured out there once last year. I now know better (and better places to hide and boldly go where no golf cart has gone before).
Out from behind the lens
#9. 30,000 family photos neatly categorized in Lightroom. Zero photos of you.
That’s pretty much sums it up. I have thousands of family photographs. Parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, my wife, my son, you name it….and nada of yours truly. Aside from some family portraits we had done at JC Penny’s over a year and a half ago (it’s rather cute how they never touch the camera or light settings there…everything is already pre-programmed. All they have to do is press the shutter), there hasn’t really been any family photographs where I was in the picture. This troubled my wife. She said something along the lines of looking like a single parent because it was always just her and my son. I was always behind the camera….She was right….(sshhhhh!).
So while we went to North Carolina to visit some friends (back from my Shooting from the hip post), we also went to Duke Gardens. My wife was adamant that we were going to get some family pictures. It was an ultimatum of sorts. Well… I puffed out my chest, looked her straight in the eye and said:
One thing I realized….Duke Gardens is quite a walk. The temperature was also nice and toasty (it was noon). I had my camera bag and my bag with light stands and modifiers. By the time we found a nice place to take a couple snapshots, I was hot and sweaty. Needless to say, I could have used a mule…but I was the only jackass around. 🙂
So as I mentioned earlier, it was noon…bright, blistering heat shining down on us. I may be half Asian, but I didn’t want our family pictures to be squinty-eyed from the bright sun. We found a shaded area near a pond, and I started setting everything up.
I used 2 yongnuo flashes, paired up with my Phottix multi-boom on a light stand. I had the flashes set to 1/2 power each, mounted to a 60″ shoot-through umbrella. Triggered with Pocket Wizard Plus X units.
I had a wireless shutter system plugged into my camera, with the remote in my hand. I had pre-focused, and then turned off automatic focusing. Granted if we moved a lot, we wouldn’t be in focus…
My camera was on a tripod (I hate tripods…) that had one leg sitting in the pond.
By the way….whenever you go into a department store and see those free umbrella bags at the entrance, grab a few. They work great as tripod leg covers when you need to use your tripod in and around water! 🙂
So here we are….me and my better half. I should have worn better jeans….Notice the sweat stain on my shirt from the aforementioned heat.
And of course one with our son, Liem, getting a surprise sneak kiss/squish attack!