Archive For The “Lighting examples” Category
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!
“Look Sharp, Be Sharp, Go Army!”
That was the Army slogan when my dad started his military career back in 1962. He is my stepfather, and I only first met him when I was about 9 or 10 (I forget…), but for all intents and purposes, he is my father…and not just a father, but a dad as well.
He wanted a portrait made of him dressed up with his medals. He said it would be his “last” portrait. He turns 74 next month, but looking at him you wouldn’t know it. He is full of energy and life. He has seen it all and done it all.
So I went over to my parents’ house. He had a banquet to attend later that evening, so I was hoping I could persuade him to go on base (Fort Lee, VA) early, and maybe I could get some shots of him at the Quartermaster museum where his photo and biography now reside, or perhaps at the banquet itself.
He didn’t want to do anything that extravagant, and just wanted a simple picture taken at the house.
Now my parents have a full house. Full of furniture, awards and photos on the walls, etc. The only area of the house where I would remotely be able to setup was their upstairs living room.
Now this upstairs living room as a large window covered only by sliding blinds. Light was leaking through each blind. I did not want to shoot his portrait with blinds in the background…
I didn’t have any backgrounds with me (I don’t own any :-))….But I did have my large reflector. I took the outer shell off and duct taped it to the blinds.
I had to move quite a bit of furniture around to have that cleared off area you can see in this shot. It wasn’t much, but it was enough.
I used two Yongnuo 560 speedlites, each set to 1/2 power. I could have used a single speedlite on full power, but this way I was able to minimize recycle times.
The flashes were mounted together using my Phottix Multi-boom (I love that thing), and were paired with a 60″ reversible umbrella. Yes, the umbrella was collapsed like that during the shoot. It provided more direction and control, and faster light fall off than an open umbrella could provide. As Zack Arias calls it, it’s a “poor man’s softbox”.
I used my Canon 5D II and 50L (what else). For a tight 1/2 length portrait shot with the 50L, I had to get in close. My reflector backing wasn’t wide enough for me to step back and take the shot since the 50L’s field of view was too wide. I didn’t want to get the blinds in the shot and have to get rid of them in post production. I like only having to tweak my photos, not turn them into full blown projects. Get it right in camera (or at least as much as you possibly can).
1/200 Shutter speed
flashes triggered with Pocket Wizard Plus X units.
The resulting shot. I wasn’t a fan of the wrinkled background, but I had to make do with what I had, and it was certainly better than the alternative. As my wife said, it gives the background a little texture so he doesn’t fade away into it. Sometimes….just sometimes she can be right. 😉
For those of you interested in military careers, read on. 🙂
Colonel Clint Hodder is recognized as one of the Quartermaster Corps first officers of his time to dedicate over half of his thirty year military career in research, development, standardization, acquisition, and international interoperability of weapon systems and equipment that enhanced the U.S. Army and its NATO allies during the Cold War era. He improved our Army’s operational capabilities and saved millions of dollars in R+D. For this and much more, Colonel Hodder was made a charter member of the Army acquisitions Corps in 1990.
Born in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania on 14 October 1939. As a distinguished military graduate of ROTC, he was commissioned a Regular Army Officer in the Quartermaster Corps in 1962. His first two years of service were as a Tank Platoon Leader in the 3rd Medium Tank Battalion, 33rd Armor, at Fort Knox Kentucky. Since 1964 he has served in numerous logistical, project management, and research and development assignments throughout his career.
From July 1964 to June 1966 he served as the Assistant Post Quartermaster in Kassel, Germany. In July 1966, he activated and assumed command of Headquarters Company, 26th General Support Group at Fort Lewis, Washington, and subsequently deployed the unit to Tuy Hoa, Republic of Vietnam, in December 1966. During his second tour of Vietnam from June 1970 to June 1971, he served as the Assistant Division Supply Officer, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). During his two tours of duty in Vietnam, he participated in four battle campaigns against the North Vietnamese Army.
He was an Assistant Professor of Military Science at the University of Pennsylvania from 1971 to 1973. From 1974 to 1978 he served in the Lance Missile Project Office, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He was selected to be an exchange officer in the British Army from 1978 to 1980. From 4 September 1980 to 24 June 1983, he commanded the 197th Support Battalion, 197th Infantry Brigade (separate), Fort Benning, Georgia. From 1984 to 1987, he served as the Group Commander and Senior Standardization Representative, U.S. Army Research and Standardized Group, United Kingdom. He commanded the U.S. Army Natick Research Development, and Engineering Center from 22 October 1987 to 22 September 1989. From September 1989 until his retirement from active military service on 1 July 1992, Colonel Hodder was Dean, School of Acquisition Management, and the 15th Commandant, U.S. Army Logistics Management College, Fort Lee, Virginia.
Colonel Hodder has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Dayton, Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Alabama, and is a graduate of the Naval War College, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Defense Systems Management College, the U.S. Army Quartermaster Officer Advance Course, and the Armor Officer Basic Course.
His military decorations include the Legion of Merit (two oak leaf clusters), the Bronze Star Medal (one oak leaf cluster), the Meritorious Service Medal (three oak leaf clusters), the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (two oak leaf clusters), and the Vietnam Honor Medal First Class.
In addition to his military decorations, Colonel Hodder is a charter member of the Army Acquisition Corps, a distinguished member of the Quartermaster Regiment. He is also the recipient of the distinguished Order of St. Martins and a recipient of the General Hastings Award. He is also a 2013 inductee into the Army Quartermaster Hall of Fame.
I’m a big kid…
Plus my son was asleep, so I got to raid his toy box again muahahaha.
I had so much fun shooting the Stargate picture in the last post that I had to do it again….and with my Pocket Rebel 😉
So my setup shot was a little bit different than my first Stargate pic. This time I used two flashes. One behind the gate, blue gelled, set to 1/128th power in a 45 degree Grid. The second was also set to 1/128th power, but on the opposite side of the frame, also blue gelled, bouncing off the white foamcore board for a little fill. Triggered with pocket wizard plus x units. The gate effect was courtesy of cling wrap once again, but this time I wanted it to protrude through the gate like the special effects on the show when the gate is first activated.
The resulting image:
Canon EOS M a.k.a. Ninja Camera
I’ve been playing around with my new toy, the Canon EOS M, “M” standing for mirrorless. I must admit, I don’t think I’ve had this much fun with a camera in quite a while. I giggled like a little school girl… This isn’t a review of this camera per se, but more of a post of why I like it. APS-C sensor, 18MP, hot-shoe, shoots RAW…more autofucus points than my 5D II…all in a smaller body. What’s not to like? It’s like getting Chewbacca in an ewok size…
If you know of this camera, or are googling it now, you’ll come across countless reviews of how crappy this camera is. The autofocus is crap, too slow, no viewfinder, etc.
For those of you, like me, that own a Canon 5D II, you all know the autofocus is crap, but you still love the pictures it can produce. You just need to know your camera’s limitation, and then your creativity with it becomes limitless.
There’s a quote from Albert Einstein I enjoy:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Which is awesome…because I have more creativity than smarts anyhow. 😉
I wanted a camera I could take along wherever I go. (Granted I do that now with my camera bag and 5D II, but it gets cumbersome and heavy after a while.) I also didn’t want to look like a Paparazzi walking around town. I wanted something inconspicuous, and invisible. A Ninja camera*…that’s what I needed…Something that could appear, click click, and then disappear without being seen. *Shurikens not included.
It happens to me all the time…. Something catches my eye, and I want a picture of it. You see people whip out their phones and take a picture. No one thinks anything of it. Now pull out a full-sized DSLR camera, and then you start to get stares. I’ll pull out my DSLR, and someone will comment, “that’s a BIG camera”. I smile back and say, “thank you, I’m compensating.”
I wouldn’t have whipped out my DSLR to take shot of the bar stash at Olive Garden, but with the “Pocket Rebel”, I didn’t give it a second thought about whether I should or shouldn’t. God help me if I find myself at the beach….giggity.
Neither did I give it a second though when I looked around taking pictures of patrons at the bar. No one noticed me or my camera.
I never really used “Live View” on my DSLR. I was used to the viewfinder. With the EOS M, I have no choice but to use Live View since this camera lacks a viewfinder. I thought, at first, that it would be a bit of a learning curve for me to adjust, but I took to it rather quickly. In fact, adding to my “ninja camera” likes, I like being able to take pictures from awkward positions, and being able to use Live View to compose my shots without looking obvious that I’m taking a picture of something (or someone) in particular…(like the nice old couple “gettin’ their drink on” :-))
And what post would this be if my son didn’t make a cameo appearance? 🙂
Street photography seems to be becoming more and more popular, and I see why. Especially with small cameras like the Leica series, Fuji X series, and small mirrorless cameras like the EOS M. I am going to have to hit the streets soon and see what all the fuss is about, and without my DSLR in tow.
And what better way to spend the weekend than to spend it playing with your son and LEGO blocks? OK….he was asleep, and I was playing with the LEGO blocks. He’s still 2…stuff gets built, stuff gets destroyed…..crying ensues….Liem gets in trouble after I tell on him to my wife, and we each go to our respective corners in the room. He gives me smirks and I give him the evil eye (after drying up my tears from him destroying my latest creations).
So while he was napping, I covertly took a LEGO set (well…it’s not LEGO…it’s some bobo brand (Best Locks), but it’s Stargate Officially licensed and “compatible” with LEGO blocks), and set it up. The Stargate series was one of my favorite shows, so I wanted to see if I could recreate a gate scene where the stargate was active. As you can see from the setup shot only one flash was involved.
It was set to 1/64th power, my Canon EOS M was set to ISO 100, and a shutter speed of 1/200s. I wanted to block out as much ambient light as I could considering I had this setup on a bench next to a large window. You’d figure I would have enough sense to shoot this in a dark room…(more imagination than knowledge, right?).
The flash was gelled blue, and with a 45 degree Grid to help keep the light circular. I used cling wrap on the stargate piece to give it some texture when the flash went off so it wasn’t just a pure blue light. the flash was triggered with PocketWizard PlusX units.
snakeheads Jaffa were harmed in the making of this photograph.
My Anniversary Dinner
Today is a special day. For everyone else it’s Thursday, July 18th. For my wife and I, it’s our 5 year wedding anniversary…
And that’s about as special as it gets. 🙂 Today was like any other day for us…. wake up, work, come home, eat, bathe, sleep…rinse and repeat.
So today, my big sister sends me an email:
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!! Hope you get out and do something special today! Love you!
Thanks :-) nothing but work for the both of us today. we get off at 5, pick up Liem, gome home, cook dinner, give him a bath, and go to sleep. no time for anything else lol.
Pizza and a bottle of wine!!!
So I chatted up my wife and we decided pizza sounded like a great idea.
Of course an extravagant dinner such as this needs to be photographed. How often does a 5 year wedding anniversary dinner come around? 🙂
I setup the shot on our dining room table, which is two feet away from a very large window. I didn’t want any ambient light. I wanted to kill it all off, with nothing illuminating the plate except my flash.
Here is a setup diagram of what I did.
Our dining room table is in….well, the dining room. It sits next to a large window. I didn’t want to take any chances of ambient spilling over into the shot, so I used a piece of black foam core to block it out.
I setup a boom with my 580 EX II (set to 1/128th power), with a 45 degree Grid Light Modifier attached to it.
My 5D II, with my trusty 50L was set to f/11, 1/200s shutter speed to kill ambient, and ISO 400 (I forgot to change my ISO settings from a previous shoot…normally I would have done ISO 100….live and learn).
In any case, here is the finished shot. We had a Pizza Hut Dinner Box. My wife’s favorite is pepperoni. My favorite is a some-what veggie pizza…well…it has red onions and green peppers, and tomatoes. Some cheese breadsticks and buffalo wings to top it off….and of course we couldn’t forget the wine. 😉
My wife helped me arrange the food items (ok she did it all on her own because I just kind of threw them on the plate and said “tada”.
If you look carefully at her expertly crafted paper towel “napkin”, the napkin ring is actually our wedding bands. We decided to “upgrade” our wedding bands with Tungsten Carbide bands with inlaid wood (wood is the traditional 5th anniversary gift after all).
The white plate did a pretty good job at bouncing a bit of light back up and illuminating the wine glasses.
I didn’t care about the hard, dark shadows because hey,…it’s our anniversary…and we deserve to be in the spotlight. 😉
I would, at this time, like to tell my wife “Happy Anniversary” to 5 happy years of marriage. I couldn’t have done it without you (Because then I would just be single…and celebrating my singleness? How sad….). I love you sweetheart.
And a big thank you to my big sis. I wouldn’t have had this dinner without you. 😉 Love you sis.
And get my hands dirty?
That’s the response that went through my head when I saw my son’s expression when I told him to smash his cake.
I haven’t posted in a while, and that’s been due to life (Life happens right?). My son turned two during the Fourth of July week. Amidst doing things last minute in decorations for his party, the cake, food, gifts, entertainment, etc….photography was the last thing on my mind. 🙂
My wife once again wanted some smash the cake pictures. I asked her if this is the last year she wanted to do this type of thing. She said “no”. Damn….
So nearly two weeks after his birthday, I finally get around to taking some portraits of my “little man” who’s growing up faster than I realize.
Being uncooperative (comes with the territory of being 2), the usual bribing techniques were employed (gummy fruit snacks). I shudder at the thought of what his “price” will be as he gets older. I can see it now…
<cue fairy-tale dream sequence harp music>
Me: “Hey son, come here and let me shoot a portrait of you.”
Him: “Sure pops….Let me borrow the car this Friday. I’ve got a date.”
Me: (grumbles): “Fine…”
Snaps some shots. Tosses over the keys.
Him: “Thanks pops, now I need some cash for my date.”
Me: “What?! I just gave you the keys. That was your payment.”
Him: “The keys were my sitting fee. The cash is for me granting you rights to put my pictures up on your site for all to see.” *grins*
Damn smart kids….
In one of my earlier posts, I showed my son’s first smash the cake photos, along with a lighting diagram and a behind-the-scenes shot of my setup. During that shoot, I used 5 foam core boards, a 48″ octabox, and a rented 70-200 f/2.8 IS II lens. I was curious as to whether I could do it with less than ideal variables. In other words…less space to work with, and a 50mm lens…..I know I’m going to be cursing….
This time, instead of using a softbox like last time, I wanted to try a 22″ beauty dish. Since my mini me is growing up, I wanted something a little harsher and edgier than the soft light of a softbox.
This is a two light setup as you can see from the diagram. I used a Yongnuo 560 on 1/2 power with a 22-Inch Beauty Dish. The dish was positioned just off-center to my camera, and in front.
My framing in the viewfinder looked great….Well, the 5D II’s damn 98% viewfinder looked great that is….Until I went to process the photo and noticed a corner of the picture had part of the damn light stand in it. 🙂
My second flash was my Canon 580 EX II at 1/16th power on a boom arm set to go nuclear on the foam core background. I used a rogue flashbender as a flag to prevent too much spill from the flash hitting my son. Some stil did anyway.
Both flashes triggered with my Phottix Odins.
I really do wish I would have used more foam core boards lol. I only used two, and that made for some tight framing. Even then, trying to frame something “tight” with a 50mm lens isn’t ideal…but then, that’s what I was trying to go for…see if I could do a shoot similar to my son’s first smash the cake, but overcoming some obstacles (granted they were self-inflicted…I’m a glutton for punishment as my wife puts it).
As you can see, I didn’t have much room to work with. If I remember correctly, the foamcore boards are only like 30″x40″. Consider that my son is almost 37″ tall. 🙂
I didn’t use a tripod with his first smash the cake shot, but I wanted to with this one so I would have consistent framing.
So….in the end, I tell my son to smash the cake, and he gives me this look…..
Are you kidding??? I couldn’t have had him fake that expression even if I had a 5lbs bag of gummi bears. It’s shots like this that fuel my love of photography.
A few more edits.
My son doing his “Wreck It Ralph” impersonation…..Looks more like Bam Bam from the Flinstones if you ask me. 🙂
And success on a smashed cake!
Disclaimer: My son still did not want to cooperate and get all messy, so gummy snacks were recruited (drafted…they did not want to go willingly) to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, covertly hidden within the confines of the sweet, tasty, creamy prison that is called “cake”. Once we told our son that gummies were seeking refuge in the cake, he went forth and liberated them from their icing prison…and into his mouth. We lost a lot of good gummies that day….
<moment of silence>……..burp.
One light Portrait
Some of my wife’s family was passing through from Florida on their way up to Syracuse, New York. You may remember me mentioning my house is a modest 1,200sq ft, leaving me little room if I wanted to use any space at all as a make-shift “studio”.
Now imagine fitting 7 extra people in that house….needless to say, our house started to look like an amusement park with all of the inflatable mattresses :-).
My wife’s uncle wanted a family portrait he could get printed on a canvas. Luckily Groupon still had a Canvas on Demand special going on (I love that company, and it shows…..I have 6 canvases hanging in my house, with many other canvases I purchased that have been given away as gifts).
Anyway….back to the group portrait. They wanted to take a picture outside because it was nice and sunny. Harsh sunlight sucks…. It brings out harsh, dark shadows, makes people squint, and then everyone looks asian (no offense to anyone…I’m half asian myself :-)).
We found a somewhat shaded area under a tree. Looking at the photo, you can tell that I need to fire my landscaper (me). The photo was taken at 1PM, so the sun was in full force. I couldn’t take it later in the evening because they needed to pack up and leave for the remainder of their trip up to New York.
I knew I would need some power. Unfortunately, all I use are small speedlites. Competing against the sun with AA battery powered speedlites is like trying to race a Maserati with a Pinto…with a flat tire…
Instead of relying solely on my single 580 EX II, I opted for two of my Yongnuo YN-560s.
(If you haven’t tried these Yongnuo flashes yet, give them a chance. they are excellent for the price…considering 1 580 EX II will set you back $400, and with that same amount of cash, you could buy 6 Yongnuo flashes). I used two since competing with an already bright sun, and in addition using a 60″ shoot-through umbrella, I knew I was going to be eating up much needed light.
I set both speedlites to 1/2 power (basically getting the power of 1 flash on full power, but getting a faster recycle time, and saving my flashes from overheating).
I mounted my two flashes with my Phottix Multi-boom, and then mounted the umbrella. The light stand was about 7-7.5 feet high, with the umbrella pointed down at about a 45 degree angle.
Without using a lightmeter, I can typically get to the exposure I want after a few test shots.
I ended up shooting at f/7.1 as I wanted a wider depth of field so everyone was in focus.
1/160s shutter speed
A little bit of sharpening, and a little tweaking on color temperature, (I also enhanced the greens to make the vegetation look alive and healthy because….let’s face it….I suck at keeping my yard healthy. My yard looks like Luke Skywalker’s home planet….only more lifeless).
In the end, we have one happy family portrait.
no highlights were blown (or harmed) in the making of this photograph.
My wife and I talk all the time ( wow right? what kind of married couple are we?!?). As I mentioned in my first post, I’m not a big fan of snapshots, otherwise I would have stuck with a point and shoot camera. I like being able to come up with an idea, and try to visualize it for a shoot. Sometimes….I get “writer’s block”.
It just so happens during our talk, we were discussing ideas for our son’s next set of pictures. We got side-tracked and started talking about movies. My wife mentioned Risky Business, and the scene with Tom Cruise dancing around in a white dress shirt, underwear, and socks. She thought it would be cute if our son re-enacted that scene (at least as much as a rambunctious 23 month old can anyway).
So while my wife searched for suitable attire, I went to work to quickly try and setup my gear. I ended up using 3 speedlites (2 bare, 1 in a softbox). I probably could have gotten away with just the one main speedlite. Anyway, I took a few test shots to get my exposure right, and settled on f/8, 1/160s, ISO 100.
My setup was like so:
The 580 EX II was in a 28″ softbox overhead, at about a 45 degree angle pointing down. This was possible thanks to the Phottix Multi-boom Flash Bracket.
Power was set to 1/2.
The two side lights were set to 1/128th power with the built-in wide angle diffuser, so they were barely producing any light at all (hence why I said I might have been able to get away with just the one light, but I didn’t test that theory, so oh well).
All 3 flashes were controlled through my Phottix Odins.
My “studio” for this particular session was our hallway.
Now…I don’t know how people get these young actors and actresses to understand, comprehend, and then act how they are told or scripted. My son seems to just “wing” it. In other words….he does what he wants to do. I tried taking some shots of him standing up, dancing around in his outfit, but he didn’t want anything to do with it….
My wife and I are not above bribing our son to get him to do what we want 🙂 Our weapon of choice for that particular “battle”……gummi snacks!
You can see bribing evidence if you look closely at his right hand in this first shot.
We were finally able to get him to settle down and sit in his chair (the same chair I took his “Sweet Dreams” picture with). So technically it’s not re-enacting a Risky Business scene….I guess it’s Risky Business “inspired”.
Post-processing involved a bit of sharpening, vignette, and a little white balance tweaking. I do (or try to do) all of my post-processing in Lightroom. I find the flow a lot easier than trying to work in Photoshop…..I don’t know what the hell half the stuff does in Photoshop. It’s like owning a Ferrari and never going above second gear…