Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Shove Chapel

I have heard about the nightmare that this chapel can be for photographers.  It is an amazing and inspiring location with very little light in the main part of the chapel.  To top it all off there are multiple temperatures of light in the chapel.  I was not the wedding photographer but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a couple pictures.

The stained glass at the back of the church.

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Here is the front.

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Oops.  If you look carefully you can see the organ player peeking around the corner.

Cropping the moon

Last night I took a tripod out back and tried to take an in focus picture of the moon. 

The original picture…

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And a crop…

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I learned that the right equipment is a necessity.  I used the tripod to get a solid base so I could use the live view of the camera and a 10x magnification to get a sharp focus.  I was amazed at 2 things that even with the tripod weighted from below I could still see the camera shake every time I touched the lens to adjust the focus.  I now know why solid tripods are so expensive.  The second amazing part of the night was that when zoomed in on the live view screen I could actually see the moon moving.  It was subtle and slow but I could see movement.  Crazy.


Cropping 90% of the picture out does no go well for any photographer.  The lens that I used was a 28-135 mm lens and the moon was small last night.  If I had a choice and all the money in the world I would have used a 400mm lens with a 2x converter and a very sturdy tripod to get a larger and crisper version of the moon.


At least I am still trying to improve.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Between the lines

While walking with the family this evening I noticed the lines on this bridge.  It is more and more about seeing the world in a different way.  I am realizing that “it” is more about how I am completing my tasks that what I am doing.  Everything with integrity.


Monday, May 17, 2010

A little macro

Tree Blossom

The colors are changing here in Colorado.  This was taken just out in front of my in-laws house.

1 full month

E is just over 1 month old and it has been a full month.  We may be moving soon, he is growing like a weed and I have made a resolution to improve my photography to gain that professional look.


Here is the little man.  He changes every day and sometimes by the hour.


All of these pictures were taken with the natural light of a window.


The one above is one of my favorites.  I love the color and the eyes.  And next is the one is of those cute little feet.  It is amazing how such little feet can melt the heart. 


Friday, May 14, 2010

Floating Hands and Baby Setup

One of the popular pictures lately for newborns black and white with mom holding the baby so it looks like it is floating.   Something like this.  Note I did not take the next picture but I do hope to take something similar.


I played around with a couple lighting setups.  This is the result of the first setup.

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This setup is a flash with a gobo and a dark background.  I also used a large aperture to ensure that the light would not get to the background.  The  lighting was great but a little hard on the left side of the stand.  Here was the setup that I used.

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To soften that light I added a reflector on the left side.  The only problem was that I had to use that stand to hold the reflector so I have a different subject.

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Here is the light that I will be trying to get I have the baby.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Weekend Strobist Setup #2

This is setup #2 that I tried.  I am on my way up. 

First of all conditions were not ideal but I am working with the subjects that I have and respecting their schedule.  I may try another location with them someday.

The biggest issue with this setup was that at 1/250th of a second I could not get rid of all the natural light.  Looking back I should have used a smaller aperture to try to get rid of more of the natural light.


This was the setup.  I used a home made light pole with a cactus trigger and the 580EX II.  I had intended to have the flash setup much farther away but the light was not powerful enough so it was much closer.  If I would have been thinking I would have removed the cactus trigger and used the build in wireless control on my 7D.  I think that the on camera flash would have been powerful enough to reflect off the garage and triggered the 580EXII.


I tried to gel the flash but that did not work very well.  A was very distraught about the red color.  Just kidding he had no idea.  See below


This is the spot of the garage that I used and a sample exposure.


This is one of the final images.  I had a lot of fun jumping with the kids and trying something new.


I still need some help in putting together presentation pictures but I thought I would give it a try.


Lessons learned:

  1. Do this closer to dark so the ambient light can be removed
  2. Modify the cactus receiver so I can use AAA batteries and not the more expensive camera batteries.  The receiver died at the end so I got lucky there.
  3. Get exposure correct in the camera.  Photoshop was tough.

Light Color

When working with a flash a photographer has to watch out for different colors of light.  Light has a color.   That color is measured in degreed Kelvin (K).  Sunlight is a different temperature than florescent light and florescent light is a different color than a flash.  To correct the flash light temperature gels are used.

This is a picture with my camera set to auto white balance.

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The light looks orange.  The next picture I set the color temperature in my camera to incandescent light color temperature.

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The light now looks more balanced and the right color.  Now lets say that I wanted to fill the area around the light with a flash. 

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The light stays mostly the same color but the flash now looks blue.  That because the camera white balance was set to adjust for the incandescent light which “cooled” the temperature of the entire scene.  To get the flash the same color temperature I put a warming gel over the flash.

This last picture was the result.  The light its self looks natural and the flash around the light looks natural as well.

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J and E

My cousin had  a little boy 3 months ago and a couple weekends she and her mother came to the Springs to hang out.

Just a couple pictures from that day.050110 00009050110 00008

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Our dog wanted so badly to chase a rabbit she saw outside the window but she also knew she could not put her paws on the window sill so here was the result!

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Set Up 1 of 3

Yesterday I posted a drawing with a couple setups that I wanted to try this week and weekend. I tried to set up one of these today after work. I also tried one modification.

Here is the result of the first setup. Note the unless otherwise noted these pictures are SOC. (straight out of camera).

I started with 1/250 of a second to block out all of the ambient light. That worked well. Then I added the light with an umbrella and the reflector below to fill in the eyes.

Beauty Light 1

This was the setup for that shot.

Setup 1.1

It was not quite what I wanted because the lights were off the the side and not right in front of the subject. Note the dark shadows on the right side of the face.

I tried again with a slightly modified setup. Move it more in front of the subject and raised the umbrella. Space was very tough. This was its result.

Beauty Light 2

And its setup was...

Setup 1.2

This setup was more along the lines of what I was anticipating because the lights were more on axis than before. That can be seen in the catchlights in the eyes. There is still some darker shadows on the right side of the face. This lighting setup should produce more of an even light on both sides of the face.

I also tried one last setup. I moved the bare flash further away, zoomed it and placed a diffuser between the subject and the light.

Here is the result of that shot.

Distant sunlight

The last setup...

Setup 1.3

I took some pictures tonight! That is my first victory and I tried to do something new. 2 victories in one night!

The above pictures were not exactly what I was going for. I know that it takes practice to get great but I did think that I would have achieved mildly better results.

I think on large factor in the lighting was that I did not have the control of the light I wanted. There is a ceiling very close to the lighting setups in each picture. See the above setups. I think this contributed to the uneven light. Also, I was not getting the light to wrap the face as I wanted. Next time I will have to find a larger venue to try.

I did get out and take some pictures and that is what was most important tonight. Improvement comes with practice and learning how to improve the areas that are weak.

Here are the 2 final results... They were cropped and a slight color adjustment.

Setup 1

Setup 2

The final on this picture is a little hot on the right side.

Day 2

Well day 2 came and went. I had every intention of making a new self portrait but it just was not in the cards last night. In reality I think that a 52 week project would be a better fit with everything that is going on in our lives right now.

Here are a could ideas that I have for some pictures this weekend. 2 setups from the class I attended in Denver and 1 from an online course.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 1

I have resisted long enough. Here is day 1 of my 365 challenge. I will be taking a self portrait everyday for the next year in an effort to better understand lighting and how to work with other subjects. They may not all be posted on the blog but they will all be over at my Flickr account.

Day 1 May 4