Saturday, October 23, 2010

Something a Little Different

I shot the picture below yesterday as a part of my 365 project.


The first thing Jen said upon viewing the image was, "that doesn't even look like a picture you would take". Perfect. Mission accomplished. I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone, something a little different.

For this shot I stuck a 24 inch soft box behind, slightly above and very close to my subject. Then I cranked up the power on the flash all the way - full power! This gave me f/32 on the far side of the flower. The camera was at f/8. My flash is three stops over my camera settings! This produced a really cool wash of light, perhaps even mirroring a blast of sunlight from a window. I actually experimented with bringing my flash more in line with my camera settings but it didn't have the same impact and it certainly did not match the vision I had in my head. The final touch was to flip the white balance to tungsten in post to give the image that pale blue shade.

Keep shooting.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Difference of One Light...

I did some fun portrait shots for Jen the other night. She was using a default graphic for her Twitter profile, which I felt needed to change. So I set up the gear, we gathered up some props and set about having some fun getting some new shots for her profile.

For this shoot I decided to use a shoot through umbrella straight on for the main light, fill (one to two stops below main) on the left, again, another shoot through umbrella, a hair light and a snooted light for a highlight on the background. All the lights were Canon 580EX IIs triggered with Pocketwizard. It's a pretty straight forward set up that yields quite good results.

As the shoot progressed we goofed around more with various props for no other reason then to see what we could create. It was fun. I was reviewing the shots quickly on my camera's LCD from time to time as we shot but I didn't have time to pull them up on the computer. We had another engagement that night so we had to move quick. I reviewed the pictures later that night. There were many really great shots from the session, however, my absolute favourite had a little piece missing. Below, on the left is the flawed favourite and on the right is my number two selection, which, by default became my number one.


Other than the slight difference in composition, the one on the left is missing the hair light. The hair light did not fire. It is a shame because everything else in that shot was perfect. The hair/rim light adds such a nice finishing touch to the portrait. The beautiful highlights in the hair and along the arm and shoulder - it brings a bit more spark to the image and nicely separates Jen from the background. *sigh* At least I got a good visual reference on the difference that one light can make in the overall aesthetic of an image.

Keep shooting.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pursue Your Passion

I caught a two hour presentation by Dr. Wayne Lynch on Sunday night at the conclusion of the 2010 Digital Expo in Calgary. It was a tiny glimpse in to a three decade career in nature and wildlife photography.

Dr. Lynch shared many amazing stories and incredible images. He has been on every continent and it was astounding to see all the places he had been in pursuit of his passion. And make no mistake about it, it truly is his passion. From the very beginning of his presentation you immediately knew this man was passionate about the natural world and all the critters in it.

It was inspirational to hear his story of starting a career as an emergency physician but realizing early on that it truly did not make him happy. And with that realization he began an amazing adventure that shows no signs of slowing down. Pursuing one's passion in life is something that most of us dream about but sadly too few of us do.

Pursue your passion.