Monday, September 17, 2012

I Love Bikes!

Have I mentioned that before? That I love bikes? I am sure I have, heck, I probably have another post with the same title somewhere in the archives.

I really do love bikes. Not just any bike though, it's the vintage looking ones that I really dig. The ones that look like they have been ridden for 30, 40, maybe 50 years and have faithfully carried their owners through it all.

The problem with shooting bikes on the streets is that they are usually surrounded by a whole bunch of elements that I don't want in the frame. The challenge is to capture as much as the bike as possible while leaving out the undesirable elements. Sometimes that means making shots like this.


Even though I am shooting right through a bike rack the frame still captures the essence of a cool ride bathed in late day light. And, really, that is all I'm after. Capturing these two wheeled beauties in their natural element.

Keep shooting.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Back on the Street...

It's been a long while but tonight I got back out on the streets of downtown Calgary for some night shots. I really love shooting in the city at night, it is one of my favourite photographic activities.

When I hit the streets I had a few targets in mind but I didn't get two blocks from my home before I found something interesting to shoot.


I love bikes, especially old, vintage looking ones and this one was perfect. It wasn't in the optimum spot though. There were a lot of elements in the scene I didn't care for and I did what I could to frame them out of the picture. I used a single flash just out of the frame on camera right to rake some light across the front.

Less than a block from the bike I found another scene I liked.


It was good to be back on the street.

Keep shooting.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On Camera Flash = Good Picture? Really?


Looks like a pretty good shot, no? Pretty nice light, certainly not at all harsh. A fairly hard shadow underneath noses and chins but nothing too crazy. It doesn't seem like something that could be done with on camera flash but it was.

It was our last night of our Okanagan camping vacation and Jen and I were enjoying an absolutely beautiful late summer evening down by the lake. The sun was setting and the light was incredible. I never seem to remember just how quickly a sunset fades until I'm trying to make a picture. Sunset's move fast. Really fast. I set up my gear as fast as I could but I almost entirely missed the amazing red light that was washing over the sand and the water.

The set up for the shot was really simple. Camera on a tripod with a 580EX II flash in the hot shoe. PocketWizard with a shutter release cable connected to the camera and a PocketWizard in my hand. Focus on Jen, tell her not to move and switch the camera to manual focus. Adjust the exposure, take a few test shots and then step in to the picture and push the button on the PocketWizard in my hand.

My secret ingredient for better light with on camera flash? The Lastolite Ezybox Speed-lite. This little puppy is very well constructed (like most everything Lastolite) and it pumps out really good light. Even when you punch the light straight at your subject like I did, it still manages to make it look like you didn't. And, because it's small, it takes up next to no room in your pack and you can use it for even more exciting stuff like the shot below.


The Ezybox Speed-Lite comes with two layers of diffusion to make the light extra creamy. In most cases, including the shot at the top, I only used the outer most diffusion layer. I did so to put less stress on my flash as I was shooting at f/8 and I had a 1/4 CTO gel on the flash head, which also eats about 1/2 stop of light.

The Ezybox Speed-Lite has become my favourite, new light modifier. Check it out and keep shooting.