Monthly Archives: September 2014

Sept 2014 – mistakes were made!

After a couple of days to process through in my head what happened on shoot day (Saturday)  I have finally come to the point where I can be happy for the oportunity to learn from my mistake.  While still spending countless hours trying to fix images that are unlikely fixable I have processed most of the stages of greif.
1 Denial – everything is fine.  That will work I can fix it in post :p
2 Anger – at circumstance (light weather etc.) At myself.  At my gear.  At the unknown factors of fate that failed to align for that magical moment…
3 Bargaining – maybe I can take it again.  I dont have to publish this month.  If only I had more lights…
4  Depression – which I will call sadness in this case cause really my life is pretty full of rejoicing so having a bad shoot can’t really lead to the deep depression of grief for me.  But still I was feeling pretty upset and insecure.  Full of sadness and regret.
5 Acceptance – here I have arrived to share with all of you. 

I am well aware of a number of things that I will change for the next shoot. 
My lense choice my lighting (more on that later) my itchy trigger finger.  My reluctance to shoot more (yup that is a contradiction).  My setup etc. 

Now that I have put everything into context it would be great to shoot again. 
The overall vision isn’t flawed.  I think it will work with the exception that I completely miscalculated the proportions of the roof to the height of the model. 

Overall the experience was a good one for me and my inexperience shone bright to the point of me missing a critical focus on a shot that I absolutely love otherwise.  I let autofocus refocus behind the subject and lost my favorite fram from the whole day.  Overall I do have some useable pictures not the magic light I was hoping for but at least I can say it wasn’t a waste.  I learned something I improved as  a photographer and I enjoyed my time.  I even got a pretty good shot of my wife with my homemade flash modifier. 

I guess I forgot to post my storyboards earlier.  So here they are now. 

Hope you can make them out. 

image

image

You can see I thought the subject would be 2/3 of the way from the floor to the roof but in reality the roof is 2 or 3 times higher.  I will post some of my shots and hopefully give one of you some better ideas going forward. 

Maybe next year when the autumn light is out I will try again….  but then maybe I’ll have an even better idea.

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Sept 2014 – shoot day

Well today is supposed to be shoot day.  Im not sure I have a model confirmed and the weather (thunderstorms in september?) Is not cooperating. 
Assuming as always things find a way of working out I should be taking some pretty cool pcitures today. 
Yesterday I unfolded the cloth that I will be using and the sheer fabric may introduce more miore than I expected…also in certain light it looks purple so some color hrading is going to be essential. 

My batteries are charged my bad is loaded my memory card is clear I’m ready to go. 

I am going to try and make a strip lighy out of two prungles cans.  The idea came from another website (popphoto.com)  and I think it is a great fit for my shoot today. 

Now hopefully I can confirm a time…

Sept 2014 – that one time I remembered all the details…

Doing a photoshoot where other people are involved and create direct dependancies creates layers of complexity.  Just the task of organizing more than one schedule means I can’t simply shoot when I have time or good light or my camera.  It takes coordination, patience and time.  Hats off to the pro photogs that deal with this on a semi weekly basis. 

As I have tried to coordinate multiple photoshoots with a model I continue to run into issues I was not prepared to address.  Wardrobe make up additional lighting modifiers.   All will have significant impacts on the final image and yet I had completely overlooked all of them.  If I wanted to do this well I would have someone for wardrobe and a changing booth l, a stylist and a meeting with the model and test session ahead of schedule (until I was comfortable with the team and the process).  That is a lot to fit into my life right now with school kids and work all competing agressively for my time.  Long story short there is going to end up being a lot more “winging it” than I had anticipated.   I will have to work with the styles and wardrobe chosen and available to the models themselves. 

I am really happy that a few people responded to my ad and desperate plea for help.  I am not even sure how to coordinate multiple models as I would like to try and complete one day of shooting with more than one model just to try and maximize my chances of success. 

The other impact I failed to address is the relational.  Working with another live person requires a certain level of comfort which for me is difficult to establish with a complete stranger.  Couple that with the natural distance created by hiding behind a camera and you get real challenges try to achieve natural and expressive facial expressions.

I guess if the weather holds some of these unknowns will be answered tomorrow.  Looking forward to it….maybe?

Sept 2014 – planning for shoot day

Without a model for this shot the risk of failing to complete it is high.  A subject is an understandably important piece of the photography puzzle.  Regardless I am choosing to be optimistic and planning for success.  I am going to make sure absolutely everything else is in order so I can drag and drop a model into place when the time comes. 

I stopped by the location yesterday.  The light was excellent golden crisp light and I wanted to see how it illuminated the spot I had chosen. 

I am going to have to be much earlier to the venue than I first had thought.  Due to the tree canopy the sun was already below the horizon at 630pm.  That means I am going to have to shoot prior to 530 which means setting up at 430 which means having to call the shot as on before even seeing what the clouds light and sun are doing as sunset approaches. 

This presents a bit of risk but I just cant give up the location.  Here is another view.

image

Gorgeous right?

I will get a bit of a wider sweep of the location as well.  As best I can tell my smartphone camera is a 31mm equivalent and I plan to use a 24mm lense or 27mm (18mm in dx mode).

I also think my smartphone pics have a weird aspect ratio.  I will be using editing software to try and crop to a 2:3 rectangle from the raw files anyway so the camera aspect ratio is not an issue.  Just might vary the FOV a bit. 

Its going to be great!

Now to find someone willing to smile for the camera.

Sept 2014 – model search

I took out an ad in the local online classifieds…
No responses so far.

No one wants to be paid in photos of themselves….
#Noonewantstoworkforfree

Please help!

I considered highering a model but the local agency does not appear to have what I am looking for. 

I am currently taking university classes but walking up to a stranger and asking to take their picture is a bit weird.  Admittedly I don’t want to be that creepy old guy on campus. 

Reason 263 why I hate shooting portraits.  Ok enough complaining just needs a new approach.

September 2014 – it’s on

I’m going for it. 
I am going to try and take a portrait over a year in the making.  My location is chosen the storyboards are done and it is the right time of the year to get the perfect light on the perfect day. 

I have chosen a bandstand in one of our local parks.  It is nestled in some trees with beautiful flower gardens and a lake. 

image

The idea is to shoot with a wide angle lense and use strong leading lines to draw the eye to the subject. 

I think I mentioned previously that I bought a piece of fabric for this purpose. 

I am excited to share with you the process of constructing this image but I am also nervous that it will fail to meet my high expectations. 

Next step….find a model. 

And….
GO!

August 2014 – Try try again…

paint 1 small

I actually really liked my second try – see above. I have to admit I cheated on the blending of the colors and used red blue yellow green orange and purple paint (I actually mixed the brown in the middle). I like the way the highlights blew out. I liked the vivid colors I even liked the accent lights. The focal point was more so chosen by the minimum focal distance on my camera and not necessarily by the creative process, but you work with what you know.

Next I wanted to get an even deeper depth of field so I changed camera angles and the distance to my subject and shot the below image.

paint 2

This also turned out relatively to my liking, but as I was editing both images I realized that the space between the paint and the mirrors and the mirrors themselves made weird shapes and pattern which from far back contribute to the image by creating even more shapes to look at, but up close seem to take away from the colors.

I also noticed the camera was slightly off angle and so perfect symmetry was impossible to obtain, so setting up a second time I tried to align as close to perpendicular as humanly possible.

I quickly set up again and shot the below image this time paying special attention to location of the mirrors relative to each other and closing the angle of the mirrors to touch the paint on the two sides where the image would be reflected.

I was unable to do anything with the space at the joint of the two mirrors – the silver backing is separated by the glass in the mirror and so a gap exists no matter how it is configured. Next time I might invest the big bucks in a true bevel cut mirror, or get a bent mirror that is a single piece.

Overall I am quite happy with the result.

paint 3

What do you think.

As far as post process went – I basically pushed the exposure an extra half step. Increased the vibrance and clarity (slightly overdoing either of these adjustments results in all sorts of weirdness). Cropped to taste (or in two of the cases cropped to get as close to symmetry as possible, and then sharpened. That’s it – the closer you get to nailing it in camera the easier the final stage is.