Category Archives: Planning

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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 – if at first you don’t succeed

candlefractal
There are too many details for me to share. I know the point of this whole monthly project was to document the process in its entirety but you will have to bear with me as I try to find a good work life hobby hobby hobby family balance.
Yes I too have found myself in the ranks of the over-committed and starting Wednesday get to add a return to university to my already intense schedule. If only I was studying film or something…

I digress – I wanted to take a couple of minutes and probably 2 or 3 posts to fill in the blanks since my last post. No I didn’t give up. I’m not really like that when it comes to things I think I should be good at.
I set out to take a picture with vivid colors involving fractals and I think the creative process is in full swing.

I realized after the last round that I needed a few things – and I probably should have spent more time trying to come up with a storyboard and exactly what I wanted to do with this picture, but over the past 2 days I thought about it and decided I would make a second attempt with more paint and with more mirrors.

I wanted to get reflections of reflections like in a Kaleidoscope and allow the fractal to be created in 2 dimensions.

I bought some crayola washable paints and 5 mirrors from the dollar store…and new batteries for my flash. Always always always have spare batteries for your flash.

Anyway. I played around with mirrors on top of mirrors and tealights and even had a pretty good setup with 5 mirrors and 10 tealights making this super cool pattern (what happened to the paint you ask – I was playing ok, just to see what I could do) and it seemed to work out with fractals in 3 dimensions, maybe not quite as much depth as I had originally hoped, but fractals none the less. Long story short a mirror fell down and spilled candles hot wax and flames all over my backdrop. Yes I am determined to burn down my house.

That aside I was really excited a decided to keep going rearranging a reconfiguring the mirrors and a single tea light.

The result is posted above. I like it.

There were still a few things I knew I needed to fix for the fractal picture.

So ultimately I moved mirrors angles and repositioned back drops and speedlights to get the real high key effect I was going for.

Here is what the setup looked like.

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Notice that I had to surround every angle in white sheets to allows for maximum light to reflect and wash out ever part of the image. I even had to cover my camera to prevent it from being a bold black blob in the picture.

The reverse angle might tell the story a bit better.
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You can see I am using a fairly simple 2 flash setup. The flash behind the mirrors is actually a bounce flash off of my thankfully white ceiling. The speedlight is diffused as wide as it will go with a white reflector to give as much of a soft wrapping light as possible to blow out as much of the white highlights as possible.

In my post processing post (coming up in about 5 minutes). You will see the difference the shallow angle can make in a setup with a mirror like this.

Please feel free to comment below.

August 2014 – Fractals

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Wow do I have a lot of process to document here.
I was having such a hard time coming up with something for this month. I decided to save my awesome portrait idea for September (autumn light should be even better for shooting). So I was completely at a loss for what to shoot this month. Feeling completely uninspired I turned to an old standby for coming up with good ideas….Brainstorming!

My wife and my sister happened to be around so I recruited them and between the 3 of us we came up with a page full of strong visual images themes and ideas. It was actually pretty cool and may have inadvertently inspired some future photo shoots. Still lacking ideas and the time to execute any other plans I decided to try and do something I always said I wanted to do.

Admittedly this should be a photo series, but I have always said you don’t need more lenses you just need mirrors – different shapes sizes and curves and you can create pretty much any angle you need.
I also have a deep seated fascination with fractals. So I thought I would put the two together and try to make a fractal reflected in mirror.

I wanted bold colors so I decided I would try a high key shot (exposed to the right) using acrylic paints to create really bright vivid colors……..

As you can see from the picture above my first attempt turned out ok, but I really was shooting for somethign with an even stronger fractal. So the plan now is to get several more mirrors and using even larger painted surfaces try to capture multiple reflections in one shot.

Don’t stop at your first effort
Keep going and try to create something even more engaging.

If you care you can also check out my youtube video of a timelapse I shot on vacation. It’s short, so you won’t have to spend hours getting through it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj3GDZgQF0E

July 2014 – open spaces scouting

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I haven’t had a pile of time this month for shooting pictures.  Between work and illness and a million summer activities photography has taken a backseat. 

I did have an opportunity to scout out a location for my open spaces panorama and it might be the perfect time of year for it.  The canola fields are in full bloom.  All I need now is an evening with good lighting conditions and cloud cover. 

I found a location with an old barn and a fully yellow field.  I also found a secondary location about 3 miles away with a solitary tree on the top of a hill.  If the shoot goes right I should be able to get good shots of both subjects. 

Now the waiting game.  I leave on vacation in 5 days so this is cutting it close, but isn’t that what deadlines are for?

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I included a couple of smartphone shots of the area.  Pretty picturesque.  I love it.

June 2014 – summer fun

My kids reminded at supper tonight that bubbles are super fun.  Yeah bubbles have been done a hundred times but hopefully not like this.  
I have decided to reuse an old backdrop and repurpose it as a lighting modifier.   My epic selfy (you can take a tour through the archives)  used a pegboard as backdrop and since I love making my own lighting modifiers I decided to reuse it to make a cover for a speedlight.

See below

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With this set up I should be able to freeze bubbles midair.  I hope to capture one popping but with no timing rig I think this is pretty unlikely. 

Wish me luck.  I’ll post a quick shot of the setup as soon as it is ready.  Only 6 hours to go.   This one is going to be tight.