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On-location headshots

With these on-location headshots of actor and TV presenter, Andy Peeke, there is a lot going on despite the apparent simplicity. The photos were done in a very short space of time – we rained out! So I had to work fast and still nail the images as intended. Also,
– I wanted that out-of-focus city scene behind Andy, and I wanted it to appear bright.
– The lighting, off-camera flash added to the ambient light, shouldn’t intrude and make itself obvious. I wanted the light on him perfectly balanced with the way I intended the background to appear.
– Unusual for me, I shot with a Sony mirrorless camera – the Sony A7ii  (B&H / Amazon). The lens that I used here was the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8  (B&H / Amazon).
– I used manual focus, even though the Zeiss Batis lens offers auto-focus. The Sony mirrorless cameras are ideally suited for this – fast and accurate manual focus. This allowed me the confidence to work at f/1.8 with precision.

Mainly, we had to work fast. In the photo below, you can see rain drops on his shirt. We rained out, but I grabbed a few last images before we dashed for cover.

The photos are part of an upcoming video that I shot with my friend, Tracy Bosworth Page, who is a busy headshot photographer based in Georgia. In the video we loosely compare our styles in headshot photography. We took turns photographing three different people in three different locations. For Andy’s session, Tracy used available light and a reflector. On the other hand, I defaulted to my usual way of working – balancing off-camera flash with the ambient light.

Camera settings & Photo gear (or equivalents) used during this shoot

For these photos I used a loaner copy of the stellar Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8  (B&H / Amazon). It’s razor-sharp, as you’d expect from any Zeiss optic. The Batis range of lenses by Zeiss are specifically designed to offer auto-focus with the Sony E-mount cameras. However, I used it in manual focus mode on my Sony A7ii camera (B&H / Amazon). The Sony and Zeiss combo generally nails the focus perfectly … but I didn’t want to risk it grabbing an eyebrow, for example. With such shallow depth-of-field you have to be careful if you want precise focusing every time.

There is a specific thought-process, or algorithm if you want to think of it that way, in approaching on-location portraits like these – Checklist for portrait photography on location (with Anastasiya).

 

Here are the first two test shots:

Using the Profoto B1 in TTL mode to establish exposure

I started with the background – I knew that I wanted that defocused city scene behind him. I also knew that I wanted it bright and ‘airy’. In other words, about a stop up on my camera’s exposure meter reading. Then a test shots to see how Andy would look at that exposure. As anticipated, he was under-exposed. With that, I switched on the off-camera lighting I had set up.

The Profoto B1 flash  with the Profoto OCF (24″) Octa Softbox. It is a relatively small softbox, but I had it close to me on my right to me, and fairly close to the camera axis.

This time I didn’t want dramatic light from my off-camera flash. I wanted as soft and even as I could, with such a small light source.

I purposely had the Profoto B1 set to TTL flash, so that I could get an establishing first exposure. Surprisingly, it was over-exposed. The Profoto B1 usually nails the TTL flash pretty close to correct for my tastes. But working this close, it was about 2 stops over, guessing by the preview image shown on the LCD – the right-hand image.

One of the things that I love about the Profoto B1, is that if you like the TTL exposure, you switch the Profoto remote to manual, and the exposure is locked. In this instance, I locked the exposure, and quickly tapped the exposure adjustment button to give me two stops less light … in manual. And the exposure was perfect, as you can see in the two main images.

That took care of the lighting.

About the posing – I only had to minimally adjust Andy’s pose since he is an experienced actor and TV presenter, with oodles of personality. (Here is his Instagram account.) So he needed little guiding or coaxing other than telling him where to stand, and how to turn towards the camera. Other than that, Andy knows how to switch it on!  I didn’t want him with his shoulders square to the camera. It works better with his shoulders at an angle to the camera.

 

Summary

Here I wanted to run through some of the thought-process with this specific sequence of photos. Of course, working in a different location with different requirements, and a different subject, the technique might well be different. There are countless ways of getting great portraits or headshots of someone. This is but one such occasion.

 

Related articles

 

The post On-location headshots appeared first on Tangents.

Working on my New York bucket list

Today I had my photograph taken by the New York photography icon, Louis Mendes. This has been on my New York bucket list for a long while now.

I had to go in to B&H to return some gear, and when I saw Louis Mendes again on the corner of the street, I decided this is it – today! So I asked him to take a photo of me, and then had a friend take several photos with me with him.

If you’ve visited B&H, or the Photo Plus Expo, you’ve seen this guy. He has this monster hybrid vintage setup that he uses to shoot polaroids of anyone who wants one. Of course, it’ll cost you some $$ for the polaroid photo because living in New York is expensive.

What I’ve always found interesting is that he doesn’t hustle. He patiently waits for people to approach him. And if you do, you’ll find that he is engaging and has a lot of stories. Louis is a character! If you see him on your trip to New York, go strike up a conversation.

 

More info about Louis:

The post Working on my New York bucket list appeared first on Tangents.

Bounce flash and choice of background + backlighting

This is where style and technique intersect – the choice of how to use flash (or any other kind of additional lighting) at wedding receptions. Many photographers prefer the crisp look of multiple off-camera flash setups at wedding receptions. While I do think some of the photos look incredible, I am not convinced that the success rate is all that high. Hot spots in the background, and weird cross-shadows will mar many of the photos. My preference has always been for the predictability and flexibility of using on-camera bounce flash.

A question that then comes up is, what about back-lighting? I don’t back-light during the wedding reception. For romantic portraits with the B&G, yes, I might. But not the reception. I prefer the flexibility of moving around independently.

I do try to avoid that black-hole background where the subject merges into deep shadow.

This is done in two ways:

1. ) Pushing my camera settings so that I get more detail in the background.
2.) Then, I also do my best to have some out-of-focus elements in the background that is brighter. I choose specific backgrounds where there is some light which helps separate my subject from the background. This could be DJ lights, up-lighting, a doorway, sconce lights, anything. Just not a dark-hole background.

When I shoot like this during receptions … what I am aware of, is my own position in regards to the background. I don’t try and make every shot in every direction work.

 

Camera settings & photo gear (or equivalents) used for these photos

The few examples here (from a wedding in 2011), show this way of using bounce flash. Here I still used the Nikon D3, and shot at 1600 ISO. These days I would tend to push the ISO higher for a brighter background.

Working with on-camera bounce flash like this though, most often allows me more flexibility in my own movement, and I can shoot in large reception venues with a wide-angle lens without risk of hot-spots from an off-camera flash. Here is another example: Wedding reception lighting with one flash.

Using on-camera bounce flash effectively like this, is also described in my book, On-Camera Flash Photography:

 

(more…)

Bounce flash and choice of background + backlighting

This is where style and technique intersect – the choice of how to use flash (or any other kind of additional lighting) at wedding receptions. Many photographers prefer the crisp look of multiple off-camera flash setups at wedding receptions. While I do think some of the photos look incredible, I am not convinced that the success rate is all that high. Hot spots in the background, and weird cross-shadows will mar many of the photos. My preference has always been for the predictability and flexibility of using on-camera bounce flash.

A question that then comes up is, what about back-lighting? I don’t back-light during the wedding reception. For romantic portraits with the B&G, yes, I might. But not the reception. I prefer the flexibility of moving around independently.

I do try to avoid that black-hole background where the subject merges into deep shadow.

This is done in two ways:

1. ) Pushing my camera settings so that I get more detail in the background.
2.) Then, I also do my best to have some out-of-focus elements in the background that is brighter. I choose specific backgrounds where there is some light which helps separate my subject from the background. This could be DJ lights, up-lighting, a doorway, sconce lights, anything. Just not a dark-hole background.

When I shoot like this during receptions … what I am aware of, is my own position in regards to the background. I don’t try and make every shot in every direction work.

 

The few examples here from a wedding in 2011 show this way of using bounce flash. Here I still used the Nikon D3, and shot at 1600 ISO. These days I would tend to push the ISO higher for a brighter background.

Working with on-camera bounce flash like this though, most often allows me more flexibility in my own movement, and I can shoot in large reception venues with a wide-angle lens without risk of hot-spots from an off-camera flash. Here is another example: Wedding reception lighting with one flash.

Using on-camera bounce flash effectively like this, is also described in my book, On-Camera Flash Photography:

 

(more…)

We have work to do, and art to create

A quiet word to my photographer friends. I’m in various photography groups and forums, and I see a strong tendency in the more technical forums to whine about the specs of current cameras, or to bitch to-and-fro, disparaging others or other brands.

My feelings about that:
We should always keep in mind that our photography heroes of previous eras created masterpieces with cameras less advanced than we have now. For me, Richard Avedon immediately comes to mind. There are many others.
So if you feel you’re being held back by the camera you have, consider whether you’ve reached that stratosphere yet.

In the meantime, we all have work to do and art to create. ***

 

The most recent I saw was someone complaining that the Fuji X-T2 doesn’t have built-in stabilization, and that it might be something that Fuji might incorporate in future cameras. My immediate reaction was, “where there any photographs you hadn’t been able to take with that Fuji X-T2?”

If you regularly post on FB groups how Nikon or Canon have “forgotten about photographers” because they haven’t yet embraced mirrorless cameras, then I have to wonder again – what photographs have you missed out on with your Nikon or Canon that you would’ve gotten with a Sony or Fuji camera? Enough with the whining and negativity!

Similarly, when you start comparing the figures on the spec sheets of various cameras, and see that your camera doesn’t have 693 focus points … well, what photographs have you missed out with your current camera?

Spend less time arguing and whining on FB groups, and use that time creatively!

 

*** Now of course, I have to qualify what I mean

A topic that I’ve touched on several times, is that the camera does indeed matter.

Therefore my statements at the top of the article might seen disingenuous, since I will be the first to say that we should use photo gear that enables us as photographers. Currently I shoot with the Nikon D5 and D810 amongst other. I also use the f/2.8 zooms and the f/1.4 range of primes. I should add that I’ve been tempted by the Sony A9 for the silent shutter mode – perfect for corporate events and wedding ceremonies.

 

 

My point is – use what have. Truly use what you have to the limit of its capabilities. If you feel your gear holds you back, please do upgrade. But for the love of photography, don’t get involved with to-and-fro nowhere debates about the minutia of the technical aspects of camera gear. Use that time and energy to create!

 

About the main photo above

The photo at the top is a B&W version of one of the images I took of a model, Bethany.

Technical details are explained here: Multiple off-camera flash – gelling your flash for effect.  And yes, that linked article is about gelling your flash, however, the photographs work really well in B&W as well.

 

The post We have work to do, and art to create appeared first on Tangents.

We have work to do, and art to create

A quiet word to my photographer friends. I’m in various photography groups and forums, and I see a strong tendency in the more technical forums to whine about the specs of current cameras, or to bitch to-and-fro, disparaging others or other brands.

My feelings about that:
We should always keep in mind that our photography heroes of previous eras created masterpieces with cameras less advanced than we have now. For me, Richard Avedon immediately comes to mind. There are many others.
So if you feel you’re being held back by the camera you have, consider whether you’ve reached that stratosphere yet.

In the meantime, we all have work to do and art to create. ***

 

The most recent I saw was someone complaining that the Fuji X-T2 doesn’t have built-in stabilization, and that it might be something that Fuji might incorporate in future cameras. My immediate reaction was, “where there any photographs you hadn’t been able to take with that Fuji X-T2?”

If you regularly post on FB groups how Nikon or Canon have “forgotten about photographers” because they haven’t yet embraced mirrorless cameras, then I have to wonder again – what photographs have you missed out on with your Nikon or Canon that you would’ve gotten with a Sony or Fuji camera? Enough with the whining and negativity!

Similarly, when you start comparing the figures on the spec sheets of various cameras, and see that your camera doesn’t have 693 focus points … well, what photographs have you missed out with your current camera?

Spend less time arguing and whining on FB groups, and use that time creatively!

 

*** Now of course, I have to qualify what I mean

A topic that I’ve touched on several times, is that the camera does indeed matter.

Therefore my statements at the top of the article might seen disingenuous, since I will be the first to say that we should use photo gear that enables us as photographers. Currently I shoot with the Nikon D5 and D810 amongst other. I also use the f/2.8 zooms and the f/1.4 range of primes. I should add that I’ve been tempted by the Sony A9 for the silent shutter mode – perfect for corporate events and wedding ceremonies.

 

 

My point is – use what have. Truly use what you have to the limit of its capabilities. If you feel your gear holds you back, please do upgrade. But for the love of photography, don’t get involved with to-and-fro nowhere debates about the minutia of the technical aspects of camera gear. Use that time and energy to create!

 

About the main photo above

The photo at the top is a B&W version of one of the images I took of a model, Bethany.

Technical details are explained here: Multiple off-camera flash – gelling your flash for effect.  And yes, that linked article is about gelling your flash, however, the photographs work really well in B&W as well.

 

The post We have work to do, and art to create appeared first on Tangents.

Flash brackets vs Bounce Flash

A flash bracket, such as the the Custom Brackets Pro-M rotating flash bracket (affiliate), is useful in keeping the flash’s orientation above the camera & lens axis, regardless of how the camera is rotated. You can see in the photo that the camera, whether horizontal or vertical, has the flash above the camera.

The two photos below show the difference in results. On the left – if you just hold the camera vertically, with the flash in the hot-shoe, you get that sideways shadow. It is distracting. With a flash bracket, the flash shadow always falls behind your subject when you use direct flash. This is often necessary with red-carpet events, and other similar fields of  photography that doesn’t allow you to finesse your lighting with off-camera flash.

Here I purposely photographed Anelisa against a white background so that the shadows can be easily compared. Shooting with direct flash like this in the studio (or on location) is often done in Fashion photography, purported to lend a more immediate snapshot aesthetic to the photographs. Photographers like Terry Richardson made it a popular defined style, albeit with the flash closer to the lens axis.

I’m not particularly fond of this kind of look, and avoid it wherever I can. Okay, to be honest, I hate that look – especially when more flattering light could easily have been achieved.

This is where on-camera bounce flash can give much better results when working indoors. Here is the same setup, but with the flash turned around in the camera to bounce upwards and to the side of me in the large studio. To my eye, the results are far more pleasing.

With bounce flash (and no flash modifier), there is no light thrown directly forward from the flash itself. The light is all indirect. This means there will be no noticeable shadow regardless of how my flash is positioned on top of my camera.

Here are a few tutorials covering the topic of on-camera bounce flash:

I also have this book which can be ordered via Amazon (or any other bookstore), which covers the topic thoroughly.

 

On-Camera Flash Photography

On-Camera Flash Photography – revised edition

This book is explains a cohesive and thorough approach to getting the best from your on-camera speedlight.

Particular care was taken to present it all with a logical flow that will any photographer attain a better understanding of flash photography.

You can either purchase a copy via Amazon USA or Amazon UK. Also check out the Amazon Kindle store.

Learn more about how the cover image was shot.


 

Flash brackets

The flash bracket shown at the top is the sturdy and easily adaptable Custom Brackets Pro-M rotating flash bracket (affiliate). It is bulky though. Here is a review: Custom Brackets Digital Pro-M rotating bracket kit.

Another really nice option that is much more compact, is the ProMedia Gear Boomerang flash bracket  (B&H / Amazon). It has a release latch which allows you to flip the flash over. Super easy to use.

flash bracket promediagear boomerang
ProMediaGear Boomerang

While I don’t often need a flash bracket, they are a useful accessory to have. Just in case you are limited to direct on-camera flash. Where I can though, I will easily default to on-camera bounce flash.

 

Video tutorials to help you with flash photography

If you like learning by seeing best, then these video tutorials will help you with understanding flash photography techniques and concepts. While not quite hands-on, this is as close as we can get to personal instruction. Check out these and other video tutorials and online photography workshops.

 

Related articles

 

The post Flash brackets vs Bounce Flash appeared first on Tangents.

Flash brackets vs Bounce Flash

A flash bracket, such as the the Custom Brackets Pro-M rotating flash bracket (affiliate), is useful in keeping the flash’s orientation above the camera & lens axis, regardless of how the camera is rotated. You can see in the photo that the camera, whether horizontal or vertical, has the flash above the camera.

The two photos below show the difference in results. On the left – if you just hold the camera vertically, with the flash in the hot-shoe, you get that sideways shadow. It is distracting. With a flash bracket, the flash shadow always falls behind your subject when you use direct flash. This is often necessary with red-carpet events, and other similar fields of  photography that doesn’t allow you to finesse your lighting with off-camera flash.

Here I purposely photographed Anelisa against a white background so that the shadows can be easily compared. Shooting with direct flash like this in the studio (or on location) is often done in Fashion photography, purported to lend a more immediate snapshot aesthetic to the photographs. Photographers like Terry Richardson made it a popular defined style, albeit with the flash closer to the lens axis.

I’m not particularly fond of this kind of look, and avoid it wherever I can. Okay, to be honest, I hate that look – especially when more flattering light could easily have been achieved.

This is where on-camera bounce flash can give much better results when working indoors. Here is the same setup, but with the flash turned around in the camera to bounce upwards and to the side of me in the large studio. To my eye, the results are far more pleasing.

With bounce flash (and no flash modifier), there is no light thrown directly forward from the flash itself. The light is all indirect. This means there will be no noticeable shadow regardless of how my flash is positioned on top of my camera.

Here are a few tutorials covering the topic of on-camera bounce flash:

I also have this book which can be ordered via Amazon (or any other bookstore), which covers the topic thoroughly.

 

On-Camera Flash Photography

On-Camera Flash Photography – revised edition

This book is explains a cohesive and thorough approach to getting the best from your on-camera speedlight.

Particular care was taken to present it all with a logical flow that will any photographer attain a better understanding of flash photography.

You can either purchase a copy via Amazon USA or Amazon UK. Also check out the Amazon Kindle store.

Learn more about how the cover image was shot.


 

Flash brackets

The flash bracket shown at the top is the sturdy and easily adaptable Custom Brackets Pro-M rotating flash bracket (affiliate). It is bulky though. Here is a review: Custom Brackets Digital Pro-M rotating bracket kit.

Another really nice option that is much more compact, is the ProMedia Gear Boomerang flash bracket  (B&H / Amazon). It has a release latch which allows you to flip the flash over. Super easy to use.

flash bracket promediagear boomerang
ProMediaGear Boomerang

While I don’t often need a flash bracket, they are a useful accessory to have. Just in case you are limited to direct on-camera flash. Where I can though, I will easily default to on-camera bounce flash.

 

Video tutorials to help you with flash photography

If you like learning by seeing best, then these video tutorials will help you with understanding flash photography techniques and concepts. While not quite hands-on, this is as close as we can get to personal instruction. Check out these and other video tutorials and online photography workshops.

 

Related articles

 

The post Flash brackets vs Bounce Flash appeared first on Tangents.

How I dodged a bullet, and got a second chance at everything

At the onset, I have to tell you exactly what this blog article is about, since it is long and self-indulgent. In short, I had an acute myocardial infarction on the first day of my trip to Italy, July 21st. I spent 8 days in the hospital (ICU and general ward of the cardio wing), and then flew back home on July 31st. The cardiologist said I will bounce back from this, relatively unscathed. I dodged a bullet!

Hopefully the story is told with some humor and with enough narrative appeal to be of interest to everyone. Oh, and at the end of this, I give myself and any other photographer who is neglectful of their health, an urgent lecture to take better care of diet and exercise. Be ready for that.

This heart attack was self-inflicted through lack of exercise, and less-than-diligent care of my diet. In my opinion, this was mostly lack of exercise – that sedentary lifestyle that we photographers tend to have, stuck in front of the computer with deadlines that have to be met. Add a touch of laziness, and some stress eating, and you have a recipe for health issues – including a heart attack. There were markers along the way that I should have heeded with greater attention.

The photo above shows part of one of the two large noticeboards in the cardio wing of the hospital I stayed in – Ospedale Sant’Anna – filled with notes from patients and family members, thanking the staff of the hospital for saving their lives. They most certainly saved mine, and gave me a second chance at life.

That’s the summary. Here are the details …

A really tight margin

We were in Italy for 10 days for a vacation by invitation of a friend, Lilia. We were in the the scenic area north of Milan – the Lake Como district. Just beautiful. That Friday, the first day on vacation, was very eventful with me ending up in the cardiac unit of a hospital. The photo above was my view of Italy for 80% of the time there – the ceiling of a hospital room.

First I have to the explain the intricate route we took to get to the hospital. It started with me feeling the symptoms of the myocardial infarction two nights before, while still back home. A burning pain behind my sternum which somewhat felt like bad indigestion. It didn’t strike me as “hey, this is a heart attack happening”, because I was struggling with some side-effects of other medication I was taking a week earlier, and I thought this was more of the same. The pain subsided, and I felt normal and pain-free on the Wednesday and Thursday before we flew out. That Friday in Italy I felt fine too … until the evening.

Then, crouched on the bathroom floor of the apartment, vomiting, and in serious pain, I told Sara we need to get to the hospital. The pain was intense and out of control. But somehow I never quite realized that these are symptoms of a heart attack!

This is where the odds of survival become even tighter. Sara pulled the car around for me, and while she drove, I texted Lilia that I needed the address of a hospital local to Como. Since she didn’t immediately respond, I Googled hospitals in the area. I picked one, and had to enter the address into the Italian-language GPS. The syntax of the GPS (a TomTom), was also something I wasn’t used to. Sara followed the GPS directions I had typed in. The roads were even more twisty in a spaghetti-bowl way than the roads in New Jersey … and that’s saying something! We made a wrong turn somewhere and even hit the Switzerland border, and then had to turn around and pick up the route again to the unknown hospital … and then Lilia texted me the address of the hospital we should go to – Ospedale Sant’Anna. Now keep in mind that I am texting and entering addresses on the GPS while literally slowly dying of a heart attack. We also had to stop several so that I could vomit. All of these things add up to delay after delay, making my eventual survival an even tighter margin. It took us at least an hour to get to the emergency room!

I walked into the Emergency Room at the hospital and went up to the window. There was someone ahead of me. So I waited … but then turned to everyone sitting there, and asked if anyone spoke English. Blank looks. Nothing. I turned around and went back to the window. But then someone brought a young girl to me, and she said she spoke some English. I simply asked if I was in the right place, and she said yes. I would hate to have waited at the wrong window at the wrong place.

The guy behind the window must have seen I was in distress, and called me around. I sat in the wheelchair while he took my details and quickly checked me over … and then a minute or two later, they wheeled me away into the hospital for a cardiogram and a more through checkup.

So many delays, but I was still here!

 

As funny as a heart attack

Perhaps it is just my dark sense of humor, but some of this was humorous, even while I was in great pain. The funny stuff: it was really-funny to watch the two nurses flip my balls from one side to the other, to shave my groin in preparation for surgery. (In the end they went through a radial artery in my wrist.) It was maybe-funny that they put an adult diaper on me.

It was perhaps only slightly-funny that I used a Translator app on my iPhone to communicate with the Italian doctors and nurses. But it was distinctly not-funny when I read the cardiologist’s message that I’m having a myocardial infarction. That’s when it actually hit me for the first time what was really happening to me. The burning pain behind my sternum, and the difficulty breathing – it all added up. A heart attack.

The cardiologist checked the printout of the cardiogram, tore it off, and nodded his head to the nurse to indicate they should wheel me away. They rushed me down the hallways to the operating room for a balloon & stent procedure. The pain was ever-increasing to an unbearable level.

A serious observation – I’m not afraid of death. I realized it again that night. I just don’t want the pain involved with it. The pain was so intense, that I would’ve been okay with flipping a switch, cutting it all short. But that didn’t happen.

The balloon & stent procedure brought immediate relief. It was really strange being awake through all of this. The team of doctors and nurses were efficient and calm. The surgeon who did the procedure, has a really nice bedside manner, talking to me throughout the operation.

That Saturday morning after the operation, the cardiologist told me that I will make a full recovery. (phew!)

Another one of the funnier moments was a few days later when a nurse patted me on my stomach and said “cicciotto”. I had to look it up … roly-poly. Apparently I was now well enough that she could make fun of me.

 

Medical technology

This photo was taken 8 days after the balloon & stent operation that fixed my heart problem. And this truly amazes me – they reached my heart through that incision in my wrist! How amazing is medical technology these days?! Yay, Science!

And about 7 years ago, I had my gall bladder removed through three tiny incisions in my stomach area – I went home the same day.

The anti-science, alt-health websites just piss me off most days. The medical technology we have now is incomprehensibly amazing … and will progress even further.

I mean, they fixed my heart through a tiny hole in my wrist! Wow!

 

Feeling emotional

With nothing more to do in the hospital bed than just breathe – that oxygen supply is subliminal but really nice – I had a lot of time to reflect. Where I am and where I want to be, on every level of my life. On the second day in ICU, when Sara left after visiting me in my hospital room, and I had just spoken to J9 (our daughter) on the phone, I finally felt emotionally exhausted as well.

Listening to music through my AirPods, the song that came up first was “This is the day”, by The The (Youtube) … and the lyrics hit me hard and the momentousness of the past few days kicked in. I was quietly in tears for the first time.

Well you didn’t wake up this morning ’cause you didn’t go to bed
You were watching the whites of your eyes turn red
The calendar on your wall was ticking the days off
You’ve been reading some old letters
You smile and think how much you’ve changed
All the money in the world couldn’t buy back those days

You pull back the curtain
And the sun burns into your eyes
You watch a plane flying
Across a clear blue sky
This is the day, your life will surely change
This is the day, when things fall into place

That feeling that my life had changed really struck me. I knew I had somehow been given a second chance. This truly is Part 2 of my life.

However there will have to be serious lifestyle changes when I got back home – better nutrition and more exercise.

 

New goals

This is quite inspiring: Men over the age of 50, proving age is just a number. New goals for when I get home again – work on the hard body and the beard. I can definitely achieve the legendary beardiness. The rest might take some effort.

I’ve been forbidden any Coke by both my wife and the cardiologist and some persistent friends. I’m not that fond of deep-fried or oily foods. So that won’t take much adjustment. But I have an addiction to sugary, fizzy sodas. Eliminating Coke will be a tough one.

For the rest, it’s all sensible stuff really: eat real food, not too much, mostly plants. And exercise. Cicciotto no more!

If you are locked into that slowly destructive cycle of sitting in front of the computer, editing, and working with deadlines … with all the stresses of running a small business … and the accompanying bad diet, I really want you to strongly reconsider your options. A heart attack and other health issues are mostly avoidable through exercise and proper nutrition – it’s all in your control.

Take care of yourself! The alternative is no fun at all. Literally. No fun.

Bicycle

I do have this bicycle on rollers in the basement. It gets some use, but clearly not enough … from here on, daily, as soon as I am strong enough again. New Jersey has 6+ months of shitty weather. With the rollers I can just ride. I do 30 minutes on it at a time. Does get the blood flowing, for sure.

What is awesome about this bike – Focus; German made – is that it doesn’t have a greasy chain and derailleur. It has a belt and internal gear hub. Very clean.

There’s also no being lazy on this thing. With it being free-standing on the set of rollers – if you don’t concentrate on your cadence and balance, you come off it.

Except I did come off the bike a few weeks ago. I watch TV series and movies on it – and while watching a scene where they escape by driving the wrong direction on the highway, swerving oncoming traffic … I instinctively also swerved with them … and came off the track. Fortunately there is no forward momentum, so if you come off the tracks, you just stop. There is no hitting your basement wall at 25 mph. That would hurt.

 

I’m done with dying, time to start living

Me, eight days later, walking out of the hospital. I’ve mentioned a few times here that I truly feel like I was given a second chance at this – life! With it being such a close call against so many odds, and with the prognosis of a full recovery, I’m not taking this lightly.

I want more.

I want to create.

I want to experience.

Time to start living.

I also want to reach out to you – if you’re in (or visiting) the New York / New Jersey area, let’s hang out. Let’s have lunch. Let’s collaborate. Let’s do something. Let’s have fun. It need not be right now, but sometime in the next few months or even years. An open invitation.

Let’s do brilliant things, for time is all too short.

 

The post How I dodged a bullet, and got a second chance at everything appeared first on Tangents.

How I dodged a bullet, and got a second chance at everything

At the onset, I have to tell you exactly what this blog article is about, since it is long and self-indulgent. In short, I had an acute myocardial infarction on the first day of my trip to Italy, July 21st. I spent 8 days in the hospital (ICU and general ward of the cardio wing), and then flew back home on July 31st. The cardiologist said I will bounce back from this, relatively unscathed. I dodged a bullet!

Hopefully the story is told with some humor and with enough narrative appeal to be of interest to everyone. Oh, and at the end of this, I give myself and any other photographer who is neglectful of their health, an urgent lecture to take better care of diet and exercise. Be ready for that.

This heart attack was self-inflicted through lack of exercise, and less-than-diligent care of my diet. In my opinion, this was mostly lack of exercise – that sedentary lifestyle that we photographers tend to have, stuck in front of the computer with deadlines that have to be met. Add a touch of laziness, and some stress eating, and you have a recipe for health issues – including a heart attack. There were markers along the way that I should have heeded with greater attention.

The photo above shows part of one of the two large noticeboards in the cardio wing of the hospital I stayed in – Ospedale Sant’Anna – filled with notes from patients and family members, thanking the staff of the hospital for saving their lives. They most certainly saved mine, and gave me a second chance at life.

That’s the summary. Here are the details …

A really tight margin

We were in Italy for 10 days for a vacation by invitation of a friend, Lilia. We were in the the scenic area north of Milan – the Lake Como district. Just beautiful. That Friday, the first day on vacation, was very eventful with me ending up in the cardiac unit of a hospital. The photo above was my view of Italy for 80% of the time there – the ceiling of a hospital room.

First I have to the explain the intricate route we took to get to the hospital. It started with me feeling the symptoms of the myocardial infarction two nights before, while still back home. A burning pain behind my sternum which somewhat felt like bad indigestion. It didn’t strike me as “hey, this is a heart attack happening”, because I was struggling with some side-effects of other medication I was taking a week earlier, and I thought this was more of the same. The pain subsided, and I felt normal and pain-free on the Wednesday and Thursday before we flew out. That Friday in Italy I felt fine too … until the evening.

Then, crouched on the bathroom floor of the apartment, vomiting, and in serious pain, I told Sara we need to get to the hospital. The pain was intense and out of control. But somehow I never quite realized that these are symptoms of a heart attack!

This is where the odds of survival become even tighter. Sara pulled the car around for me, and while she drove, I texted Lilia that I needed the address of a hospital local to Como. Since she didn’t immediately respond, I Googled hospitals in the area. I picked one, and had to enter the address into the Italian-language GPS. The syntax of the GPS (a TomTom), was also something I wasn’t used to. Sara followed the GPS directions I had typed in. The roads were even more twisty in a spaghetti-bowl way than the roads in New Jersey … and that’s saying something! We made a wrong turn somewhere and even hit the Switzerland border, and then had to turn around and pick up the route again to the unknown hospital … and then Lilia texted me the address of the hospital we should go to – Ospedale Sant’Anna. Now keep in mind that I am texting and entering addresses on the GPS while literally slowly dying of a heart attack. We also had to stop several so that I could vomit. All of these things add up to delay after delay, making my eventual survival an even tighter margin. It took us at least an hour to get to the emergency room!

I walked into the Emergency Room at the hospital and went up to the window. There was someone ahead of me. So I waited … but then turned to everyone sitting there, and asked if anyone spoke English. Blank looks. Nothing. I turned around and went back to the window. But then someone brought a young girl to me, and she said she spoke some English. I simply asked if I was in the right place, and she said yes. I would hate to have waited at the wrong window at the wrong place.

The guy behind the window must have seen I was in distress, and called me around. I sat in the wheelchair while he took my details and quickly checked me over … and then a minute or two later, they wheeled me away into the hospital for a cardiogram and a more through checkup.

So many delays, but I was still here!

 

As funny as a heart attack

Perhaps it is just my dark sense of humor, but some of this was humorous, even while I was in great pain. The funny stuff: it was really-funny to watch the two nurses flip my balls from one side to the other, to shave my groin in preparation for surgery. (In the end they went through a radial artery in my wrist.) It was maybe-funny that they put an adult diaper on me.

It was perhaps only slightly-funny that I used a Translator app on my iPhone to communicate with the Italian doctors and nurses. But it was distinctly not-funny when I read the cardiologist’s message that I’m having a myocardial infarction. That’s when it actually hit me for the first time what was really happening to me. The burning pain behind my sternum, and the difficulty breathing – it all added up. A heart attack.

The cardiologist checked the printout of the cardiogram, tore it off, and nodded his head to the nurse to indicate they should wheel me away. They rushed me down the hallways to the operating room for a balloon & stent procedure. The pain was ever-increasing to an unbearable level.

A serious observation – I’m not afraid of death. I realized it again that night. I just don’t want the pain involved with it. The pain was so intense, that I would’ve been okay with flipping a switch, cutting it all short. But that didn’t happen.

The balloon & stent procedure brought immediate relief. It was really strange being awake through all of this. The team of doctors and nurses were efficient and calm. The surgeon who did the procedure, has a really nice bedside manner, talking to me throughout the operation.

That Saturday morning after the operation, the cardiologist told me that I will make a full recovery. (phew!)

Another one of the funnier moments was a few days later when a nurse patted me on my stomach and said “cicciotto”. I had to look it up … roly-poly. Apparently I was now well enough that she could make fun of me.

 

Medical technology

This photo was taken 8 days after the balloon & stent operation that fixed my heart problem. And this truly amazes me – they reached my heart through that incision in my wrist! How amazing is medical technology these days?! Yay, Science!

And about 7 years ago, I had my gall bladder removed through three tiny incisions in my stomach area – I went home the same day.

The anti-science, alt-health websites just piss me off most days. The medical technology we have now is incomprehensibly amazing … and will progress even further.

I mean, they fixed my heart through a tiny hole in my wrist! Wow!

 

Feeling emotional

With nothing more to do in the hospital bed than just breathe – that oxygen supply is subliminal but really nice – I had a lot of time to reflect. Where I am and where I want to be, on every level of my life. On the second day in ICU, when Sara left after visiting me in my hospital room, and I had just spoken to J9 (our daughter) on the phone, I finally felt emotionally exhausted as well.

Listening to music through my AirPods, the song that came up first was “This is the day”, by The The (Youtube) … and the lyrics hit me hard and the momentousness of the past few days kicked in. I was quietly in tears for the first time.

Well you didn’t wake up this morning ’cause you didn’t go to bed
You were watching the whites of your eyes turn red
The calendar on your wall was ticking the days off
You’ve been reading some old letters
You smile and think how much you’ve changed
All the money in the world couldn’t buy back those days

You pull back the curtain
And the sun burns into your eyes
You watch a plane flying
Across a clear blue sky
This is the day, your life will surely change
This is the day, when things fall into place

That feeling that my life had changed really struck me. I knew I had somehow been given a second chance. This truly is Part 2 of my life.

However there will have to be serious lifestyle changes when I got back home – better nutrition and more exercise.

 

New goals

This is quite inspiring: Men over the age of 50, proving age is just a number. New goals for when I get home again – work on the hard body and the beard. I can definitely achieve the legendary beardiness. The rest might take some effort.

I’ve been forbidden any Coke by both my wife and the cardiologist and some persistent friends. I’m not that fond of deep-fried or oily foods. So that won’t take much adjustment. But I have an addiction to sugary, fizzy sodas. Eliminating Coke will be a tough one.

For the rest, it’s all sensible stuff really: eat real food, not too much, mostly plants. And exercise. Cicciotto no more!

If you are locked into that slowly destructive cycle of sitting in front of the computer, editing, and working with deadlines … with all the stresses of running a small business … and the accompanying bad diet, I really want you to strongly reconsider your options. A heart attack and other health issues are mostly avoidable through exercise and proper nutrition – it’s all in your control.

Take care of yourself! The alternative is no fun at all. Literally. No fun.

Bicycle

I do have this bicycle on rollers in the basement. It gets some use, but clearly not enough … from here on, daily, as soon as I am strong enough again. New Jersey has 6+ months of shitty weather. With the rollers I can just ride. I do 30 minutes on it at a time. Does get the blood flowing, for sure.

What is awesome about this bike – Focus; German made – is that it doesn’t have a greasy chain and derailleur. It has a belt and internal gear hub. Very clean.

There’s also no being lazy on this thing. With it being free-standing on the set of rollers – if you don’t concentrate on your cadence and balance, you come off it.

Except I did come off the bike a few weeks ago. I watch TV series and movies on it – and while watching a scene where they escape by driving the wrong direction on the highway, swerving oncoming traffic … I instinctively also swerved with them … and came off the track. Fortunately there is no forward momentum, so if you come off the tracks, you just stop. There is no hitting your basement wall at 25 mph. That would hurt.

 

I’m done with dying, time to start living

Me, eight days later, walking out of the hospital. I’ve mentioned a few times here that I truly feel like I was given a second chance at this – life! With it being such a close call against so many odds, and with the prognosis of a full recovery, I’m not taking this lightly.

I want more.

I want to create.

I want to experience.

Time to start living.

I also want to reach out to you – if you’re in (or visiting) the New York / New Jersey area, let’s hang out. Let’s have lunch. Let’s collaborate. Let’s do something. Let’s have fun. It need not be right now, but sometime in the next few months or even years. An open invitation.

Let’s do brilliant things, for time is all too short.

 

The post How I dodged a bullet, and got a second chance at everything appeared first on Tangents.

Photography Workshops in NJ / NYC  (2017)

There are some interesting additions to the workshop dates for 2017:

I’ve added 2 dates for workshops on studio lighting.
There will also be 2 of the regular workshops on flash photography with speedlights.
Then there are the 3 dates where we will do the Photo Walks in New York again.


Flash Photography Workshop with Speedlites

The fee for the full-day workshop is $600 and the workshop is from 9am to 8pm. Lunch and refreshments are included!

The workshops are limited to 6 people, so that I will be able to attend to everyone. There will be two models with us. The workshops will be held at my studio in Little Falls, NJ. The tempo is relaxed – I want to make sure everyone benefits, and will be a stronger photographer at the end of the day.

The flash photography workshops for 2017 will take place on:

  • May 28, 2017  (Sunday)  –  NJ  — sold out!
  • Sept 24, 2016  (Sunday)  –  NJ

For more details and to book a spot: Flash Photography Workshops.

 

 

Photo Walks in NYC

With the NYC Photo Walks, we will photograph a model around a colorful, interesting parts of New York City. The group will be limited to just 4 photographers, so it won’t be crowded. We will also work at a relaxed tempo, so that I can attend to everyone and help everyone get amazing images. There will be an assistant to carry and hold the light for us. We just get to shoot and have fun! Here is a recap of a previous photo walk which took place along Brooklyn’s East River waterfront.

I will provide the Profoto B1 flash, and will have enough Nikon and Canon wireless TTL triggers for the Profoto so that everyone can shoot individually.

 

The $200 fee for the 2-hour photo walk is due at the time of registration.

  • June 04, 2017  (Sunday)  (4-6pm)  – Meatpacking District
  • July 16, 2017  (Sunday)  (4-6pm)  – Brooklyn Waterfront
  • October 29, 2017  (Sunday)  (4-6pm)  –  Brooklyn Waterfront

For more details and to book a spot: Photo walks in NYC 

 

Studio Lighting Workshop

If you’ve been curious about getting to know more about studio lighting for portraits, but it all seems too daunting or technical, then this Studio Lighting Workshop is for you. The program is aimed at being is a learning experience where you get to use studio lights and light modifiers. After this workshop, I want you to feel comfortable next time you step into a studio, knowing you have a solid place to start from, and have the confidence to experiment further.

The workshops will be held at my studio space in NJ, and it has a wide range of studio lighting gear! It is easily accessible from New York as well, and we can fetch you from the local bus terminal. There is also free parking at the studio.

  • April 22, 2017  (Saturday)   —  sold out!
  • Dec 03, 2017  (Sunday)

For more details and to book a spot: Studio Lighting Workshops.

 

Personal workshops & tutoring sessions

If you would like an individual workshop, or a personal tutoring session, those are available as well throughout the year, depending on both of our schedules. The studio is only 17 miles from Manhattan. Just a short hop from New York and quite accessible by bus. Oh, and there’s parking at the studio. Free parking.

If you are limited in how far you can travel, there are Skype sessions and also video tutorials to help you get a much better understanding of photography and lighting techniques.

 

The post Photography workshops (2017) appeared first on Tangents.

Camera settings for Time-lapse photography

With even smart phones now offering a Time-lapse Photography mode, this interesting area of photography is accessible to anyone. For the smooth, professional-looking time-Lapse sequences you see in movies and TV series, you would have to put some thought into how you control your camera – and specifically, your camera settings for time-lapse photography. The smoothness of a time-lapse sequence is mostly dependent on the choice of camera settings … and there is a specific thought-process involved.

This does involve a bit of mathematics, but it is quite simple really. And there are always Time-Lapse Calculators available as apps for your smart phone.

There are a few things we need to be aware of, and decide on before shooting a time-lapse sequence:

How long is the duration of the event we are photographing – sometimes we have a specific duration … sometimes not. In the example above, there is no real duration because there will always be people milling around in Times Square. But other times you might be photographing an event with a specific duration.

The length of the final video clip is also something we need to decide on beforehand.  This of course ties in with the intended use of the video, and whether it will be added to a longer video clip. Generally, 1 minute is really long – Youtube metrics show that people usually click away at around a minute.  So decide whether you need 10 seconds, 20 seconds or 30 seconds, or however long we need.

What kind of subject movement do we have?  i.e., speed and flow of movement. Clouds, water, cars, moving people, etc,  all have slightly different considerations with what will translate best in a Time-Lapse video clip.

These three things:
– duration of the event,
– length of the final video,
– subject movement,
will help determine our shutter speed …. and our interval.

If this all sounds confusing, hang in there – this all locks in together.

The video clip above has several different levels of movement – the clouds, people (static and moving), and traffic. Then on top of that, the camera is moving as well. So there are a bunch of things to juggle here in determining our shutter speed and interval.

Let’s break it down into steps:

 

Timelapse photography – a complete introduction

As with everything in photography – or as with everything in life really – there is a learning curve. Then you have two options. You can reinvent the wheel, and figure it all out from scratch by yourself … or you can do some homework and study what people before you have done.

There are several websites that are loaded with information – and then there is this thorough primer on the topic, written by Ryan Chilinski: Everything you want to know about Time-Lapse Photography. (Amazon)

 

Selecting the time-lapse interval

The interval is the length of time between shots.

With that one number – the interval – we control two things:

  • how fast the time-lapse change appears to take place
  • how smooth that action appears on the screen

The ideal is that our shutter speed should be at least 2/3rd of our interval. This will help give us continuity in the movement in our video. When our shutter speed is too short, the video will look jerky – like bad stop-motion. We usually want fluid movement.

Our persistence of vision creates the illusion of continuous, fluid movement. Persistence of vision is what keeps the world from going black when we blink our eyes. Our brains retain the visual image for a short while, to give us a sense of continuity.

For that continuous, fluid look to our video, we need to slow our shutter speed down to be appropriate for our chosen interval. We don’t want that fast shutter look. Invariably, we need to slow our shutter speed down. Now, the first thing that we need to realize here, is that with video, we usually don’t want a fast shutter speed. Here we need to break free from a photographer’s mindset where we often have fast shutter speeds to freeze action. With video, we rarely want crisp individual images. With video, this is explained by the “180 degree rule”, which suggests that our optimum shutter speed is twice our frame rate. However, with Time-lapse, it is slightly different – but we do want that continuous smooth look to our final video.

Next step – we need to decide on the Frame-Rate that the video needs to be compiled with.

 

Choosing the Frame Rate

How fast should  your clip be played back?  30fps / 24 fps / 25 fps?  Our final decision will be made when we render the video, but it does affect our initial decision about our settings because frame rate affects our calculations.

 

An example of how we decide on our camera settings:

Scenario: Let’s say we have a cityscape with fast moving clouds.

Let’s say we decide on a 10 seconds clip, to be used in a longer final video. If we want a 10 second clip, it would be wise to add a 2 seconds buffer for fade-in and fade-out (for the video transitions).

Hence, 12 seconds.  Let’s decide on a frame-rate of 30 fps.

How many photos are we going to take?

12 x 30 – 360 frames
Simple as that: 12 seconds at 30 frames a second = 12×30 = 360 frames. We need to shoot 360 frames as a minimum.

Now let’s calculate the interval and shutter speed and the duration of our shoot.

General advice is that clouds need an interval of 1 to 3 seconds. (This, and other subjects are also covered in Ryan Chilinski’s book on  Time-Lapse Photography (Amazon).

So for fast moving clouds, 2 seconds is a good choice.

360 photos at 2 seconds intervals = ??
(720 seconds.)
360 frames * 2 second intervals = 720 second shooting time.
720 seconds = 720 / 60 seconds = 12 minutes.
So we will be shooting for 12 minutes. Our camera is going to fire every 2 seconds, for 12 minutes.

With a 2 second interval, our shutter speed should be about 1.3 or 1.6 seconds. That will give us smooth movement.

That wasn’t so difficult, was it? And as I mentioned, there are Time-Lapse Calculator apps for your phone which will help you juggle these values.

If it wasn’t clear until now, it should be more apparent that we absolutely need Neutral Density filters of some kind to pull our shutter speeds this slow in daylight. The most common options are the 6-stop and 10-stop ND filters.

 

(more…)

Camera settings for Time-lapse photography

With even smart phones now offering a Time-lapse Photography mode, this interesting area of photography is accessible to anyone. For the smooth, professional-looking time-Lapse sequences you see in movies and TV series, you would have to put some thought into how you control your camera – and specifically, your camera settings for time-lapse photography. The smoothness of a time-lapse sequence is mostly dependent on the choice of camera settings … and there is a specific thought-process involved.

This does involve a bit of mathematics, but it is quite simple really. And there are always Time-Lapse Calculators available as apps for your smart phone.

There are a few things we need to be aware of, and decide on before shooting a time-lapse sequence:

How long is the duration of the event we are photographing – sometimes we have a specific duration … sometimes not. In the example above, there is no real duration because there will always be people milling around in Times Square. But other times you might be photographing an event with a specific duration.

The length of the final video clip is also something we need to decide on beforehand.  This of course ties in with the intended use of the video, and whether it will be added to a longer video clip. Generally, 1 minute is really long – Youtube metrics show that people usually click away at around a minute.  So decide whether you need 10 seconds, 20 seconds or 30 seconds, or however long we need.

What kind of subject movement do we have?  i.e., speed and flow of movement. Clouds, water, cars, moving people, etc,  all have slightly different considerations with what will translate best in a Time-Lapse video clip.

These three things:
– duration of the event,
– length of the final video,
– subject movement,
will help determine our shutter speed …. and our interval.

If this all sounds confusing, hang in there – this all locks in together.

The video clip above has several different levels of movement – the clouds, people (static and moving), and traffic. Then on top of that, the camera is moving as well. So there are a bunch of things to juggle here in determining our shutter speed and interval.

Let’s break it down into steps:

 

Timelapse photography – a complete introduction

As with everything in photography – or as with everything in life really – there is a learning curve. Then you have two options. You can reinvent the wheel, and figure it all out from scratch by yourself … or you can do some homework and study what people before you have done.

There are several websites that are loaded with information – and then there is this thorough primer on the topic, written by Ryan Chilinski: Everything you want to know about Time-Lapse Photography. (Amazon)

 

Selecting the time-lapse interval

The interval is the length of time between shots.

With that one number – the interval – we control two things:

  • how fast the time-lapse change appears to take place
  • how smooth that action appears on the screen

The ideal is that our shutter speed should be at least 2/3rd of our interval. This will help give us continuity in the movement in our video. When our shutter speed is too short, the video will look jerky – like bad stop-motion. We usually want fluid movement.

Our persistence of vision creates the illusion of continuous, fluid movement. Persistence of vision is what keeps the world from going black when we blink our eyes. Our brains retain the visual image for a short while, to give us a sense of continuity.

For that continuous, fluid look to our video, we need to slow our shutter speed down to be appropriate for our chosen interval. We don’t want that fast shutter look. Invariably, we need to slow our shutter speed down. Now, the first thing that we need to realize here, is that with video, we usually don’t want a fast shutter speed. Here we need to break free from a photographer’s mindset where we often have fast shutter speeds to freeze action. With video, we rarely want crisp individual images. With video, this is explained by the “180 degree rule”, which suggests that our optimum shutter speed is twice our frame rate. However, with Time-lapse, it is slightly different – but we do want that continuous smooth look to our final video.

Next step – we need to decide on the Frame-Rate that the video needs to be compiled with.

 

Choosing the Frame Rate

How fast should  your clip be played back?  30fps / 24 fps / 25 fps?  Our final decision will be made when we render the video, but it does affect our initial decision about our settings because frame rate affects our calculations.

 

An example of how we decide on our camera settings:

Scenario: Let’s say we have a cityscape with fast moving clouds.

Let’s say we decide on a 10 seconds clip, to be used in a longer final video. If we want a 10 second clip, it would be wise to add a 2 seconds buffer for fade-in and fade-out (for the video transitions).

Hence, 12 seconds.  Let’s decide on a frame-rate of 30 fps.

How many photos are we going to take?

12 x 30 – 360 frames
Simple as that: 12 seconds at 30 frames a second = 12×30 = 360 frames. We need to shoot 360 frames as a minimum.

Now let’s calculate the interval and shutter speed and the duration of our shoot.

General advice is that clouds need an interval of 1 to 3 seconds. (This, and other subjects are also covered in Ryan Chilinski’s book on  Time-Lapse Photography (Amazon).

So for fast moving clouds, 2 seconds is a good choice.

360 photos at 2 seconds intervals = ??
(720 seconds.)
360 frames * 2 second intervals = 720 second shooting time.
720 seconds = 720 / 60 seconds = 12 minutes.
So we will be shooting for 12 minutes. Our camera is going to fire every 2 seconds, for 12 minutes.

With a 2 second interval, our shutter speed should be about 1.3 or 1.6 seconds. That will give us smooth movement.

That wasn’t so difficult, was it? And as I mentioned, there are Time-Lapse Calculator apps for your phone which will help you juggle these values.

If it wasn’t clear until now, it should be more apparent that we absolutely need Neutral Density filters of some kind to pull our shutter speeds this slow in daylight. The most common options are the 6-stop and 10-stop ND filters.

 

(more…)

Posing tips: Avoid foreshortening by seeing two-dimensionally

There is this translation we have to do as photographers, from seeing in 3 dimensions, to realizing our images will be shown in 2 dimension. We might see the depth, but that information is mostly missing when the scene is flattened as a photograph. This is a stumbling block when we pose people – we might see their limbs and hands in 3 dimensions, but when your subjects hands extend towards you, there is foreshortening. The perspective changes, and makes the limbs look shorter than they are. This can be visually awkward.

Look at the photo below, Alix, our model, has her hands extended towards us on the table. This creates that foreshortening of her arms, which make her fore-arms look awkwardly short.

We can avoid this by having our subject pose their hands and arms (and legs) in a plane that is approximately parallel to the camera. For example, as in the other three photographs shown here. I had Alix pose with her hands and arms parallel to herself, and not extend them to the camera.

Sure, if the pose warrants that look – arms extended to the camera for a dynamic pose – then go for it. Do it with purpose. Generally however, we want to avoid that foreshortening effect.

That is it in a nutshell – pose your subject so that their hands and limbs are more or less parallel to the camera. A straightforward tip on posing that will help you avoid awkward looking photos.

And here’s the awkwardly posed photo as an example:

Below you can immediately see the improvement with this repositioning of her hands:




 

Camera settings & Photo gear (or equivalents) used during this shoot

I photographed Alix at the mirrored dressing table in the studio, using only the lights encircling the mirror. For these photos I used a loaner copy of the stellar Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8  (B&H / Amazon). It’s razor-sharp, as you’d expect from any Zeiss optic.

The Batis range of lenses by Zeiss are specifically designed to offer auto-focus with the Sony E-mount cameras. However, I used it in manual focus mode on my Sony A7ii camera (B&H / Amazon). The Sony and Zeiss combo generally nails the focus perfectly … but I didn’t want to risk it grabbing the eyebrows or some other part of her features. So with a photo session where the focus is more exacting because of such a shallow depth-of-field, then the manual focus (in the way the Sony handles it), works better for me.

 

Related articles

 

The post Posing tips: Avoid foreshortening by seeing two-dimensionally appeared first on Tangents.

Posing tips: Avoid foreshortening by seeing two-dimensionally

There is this translation we have to do as photographers, from seeing in 3 dimensions, to realizing our images will be shown in 2 dimension. We might see the depth, but that information is mostly missing when the scene is flattened as a photograph. This is a stumbling block when we pose people – we might see their limbs and hands in 3 dimensions, but when your subjects hands extend towards you, there is foreshortening. The perspective changes, and makes the limbs look shorter than they are. This can be visually awkward.

Look at the photo below, Alix, our model, has her hands extended towards us on the table. This creates that foreshortening of her arms, which make her fore-arms look awkwardly short.

We can avoid this by having our subject pose their hands and arms (and legs) in a plane that is approximately parallel to the camera. For example, as in the other three photographs shown here. I had Alix pose with her hands and arms parallel to herself, and not extend them to the camera.

Sure, if the pose warrants that look – arms extended to the camera for a dynamic pose – then go for it. Do it with purpose. Generally however, we want to avoid that foreshortening effect.

That is it in a nutshell – pose your subject so that their hands and limbs are more or less parallel to the camera. A straightforward tip on posing that will help you avoid awkward looking photos.

And here’s the awkwardly posed photo as an example:

Below you can immediately see the improvement with this repositioning of her hands:




 

Camera settings & Photo gear (or equivalents) used during this shoot

I photographed Alix at the mirrored dressing table in the studio, using only the lights encircling the mirror. For these photos I used a loaner copy of the stellar Sony Batis 85mm f/1.8  (B&H / Amazon). It’s razor-sharp, as you’d expect from any Zeiss optic.

The Batis range of lenses by Zeiss are specifically designed to offer auto-focus with the Sony E-mount cameras. However, I used it in manual focus mode on my Sony A7ii camera (B&H / Amazon). The Sony and Zeiss combo generally nails the focus perfectly … but I didn’t want to risk it grabbing the eyebrows or some other part of her features. So with a photo session where the focus is more exacting because of such a shallow depth-of-field, then the manual focus (in the way the Sony handles it), works better for me.

 

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