Tincture to prepare ten days in a dark place then it is filtered.priligy side effectsPatients askaridozy most often are treated santoniny, sankafeny, or piperazin.However the most important point of treatment of prostatitis in house conditions is the constant control of the attending physician and approval of all applied methods by it.where can i get priligyApproximately in one and a half months the course can be repeated again.Patients askaridozy most often are treated santoniny, sankafeny, or piperazin.priligy preise5.

http://nikonclspracticalguide.blogspot.com

http://www.neilvn.com/tangents/index.html

http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/

http://www.photographytips.com/page.cfm/374

http://jzportraits.home.att.net/

Posing:

http://www.phototraining4u.com/topics/posing-guides

http://web.archive.org/web/20060721192257/http://www.photocrack.com/pages/download/ModelPose15.html

http://web.archive.org/web/20070321221419/http://www.eddiej-photography.co.uk/posing-the-female.htm

http://photographycourse.net/12-basic-posing-tips

http://www.jurgita.com/articles-id104.html

http://www.freedigitalphotographytutorials.com/advanced-tutorials/35-photography-poses-tips-tricks-guidelines-part-2/

http://www.lighting-essentials.com/shoot-thru-umbrella-and-bounce-umbrella-a-comparison/

http://www.lighting-essentials.com/lighting-diagram-tool-for-lighting-essentials/

http://oneperfectmoment.com/blog/images/boudoir/album-finao/NV1_9046.jpg

http://oneperfectmoment.com/blog/images/boudoir/album-finao/NV1_9047.jpg

forum:

http://neilvn.com/tangents/2007/10/25/directional-light-from-your-on-camera-flash/#comment-13261

After Dark photography education – Cincinnati, anemia
OH

In an earlier post I mentioned how impressed I was with After Dark’s workshops & seminar series in Las Vegas. I was invited by Dave Junion to teach at the Cincinnati venue this past week as one of the Mentors.  I presented 4 seminars and shooting sessions, infection
and another impromptu demonstration late the one night. It was exhilarating and energizing to be a part of it.

After Dark has a certain structure –  10 areas / pods set up for seminar presentations; and 10 studio bays set up where Mentors can teach in a direct hands-on manner. But all this doesn’t really describe the easy-going flow of activity and learning and sharing that goes on. In that earlier post I described After Dark as ‘controlled anarchy‘. And that is what makes it so unique. You can move around between presentations and shoots, and learn from anyone. You can even ask any of the Mentors or attendees to help you. It’s an incredibly supportive and nourishing environment for any photographer.

Just as cool is that there are studio bays that are open, which might not be busy at any point. You can then mark down that you want to spend some time there. You also get the opportunity to play with a huge variety of lighting gear. You can play around on your own, or have someone help you. You can make mistakes. You don’t have to impress anyone. You just have to learn and have fun with it all …

This fairly straight-forward portrait above was taken with just a single Westcott 7′ Parabolic Umbrella (B&H). This massively large umbrella isn’t something I’d normally be able to play with – the studio space I can scrounge in my home is far too small for this impressive light modifier. So it was interesting to play around with it. I really really loved the light from this parabolic umbrella. The way it wraps light around your subject is just wonderful. Oh, and yes, there were models available.

By placing the light fairly close to the background, I got enough light on the background that I didn’t even need to light the background to bring it up close to white. This shot from behind will give you some idea of the size of this monster light modifier. (It is surprisingly inexpensive too.) It just seems like one of those can’t-go-wrong ways of lighting your subject in the studio.

Finally, here is another image that I grabbed at one of the studio bays. Our gorgeous model was lit by a ring-light (continuous light), giving that typical Fashion look with the very even light on her. I shot this with my Fuji X100, so I didn’t have the telephoto reach that others had, so I decided to include the ring-light as part of the composition.

By the way, that is the out-of-camera JPG from the Fuji X100, shot at 1/500 @ f4 @ 800 ISO … and it looks wonderful at 100%

Anyway, the point about all this is that you get to try various lighting setups and equipment and techniques on your own, or with a Mentor or any other knowledgeable photographer. After Dark is just a cool place to be if you’re considering a lighting and photography workshop. Check their website, or join them on Facebook, to be kept informed about the future dates and events.

If you find these articles interesting and of value, then you can help by using
these affiliate links to order equipment & other goodies.   Thank you!

Stay informed of new articles via the monthly newsletter.
Also join us on the Tangents forum for further discussions.

now available on iBooks : on-camera / off-camera flash photography

I’m very happy to announce that both my books on flash photography are now available on the Apple iBook Store. The image quality is very good, sale
and like the other books available on iBooks, the readability is excellent. There is a difference in price between the two books that I can’t explain – these things are out of my hands – however, the off-camera flash book is available for less than $20.00

So for those who have requested an electronic version of these two books … there they are now!

Of course, the printed books are available via Amazon, or can be ordered directly from me for an autographed copy.

initial impression: Fuji X100 – not quite the review yet

The Fuji X100 must be one of the most eagerly awaited cameras in recent times. The camera just looks beautiful. Retro-cool. With initial reports being mostly very favorable, endocrinologist
I was quite keen to get my hands on one of these. My X100 arrived last week, just before I was to leave for the After Dark Photography Education workshops in Cincinnati, OH. What better time to geek out over a camera with gorgeous models around and so much opportunity to play with photo gear and lightning techniques.

The photograph above of Alyssa, (one of our models), was lit by LED video light. Now, when using video lights for photography, you’re dealing with wide apertures and high ISOs. An immediate challenge for a camera. And the Fuji X100 excelled. The image above was from the in-camera JPG, with the color balance tweaked slighting in Photoshop. The image was also slightly straightened.

camera settings: 1/60 @ f2 @ 1000 ISO … manual exposure mode

Now before I show the 100% crop of the shadow areas in that image …

here is the camera itself:

Clearly designed with an eye on the classic cameras, the Fuji just looks beautiful. But the camera’s looks wouldn’t mean much if the image quality doesn’t hold up.

image quality of the Fuji X100

For an overview of the camera’s specifications, the best place would be Fuji’s official site. What is important to note here, is that the Fuji X100 is a 12 megapixel rangefinder-styled digital camera, with an APS-C size sensor. So you wouldn’t expect digital noise to be as well-controlled as it is.

Looking again at the image at the top:

From the area below her left elbow (camera right) – 1000 ISO
(not sharpened in Photoshop)

But this in itself wouldn’t be impressive if the low level of digital noise was achieved at the cost of detail. Now, this isn’t a proper review yet, so there aren’t comparative images yet, but the next image should give you an idea of the amount of detail this camera can capture. This next image was shot at 800 ISO. (Close enough to 1000 ISO to still give you an idea of the way the noise is controlled vs potential reduction in detail.)

Also shot at the After Dark workshops, I bumped into the group that my buddy Chuck Arlund was leading around the plaza in Cincinnati. He had somehow convinced a model to get into the fountain. Using only the available light at the fountain

camera settings: 1/125 @ f2 @ 800 ISO  … manual exposure mode.
Available light only.

A 100% crop of the statue under the fountain:  (not sharpened in Photoshop)

The detail is there! With a further in-depth review, we’ll definitely have a look at how the camera performs at higher ISOs than merely 800 and 1000 ISO. With the initial images I shot with the X100, I am quite happy with the image quality.

controls, operation & handling of the Fuji X100

Here I have to confess two things immediately:

- I have no experience of range-finder cameras aside from briefly playing with Leicas that friends owned. But I never shot with one. So, no experience of rangefinders. But then, the Fuji X100 isn’t a range-finder camera. It is styled like one.

- At this point I haven’t read the manual yet. I’ve been too busy to sit down with the manual and figure the camera out from start-to-end before using it. I’ve also been too excited about the camera to not just go out and just use it. I also think it might be easier to read and understand the manual when there is some familiarity with the camera already. So, I’ll get there.

But in the meantime, I have used the camera already.

So for all that, being a complete noob with rangefinders in general and the Fuji X100 specifically, I found the camera easy to understand. I am sure there will be more details and functions that will be revealed once I delve deeper and properly into it. But for now, the camera isn’t a mysterious awkward camera. The operation and the menu is simple enough to decipher from just placing your fingers on it.

So how does the camera feel? Surprisingly light. From the metal used in building the camera, you’d expect something more hefty, but the Fuji X100 is both light and fairly compact. (And have I mentioned yet that it looks beautiful and elegant?)

The shutter dial and aperture dial and exposure compensation dials, all feel solid with a silky movement. This camera quietly tells you that it is a quality machine when you handle it. It feels good to hold and use. Even the lens cup comes off with a soft gliding movement.

I should also mention that the Fuji X100 has a fixed 23mm f2 lens, which is the equivalent of a 35mm f2 lens when compared to a 35mm or full-frame digital camera.

What I will have to adapt to in using this camera, is that the X100 isn’t a Nikon D3. The Nikon D3 is a fast, responsive brute of a machine. The X100 needs a more considered approach to taking a photograph. The simple act of looking through the viewfinder to the side of the camera is quite different than looking through the viewfinder of an SLR. The controls are also different than a DSLR. I am used to having the ISO selection immediately available. For me, choosing the ISO is as much part of exposure metering as is it is to change the aperture or shutter speed. With the Fuji X100, I changed the Fn button to bring up the ISO so I didn’t have to go through the menu to find it first.

Now, much mention has been made of the Hybrid viewfinder of the X100.
To quote from Fuji’s site:

The Hybrid Viewfinder combines the window-type “bright frame” optical viewfinder found in high-end film cameras, such as 35mm or medium-format cameras; and the electronic viewfinder system incorporated in fixed single lens or mirror-less digital cameras.

You have the choice of the electronic viewfinder (which I dislike a lot in every camera that I’ve encountered it), and the optical viewfinder. What you do need to actually see for yourself, is how bright this viewfinder is. Even better, it has all the info you need .. aperture, ISO, metering display … and best of all, a histogram overlay in the one corner.

Every photographer that I’ve shown the camera to, has responded with an “oh wow!” or “holy crap!” when they look through the viewfinder. Reading about it on a website or on a brochure doesn’t quite describe how impressive it is when you actually use it. Fuji really did their home-work on this.

Better yet, it is possible to set the View Mode of the camera, so that the live preview can be seen on the back of the camera (like pretty much all compact cameras behave) … but the moment you lift the camera to your eye, the camera senses it, and moves the display inside the viewfinder. So the camera (for one of the View Modes), will do that – flip between LCD preview on the back, and the view inside the viewfinder. Elegant!

So far I really like the camera. It does have a few quirks which I’ll get to with the proper review. (I also need to familiarize myself properly with the camera.)

You may well ask why I bought the Fuji X100 and what I might use it for. Since Fuji is billing this as The Professional’s Choice, one may well wonder where the Fuji X100 would fit in with a working professional’s kit. Here I can only answer for myself – currently I shoot with Nikon D3 bodies, and I would not want to hamper myself in any way during a paid shoot or event, by using a camera that is less responsive or is limited to only one fixed lens.

For my personal photography, I wanted a camera that is a point-and-shoot, but without being too simplified that I have no control over it. I also wanted image quality that wouldn’t fall down entirely in comparison to a camera like the Nikon D3. And this is where the Fuji X100 fits in perfectly. It is small enough to be  walk-around camera. It has superb image quality (going by the first images I’ve taken with it.) And then it offers something that most smaller cameras don’t have – a classic elegance and stylishness that was meant to appeal to the serious photographer and connoisseur. The Professional’s Choice.

But we’ll come back to all this with a more complete review of a camera that is destined to become a modern classic.

The Fuji X100 and accessories can be ordered from B&H
through this affiliate link.

If you find these articles interesting and of value, then you can help by using
these affiliate links to order equipment & other goodies.   Thank you!

Stay informed of new articles via the monthly newsletter.
Also join us on the Tangents forum for further discussions.

mixing the white balance of different light sources

While we would do well to gel our flash when working in a very warm or incandescent spectrum, here
(such as when shooting at a venue bathed in Tungsten light), the last few articles showed how we can use it to our advantage when using different light sources with different color balance. The effect can be quite dramatic.

The examples shown have been varied:

In the first example (with Bethany as our model), we looked at using random found available light as portrait lighting. With the next example, the effect was purposely sought by gelling our flash for effect. A similar contrast in white balance can also be found by using a Tungsten-gelled LED video light in a non-tungsten environment, forcing all the daylight colors to go toward a bold blue tone. The most recent example showed how we could use the modeling light in the studio with additional flash as rim light, to give a punchy image with warm colors.

Those four examples all had entirely different scenarios, but the same idea was used in all  of them to get punchy colorful images – using light sources with different white / color balance.

This image here at the top was shot with a similar set-up as the sequence where we gelled our main flash with 1/2 CTS gels to allow the background to go blue

With this first image, both the foreground flash and the background flash were ungelled, and shot at Cloudy WB. The blue tint of the drapes in the background, were from lights in the ceiling. This is exactly the same light that gave the strong blue background in the other article on random found available light as portrait lighting.

With this image which is the starting point, I decided we could make the background far more bold by once again gelling our main flash (in the Lastolite Ezyboz softbox), with two 1/2 CTS gels.

And this is how we ended up with the final image shown at the top, where the background goes to a neon blue. Quite striking.

The main flash on her was a speedlight in a Lastolite Ezybox softbox, set to camera right. The background light was a speedlight bounced straight up into the ceiling to the left here of our model, and further back than our model’s position.

The motion blur seen there was purposely done by shooting at a relatively slow shutter speed while there was such movement.

camera setting: 1/60 @ f4 @ 500 ISO … TTL flash @ +0.3 FEC

Finally, all this is to bring home again the idea that we could use the same thought-process in a variety of situations. While each situation was different with different light sources used, there was a similarity in the approach to the lighting (or even recognizing the lighting). This gives us a method and thought-process to come up with striking images under a variety of conditions – by creating and using light in our images which have divergent color balance.

Equipment used with this photo session:

Nikon D3;  Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S II (B&H)
(3x) Nikon SB-900 (B&H);  (2x) Nikon SD-9 battery pack (B&H)
(3x) PocketWizard FlexTT5 transceiver (B&H)
Lastolite EZYBOX Softbox Kit (24?x24?) (B&H)
(2x) Manfrotto 1051BAC light-stand (B&H)

If you find these articles interesting and of value, then you can help by using
these affiliate links to order equipment & other goodies.   Thank you!

Stay informed of new articles via the monthly newsletter.
Also join us on the Tangents forum for further discussions.

photography: mixing different light sources in the studio

While playing around in the studio late this evening with a group of attendees at the Treehaven workshop, this
someone challenged us each to come up with an idea, web
using any of the lighting equipment there …

I decided to rim-light our model, Amy, with a studio flash behind her. The main light on her is the modeling light in the large softbox that everyone else was using. I preferred to disable the studio light’s output, and just use the modeling light on her as the light from the camera’s point of view.

The modeling light, which is a continuous light source, and is quite warm. I expected it to be close to Tungsten / Incandescent, but it wasn’t quite as warm. Still much warmer than the ‘cold’ light from the studio flashes … or the speedlight I eventually used as a rim lighting.

I intentionally under-exposed her, wanting the rim-light to etch her against the out-of-focus (and darker) backdrops. In the first shot I took of her in this pose, I liked the light, but the gridded light on the floor behind her, cast too much light on her chin from beneath, causing too large an area to blow out. Overall, the image looked good, but it needed to be fine-tuned.

The fine-tuning took place as I replaced the gridded light on the floor with a speedlight on a light-stand directly behind her. In carefully positing myself and Amy and the light-stand with the speedlight, I was able to completely hide it behind her. No editing in Photoshop needed to remove any part of the back-light. I didn’t gel the speedlight behind her, since I wanted the rim-light to be more blue than the light from the front.

About the exposure:

There is no one specific “correct exposure” here. It is just whatever looks good … or is preferred. And I liked it like this. So even though it is technically “under-exposed”, the rim-light is what defines her. The light on her from the modeling light inside the large softbox is just there for a touch of detail. It could’ve been brighter or less bright. It’s a matter of taste then. It is the rim-light that does all the work here.

The speedlight was set to 1/16th power. It doesn’t quite matter though. Since the rim light is there to blow out the very edges of her form in this photograph, the flash’s brightness can vary, and it would still look great. As such, it need not be correctly metered.

camera settings: 1/125 @ f4 @ 1600 ISO

More about the choice of white balance:
This image is very warm. Again, intentionally so. I used Daylight WB, knowing that the light on her would go quite warm as a result. I liked that bit of a red glow the light at this exposure and chosen White Balance.

This brings us back to the idea about things needing to be “correct”. Just as the exposure here is a matter of choice, the White Balance too, is a matter of preference. What supersedes the idea of “correct”, is the need that the image looks good. I’d rather have pleasant WB than correct WB. (Although it is easier to get to a pleasant WB if you have correct or near-correct WB.) Someone else might have chosen a much cooler WB, but I have a preference for warmth.

In that sense, this article ties in with the current series on different situations where the difference in White Balance in the image was used for effect.

Equipment used with this photo session:

Canon 5D mk II (B&H); Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS II (B&H)
Canon 580EX II Speedlite (B&H);
Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter (B&H)
Radio Poppers
Photogenic studio light

If you find these articles interesting and of value, then you can help by using
these affiliate links to order equipment & other goodies.   Thank you!

Stay informed of new articles via the monthly newsletter.
Also join us on the Tangents forum for further discussions.

using a gelled LED video light for a change in color balance

Continuing with the theme of combining dramatically different color balances in a single image, order
there is this striking portrait of Rebekah. She is one of our models at the workshop at Treehaven, visit this site
WI, therapy
this week. Working in the fading evening light, I had Rebekah pose somewhere in the middle of a large clump of trees. I knelt down so that I could shoot up and catch the last remnants of the evening sky as the background.

The blue light filtering through the trees was then exaggerated by using an LED video light with the deep Amber gel on it. LED video lights are balanced for daylight, so the light from them is quite ‘cold’ compared to Incandescent light. By now using the specific gels that are supplied with it, you can change the color balance of the video light to match Incandescent / Tungsten light. It is normal to work with the Amber gel to shift the LED video light towards the warm spectrum of Incadescent light.

In photographing our model here, I wanted to use the warm light from the Amber-gelled LED video light to create a big jump between that and the color of our background light. (I specifically didn’t want to use the LED video light as daylight-balanced light source.) This now caused the blue-ish tones of the evening light to go to a much deeper shade of blue. The rapid fall-off in the light from the video light, gave that typical spot-light effect. This really accentuated her face.

The pull-back shots reveal just how big a jump it really was in the color between our surroundings and the video light …

I love the way her face is now that single spot of warm color in the pool of blue light and dark tones. It really draws your eyes in.

camera settings:
1/125 @ f2.8 @ 1250 ISO

equipment used:
Nikon D3; Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S II (B&H)
Litepanels MicroPro (B&H)

more articles about the use of video light for photography

If you find these articles interesting and of value, then you can help by using
these affiliate links to order equipment & other goodies.   Thank you!

Stay informed of new articles via the monthly newsletter.
Also join us on the Tangents forum for further discussions.

multiple off-camera flash – gelling your flash for effect

All the light you see in this image here, disease
is from two speedlights. The blue color in the background is because I gelled my one flash. While that might give you the idea that I gelled the background flash with a blue gel, what I actually did, was gel my main flash with two 1/2 CTS gels. That’s all I had with me, but I wanted those hard cold blue tones to the background.

A single 1/2 CTS gel would take the flash to 3700K. Adding a 2nd gel didn’t take it as far as a full CTS would’ve, but closer to 3350K, going by my settings with the RAW file.

By having my main speedlight (in a softbox) now at a color temperate of around 3350K, meant the background shifted towards blue in comparison. Intended effect achieved!

Now, about the placement of the speedlights, and to explain what the spectactular background actually is ….

Photographing Bethany in the foyer of the night-club where we did these photo sessions, I saw this curved wall lined with small mirror tiles. Just like one giant curved disco glitter ball. All kinds of awesome. But it needed light. This club, outside of hours, was dark!

In this first pull-back shot, you can see the main light on the left – the Lastolite EZYBOX Softbox Kit (24″x24″) (B&H). In the middle you can see the blue hot-spot on the mirrored wall as the other flash lit it up.

This pull-back shot, shows Bethany in relation to the flash providing the background light. The area was too small to do a complete pull-back shot, getting everything in a single frame. This background light had a black foamie thing on to flag (block) any direct light from it hitting Bethany.

Without the blue background, the results were nice … actually pretty good … but not as other-wordly as the final images.

Adding the blue background (via the un-gelled flash), immediately gave it an unusual feel. Something like a modern-day Marie Antoinette in a futuristic night-club.

The statically posed shots we came up with looked really good … but then Bethany suggested some movement to get her jewelry swinging around … so we did a sequence of photographs were Bethany spun around on the spot. Quite a few missed shots as I mis-timed or she blinked … but in the end we got several shots that worked. The image right at the top of this page is a favorite, as well as this next image.

A fabulous model in an unusual setting … all sweetened with some interesting light, and I think we have  some eye-catching results.

Technical details & settings:

The two speedlights were both fired via two PocketWizard FlexTT5 transceivers (B&H). I had another FlexTT5 transceiver on my camera, on top of which was an SB-900 controlling the output of the two speedlights.

The light on the background was adjusted to taste by looking at the camera’s preview. I’m not even sure it would be possible to use a light-meter to meter for that, since there is so much reflection of light. So it was quicker for me to set a low power setting of around 1/16th full power, and adjust from there. I controlled the output with my on-camera (with TT5) SB-900 speedlight which was the Master controller. (I don’t recall the exact final power setting of the background light though.)

As mentioned earlier, this background light was flagged with a black foamie thing to make sure that there was no direct flash on her from that side.

Both speedlights were set to manual output since it was much simpler controlling the exposure like this. There was no real way to predict what TTL flash would do here with such a reflective background.

Camera settings: 1/60 @ f6.3 @ 200 ISO

another article on Tangents, featuring Bethany:
available light portrait

Equipment used with this photo session:

Nikon D3;  Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 AF-S (B&H)
(3x) Nikon SB-900 (B&H);  Nikon SD-9 battery pack (B&H)
(3x) PocketWizard FlexTT5 transceiver (B&H)
Lastolite EZYBOX Softbox Kit (24″x24″) (B&H)
Manfrotto 1051BAC light-stand (B&H)

If you find these articles interesting and of value, then you can help by using
these affiliate links to order equipment & other goodies.   Thank you!

Stay informed of new articles via the monthly newsletter.
Also join us on the Tangents forum for further discussions.

random found available light as portrait lighting

With the recent trip to California for the workshops, buy more about
I was also keen to meet up with another favorite model, order
Bethany. We were allowed to shoot in a night-club on a Sunday afternoon when it was all quiet with no one there. It’s an interesting place to work with a beautiful model, vitamin
finding interesting spots and then figuring out how I might adapt my flash setup. I had 4 speedlights with me and 2 softboxes and a slew of the new PocketWizards.

The first series of photos of Bethany however, was shot with just the available light there. But first I had to recognize the light as being interesting light for a portrait. I had to “see” it first. As it happened, I only saw that this might be useful light for a portrait when I did a few test shots while Bethany was having her hair and make-up done.

As photographers we should always be aware of the light, and how the interplay between light and shade affects our subject. And how the quality and color of light changes.

Sadly though, I didn’t recognize that the light was interesting just by looking at this scene. I only saw it once the test images popped up on the back of the camera, and I went hmmm!

Here is a pull-back shot a little bit later on, when Bethany was completely ready. The main light was simply that bare incandescent light-bulb which the make-up artist used to do Bethany’s make-up. Simple as that.

But the magic happened in how the warm Tungsten light worked with the much colder existing light within the night-club. I’m not sure what the other light source was, but it looks like it might be Daylight balanced light-sources in the night-club. Perhaps more blue / colder than that. Whatever it was, it looked great in that first few shots of Bethany’s prep.

When Bethany was ready, this is then where we started.

posing and directing a model

When working with hand-held video-light, we most often work by moving the light until it falls onto our subject in a way that is flattering. But with the single light-source now being static, I had to direct Bethany so that the light shining on her was flattering. It helps in that Bethany is an experienced model, being able to work with very little direction from the photographer. But she, like most models, will have no immediate idea what the photographer is attempting in terms of lighting. I did show her the test shots during prep, so she knew what I was after, but she still needed to be directed.

In posing her, I had her leaning into the light a bit, taking care that I got loop lighting. The way that the shadow falls  under her nose, means it is just that ‘loop’ of shadow there. It is most often the way that I use a hard or small light source. It keeps from weird shadows falling over your subject’s mouth, or a strong shadow of your subject’s nose falling across their cheek. So I tend to keep it simple like this, since it is usually the best place to start and get good results immediately.

Now it was just a matter of a few quiet instructions like, ‘drop your chin a little bit’; ‘turn your head slightly more to me’ … until the light looked good falling on her.

And there’s the result:

camera settings:  1/60 @ f2.8 @ 1000 ISO
Nikon D3;  Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S II (B&H)  … zoomed to 155mm

That was just the start of the photo session though. What I really was after was working with multiple speedlights in those interesting nooks in the night-club. But that’s for another article.

If you find these articles interesting and of value, then you can help by using
these affiliate links to order equipment & other goodies.   Thank you!

Stay informed of new articles via the monthly newsletter.
Also join us on the Tangents forum for further discussions.

MiniTT1 & FlexTT5 for Nikon by PocketWizard on Vimeo.

using the PocketWizard MiniTT1, viagra sale
FlexTT5 and AC3 during photo sessions

While in Vegas earlier this year during WPPI 2011, PocketWizard recorded a video clip of me while photographing two photo sessions.

The first part of the clip shows the sequence while I work with my friends, Natalie and Chris. The final image was a dramatic B&W portrait of the couple, in the vein of old Hollywood Glamor style portraits. My description of this photo shoot appeared in that article on Tangents.

Afterwards I photographed model, Shawna, still with the idea of getting a dramatic and glamorous portrait of her, using the new PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 units.

In watching this clip now, I realize I was speaking too fast. A combination of nervousness and my usual manner of speech. So be ready for a rush of words.

old Hollywood Glamor style portrait with Natalie & Chris

dramatic and glamorous portraits of Shawna

The PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radio slave system for Nikon:
(B&H affiliate links)


MiniTT1 transmitter

FlexTT5 transceiver

AC3 ZoneController

The PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radio slave system for Canon:
(B&H affiliate links)


MiniTT1 transmitter

FlexTT5 transceiver

AC3 ZoneController

If you find these articles interesting and of value, then you can help by using
these affiliate links to order equipment & other goodies.   Thank you!

Stay informed of new articles via the monthly newsletter.
Also join us on the Tangents forum for further discussions.

Continuing the photo session with Ulorin, dermatologist
we worked inside the hotel room for the next part. The photo above is a candid shot of Ulorin fixing her hair between changes in clothing. Ulorin’s next outfit shown in this article, was more revealing than the previous outfits during the photo session. (Just a heads-up for the Tangents readers who are surfing from their workplace.)

Photographing inside the room, I initially tried to work with just the window-light, but hit a small snag. The indirect light through the window kept changing on me as clouds moved in and out. Instead of changing my settings continually to match the light, I decided to revert to using flash to mimic the window light. This would give me consistent light.

off-camera flash as window light

This is the quality of light that I was after … soft directional light that still added a sense of drama. The light shown here is mostly flash, with a bit of ambient light. It took a few adjustments though to get to this point where I really liked the look.

camera settings for both images:
1/250 @ f5.6 @ 800 ISO … manual off-camera flash.

The slight change in contrast that you see in the light on her face, is because Ulorin shifted in position relative to the light as she changed her pose. (I edited out the white bedsheets in the top image to see if the image was improved without the distraction of the white bed sheets.)

This is where we started. In these test shots you can see the table and clutter in the background. This is before we moved everything out of the way. What is also immediately noticeable is that the exposures here are different, even though my camera settings were the same:
1/200 @ f4 @ 650 ISO

The available light looked good (as in this image below), but it was too inconsistent. I’d rather be concentrating on the photography, than have the rhythm of the photo session be broken by constant adjustment of settings.

1/250 @ f3.2 @ 800 ISO .. available light.

I then thought I could mimic the window light by placing an off-camera flash in the window. The flash pointed outwards and up, bouncing off the glass of the window. I had the flash-head zoomed wide.

The result was a flood of light into the room. I guess this would’ve looked like window light on another sunnier day. And with the room not facing another hotel across the narrow road. It just didn’t look like I wanted.

The next step was the Big Adjustment. I moved the light to the left of the window frame, and rotated the flash so that it pointed to the left. Now the light bounced off the glass towards the top of the window pane. Yes, even though I am pointing the flash outwards, enough light will bounce off the glass to make the difference.

And now the direction of the light is exactly what I was after. I had zoomed the flash-head to a tighter angle to make the swathe of light less broad. I wanted the light to accentuate Ulorin’s face. And here is the result …

And in case anyone needs convincing that bouncing the flash off the glass had any effect, here is the shot without the flash.

Camera settings for both images .. in fact for all the images with the flash positioned here:
1/250 @ f5.6 @ 800 ISO

The manual off-camera flash was controlled in the same way as for the photo session with Ulorin in the red latex outfit. The speedlight was controlled via a PocketWizard FlexTT5 on which the flash was mounted. The output of this flash could be controlled as manual flash via the FlexTT5 and AC3 ZoneController on the camera.

As photographers we needs to pre-visualize what we want to achieve with our lighting .. and work towards that by figuring out where we need to place our light. Then we also need to figure out what we want to achieve with the light.

As shown in the previous post with Ulorin in the red latex outfit, the lighting set-up that we end up using can be quite simple. It needs some thought and adjustment and experimenting to get to where we want to be with the lighting. As in the previous post, a simple speedlight offered unexpectedly good results.

other articles on Tangents, featuring Ulorin:

model – Ulorin
Ulorin in red
manual off-camera fill-flash  (model – Ulorin)

Equipment used with this photo session:

Nikon D3;  Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 AF-S (B&H)
Nikon SB-900 (B&H);  Nikon SD-9 battery pack (B&H)
(2x) PocketWizard FlexTT5 transceiver (B&H)
PocketWizard AC3 Zone Controller (B&H)
Manfrotto 1051BAC light-stand (B&H)

If you find these articles interesting and of value, then you can help by using
these affiliate links to order equipment & other goodies.   Thank you!

Stay informed of new articles via the monthly newsletter.
Also join us on the Tangents forum for further discussions.

 

There are many interesting articles on the net however some of them are better that the others. Here you can find list of syndicated articles from several photo blogs i like the most such as Niel vN, sickness
strobist, pharm
nikon cls guide. Some more Visual science lab, tooth
wedding photo workshop.

Some of them does not have RSS feed however I really belive you should have a look there:

Best photo umbrella for a home-studio & indoor headshots

When I recently discovered (**) the rectangular photo umbrellas, my first reaction was, “so what’s the point”, but then someone explained to me that it allows you to get the center of axis closer to the ceiling (or a wall). Brilliant! It instantly made sense why a rectangular photo umbrella might be more useful indoors than the traditional, round umbrella. I would even go so far as to say that a rectangular photo umbrella is the best umbrella for a home-studio & indoor headshots.

I now bring along Angler Parsail 60″ Umbrellas (affiliate) to every photo shoot, along with my usual array of light modifiers, just in case I find myself in a bit of a squeeze for space. Their winged shape make them ideal for low-ceilinged rooms. This makes them equally useful for home studios. They can be used either horizontally, or vertically for when you find yourself squeezed up against a wall. The fiber-glass construction to the ribs and rods make them fairly durable too.

In the discussion on a home-studio setup with speedlites, this kind of umbrella would make a lot of sense. The photo below, similarly to the video, will show the difference in height that is achieved. While seemingly not that much of a difference, I’ve found that that 4 inches difference in height actually helps me getting the light to come in from a proper angle!

(**) About this being something that I recently discovered, I need to add that I am more often than not out of the loop when it comes to new gear and new technology, so this could very well be old news for everyone else.

 

You can purchase these umbrellas from B&H via these affiliate links

 

Related articles

 

The post Best photo umbrella for a home-studio & indoor headshots appeared first on Tangents.


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Six days till homecoming. (Image: Ben from many years ago). 

I've just spent the last few days redesigning my website and I'm in the arduous process of uploading it to my internet service provider. It contains new images, a dynamic interface and a gallery page with 13 videos on it. I'm watching the small progress graphic ( a slowly connecting circle) with much anticipation. If I were in S. Korea, home of the world's fastest broadband connections, this all would have been loaded before I even started. I can only hope we don't regress back a decade to the time when I would get 95% of an upload stuffed up onto the web only to have everything crash. Then we'd start all over again. 

Note: The upload went fine and the site is now live at: www.kirktuck.com. As with most websites it is a work in progress and exists mostly as a resource to show clients what I do. The update was motivated by my need to add video to my galleries.

Older readers will hate the large text type but probably read it thoroughly, looking for typos. Younger readers will love the large headlines and read only the largest type on the pages, opting to look at the photos and video instead.

If you have suggestions please offer them in the contents. I guess this amounts to crowdsourcing valuable feedback but, of course, there is no guarantee that I'll follow through with changes. There is emotional inertia that keeps me as far from website production as I can get. 

The Benjamin countdown continues. He is scheduled to get back sometime on Thurs. evening and we're making all kinds of plans for his welcome back. I can't decide if the banner should be discreet and elegant or if we should just go ahead and wrap the entire house. I am also considering painting a welcome sign on the roof; just in case he is able to see it from the air. We've kept his scheduled arrival a secret from Studio Dog because she is hazy about "future tense" and will start looking all over for him if we tell her "Ben is Coming Home." I don't want to see her going from door to door and window to window looking hopeful and yet confused for the next five days. 

External recorders. I wanted to also report on the use of the Atomos Ninja Flame. As I expected, the improvement in the files depends to a large extent on how much you push the files coming from the camera. If you are filming at ISO200, in good light, with little camera movement, good color balance and careful exposure I am going to tell you that an external recorder won't magically and radically improve the video image. You will not hear angels singing. You won't have upgraded your shooting rig to match the files coming off your friend's $60K professional video camera because you will already be operating in a universal sweet spot. 

It's a different picture if you need to work at high ISOs, make big color or tonality corrections/modifications and if you routinely underexpose. Then, in post production, you'll probably see what I see: More detail, an easier to correct file, less noise and a greater range of color separation. 

Is the expense of $1200 or so worth it for people making video with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras? Only you can really decide if the units fit your value equation positively, but for me  there are three or four aspects that make a great external video recorder/monitor well worth the expense. The first is the ability to use vector scopes, wave form monitors and false color to fine tune (and nail) exposure and color balance. Meters solve a lot of issues. Second reason is the much enhanced ease of use for focus peaking and just plain focus evaluation. Having a high resolution screen that's multiple times bigger than the LCD on the back of your camera is a  godsend for achieving consistent and accurate focus. Punch in on a sharp, seven inch screen and you can see precisely where fine focus exists. Even with smaller sensor cameras that have the mixed blessing of deeper depth of focus/depth of field. 

Finally, having the video files already converted to a less compressed and very standard editing format means you don't waste time transcoding your video material before you can start your editing process. Plus, the transfer from the SSDs is remarkably fast. All in all, a good productivity tool. 

Speaking of video...I have to say that I've been shooting some video with the Panasonic G85 and I wish I was more impressed. It's not bad in 4K; not bad at all, but it's not as crisp as the fz2500 or the Sony RX10iii and doesn't come close to the high ISO performance of the  A7Rii in crop mode. It's a good enough camera but even the image stabilization is a bit disappointing because it's not at all stable if you are handheld and changing direction with a pan. There are artifacts. For a sustained, handheld shot with little camera movement it's fine but when the camera starts to move the issues come into focus. I'm disappointed but I'm still, on the whole, a fan of the camera because it does a very, very nice job with still photography and the video on a tripod (in 4K) is just fine. There is no free lunch. This camera is just a discounted lunch. 

Lenses. I want to call out two lenses that are more or less obscure, have been on the market for a while and have, in the minds of most consumers, been superseded for attention by the subsequent, relentless product introductions in the lens market. They are the Rokinon 100mm f2.8 macro and the Rokinon 135mm t2.2 (cine version) lenses. Both are manual focusing and neither has any electronic connection to any camera but both are exquisitely sharp, even wide open. I had occasion to use both recently and came away with a new appreciation for them. The 135mm is especially interesting as it gives a very sharp core image wide open and, on a full frame camera gives an exquisitely narrow depth of field when used there. Look around for used copies, cast off by people with short attention spans, and buy them cheap. They are well worth it if you are casting around for a certain sort of look from your full frame cameras. 

Weather. As I understand it California, and places west of Texas, are being pounded with heat from an intransigent high pressure dome that's propelling the heat up into the 110-120 (f) range. It's expected that the temps will stay there through the next week. Here in Austin we've had a period of high humidity with actual high temperatures near the 100 mark which makes for a dangerous heat index. Not good weather for exterior shooting. Thank goodness I've been inside, working on the darn website. 

Swim Practice. We've had some great swims lately. The coaches are getting more inventive as we go along, and all of them must be frustrated engineers since everything they write on the board has complex patterns of increasing and decreasing distance coupled with negative splits and descending interval times. Good times. If you aren't exercising you might want to consider doing so as an investment in your long term ability to be mobile with your camera. No fun trying to do street photography from the couch....

A Final Note. I am have contracted to be a photography instructor for a travel company. We are on track to begin in 2018 with a fun trip (in the Fall) to Iceland followed by a December adventure in England. More details as they become available. As a warm up I'm planning a trip in late Summer to Mexico City and in the Fall to Tokyo. As the kid finishes up his senior year by May of 2018 more and more funds seem to become available for the kinds of travel we used to do before those dreaded years of parental responsibility. Stay tuned.

Feedback on the website is welcome but really, try to be nice...





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We've entered an alternate universe here in my corner of Austin. It's a universe filled with wild life. There is a skunk (or perhaps a herd of skunks) who makes the rounds though our yard every week or so. For a while it was attempting to burrow down and build a nest in my back yard. With the clever use of high intensity light, and the application of water, I think I was able to thwart those attempts. But it's still making the rounds. Which means I have to be careful when I take Studio Dog out at night. She got sprayed once when she was young and it was a dismal experience for everyone in the family...

We also have a recurring itinerate armadillo who likes to make little cone shaped divits in the front yard. I don't mind it quite as much.

Then there was recent, four foot long rat snake that climbed down the tree next to the kitchen window in a baldfaced attempt to scare Belinda half to death. I won't go into detail about our trials and tribulations with the squirrels; they clearly have no regard for boundaries and no respect for poor Studio Dog who is hellbent on catching one for dissection...

No, the capper this week is the feral deer. Apparently a doe gave birth to a fawn behind the house on the corner. The residents of the house are out of the country so the deer apparently found a yard with a bit of ongoing privacy. But the house is on a corner and the street is busy in the morning with people walking their dogs or, in the case of Studio Dog, dogs walking their people. At any rate, the deer is amazingly protective of the area she now considers her territory and is singling out dog walkers and their dogs for active harassment. Aggressive harassment.

She has mapped out a six house area and, within those confines she charges at dogs and humans in a menacing way, telling them to move along and get the hell away from her space. When I came home from swim practice Studio Dog and Belinda took turns telling harrowing tales of their latest deer confrontation. The deer was following them so aggressively that a police car causing by stopped and the officer interceded, to the extent that he could.

Now, I get parental protectiveness, and I get that the deer were (ostensibly) here first. Bur really, can't we all just share the space now?

I'll remember that thought as I go after the four or five growing wasp's nests gathering in various spots under the eaves of the house...  How wonderful to live amongst nature.

This is why I am happy to be celebrating the more urbane pleasures of Wacky Portrait Appreciation Day here. I know it's considered rude to appropriate from other cultures but the requirement that we all drink Champagne and then nap through the hot parts of the afternoon (ALL afternoon) sold me on the need for more authentic holidays such as this one.

Wacky portrait supplied above. Done with a recent model of down market digital camera.


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portraits for Texas Appleseed.

I've been working on ways to downsize and lighten my load recently. It must be a contagious thought as Michael Johnston at TheOnlinePhotographer has been discussing the same trend on his world famous blog lately. It always sounds like a good idea to jettison excess weight (and complexity) wherever possible. The idea, currently, is that the progress of technology enables we photographers to choose smaller, lighter cameras that deliver "good enough" performance, and that's performance that's at least as good performance as we experienced in the most expensive cameras available only five or so years ago.

I've been doing my part, at least as well as I can. I've jettisoned all the big, heavy Nikon and Canon cameras I once used and replaced them with smaller, lighter, Sony A7 series cameras. Where interchangeable lenses and big sensors aren't needed I am able to downsize again by choosing one of two superzoom cameras, such as the Panasonic fz2500 or the Sony RX10iii.

In most cases it's a strategy that works. Well, it works for most of my hobby work but the minute the focus changes to controlled, commercial photography assignments my flirtation with small and light meets the reality of total production.

Here's how it played out today. I was asked to drop by a foundation I work with and take four portraits that will be used, mostly, on their website. We've done the same kind of assignment for this group several times in the past; shooting outside and creating images in which the background of trees and sky are put quite out of focus while the person in the foreground is well lit. There's a small area adjacent to the client's building that is set aside for smokers (haven't seen one there...) and it's both accessible and well situated in terms of background.

Of course, there's always a catch. It's Summer in Austin and I heard on the radio that we're expecting heat indexes of 105 or 106 in the afternoons, this week. That means we definitely need to do our shoots in the morning. Portraits rarely work well when the subjects are a sweaty mess... But this creates a secondary issue in that each portrait subject must face east, into the rising sun (we actually started shooting at 10 a.m.). The same sun also shines, in a dapply way, through the branches and leaves of the tree just to the right of the frame. This means we need some sort of diffusion over head and to the front of our person. Which then means that we'll need to pop some modified flash into the shot to balance everything out and provide clean, happy flesh tones. And good, directional light.

So, I've followed the current style and downsized my cameras, ready to realize all the benefits of current technology and scale. I have an A7ii, and it's small and light, but when I look through my equipment drawer for a 135mm focal length lens option I have only two choices: The Rokinon 135mm f2.0 Cine Lens or the Sony 70-200mm f4.0. Both are at least as heavy as their competitors' versions of these focal lengths. I chose the 70/200 for its flexibility but I note that it must weigh at least three times what the camera body does...

I've also downsized my lights, radically. In years past I might have used the enormous Elinchrom Ranger RX AS pack and head  electronic flash system since it had its own lead-acid battery but I long since sold off the 18 pound unit and today wanted to rely upon the new Godox AD200 portable flash unit. I figured the weight savings at something like 9:1, and that's including the accessories for the Godox! Of course, as I was packing I remembered that one of the things that was good about the 18 pound power pack from Elincrhom was that I could attach it to my light stand and use it as a de facto sandbag to keep the flash head and softbox from smashing to the ground with every wayward puff of wind.

Always erring on the side of safety I grab one of the 30 pound, orange sandbags from a pile of sandbags in the corner of the studio and add it to the collection of gear I'm packing. Now the advantages aren't looking quite so obvious.

I'll also need to pack a 50 inch diffusion disk to block the sun as well as an arm to hold it, and a stand to hold them both. This assemblage will also require a sandbag so I select another orange 30 pounder and add it to the stack.

The composition needs to be pretty static so I can concentrate on pose and expression so I make sure to pack a good tripod. All of mine are rock solid which means they all weigh about the same. I choose the Gitzo because I like the Manfrotto ball head I currently have on that one.

So, I get to my location and start setting up. It's not really a big deal since I found a parking space just four spaces from the actual location. I line up the shot first and then start building the lighting and diffusion. I know I was smart to pack the sand bags because every once in a while the wind picks up and pushes on the small soft box, and on the diffuser. The higher I raise up the diffusion panel the happier I am that each sand bag weighs 30 pounds.

I estimate that in my attempt to downsize my exterior portrait shooting rig I've added a net of about 10 pounds. Not quite the result I had in mind when I started down this path.

In all seriousness, though, moving from mirrored to mirror-free in the camera selection saved me maybe one pound. And since the camera spent the morning mounted on a stout tripod it's a pound of difference I never would have felt.

So why did I bother to transition technologies? I'll say this again. It's not any sort of attempt to radically downsize my kit it's just that EVFs are vastly superior for the way I like to work. And the Sony cameras are far more flexible as tools to use across two disciplines (video and stills).

The cold, hard reality for me is that most of the weight I deal with on locations is dictated by the lighting, not the camera gear. Even in the lighting it's not really the lighting instruments themselves that are the burden but all the associated support gear: light stands, sand bags, tripods, diffusion frames, etc. Heck, I could still be using a Linhof Technica view camera and it would not be the thing that tips the scale between weight and excess weight.

So, that's the point of view from a commercial photographer but when I come home and change hats it's a different story that's more in line with that conveyed by Michael and his readers. When I put on the flip-flops and and the silly (but sun-proof) hat, stick $20 in my pocket and go walking downtown, in the heat, the relative weight of my camera and lens do matter. They matter a lot.

And any time I am going "hand held" with my camera I have to acknowledge that "ultimate quality" is not my primary aim.

In these situations I like to stick to the A7ii body (over the A7rii) but the biggest lens I ever want to carry around (versus: drive around with in the car) is the Sony/Zeiss 24-70mm f4.0. The combo is manageable. If I'm channeling a 1950's Life Magazine/Henri Cartier Bresson existence I ditch the zoom and grab the new Sony FE 50mm f1.8. It's light and sharp. Altogether, the lens and camera make a nice, small and easy to handle package that delivers really good images.

And I get to use a good EVF all day long.

Once you lose those light stands and 60 pounds of sand things settle down nicely. Leave the heavy lenses at home and it all comes together. Downsizing depends on what you need to do. If you need to control or make light you need the right tools and it's really hard to make that support gear any smaller or lighter without compromising the necessary reality of support.

If you never want to walk around all day in the crazy heat you probably don't need to downsize whatever you currently shoot with. But it might be nice if you did. If you do this photography thing as a business then having the right tools at hand always (or nearly always) trumps the comfort of having less to wrangle.

I miss my previous existence as a copywriter; the only thing I required to do my job was a laptop, a pen and a notebook. Such a streamlined existence.


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B&B at Sweetish Hill Bakery. 
Ancient image from the archives.

My son has been away at college for the last three years. He comes home for the Summers, and for the end of year break, and I can generally convince him, during his stays at home, to lend a hand in the business as a video editor and on set director. This Spring semester was quite different. Ben applied to and was accepted at Yonsei University in Seoul, S. Korea for a semester abroad. 

He has taken several years of Korean language and has a deep interest in the culture, politics and history of Korea. He headed out in early February and has been dividing his time between (hopefully) diligent studies and much site seeing. He's eaten interesting foods and lived to write home about it. He's traveled almost weekly across Korea and made many good friends. 

I am happy we were able to provide this experience for him but I am even happier at the prospect that he'll be back near the end of next week. 

If you've been holding off on hiring me to do some glorious and ample-budgeted video project because you missed Ben's skill in the editing bay you'll want to reserve your company's place in line to make sure we can work your project in sometime this Summer. It's a limited engagement; he's back to school in Saratoga Springs, NY in the Fall. One more academic year and then ..... ?

I smell graduate school lurking in the wings... 

(camera note: What camera did he take? I opened up the equipment cabinets in the studio and invited him to take whatever he wanted. If he didn't see something there I would gladly have bought him whatever he required. He demurred and chose to go only with his iPhone 5s. He's sent back dozens of photos. They're all pretty good. PHONE, the camera choice of the millennials. 


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I started working with Renae nearly 21 years ago. I remember because during the first few months of working together we were still over in the old (enormous) studio just east of IH35; the "other" side of town. She helped with the move to my new location and we worked together for another three or four years before she moved to NYC, and then on to Los Angeles.

We worked a lot back then. That was the nature of commercial photography in the 1990's. The work was pretty predictable; whether it was an architectural shoot for a home builder, a corporate headshot "cattle call" on location or a product shoot in the studio, they all pretty much proceeded in the same way.

If the assignment was on location we probably sorted and packed everything the evening before. The new studio is right across the walkway from my house so many times Belinda would throw together a nice dinner and we'd break from assembling all the crap that goes along with a photographer to create images in the wild to sit around the dining room table to relax and eat with Belinda and toddler, Ben.

On the shoot day we'd get back into the studio and start hauling the gear cases out to the car around 7:00 am in the morning, hit the local Starbucks around 7:30, and then pull into the client's parking lot just before 8. It takes longer now. We're no longer a sleepy, little town so we double or triple the travel time.

We'd spend the first hour or so setting up lights and light stands, and taping down extension cords so no one would trip over them. Then we'd start working through either a list of shots or a list of people who needed to be photographed, and we'd get into the rhythm of the shoot. We'd break for a late lunch in the company cafeteria or someplace quick and close by and then get back to the process.

We'd wrap up around 4:30 pm and start packing up. If we were up in Round Rock, with the folks from Dell, we might have a forty-five minute or one hour commute back home to Westlake Hills. If we were south, at Motorola, we could do it in half the time. We'd get to the studio and unpack the car.
If we had another shoot the next day we'd take a little break, have a glass of wine, and then re-pack everything for the next day. We'd unload the film and get it ready for the lab and Renae would drop it by the lab, in the night drop, on her way home.

When jobs all bunched together we'd hire a second assistant whose main job was to ferry shot film to the lab for processing and then bring processed film back to the shoot so we could review it as we worked on the next job. If we had a full week of shooting booked then editing, packaging for delivery to clients, and then billing all got done on Saturdays and Sundays.

If we were lucky enough to have a down day; one without a client assignment, we'd organize the studio, file the negatives and transparencies, clean stuff and then take a little time to do our own photography. This (above) is from a series I did to test a look for a particular gray canvas as a backdrop.

Looking back I can't honestly say that if I were to do it all over again I'd prefer being an accountant or I.T. professional. I can say that I resent the fact that progress has made the need for a daily assistant unnecessary.

It's probably all for the best since I was never able to find someone as brilliant as Renae to take her place.


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©kirk tuck.

Funny to think that, in 2009, we were still shooting black and white film 
in our big, square cameras, for everything that we thought 
was personal and important. Funny how some of the work
still bubbles up to the top. 



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When Patricia ruled her bakery domain everything was magical and delicious. It was inevitable that she would retire some day. I didn't know it then; before she sold the business, but it was a dark day for coffee and pastries lovers of a certain kind in central Austin. 

Under the new management the quality didn't change.....just the magic. 




Shot in the studio. Available light. Rollei 6008. 150mm. 


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We had so much time back in our youth. Time to sit on wooden floors and watch the light flow through big windows and still be amazed by the weightlessness of the dust floating through the shafts of sun.

I was hanging out with dancers and snapping away with an ancient Canon SLR and a 50mm f1.4. Everything was on Tri-X then and I never had to make decisions about which lens to shoot with since it was the only one I owned.

I still love the work from back then. It was propelled only by my curiosity and my attraction to beautiful people.

Funny how easy everything is when your biggest responsibility is to remember to lift the toilet seat lid.


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This was taken sometime in 1983. I had recently left the welcoming but soporific bosom of academia; shortsightedly leaving the stability of a steady job for the insanity of the advertising industry. But it was fun. Fun in a way that academia really could never be.

This was taken at the successful end of our very first photo shoot as Avanti Advertising and Design. We had a retail client who sold high end chocolate, Champagne, flowers and cards. The shoot required opening several (or more) bottles of Champagne so we could capture that magic moment when the cork pops and the bottle overflows. Honestly, it was vital to the creative concept....

But once open the bottles couldn't be returned and so it fell to the marketing team on the account to liquidate the luscious liquid. There may also have been some "prop" chocolates that couldn't be resold so we made short work of those as well.

The important thing we learned early on in the business was the importance of really celebrating our victories in the industry. We commemorated every successful television commercial and print campaign with a toast, a happy hour or a "all hands" friday lunch at our favorite, sloppy Tex-Mex restaurant (which, at the time, was Nuevo Leon, on East 7th St.).

This job was shot on a Pentax 6x7 camera and, as was typical for the times, ran in black and white in the local newspapers. I strongly suspect it was shot on Tri-X film and I remember making the 11x14 inch fiber based prints in my darkroom. Good times.

These days I've gotten a bit jaded about the process, and, truth be told, if I celebrated every successful job with a bottle of Champagne I would have died long ago of some liver disease.

Still, it's good to remind oneself, from time to time, that this is a tough business and sustaining success for decades at a time is a worthy thing to celebrate. I think I'll head into the house and see if there's any wine left in the fridge from the last dinner party.....

other notes: hard at work on a very insouciant and strange new website for Kirk Tuck Photography and Video. I'm using a program called, Sparkle. It's fun but so, so time consuming. Now where is that Sauvignon Blanc I remember re-corking....


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http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2011/12/kirks-take-kirk-tuck-2.html#more

I needed this reminder TODAY. I was diving too deep into the minutia of video. I think I just pulled myself back from the edge of the abyss.....


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Sara B. ©Kirk Tuck

As most of my blog readers know I've been more or less immersed in the use of continuous lighting for portrait work over the last few years. It's a practice I started back when I was working on a book about LED lighting back in 2009-2010. Recently, I've had to travel more often to light and shoot both video and photographs and it's been a challenge to figure out how to pack to get the most bang per ounce across both media.

I recently bought bunch of Godox small flashes because they pack down so well and require fewer light stands on which to hang light modifiers, etc. I think the traditional flash equipment that I used for decades (mono lights, pack and head strobes) are now mostly obsolete for most working photographers (with exceptions) who need
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Photographing semi-candid portraits out on the street

Not quite “street photography”, but rather a semi-candid portrait out on the streets, I love the resulting photograph. It encapsulates a few of the typical New York elements for me – colorful vibrancy and attitude.

Late this afternoon, as usual when I had finished with a corporate headshot photo session in the Wall St area of New York, I waited out the peak time traffic by roaming around the streets with my camera. This young woman graciously waited a few seconds for me while she took selfies with the Fearless Girl – there were other people walking past in the background, and I wanted a cleaner shot. I held up my hand to ask her non-verbally with this gesture (and a smile) to hold her natural pose for me. And she did – and with that, I have a photograph where everything gelled. It’s one of those rare moments that make the semi-aimless wandering around looking for photographs, worth it!

One of the toughest things I had to overcome when I first picked up a camera, was engaging people I didn’t know. Just like many other newer photographers starting out with their first camera, I felt too awkward about making any kind of contact- ending up  photographing people from the side or from behind. If the resulting photograph works, then that’s fine – but I would say that capturing expressions make for far more interesting photographs than the back of someone’s head.

And that’s it – you could engage in a quick conversation, or even with a nod or a smile or a hand-gesture, ask permission to take a photograph. I’m never pushy with it – if I sense someone would rather not, I just nod to show that I understand, and I move on. But people do often respond favorably, so it’s worth overcoming that fear!

Share with us how you go about approaching strangers when you want to take a photograph of them.

 

Techie details

 

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Luke. ©Kirk Tuck 2017

I first photographed Luke a number of years ago when he commissioned a local advertising agency to create a new website for his law practice. We both liked the images we generated in that first encounter and when the time came to update the website design Luke moved on to a different design firm but called on me directly to do new portraits. 

I knew that he was looking for images the that would project a calm competence and that's what I aimed for. Our session was scheduled for 10:30 one morning but I started the basic lighting design and set up during the afternoon the day before. I knew I wanted to use a cool, steely gray background because it creates a nice color contrast for flesh tone. I wanted to use continuous lighting because I wanted to work with wide apertures and also wanted to leverage some of the daylight coming into the studio for very subtle fill light. 

My main light was an LED panel pushed through a Westcott diffusion flag (2x3 feet) positioned about four feet from his face, 45 degrees off axis, and up high enough to create a flattering shadow under his chin. Just behind the main light and a bit more to the center I put up another LED panel and pushed it through a 4x4 foot Chimera diffusion panel with the power all the way down at 20%. The purpose was to add fill light overall. 

I used a smaller LED panel as a hair light. It came from the right rear of the set and created some interesting separation in Luke's hair. I used another LED panel pushed through another Chimera panel from the back left side of the set. Its effect is almost invisible but it shows up as more even lighting on the right hand side of his face and is more noticeable in bigger enlargements. 

The final light was a vertically arranged LED panel with one sheet of translucent material clipped on to soften the beam; aimed directly at the seamless paper background. This light was positioned directly behind Luke and carefully metered to get a halo effect around him without having to resort to post production vignetting or manipulation. 

I took a couple of test shots and then we spent time just chatting and catching up. The session lasted long enough to generate several hundred shots, which may sound excessive to retail portrait takers but is part of our advertising tradition. We're looking for small but important changes in pose, gesture and expression. Even small adjustments to expression can change the impression of the subject being photographed. 

I included three different expressions here so you can see what I'm talking about. Each is very similar but, to my eye, each has a very different demeanor. Luke selected 12 final shots and I spent an afternoon getting the flesh tones exactly the way I wanted them to look for web use. The files were delivered as large, layered Tiffs as well as "ready to use" Jpegs in two sizes. 

Luke and I were both quite happy with the results. It's a straightforward project but, as usually is the case, knowing the final use is important. Knowing the subject well enough to have a good rapport is priceless.



Camera: Sony A7ii
Lens: Sony FE 85mm f1.8
Lights: Aputure LightStorm LEDs


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Many years ago, while attending the University of Texas at Austin, I worked part time as a sales person for a middle-to-high end audio store that was located just off campus in the Dobie Residence Tower. We were on the bottom floor. We had cool stuff.

For an electrical engineering student it was more or less a dream job. I got to play with all the latest audio gear while listening to the favorite music of my generation. But we had clients who created interesting challenges...

One of the huge audio amplifiers we sold was from a company called, Phase Linear. Its claim to fame was it's ability to deliver lots and lots of power. Speaker-meltingly intense power. And there were some speaker systems that thrived on buckets of power.

I sold a system with the Phase Linear power amplifier driving a set of very good sounding, but inefficient speakers to an music lover who liked his music nice and loud. Wall shaking loud. Front row concert loud. He loved the way the amp and the speakers worked but he had one little problem: the fuses in his amplifier would fail frequently. Every week or so he'd come into the store, complain a bit about the amp shutting down, and buy another little box of fuses.

Then I didn't see him for a couple of months. He finally came back into the store to look at turntables (they were a thing back then) and just to visit a bit. Browsing like me, now, at camera shops...

I asked him how his Phase Linear amplifier issue was going and he told me that he'd permanently fixed the problem. No more blown fuses. All music all the time.

I was impressed and thought to pass his wisdom on to other customers in similar straits so I asked him how he fixed the issue.

"paper clips." That was the answer. He'd run out of fuses late one night and tried wads of aluminum foil. That worked but the contact wasn't as good as it could have been so he experimented with conductive materials at hand and found the paper clip to be the optimum "firmware upgrade."

In other news, Sony has fixed the a9 overheating issue with a "firmware upgrade."

(every ten degree celsius rise in operating temperature above the optimum target temperature of a semi-conductor device shortens the life of the device by half. Or so I am told... your engineers may disagree). 


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When Sony first started cranking out camera sensors that worked well (enough) at high ISOs many who were engaged in building their photographic businesses rejoiced. They concluded that they would no longer have to learn to apply enough light to their subjects to prevent objectionable noise from creeping into their files. Practicing their craft as "available light" experts they would no longer be questioned about the sparkly and speckle-y noise in the photographs they were delivering to their clients.

The remedy to noise, for photographers who could not or would not light, was to crank up the ISO in the camera menu and then wash out the photographic detail (which included noise) in post production, with canned noise reduction programs. This led to an epidemic of plastic looking skin tones and images with less detail than had been available in correctly exposed files from 2-4 megapixel cameras long since abandoned.

As the economy recovered fully from the last recession and clients once again started investing more time, money and attention to their marketing content a funny thing happened; clients started demanding that their photographers know how to light images. It is not good enough anymore just to get an image that could be post processed into submission, now it is becoming mandatory to use lighting correctly.

Photographers can (and should) use lights to create depth in images, raise the overall technical quality and sharpness in images, and to create images on locations, on demand, that have the same kind of quality metrics as controlled studio work. The re-introduction of good lighting as a primary function of photographers points to a small renaissence in commercial work; both in still photography and video.

The current mark of competence in image making is the ability to light well. To enhance one's subjects and create looks and styles that are repeatable and not just subject to luck. Every project is different, that's why mastery of lighting requires looking beyond a handful of formulas. One job may require huge, directional soft lights while another might require the fine edge of a hard spot light. The project and the imaging goal should drive the lighting and not the other way around.

If you want to have repeatable photographic results and repeatable client engagements I highly recommend gaining a comprehensive understanding of how to light. Even if you wish to remain an "available light" photographer understanding the theory behind good lighting can't be a bad thing.

The nice thing about having lights and knowledge is that when the sun sets you can still do work that is financially rewarding. I'll leave discussions about the art to someone with an MFA.


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recap: New York photo walks – Meatpacking District, NYC

Our model during today’s photo walk in NYC – the divine Diana Chesk. Typically for this kind of dramatic light, I under-exposed the available light somewhat, and let the Profoto B1 flash (affiliate) pick up the slack in the exposure. The softbox used here was the Profoto OCF (24″) Octa Softbox  (affiliate). It’s small enough to make it easy to handle when we have to negotiate our way around, yet large enough to give soft-edged light.

The rain was coming down as a continual drizzle today, so we moved the Photo walk in New York to the Meatpacking District, instead of Columbus Circle as originally planned. There are enough awnings and covered areas to still keep shooting and have fun.

That’s the entire motive behind the 2-hour photo walk – have fun, learn some, and come away with some great images.

For the Photo Walks, I bring a Profoto B1 flash, and enough triggers to cover any Nikon, Canon, or Sony shooters. Everyone gets to use their own transmitter – no sharing necessary. No tripods, and no light-stands – we have an assistant during the mini-workshop that will hold up the light and softbox. You just bring your camera and a lens or two – we travel light. And yes, I do bring along a spare Profoto B1 flash … just in case.

More details about these mini-workshops: Photo walks in NYC.

Camera and lens used for the two main images

 

The lighting gear used at the NYC Photo Walks

 

Related articles

 

Photography workshops

 

Video tutorials to help you with your flash photography

 

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As I wrote here: https://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-story-i-glossed-over-about-real.html I was a bit miffed at myself for not diving deep enough into the Panasonic fz2500 manual (page 180; thank you dear reader...) to know that, in addition to providing a clean 10 bit, 4:2:2 HD file over HDMI, the camera was also capable of providing the same configuration but in 4K (UHD). For a product that costs around $1200 this is an amazing feature. The closest competitor in the Sony realm is a dedicated video camera called the PXW-Z150 which sells for about $3200 (USD).

Once I'd been made aware of this capability I started researching to find out which external video recorder might be the best one for my needs. I settled on the Atomos Ninja Flame which provides the ability to accept the 4K files from my fz2500, but also from every single one of the Sony cameras I routinely use in my work.

The difference in the outputs to the card and to the camera are pretty big. The greater bit depth means more distinct colors while the move from 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 means less color interpolation. The payoff is when one goes to edit the files. The color transitions are
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On Sunday and Tues. evenings I headed over to the Topfer stage at Zach Theatre to try and capture the look and feel of the big, new production; In The Heights. On Sunday I went outfitted with only the Panasonic fz2500 while my shoot on Tues. involved a few shots with a Sony A7Riii (which went back into the bag in short order), the Sony RX10iii (the lion's share of the Tues. images), and a collection of images using the Panasonic G85 with the kit 12-60mm and also an ancient Pen-FT Olympus 50-90mm zoom (that was just flat out fun...). 

Here's what I ended up with: 
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I can't believe I've been so dense. It was right under my nose all the time. The one critical set of capabilities that makes the fz2500/2000 such an incredible bargain for video shooters hellbent on getting maximum quality at a low price point. It's all about the clean HDMI out.

Let me explain. The Sony a7x's and RX10's are great cameras for shooting video if you are intent on using them only to capture video to internal SD cards. Just like the fz2500 they write really nice (albeit compressed) files directly to internal cards but in order to do so they limit the color information to 4:2:0 and the they limit the bit depth to 8 bits. Within these constraints they do a very good job. But the differences emerge when one hooks up an external field recorder and sends a pre-compressed signal out the HDMI connection to a waiting SSD drive. The fastest SD cards can sustain a write time of a little over 120 mbs but if you want higher bit depths and richer color spaces you'll need sustained write times closer to 200 mbs. And that's exactly what field recorders give you.

But, if you hook up an Atomos (or other brand) field recorder to one of the Sony cameras you gain only greater bit depth and not a change from 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 color information. With the Panasonic fz2500 you gain 10 bit, 4:2:2 color even at UHD video, at 24 fps and 30 fps. This is crazy good. And the field recorders allow you to take the clean HDMI signal and write ProRes files to the SSD card which means there's no need to transcode when ingesting the files into your editing program.

What does the change from 8 bit to 10 bit buy you? Better tonal separation and less banding in uniform color areas within a frame. That means less banding in blue skies and more realistic tonal shifts within a frame.

What does the change from 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 buy you? You are getting more color samples to work with which gives you more color accuracy and richer color in your files. It means the files are easier to work with and edit because there is more information to work with. It's a big step up.

I was really busy doing projects when I bought the Panasonic and I'm sure I must have read about this capability somewhere but... when you have your head down in projects you are loathe to change directions or workflow because the unknown or untried is...scary. Now I am paying attention and I'm delighted to investigate just how big a change the use of an external recorder will be for my video work.

I'm trying to decide which recorder will work best for the fz2500 so if you have any information, experience or opinions I would love to hear them. Right now the Atomos Ninja Fire seems to be the right choice but I'll wait to hear from some of my smart readers.

Realizing the potential I have sitting in this camera in front of me on my desk is like unwrapping an new present. Now to acquire the external recorder and start testing.

Video really is a deep dark rabbit hole. Bring a flash light.

Hey! Sony! Unlock 10bit in the RX10iii and I'll put you on my Christmas card list...


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I'll start with the Sony a9. Right off the bat you have to know that I have only held one for a brief time but I have read just about everything written about this camera so far on the web. I am certain that it's a wonderful camera for a very, very small subsection of photographers who have very special needs for their very particular kind of work. As I understand it the a9 is Sony's statement about what constitutes a really great, mirrorless sports camera. It's optimized for fast, fast, fast.

It's probably the fastest focusing of all the full frame Sony camera and it may be faster than the a6500. It has an incredibly deep raw buffer. And they made the battery twice as powerful as the long running npw50 that's used in just about every other serious Sony camera.

But here's the deal: Most photographers (who are not specifically sports photographers) tend to value image quality above speed. If we're spending real money and taking our time to shoot with purpose and passion we're generally trying to maximize the image quality of our work above all other parameters. In this regard the a9, when compared to the A7rii is a step backward on the quality timeline. It has lower resolution, much lower dynamic range and less ability to finely separate color tones. Why then all the interest in a camera that's 50% more cost? Why have Sony absolutely inundated the web-o-sphere with millions and millions of social influencers all touting this camera as the alpha and the omega of modern cameras?

Here is why I am profoundly uninterested in the a9, won't buy one and won't be "testing" one "in the real world" or anyplace else:

1. This camera is too expensive for the quality of file it generates.

2. This camera is optimized for speed over quality.

3. This camera is two steps backwards for anyone who values the ability to create video and stills with one picture taking machine.

4. Stories are emerging from many quarters about overheating issues with the camera (and one would think after dealing with the marketing splatter from overheating A7 series cameras and A6x00 series cameras Sony would have learned something...and implemented some way of dealing with heat..).

5. The sheer volume of people vying to review/dissect/promote this camera on social media makes me NOT interested in a big way.

6. Lloyd Chambers was first to bat with revelations about serious noise banding in shadows when pushing the shadows --- even at ISO 100!!!

The outright flogging and shilling of this camera has become downright embarrassing and, I think, counterproductive.

I would guess Sony is trying to build a two year cycle of momentum using the a9 as proof of execution in the sports camera niche in order to prepare the battlefield for the release of a much better camera 18 months from now to showcase at the Olympics. (is it true that viewship at ESPN has dropped by over 30% in the last two years? Will we still even want "sports cameras" by then?). The goal must be to have enough photographers sporting Sony gear and logos at the games that they are finally taken seriously by the new gathering community which will give them credibility and a certain glow (halo) with consumers in general. The ultimate goal being the snatching of additional market share from Nikon. And Nikon seems to be making it easy for them.

I think the a9 is the ultimate consumer-beta'd R&D camera. As the blog sites, websites and social media sites of all flavor relentlessly flog the a9 a certain number of buyers will hear the siren wail of marketing and part with an enormous sum of money in order to get a camera that will mostly be used by people who have photo interests similar to yours and mine; we'll use it to take walking around photographs, family images, headshots, product shots, real estate shots, concert shots, food shots and all the regular and routine things we do with our cameras 90% of the time. In that same span of time the people who buy the camera will do two things. They will decide that the image quality of the a7Rii, or the combination of price and image quality of the a7ii, would have been preferable to the a9 for them and, secondly, they'll be guinea pigs for Sony's engineers; finding and reporting on glitch after glitch so Sony can fix everything and put a great product out in time for the games in 2020.

It's hard not to believe that Sony stumbled onto some key methods of controlling and inspiring the legions of camera reviewers and have done what most marketers do when they suddenly realize they have a potent consumer driver in their hands; they turn up the marketing knob to 11 and go massively overboard. But like any other gimmick the public will soon tire of it and the intensity of the repeated assaults on the city walls of the consumer mind will result in rebellion, revolt, cynicism and other brakes to the a9 onslaught.

The very idea that many, many photographers desperately need to create work at 20 fps is just ludicrous. I'll take the insanely detailed of the A7Rii's sensor and its almost unrivaled dynamic range any day of the week, and I suspect that you would too.

The camera to watch, in my opinion, is the Panasonic GH5. That's a remarkable piece of gear by any measure.

Sony, me dost thinks thou market too hard. A little subtlety (any restraint at all) would be appreciated.

Just look what the inane repetition of the a9 mantra has done to DP Review's credibility...



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Accidental Off-Camera Flash

This photograph of Anelisa, was taken during a Flash Photography workshop at my studio. Lighting is via accidental off-camera flash! I was shooting a few available-light behind-the-scenes photos with my Fuji X-T20 (affiliate), and caught someone’s flash. It was 2 stops over-exposed because of the additional light, but the RAW file from the Fuji had nearly enough detail to pull the image back to a usable point!

The HDR look to this photo is in part due to the massive correction to the Exposure and Contrast and Highlights, in adjusting the over-exposed RAW file. Somehow Anelisa’s gesture and expression matches the final look of the photo and to my eye it looks like it could be a still from a movie. It definitely has a cinematic look to it.

Camera settings: 1/480 @ f4 @ 800 ISO

Usually when I catch someone else’s flash, my own camera’s shutter causes part of the frame to be darker where it blocks the un-synchronised flash. Here I was shooting with the Fuji X-T20 in Electronic Shutter / Silent Shutter mode. As such, there was no moving shutter curtain to block the burst of flash.

Here is what the normal available-light exposure looked like, without the accidental flash:

 

Fuji X-T20

About my choice of the Fuji X-T20 as my walk-about / travel camera:

I was super-impressed with the Fuji X-T2, as noted in my review of the X-T2. However, I already have my main Nikon cameras for professional work, so a full-featured X-T2 seemed like over-kill when I really wanted a smaller camera for travel and personal photography. The X-T20 seemed perfect – a ‘lite’ version of the X-T2, which is smaller and less expensive than the X-T2. But it has the same sensor as the X-T2.

I wanted a general purpose zoom, and the  Fuji 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens (B&H / Amazon) impressed me with how sharp the lens is, even wide open. The lens is also stabilized, which makes it more versatile. When you buy the X-T20 and 18-55mm as a kit (B&H / Amazon), the price of the combination is very attractive.

So after a multiple camera detour which even included having the Sony RX-1 for a week, I’ve settled on the Fuji X-T20 as the camera to take with me everywhere.

 

 

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Abstract: The best way to get a better understanding of light and color is to just do it.



In the last part of our conversation with Greg Heisler, he gave what I think is a very good piece of advice about light and color:

"I think what you have to do to be able to see it, is to shoot it. And then shoot it.

Like, shoot it the clean way, with white light. Then the next way is to shoot it with a warm and a cool. And so you see that. And then muddy up the light a little bit, and then see it that way."

So that's exactly what we're gonna do. Read more »


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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.

Here are recaps of previous photography workshops, with further feedback from attendees.

Also, here are the kind of results you can expect to achieve yourself! It’s well within your reach.


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)  –  Columbus Circle
  • July 16, 2017  (Sunday)  (4-6pm)  –  Meatpacking District
  • 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)  — only one spot remaining!
  • 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.

 

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https://youtu.be/WjbztDHqJuY


I'm happy to see that my client has posted our most recent project on their YouTube channel. (See the link above). This assignment was one of those fast breaking projects that takes advantage of my skills both as a photographer and as a video producer. I worked with a crew of one. Me. And I worked inside a very tight time constraint; I had a little over half a day to shoot interior and exterior video b-roll, an in-depth, two camera interview, and a large collection of corresponding still images. I lit with available light, LEDs and also flash; and worked out of one big case, a light stand case, and a backpack full of cameras that can fit under the seat in front of me on most airlines. With good packing you can move quicker and that means you can get more content. That helps later on when you are desperate for some good cutaways...

This video is a story about Steve G. who was shot in the leg in a hunting accident decades ago. As a result of the accident he lost his left leg; just under his knee. He was recently fitted with a new prosthetic product from my client and, well..... click on the video to hear Steve's impressions.

On this project I made extensive use of the Sony RX10iii. Every time I do a project with this camera I learn new things to like about it. On this project I used a new set of parameters in one of my Picture Profiles settings. It's a set of parameters from Andrew Reid who runs the site, EosHD.com. With this profile engaged I felt like I could get easy-to-use and edit files right out of camera without having to resort to using S-Log.

I used the RX10iii for every part of the video except for the black and white segments of the interview. That "B" camera was a Sony A7rii with the new 85mm on the front. All of the still images from the shoot (including the ones I used in the video) were also from the A7rii.

I used a Rode NTG-4+ microphone running into a pre-amplifier and then directly into the RX10iii for Steve's audio. The ability to ride levels with a physical knob on the pre-amplifier was a good thing. No menu diving (or function button diving) needed to get to the audio level controls!

One thing I've been doing on all of our healthcare projects is to shoot all the footage I can in 4K and to bring the 4K footage into the editing timeline in 4K, along with smaller proxy files which I use for the actual editing process. The higher resolution is great for those times when a client would like for you to zoom in during the edit and crop out something in the background. It's comforting to know that you can crop in and lose 2/3rds of the frame and still match the resolution of HD. The final output, as specified by the client, is HD in H.264.

The times I shoot with HD instead are the times when I am shooting handheld and either I am moving, or the subject is moving, or both. I drop to HD because the five axis image stabilization built into the RX10iii is more effective at quelling camera movement at that setting. I get smoother footage that way. I guess I could just shoot everything in 4K and do my image stabilization in post production but it's hard, when shooting really quickly, and not to a script, to anticipate in advance how tight or loose you might need your crops to be. Shooting a nice composition in the finder means I'll be more apt to use the resulting shots.

Our shooting day generated print ad content, a video, and social media content for our client in an extremely cost effective way. As usual, the editing is like taking a workshop for future shooting. You learn just how much you screwed up when you try putting everything together in post...

One sad note for me is the fact that most people will only see the video as a (highly) compressed HD file on YouTube. I spun out a version for myself using ProRes 4:2:2 HQ as the codec and when I watch this on a 60 inch, 4K TV I am blown away by the jaw dropping differences in sharpness, detail, tonality etc. It kinda feels like those days in photography when you made a great shot on a 4x5 inch transparency (big ass slide film) and later saw the resulting ad in newsprint. Kind of anti-climatic; especially when you've had a chance to see the original.

I give it a year, maybe two, and then we'll all have enough bandwidth at home and in our offices to watch stuff on YouTube and Vimeo with larger files and more pixels. Won't that be fun?



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The lens is really good. Well worth the asking price. How's that for a short review?


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I love shooting stage productions. Yesterday evening the folks at Zach had a technical rehearsal for an upcoming production of "In the Heights." I wanted to attend and scout the show so I could be more effective when I come back to shoot the dress rehearsal this Tues. evening; and it was a good opportunity to give the Panasonic fz2500 another good test to see if the focusing workaround I learned from my friend, Frank, was working as we both hoped (and expected) it would.

When I bought the camera and made some initial tests I got the same soft results that the people at DP Review got when they tested the camera but one of my colleagues owns the same camera and was able to pull stunning images out of it so, unlike the folks at DPR who chalked up the issue to a less than stellar lens design I was not willing to toss the blame to Leica and move on without a little deeper dive. I kept testing because I had done some images earlier, both with and without AF, and was able in some circumstances, to achieve results from the Panasonic lens that were very much on par with the gold standard lens; the Sony RX10iii/Zeiss zoom. 

I noticed that the AF square on the back screen seemed to shift left every time I shot with the camera. Frank's workaround was to create a custom AF pattern, restricting the pattern only to the very center focusing point. Once I did this the camera seemed to nail focus on everything I pointed it towards. And once I got it focused properly the resulting files were sharp and detailed; and to be honest I prefer the overall tonality of the Panasonic files over that of the Sony RX10 files (which are not bad by any standard...).

The production lighting of the show I was shooting last night was contrasty and lit to a lower level than the last few shows I've shot there. To the eye it was a lighting design that created a wonderful sense of twilight ambiance and drama but to the camera it was --- a challenge. 

I locked in ISO at 1,000 and set the camera to manual exposure. I worked with the lens either wide open or very, very close to it for the entire evening. That's a great test since most lenses are sharper a couple of stops down. I would not have the luxury of being able to work in the sweet spot of the optical design of the lens but that was fine with me because this is a test based on the real way I shoot some projects. If a camera lens can deliver at a wide open aperture it passes at least one of my tests. 

I shot 1300+ files last night and editing them down to about 700 this morning. In order to partially compensate for the contrasty stage lighting I had to make a few adjustments, both in the camera and in post production. In the camera (shooting raw) I set the highlight/shadow control to plus 1 in the shadows and minus 1 in the highlights. When I brought the files into Lightroom I used the shadow slider at +50 to get the background of the set design to read and used -15 on the highlight slider to tone down white shirts and various highlights. I also pulled up the blacks to +8. With any sensor that's a recipe for noise but probably more so with a smaller, one inch type sensor. I hit the noise reduction menu and dialed in +15 on the luminance slider, +61 on the detail slider and kept the contrast at zero. 

If you chimp at 100% you'll still see noise but looking at the images in the sizes we intended to use them they look pretty darn good. 

I am very satisfied with the AF I got last night. There were only a handful of images that didn't make the cut for reasons of unsharpness and I suspect a lot of that was me being less than compulsive about getting the focusing indicator in the correct position. 

I hope Panasonic comes out with a firmware fix that makes AF less horsey for those of us who just want to quickly designate an AF point and keep it there. Otherwise? High marks from me for the camera based on images for last night.










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While the Sony A7 series of cameras brings many great features to the table there are two "flaws" to the camera for many people. The first one is almost universally mentioned; the small batteries don't come close to matching the stamina of the much larger batteries in cameras like DSLR Nikons, Canons and the mirror-free battery champ = the Panasonic GH4. The second, more egregious failing of the series is the tendency for them to overheat; especially when shooting 4K video.

In the first instance there is a cheap and relatively efficient workaround; just buy some extra, third party batteries like the Wasabi Power models. Keep a couple extra in your saddlebag and you're good to go for the day. Unless you are shooting video and then you might want to consider increasing the size of that saddlebag... But, if you stock up on batteries you won't be caught short with a non-working camera.

The second fault is much more vexing for a working photographer, or for any photographer that expects reliable camera operation, and that's the tendency for the cameras to overheat. Once that overheat indicator becomes visible
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