Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Portraits #4

Here's another photo from our shoot with Nina earlier in August. I've been experimenting lately with some new software and techniques for retouching, so thought I'd try them out on this image. It doesn't look much like summer, but this was taken late afternoon, and I purposely was trying to darken the background to bring her face forward. Probably could have used some lights for the hair to separate her from the background, but the whole purpose of our summer shoots has been to work with one light. For this image we used an SB900 in a Lastolite EZYbox above left, and I had Nina hold a gold tri-grip to bounce a little warm light back in her face. 1/250 sec at f/4.5.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oak Creek Blur

Before I took the previous picture, and while I was waiting for the sun to drop a little, I walked down Oak Creek to see if I could get any better vantage point. I couldn't. But what I discovered was some swiftly moving water. So while a family and their dog played in the water, I started experimenting with blurring the water in camera -- slow shutter speeds in the 1/10th of a sec range, handheld -- just seeing how things looked and if I could get things composed and sharp enough. My tripod was back on the banks waiting for the Cathedral Rock shot. And while I was taking these images, I knew they were more artistic and interesting than the classic Oak Creek/Cathedral Rock photo. Must have taken 200 photos in about 15 minutes -- playing with camera angles and compositions. These will eventually become a series, but for the photo club's water assignment this month, I took two images and blended one into the other creating a longer-than-normal image, split it into two squares, and made the diptych above. The raw file was converted twice -- one cool for the water, another warm for the yellow highlights. Another adjustment layer was added in Photoshop for the auburn colors, which were the rocks just below the surface.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cathedral Rock

This photo was taken back in late May in Sedona, Arizona -- the very iconic Cathedral Rock and reflection in Oak Creek. About 10 years ago, I stood at this very spot, even waded out into the creek and watched the sunset behind me and saw an incredible sky light up this formation. And for some reason, there was no camera around then -- point and shoot or anything. I regretted it for years. This view is probably photographed every night from this very same spot. It's a postcard shot. It's cliched. It's, as they say, a mature subject. In fact, on this night there was a group of photographers from an Arizona Highways tour taking this very same shot. But something sticks in your head when you miss an opportunity, and cliched or not I'm glad I finally had the chance to drop my tripod on the banks of Oak Creek and get this photo.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Portraits #3

Here's another recent photo -- this one taken Sunday night at Bay Area Park near Armand Bayou. This is Bushra, a friend of a fellow photo club member. Still working on mixing flash with ambient, especially when the ambient sunset starts to get really interesting and you have to work fast to keep up with lighting and your exposure. 1/125 sec at f/4.5, ISO 200, -.3 EV, 32mm; light from camera right from an SB900 through a Lastolite EZYbox.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer Portraits #2

Here's another portrait taken last weekend. This is Nydia, sister of one of our photo club members. For me it was a time to play with shallow depth of field portraits. After a year and a half of shooting sub-f/2.8, I'm finally starting to "see" interesting backgrounds for portrait subjects -- not really see, but recognize how light and pattern will render at those open f-stops. Light from an SB900 in high speed sync through a Lastolite softbox from camera left, 1/500 sec at f/2.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Portraits #1

The photo above was taken last Saturday at a portrait session with the Bay Area Photo Club at Clear Lake Park. This is Nina, who is the niece of one of our members and graciously volunteered her time to model for us. Flash from high camera left in high speed sync, 1/400 sec at f/3.2, -0.7 EV. In postproduction I used a glamour glow layer from OnOne Phototools that added a nice color and contrast boost.