Light is Everything!

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Nice Photos

 

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Family photos, in my opinion, should fall into the category of “nice photos.”  They are simply lit with one light or a reflector. They don’t look lit. They don’t look edgy. They have a very simple elegance about them. That’s been my aim, at least, for the majority of family shoots I do. I have experimented with ring flash but I find that it must be relegated into the realm of fill flash only in this context. As a main light, it’s just too much for this look.  The look and feel of lighting is definitely worth paying heed too – especially for “nice photos.” Of the photos in this post, can you guess how they are lit? It’s tough to tell which was flash, reflector or just ambient? Watch the catchlights of course… :cool:

Also, when shooting siblings, I almost always try to shoot sets of images – similar photos for each member of the family so they look like a cohesive whole on a photo wall. It’s a nice technique for nice photos. :D

X100sB&W

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I must confess, ever since I got the Nikon Df, my X100s has been on vacation. I still love it to death. But I find that the Df gives me more versatility with my DSLR lenses. However, every time I go and re-pick up the X100s, I think I could totally sell all my DSLR gear and just go mirror less Fuji. They are so light and wonderful in almost every way. So compact. So handy and versatile. And of course, the B&W.  I love shooting the X100s in black and white. I just love how the Fuji renders the files. I have to do virtually nothing to them providing I shot the exposure right in camera.  I had it along as the image maker today and shot primarily in black and white. Most JPEG and a few RAW files – which are easy to edit into Black and White gold since Lightroom has got the Fuji camera profiles now.  Quick user preset of wee exposure tweaks and you are golden. I love this camera!!! It was the perfect camera to enjoy a day up at Kenosee Lake with the family. :cool:

#SylviusWedding

 
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We had another all-star wedding the other day. The weather held out for us beautifully, the bride and groom and the wedding party were great! And, above all, we had a lot of fun! Some of my favourite shots came during the dance. The hall was decorated with beautiful chinese-lantern style balls. They make for awesome light modifiers when we put a speed light in one. Very cool. But my favourite wedding dance photo technique is the really slow shutter speed with flash firing on second curtain to freeze the exposure. It gives the photo a sense of movement, but there is enough in sharp focus so the eye has something to rest on. Tons of fun! :cool:

 

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Relaxing Macro

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Every once and while it is just awesome to kick back and relax with some macro photography. So much of the time we’re used to seeing the big, landscape madness photo. But if we slow down and crouch down, the tiny world is an amazing place. I was using my DIY Scrim and Orbis Ring Flash  to control the light and reshape it. It still requires quite a bit of work, but I find it to be super relaxing. It’s kinda like Shaolin Monks when they are at rest:

:cool: My good friend and gardener of the century Carol Tetzlaff had us out at her place to check out the Lilies that were in bloom. The weather was ideal and there wasn’t a breath of wind. Which also meant that the mosquitos had me for their bonanza. It was worth every bite. :)

Wedding Season Heats Up

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In the midst of crazy summer storms, there are cool photos to be had! Next step: tornado in the background. LOL Congrats to Derek & Stephanie!

#Camping2014

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It’s been quite busy as of late! We’ve been campin’ up a storm all over Saskatchewan and most recently Manitoba. Child’s Lake has a really terrific campground, as well as tons of other cool stuff. It’s been my in-law’s campground of choice for years. This year we had great weather but the bugs were heinous verging on horrendous. Lots of water = lots of mosquitos. Our poor children looked like walking mosquito bites, despite slathering them down with all manor of DEET bearing spray known to mankind! :evil: But we always have a good time. Weather was good. There was only one rogue black bear in the campground to worry about so that’s not bad either. :cool:

My favourite shot from the trip was the banner image from this post. I was really wanting a nice sunset image of Child’s Lake. But the sunset was quasi-lackluster. And boats galore were chopping up the lake for some last minute water skiing and tubing. So I had to with them out until it was almost too late. Plus I was getting eaten alive by the winged vampires – despite the army of dragonflies eating them by the metric truck load above my head. I had the Nikon Df on a tripod and made the 13 second exposure with the 24mm AFS f/1.4 lens. That lens is a cracker jack piece of glass! When I’m travelling I only ever bring a prime kit (24, 50, 85), or just my FujiFilm X100s if I want to be truly ultralight. I opted for the Df because I knew I wanted to make this image that required a bit wider of a lens than the X100s has. The super long exposure turned the water into a polished mirror. As the seconds ticked by the haunting call of loons filled the lake. One notch off of paradise I’d reckon. :)

#OxbowGrad2014

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Well Boo ya!  This years grads are all done graduatin’. And what a crazy fun time it was taking photos of all these amazing young people. It’s hard to believe that our kids will one day be wearing the suits and dresses! Another reminder that time truly does fly by far too fast. Anywhos, here’s my quick picks of Oxbow grad shots this year. After a MARATHON editing session today, I got them all done. The kids will have their photos at the start of the week. Just glad the weather cooperated today by being heinously wet and rainy as to dispel any fun things I could have otherwise done. :D Also, I invented a new photo this year. I call it “The Smiling Suit.”

 

The Lion, The Bear, The Fox

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House concerts are becoming our thing as of late. We got to catch The Lion, The Bear, The Fox in the booming megapolis of Grenfell, SK on Friday night. They were good. They could really harmonize well and their songs were really deep and chock full of substance. No fluff here folks. These dudes all came from the school of hard knocks and that is depicted in their music.

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Tatum Duryba of Paper Moon Photography hosted the concert in her photo studio. The cozy venue really makes for a cool concert environment.

And, the Bear played a Gretsch. And that is 100% awesome.

20140620-LBF-002Here’s a YouTube vid of them:

 

#BigLight

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I’ve been a hotshot flash dude forever. I was always blown away by McNally’s use of all things small flash and the amazing possibilities that they open up for making photos. The only bummer is when small flash isn’t enough. And there are 2 key places where that is the case. 1) Outside & 2) Big Groups.

Owning the sun with small flash can be done – but it’s not easy, and they scream at you with all they’re 60ws can muster. They’re just not designed for big light. Portability? Yes. Convenience? Check. But big, bad, photon wielding power? The answer is a big fat Nein! I’ve used them up to now by ganging three of them together in a tri-flash type unit but I couldn’t wring enough juice out of them. I got the shots but just barely. Which is why I concluded that having a monobloc was an essential, must have item to make my outside work 17% easier. :D

I had my mind set on a Paul C. Buff Einstein light. Very excellent product at a very competitive price. But, then I really asked myself honestly, am I going to use all the features on it? Do I need the ultra fast flash duration? The answer was no. So I decided to go with the AB1600. The same power output as the Einstein, but more analogue – which I actually prefer for outside work. Just move the power lever up or down. Easy peasy.

And for groups, the big light volume is really, really nice. I shot all these photos with the AB1600 in a Photek Softlighter (a giant, reflected & diffused light mod) from f/5 to f/16. I love the studio quality of light it produces and with far faster recycle times than ganging bunch-load of speed lights together. Plus, the affordability of the Paul C. Buff products is a no brainer. I also picked up the Vagabond Mini portable battery for location work. It’s gonna be sweet to own the sun everywhere & always! :cool:

#Dedication

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This past week on June 12 the outdoor classroom at OPHS was dedicated to our dear friend and neighbour Megan Fonstad. She lived to teach, was dedicated to the new school project in Oxbow as well as this outdoor classroom, and her funeral took place at OPHS. The dedication was well attended by family and friends who have not forgotten how awesome Megan was and all that she did for her community and school. Memory Eternal, dear friend!

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