Light is Everything!

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#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!

#Candids

I love off camera flash. The results are always superior to natural lighting. No contest. Ever. :cool: But that said, there is something just awesome about candid shots of kids being kids. No light shapers other than clouds. Fast lenses. Awesome cameras. It’s magical! :D

#2YearsOld

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I’m fairly behind in these photos & post. Like 2 months behind. LOL Oh well, the time truly does fly. But our little FlowerPot Baby is 2. So I was told to get some updated pictures of the little gaffer. So here they are. Just to warn you, she’s ridiculously cute. :D

Here’s the BTS photo geek information about how I made these photos.

First of all, these were all shot in harsh, direct sunlight. Very bright conditions. So the name of the game with harsh light is control followed by redirection. This is where your secret weapon, a collapsible scrim saves the day. I set mine up on  c-stand because it’s basically a huge sail on the windy prairies. This provides a very nice softbox-esque light quality to the subject. The next thing is to make sure you have a contrasting background that won’t blow out as you increase your exposure. No sky. Find some trees or shrubs for better results. So using the scrim, the light is controlled & soft. But if you want more volume of light, you can easily do that by firing a flash through the same panel. It gives your images more pop if you want that look. Although, if you’re shooting at shallow depth of field, you’ll need to use high-speed sync with your flash. I used the scrim alone for some of the shots then additionally redirected some light back in via a flash & umbrella. The light panel scrim gives mucho nice catchlights in the eyes all by itself though. This setup really gives a light and airy look to the photos.  So there you go. Quick and easy portraits in full sun. :cool:

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Arcola Grad 2014

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It’s that time again! Graduation is in the air and excitement abounds! I was covering grad up in the great town of Arcola, SK on Friday of last week. It was the first real day of hot sun we’ve had in all of 2014. Needless to say, I was as red as a ripe hothouse tomato afterwards. :cool: The weather was beautiful though and I was grateful for that. They raise ‘em right up in Arcola, let me tell you. Both Quinn & Julian were gentlemen through and through. They were fun to photograph, had awesome families and gorgeous escorts! There is nothing more that a photographer could ask for. I was totally spoiled. :D

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Magnascope

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Every once in a while all the stars align and things work out. Magnascope had all their equipment in the yard the other day – an extreme rarity – and we were able to get together for a quick photo shoot. Fortunately the weather even cooperated.  Utilizing a front end loader, I was able to get an elevated  point of view from which to take the photos. It was really incredible to see all the trucks lined up in one place! I shot everything HDR to bring out the colour and texture of the sky. It all came together really well! :cool:

 

#Dance2014

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I covered the Oxbow Dance dress rehearsal photos last Friday.  It was pure awesome as it always is. The kids are ridiculously cute! :) Miss Halynne does an absolutely remarkable job getting the kids into recital ready shape. In what must be like herding cats when it comes to the tiny tots, they all do their routines marvellously well! The rehearsal shots were fast and furious. We had an enormous turnout of parents who wanted individual shots of their dancers. I thank everyone for their patience as we proceeded with the photo shoots.  The discs are all burned now and ready to be delivered. Everybody is also getting a copy of their child’s group shot included free of charge.  Free is good! :cool:

Published Internationally

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Woot! Here’s some cool news, I got published in Practical Photography Magazine’s May 2014 edition!  It’s a UK publication so my Canadian peeps won’t be able to pick up a print copy too readily. But you can get electronic versions available on iTunes and Google. I was contacted by them quite some time ago regarding my images I posted here on the blog of photographing the kids’ fiberoptic lamps! Spiffy! :cool:

Crocuses

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The kids wanted to go looking for crocuses yesterday. So did I. :) So we went out back and found a few little bunches. I’m not sure if they are just starting to come up or are nearly done. Normally they’ve come up even through a light snow. But this year the weather has been wonky so say the least. I feel a special attachment to crocuses as they are “Saskatchewan’s Flower” at least anecdotally. ;) I’ve seen more crocuses than tiger-lilies, I’ll put it to you that way. heehehe…..

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About the technique for nabbing these photos. I went out with a collapsible reflector/diffuser to block the harsh sunlight that was pouring in. I had my D800 & 105mm macro for this detail-rich gig. I was shooting at apertures of f/16 or f/32 so I needed more light reach this at ISO 100 and 1/250. I used my Orbis ring flash and SB-900 synced with an SC-29 cord. I basically was able to set the Orbis on edge on the ground, which doubled as a rest, and shoot right through it.  It worked great. :cool: The macro detail that the D800 can capture is really tremendous!  Here’s a 100% crop and the full shot beneath.

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The Looks of Lent

Every year I give up shaving for Lent as a joke. And on every Holy Saturday, I shave off my beard trying to do as many different looks as a I can from the master beard of 45 days. Since 2009, I have been able to grow 18 unique looks.  In the first years I was doing this, I could get loads of different looks, but as time goes on you don’t get as many from each beard. So, I present to you the Looks of Lent 2014. :cool:

"Duck Dynasty" Try out photo (Full Beard).

“Duck Dynasty” Try out photo (Full Beard).

Super Cue (Shaved head).

Super Cue (Shaved head).

"The Balbo".

“The Balbo”.

"Tony Stark" or Iron Man Goatee.

“Tony Stark” or Iron Man Goatee.

"Soul Patch".

“Soul Patch”.

"Clean Cut White Boy". #Respect

“Clean Cut White Boy” #Respect.

 

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