Went out last night for an evening shoot with the Sawatsky family. We had perfect weather with glorious warm golden light – until the last 2 minutes of the shoot when the wind came up out of nowhere, blew over my c-stand (sandbagged!) and carried my light setup a quarter mile! bwahahahah.. I wish I would have taken pictures of my shoot-thru umbrella carrying my flash bracket across the beach. It was hilarious. Fortunately, nothing was damaged and, we got the shot after all! 😀
Not enough can be said about golden light, that mystical time of the day right before sunrise and right before sunset. The light is super soft and warm. It’s pure awesome. Plus, scheduling the shoot at that time allows for the sunset to get richer and richer as time goes on. Most of the photos from this shoot were shot using ambient light as the key, supplemented with a CTO flash to help add warmth and a kicker. It’s really soft subtle light which works nice for the kids. They did an AWESOME job as photo candidates. We worked quickly and nabbed a nice mix of shots.
Had to make a water run tonight to the supple bounty of Alameda. It was approaching golden light which is always exciting. It was also dusty as all get out. Dust, fog, mist – they are all the theme park of light. We lucked out and ran into much dust on the roads to let the sunset have the mucho fun. 😎
Went up to Grenfell on Thursday night to celebrate my niece’s 2nd birthday. Howz that possible?!!? Time flies when you’re having fun. While I was there I was also taking some family photos for the Duryba clan and my other sister in law. Some sweet strobist portraits to liven things up a little bit. 😉 I was super happy with the way everything turned out. I was trying to make use of what wee bit o’ fall we had left in terms of colour and we nabbed it before it was too late.
Photo Geek Info: Umbrellas were the name of the game on this shoot. That and a beauty dish gold reflector combo for Hailey’s shots. For the Duryba’s family shots, I wanted to meld the flash with the ambient so it looked as natural as possible, filling in the shadows while making use of all that glorious back light and colour. I gelled the SB-900 warm with a 1/4CTO gel which worked perfectly. Same with the Beauty Dish. It was shot during golden light so the warm gel and the gold reflector worked superbly. Can’t beat golden light. It’s my absolutely favourite time to shoot. But, you have to be quick. The light falls very fast so moving quickly is a necessity. I’m always shooting manual with flash so knowing the settings before hand is a bonus before the real shooting begins. TTL would always work but I prefer having supreme control over the light and knowing exactly what it is going to be doing. 8)
Nearly nobody will deny that good timing is super important in life. Baby falls from a burning building, the fireman reaches out at just the exact moment to catch that little bundle of joy and save the day! Photography is much the same, especially if you are taking a picture of said falling baby. A second too soon or too late equals a blown shot and missed opportunity. I’ve got a whole stack of images that are like that. “Ah! If I’d only waited a millisecond more I would have had the shot! Doh!” 😦 But when everything lines up, and the timing is right, it’s magically great! 8) Thinking about Light in the same way is critical to getting good shots too. Light at different times of the day is radically different. Ok, Ok, the photons aren’t any different, but the mood, colour and direction of the light ARE different. I took these two shots with exactly the same camera settings. (ISO 200 f/8 200mm). The first one was at 8:36AM and the second at 1:11PM. Just look at how radically different the shots look and feel.
The light is much more golden in the early morning. The direction is low and from the side which gives detail to the pump jack head and the drilling rig in the background.
In contrast, the light at mid-day is flat and boring. It just doesn’t have the same pizzaz that the early morning shot does. Or, that a sunset has. This is the key to how good landscape photographers get awesome photos. The locations are great and the timing of the light is everything. Time it well and your photography will be at least 17% better. 😉
Last night after another magical slow cooked dinner we decided to have a fire. After we got the s’more pit going, I looked up and noticed a
gaggle pride flock band murder of crows. I know why they call them a murder.They make so much obscene noise you want to murder them all! It was a toss up between the camera and a gun on this “shoot”. 😉 My theory is that there was something dead nearby because they and two hawks kept swooping in and out of the trees behind our house. Anyways, it was golden light and everything was rich in colour. Love it! Can’t beat it ever! I grabbed the 70-300 and nabbed a few shots before the light slinked away behind the horizon. It’s gyp that the sunsets aren’t lasting as long as they did even a few weeks ago. All of these shots (except the fire pit) are with the 70-300. You can see how longer glass gives you added compression and photo num nums. The power/telephone poles show this in the pics of the family. Even at f/5.6 0r f/8, they look compressed and bokehlicious. 8) And the shots of the lone yellow clover blossoms have sweet sweet bokeh at 300mm. That’s the added benefits of compression in images. If you’ve ever wondered why the vast majority of portrait photographers use that magical 70-200 lens, this is why.
Another beautiful evening in Southern Saskatchewan last night. The wind got up nice, nice enough to fly a kite. So we grabbed our trusty wind walker and away we went. I also grabbed the camera and my 105mm macro lens. Why? Usually this kind of shoot lends itself to wide angle. Well, I had an alterior motive – that being compression & bokeh. [Photo geek alert! Just look at the pictures if you don’t know what either compression 0r bokeh are. ;)] Compression is the photography effect created when you use a long telephoto lens to make a photo. The background gets smooshed together, compressed as it were, making for portraits that are pure awesomeness. Add that to f/2.8 and you’ve got sheer awesomeness, photographically speaking. And, top it all off with golden light and 100% unadulterated awesomeness. I just watched Cliff Mautner’s latest Kelby Training webinar called searching for the light and he made this comment again and again about compression. He said that if your images are lacking something, it’s compression. And he’s right. I tend to be a wide angle kind of shooter. But you just don’t get the added loveliness of compression with a wide angle that you get with long glass. So I grabbed my 105mm lens and dialled it in to f/2.8 and went to town. All the images here are shot with the 105mm at f/2.8 (except the obviously wide angle landscape shots near the end). I was super pleased with the shots, technically speaking. I’m always happy with pics of my own kids though (who isn’t, right?! ;)) Try some telephoto in your life. It makes a big, awesome difference! 8)
For the last week or so, there’s been a Red Tailed Hawk screeching at me in the back pasture. He’s been hanging out in the ravine and cruising on the air currents and thermals that rise up out of the valley. It’s been a nice addition to have some extra wildlife actually hanging around. I have noticed at times two of them, so I thought they might be nesting. Tonight, well after golden light had settled in, I grabbed my camera and my trusty 70-300, the dog and we hit the trail running. I wanted to nab shots of this hawk while the golden light was low on the horizon and would illuminate him while he surfed the currents. It worked out! He got lit up like a
Dutch brothel! non-ethnically specified house of ill repute! 😉 Just kiddin’! It was just lots of glorious evening light that highlighted him perfectly and was still high enough to creep into the east side of the ravine.
As I sprinted across the pasture, I was pleased to see he was still hanging around. He even let me get close. And as I crested the top of the hill, I found out why he’d been there: dead deer carcass. It was just ribs and spine, presumably a coyote kill, hopefully not a cougar (but possible). I’m fairly certain this hawk had been hanging around to take part in the bonanza. Soon though, the clouds bunched up and stole my light away. No more hawk pics. But, my attention turned from raptors to landscapes – well, cloudscapes. I ran down the big ravine to get back up the other side, stopping only to take the oak leaf shot at the bottom of coulee. It was raining far off and the light was coming in very rich and warm. It was burning through the clouds so brightly I could barely believe it! Shapes and even faces emerged in the clouds, even a wee rainbow if you look close. It was all very cool! As I stopped to snap the cloud shots, I barely even noticed the horde of wood ticks that had since covered my pants and started crawling up under my shirt. Anything for a picture right? 😉 Finally, I watched as the sun sunk into the horizon and burned the sky before saying nighty night!
Twice a day, every day, God blesses us with “Golden Light” – the light at sunrise and the light at sunset. It is warm and beautiful, especially in winter time! It can add a lot of pizzazz to landscape shots. Last night we had a clear sky so the sun was shining in all of its glory. I looked off my back porch and saw a photo – back lit blowing snow at evening golden light. The snow looked as if it was a prairie fire blazing out of control! I slammed my 70-300mm into f/16 and underexposed 1/3-2/3 to really saturate the colors. Also, the extreme contrast in lights and darks would have fooled the matrix meter so I spot metered the burning ridge to nail the exposure. I was tickled to see the results in the view finder and even more tickled after I tweaked the shots in post. Gotta love golden light! 🙂