This is just a quick blog post showing how I was shooting some macro shots of my favourite cameras this evening.
This behind the scenes iPhone shot shows the exceedingly crude setup. Main light is an AlienBee 1600 through a gridded Photoflex soft box. I setup my home made scrim as a big reflector and did a simple blue gelled flash pointed at the back wall to give a bit of colour. Very simple setup with a decent result.
I also shot the good ol’ Nikon Df with an old 28mm manual focus lens from 19 diggity 5. I took more of a macro approach with this shot and used that same blue flash to add that hint of glancing colour to the shadow side. The blue sets it off just that extra little bit.
I shot the same kind of angle of the X-Pro2 but it doesn’t work as well to me. The X-Pro2 is more minimalistic in its design, lending to a more covert external appearance anyways (which I like). There’s just not as much going on for the accent light to bring attention too. Anyways, just a fun little shoot for something to do.
Here’s a link to the Nikon photo in 4K resolution. I shot all these files with the Nikon D800 RAW so there’s resolution to burn. 😎👍
Every year, as a joke, I give up shaving for Lent. I follow the ancient fasting rules for real. But for years, much to the chagrin of my wife, family and friends, I grow a Lenten beard. Then I take a bunch of goofy photos in stages as shave it off. My life is small. 😎 But anyways, this is said beard for 2014.
I thought I would do a little BTS explaining of how I made this image. Here is the studio setup:
First of all I’m in my garage. I’ve got a grey back drop permanently mounted to the ceiling. I got the idea for that setup from Jay P. Morgan’s vid. Check it out, it’s awesome! I received an old backdrop from a photographer friend who passed away. I painted it “Photo Grey,” a colour you can get at Home Hardware in Canada. But the colour didn’t matter for this shoot as a I changed it for the shot.
It’s helpful to think about lighting and photography in “zones.” They are like layers in photoshop. First of all, we’ll start with the subject. I had the idea for the shoot already conceived. Myself and my glorious Lenten beard right side in the frame, looking camera left. So for the key light, I’ve got a speed light gelled CTO with a Honl grid. Very narrow shaft of hard light. Oppositely, Ive got another SB with a snoot (a flash bender) with cold daylight hard light. This is a classic cross lighting setup adding 3 dimensionality and separation from the background. For the next layer, for fill and to bring some detail into the beard, I setup my DIY Light Scrim and shot a 1/4 CTO gelled SB through that. It’s acting as a huge reflector and light source at the same time, filling the shadow zone. Once I was happy with that, I went to work on the background. I gelled a LumoPro 180 with a theatrical red gel. The red looked cool but it needed more. Being that this is a Lenten/Good Friday type photo, I decided a cross would be a nice addition. I didn’t really have a big random cross lying around so I quickly made one out of a paint stir stick (from the photo grey background project previously mentioned) and couple pieces of Gaffer tape. Looks legit to me! 🙂 I muddled with the light placement to get the right size and perspective of the cross “shadow” on the background. It’s essentially a spiritual gobo!
So there you have the BTS breakdown. A hard-light portrait, 4 light setup, 2 different zones of light, layered together for key, fill, kicker and background. I edited the photo in Lightroom 5 and Nik software for the final grading and grunge look. Have a very blessed Holy Week & Easter season!
But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and by His wounds we are healed. ~ Isaiah 53:5
Well shut my mouth! My new dynamic duo of LP180 flashes by LumoPro just arrived today. Shazam!! These flashes ROCK THE SET. This blog post will not be a lengthy review as the gurus and the wannabes have already put them up on YouTube. Here’s a cool vid from LumoPro!
I shoot Nikon CLS because it is convenient to us my SU-800 commander to control flash output from camera, and I won’t be leaving that system anytime soon. However, I wanted a couple more flashes. The problem is, Nikon CLS is an expensive premium to pay on every flash you buy. I thought about getting another SB-900 or 910, but they’re over $500 bones. The SB-700 is a good flash but still pricey at $350. And at most, I’d want the flashes to be accent lights or background lights or some such thing. But then LumoPro makes the best flash in the history of the world that you can quad sync (4 different ways), that comes with 2 sets of rocsco gels, that offers perfect, simple manual control, and I was totally sold . . . for $199 each! EACH! That’s awesome! It means that I bought 2 of these amazing flashes for less than one SB-910. Pure awesome! 😎
Here’s the best thing in the world about these flashes besides all the above mentioned awesomeness:
Uh huh. That’s right sports fans! That LP180 flash comes with a built in 1/4 x 20 mount on the side so you can just attach the flash directly to a stand and blast light right down the axis of the umbrella/light mod. THAT’S AWESOME!!!!! 😀 The light comes directly to the center of the mod instead of upright on a hot shoe, which is always precarious at best anyways. This system makes SO MUCH sense. I wish Nikon would add it to all their flashes.
The optical slaves work awesome, I tried triggering them with my D800 and SU-800 and they work perfectly. Which means they can be triggered by the infrared commander I use for my normal lighting setups. Which means they will seamlessly integrate into my workflow, other than having to be adjusted manually for power output. Big whoop! I’ll walk the extra 5 feet for what I saved in not buying Nikon CLS speedlights.
I’m very excited to make available an Off Camera Flash Lighting Workshop I’m doing in South East Saskatchewan on October 13th, 2012 in Roche Percee. It will cover the basics: fundamentals of lighting, getting started with Off Camera Flash techniques and knowledge, familiarization with gear and hands on opportunities to shoot a model on location. It’s going to be a lot of fun! 😎 There are a couple of spots still available so if you are interested, contact me. The cost is $100.00 each and the workshop will start at 1PM.
Eve of Destruction 2! This time, it’s not Eve of Destruction 1! 😎 The event is pure awesome! Last year it was a combine smash up derby, this year, a truck and trailer figure 8 crash up! hehhhehe… But not only is there the main event, there is also lots of other amazing performances from exploding cars to MX stunt dudes to car flips to truck pulls. But I wasn’t there for any of it. My job was to take some pictures of the Lord of the Speedway, Byron Fichter. He’s an Estevan area photographer who specializes in landscapes and motor sports. His work at the Estevan Motor Speedway is exceedingly well known and he knows his craft. Be sure to check out his images at his website ByronFichter.com. I had fun following Byron around and taking some shots of him in action.For a guy who is known for his work at the track, it’s nice to actually get some shots of him at the track. 😎 People were saying to him “Are you the guy from the track?” Now they will see the photos and know. It was lots of fun shooting Byron and being able to nab a few shots of the event. The MX bikes were 80 feet in the air when doing their stunts! Unreal! I’m glad I was on the ground with a camera. 🙂
This post could be called D800 Snugs part 2. I took full advantage of Teresa’s camera while she was here. Ironically, I have been wanting to get a macro shot of a peacock feather for a long, long time. However, since the D800 came out, I’ve been waiting to use it to capitalize on the megapixels and get blown away by the sheer awesomeness of the detail. It didn’t disappoint. The 105mm micro lens is unreal sharp. I used it on the feather but also for the ad hoc portrait of Talitha . . . who’s last name is Peacock. Go figure. Serendipity? 😎 Talitha is a super rad girl and, she’s a harpist which makes me cool and couth by association. Check out her music here: http://peacocksmusic.com. I was blown away by the portrait. Goes without saying that Talitha is beautiful, but the quality of the file is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The D800 really brings it! 😎 The feather image is going huge on my wall. I’ll see how 36×48 looks! 🙂
Laney has a heart of gold! And that sweetness of her personality flows out of her and looks tremendous on camera. 😎 This shoot was really enhanced because of that. I really liked being able to do some fiddle shots of Laney too. The location was really fitting for a western theme and added a lot to how the images worked over all. We setup in a big shed and the floor was perfectly full of fine dust that I knew would give some sweet texture to the shot – especially when you have people run through it and really stir it up! 😀 Light and dust/dirt/smoke/fog go together like peanut butter & chocolate!
And, last but not least was the barn. Again, some amazing textures in there. When you mix the sweetness of Laney and the roughness of the location, some cool lighting, it makes for some really dramatic portraits. 🙂
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.
My two favourite nieces came by for a visit and we did a quick little photo shoot. Ruby is just about the same age as Pria is and both are just starting to be propped up. We grabbed the Bumbo chair, or the “wimbo” as Phoebe called it, and propped her up and had Piper sneak in beside. This photo was my fav from the set because Ruby has that “you lookin’ at me kid?” expression! 😉 heheheeh….. “I’m gonna buss a cap you keep lookin’ at me!” 😎
From there we went to just Ruby and locked this one in. I threw it into Black and White which always looks timeless and cool. Her eyes were very sparkly in this and her expression is, though less Goodfellas than above, super adorable.
A quick note about the lighting setup for these photos. Kids rarely if ever sit still and cooperate so I wanted to try a different lighting technique that would accommodate their squirmy nature but still give a nice result. I setup a reflector camera right on a stand and a flash camera left and bounced the light over the kids and off the flash on very low power, like 1/128 or 1/64. It has the awesome effect of feathering past the kids and also lighting up the reflector for a sweet little catch light in the eyes. I really like the technique and I will certainly try it again. The ambient light cooperated too with an overcast sky which helped for even fill light. I came across this setup in Kevin Kubota’s Lighting Notebook, which is a resource I recommend you check out if you’re interested in learning more about light. He has some great setups to share in there. You can checkout a preview vid for it here:
Whilst on vacation in the Cypress Hills, my good friends the Teschke clan wanted to do some maternity/family shots. It was super fun and we had a blast! The lighting was absolutely glorious. Just before sunset, the warm golden light was streaming around us. We went to the lodgepole forest and did some setups. I had brought a small lighting kit with me which was super handy. Also, I was able to make use of a lighting assistant. 😎 Thanks again Orion! You’ve got a new line to add to your resumé. 😉
What is a mix of sadness, change, excitement and happiness? If you said high school grad, you’d be right. I had the privilege of taking some grad photos for our family’s favourite grad today. Our long time babysitter is going to be spreading her wings into a brave new world in no time. It’s sad!!! We will miss our beloved Erin soooo much! But at the same time, it’s happy and exciting! This chapter of life is complete. The next one is just beginning. It’s life is it not? We are always growing and changing. I guess that makes it fun! 😎
I’m shooting a series of environmental portraits from rural Saskatchewan and I’m including this photo we made today. It’s a really meaningful shot. The Lion’s Park in Oxbow was where Erin and the gang hung out – forever. I knew we had to make an image there. The park is being updated and the old equipment replaced with new stuff. The old-timey spring ponies are still there though and Erin played on them as a little girl. There were two other little kids playing in the park. They ran through the frame and symbolize the fleeting blink that childhood is. We ought to never underestimate how fast time flies. Savour every moment of every day! Cherish the memories 🙂
The Estevan fair was really quite sensational. And I’m really not kidding! It was a boat load of fun!! It was doubly so for me because I got to take some family photos of the Mercers in a really incredible backdrop of colour and lights. 😎 After we had completed our photo shoot I wandered around a bit longer and waited for the light to fall a bit darker for some fun “lights at night” shots. Thankfully the thundershower held off and we were able to get our shots and not have to worry about the rain. All we had to worry about was the carnie’s grip on our wallets! hehehehheh….. (I have it on the highest authority that the fair is a bigger rip off than even the circus!) 😉
I finally got a minute to run out to the dam and try my new variable ND filter in a landscape scenario. But of course, the water at the Dam was nearly glass anyways. Just my luck… But I took the kids and did a few long exposure setups in an effort to really blur the water and make it look dreamy. Many of the photos were shot at f/22 and upwards of 6 seconds! Not too shabby. We’ll have to try it again on a day where there is mucho waves. Thinking ahead though, I threw a little flash setup into the truck last minute. Actually it was my beastly new C-Stand and Photoflex NXT Octodome – I love this new stand! I was able to put the light right over head of the kids and blast ’em without worry of the thing tipping over. It’s so sweet! Even though it was a bicep buster hauling it up and down the bank at the dam. My favourite image of the night is the one I put at the top of this blog post. Ethan was facing opposite to the light, but it captured the fun of the evening!
Prepare to get your photo-geek on and see if you can keep up to this post. 😎 I just got some new toys that I’m stoked about. For the longest time I’ve wanted a variable ND filter. Neutral Density is pretty much sunglasses for your lenses and especially useful for landscape photography, especially water shots where you want a long/slow shutter speed to get those cool blurred water effects. But additionally, you can use them for flash photography and strobist work. ND filters help you kill ambient light, like in the full bright sunshine (it can bring a shutter speed down from 1/8000s to 1/250 to get full power flash sync speeds!) Or, you can use it in available light too. Here’s the scenario. The kids are ripping around the back yard being cute as usual. It’s super bright out – the old “Sunny 16” rule. With loads of sunlight everywhere, your camera lens has to stop-down to f/8, 11 or 16 to control how much light is getting into the camera as to no blow out an exposure. However, taking portraits/candids at such a small f/stop sucks. Everything is in focus and it’s not bokelicious or appealing. Say I want to get crazy and shoot at f/1.4 in full sunlight. How can I do it? It’s impossible without an ND filter. So I slapped on the Genus 2-8 Stop Variable ND and away we go! Check it out – these next 4 shots are all shot with my 50mm f/1.4 lens at 1.4 1/250 in full sun!!! 😎 It’s pure awesome and totally impossible without an ND filter.
As if that wasn’t enough, I also finally broke down and bought a C-Stand. I wish I would have bought it when I first started getting interested in flash photography. It’s basically a big-bad-heavy light stand with an extendable arm which allows you to hang a light up over someone. It’s the bomb! Plus, I got some sand bags for it and filled them with pea gravel and now, it’s super strong enough to stand up in the fiercest of Saskatchewan wind. I used it the other day to nab one of the shots of FlowerPot. It’s super secure and with all that weight in the bags, it ain’t goin’ nowheres.
Just as one last aside, take a look at the difference flash makes, especially off-camera flash. Here’s two shots of Phoebe taken right after each other. The first is natural open shade light, the second is with flash from the C-Stand setup above. It’s such a better result to me. There’s pop and contrast and great light! This is why I keep sinking money into lighting gear. If your light is right, your photos will be awesome 9 times out of 10. 🙂
Today’s the big day! Our little girl graduates from Pre-School! Boo ya! 4.0 grade point average too… hehheheeh.. 😉 I snapped the standard photo and then we proceeded with our couch jumping routine. Having the kids jump into the light is fun and makes for cool action photos – plus they hate being in front of the camera less when they jump!
Bokehlicious! It’s a term blatantly stolen from DigitalRev TV presenter Kai. Bokeh, that lovely Japanese word for “the stuff not in focus in the image” is awesome. Normally we think of big apertures like f/1.4 or f/2 to get amazing bokeh in an image, but you can squish a background with a long telephoto lens and get a similar result. I shot this self portrait (mainly because it’s infested with wood ticks back there and nobody else would go as my subject) 😉 tonight as the sun was beginning to get low and directional. It was super cloudy so it was diffused nicely. I put a speed light on a stand camera left and shot it through a Lumiquest Softbox III light mod. It’s a sweet little modifier. I mainly wanted that new growth poplar behind me to go into bokehlicious heaven. And I think it did nicely for being shot at f/5.6 @ 270mm (which on my DX Nikon actually is like 405mm)! 😎 All you get is a background that goes smooshy and gooshy, like a painter’s canvas. Certainly, this would have been even more pleasing had I shot the photo at f/2.8 or f/4. But even at 5.6 I like it! I just love that green bokehlicious background!
What can I say? I am one proud Papa of 3. Baby Pria was airlifted into the world via c-section on April 3rd at 1:31PM. In the mad furor of an OR Theatre, the gift of life was placed in my arms . . . again. Birth is always tougher on men than it is on women. I’ll maintain this to my dying day. Probably etch it on my tombstone even. 😉 Watching the one you love suffer while you can do nothing is very draining/frustrating/scary. C-section, in this regard, is more intense but for a shorter period of time. You can’t have it all. 🙂
It’s a wild ride no matter what. You see this little pink bologna loaf and you instantly fall in love. It’s incredible. Truly the greatest and fullest of the human experience to look into the eyes of another person and seeing your own image (in this case, Regan’s image, thank the Lord!). We are truly thankful to God for a safe delivery and also to the AWESOME doctors, nurses and staff at the Moose Jaw Union Hospital. We have received incredible care and attention all the way through. My heartfelt thanks goes out to all of you, you do an outstanding job! And of course a big thank you to my beautiful wife Regan who is super strong and a real trooper through it all. And to Phoebe & Ethan for being outstanding older siblings. And to our families and friends who have supported us, visited us and prayed for us too. We luv ya mucho! 😀
Pastor Kreutzweiser stopped by today for some prayers and a blessing. He quoted these words from Psalm 127:
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
(Psalm 127:3-5 ESV)
Here’s some photos. They’re straight out of camera other than the resize & watermark. No time to edit. I’ve got three kids to chase after now! And I couldn’t be happier! 😀
Just Kidding! My brother Ryan got a new bow and wanted a coolish looking photo so we went out and nabbed this one tonight in the holy city of Moose Jaw! 😎
What can I say. This was the funnest shoot ever!!! 😀 Take three crazy friends, the weirdest location in the universe and a deranged photographer half-high on amoxicillin and presto! You’ve got these photos! 😎 Bwahahah….. It was a total riot! Fun, wild and crazy pics at every turn. We were blessed with a beautiful day and we made the most of it. We ended up with a truly eclectic mix of photos, wide angle to telephoto, natural light & flash. It was a photog’s dream and I think we all had a blast! 🙂
“What should we name this baby, Phoebe?” we ask our 4 year old. “Well, if it’s a boy, his name will be Marco. If it’s a girl, her name will be Flower Pot.” 😀 We loved it and it has stuck ever since. The third Schultz baby is due right around the corner so we went out a couple of different times and made some maternity images. One of the major bummers about having an exceedingly mild winter (photographically speaking) was that there was no snow. Everything outside was rather bland and dead looking, very unattractive for making photos. But we did capitalize on a little bit of snow for the park shots. Just a pile of candids in both natural light and using flash. Then, when the weather improved we nabbed some warmer shots in Moose Jaw. Why the holy city of Moose Jaw? Well, it is where Flower Pot will be born. Turns out she’s a c-section and we were referred on from Estevan. So she will share the birthplace of her daddy, which is cool. Moose Javian anointing coming your way, Flower Pot! 😎 It’s kind of weird knowing when the baby’s birthday will be. Smack dab in the middle of Holy Week. . . . God has a sense of humour! 😉 It means that my entire Easter schedule is kiboshed. But that’s OK. Everything will work out and we are very blessed to have Grandma & Grandpa in town to help wrangle the kidlets. 🙂 So anywhos, here’s the photos!
It was a great deal of fun and veritable trip down memory lane the other night helping out the Girl Guides in Oxbow. The girls needed to earn their photography badges and I was pleased to stop by and show them tons of my photography gear and take some shots. I remember being in Cubs many moons ago. We never did a photography badge, but it was all those fun experiences that make the memories. We talked about lens aperture being like your eye and all the fun tricks with shutter speed to freeze or blur motion. Then we set the lights up and played with flash. It was a riot and everyone took turns either being the photographer, the model or the assistant. 😎
When I was a kid, I loved Pre-Kindergarten!! It was the best 4 years of my life! 😉 Actually, I was too much of a wimp to go to pre-school. I was afraid of all the kids and the brightly coloured crayons. But I was certainly happy to stop by and check out the new Pre-K class in Oxbow. What a fun class! All the good times of Kindergarten without all the Algebra homework. 😎 I was asked to stop by and do some class photos for Tony as he unfortunately has to return to Germany. All of his classmates are going to miss him for sure! We hope he will be back in school in no time. As always, it’s tons of fun helping out the school making images for them. We broke the mould of the traditional “line em up move em out, rawhide!” photos and got them jumping and spread out. Little kids are designed for moving around, might as well take advantage of it!
Happy New Year! Another year of photos is ahead of us and that is an exciting prospect. I can’t wait to see what lies through the lens in 2012. Christmas was good for us and we had great visits with family who loved us much and spoiled us more. When Ma & Pa came down for a visit we of course got to talking about photos. Dad, being an avid nature & wildlife photographer, was showing me what he and his photo pals had been up to lately. Winter wildlife can be some of the most interesting stuff! While most guys are sitting around watching sports, these guys are outside watching the epic battle of survival unfold! Check out these amazing snowy owl photos! These aren’t photoshopped! 😎 Just chuck a mouse out onto the snow and watch as white winged warriors wrathfully wreak havoc on unsuspecting rodentia! The main course is served! Hence, dish one.
(Jealous that dad missed out on snows, we went out and nabbed this short eared owl. Still a magnificent specimen!)
Now for those who can’t handle this much excitement, there’s beauty dishes. (Hence, dish 2). 😆 For Christmas dad got a wee beauty dish. It’s actually an Opus mini reflector. It’s basically a miniaturized beauty dish that gives you a punchy, light that is one notch off of bare flash. It’s a really cool light for, yes, you guessed it, beauty and glam shots as it gives the light a very contrasty feel. I wanted to see how this little guy compared to my DIY beauty dish that I made. It’s basically the same design idea. Light comes from the flash and bounces into a surface in front of the light, then into a reflector dish and then out onto the subject. A little bit of ping pong action is involved and it makes the light slightly more diffused but still has loads of punch.
Automatically you notice the size difference. And with lighting, unlike other areas of life, size matters. 😉 The bigger the better. The small guy produces a much sharper/contrasty light while the bigger the light, the softer the light. It’s the same reason why natural light photographers want huge windows. Loads of big light nice and close to the subject = soft and glorious! Here’s an example of what each light produced on our subject Sven (he’s from IKEA). 😀
So, after a quick peak, you notice the difference. The little Opus dish is much smaller and makes a more focused, contrasty light. It also fits into a gear bag much more conveniently. The bigger DIY dish gives similar contrast and punch, but is more wrapping because it is much bigger. Could you replace the big one with the Opus? Perhaps, depending on the look you wanted. It sure would make hauling it around easier!
But then again, if beauty light isn’t your thing and you don’t care about f-stops & shutter speeds, you can always try Coyote hunting. It’s hours of fun and only about 1/3 the cost of photography! 😉
Moir Dr. welcomed our newest resident just recently! All the little princesses on the crescent were glad to welcome one more precious little girl in Alexys. Ethan doesn’t know what to think as the pink army seems to keep getting bigger and bigger. He may have to seek friendship elsewhere. He’s starting to think wearing a tutu is a great thing! Thankfully Uncle bought him a metric tonne of tonka trucks for Christmas. 😉 But I digress. It was a riot to take some photos for Jenn & Brock of their newest addition and a few of big sister Kennedy too. I love how newborns can sleep through anything and Alexys was a great model for us, putting up with pretty much any pose! Can’t beat that! 😎
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