Thursday, January 15, 2009

Too Sexy for my Blow Up Doll..

Check out THIS VIDEO ....I tried to embed it but the script was giving me some issues.

Its in French I think, but its cool to watch what he's doing, and if you know French ...bonus!

This is the work of Edward Aninaru

Check out his website or,

his Flickr page

Also, look for that HUGE beauty dish he's using in one of the frames. He also seems to be making use of a ring flash quite often too.

...pretty cool stuff!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Creative Lighting

f/5.6 at 1/160 sec. ISO 100

I am a huge fan of Joe McNally and after I saw the latest Nikon DVD entitled "A Hands On Guide to Creative Lighting", I just had to go out and try some of his techniques. If you haven't seen this video and are a Nikon shooter interested in using off-camera flash, than this is highly recommended.

In the video Joe demonstrates what you can do by using various White Balance settings and gelled flashes. My favorite example was where he had a ballerina jumping in front of window using the Tungsten White Balance setting and a CTO gelled flash. The light from the window turned a gorgeous cool blue and the CTO gelled flash added a rich warm color to the ballerina.

So with that in mind, a few friends and I got together at Mellwood Arts Center in Louisville, Kentucky to just goof around taking photos. There is this hallway that has a glass wall that connects two sections of the building, with one wall being entirely made up of glass windows. I've shot at this spot before and knew this would be perfect for what I wanted to do. A good friend of mine, Kim (and also a fantastic photographer), volunteered to model for us other shooters. She was wearing this huge, poofy pink dress and looked like a million bucks!

I had her stand in front of the window and I took a meter reading on the background to get my ambient exposure. Then I positioned an SB-800 with two full CTO gels on it, off to camera right at half power. Then I set my White Balance to Tungsten (also called Incandescent). The reason I used two full CTO gels is that one CTO would just start to bring my model back to a 'normal' looking white-ish light against my blue background. By adding another CTO gel, I was able to warm up the model a bit and not have the light so white looking. By using a Tungsten White Balance setting, I was able to make the background appear blue.

I took a test shot, then Kim started spinning and dancing around!!! Its so nice to have a model that knows what its like to be behind the camera. She really knows how to pose and bring out the best in a shoot.

These were really fun to do and I absolutely loved the results. Kim was also a great model and fun to work with.

For a related article on using color correction gels, try this post on the Strobist blog.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lighting Mods 101

A lot of people have asked me what various types of speedlight modifiers do and I always try to explain. However, if you're like me, visual educational tools sometimes speak more clearly than words.

So, I put an SB-800 on a light stand, and placed various light modifiers on the flash to show a visual representation of what each modifier does. I chose an aperture and shutter speed combo that would give me a decent overall exposure to illustrate my point and I used that same combination for each shot.

These photos, by no means, represent my best work! =) They are for educational purposes only.

The first shot, is the SB-800 zoomed to 28mm ...the calendar is on the wall for a frame of reference will also notice that in these frames, the light fall-off is not as abrupt on the left side due to the fact it is a corner of the room, so I'm actually getting a little reflected light from the wall...

The second shot, zoomed to 105mm ...notice the light spread is somewhat smaller and appears hotter in the center

The third shot is with a 36" white, shoot-thru umbrella. This shot really isn't as a good a representation as the rest due to the fact that the umbrella takes up quite a bit of the frame and some of the light is reflected back towards the camera, but it should give you an idea of its apparent light size

The fourth shot is with a slip-on Stofen diffuser. This is one of the most common types of speedlight diffusers

The fifth shot is with a Lumiquest SB III, one of my favorite light modifiers

Coming up sixth on the list is, a Honl 1/4" speed grid. I've just started using these so this experiment was helpful to me.

Lucky number seven is, a Honl 1/8" speed grid. Notice that the light pattern is a bit tighter (smaller) than the 1/4" grid.

And last, but not least, is the Honl 8" Snoot. I've used this little guy quite a bit, and really love the effect I get. This shot was taken in broad daylight. I dropped the ambient by several stops to get a darker background, then lit the model with a snooted speedlight.

This is only a few of the light modifiers that are available for speed lights but are some of the most used. I hope this post will help you to have a better understanding of what these types of modifiers do, and if you have any questions, just give a shout!

::All of these shots were taken with a Nikon D300 at f/11 1/250 sec. ISO 100. The flash was about 4 feet away from the wall, at 1/8 power and triggered with CLS.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008: The year of Photography

Hey everyone!

Just wanted to let everyone know that my Project 365 on Flickr is officially complete! I posted a new photo every day, for 366 days (since this was a leap year) in a row to my Flickr Project 365 set.

It was fun but painful at the same time. I cannot tell you how much I learned about photography and myself over the past year. Having to come up with a new photo every single day, for 365 days in a row, causes you to really dig into your creative self to come up with something. My goal at the beginning of 2008 was to (obviously) complete the Project 365 but to also become more efficient at off-camera lighting.

In the last year, I have read countless books, the Strobist blog, and taken over 18,000 photos! I have to admit though, there were quite a few photos I posted to the Project 365 group that I am less than proud of. Some days, I really just didn't want to take a photo, but would buck up and come up with something. Sometimes, I felt like the Project was really tapping my creative juices, but on the flip side, it also forced me to look at things that I probably wouldn't have photographed otherwise.

It also led to me creating a new group on Flickr, Louisville Strobist. My love for strobe lit photography has expanded much more rapidly than I would have imagined. I have David Hobby of the Strobist blog to thank for this. Before discovering his blog, I was hesitant to use flash because I did not like the results I was getting. Learning how to use off camera flash has opened my eyes, and creativity to a whole new world of endless possibilities. Now my lust for photography has grown even more and I'm really looking forward to seeing what I can churn out in 2009.

Not being part of the Project 365 group now, I think, will give me more time to really concentrate on my craft and to taking more quality photographs. I will miss the Project, but man-oh-man, I am so glad to be through with it. It really took a lot of my free time to get through this, but all-in-all I think it was worth it.

If you'd like to see my Project 365 set on Flickr, you can do so by clicking any of the Project 365 links in this blog post, or you can simply sit back and watch the embedded slideshow of the last year's efforts. But be warned, its 366 photos long! Honestly, I don't know that I could sit through that!

See you in 2009!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

May the force be with you!