Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lighting Seminar with David Hobby and Joe McNally!

If you're in to lighting photography with off camera flash, or even lighting photography in general, then I can't think of a single better seminar to attend then the one being put on by David Hobby (the Strobist) and Joe McNally!

Just announced today on their respective blogs, David and Joe will be touring the entire country from March through April sharing their immense magnitude of lighting techniques with off camera flash.  David's class will be focusing on doing things the "manual" way while Joe will be guiding you through the powers of TTL flash photography.

The name of their tour is Flash Bus Tour 2011 and you can find out more details by checking out the website, including more info about David and Joe, tour dates, prices and what will be covered.

While there aren't that many seminars I would care to attend, I will be first in line to see these guys.  I am honestly excited and can't wait to attend one of these!  Hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lumiquest Softbox LTp Review

There's a new softbox for speedlights on the market called the Lumiquest LTpLumiquest has long been making cool modifiers for speedlights, including my favorite, the Softbox III.  Based on how popular the SBIII is, Lumiquest came out with another softbox for speedlights, but this time its bigger, and as we all know, bigger is better right?

Their new softbox is roughly twice the size of the SBIII at 10" x 14" which creates a nice, soft light source for hand held portraits.  However, this softbox is just not limited to hand held portraits, it can be used for a myriad of lighting solutions including as a hair light, a kicker light, a fill light and it works excellently for product photography.  It eats up about the same amount of light as the SBIII, which is a little more than one full stop of light.

In this first portrait, I used the LTp on a Nikon SB-800 hand held to camera left.  Its straight out of camera with no editing except to crop and resize for the web.  You can see that this softbox gives a nice, soft quality of light (click on it for a larger view).  Its not quite as soft as a larger softbox or shoot thru umbrella, but for a compact softbox that can be hand held and packed away in almost any camera bag, its gives awesome results!  The light from this softbox is kinda 'punchy' and soft at the same time, similar to that of a beauty dish.

Another thing that is really nice about the LTp is that since it has a rectangular shape (and has an edge), it can be feathered to focus the light more where you want it (or don't want it).  Its quite easy, just by a slight adjustment to light a subject without creating much spill on your background as in this portrait.  For this shot, I held the LTp almost directly above my model and tilted it slightly back towards the camera so that less light would fall on my background.  You can see what a really soft light this makes when used in this close.  This photo was edited in post to add a vignette and adjust the color tones.

In this last portrait, I'm using the LTp as a kicker light with a CTO gel to make a nice, warm accent in this portrait of my friend and fellow photographer J.J. Henderson.  The LTp makes an awesome kicker or rim light because of its compact shape and edge.  I simply turned this light more towards the camera which lit my subject with a smooth, silky warm light and added little to no light to my background.

In the video above, I discuss this a bit, but one of the advantages to the size of this softbox is that its roughly the exact same size as most laptops (thus the name LTp).  So for all those photographers carrying backpack style bags and roller style bags, this handy modifier will slide right in there with your laptop taking up little to no space.

To find out more about the Lumiquest LTp, check out the Lumiquest LTp product page.  You can now pick these up at your favorite photographic retailer.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vivian Maier - Street Photographer

Self Portrait

February 1, 1926 – April 21, 2009

Perhaps you've already heard about this fascinating woman who has stunned the photographic community with her very real and informal photographs of Chicago streets, its people and various other locations around the world, but in case you haven't, I thought I would share a bit about her.

Like many famous artists, Miss Maier was, unfortunately, unknown to the world until a few years after her passing, when her photography was discovered by a local historian at an auction.  This gentleman stumbled across her work from the contents of an old storage locker that belonged to Miss Maier and was acquired by the auction house.  Amazingly, her work consists of more than 100,000 negatives, some still in undeveloped rolls of film!

Apparently, Miss Maier was just content enough to enjoy photography as a personal hobby and never showed her work to a single person.  When she passed, she was surviving off of a social security and living in an apartment that children which she had been a nanny for, were paying for.

Her work is absolutely wonderful and I urge you to research and see what she saw through her camera lens.  She definitely had an artistic eye and was able to portray all of her subjects with careful thought and emotion.

I wanted to blog about her because my previous post dealt with Masters of Photography and after seeing her work, I definitely feel like she was a master at her craft as well.  I can't help but feel sad, knowing that had her work been exposed during her lifetime, she may have had a richer, more comfortable life.  However being that not much is known about her personal life, she may have been perfectly content, enjoying her hobby.

To find out more about Vivian Maier, check out the resources below:

Vivian Maier - Her Discovered Work - a blog by the curator of most of her works

Vivian Maier Photography - a website dedicated to the work and life of her

Vivian Maier on Wikipedia

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Masters of Photography

If you're a photographer, or even an art lover, chances are you've heard of the likes of Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Edward Weston just to name a few.  These folks are considered to be Masters of Photography and so many of us have studied these individuals, modeled our own works after them and have tried to duplicate their works for the sake of learning and a better understanding of our own craft.  Not only have these people rose above the occasion as influences on millions of photographers, their works have entertained and regaled millions more.

To be considered a Master of anything in my mind, is to show years of dedication, perseverance, skill and an undaunting desire to excel at what you do.  From a photography stand point, I find that these are people who have continuously produced works of art that do more than hang on a wall, they capture the viewer's soul and imagination.  They produce works that make you stop and simply do more than just "look".  They touch you in some way you weren't expecting and leave you with a yearning for more.

I seriously doubt that any of the aforementioned photographers would have considered themselves Masters of anything during their own lifetimes.  So, to kick off the new year, I'd like to share who I think could equally be Masters of Photography during our own day and age.  Click the Read more link to see what's cooking...