Monday, May 10, 2010

The Twilight Zone

Now that’s a creative title for a post! And it might even get me in trouble with the IP police. But I digress… What I’ll try to do here is to balance flash with ambient at twilight (or close to twilight). Here’s where I started:


Not very twilight-ish, is it? I could have stopped down the aperture a bit (shootin’ in manual but automatically dialing in f/5.6, and it never occurred to me to darken that sky by stopping down, even though I had about 3 more stops of power left in my flash… bleh!).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lighting 102: Cooking - Revisited


So call me persistent, but since I wasn’t too thrilled with my first attempt, I made a second (and third) try. I liked these ones better, by a long shot!


I cleaned up my background just a bit in Photoshop Elements (I forgot to dust the counter… Oops!). I should have tried for a more uniform background, of course, but hey, you work with what you’ve got. More info, including setup pics, after the jump…

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tomato salad

Well, not really, but I wanted to light a nice red tomato (turned out to be the only available one that was big enough to be interesting, but it had some skin blemishes :-(. In the end I decided not to use Portraiture on it… lucky it wasn’t a “she” or I’d be in trouble!)


(I ditched the borders on these pics, I think they look cleaner this way…).

More pics (lot’s more!) after the jump.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


My son gets cool ideas every now and then, and this one was sticky cool! What happens when you balance a bottle of glue on a flashlight… and then turn it on? All kinds of cool things happen, that’s what:


Click on the pic for a larger image. What we’re seeing here is a whole lotta things: We have diffuse reflection all over the place, we have direct transmission (both through the clear plastic bottle and through the clear glue), which gives us refraction, we have diffuse transmission… you name it. The only thing I’m pretty sure we don’t have here is direct reflection, since as far as I can see there’s no way to get direct reflection (the angles don’t work).

Not bad, huh? Next up, some killer tomatoes ;-)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Flash + ambient, indoors (part 2)

After taking pictures of the car guard, I decided to try my hand at some more ambient + flash balancing, but this time I wanted to control the spill on my background a bit more, so I went with a cardboard grid on my flash, instead of an umbrella.


It took a few tries until I got the direction and flash output “right” (since it’s basically a matter of taste). The whole process will be unveiled if you click on more…

Flash + ambient, indoors (part 1)


After that doggy break, back to the lighting exercises. This time I’m trying to balance flash and ambient indoors. It was late in the evening, so my ambient was 100% artificial lighting. I adjusted my flash until the vase looked Ok (1/8th). In looking back, I think the above exposure was just right, but I wanted the vase just a little bit brighter, so I dialed up the flash, resulting in a lot more spill in the background, as you’ll find out after the jump.

Car guard

Woke up this morning to an interesting view of our neighbor’s car, nicely guarded by a most unusual car guard:


She looked pretty comfortable up there, but she soon grew restless and decided to find other more interesting things to guard. I managed one last photograph before she quit:


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Balancing flash and ambient, attempt #1


Not too bad, but I think it’s a  bit overexposed, should have tried adding some CTO or CTS gel for effect, but that’s what attempt #2 will be. And the obligatory hand shot:



Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nuke 'em 'till they glow

I was at my daughter's inline hockey practice a few days ago, and since my wrist is sore from a crash landing (yep, on inline skates... first one to mention mid life crisis gets banned :-P ), I decided to take some pics instead of practicing my (non existent) skating skills:

(BTW, I really enjoy readng strobist (though I'm pretty late to the show), and I totally dig DH's humor and writing style. What's that got to do with anything? Well, read on if you wanna know.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lighting 102: Cooking light

This was a tough one. Since I’m taking this course  about two years late, I didn’t want to peek at the results beforehand, so I just did my best to come up with something interesting. Which I didn’t, but that’s to be expected from jumping head-on into something I don’t have the hang of yet.

My first attempt was pretty bleh (you can tell there’s a piece of paper and a metal fruit bowl in there, nothing special about it):


Saturday, April 17, 2010



Looking good, huh? Much better than my last attempts at shooting glass bottles. This time, I did it “by the book” (you know, that book).

Bright, shiny things…


Don’t get the wrong idea, I was looking for something to shoot for this assignment, and this can suddenly caught my attention. Since it was a bit heavy to place over my son’s notebook, I  had to empty it first (that’s why you can see the -- whatever it’s called – on top).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My new toys arrived!

Yes! Check  ‘em out ;)


(You can’t actually see them, they’re under the flashes, but I’m gonna be posting a lot of pics with these critters!)

Here’s another one, sans the good looking model:


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weekend panning shots

I took my camera to a small plaza and started taking some dull pictures of trees and stuff, when I saw some motorcycles speed by and decided to try my hand at some panning shots. I think they turned out pretty nice, but in the second one a by-stander got in the way. I think it still looks cool, though.

Taken at ISO 400, f/5.6 and 1/40 shutter speed

Taken at ISO 400, f/5.6 and 1/30 shutter speed.

You just need to follow the subject with your camera (I turned on servo- focusing, so the camera tried to keep the subject in focus all the  time).

First shoot! (part 3: glass)

Last part of my First Shoot blunders: shooting glass. I read "Light: Science and Magic", but didn't actually do much of the exercises... and lost a chance to get the photo I wanted. There was this cool bar with bottles lighted from below, and I wanted to get some pics of people standing beside the bottles: The bar alone looked like this:

Nice! But as soon as I added some light to it...

First shoot! (part 2: falloff)

As I said in my previous post, some of the pictures I took looked pretty bad, as I made quite a few mistakes (Let's chalk it up on it being my first time). I think the first and most important one was not really getting into the role of photographer, I was more like a guest with a camera, and that held me back quite a bit (I didn't get really close to people, I didn't try for better angles, etc.). Oh, well...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

First shoot! (part 1)

Yes! I had my first chance to do a "real" shoot yesterday, and even though the results were less than spectacular, at least I learned a few things.

First, some background: I'm a hobbyist, and I recently bought my first (d)SLR, a Canon T1i, along with an 18-200 zoom and a 430 EX II flash. I've been taking pictures for quite some time, but flash photography always scared me a bit (besides, this is my first hot-shoe equipped camera, so my only experience with flash had been with the pop-up variety... yuck!). Anyway, on to the shoot...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Texture - Light: Science and Magic

Here's an interesting exercise on revealing texture using just light.
Subject: a very uninteresting gray glove lighted from above:

And now the same glove lighted from the side (notice how much more texture is revealed):

BTW, Light: Science and Magic is a must read for anyone interested in lighting!

Strobist - Lighting 102 - Angle

Ok, here goes... first exercises on lighting, as per the Lighting 102 "course" on Strobist.

Different angles for my model (still don't have a remote for my flash, so I used a spotlight)

I must say that my model was extremely cooperative!