October 30, 2009

Renaissance Festival—Part 5 for 2009

I meet these two little girls and their mother while I was taking a photo of the girl behind the counter. The smallest girl wanted to know what I was doing, so showed her a lot of the photos that I had taken. I then offered to take her and her sister’s photo. She agreed and so I asked mom who also agreed. Since Doug and Bob were off socializing with other members of Bay Area Photo Club, I had to solicited mom to be my VAL. Mom was quite nervous—she was afraid that she would hurt my light. I assured her that it would be hard since I had dropped my flash several times with no adverse effects.

For some reason, I wanted to light the portrait to be more dramatic. Now, dramatic lighting and portrait of small girls usually does not go together, so I was not really sure how this one was going come out. I showed mom the position that I wanted the light, and she did a great job putting the light where I wanted—watch-out Steve, you may have lost your VAL job!

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 70mm, shot at ISO 200, f/11 and 1/90th of a second with a SB-800 at 1/16th power.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity.

Photoshop—used nik Color Efex Pro Monday morning filter to add a little more drama to the photo.

October 29, 2009

Renaissance Festival—Part 4 for 2009

This gentleman was quite interesting. He had a neat sense of humor and seemed to love to tell stories. I must admit, I really did not understand the point of most of his stories but I did like how he enjoyed them.

This photo is about two things: his weathered face and the light that is hitting it. I had Bob move the light back from his face so that it would be a little harder. I felt that would be a more appropriate light for his face.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 180mm, shot at ISO 200, f/6.7 and 1/180th of a second with a SB-800 at 1/8th power.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity.

Photoshop—used nik Silver Efex Pro to add a black and white layer and then reduced the opacity of the layer to 30%.

October 28, 2009

Renaissance Festival—Part 3 for 2009

We had seen this young lady earlier in the day, but was not able to photograph her because she had to participate in the grand parade. When we saw her after lunch, she was ready, willing and more than able to provide us with some great poses.

Most people are not initially comfortable when a photographer sticks a big lens in his/her face. Not the case with this young lady. The second that I started photographing her, she started giving me all sort of looks—all great looks!

I think her eyes says it all in this photo. I wanted to make sure that they were the main feature of the image.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 135mm, shot at ISO 200, f/8 and 1/45th of a second with a SB-800 at 1/8th power.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity.

Photoshop—used nik Color Efex Pro soft focus filter to soften the overall image.

October 27, 2009

Renaissance Festival—Part 2 for 2009

I saw this young man out of the corner of my eye and I was off to get his photo. I am not a Johnny Depp fan, but I must admit this guy had that same wild look in his eye that Johnny Depp has in his eyes.

I decided to push the photo somewhat for the blog. I used Topaz Adjust dramatic portrait on the image. I wanted to add to the look.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 70mm, shot at ISO 200, f/4 and 1/250th of a second with a SB-800 at 1/8th power.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity.

Photoshop—used Topaz Adjust dramatic portrait filter to stylize the image more.

October 26, 2009

Renaissance Festival—Part 1 for 2009

Last Saturday, Bay Area Photo Club had its October field trip to the Renaissance Festival. I believe all had a great time and everyone walked away with lots of good photographs. But, then again, it would be hard not to a few good ones when you have so many interesting subjects to photograph.

I used the same setup this year that I used last year—light on a stick (a Nikon SB-800 attached to monopod with a small softbox attached and triggered by my Alien Bee radio triggers). I had both my camera and flash set in manual mode, thus it was up to me to get my ambient and flash exposure correct. Steve was not there to be my VAL (Voice Activated Light) this year, but Bob and Doug filled-in for him very well. We would take turns photographing and manning the light.

The whole day was a lot of fun, so I decided to start this series with a shot that might help everyone understand that you can really have a great time flying around the Renaissance Festival, especially with dad’s help.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 70mm, shot at ISO 200, f/5.6 and 1/250th of a second with a SB-800 at 1/8th power.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity.

Photoshop—used nik Color Efex pro tonal contrast to bring out details in the dress and wings.

October 23, 2009

Action Model Shot #4


One cannot pass-up taking a straight portrait of an attractive model in front of a colorful sunset, graphic elements and water. And, I did not.

The colors of Kelly’s outfit worked perfectly with the sunset. I lit Kelly with a Nikon SB800 (1/4th power) with a small softbox at camera right and a Nikon SB800 (1/8th power) at camera left. The light from the Nikon SB800 on the left was feathered slightly in front of Kelly so to keep it soft while still filling in the shadows.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 86mm, shot at ISO 200, f/5.6 and 1/60th of a second with a SB-800 at 1/4th and 1/8th power on each side of and pointed at Kelly.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity.

Photoshop—used photo pop filter of Topaz Adjust on everything in the photo except Kelly.

October 22, 2009

Action Model Shot #3

Near sunset, we moved down near to the dock. We were blessed with a very colorful sunset and lots of graphic elements along the waterfront.

Today’s photo is similar to yesterday’s photo in technical problems—shooting into a bright light. Again, I decided on the exposure I wanted for the ambient light, selected the spot that I wanted to have Kelly run through and then set the power on two Nikon SB800s that we had posted on each side of Kelly.

Looking at the photo on my monitor, I had a decision to make: do I want Kelly to be straight or do I want the horizon in the background to be straight. I decided that I wanted Kelly to be straight.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 86mm, shot at ISO 200, f/6.7 and 1/250th of a second with a SB-800 at 1/4th and 1/8th power on each side of and pointed at Kelly.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity.

Photoshop—used photo pop filter of Topaz Adjust on everything in the photo except Kelly.

October 21, 2009

Action Model Shot #2


Today’s photo presented a totally different challenge than yesterday’s photo—focusing on Kelly while shooting into a very bright light and properly balancing the bright ambient light with the power of the strobes. I selected a point at where I planned to take the photo and pointed the lights toward that point. I then set my camera to the exposure I wanted for the ambient light (which I wanted it to be slightly overexposed).

Steve and I set a strobe on each side of the point and set the power to 1/4th power. We then had Kelly walk normally through our spot.

I really liked the long shadows that Kelly cast on the ground. I think these shadows provide great leading lines into my subject and the shadows behind Kelly help lead the viewers eye through the rest of the image.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 82mm, shot at ISO 200, f/8 and 1/250th of a second with a SB-800 at 1/4th power and pointed at model.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity.

Photoshop—used photo pop filter of Topaz Adjust on everything in the photo except Kelly.

October 20, 2009

As Steve Schuenke indicated over at his blog, last Friday, we took photos of the lovely Kelly Crabb. Before we started, she indicated that she wanted some “action” shots of her with a little grungy background added-in. Being at the Strand in Galveston, I knew that we had the grungy background, but I was not too sure about the action part.

Before I post anything, I want EVERYONE to know that I realize that the focus is somewhat “soft” on the action shots. This is due to a fine combination of stupidity on my part, bad camera technique and not really thinking-out my options before I took the shots—other than that, I did everything perfectly.

The first shot is of Kelly riding a bike that we hijacked from a kitchen working in the restaurant that we were shooting behind. Overall, the idea was good, but there was a couple of problems with the photo besides the soft focus. I had a Nikon SB-800 on each side of Kelly that produced some shadows across her body. A third SB-800 straight in front of her would have eliminate the shadows—not sure why I didn’t think about adding it during the shooting. By shooting her straight on, I made Kelly look a heavier than she is—not a good decision when you are photographing a young, attractive woman.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 200mm, shot at ISO 200, f/6.7 and 1/125th of a second with two Nikon SB-800 on each side of subject set to 1/4th and 1/8th power and triggered by AlienBee radio triggers.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added overall clarity and vibrance to image and adjusted brightness, clarity.

Photoshop—used nik Color Efex Pro tonal contrast to add detail by increasing the contrast in the highlights, mid-tones and shadows.


October 19, 2009

Posted Picture Revisited—Taking Your Comments to Heart

On August 2, 2009, I posted this photograph.

This was my second posting of the photo, but, I still did not get it right, or at least, many of your thought that I got it wrong—Again! Most of the comments revolved around the fact that the viewer thought that I made the photo too dark. I must admit, the way that I remembered the scene was closer to what I posted on August 2nd rather than what I am posting today. A very dark and brewing store was moving-in and the skies were very dark.

I still think that the black and white treatment is the correct one, but I have made the overall image much lighter.

Enjoy.

October 16, 2009

Things That Are Not What They Appear

Look at these people. What are they?


Heroes. Sometimes things just are not what they appear.

Enjoy

October 15, 2009

Light, Colors and Lines

As I watched the crowd listening to one of the firefighters talk, there were three things that hit me about this young lady—the light hitting on her face, the complementary colors of pink and blue and the dynamic lines that her body and those in the background. I wanted my photo to show each of these elements as clearly as possible.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 200mm, shot at ISO 200, f/4 and 1/180th of a second.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity.

Photoshop—used nik Color Efex Pro bleached bypass filter to de-saturate the colors and then added sharpening using the high pass filter in the soft light mode.

October 14, 2009

So Poised

I had seen this young lady several times during the afternoon before I took this photo. She was not only poised but also very graceful and kind to the smaller children. She seemed to be so mature beyond her young years.

In this photo, I wanted to capture her stare. She was not afraid to look straight at you.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 200mm, shot at ISO 200, f/4 and 1/180th of a second.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added overall clarity and vibrance to image and adjusted brightness, clarity and sharpness of eyes.

October 13, 2009

Grandson and Grandma

Over the weekend, I was once again did something that I really love to do—street photography. On Saturday, I was at my grandchildren’s school taking random photos of all the students and then on Sunday, I was at the open house at the Friendswood Fire Department. Lots of kids and lots of shots.

Today’s photo was taken Friendswood Fire Department of a young boy and his grandmother. The young boy was quite striking, but I was really attracted to the affection shown between the two.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 200mm, shot at ISO 200, f/8 and 1/90th with SB-800 attached to Really Right Flash Bracket

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity.

October 12, 2009

Posted Picture Revisited—Taking Your Comments to Heart

A few weeks ago, I posted this photo taken in the Badlands National Park.

I got no posted negative comments about it, however, one of my friends sent me this: “the lightly colored rock in the bottom left seems to be completely out of place with the rest of the scene.” I immediately agreed with this comment and as a result, I made the following changes.


I think the above photo is an improvement, but, the more I looked at it the more I decided that the overall composition would be improved by extending the green area within the photo. Although the above correction took me all of about ten seconds, this adjustment (even though not done to my standards for printing) took me about 15 minutes to do and a lot more pain. While I was making the changes with the green valley, I also changed the overall tint of the sky to better match with the hills. Was this change worth the additional time and pain?

Enjoy.

October 9, 2009

Simple Subject

Today’s post is a little more grounded in reality than yesterday’s semi-abstract photo. After I shot yesterday’s photo, I noticed this pair of tennis shoes. I thought that they made the scene more recognizable to most viewers.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 200mm, shot at ISO 200, f/13 and 1/180th

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity and de-saturated colors.

October 8, 2009

Graphic Forms

Whereas yesterday’s photo was about the color, today’s image is about the graphic form I saw as I looked at the dock and water. When I looked at the scene I saw three things—the graphic lines of the dock and water, the smoothness of the water and the roughness of the dock and the shapes.

I wanted the photo to show only the things that I “saw” before taking the image.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 200mm, shot at ISO 200, f/13 and 1/90th

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity and increased saturation of blue.

Photoshop—used Topaz Adjust to bring out details in the dock and the reflection.

October 7, 2009

All about the Colors

I had just finished a portrait session at the park near Clear Lake when I wondered over and watched some rowing teams work-out. I really like the color and the motion. I tried various shots with slow shutter speeds to create a blurred abstract of the scene, but did not produce anything that I really liked.

I used an unusual crop in the photo to emphasize the forms and the colors in the scene.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 150mm. shot at ISO 200, f/8 and 1/180th

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity and increased saturation of cyan and blue.

October 6, 2009

Another Chloe Butterfly

Before I discussing today’s photo, let me address an issue noted regarding yesterday’s post—I did not de-saturate the colors. I took the original posted image and just cropped it, added a layer to do the burning, and completed the stroke on the newly cropped photo. For some reason, it was de-saturated when I posted it on the blog. So, try to image the new crop with the same saturation. I am too lazy to re-do it!

Chloe and I took this photo when we took the one posted on Friday. When I first viewed this one on the computer, I was not very happy with it because out-focus leaves in the right corner (too near to the camera to focus) seemed to make the butterfly float on an unconnected leaf.

After looking at it for a while, I decided I liked the look that was caused by the out-of-focus leaves. But, what do you think?

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 300mm f/4 shot at ISO 200, f/2.8 and 1/250th

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity and increased saturation of green.