Driving to Guelph last week I came across this flooded field with just the right clouds and just the right lighting. Each shot is a high dynamic range (HDR) composite of three images separated with a stop of exposure difference between each. Yes, that’s my Mazda 3 parked up ahead in the first image.
I should also mention that I was on my way to a formal dress-up cocktail party, so I was in a full suit and dress shoes. I’m sure the passing cars must have had a laugh…
Here’s a photo from a camping trip at Killbear Provincial Park that I took with my friend Michelle back in 2009. For a couple of years my absolute favourite lens was the Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 and this photo shows exactly why. The bokeh, colour, contrast, sharpness were all perfect. Just perfect. On a DX body it gave a 75-200mm field of view. This lens was my big reward for getting a job after finishing my masters and I used if for thousands of photos.
The Oldie-but-Goodie photo was taken at 135mm f/5 1/800s ISO 800.
This week’s oldie-but-goodie comes from August 2007, back when I was first learning to light with external flashes. Jeff and I were on a photo walk and came across this piece of public art outside of the Waterloo Library.
Being a bit foggy out I thought that backlighting the art would give a cool effect, with the metal plate becoming a dark aperture and the figure inside being lit from behind. I set a Vivitar 285HV behind the piece and triggered it with a cheapo Ebay trigger. The moisture in the air caught some of the light and gave a cool starry look.
Final settings were Pentax *ist DS (my first digital camera) with DA 16-45mm f/4 at 31mm f/5 1/50s ISO 1600 + lots of tweaking in Photoshop CS3.
In this fourth and final post from the recent batch of developed film I’ll show some scans from a roll of 35mm Kodak Portra 160. I shot these with the Nikon N80, an autofocus film body that can handle the most modern Nikon lenses with AF-S and VR. That means that the lenses I use on my digital bodies are compatible with the N80. Even more exciting is that, since I normally shoot with a DX (cropped) digital sensor, this is my only opportunity to use my FX prime lenses as they were intended. Photos from three lenses are shown in this post. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8G are both fantastic lenses on both DX and FX digital sensors and here on 35mm film. I also used the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G here and while it is a DX lens the image circle is about big enough to work on 35mm although the corners often vignette depending on aperture and focus distance.
The roll of Portra (as well as the others in the previous posts) was developed at Dwayne’s in the USA. I had them make prints of this roll and it is interesting to compare how my scans and digital editing compare to a standard print. Often they are quite similar in that we both agree on colour balance and brightness. I tend to prefer a bit more saturation and contrast than Portra provides so I enhanced both on many of the images using Photoshop.
Lighting a large scene with just one flash is something I’d wanted to try for a while and finally got around to it with this shot in today’s Oldie-but-Goodie.
This photo is a composite of six shots, stitched together in Photoshop CS5. In each, I lit a different part of the building using a single SB-900 flash with the standard diffuser cap. I fired the flash using the test button and in most of the shots I fired it multiple times. The camera (Nikon D300s wtih Tokina 11-16mm) was set to manual exposure (f/8 8s ISO 100) and manual focus and set on a tripod in the parking lot. The long exposure allowed the camera to capture the ambient light but also gave me the time for the flash fires.
Here are the shots that went into the composite. In the first four I lit both the concrete and brick walls.
In the next two I tried to light the smoke stack by zooming the flash in to 200mm. The flash lost a lot of power at that distance and even with multiple fires it was difficult to light the stack.
At this point the images look like a mess with many points of light and many Owens. However, by choosing which part of each image I wanted to come through using layer masks I could clean this up considerably. Below I show a capture from Photoshop with each of the images and their corresponding layer mask. Notice that for the most part only a small area (the white region of the layer mask) is used in the composite.
In the end I did have to remove a few stray flash bursts and Owen limbs here and there using the healing brush and clone tools. Finally, with a curves adjustment to brighten the lower mid-tones, I ended up with this!
As this was my first ‘light painted’ composite, I did learn a few lessons. Most importantly, it was difficult in a few instances to remove my ghost from the image. Next time around I would use brighter flashes and stand further away from the subject to not catch as much of the reflection. Distance would also help broaden the spot as it falls on the surface. Overall though, I was happy with this first attempt!
This post shows an alternate, and quite different, take on one of my favourite images of 2012 (the other version is here). While the first image I showed was a panorama taken with a DSLR, this version was on film with the Bronica ETRS.
Two pieces of equipment were absolutely necessary for this shot. First, a tripod with the ability to set the legs at independent angles. I had to set the tripod on a pile of rocks and being able to position each leg to follow the terrain helped considerably. Second, a graduated neutral density filter. These filters are divided in half, top to bottom. One one side they are transparent and on the other they block light by a fixed amount without adding any colour caste (hence, “neutral”). The interface between the two halves is a gradient with one fading into the other so there is no sharp transition edge.
Bronica ETRS with MC 40mm f/4. Probably around f/8, 1/8s on Fuji Velvia 100. Scanned with the Epson V500. Colour correction, levels and sharpness in Photoshop CS5.
This week’s oldie-but-goodie comes from February 2008, in the middle of my year long Photo-a-Day challenge. I challenged myself to produce a decent photo every single day for an entire year and, for the most part, pulled it off.
The photo is of friends making masks in a basement bathroom. When I saw what was going on I quickly grabbed my flash and mounted to the curtain rod in the shower with a super clamp. The flash was triggered with crappy old ebay triggers.
Details are: Pentax K10D with DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 at 18mm f/7.1 1/30s ISO 100.