What would you like to see at owencherry.com? – A request for feedback.

Hi all.

I’ve been writing this blog for a few months now and have reached around 40 posts. As my first blog it has been a learning experience and I’ve had to put serious thought into choice of content, writing style and self-editing. Usually when I’ve talked about photography it’s been more of a rambling, through conversation or online chat. The blog format requires me to be much more structured and clear.  While I have writing experience through academics (Physics Undergrad and Masters) and my work (Teledyne DALSA), most of it has been dry technical stuff. I want my personality to show through in this blog. I hope that I’ve been writing with the right balance between technical and personal… keeping my posts interesting and relevant.

Now, I have a big list of posts that I would like to make. Some weeks, especially in the winter months, are photographically dry. When don’t have any current work or experiences to show I draw form the list (cool techniques that I use, gear reviews). My Oldie-but-Goodie Thursdays posts are a fun way to look back at some of the images that I’m proud of or find interesting. Still though, I wonder if there are any improvements to the content that I can make. So I ask:

What would you like to see at owencherry.com?

Are there types of posts that you would like to see me make? or make more of? I could include more detailed technical information in the posts. Or more simplified information. Or rants/opinions.

How about the writing style? Is it informative enough? For beginner photographers, do I gloss over any details that would otherwise make the posts more useful? For more experienced photographers, do I need to go more in-depth?

Should I include more personal content? Photos of my cat?

Please feel free to comment. I would love for this blog to keep improving in quality of content and grow in readership.

Thanks everybody,

Owen

 

Advertisements

ObG Thursdays – Fox in the Fog

Here’s a photo I took at Halloween in 2011, late at night on our way home from a party. Mitzy had spent a solid week making her Fantastic Mrs. Fox costume and I’d had a hard time getting just the right photograph of it. It was a misty night, and cold, but I convinced Mitzy to stay in the parking lot across the street from our apartment while I grabbed a tripod. I positioned her under the street light and took just one shot.

D300s on tripod with AF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 38mm f/4 1/4s ISO400Late Night Fox

The Making of a Scary Basement Photo

Here is my attempt at a “scary” basement photo… and double self portrait. In this post I’ll explain how I put it all together.

DSC_9718-Edit-5I’d been wanting to take a photo in my apartment’s basement for a while and was finally awarded some spare time this past week. I decided to do make the image over two nights, the first for setting up the lighting and the second for the final shots. This method gave me the time I needed to work out the lighting logistics without the stress of having to produce a result immediately. Another aspect to this image, one that is rare for me, is that I had the overall scene worked out in my head days before I actually went about doing it. I knew in advance that this would have to be a composite to include two versions of myself.

Not being someone who takes many photos with complicated lighting setups, I am limited in the equipment I have and this presented a few hurdles to overcome. Most importantly, while I own enough flashes (shoe mount and studio), I don’t have sufficient means to trigger them. I’ll get into this later.

Let’s start with the scene without any lighting. The basement is divided into three rooms and is creepy on its own.DSC_9668

To start, I put the D300s on a tripod with the AF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 set to f/8, 1/160s, ISO 400. I marked the leg locations on the floor with tape because I knew I’d have to move the tripod away from the doorway overnight.

I lit the back room in red first using a Nikon SB-700 with a red gel. I added a diffuser cap, zoomed the flash out to 14mm and set it to 1/2 power to fill the room with red. I positioned the flash behind my right shoulder to give some rim light and as a fortunate consequence it projected a nice red spill onto the floor of the main room.

To make ‘evil me’ stand out I added a Nikon SB-900 with a light purple gel. I used a grid spot to keep the light on my face and not spill onto the ceiling or door frame. I kept the power at a low level of 1/16. I positioned the head of the rake within the spill of the gridded light to separate it from the red wash.DSC_9724I took the red room image with white balance set to Flash. For the main room, I wanted to have an overall blue feel to the fill. I pointed an Alien Bees B800 studio strobe into the inside corner of the room and set the camera’s white balance to Tungsten to turn the flash’s white output blue (an alternate approach would have been adding a blue gel to the flash and since making this photo I’ve picked up some gels to fit the Alien Bees’ 7′ reflectors, including a 1/2 CT blue).

I lit ‘scared me’ with a snooted Metz 48 AF-1 at 1/8 power. I added a full CTO (orange) gel that, when combined with the Tungsten white balance on the camera, gave white light. The snoot was aimed to light just my upper body and the brick.DSC_9718In order to get the right coverage from the snooted flash I had to place it right in the middle of the frame. Another image, this time with the snooted flash removed, gave me the a clear view of that area.DSC_9719Here is the lighting diagram of the three images:

lighting-diagram-scary-basement For triggering the flashes, I had to think carefully. Three of these four flashes have optical slaves. Only two of them have connectors for wireless triggers. The Metz 48 AF-1 has neither (although since this shoot I updated the firmware to include optical slave). In the end put a wireless trigger (Cybersync) on a flash in each room and triggered the other two with their optical slaves. This made optical line of sight easy, as the two slaved flashes only had to see their nearby wirelessly triggered flashes.

I brought the three images into photoshop and masked out the unwanted areas. With some heal/clone work to remove unwanted wires and highlights and a final curves adjustment, the image was done!