Atlanta Photo Meetup: 57th Fighter’s Group II

Fun meetup at the 57th Fighter’s Group, a restaurant/bunker with lots of army and airplane props, and the Dekalb county airport in the background.  Here are the shots I got out of the craziness.  Thanks to Eric and the Atlanta Photo/Model meetup group for organizing, and thanks to Nhi, Brittany, and Breanna for coming out.  3 different cameras (Nikon/Canon/Sigma), different looks and feel, and the techniques behind them.

These are from my manual focus 50mm.  Try to think about a specific gear’s disadvantages and view it as an advantage.  You think you would miss shots with it being manual focus, but auto focus doesn’t necessarily mean auto picture.  Even with the center point only way of shooting AF pictures (half press, re-compose), it’s still not ready to fire like a manual lens setup.  It’s also much easier to change aperture, just a spin of the ring as opposed to: flip the switch, enable that big old wheel, half press to get out of sleep mode, spin the wheel, take picture…. The manual feel and shifting planes of focus adds a randomness that is needed in digital photography.

My attempts at getting the subject away from a crowded and visually unappealing fence and over to a less visually unappealing fence. 🙂  Actually two fold, the other waiting line was too crowded, and the area across the way not only had open space, but also the sun peeking through behind the clouds.  Use the sun as a hair light, interact with the person, be respectful.

Someone’s strobe went off at the same time I took this natural light shot.  Another happy accident of sorts, and I can also probably claim the manual focus to be intentional.

An example shot to show a newcomer to photography the differences between large aperture lenses versus “kit lenses.”

Ben using his ABR Ring Flash.

These pix are from my normal Nikon CLS strobist setup.  Still had too much gear on me and no “assistant” so no complicated light setups or modifiers, just one bare SB800.  One’s really all you need in most situations.  Plus it was really windy today and any umbrella, softbox, or stand, you worry more about it crashing down than getting a decent photo in a small amount of time.

Distracting visual elements all in the frame.  Pose is nice, but setup shots like this prepare you for the next frames where you shift your perspective and control the space to get the compositions you like.

Problem with shooting in any open style shoot (dare I say it papparazzi style…) is that there are only so many channels for the Pocket Wizards (4 for the Plus II’s) and even Nikon CLS (4 as well).  Someone’s going to be on the same channel and inadvertently trigger your light or combine another errant strobe.  This one was a good surprise/goof.  Someone’s flash triggered at the same time and resulted in a blown out image similar to a manga cover.

The feeding frenzy. 🙂

Shooting off camera flash with the Nikon CLS system allows you to use the full potential of the nicer lenses with easy control from the camera body.  For some situations manual based radio triggering are better solutions but this is just an example of how relatively easy it is to set up and shoot a photo in a few seconds.  TTL might be considered a crutch in some circles, but being able to use f/2.8 without dumbing down the flash’s power and still be able to control ambient is a nice thing.

Yes, strobes (flashes) make photos look fake, possibly contrived, and definitely dated to this generation of photographers, but this is the simplest way to get exposures for both subject and background.

These photos are from the IR Sigma and the wide angle (17-35mm equivalent).  The hard vignettes are from the filter I use.

Photography is a lot about knowing where to stand.  There’s a gaggle of photographers behind and to the right of me, so you have to figure out a position that doesn’t get in their shot and still produces a unique one from your vantage point.  Even in figure drawing class you have to make it look as if the model is just posing for you.

Yet another errant strobe made for a nice fill for the subject.  The distortion I feel adds to the inherent creepiness that IR images have.

A little bit of an Andrew Wyeth “Christina’s World” feel.  Whah? Talkin’ bout painting on my site?  What’s going on here?

And then I remembered to test out strobist stuff with the IR.

This RAW file is for some reason corrupt in Sigma Photo Pro but did manage to get a jpeg out of it.  Thanks Bob for being the light stand. 🙂  This is direct from camera, so you see that the final false color IR images look vastly different.  For all its quirks (and lockups…) I still enjoying shooting with this camera.  You don’t really know what kind of visual impact an image will have until you process in the computer, so again, it adds a randomness and surprise factor that is still needed in today’s digital photography world.

Just like the sample from DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing,” “I’m a student, of the drum.  But I’m also a teacher.” 😉

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