Random Notes: Helped out a friend at a wedding. Being a second option on a shoot actually allows one to be more free form and experimental since the pressures of delivering the exact shots are much less. I took the opportunity to bring some “odd” gear as well, the infrared Sigma SD14, in addition to my normal bag of stuff. For this particular post, I’d like to do a little show and tell. These are just examples of one way of creating images, and my way might not be the best way, or your way. It’s like Jeet Kune Do. Absorb what is useful, cast away what is not.
I mostly post my artwork and drawings with no explanation, no real artist statement (which is the way it should always be), you guys just come at it however you want, but with photographic images, there’s always the gear head lurking, the people that want to know the numbers and formulas behind it. I know, I’m one of them. 🙂
1.) This image was taken outside on the backside of the hotel. This particular day was pouring down rain, with clouds covering the entire sky, and the ground was a mushy soup. There was no way we were going to ruin that pretty dress in the garden area, so we had to make due with the facility. 17-55mm f/2.8 shot at f/4 with a speedlight, SB-800 in a softbox. Looks like a blank studio wall somewhere, but it was outside. As you can tell, the somewhat wide aperture of f/4 made for the bouquet to be out of the range of the depth of field, but obviously the most important thing to be in focus is the subject’s face and eyes. This was an early image in the whole wedding/reception setting, and it’s good to try and get started with a strong image, but most importantly build a good comfortable working relationship with however wants to have their picture taken, most who have never met you in their life.
2.) Cloudy and dreary days are good for photos, as the harsh sunlight is diffused by the clouds. This is just an unplanned candid with intentional asymmetrical balance. 70-200 f/2.8 has slight barrel distortion (it bulges outwards) but that is easily corrected in Capture NX. No other complaints about that tool because it really is a remarkable image making instrument.
3.) This was shot rather hastily under light drizzle with the IR Sigma SD14 and ultra wide 10-20mm. Didn’t get a chance to shoot more than 5 photos with this camera due to the situation and it was easily option 4 in the bag. The image does not look like this straight out of camera, you still need to process it in Sigma Photo Pro to get the false color look. The hard vignette in the corners is from the filter I use.
4.) Bridesmaids running in the drizzle. Just a simple tilting shot and intentional slower shutter to simulate motion.
5.) This was one of the first shots when she arrived. The hotel was actually somewhat busy with people, and I got this shot with passerby’s outside the frame. 85mm f/1.4 wide open and color corrected in post. Like any sport, fire off some shots to get ready and loosened up. Incandescent color cast on one side, and daylight blue on the other but I think I’ll leave it like that. That particular lens and aperture of course is the tool to use to tone down busy backgrounds and get some separation for your main central figure.
6.) This image I shot “wrong,” by grossly underexposing. By always shooting RAW one has a latitude of at least 2 stops just in exposure compensation alone. With other screens and curves adjustments, a first glance unusable file can be rescued in post.
7.) Somewhat of the same image, but triggered the speedlight in the softbox. This lighting combo makes for the “fake” backdrop look, but it allows for exposure for both the subject and backround.
8.) This image was before the rains came again, and was one of many in a series of fast rapid shots. The tree in the background, I’d eyed since the location scout the day before and I knew I had to work it in somehow. On a bright sunny day, depending on the time and quality of light, the scene might be beyond the dynamic range that can be captured by the camera. Again, the clouds softened the light, allowing me to shoot normally.
9.) Speedlight in a softbox. 1/125 could have been bumped up to 1/250 to hold some more of the sky, but this picture was just one of many in a series of warming up and taking pictures to get the feel, mood, and direction of a particular shoot.
10.) An odd crop of another SD14 IR photo. Could be used for something later, so why not use a tool that is a bit different from the norm.
11.) To the right is the open sky and rain clouds so I shot this with natural light. There were also two ceiling fans that had to be cloned out. Due to weather and time we realized we would have to work with just this back porch corridor and tried to make the best of the situation.
12.) Another candid, a snap before the snap, when people haven’t gotten into that mode yet.
13.) Bridesmaids that actually weren’t afraid of the rainclouds. I goofed a bit on this shot as well, keeping my shutter speed a bit too low.
14.) Just a detail, 85mm 1.4 wide open. I always look for points of light that will blur and melt into a background that can be used in a print layout for something.
15. 16. 17.) Late into the evening. Straight flash and Manual mode with 1/13 to drag the shutter a bit to let the ambient bleed into the picture. This is one of the ways to avoid the brightly exposed figures in front of pitch blackness.
So that’s some numbers and academic things that go into making these images. Of course there are other intuitive things like simply where to stand and how to visualize an image even before the camera comes up to your eye. Perhaps a topic for next time. Since I’m not a photographer, I’ll get back to my drawings now. 🙂