My wife surprised me over the weekend with a large flowerpot she filled with succulent sedums to brighten up the studio door entrance. The area in question gets a lot of afternoon sun so she came up with something that can stand all that light and heat and also not require very much watering.
I had been in the studio shooting close-up images of blood testing kits and needed a bit of a break from all that close focusing so I headed outside to shoot close-ups of the new sedums! This entire shot occupies about as much real estate as the top segment of your thumb so we are definitely past 1:1 in scale here. I had recently upgraded to the newer Canon 100mm f/2.8L macro lens from the older 100mm USM macro introduced in March 2000. While I had no complaints about the older version except being slow to focus in low light (what else is new?) I wanted to see what the designation of L quality had to offer. Being almost double in price, I was expecting a lot and it did not disappoint.
For much of my close-up work with the older lens, I relied on a 62mm Nikon 5T close-up lens attached with a step-up ring to the 58mm macro. This arrangement allowed me to go beyond 1:1 for much of my macro work without having to employ extension tubes which eat a considerable amount of light. There is virtually no light loss with the 5T as it screws on to the front of the lens. With the new lens being larger at 67mm filter thread size, I would need a step-down ring from 67mm to 62mm and this situation had the potential for vignetting the corners using the smaller 5T CL lens.
I’m happy to report that was not the case as I soon discovered. I haven’t experimented at many distances yet, but in this instance I was only about 6 inches away from the little flowers and any slight vignetting was added in Lightroom4 but I was glad to see no apparent vignetting from the lens/ring/5T set-up. Shot in manual focus (as are 95% of my macro images) the lighting consisted of one dome-diffused Canon 600EX-RT on the left, aided by a white fill-card on the right. The colors were sweet but when I saw it on the camera’s LCD monitor it cried out for a B+W treatment. Enjoy
Had quite the run of family portraits this past holiday season which is great for the old bottom line because things tend to slow down around here as the year comes to a close. When networking in late fall, I always try to mention how the holidays are a great time to get the family and extended family together for holiday family portraits especially when folks are coming into Portland from out-of-town or out-of-country like two of my families were this season. Whether coming into the studio or having the shoot at your home, the holidays are a great time for family portraits!
Had a great time shooting my first wedding of the season last weekend here in Portland. The bride was beautiful and fantastic and thoroughly loved having her picture taken!
I love the emotions in these shots… real, genuine love and exuberance!
Rummaging around up in the studio attic looking for something else one night, I ran across an old dear friend. We met in 1977, my junior year at ASU and while it was a little awkward at first, we soon learned how to make it happen and man, we did it! I graduated
So many rolls of film have gone through this camera that I sometimes laugh when I see one of these or similar cameras being used as a “vintage camera” nowadays in a wedding or fashion shoot If that’s your thing, that’s cool, but I remember when the real camera actually meant something. A step up from 35mm and “you now need a bigger negative carrier”. That sort of thing. It’s really neat that you include them in your shots as kind of an implied quality.
Man, I loved that camera can’t wait to take another look in the neg files to what gems (if any!) are there. I know there’s thousands of candidates!
This was shot in the very simple studio-in-a-box technique. I took a 16x16x16″ box, laid it on one side and cut out the remaining three sides, leaving 1″ of cardboard on either side. The inside was spray-painted flat black and tissue paper was taped over the openings. This diffused the speedlite’s light and created those large soft highlights. This is a great technique to use when shooting small products for catalogues, eBay or Etsy sales.
Since I was set up already shooting a tech assignment, I laid down a piece of black tile in the set and let speedlites do the rest. It was great spending time with an old trusted friend!
So my favorite financial planner was in the studio yesterday for an updated photo for his website and various social media uses. We talked beforehand about the feel and emotional impact he wanted the images to convey. He said: Accessibility, confidence, warmth. And from that, it was my job to interpret it into a visual representation. At that point, decisions are made; lens selection, background selection, RAW or jpeg? (Of course RAW, just kidding!) lighting set-up, shutter-speed, f/stop, white balance, reflector, grids, gels, etc, the list goes on. And yet, it’s all so cool when it comes together, like building a puzzle on a deadline
(till next time)
I really enjoy shooting senior images and working with high school juniors on their yearbook photos. It is such a special time in a young persons life and senior photos have morphed from the boring old “yearbook” photo of days of old (you should see mine!) to be more fashion-oriented with hipper, more modern looks. I think it will be awesome to look back at their senior photo set as what they looked like at a point in time before their lives really took off!
It seems I have done a lot of guys lately and specifically guys who don’t like to sit for photos! It’s always a fun challenge when after a few clicks, they ask “are we done?” My job is to take their nervousness or nervous energy and turn in into making them a participant and collaborator interested in the final images. I tend to shoot seniors quickly and have lots of staging, lighting and posing set-ups in mind even if we don’t get to accomplish all of them.
Daniel, pictured here, was one such fella. Very accomplished as a musician and cross-country runner, he had a no-nonsense air about him that took a while to break the ice and get him on my side. Even though I endeavor to keep to a minimum showing the subject images from the camera’s LCD during the shoot , in this case it helped to draw Daniel in and to be more involved with the shoot, once he could see the quality of the lighting and images we were getting. It’s always a good idea to keep your peripheral vision on high alert and allow spontanaity to happen during the shoot and not be so “locked in” to your original concept that you miss some great shots that are happening right in front of you.
I raided my daughter’s bedroom for her little keyboard which added a nice propping touch and a little hard graphic element to the first shot. The second shot was our last of the session where he trusted me enough to let down his guard and allow a bit of his true personality come out. He and his family was very pleased with our efforts
A little warmth for these cold days! Had some fun in the studio with pin-up models Miranda and Kayla, friends of my assistant Aaron. We set up several backgrounds and collected a vast assortment of props beforehand to create some cool situations the models could seamlessly move into. The lighting set-up was pretty consistent, large light bank for the main and some undiffused heads for edge. Aaron brought his extensive collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia and we used them for quite a few images from the shoot. These two images are my favorites of each of the models and I think the props helped with the mood of the shots – an old rotary desk phone from my Mom’s answering service and some glam sunglasses left over from a Halloween party.
Arthur came into the studio recently requesting something different than I usually create for a senior portrait package. I had met him a few years earlier when I was the photographer for his sister’s Bat Mitzvah and ran into him again with his family in Ashland at the Shakespeare Festival that they attend every year. When he showed up for the session in his outfit (which included spats!) I thought he was someone selling bibles He claimed to have no theatrical aspirations but I could tell by his movements and mannerisms that he must have spent countless hours watching Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers movies because he had their shtick down pat and had his mom and I cracking up with his antics. Arthur had very specific ideas as to what shots he wanted to capture/perform so we just worked it out from his list. I love spending time with energetic, creative young people and it’s even more fun photographing them. I’ll still keep my eye out for his name to appear in a production or cast list sometime soon because this young man is really going places!
Sweet! Just found out I’m featured in this month’s Shutterbug Magazine along with three other photographers in an article about book publishing by Maria Piscopo. Check out the article here!
Detailed coverage of Canon’s four speedlite-580EX II, 430 EX II, 220 EX and the new 270 EX-built exclusively for Canon DSLRs.
If you use a digital SLR camera, then you understand just how critical it is to have a capable flash. Canon Speedlite shines a whole new light on taking photos with a Canon DSLR. This full-color, in-depth guide takes you beyond the standard manual that accompanies the Speedlite and shows you the types of settings you can use on your camera when working with the Speedlite.
You’ll explore the possibilities of wireless lighting with multiple speedlites as well as the creative effects you can achieve. Author and professional photographer Brian McLernon demystifies setting up the speedlite, synchronizing the speedlite equipment, and determining lighting ratios.
- Canon DSLRs are only growing in popularity and the Speedlite system is a must-have accessory for exploring a new world of digital photo possibilities
- Shows you how to create an inexpensive and portable wireless studio lighting system that can go where you go
- Demystifies setting up the speedlite, synchronizing the equipment, and figuring out lighting ratios
- Covers other Canon lighting system components, such as the ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter, Macro Ring Lite, and Macro Twin Lite
Real-world information on using these speedlites illustrated by full-color examples and untangles the complexities of using the Canon Speedlite system.