Using the setup I described in the last post (sigma 105mm macro on 3 extension tubes with electrical connection pass-through. Lighting from one on-camera SB900 with Rogue Flashbender XL II softbox), I captured a few insect shots including this one of two ants farming some aphids on a foxglove. The ants stroke the aphids to encourage them to release a sweet liquid commonly referred to as “honeydew”. They defend them from predators (ladybirds mostly) and even carry them to greener pastures when the food is exhausted. Getting the head in focus took probably about 15 shots on a stepladder. All the light here is from the flash, firing on TTL at –0.3 EV. Continue reading
It’s been a while since I did any classic beauty style shots in he studio, and I’ve learnt a lot since the last one. Mainly I’ve been influenced by Joel Grimes in recent months for this sort of look – joelgrimes.com Go check out Joel’s work – he’s been working as a photographer for over 25 years and has honed his craft to a fine level of detail, and that’s what his style is all about – the lighting, shooting distances and angles are very finely tuned. That doesn’t mean he gets a tape measure out, in fact one of the hallmarks of Joel’s approach to his work is that nothing matters except the result – he’s not interested in meter readings, modelling lights, histograms, ratios or any of that stuff – if it looks good on the back of the camera – it’s right. Having studied his work both via his website, YouTube, and a couple of his videos on KelbyOne – http://kelbyone.com/members/joelgrimes/ I booked into my friend John Gannon’s studio http://www.studio-de-lumiere.co.uk/ with model Jessica-Jane Taylor and Make-Up and Hair stylist Emily Rose Connor to put what I had learned to use 🙂
However, in terms of photography that is requested (as opposed to the stuff I dream up ) this sort of thing is high on the list. The effort required is often no less, even though the end result is, to my eye, flat and boring. Corporate work like this also has to look easy when you do it – CEO’s of major global banks don’t hang about. In this shot we have 50 or so of the 2013 Barclays technology apprentices who have been at Barclays for just under a year now. At the front, on the right we have Antony Jenkins: CEO of Barclays Group, Peter Josse: CIO to the left and at the far left, we have Graham Bastin, site exec for Barclays Technology Centre, Radbroke in Cheshire – the largest technology research centre in the UK outside of Cambridge. We had 30 seconds.
Cassie Wrightson, a photography student from Hertfordshire in the UK wrote to me to ask about the pictures in my Dance Gallery for her written piece on the theme of ‘Time’. Here’s what she asked, and I sincerely hope the resulting babble I sent back was in some way helpful 🙂
- My first question is what is the context behind the photos?
- How did you take the photographs?
- Which camera did you use and what setting did you have your camera on?
- How did you get the image so crisp?
- Why did you choose the colours of what the dancers wear?
- Is there any hidden messages that link to the photos?
- And finally why did you choose these 22 photos in particular?
…and this one’s for Jeff from Minnesota Hope the rest of your trip was as fantastic as ours.
This was probably the most up market hotel we stayed in during our trip – the Fairmont “Chateau”. It looked more like Castle Colditz to me tbh, or an NCP car park with glazing – see below. Very nice inside, but I somehow doubt the designers had seen too many French Chateaux…
It also had the north-east shore of the lake inside the hotel grounds, and although I had no idea at the time, it was best opportunity I had to put some real effort into a landscape shot. I mean – if the lake is right outside your hotel, there’s no excuse really…
We only had one night at the Fairmont and arrived early in the evening having spent most of the afternoon at Moraine Lake. We dropped the bags and went down to the lake. There’s a slipway in the middle of the lake shore that faces the back of the hotel, and this pretty much aligns with the view down the entire length of the lake. I wanted some foreground though, and I didn’t want to to park myself in everyone’s way either, so I climbed out onto the large round boulders to the right of the slipway. The first task is to work out the focal length, and position of the camera. I usually start with the 28-300mm super-zoom on the camera, and look for frames in the distance at the long end and wind it back in to 28mm and look for horizontal and vertical frames with foreground. I did know pretty much what shot I was going to take of this though, having done this wide-angle-see-through-foreground-water technique a few times and I knew this was a job for the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
After throwing the flour from stage left, we then loaded Keira up with flour – starting with the hair with Keira kneeling on the floor and swing her hair around, and then we moved onto some full length shots with some full on leaping. Here’s the second part of the video:-
This was the second of 3 shots we did with the Lencarta SuperFast lights. This sort of shot is something you only get so many goes at: you run out of flour, coloured powder, and of course, eventually, the model is so covered in flour it changes the look of the images. Shooting continuously on high speed (well as fast as my D800E will go anyway – the lights will go faster) makes it all the more likely to get a usable frame from these sets.
This was the first time I’d attempted this shot, and while we got a few reasonable images – it’s not quite achieved the drama I want. I think I know why and I’ll come back to that at the end of this blog.
As I had so much flour left over, another shoot with it was, well inevitable. However, before inevitability could strike, James Wall, marketing director of Lencarta lighting wrote to me and asked if I’d be interested in doing it again at their studio in Bradford, to promote the SuperFast lights I had been using for the last few shoots. Well – I’d be doing this sort of thing anyway, so this was not a hard decision, and wouldn’t need to sell anything – these lights are genuinely fantastic.
Now – there’s a joke in here somewhere about the model being self-raising, but to be honest, It’s too late in the day to be crafting that, so just make up your own and insert it here…
How much do you need? I had no idea. I’d seen a few flour (or “dust”) shots around on flickr, and Pinterest and this seemed like an ideal job for my new high-speed IGBT Lencarta studio lights – movement, flour backlit, hair flying etc. Well, I bought 4 bags of Sainsbury’s most basic plain flour. I now have 3 and a half bags of plain flour – which, as it turns out is not much use for baking anything…..
The venue of the flour experiment would be Millwood Photography in Stalybridge. I highly recommend Millwood studio – Paul not only agreed to let me throw flour about in his studio, helped out on the shoot. And the brave volunteer to be covered in flour? Lizzie Bayliss. I’ve shot with Lizzie before and she is one of the best models around.
Product photography can get very involved. Managing reflections, especially on shiny surfaces means you need to be very careful about that is in “sight” of the product surface. Glass is double trouble, as every piece of glass has 2 surfaces – inside and out. I’ve recently started to dabble in this and looked around for some ideas. 2 great places to go:- photigy.com and Karl Taylor Photography.