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Archive for August, 2009

Kelby Tours, First Stop

Aug 3

In Seminars & Workshops at 6:00am

crowdSouth San Francisco Conference Center….shot by Drew Gurian, with a pano application on his Iphone. Cool……


Last week was quite a week. Brides, F-16’s, long drives, meetings, Google workshops, bunch of stuff. What was looming though, all week, creeping around the dimly lit alleyways of my brain, was my first date for Scott Kelby’s Touring seminar program. This was a first for them, in that it was not a PhotoShop type of post-production seminar, but an all day lighting class. It was a first for me in that I had never demonstrated lighting for 5 hours in front of over 700 people.

Live shoots for 5 hours! What could go wrong? Sheesh… The morning of, I thought I was gonna go in the bathroom and have a talk on the big white telephone. What if the flashes don’t fire? What if TTL don’t work too good? (That’d be a first:-) What if my fly is open all day? What if I inadvertantly use a colorful metaphor?

Worries faded immediately as I realized I was in a room of wonderful, enthusiastic, friendly folks. We were all in it together, right from the get go, and in fact they occasionally became my art directors as I talked my way through a shot. The athletic portrait above came about with 4 SB900 units, blue gelled, rim lighting Darius, and a warm gelled unit, Honl gridded, lighting his face in selective fashion.


Tight version of the amazing and engaging Darius, who was one of the most congenial people I have ever photographed while at the same time being one of the most physically imposing. This was our athlete shot, done in the same hour as the executive portrait. (I will say the athletic portrait generated more, ahh, enthusiasm I guess is the right word, amongst the women in the audience.


Point of this hour was show some “smooth” exec type light, and then another style of more electric kind of light, the kind I refer to as “bad ass middle linebacker ESPN cover light.”

We were also blessed with Brittany Ogle who is currently performing with the touring company staging Mel Brooks “The Producers,” in San Fran. In addition to being terrific in front of the lens, was an absolute hoot to work with. She coined the word of the day when I asked her how she was doing and she replied with a big thumbs up “Awesome!” The audience picked up on it, and before you knew it, we were all having an “awesome” time of it.


This was all in the first hour, when we worked one flash only. This SB unit is camera right, through a Tri-grip diffuser. Off camera solution. Also did an on camera flash demo where I went from shooting DMV portrait style to using the white seamless behind me into the light source by swiveling the head of the flash backwards and blending in the room light. Did a quick version on Auto white balance, and then compared that to a Preset solution.

brittany1For on camera flash….I like!!! (Working with Brittany didn’t hurt either.)

In the last hour, we drug out the big lights, specifically, Elinchrom Rangers. Had a blast with mixing an SB900 unit hair light with an overhead beauty dish and a softbox fill.


Then, we went to the Deep Octa, a fairly new light shaping tool from the Swiss light meisters at Elinchrom. This softbox is literally deeper than virtually any other of comparable size (which is not that big) and the depth of the box produces a rich, columnated and collected light, perfect for Darius. One light, and we were done.


Bunch of thanks you’s to make here. First to the Kelby folks, who are like family. And Jeff Leimbach, who wrangled all the staging and made the day work. Jeff Cable of Lexar came and all day I was able to throw Lexar straps, bags and even cards into the audience. Drew Gurian and San Fran based Alex Roach worked their butts off moving lights with minutes to spare. Brittany and Darius were “AWESOME!” And a huge thanks go to the crowd. Even though it was a big room, I felt like I was just with a bunch of friends, having some coffee and working out some pictures.

Speaking of friends, Moose, Sharon and Jake Peterson were in the audience. I thought they were in Alaska, shooting bears, and according to Moose’s blog, that was indeed where they were. But you never know where a Moose will roam, and sure enough, the Petersons waltzed right into the Google workshop on Thursday. Everybody knew about it but me, of course, which ain’t that hard cause I walk around in a daft daze most of the day, but I was literally floored. Such wonderful friends are hard to come by, I tell ya, and they were in the front row for the lighting seminar. Too close to the stage for me to not use Jake as a portrait subject….good guy, good photog. More tk….