Archive for the ‘Tips & Tricks’ Category
I just finished a teaching stint at PhotoWorld Manila, in the Philippines, and I can say I have never been more warmly welcomed or graciously treated by any host, at any time. The Filipino people are amazingly easygoing and friendly, and, rabidly interested in all things about digital photography. The conference was a non-stop love fest, and a non-stop laugh fest among the speakers; Eddie Tapp, Judy Host, Amy Cantrell, Ken Sklute and Hadi Doucette.
The key to the deal for me to come here was the offer to teach a lighting workshop on the island of Corregidor. Ever since I was a kid, poaching my dad’s World War II books, I have wanted to see one of these islands where so much pivotal history occurred. I was busy teaching most of the day, but I did manage one quiet walk. The huge guns and the gutted buildings are still there now, of course. But it was not hard to hear the echoes of those desperate days. So many gave their lives here. There are ghosts.
Photographically, the upside of so much untouched carnage is the patina of decay, the rust of the place. The old walls of the buildings… You would pay a backdrop painter thousands to come up with a mottled drop of such gorgeous, muted color. Unreal.
And our subjects were dancers! Put a dancer in front of my lens, and Joe be happy monkey. I feel a real affinity for dancers, actually, because, just like photographers, they are hard working, creative and underpaid. I started photographing dance years ago, by accident. I moved into a tiny studio apartment in right by Lincoln Center, the nexus of the dance world. I started seeing all these ballerinas heading for the studio to work out. “Hmmm,” I thought. “This could be a great way to meet girls…”
Over time I fell in love with the art form of ballet, its excruciating demands and exquisitely expressed forms. It is a powerful expression of living, breathing art. I also made a habit of taking ballerinas into unexpected venues, like the NYC subway.
[More from the Philippines after the jump]
To all for such a gracious welcome to the blog world. I promise to try to keep it going, and stay lively, win, lose or draw. Just doing this is a big deal for me, and I gotta admit some stuff here. First, I ain’t the most organized or responsible person on the face of the planet. Also, I’m a big time day dreamer. (Some picture ideas come out of those day dreams, to be sure. I guess I’ve always wondered if I could get paid for day dreaming, you know, charge a client a half day research fee if you thought about their job in the shower, for instance. Hmmm.)
And, I suck at the computer. I’m getting better, but the idea of being real, real good at this machinery is probably one of those things that ain’t gonna happen to me, like playing center for the Knicks.
I’m learning, though, from a guy named… Brad. Brad is our first assistant both in the studio and in the field, our IT person, go to guy, all around organizer, and the one who calms me down when I start hitting the computer with a hammer and screaming, “Make the little pictures come out!!!!”
You might occasionally get a response from Brad to a post. He’s a good guy. He actually lives with us, us being me and my wife Annie. He has his own apartment downstairs, comes and goes as he pleases, and we never hear him when he’s down there cleaning D3 sensors and watching Office Space.
[Many more thanks after the jump]…
A fence is just a fence….unless you have an SB-800.
Flash has always been painful, right? Especially painful in the cold. Really, really painful in the kind of cold that exists in Yellowstone National Park in January. Batteries dying, trying to meter the sky, meter the flash, meter your diminishing heart rate…
Now we have wireless strobe! Pretty fancy stuff. Cameras and strobes keep talking to each other, even when you can’t say a bloody thing cause your teeth are chattering like Carmen Miranda’s castanets.
I’ve been doing these training videos on location light for my buddy Scott Kelby. They’ve been a ton of fun to do and, at first glance, I’m even mildly coherent. Click here to preview the lessons and site. If you can get past my visual appearance (hump, twitch in the left eye, constant drooling), there’s a fair amount of ground we cover about lighting both in the studio and on location, and using both large strobes and small, hot shoe flashes.
First one is up, and I take a look at light shaping tools from umbrellas (shoot through, reflected), to large and small softboxes, direction of light, methods of softening the light to achieve a good portrait look, to using a second strobe to provide fill and a bit of glamour. We chew through a bunch of stuff in the studio, some times being successful, and sometimes not, making adjustments, trying different stuff, even a quick ring light set, and then at the end of the day, real time, chasing the fading sunset, we do a seat of the pants strobe set on the beach with Jennifer Concepcion, a truly magnificent ballerina.