Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm Here to Say, I Must Be Going

Groucho Marx once used that phrase in one of their movies and it has always stuck with me.  Those words really ring true for me this week, I just got home last night from Oklahoma and I now find myself in another hotel room in Rock Springs, Wyoming this evening.

Erik and I drove up to Wyoming early this morning to shoot the construction of a natural gas liquids pipeline near Rock Springs and Green River, WY.  We have previously shot for this client when the pipeline was further east near Rawlins, WY.

This assignment is is particularly difficult for the following reasons.  First, crews working on the pipeline do not arrive until well after the sun has risen.  I can shoot sunrise without people in the shot, however I would prefer to shoot at sunrise with more activity taking place.  Second, the pipeline runs in a East/West direction, your either looking into the sun or you have the sun at your back.  When the sun is at your back, the light is so flat and unattractive coming from straight behind you.  The last problem is that the crews working the pipeline are finished at about 4 or 5 PM.  Durning the summer months here, the sun does not set until 8 PM.

I'll have a full day tomorrow shooting all the activity alone the pipeline.  Last time I was shooting this project we had some nice clouds in the sky, which helps fills to top portion of the frame of an image.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another Image From Tonight

I was shooting at a small gas processing plant near Coalgate, OK this evening.  I had Erik climb up some of the super structure around the plant to pose for a photo.  We used one SB-800 fired with a PocketWizard at a distance of about 400 feet.  Erik placed the strobe on a Justin Clamp and clamped it on the railing just out of the frame, camera left.

For shots like this, we use walkie talkies to communicate with one another, which allows me to position him in the photo where I need him to complete a well composed photo.  We've shot a lot of video on this assignment and I will be posting it sometime in the future.

We'll be shooting helicopter aerials tomorrow of the plant we where photographing at this evening as well as a Frac job near Ardmore, OK.   I'll be headed back to Denver late tomorrow and out again on another assignment.

For those of you attending the Small Strobes, Big Results workshop in Detroit on September 6th,  I'll be sending out a quick questionnaire prior to the workshop...  I'm looking forward to the workshop and meeting all of you.  DT 

Image of the Day

I'm currently shooting drilling rigs on the Oklahoma landscape.  I was shooting early this morning at sunrise and ran across this little guy.  

I stopped on the side of a dirt road to photography a few rigs and this little grasshopper was sitting on the drivers side door window.  I pulled out the Canon G9 and popped off this shot.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Rangefinder Magazine Article

I've been very fortunate over the course of my career to receive periodic recognition for my craft and this Rangefinder article is certainly a highlight for me. I am very proud and excited to be featured in this years annual lighting issue of Rangefinder magazine.

I want to thank photographer/writer Tammy Cravit for contacting me and writing such a wonderful article. Thanks Tammy for putting up with my often hectic schedule, I'm sure it didn't make writing this article any easier for you.

I'm currently in McAlester, Oklahoma shooting drilling rigs on the Oklahoma landscape. Just prior to shooting sunset this evening, I spent about a 1/2 hour speaking with Rangefinder Radio host Scott Sheppard for an in-depth interview to coincide with the magazine article. I had a wonderful time speaking with Scott and I'll let you know when the interview is available to listen to.

I was able to get out and shoot my sunset after the interview, I really needed to be out 20 minutes earlier but got a bit winded with Scott. Here are a few shots from our late evenings shoot.

Small Strobes, Big Results. Results!

We have just completed our second Small Strobes, Big Results workshop held here in Denver.  I want to thank all the participants for taking part in the workshop, it was a pleasure meeting each and everyone of you.

We had a wonderful time learning new things and creating some wonderful images using small strobes.  A very special thanks to our two models: actor Colin Cheadle, and model Phedre Melisande from Model Mayhem.

I'll be headed out to Detroit on the week of September 2nd to conduct a 3 day intensive workshop for the government in Battle Creek, MI and a one day Small Strobes, Big Results workshop in the Detroit area on the 6th of Sept.  I'm looking forward to visiting Detroit, I've always had a great time when shooting on assignment there.

If your in the Detroit area and would like to attend the September 6th workshop, get a hold of me soon as I believe there are only one or two spots left.

I would like to also extend a very special thank you to both my assistant & friend Erik Lawrence, and Ian Galbraith my intern who also happens to be my nephew, for all their hard work assisting me during these workshops.  Thanks very much guys. 

Monday, August 18, 2008

Corporate Portrait

Being an annual report photographer in Denver and having shot for more than 25 years of corporate assignments, I have built strong working relationships with graphic designers and various other creative people in the industry. For this assignment, I was contracted to photograph "Tensie" for an Ethics & Compliance Report by my New York agent.

My client wanted both head shots and 3/4 length shots of Tensie in an environmental setting. Erik & I arrived about 45 minute prior to the scheduled shoot time in order to scout and set up lights in the location the client had set aside for us.

The client had set aside a very small conference room to photograph Tensie in. Upon arriving at our location the first thing I do is to conduct a location assessment. This assessment consists of the following considerations. Space size, existing lighting (if any/ambient), furnishings and available props.

This particular location worked well, we had contemporary furnishings, daylight windows to camera left and diffusion glass panels of the conference room camera right. The attached video will show the entire set up of the room and lights.

I used some of the daylight coming through the window as a fill light in the room. Sunlight was striking the back wall camera left, I was able to control the amount of fill using the blinds over the windows. We placed a single SB-800 strobe outside of the conference room and directed through the frosted glass panel. The glass panel was not really frosted, instead it had small holes in the frosted material. We did a test shot of Erik to see the quality of light the glass produced. The results of the light passing through the glass panel can be seen below.

I've attached a diagram to illustrate the setting we had to deal with in terms of setting.

After looking at our first test shot, I felt the light needed to be soften a bit more. I ended up putting a diffusion panel up against the glass to further diffuse the light before it struck the subject. The results of that additional panel can be seen here in the second photo of Erik.

If you look closely at the top of the frame of the above photo, you will notice some spill of raw "flash" light striking the back wall and ceiling. By adding additional gobo's to the flash, I was able to contain or prevent the spill of that raw light in the final images. Tensie arrived with several change of clothing for the shoot, we did 3 outfit changes in order to give the client plenty of choices. Here are a few more photos from the shoot as well as the accompanying video.  I have an earlier post showing similar lighting tools using a single panel and one strobe here.

If your interested in learning more about location lighting using small strobes, please visit Small Strobes, Big Results.  You can see results from our August 2nd workshop here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Erik's gone Fishing

Erik went backpacking in the mountains of Colorado and shot some nice video of his trip. Erik's backpacking buddies are avid fisherman as is Erik and they caught some outstanding cut throat trout. Have a look.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Western Slope Shoot

Working as a corporate location photographer in Denver, I am fortunate to travel throughout the state of Colorado as well as else where.  I was recently on the western slope of Colorado shooting some editorial images for a corporate magazine for a client of mine.

We spent 3 days shooting various subject matter dealing with agricultural tourism in the state.  We stopped by several fruit stands and wine tasting establishments along the way and met some really nice folks.

The photo above was shot at one of those wine tasting establishments.  We photographed the owner out by the collection bins they use when harvesting various fruits.  I was using a 12 mm lens on my D300 and a SB-800 for fill.  You can see my Voice Activated Light Stand below.

I had Erik hand hold the SB just off to the left side directed at the subject.  As a standard practice, I keep an 1/8 CTO permanently attached to each of my strobes.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

For Sure! Detroit Workshop

There will differently be a Detroit Small Strobes, Big Results workshop on September 6th.  The workshop will be held in the town of Ferndale, MI.  which is about 15 miles north of Detroit.

If you are interested in attending, please contact me ASAP.  DT

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Small Strobes, Big Results Workshops

The first Small Strobes, Big Results workshop was held this past weekend in Denver.  We had a wonderful workshop, I enjoyed meeting and getting to know all the participants.

I want to thank our models Enki and Oscar for their time.  We got some really nice photos of both of them throughout the day. We had no less than 7 or 8 demo set-ups that all the participants had an opportunity to shoot for themselves. 

We started the day in the studio talking about light, lighting and the use of grip equipment as well as a few lighting demos before lunch. This photo of Enki was lit using a single SB-800 strobe placed overhead and bounced into various panels.

After lunch we moved out of the studio and into the common space of the building that the studio occupies. We once again photographed Enki in her nursing outfit that she wares at work.

We lit Enki 3 different ways in order to compare the effects of each lighting set up.  This happens to be my favorite lighting for this particular shot.

This particular shot was lit by bouncing a SB-800 off the wall on camera right for a key light and the use of one additional SB-800 hand held from behind Enki camera right for the hair light.

Participants of the workshop wanted to see how to simulate sunlight coming through a window to light a scene. We used our model Oscar and my assistant Eric seated on a sofa looking over a set of blue prints for this photo.  We placed a single SB-800 strobe outside with a full CTO filter on it and fired it using a PocketWizard. The following photos uses the same lighting just shot with a longer lens, an 85 mm f1/4 lens.

We also did a bit more edgy image of Oscar.  We placed him near a yellow wall and lit him with 4 SB-800 strobes.  The key light was an SB-800 place in my DIY Beauty Dish, one strobe for the background snooted to contain the light and two as kickers on either side and from the rear of Oscar.

We also shot my intern Ian in the two shots shown below.  The first here was lit using the beauty dish on a boom over Ian and two SB-800 on the floor pointed at the brick wall.  The white balance was set to tungsten and the dish overhead was gelled with a full CTO filter and the two strobes on the ground had no gels on them which allowed them to shift their color cooler.
The last one photo of Ian was lit using an SB-800 with a grid on it.  The shutter was dragged to capture the ambient light in the room.
I had a wonderful time at the workshop and I'm looking forward to the next Small Strobes, Big Results workshop on August 23.  I have 2 more spaces available for this workshop, if your interested in attending please get a hold of me soon.  DT

Image of the Day

I'm on assignment today shooting on the western slope of Colorado.  I wanted to post an image from this past weekends Small Strobes, Big Results workshop in Denver.  I'll do a more in depth posting when I get back from this assignment.

This photo of our model Oscar was lit using 4 SB-800 strobes, one of which was a beauty dish fitted to an SB-800.  More to come.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Back From The Arctic

I'm back from the Arctic! I returned home on Thursday of last week and went straight to the doctors office. Got me some pills to help put this nagging cold to bed. 

This past weekend was the first Small Strobes, Big Results lighting workshop in Denver.
I had a wonderful time and the next post I will provide images and details regarding the workshop. DT