Monday, December 27, 2010

Mild December In Denver

The weather here is Denver has been fantastic! I feel sorry for the folks on the east coast with the recent bad weather. I just can't remember a December as mild as this has been. My wife and I have been taking walks along the Platte River close to our home. Here a are a few images from today's walk.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas To All

I wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas (Happy Holidays) and a Happy New Year. This VR pano is of our local recreation center, decorated for the holiday season. I've started shooting VR pano recently, and I truly love making them. Just click on the image below. I'll tell you more about them later. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

My son woke me early this morning to look at the Lunar Eclipse. I shot this using my D700 and 24-70mm lens. ISO 1000 @ f/6.3 for 2.5 seconds. Really cool looking!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Turn on the Light

During my week of teaching at the Maine Media Workshops, I did a quick demonstration outside of the studio in downtown Rockport. On the shadow side of the building, I positioned a workshop participant outside of one of the doorway. I wanted to create a feeling of a late evening with someone standing under a street light or some other sort of light source.

The photo below shows you what the scene looked like according to my cameras metering system. You can see the painters pole and strobe set-up leaning against the wall. I use a Shur-Line expandable paint pole with a Kacey Pole Adapter.
After looking at my LCD screen and determining that the photo above did not look like night time, I then under-exposed the scene by about 2 stops perhaps 2 1/2 stops. I had a fellow student hold the light over head and I adjusted the power for the aperture I was shooting at. Here is another view with the light moved with a different composition. You can actually see the paint pole in the shot.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Let Your Bounce Be Your Softbox

While teaching up in Maine this past September, I demonstrated a proper bounce technique for a few of the students. We came downstairs from the studio to the new Maine Media Gallery on the main floor of the Shepherd Building in Rockport.

I think of a bounce as a flat screen softbox, place your bounce where you might have placed a softbox had it been on a stand. When you bounce, it is imperative that you prevent any RAW light from your flash from reaching your subject. The only light that should be lighting your subject should come from the bounce surface itself.

In the photo above, on the right side you can see the strobe. I have placed a flag or gobo on the side of the flash closest to the subject. The strobe is lighting the adjacent wall on the left of the frame. The wall which is lit, now becomes my flat screen softbox.

Here is how the subject looked before using the bounce. In the final image shown at the top of this post, the fill on the subjects face was provide by the light bouncing off another white wall on the subjects left side.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

California Coast Mentor Series Trek

I'm headed to one of my favorite places on earth, the Monterey Peninsula. I'll be leading a Mentor Series Trek to this beautiful location on February 17-20, 2011. We have a busy itinerary, we'll be shooting at such locations as: Hurricane Point, Point Lobos State Park, Big Sur, Garrapata State Park, Carmel Mission, Pebble Beach and other wonderful locations. Here are just a few images from my last visit to this wonder place.

We still have space for a few more folks, I hope you'll join me on this wonderful Trek. For more information and booking a place on the trek click HERE

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hope You Had A Wonderful Thanksgiving

Every year, my son Chris starts decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. There is one thing I always look forward to pulling out is this photo of Chris. When we first moved into our home some 10 years ago, we photographed Chris dressed as Santa for our Christmas Card.

Anyway, hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and yourself a super Christmas, Hanukkah or what ever this Holiday Season. DT

Saturday, November 20, 2010

LumiQuest SoftBox LTp

Lumiquest has recently added a new "larger" portable softbox to their lineup. The SoftBox LTp is roughly twice the size of their SoftBox III. The surface area is over 40 times that of the flash itself, producing the softest shadows of any of LumiQuest SoftBoxes.

The LTp was designed to fit into a laptop pocket of your camera bag or backpack which makes it that much more convenient to carry a larger SoftBox.

I photographed my son on the front porch of our home using the new LTp SoftBox. In a matter of moments I was able fasten the SoftBox on a boom and start shooting. You can see the SoftBox in the top of the frame in the following image.

This new SoftBox has over 120 sq. inches of surface area, a vast improvement over the smaller SoftBox III. I'll be carrying one of these in may bag for those quick and easy portraits we sometime have to make. Here are a couple of more images, the second one is when I moved the flash to camera left and moved into high speed sync in order to get that beautiful shallow depth of field.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Atlanta Nikonians Workshop

Very sorry for not blogging recently, I've been working very hard these past 3 weeks. I've been shooting several corporate assignments as well as teaching for Nikonian's, Santa Fe Workshops and the Popular Photography Mentor Series.

Today's post is about a recent Nikonian's lighting workshop in Atlanta, GA. The workshop was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in the trendy area of Atlanta known as Buckhead. Our model for the workshop was a charming young lady by the name of Tatianna. She's a makeup artist as well as an aspiring model working in Atlanta.

One of the many lighting techniques I enjoy sharing with students is the simulation of sunlight. When I'm scouting a new location, I am making notice of any available window that I might be able to push light through. My hotel room was on the 14th or 15th floor, not the sort of room that you might normally think about being able to get your light up to. In this case, I had a corner suite and a view of the elevators across a portion of the atrium.

In the above photo you can see the room where Tatiana was seated in the top photo. I used a ball bungee to hold two SB-800 strobes together. I placed a full CTO gel on each of the strobes to provide additional warms to the image.

My base exposure was based on the lamp in the room, as I wanted the lamp to appear on in the photo. My setting were ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/80th sec. Once I reached this determination, I than turned on my flashes and set the power which allowed for an exposure of f/2.8.

Here is one of the workshop participants sharing images with Tatianna on the sofa.

When ever I walk into a new location, I am always looking for all the possible options available to me to make light. Just think, it could have been raining outside and your still able to bring a bit of sunshine into the photos.

I just got back from my Mentor Series Trek to Egypt, over the next several months I share some of my experiences and images with you. My next Mentor Series Trek is to the California Coast, the central coast that is. Carmel, Big Sur, Point Lobos, Garrapata State Park and the famed Pebble Beach. For more information regarding this trek and many others, click HERE.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shooting Into Glass

I found this older image in my files recently and thought it would be a good topic of discussion. I can't tell you how many times clients ask me if we can use the view out the window in a photograph. They are not my favorite sort of image to shoot for some of the most obvious reasons, reflections.

If reflections aren't enough of a problem, try shooting 8 individuals in a setting like this. With two walls of glass reflecting the opposite walls in the room, your in a world of hurt. The only solution to this particular problem is to shoot two exposures, one of the view and the other of the group. And that is exactly what I did here.

Using a tripod is imperative in getting this shot, you need both exposures to be in perfect registration. I first made my exposure of the group and then the outside view. Which one you shoot first is up to you, just know that when you set your position for your first shot, you don't change it for the second.

Here is the lighting set up I used for the group exposure. Hey, want a second, are those Dyna-lites I see? Yes they are, I was not fully into my speedlight mode at that time and I felt I needed more power than what speedlight would provide.... In hindsight, I could have used speedlights for this. Anyway, you can see one head bounced into the ceiling for fill and one head bounced into the wall at the left of the group.

Shooting groups are hard enough as it is, throw in some glass and a small space, it's never any fun. With a room this size, bounce was really the only method of lighting I could come up with that would provide even light for a group this size. I personally like directional light rather than just putting a large umbrella on a boom overhead. By bouncing light off the wall, I have a sense of direction and the bounce of the ceiling provide the fill I needed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Simple Portrait

Being a corporate photographer, portraits of guys in ties are a big part of my business. Being able to pull off a simple portrait in a short amount of time is very important. Executives have only have a short amount of time to give you and the faster you can get their portrait the happier they are.

You can see here my set up. I'm using a 43 inch folding convertible umbrella in the shoot through position. I'm using a single Nikon SB-800 with a Quantum Turbo SC battery. You will notice a second strobe in the background which I ended up turning off. My color balance was set to tungsten and the flash was fitted with a Full cut CTO to balance with that.

When I shoot portraits like this, I like to anchor my subject. What do I mean by anchor, well, most people feel very uncomfortable just standing for a photo. So I have them lean against a wall, place a hand on a chair or simply hold onto a pair of glasses or a pen. Have something to do seems to put them more at ease... or anchored. You can see the wall in the photo above. Wall work particularly well as they can also provide a bit of bounce. DT

Monday, October 11, 2010

Small Strobes, Big Results 2011 European Tour

I am very pleased to announce the 2011 European Tour of Small Strobes Big Results Lighting Workshops. We are planning 12 European stops during the tour: Lisbon, Portugal, Porto, Portugal, Madrid, Spain, Barcelona, Spain, Aix en Provence, France, Milan, Italy, Zurich, Switzerland, Munich, Germany, Berlin, Germany, Dusseldorf, Germany, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Paris, France.

I am being hosted by PhotoPress Production and I am very much looking forward to this tour. If you are in any of those cities, I hope you will join me for one of these workshops. I had a wonderful time this past July teaching in Vienna and London.

Update: I have cancel this tour for the time being. My apologies to those that have pre-registered for this series. You can contact PhotoPress with your concerns... I hope to reschedule at sometime in the future.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Sailing in Newport Rhode Island

I my last post, I mentioned that we had a bit of rain during our Mentor Series Trek to Newport Rhode Island. We managed to dodge the rain for a short time in the Lobster Company where I took the photo of the guy holding two lobsters.

One of the weekends activities that the Mentor Series planners had arranged, was a harbor cruise aboard a beautiful sailboat. After holding up at the lobster shop, the rain did lighten up enough to venture out on the water for an hour. You can see here that we are all bundled up with ponchos and other rain gear.

After motoring out to open water the sails were raised, and we managed to catch a light breeze to propel us through the water. I must say, when the sails were raised, all the water that had collected in them dumped out on all of us! Good thing we had our ponchos.

The photo at the top of this post was made using a single SB-800 held by one of our trekkers. The flash was just outside of the image area, and the trekkers used her left hand to flag the flash from the camera lens. I first metered for the ambient light, under exposing it by about 1 1/2 stops in order to make the sky more dramatic. Once the ambient was set, I adjusted the flash power using the built in commander on my D700. The flash was set to channel 1 Group A.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Useful Tool Worth Considering

I've been a location photographer for more than 25 years, knowing where and when the sun rises and sets is very important to my business. With the advent of the Internet as well as some fantastic web sites, this task could never be more simply.

Like a lot of photographers, before I head out to a new location I"ll first visit Google Maps/Google Earth to become familiar with my location. The next thing I'll do is open a program called "The Photographer's Ephemeris". This program is a free download for the desktop version, and the mobile version for your iPod Touch or iPhone is about 9 bucks.

What I like most of all about the program is, I can use a slider to advance the suns position throughout the day. With the satellite view, it allows me to see from what angle the suns position will be in at any given time and therefore allow me to plan my photographic day. The program uses different colored lines showing you the exact line at which the sun will track. As you move the time slider, the line indicating the suns position will move across the map.

Do check out this great program, if you have seen another one you like better, I'd like to hear about it. DT

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lobster Galore!

Back in July of this year, I had the opportunity to guide a Mentor Series Trek to Newport, Rhode Island. We had a wonderful trip despite an occasional light rain.

We were walking around downtown Newport shooting the sights when one of those light showers began. Wanting to get out group out of the rain, I noticed a Lobster Company down at the water front and asked if I could bring the group inside to photograph. The folks at Aquidneck Lobster Company could have not been kinder.

We spent about 30 minutes in their facility photographing all the lobsters and the various other details associated with the profession. I took the opportunity to photograph one of their employees holding a pair of lobsters. The lighting was the same as the previous post regarding a simple set-up.

I had one of the Trekkers hold the Lastolite Tri-Grip with a single SB-800 shooting through it. I set the strobe to Remote, placed it on Channel 1, Group A and manually set the power via my built in flash. I placed the ambient first and than lit up the flash.

By the way, I'm head back down to the Santa Fe Workshops for another week of teaching. There are still a couple of spaces available if you have the time or interest. October 12th- 16th. Give the workshops a call if you can make it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Simple Set-up

Several weeks ago I was teaching at the Maine Media Workshops. I love teaching there, what a great place to visit and a wonderful staff at the school. I would like to thank my TA "Justin Clamp" Jason Esposito for working so hard during the week. I look forward to teaching in Maine next year!

The photo shown at the top of this post is that of Margaret H., she was a signing interpreter provided by the workshops for one of my students. Rocky, lost his hearing at the age of 9 months of age. He has taken close to 20 workshops thought the years, studying with Ansel Adams, and Minor White. It was a real pleasure to have Rocky in my class, I was able to pick up some signing by the end of the week.

The lighting for the photo above was handled in the following manner. I first placed the background ambient light to the density of my choosing. You can see here that that test shot shows the set-up.

On the left side of the frame, you can see the Lastolite Tri-Grip being held in one hand and a Nikon SB-800 in the other. The exposure was 1/250th @ f3.2. This has got to be the fastest way to shoot a quick portrait. All you need is a voice activated lightstand (VAL). Here is the second of the two I took of Margaret.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

FourSquare™ Double Umbrella Softness

Once again, I'd have to say "I love my FourSquare™". Sometime ago I made mention about this particular technique, using two umbrellas on the FourSquare™.
During my March SSBR workshop in Denver, I photographed Andrea using this technique. The take the FourSquare™ block and I slide a 60" umbrella and a 43" umbrella into the umbrella shaft holder, there are two. As you can see from the image above, the 60" umbrella is used as a shoot through and the 43" as the bounce. The 43" has the black cover over it and as mentioned, the 60" is close to the subject in the shoot through position.

This is an incredible light, large, soft and just plan beautiful. In the image below you can see the quality of light produced from this set up. My WB in the camera was set to Daylight for the image below.

I later placed a full cut CTO over the flash head and shifted my WB to 3030*K. The resulting blue shift in the background is from the daylight coming through the window in the back of the scene. Those results can be seen in the image below.
You can view more workshop images created during various SSBR workshops HERE This link will take you to a new web site I created at SquarSpace, I hope you like it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thank You Seattle and Urban Light Studios

It has been a busy few weeks around here. As you know, I was in Seattle recently for two functions. One was a SSBR lighting workshop as well as my nephews wedding not far from the Seattle area. For those of you living in the Seattle area or those of you traveling to the area, you need to check out Urban Light Studios! This was the location where I held my workshop, what a great place.

The studio is more like a really cool house in a sense. Kevin Law, the owner of this place actually has two studios on site. The main floor has all sorts of neat places to photograph, room decorated in various themes as well as a full kitchen. The studio downstairs is more of your typical type of shooting space. By the way, they not only rent the place out to photographers, they rent there space out for all sorts of functions. Check out there space HERE.

On Wednesday evening, the 18th, we had a social meeting and slide presentation at Kevin's studio. Thanks Kevin for all the snacks and wine your provide for the evening, your very kind. We had about 45 folks there for my presentation, it was nice meeting so many wonderful people.

The next we had a nice group of participants at the workshop and a very nice young lady to model for us. Simone, you were charming and thanks for participating in the workshop.

Here is the set up for the following photo. I used a single SB-800 in my FourSquare and a reflector place just below the frame. I shifted my color balance to tungsten and than placed a full CTO on the flash for a normal skin tone. I might add, I always have an 1/8 CTO on each of my strobes. That 1/8 CTO is placed on everyone of my flashes, I feel that this 1/8th CTO brings my flash to a normal looking light. So, with that said, I actually have 1 and 1/8 CTO on the flash in this picture.

Here is another image of Simone using this same shift in white balance to tungsten and CTO combination. I used a sliding plastic door as my light source. The SB-800 was place behind the door and was fired using a Pocket Wizard.

In this next photo, I placed a single SB-800 outside with a full CTO and aimed it through the window. Once again, it is actually 1 1/8 CTO on the flash. My white balance was daylight.

In a later post, I'll show you some of the images I took at my nephews wedding. DT