Monday, 21 July 2014

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Lille Lungegårdsvannet Bandstand), Bergen

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Lille Lungegårdsvannet Bandstand), Bergen

Firstly, thanks to the strangers I met in Bergen whose portraits I took for my 100 Strangers Project. I'm travelling again from tomorrow for a week, so I'm afraid adding your portraits to the project will take a little longer than ideal. Email, however, and I will send you a copy straight away. This is a vertorama of three shots, cropped to 8x10, from last weekend's quick trip to Bergen. (More info to come). Thanks to everyone who checked out Event Horizon and helped it make Explore - I really appreciate your thoughtful visits and comments, and look forward to catching up. Sorry that travel is making that a little challenging at present!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Event Horizon (Redend Point Pillbox With Ferry Light Trail), Studland Dorset

Event Horizon (Redend Point Pillbox With Ferry Light Trail), Studland Dorset

There's a ferry, due into Poole around 21:30 through the summer months which I've been stalking for a good couple of years now. The nuisance of being down in Dorset only once or twice a month, the intersection of good light/darkness with it's scheduled arrival time, the wild dither either side of its arrival time and, of course, the interference of other plans have all made photographing it streaking across the horizon something of a challenge. In recent months, however, I've seen a few successes, of which this is the first one I'm happy to post - even if the ferry isn't really a feature in the final shot. The foreground is a "pillbox" machine gun post, marking Redend Point on Studland beach, lit with handheld flash and LED (see below). Bournemouth's light pollution ends up in lots of my Purbeck images as a stand in for natural sunset and I have to say I will miss it when they switch all the ghastly sodium vapour bulbs for clean white LED's in the near future. As well as sharing a quick shot from my chasing of the ferry, this is a quick note to confirm that I'm alive despite recent inactivity on Flickr. I'm juggling some ambitious travel plans for the month ahead with changing jobs and some other projects - all keeping me away from Flickr. I'll be catching up over the next couple of days then back late August with posts of my own - though hopefully I'll be around off and on keeping in touch with contacts. Hope you're all fantastically well! Info for Strobist: The "pillbox" was zapped with a handheld Canon 600EX-RT over the course of the exposure, at 1/16 power - twice from camera left, hard along the cliff, four times from camera right, just on the edge of the sea, then eight times through the back window of the installation. The leaves in the tree above were then lit with ten seconds of sweeping light from a Lenser MT7.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Skye Light (Sunset Over Loch Dunvegan), Isle Of Skye

Skye Light (Sunset Over Loch Dunvegan), Isle Of Skye

Last October's trip to Skye hasn't really filtered into my photostream yet. The wildly changing weather demanded a level of preparedness and dedication that wasn't compatible with a family holiday, and winds at night were devasting on tripod work. Being on Skye is how I imagine standing on the prow of a yacht sailing through a year's worth of weather in a day. The sky constantly scrolls overhead and the weather hits you in an unrelenting showcase of possibilities - rain, sun, cloud, rainbow, hail, searing light, downpour, rainbow, fog, hail, sun, thunder, rainbow, lightning, sun, howling rainstorm, etc. all washing over you in seconds, faster than you can take it in. You're way out on the edge of the Europe, like a sentinel watching the Earth's production line dispatching rain to Dresden, sun to Barcelona, fog to Venice, hail to the Nürburgring, triggering weather reports on televisions in fifty languages. This particular shot comes from an outing to see the seals on the coral beaches of Loch Dunvegan in the late afternoon. Really I'd have liked a tripod and fifteen minutes more time to find a foreground, but neither were available. Stern as Jessica's legs are, at 2.5 years old as she was then, a couple of miles was too far to risk without carrying capacity - hence no tripod. A mile into the walk, we found a gurgling stream tumbling down to the beach, bright in the sunlight with fresh water that fell twenty minutes earlier in a claustrophobically intense rainstorm. Seeing it snaking off into the reeds and heather was temptation too great, and answering the explorer within, Jessica pounced off into the dense thicket of clean water, peat and phragmites australis. Treating us to the wry, hauntingly jolly laugh you'd imagine Oates sharing with Scott, Jessica was plucked out entirely soaked. Back to the car... As we raced her adrenaline-drunk metabolism back to a change of clothes, a proper firework display of a sunset broke over the far side of the Loch. Without time to compose properly or tripod to assist, I fired off a couple of shots. This is a manually blended product of the two. Almost all comes from the first, exposed for the sky. The pool of green grass comes from one exposed for the foreground, such as it was. Hopefully I've kept it subtle enough not to stray over the line. It's always hard to judge these, so let me know what you think - I'd appreciate it immensely! Hopefully everyone is having a terrific end to the week!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Bridge Over Mala Savica River, Gorenjska Slovenia

Bridge Over Mala Savica River, Gorenjska Slovenia

Another outtake from my evening session up in the woods at the start of the Slap Savica walk. This one is a manual composite of four shots using the shift feature of the TS-E 24mm. It perhaps could do with being wider still, to get a little more of the rapids to the left. More notes at the main shot. Again, I think the bridge is probably a little lacking in "zap" - something I'd add some light to if re-shooting. Hope everyone is having a fantastic start to the new month!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Bridge Over Mali Savica River, Gorenjska Slovenia

Bridge Over Mali Savica River, Gorenjska Slovenia

Street portraits have kind of taken over my photostream recently. It's an addictive photographic niche; quite literally, I think, just from the adrenaline rush that comes with approaching strangers and asking to shoot with them. However, I've lots of other shots to share, so thought I'd take a quick break from posting my project to upload some other shots I was keen to get the community's feedback on. This shot is from a series shot in the Triglav National Park (TNP) in Gorenjska, Slovenia. The main shot from this set was a lightpainting, shot towards the end of the evening. However, I also have lots from the twilight as I set things up, tested compositions, etc. This is one of those, and generally it's had a very positive reaction amongst friends and family. I'm not entirely sure, however, if it has quite enough "zap"! Maybe the bridge is a little flat to my mind, and a punch of hard flash across the cobbles would have lifted it? Any critique would be appreciated! Hope everyone is having a great week.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Paris (Stranger #58/100), Watford

Paris (Stranger #58/100), Watford

Looking to keep the momentum strong on my 100 Strangers Project, I headed out in Watford yesterday late afternoon. I'd been out in Watford for a couple of hours before without any success, but buoyed up by breaking a similar hoodoo in Blackpool last Sunday, thought I'd give it a shot. Watford High Street features a (not entirely beautiful, but very useful) two lane overpass, offering limited shade and some short stretches of textured concrete I thought would work as backgrounds. With all the smokey grey blur ready, I just needed a stranger with enough impact to stand out against it and lift the image. Meet Paris. She and friend Kane were strolling along with an ice cream, and with her dark, definite make up, monotone outfit and vibrant sweep of hair all looked like they could take command of the scene I had in mind. Chatting, she was instantly happy to get involved. She's a second year photography student. As often when I hear someone shoots, I got carried away suggesting she check out the page and start a project of her own. I wish I'd asked more about her current work! Sorry! Learning from my shot with Chloe (#57) where the larger reflector was uncomfortable to pose with, Paris held the smaller sunfire reflector just out of shot, whilst Kane held the larger gold reflector camera left. When we shared the pictures on the LCD, Paris gave a whoop of happy surprise, which was kind of awesome - yet, unexpected as she posed so powerfully and naturally. Paris - thanks again for stopping, and I hope the full image her lives up to your expectation from the LCD. If you got a second to send me a link to your Flickr that would be ace - I'd love to see what you shoot and share your work here. Have a fantastic week in any event! This is portrait #58 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved. Catching up now after another weekend travelling and shooting!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Chloe (Stranger #57/100), Blackpool

Chloe (Stranger #57/100), Blackpool

Chloe and her friend Emma had just finished a Sunday afternoon's work and were headed into town, when they agreed to an interruption to their schedule. Chloe agreed only on condition she would look bold in the finished image. I hope we've achieved that! It'd been Chloe's awesome Marilyn Monroe t-shirt that had first caught my eye, and I wanted a background that would let it stand out, without becoming a distraction from Chloe. A simple grey silver along a shop front was just wide enough to offer that. Once again I tried the two reflectors together - Chloe holding the larger gold one, whilst her friend Emma stood as close as possible to the camera left, with the sunfire reflector vertical to Chloe's face. I really like the light it created, yet think next time around I'm going to swap them around, so that the subject isn't burdened with the larger, much wider reflector - which can be a little hard to hold and pose with. As we shot I chatted more with her friend Emma who shoots portraits of visitors to the Sealife Centre just around the corner. As well as that, she creates video projects of her own including one which Chloe fiercely endorsed about the Kray twins. Send me a link guys! Thanks for stopping and I hope you like the outcome. This is portrait #57 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Jean (Stranger #55/100), City Of London

Jean (Stranger #55/100), City Of London

Out shooting with Bomvu during England's second World Cup match, I met Jean on Moorgate in the City of London, juggling a phone with my photo request, searching for friends she was meant to be meeting. Taking a moment to stop, her boldly contrasting shirt and striking hair seemed perfect for a chalky stone backdrop along the side of an old bank. We shot four frames, with this superbly direct, almost reproachful, stare, before her friends saw her across the street and we headed off to our respective evening engagements. The shots the first of a few where I'm trying to work with two reflectors to get as smooth a light as possible. It's not a skill I've mastered yet, but hope to show you some progress through the next few portraits. In this one Jean is holding a giant gold reflector, whilst Colin shines a more distant "sunfire" finish reflector in from the camera right. Thanks Jean for stopping - and for being the lucky first recipient of my newly printed contact cards! Hope you like your picture. This is portrait #55 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved. Catching up now!

Andrew (Stranger #54/100), Paris Pont Neuf La Samaritaine

Andrew (Stranger #54/100), Paris Pont Neuf La Samaritaine

My final official posting from my Paris street portraits, delayed by all the wild work that comes with quarter end... and also failed attempts to process out the reflections in Andrew's spectacles. Andrew and Safra were wandering along the dilapidated frontage of the old La Samaritaine department store, where I'd met Lena and Michael. This interesting back alley along its side seemed a worthwhile background with the tall buildings and late afternoon light doing a reasonable job of controlling light levels. The only issue was the huge white building behind me, visible in Andrew's glasses as noted above. At least it looks Parisian I suppose! I'd hailed Andrew for his superbly appealing explosion of hair and beard, plus the cool rainbow-coloured DNA motif of his t-shirt. These things together, I thought, would give him a good central presence for the vanishing point composition of the alleyway I'd chosen as the background. In the comments there's a slightly wider version, and I was tempted to shoot even wider in the style of the fantastic Pete Zelewski, but my project is finding a style of its own which seems to pull in a little tighter. Even in experimenting a little around compositions, I'm keen to keep a consistent look and feel to the series, so this closer cropped version is the one I'm including. Andrew and Safra were an awesome couple - somewhat intellectual, somewhat whimsical, very easy going. They're over in Paris for two weeks, and only checking out Paris - an admirable level of focus, I thought. The t-shirt in this shot was a last minute addition and nearly didn't make the trip. I'm very pleased it did! Andrew and Safra - thank you both for stopping and sharing a moment of your afternoon with me. Safe travels! This is portrait #54 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Lena (Stranger #53/100), Paris Pont Neuf La Samaritaine

Lena (Stranger #53/100), Paris Pont Neuf La Samaritaine

Day two in Paris saw me wandering and shooting some more general street and travel shots. Oddly I find the 100L macro lens rather effective for that - it forces one to select and isolate, it declutters. It's also my stranger project lens (every shot so far has been taken with it, all at f/3.2*), so when an opportunity presents itself I am ready. On this occasion the opportunity came as two backgrounds. Walking down through Les Halles I arrived outside the derelict La Samaritaine. On one side of the road a bold green hoarding offered potential, whilst newly laid concrete, smooth as ice and dusted with a fine, porcelain powder, sat beneath the department stores old canopy. Shaded from above, with the street a vast and flawless reflector it was like a street photographer's ideal studio-perfect beauty lighting setup. After a short wait and a rejection, a couple appeared that matched both. Michael (see comments) had a bold green hat to work with the green hoarding, and I thought Lena's bright skin and eyes would be superb in the even lighting. Like death, taxes and a late opposition equaliser, there comes a time when the 100 Strangers photograph shoots a roller shutter background. With Lena's superb tricolore striped top, that fateful moment had arrived for me. We shot with Lena first, then Michael, each helping with a gold reflector for the other, and a punch of fill from my on camera softbox. The effect is most pleasing on Lena's portrait I think - perhaps I could have found a little more drama in harder light for Michael, who I let down somewhat - given the superb intensity of his stare. We chatted, and it turned out they were Poles, visiting Paris from Norway to top up on sun. Stavanger, it turns out is pretty grim in terms of weather. It felt like a good handing on of the torch - I'm shooting more stranger portraits in Bergen come July, then Poland in August. They were a fantastic couple; bright, friendly, keen to understand and excited to participate. Lena and Michael - thank you so much for taking part, and our energetic chat. Dziękuję This is portrait #53 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved. *In fact there is one I messed up and shot at f/3.5 by mistake... Hope everyone had a great week - catching up now.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Light In Shadow, Paris Jardins De Luxembourg

Light In Shadow, Paris Jardins De Luxembourg

This is the kind of quick random shot that I wouldn't normally post. This one just popped up in my Lightroom reel amidst street portraits and I thought I'd share it. It was just a nice visual note-to-self to "shoot the light, not the land". It's just a walk around shot from Jardins de Luxembourg on the Sunday morning of my weekend shooting street portraits in Paris. On Saturday I'd walked 15 miles or so, so a cool hour beneath the horse chestnut trees was a relaxing start to my second day. Hope everyone is having a great week so far.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Fiona (Stranger #52/100), Paris Elysees-Madeleine

Fiona (Stranger #52/100), Paris Elysees-Madeleine

Having met Jacques I ambled along the Rue Royale towards the Place De La Concorde, passing more super stone-framed doorway backdrops. Though the light had dulled slightly, when I Fiona and Mark overtook me I hailed them. Visiting Paris for the weekend from England, both were superbly sophisticated and friendly, but with Jacques at #51 I thought Fiona would mix things up a little more in terms of variety of sequence. Mark helped with the reflector and we shot a couple of quick frames in front of one of the doors. I have to say I made a couple of mistakes in framing, with the oddly aligned doorway and portal all slightly skewed, and perhaps not the best balance of soft stone and painted door. Nonetheless, Fiona's natural class and charisma justified sharing this one. Or two. I couldn't quite work out which I preferred, so would welcome comments. I did go with this one as the main image, as I think having both shoulders in the frame helps with the scale and anchoring. Thank you Fiona and Mark for stopping and interrupting your late afternoon stroll. I hope you had a superb weekend and like the final images. This is portrait #52 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Alternate Take - Fiona, Paris Elysees-Madeleine

Alternate Take - Fiona, Paris Elysees-Madeleine

See main shot for notes on this street portrait.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Jacques (Stranger #51/100), Paris Rue Royale

Jacques (Stranger #51/100), Paris Rue Royale

This is portrait #51 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved. (Detail to follow... Adding now...)

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Frédérique (Stranger #50/100), Paris Montmatre

Frédérique (Stranger #50/100), Paris Montmatre

On my recent Paris trip I made the mistake of walking too much. On the Saturday I went over 40,000 steps (a threshold I've only reached twice previously in three years - one a marathon and one a half marathon followed by half day hike). As previously noted, my usual modus operandi is to find a background, test shoot for exposure/separation and then wait for the right person. Trying to cover too much ground in too little time, I found myself repeatedly breaking my process, marching on to cover ground. This saw me miss some great strangers; caught without a background I paused that millisecond too long and they were on their way. A few hours into the day, aware of this problem, I'd made myself the promise that if I saw someone to shoot then - comfort zone or not - I would stop them and tackle the background as the conversation unfolded. That resolution in mind, struggling up Montmartre, I saw Frédérique. She had an incredible, ethereal poise, and poignant, almost haunting intelligence about her that whispered of an old, noir-cloaked Paris. Like Franck earlier in the day, she listened, understood and agreed to take part in the project, so long as I could follow a few hundred yards, in this case to a bus stop. She confirmed the times, and noted we had eight minutes. Slightly too close behind the bus stop, but on hand at least, I noticed these black, glossy metal bars - offering a workable backdrop. Ideally I'd have shot with an extra twenty paces between us and them, but without that luxury, we framed the shot and talked. This is the first frame of four that we shot. In the comments you'll find the "straight out of camera" version - in which I'd nicked the top of Frédérique's head. Among the various self-enforced rules I'm observing in the quest for a consistent look across my project is having the full head in the main shot. Her pose, and expression, though were such powerful echoes of what had inspired me to ask if she would take part that I couldn't use one of the other three shots. (So often I find the first frame is the strongest). Enter Photoshop, wherein I rebuilt the missing details, widened the frame and de-cluttered the background. There's a photo-journalistic streak to street photography, which I respect, and this processing perhaps runs counter to that - yet I'm comfortable with that here. The ends, I think, justifies the means. Still I'm going to push myself harder in two seemingly contrary directions following this experience. The weekend reminded me to stay true to my MO, be patient, find a quality background, rein in distance covered and be ready to wait for the right person. Yet this shot, and Franck's, have forced me to accept that sometimes you just have to jump in, ready or not. As my grandmother noted in her memoirs; "You regret the missed opportunities more than the mistakes." If you're still with me after that ramble, you might wonder why I've written so much about the shot and the processing, but little about Frédérique herself. She was a superbly interesting person to speak with, yet amongst the topics covered were some thoughts on privacy which I must respect. She asked that I only share her portrait and name. This is portrait #50 of my 100 Strangers Project. Half way in and I cannot recommend it enough as a learning project, and as one of Flickr's best groups. If you're at all interested in taking part, why not check out some interviews with those who have completed the project. A new one is live today with the fantastic Paco_X which might inspire you further!

Monday, 24 March 2014

In The Light Garden (Girl In Rose Garden Lightpainting), Kent

Via Flickr:
After lots of recent stranger/model work I wanted to keep up with my lightpainting. I've been doing lots of test sessions with the new TS-E 24mm to make sure I can use it blind come next months trip to Slovenia.

This is my third lightpainting using it, and I'm finding it hard not to use it on full swing. I guess that urge will diminish with familiarity, but I do like the effect it gives - here dropping out the unwanted fence and plumping up the blossom into cotton wool bokeh. All blur is in camera.

All lines were drawn in camera too - though I took the girl from my first frame, and roses from the third, so this is a composite of two shots.

My hands still bear the scars of tracing the roses in the dark. The green is from a plastic bottle top held over the torch; gels have never been string enough to colour bright LED light to my satisfaction. Having discovered bottle tops I think I might start a collection for future use - they're much less fiddly and far more effective than gel for this.

I'll be catching up this evening - hope everyone is having a bright start to the week.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Story Arch (In Camera Light Painting), Studland Beach

Via Flickr:
Last weekend the good weather saw us paddling along Studland beach. The tide was out, so we took Jessica up to the rock pools and re-discovered a set of caves I'd forgotten existed. That evening I went back to shoot from one.

It's a shot I think I'll need to reshoot, but thought it was fun enough for an initial post. I'm going to watch my tide tables and feet a little more to get smooth sand coming into the cave, and would ideally see a little less cloud for a final frame.

There's a strange ghosting from the TS-E here - I think the issues come from shooting straight on, close focused on the rock of the cave. Next time I'll see what I can do getting the girl closer to focus.

There's a little cloning on the left hand cave wall to remove a distracting chalky stain, but everything else is in camera as always.

Info For Strobist:

Three half power flashes of Canon 600EX-RT from 2m camera left to light cave. Girl is hand drawn with LED flashlight with sock as diffuser.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Sarah (Stranger #39/100), London Southbank

Via Flickr:
Sarah and her friend Poppy had come into London from Essex to see the aquarium. I met them outside the Tate Modern, sitting on separate benches and chattering giddily. When I introduced the idea of a portrait, their first eager question was if I knew where they could find a Pret A Manger for food. They had a whirlwind of energy, a charmingly chaotic pace to their questions and a sparkle in their eyes, and I knew we could get a super portrait.

I shot chiefly with Sarah, simply because her scarf and hair were better coordinated to a background of ground-lit silver birch. I think I suggested the scene could look like a fairytale wood.

Colin and Stoyan had kindly stood in as models as I setup a single softbox on a stand in front of the trees ten minutes earlier, and guarded it as I wandered along the river looking for a subject.

We got a lot of great images, but this one - the first frame we shot - caught Sarah's energy and character the most expressively. The trees also framed her best - cradling her almost with their lines.

I wished I'd thought to ask why they'd chosen the aquarium for a visit - it seemed so unexpected and yet so appropriate a decision.

Sarah and Poppy - thank you for stopping. I hope you found your Pret!

This is portrait #39 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Info for Strobist:

Canon 600EX-RT in 38" Lastolite softbox, 45* up and left of Sarah, nearly point blank. Fired at 1/128, triggered by non-firing 600EX-RT on camera for focus assist. Gold reflector held by Stoyan camera right, low down angled up.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Elena (Stranger #38/100), London Southbank

Via Flickr:
Those of us who treat the 100 Strangers Project as a learning project, as much as a photography project might be interested in Arsene Wenger's comments ahead of his one thousandth game in charge of Arsenal.

"You learn more from the lost games than the games won. Certainly because you go into deeper analysis, you question yourself more, you question the players more and you learn basically the most from the higher the level goes up. You learn the most when the pressure is there, when the talent is against you and when the pace of the game is at the top, top level. This is where you learn."

I include the whole quote, as it's definitely when we push ourselves as photographers that we can learn the most. Last night was just such a situation, written up below.

The incredibly patint strangers that put up with my attempts to fix the various challenges noted below were Elena (above) and Nikki (image in the comments). They were great to work with, and put up with wind and rain as I delayed their evening stroll along the Southbank. I'm afraid I'm not sure I've done them justice in the final pictures - sorry, girls! Our chat was so interesting though, and the encounter was such a powerful learning experience, I wanted to post them anyway.

Elena is from Italy, Nikki from Germany. They're working together at the British Museum on placement during their art history studies. It sounded like the most incredible experience, working with the museum's collection of illustrations.

Without any intention, artists and art historians feature heavily in my project so far. Michelle is another student of art history, and Niamh was on an internship at the Peggy Guggenheim in Venice, whilst Tristan Ra and Stoyan are both painters. Stoyan even joined Colin and I on last night's shoot to experiment with a strangers project of his own.

They've all been super to shoot with, and whilst Elena had some super smiling frames, this one with the colder, neutral stare was the most powerful of the set.

Thank you both for being so generous with your time in inclement weather. I hope you like the pictures and can forgive me the mistakes along the way. Working with you both was extremely useful and has helped me improve as a photographer - so I appreciate your stopping especially.

This is portrait #38 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

In terms of challenges, I'd like to note them here as much for my own reference as anything else. Shooting in rapidly diminishing light, I suddenly found myself breaking a number of rules. My on camera flash suddenly switched from fill to key light, as the daylight suddenly fled. I pushed my ISO to 3,200 - which I only use for B&W typically. I dragged my shutter to 1/30, when I aim for 1/200 on a 100mm lens. The last two were necessary trade offs, but the first was something I should have realised and fixed by taking the flash off camera where it could be a more atmospheric key. The reflector/on camera fill set up works well as a kind of beauty light, but when the ambient light goes down and the on camera becomes the de facto key, it's maybe a little flat.

We did take the softbox off camera, and Colin kindly held it as a voice activated light stand. That soft box is a little small, however, and those shots were just too harsh and hard. What was needed was some prep before approaching anyone setting up the big softbox, as we did later.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Our Last Summer (Katherine Velours, Birra Moretti Shoot)

Via Flickr:
Despite there being lots of portraits in my Photostream at the moment, I thought this shot from a weekend shoot with Katherine Velours might mix it up a bit.

UPDATE - I've rationalised to two versions; a processed B&W and this less processed colour version. Thanks to those who Flickr mailed and commented - and those who verbally critiqued!

I've been messing around with a free trial of Alien Skin Exposure 5, and thought this edit was rather fun. The colour seemed to work better, as the gold reflector that's lighting Katherine's left arm gives the feeling of the hard sunlight through the Moretti, to my mind at least.

The shot comes from a series experimenting with a re-shoot of an old Birra Moretti ad using a range of branded glasses. More to come as I get to process them. That will take a little while, as quarter end looms and work intensifies. Until then I thought a few non-portrait shots might mix things up - so expect them in the next few days.

Until then, I'm catching up and hoping everyone is having a fantastic start to the week!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Storian (Stranger #37/100), London Bishopsgate

Via Flickr:
Storian is an Italian painter from Bari, recently moved to London from Paris.

We met on Bishopsgate, where I was tentatively setting up a light stand in the hope of meeting a stranger for my project. Timing was touch and go, having just finished a headshot session in Brick Lane, I had one eye on the last train. There were lots of great people about though, and it seemed a shame not to shoot with someone and keep the good momentum going.

Storian in fact wandered up to me as I tried to suss out a background; he was out shooting some night shots of people handheld and was intrigued by the light stands I was erecting, all the while shooting along walls with the macro lens I'm shooting the project with.

Explaining what I was doing, I immediately asked if he'd be interested in being my first subject. It's always felt like cheating; asking photographers, and asking people that approach me, but he had a fantastically wild look. His scarf and hair had an edge of the Sahara, but a chic coat and shirt added a more refined element.

Firstly, I'd note his immense patience. We shot for 30-40 minutes. Usually I have a background planned, but events here overtook me, so we tried a few angles and lines. Storian in fact suggested moving up to the gallery area off the street, conjuring this super set of diagonals.

Storian had explained his painting was about human movement and emotion, and he demonstrated this in his posing. It was as if he was soaring, breathing in a high altitude wind. This shot doesn't quite do it justice. It was fantastic to have someone bring so much of themselves, their character and imagination to a stranger shot. It made me realise that I often impose myself too much on subjects and restrict their expressing themselves.

Storian is the second aritist I've been lucky enough to shoot, the first being Stranger #20/100, Tristan Ra. They've both been exceptional meetings, from which I've taken special learnings.

So thank you Storian for your contributing so strongly to my journey through the project, and for being so generous with your time.

I think you'd really enjoy the project yourself - so please do email if you're interested in joining me and others some evening soon - it would be fantastic to have you along, on your more usual side of the lens!

This is portrait #37 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Info for Strobist:

Canon 600EX-RT in 38" softbox 45* camera left and up, fired at 1/64 power. Triggered by non-firing 600EX-RT on camera, used for focus assist.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Shams (Stranger #36/100), London Brick Lane

Via Flickr:
The graffiti text behind Shames reads "Stranger". Having seen that, I had to shoot someone in front of, especially with shade in front and the late afternoon sun throwing a tight pool of warm light onto the text behind.

Shams and his girlfriend Viki were checking it out too, and a nearby BT exchange box offered a place for them to rest their coffees. They were fantastic people to get involved.

Viki was over from Hungary visiting Shams, from Paris, as they juggle a long distance relationship sparked when studying together before their personal geography became as complicated as today.

She handled the giant gold reflector, and Shams took centre stage - my fault being to have brought him a little too far near the wall in my excitement to shoot.

He was a fantastic model. When you say "a masculine look, like you're in Vogue" to the average British male, you generally get one of two things; the most hunched uncomfortable grimace you can imagine, or a punch in the face. Shams understood exactly what was meant, and totally owned the shot.

We fired off ten frames from differing angles to help with reflections in his superbly classy spectacles, and I could have posted any of them - he looks this poised in all of them.

As we finished up, I gave them a card and am delighted they reached out for a copy of the shot. Thank you for stopping and following up Viki and Shams.

I hope you remembered to pick up your coffees!

This is portrait #36 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Jitka (Stranger #35/100), London Brick Lane

Via Flickr:
The mistake I made with Jitka was taking more than one shot. It set up me up with all kinds of dilemmas about which frame to use of ten. There's an alternative shot just left of this one (hit left arrow), and in many ways I think that's superior - yet, less consistent in my project as a whole. I'd be really interested in people's thoughts on the two options here.

Having shot in Camden for a couple of hours, I whizzed over to Brick Lane to mix things up. Camden Market ought to be a fantastic location for street portraits, but I find it hard to spot either usable backgrounds or really interesting people. I'd had a lot of luck with two super strangers (Belle and Toby) and thought I'd quit whilst I was ahead.

Brick Lane on a Saturday turned out to be a revelation. There were maybe only 5-10% of the people at Camden, but five times the number I wanted to shoot. The street art always offers fantastic backgrounds, and changes so frequently there's always something new to use.

In fact, I shot Layla #10/100 in this exact spot - and the background has changed five or six times in the interim.

Attracted to this metal swing gate's latest zebra/sonar incarnation, I settled down to find a stranger - ideally one with stripes. I only saw Jitka's scarf, and thought it would work well on that front. When I walked up to introduce my project, she spun around and turned out to be somekind of brunette Claudia Shiffer. A crowd of 8-12 of Jitka's friends gathered to listen to the pitch. The good news was that two of them could help with the gold reflector. The bad news was that all of them were going to stand three feet out of shot and commentate!

It was kind of fun, in fact, and I'm amazed Jitka rolled with it as effortlessly as she did. It would have completely freaked me out if I was on the other side of the lens.

The group dynamic was such that we chatted across and around, so I only got a sketch. Jitka's over from Prague with friends, checking out Brick Lane's street art on an informal tour of sorts. She's shot/modelled before, and the group shot lots of their own photos. When we finished up I turned and my 1.2m reflector was neatly folded up - my volunteer assistant, it turned out, was a photographer himself.

I left with as many questions as answers, but a lot of healthy energetic chat. It's perhaps to be expected, but I find the range of encounters on this project interesting. The successful ones always have conversation and energy and interaction; but it can take many forms. Some are deep, introspective examinations, with considered language and thoughts shared. I've chatted with some people for as long as an hour. Others, like this one, are really pretty superficial in terms of what is discussed, and they're brief, but there's a shared enthusiasm, a working together to suddenly common purpose, an impromptu trust and empathy that is pretty inspiring to be part of for a moment.

Thank you Jitka for agreeing to be part of the project. I'm in awe of your poise in front of a crowd. Please pass on my thanks to the two guys that helped with the reflector! And have a fantastic end to your London trip.

This is portrait #35 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Belle (Stranger #34/100), Camden Market London

Via Flickr:
Having met Toby and Lilly I headed back to the Chalk Farm Road end of Hawley Crescent and waited for another stranger that might fit another section of the coloured frontage on the new buildings where I'd shot Toby's portrait.

So much of my 100 Strangers Project turns out to be waiting around! My process is always to find a background, and then to seek a stranger that could set it off. Maybe 500 people went past, with a couple of rejections, before I met Belle.

As we walked up the street to the last section of shade on the south facing facade, we chatted. She's from Thailand, studying textiles here in London at the moment. This makes perfect sense - she is an exceptionally stylish individual.

Belle held a large white reflector beneath her, and we snapped away at a section where the building curves and the colour piles up even quicker in the background. I avoided the gold option, fearing the warmer light might blend her in too much with the backdrop.

Before we could chat too much more, her phone went and she had to head off to lunch, back to the pub outside which I'd stopped her. Her friends must have been inside and seen her led off down the side street.

Belle - thanks again for taking a moment to stop. Best of luck with your textiles degree, and I hope you like your portrait.

This is portrait #34 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Toby (Stranger #33/100), Camden Market London

Via Flickr:
Toby and his daughter Lilly are local to Camden Market and out for a casual morning shop, when his neatly trimmed beard and feathered hat caught my eye. I've been to Camden before, and shot a couple of strangers, but never found a good enough background to feel they could be posted to my project.

However, they've just unveiled a huge coloured frontage along Hawley Crescent. Toby and Lilly endured a shot walk along to it, and Lilly held a large white reflector to fill in some shadow given a bright sweep of pale winter light.

Toby fell into posing very naturally - he noted he's in a band (vocals and guitar) and so this kind of thing was kind of business as usual. I wished I'd asked the name of the band to link to it... but events and conversation just went in another direction.

Toby and Lilly - many thanks for tolerating the interruption to your morning. Please do drop me an email for a copy and if you'd like me to link to the band page! Otherwise, have a great weekend in any event.

This is portrait #33 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Soho Noir #2, London

Soho Noir #2, London by flatworldsedge
Soho Noir #2, London, a photo by flatworldsedge on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Another one from last week's shoot with Estrany for my "Soho Noir" project.

The gel on this is a little vivid perhaps. I was about to pull it back to something a little more blue/grey to match the colour of the metal paneling (camera left - glowing turquoise in this one!). It had a lovely smokey quality to it, which I'd like to have captured. Unfortunately, that wasn't to be...

We fired off three or four frames, of which this was one, before we were joined by an unexpected assistant - and a not entirely sober one. After he'd explained about his time in Wormwood Scrubs Prison, and his nuanced relationship with various ethnicity of women he borrowed my phone to leave a five minute, ranting voicemail with his probation worker.

Short story; we will come back and shoot this location properly another day...

Info for Strobist:

Canon 600EX-RT in 38" softbox camera right, 45* above model and to front, around 1m away. Triggered at ~1/64 power by RT from non-firing Canon 600EX-RT used on camera as trigger/focus assist. YN560ii triggered as optical slave, 4m behind model just off camera right, gelled "Blue/Green" at 1/16 power.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

One Sided (Soho Noir Shoot With Estrany), London Soho

Via Flickr:
This is actually a test shot, taken whilst setting up lights on a shoot with Estrany for my Soho Noir series.

Whilst incomplete, the lighting is way bolder than I'd usually shoot - and I really like how the edgy light combines with Estrany's hard, almost murderous stare.

The processing is incomplete too - the full process, taking out her mole, etc. was just too porcelain to keep the edge. This version feels right to me, with the human imperfections retained, but so penetrating a stare and so intimate a frame it is amplified.

Estrany is great; she's on Purpleport, superb to work with and if you're in London you should give her a shout!

Hope everyone is having an incredible week!

Info for Strobist:

Canon 600EX-RT in 38" softbox camera left, at 1/64 power and around 1m from Estrany, slightly up. Triggered with RT from non-firing on camera Canon600EX-RT, used for focus assist only.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

(All In Camera Tilt Shift Light Painting), Wareham

Via Flickr:
After around a year's agonising research, I've finally invested in the Canon TS-E 24mm. Whilst the 24mm end of my 24-105mm zoom was wide enough for me, it's just not sharp enough for what I want to shoot. Tempting as it was to go wider and get something like the Zeiss 21mm, the image circle of the TS-E is so vast (to accommodate all that shifting) that if you choose not to tilt or shift, you get a superbly sharp result. So far in the field, so good. It's a thing of beauty.

I'm also looking forward to deploying the tilt (or swing, as above) features to drop out elements of backgrounds in light paintings.

This is my first attempt at it - I wanted the girl and gate and blades of grass in the flood water, but didn't need the distraction of a forensically sharp set of houses and a petrol station behind her.

I'm sure I'll get even more mail about processing, which my light paintings attract anyway! I'd forgive anyone for mistaking this shot for lots of Photoshop, but all I've done is drop in the reflected street lamp from a still image - with me wading up to the gate, etc. there were just too many ripples and the reflection stretched out of the bottom of the frame.

Looking at it now I think it might still need some WB tweaks - it's a little orange, but the 5D MKiii doesn't get on with deep blue skies, and too much WB adjustment can cause banding.

Anyway - I hope people like it and can forgive my slow catch up time at the moment. Have a great week!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Clara (Stranger #32/100), London Chinatown

Via Flickr:
Clara was the third stranger brave enough to join Bomvu and I in Chinatown's back alleys to shoot an off camera flash street portrait.

This is portrait #32 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Meeting Clara ranks up there as one of the most surprising, serendipitous and fun moments of my 100 Strangers Project to date, because as I pitched her on the idea of a street portrait, she launched into an all out, one part enthusiastic, one part skeptical, interrogation of my street photography credentials.

I think I probably failed on multiple counts - Clara knows way more about street photography than me. I had "Humans of New York" confused with "Hunts Point", for instance. It was a fantastic education in people I was largely confused or unaware of!

Clara - thanks for the forthright approach. I hugely enjoyed being put straight on the range of topics I had back to front and have really enjoyed exploring some of the names, projects and photographers you shared. Also, thanks to Richard for his patience and juggling of lenses/bags/etc. Hopefully you guys had a great evening despite the interruption!

Info for Strobist:

Key light is a Canon 600EX-RT in a 38" softbox 45* up and left of the camera, triggered at 1/32 power by RT from a non-firing Canon 600EX-RT on camera (purely for trigger/focus-assist). There's a YN-560ii 4m right of Clara firing against the wall behind her without modifier, and catching her with the edge of the hard light. The YN560ii was zoomed to 105mm, and either 1/8 or 1/16 power.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Carrie (Stranger #31/100), London Chinatown

Via Flickr:
Carrie was the second stranger who agreed to a street portrait on my recent night shooting off camera flash with Bomvu in Chinatown's back alleys.

Carrie's a marketing student down from Durham to visit her sister in London. They were just walking into a restaurant when I raced up and was allowed to derail their dinner plans.

Having tested lighting on Colin (who is maybe twice as tall as Carrie!), I'm hugely appreciative of her patience as I rushed back and forth changing settings on the bounced fill flash. This was the last of the series - and by far the best - so thanks for waiting it out!

Thanks again Carrie - hope you guys had a fantastic meal!

This is portrait #31 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Info for Strobist:

Key light is a Canon 600EX-RT in a 38" softbox 45* up and left of the camera, triggered at 1/32 power by RT from a non-firing Canon 600EX-RT on camera (purely for trigger/focus-assist). There's a YN-560ii 3m right of Carrie firing into a white wall and bouncing CTO gelled light back in. I'm ashamed to have mislayed the exact setting - 1/8 I think, but maybe a stop lower.

Re-shooting I think I'd place another strobe way behind Carrie at ground level for a tiny low power pop of separation, maybe gelled 1/2 CTO/Plus Green.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Oscar (Stranger #30/100), London Chinatown

Via Flickr:
Having set up lights with Bomvu in Chinatown's grimmest, darkest alleyway, I wasn't 100% confident anyone would agree to follow me down it. Oscar was kind/brave/crazy enough to agree!

Out in Soho with his associate Massimo, he was pretty much the friendest chap you could hope to meet. I'd asked him over Massimo simply in the hope of catching his awesome hair against the full throttle backlight.

It was a great fun encounter, with some high quality banter offered by Massimo as we shot. Some suggestions were tabled as to what the shots might be used to advertise, which Oscar rose above as we shot.

Oscar - thanks for stopping. Hopefully you like your shots - email me for a copy! Rest easy - nothing is going to be advertised with them. Unless, Massimo, you want to make an offer for the high res images? : )

All in it was a superb encounter that reminded me again why I'm doing the 100 Strangers Project, and what I've missed in the couple of months since my last street session.

This is portrait #30 of my 100 Strangers Project - check out the group page and get involved.

Info for Strobist:

Key light is a Canon 600EX-RT in a 38" softbox 45* up and left of the camera, triggered at 1/32 power by RT from a non-firing Canon 600EX-RT on camera (purely for trigger/focus-assist). There's a YN-560ii 4m behind Oscar to the right, fired bare at 1/16 power through a 1/2 CTO and a Plus Green gel.

I think I overcooked the key light - a result of not adjusting power for skin type from my test shots on Colin.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Electric Fence #2, Soho

Via Flickr:
Last week I posted the test shot for this with just the fence, so I thought I'd follow up with the version shooting with Vicky. The light is identical, yet it's interesting to how the blue/green falls so differently with a subject against the fence posts. Probably it's a little hard and weird across her face! However, since the series is neo noir in vision, I think it kind of works in a way that it wouldn't if I was trying to get this published in Vogue!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Info for Strobist:

Canon 600EX-RT at 1/128 power in Lastolite Ezybox, camera left, 2m from subject. Triggered with non-firing on camera Canon 600EX-RT used for focus assist. YN560ii gelled "Oklahoma Yellow" camera left, 4m back pointed 45* towards fence/camera at 1/16 triggered as optical slave. Second YN560ii at floor level gelled "Blue/Green" at 1/2 power, bounced onto black garage door 3m to camera right, behind fence.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Deep Dark Wood (Girl In Flooded Forest All In Camera Light Painting), Rickmansworth

Via Flickr:
Light painting (all hand drawn, all in camera) in the flooded River Colne. Somewhere about two feet beneath the water is a footpath, but the whole week the local "Aquadrome" has been doing its best to live up to its name.

The orange glow is from sodium vapour light pollution. Perhaps I overly flashed the trees in this shot, but I think the central figure still has presence.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Cloudburst (Logarska Dolina Full Moon & Clouds), Slovenia

Via Flickr:
It was borderline as to whether I'd post this - the noise in the grass is intense, and kind of unacceptable really. It was bad out of camera, and then processing to get the colours and light levels right has exacerbated it. I'd have left it, but I like the sky in this one, and wanted to post another Logarska Dolina shot as we're back there in a couple of months.

The glow is, as you've probably determined from the title, the full moon descending through rain clouds along the mountain ridge.


Friday, 7 February 2014

Electric Fence, Soho

Electric Fence, Soho by flatworldsedge
Electric Fence, Soho, a photo by flatworldsedge on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Test shot from the Soho shoot with Vicky. I'll post one of the final shots later, but thought this one might make a decent HFF posting in the meantime.

Info for Strobist:

Canon 600EX-RT at 1/128 power in Lastolite Ezybox, camera left, 2m from subject. Triggered with non-firing on camera Canon 600EX-RT used for focus assist. YN560ii gelled "Oklahoma Yellow" camera left, 4m back pointed 45* towards fence/camera at 1/16 triggered as optical slave. Second YN560ii at floor level gelled "Blue/Green" at 1/2 power, bounced onto black garage door 3m to camera right, behind fence.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Snakeskin (Windermere Rain Long Exposure), Lake District

Via Flickr:
Another quick post from my Boxing Day photo trip up to the Lakes. This is Windermere, shot in fierce rain. It's not a perfect shot by any means - the white balance of the wooden walkway needs fixing, for instance - but I really like the menacing clouds and scattered droplets on the left side of the lens.

I did shoot some with me holding a torch above the central post - but the flare on the droplets was too distracting, and with so much other light in the scene I couldn't stay hidden. Hence this version with just the post.

Hopefully everyone is having a fantastic week so far. Catching up right now.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

False Dawn (Bournemouth & Old Harry), Dorset

Via Flickr:
Quick shot from the weekend, and one I'm definitely going to be re-shooting in a couple of weeks. The wind was just too strong for a sharp image, and too strong to get as near the edge as I wanted in terms of composition.

Still - I'm happy enough with this test shot to post it and record for self-reference what I'm going to try to fix when I shoot again! I fired a number of much longer (300 second+) exposures following this high ISO 30 second exposure. What I found, however, was that I preferred this version for the semblance of cloud shape that it kept.

It's a little too dark across the cliffs perhaps, and the gloom is just a little cool in terms of colour temperature. Unfortunately with the outrageously strong wind, I couldn't get the cliffs quite as sharp as I wanted - with them sharp I could have messed around in Photoshop to sort that all out. With them in this slightly "smudged" format, there's not the resolution to tolerate too much digital manipulation.

Imsh'allah, when I'm next down there, I'll have my newly ordered TS-E 24mm ii. I've sold a couple of lenses I wasn't using to part fund it. Placing the focal plane along the cliffs at a diagonal, and getting their early enough to focus manually, is the plan.

All the peachy glow on the horizon is light pollution, so fingers cross for this perfect mix of cloud and clear sky to catch it without overwhelming.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Double Yellow (Vicky Soho Noir Shoot), London

Via Flickr:
More from my first "Soho Noir" shoot with Vicky. Although I like the interest of the blue gel in the shadows on my previous post, I think the pure yellow gel has more impact in many ways.

The Rembrandt lighting kind of came off too.

Just back from a weekend in Dorset - catching up!

Info for Strobist:

One Canon 600EX-RT in Lastolite Ezybox at 45* camera left and up from modl @ 1/16 power and ~1m distance. Triggered by RT from second Canon 600EX-RT on camera; non-firing used for focus assist. YN-560ii fired as optical slave with Rogue "Oklahoma Yellow" gel, 4m 45* behind model to left, @ 1/32 power.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Linanthus Nuttallii, Zion National Park

Via Flickr:
Something a little different to break up the stream. It's a travel shot of Nuttall's Linanthus along the Angel's Landing Trail in Zion National Park Utah. It's a simple shot compared to recent postings, but one I like for some reason! The mix of red sandstone dust and pine needles appeals.

Hope everyone's having a great week.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Geometric (Phoenix Renella Red Dress), Rickmansworth Aquadrome

Via Flickr:
One of my favourite shots from a recent shoot with Phoenix Renella. Phoenix is Katherine Velours' sister, who I shot with back in the summer, so if you see a non-exact likeness to previous postings, well - I guess that makes sense now!

She's just as awesome - seen here braving zero degree temperatures and flashes of rain to pose in the middle of nowhere, late at night, having endured all sorts of waiting around, smoke and blinding lights. I'd guess the experience was a bit like an SAS training exercise, just all done in red dress.

Anyway - she's ace, so if you get a second to check out her portfolio on the link above it'd be a second well spent. And if you are based around London, she's someone you should shoot with!

Hope everyone is having a terrific week!

Info for Strobist:

One waist height Canon 600EX-RT fired at 1/2 power - about 8m behind Phoenix. Another one around 1/8 through a 38x38 softbox 4m in front of her to the right. Fired by RT from a third, non-firing, 600EX-RT on camera used for focus assist. Pooling strobes is ace!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Fairytale, Soho

Fairytale, Soho by flatworldsedge
Fairytale, Soho, a photo by flatworldsedge on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Second shot from Thursday's first "Soho Noir" session with Vicky.

I'm really pleased with the balance of clean strobe and sodium/fluorescent lights to work the "neo noir" tone set.

Lesson for next time - her hand is probably over exposed, and the highlights could be a little less intense on her face. I'm going for a sort of "Vogue noir" - so not the mad, ultra hard contrast of proper film noir images. This is probably a little too half way. The strobe does probably need flagging better to keep it off the cage - behind her head the orange glow diminishes as a result.

Lots more to come in this series!

Info for Strobist:

Single Canon 600EX-RT in Lastolite Ezybox, 1m from model, 45* degree camera left, 45* up. Triggered by second (non-firing) Canon 600EX-RT on camera, used over ST-E3-RT for focus assist.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Soho Noir, London

Soho Noir, London by flatworldsedge
Soho Noir, London, a photo by flatworldsedge on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
The last couple of week I've faced the usual dilemma of being too busy to shoot, process and post. As ever, posting is the option I drop. Sorry that's left me behind the curve in terms of keeping up with friends and contacts here.

Catching up now!

This is one from a Thursday night shoot in Soho with the amazing *Vic*, organised through Purpleport. She's an super person and massively talented model.

We were going for a "neo noir" vibe, shooting with lots of gels in Soho alleys I'd scouted a couple of weeks before. Certainly it's not as edgy and mad as noir lighting maybe should be, but I'm taking small steps as I get used to strobe. I really liked the result so view it as a success. Hopefully you like it too, as there are more to come!

Info for Strobist:

Canon 600EX-RT @ 1/16 in Lastolite Ezybox just out of shot camera left (broadly 45* up and round), fired by RT from on camera Canon 600EX-RT (non-flashing - used instead of the ST-E3-RT to get focus assist in the deep shadows). Yonghuo YN-560ii gelled with Rogue "Oklahoma Yellow" camera left, 45* / 4m behind model at 1/32 power. Second YN-560ii gelled Rogue "Medium Blue Green" @ 1/2 power, at models feet, flagged with Rogue gel holding pouch (!), firing out of shot right to bounce back in from large gloss black garage door 4m off.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Doyouthinkhesaurus? (All In Camera Light Painting Girls Hiding From Triceratops), Rickmansworth Aquadrome

Via Flickr:
"What do you call a blind dinosaur?" You've probably heard that one, but if not... sorry.

This is another from my series in the flooded Rickmansworth Aquadrome. When I started light painting, I tried to draw painstakingly unique, perfect images for every scene I saw. It ended up that I shot very little, as it placed a huge burden of time and learning on every shot.

This summer I decided to focus on a few key characters, and building my repertoire from there. For some reason the pinup girl and triceratops are easiest for me to draw, and I'm really enjoying being able to shoot more often.

Thanks to everyone who Flickrmails me with questions about light painting - hopefully my answers have helped. I'm in the process of writing an article on the subject for (the excellent) Photophique which I hope to share soon.

My main advice is to get out there - I promise you that it is way, way easier than it looks and you'll get great stuff right off the bat.

Hope everyone is having an amazing week, and apologies for my slow catch up on Flickr at the moment. Work is busy... but I'm getting round slowly!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Resinite (Amber Triceratops Light Painting), Rickmansworth

Via Flickr:
Quick light painting to exploit the flooding at Rickmansworth Aquadrome. The orange is from sodium vapour light pollution, infused in a light pall of drizzle and mist.

There's one corrected line here (where the body of the mother triceratops meets the crest), but otherwise everything is drawn in camera using a LED with a sock as a diffuser.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic start to the week.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Running Lights (Rialto Bridge At Midnight), Venice

Via Flickr:
A long exposure from last December's Venice trip. I still have a number to post, delayed only by the thought that the sky could be better shot. Taken just a little earlier in the night, with just a little more light and cloud movement in the sky to balance the image.

That said, as I played around in Photoshop I found I quite liked this original version - with the darker sky. There's a brooding, claustrophobia-inducing weight to it, closing the image in, which is lost as the sky brightens to become a feature itself.

Nonetheless, next time I'm in Venice I'll certainly head back here to shoot again. There are some with vaporetto light trails I'll post later in the week too, but that effect can be a touch too heavy handed - the trick will be finding a brighter sky without too much river traffic... Maybe that calls for a summer visit, something I try to avoid! Venice for me is always better in the rain.

Hope everyone is well and enjoying a fantastic January so far.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Emma J Black, London Waterloo

Via Flickr:
A quick post, to prove I'm alive as much as anything! I had some kind messages asking about the headshot I used in Venetian Noir, so thought I'd post the cropped colour version - from before I went to town with Photoshop.

The red light on the left comes from buses passing the end of the white tiled tunnel by Waterloo. The uncropped version is cooler in this regard

I'm still catching up, and doing a test shoot ahead of a really exciting "noir" series, so this is a bit of post and run for the moment. Hence, comments are disabled!

Hope everyone is having a bright start to the New Year.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Venetian Noir (Emma J Black), Il Sogno Di Venezia

Via Flickr:
Headshot from my summer shoot with Emma J Black, manually composited with a series of shots from Venice.

The main background image is one I've posted here before - Fino A Domani.

The technique is one I learned from Phlearn on YouTube. Aaron Nace and the team do amazing work, and have an incredible series of fun, charismatic, massively informative videos sketching how it's done. One of the best photography resources out there, and well worth checking out if you haven't used then before.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Search Light (Blea Tarn Headlights Through Rain), Lake District

Via Flickr:
Another quick post from my Boxing Day circuit of favourite Lake District views. Like last year there was plenty of inclement weather to enjoy - drifting mist and rain, rather than hail - but that does keep the riff raff off the fells!

I shot a lot of frames of this, with the clouds hunkered low, raking through the trees obscuring everything. Suddenly the wind picked up and for moments the Langdale peaks appeared in the middle of my shot. The tarn went still. I grabbed my shutter release, and at that exact moment the car's headlight popped into view and paused on the cattle grid at the top of the pass. I didn't need further prompting. Click!

I've done some Photoshop work along the foot of the frame to tidy up a few surplus stones.

Hope everyone is enjoying an amazing start to the New Year!