Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It all happened at once!

This is an image taken during my trip to Nepal in March, 2010, quite some months ago, captured with a Canon 5DII with EF 35/1.4L.   I don't like to use zoom, not that the zoom is not good enough, it is, and I use them sometimes in my professional works as well. But I prefer to use prime lens wheneven it is possible, include this one.
The shot was taken at the famous Dubar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal.  Check out my Nepal travel blog. The shot was made on a prime Canon 35/1.4L lens, a reasonable compact and excellent prime lens which I have over 10 years. The 35mm lens on full frame 24X36 DSLR give a very nature perspective, it is more or less like human eyes look at something at 5-8 meters away, a distance not too close, and not too far.  Or sometimes it also provides a close focus that have a little extra room to tell more story.  With this picture, I patiently wait for something to happen, something I am not sure, but I knew it will. Certainly this is not the only shot I made, but I did not shoot a whole lot, because then I might lost the intensity, and may miss more easily.  Display in front of me was a Nepali family, the monkey is wild (not exactly, but it is wild in the city, like in many Hindu nations) and join the scene later.
While I was waiting for the scene, I was looking through my viewfinder, while my brain was picturing Norman Rockwell's painting, an American watercolor artist I found of when I was crazy about watercolor in my high school days, which was quite many years ago.  Something came up my mind all of sudden, I felt a smooth, nice breeze, and for no reason I press the shutter, and got this image. It was a perfect moment for me, and something like a Norman Rockwell painting.  The expressions on the face of each one, the set up, and the skirt of little girl flip by the wind, it all happened at once.

Visible and invisible

Shot with Hasselblad H3D-II 39 with HC 120/4 Makro, the thin mesh the model held in fornt of her was to create a soft screen so the the picture is less naked, although one may said the screen does not hide away much, which is true.
But with or without a screen inf front of the model made a huge difference. The use of screen not only made the final picture a little more mysterious, but also less naked, and add a little sense of distance.  Even with medium format digital where the depth of field is extremely shallow, the sharpness of the screen and the beautiful model herself is still well reserved.
The reflective coating on the screen also worked to give the final image a little extra dimension, although it is something really difficult to control through viewfinder, and also because it is constantly moving.  This final image is one of a few captures made to achieve the look I want, and I ahve some luck here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Center the subject

Even it is a simple product shot, adding a human touch always made it more alive, and higher appeals for consumers, at least this is what I usually do, or will recommend my client to do.
For example, this is a shot for a lacquered wood bowl, an otherwise common handicraft object, although it does have something extra in its design, but however, the product was design to be use, at least to be appreciated by human.  Shot with a Canon 1Ds III with EF 100/2.8L IS Macro, of course the focus is the product, and here to avoid the actual human, a lovely Russian model by the way, to cannibalize the product in scale, or the beautiful model to share the focus of the beauty of product, the face of the model was cropped, and her pose centered around the product, to allow it to stand out.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The naked truth?

Skin, often ignored, is in fact one of the sexiest element of a woman. Shot with Hasselblad H3D-39II with HC 120/4 Makro.  To key the skin, I use a larger softbox to flood the skin to have an evenly lit exposure, to try to avoid bring the attention to the model's lovely body line, beautiful face and other noticeable elements.
The hair here is used to have a nice contrast of the fair skin tone, as well as harmonising the smoothness of skin, of course, also to keep this picture from rated "Parent Guided".

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Expecting the unexpected

It is not exact the Murphy's Law.  Photography, origin from Greek, is painting with light, is well defined with this image taken recently, using Canon 5DII, with EF 100/2.8L IS Macro.
Use mixed of studio strobe and light torch, in a 20 seconds exposure, resulted this image.  The model was mainly exposed by the studio strobe, and the traces of light came from the light torch.  The light from the light torch also cast some interesting shades on the model's fair skin, gave the final image some extra color.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

NEX in the night

Shot recently in our studio in Surat Thani, southern Thailand, using NEX-5 with 18-55 zoom, the auto ISO setting on NEX-5 turned itself to ISO 1600, to allow to shoot at f/4.5 and 1/20s, the main camera in use was a Canon 5DII using 3 strobes, while the NEX-5 just use the illumination from the pilot lamp.  Indeed, compare to a Canon 5DII, the smaller sensor on NEX-5 did not capture as many light as the larger camera, and not as clean, but judging the final result and many years in photography, the final image is absolutely useful, and beyond my expectation.  The use of NEX-5 was simply a snap shot companion camera along with the larger Canon, as well as for motion clips, but NEX-5 held itself well even with its still images.
The technology today allows the photographer wonderful tool for creativity, and faster.  The available light shots in the poor light situation, or at night, gives extra room for the photographer to play around.
This is an image of a lady washing car, a race-tuned Mini, it was a rather old fashion shot, but however still has its market.  But with the available tools today, the shot was made a lot faster and easier.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

ND in photography

Here in 2010, the still photography and motion pictures haave moved into digital age in a big way, but the basic of getting an image is still not much change from the past.
My proimarty working tool in the studio is still larger cameras, probably the Canon 1Ds III/Nikon D3X is the smallest. Of course the size of camera is not necessary related to what we do in studio, but it was a workflow developed over the years, medium format digital capture is still more efficient for us considering many factors.  So having to work with either a medium format digital camera and a heavy weight Canon or Nikon in fact give us familiar size and weight in actual work, yes, it is heavy, but it is friendly.
I am also constantly looking for a compact camera for snapshots in studio, and it has been a long serach and try, until recently the SONY NEX-5, which is used for this portrait.  The obvious missing element for the SONY is the lack of a hotshoe for radio triggering the studio flash, as well as the ISO setting started at 200, which will push us to use very small apature to get the same exposure as our main cameras - but at the loss of quality.
The radio slave on a hot/cold shoe is a problem easily solvable, although not ideal. We can put a red filter to the flash so it does not register much in final picture, or simply use a foil to deflect the flash light, then most of the problems solved.  Now leave the exposure.  In studio work we tried to use lowest possible ISO setting, and in such case we set our medium formatg digital capture to 50, and this means either we set the Canon or Nikon to the "L" level - and live with some erxtra noise or stop the lens further to compesate - possibly at loss of sharpness.  But a camera like SONY NEX-5, we cannot afford 2 extra stop on apature setting so the only solution will be either a PL or a ND, to help balance it, just as many comsumer or prosumer camcorder with a build-in ND for similar issues, although mostly outdoors.
There was a while when the silver base still and motion photography using the very same media, but with the wake of many broadcast equipment that many camcorder use tape, somehow a departure from the still capture.  Now, with the digital technology, everything come together again.