A Dogs Tale

Sadly we recently had to put down our beautiful old dog Basil, my mum also had to put down her German Shepard Harry in the same week – he was my beloved dads (RIP) dog.

All dog lovers know the feeling, your pups become a large part of your life – it’s the wagging tail when you get home from a hard day at work.  

From a photography point of view there’s pros and cons of shooting animals.  The pros being that animals behave naturally, they do what they do, that is – shots don’t look contrived.  The cons – they’re a bit like working with kids – not the easiest to direct, they’ve no real interest in the final result and can be easily distracted or bored.

But, it’s years later you’re so glad you got the shots.

Here’s some quick and easy tips to think about when shooting your pet.

  • Like all shoots preparation is key to success.  Shooting a pet portrait is very similar to people.  Create a shot list to work from – wides (landscape) to close ups. 
  • Focus on the eyes to draw attention – shoot at eye level.
  • When shooting running or them looking – give them space in the frame to run or look into.    
  • If shooting in a studio/ indoors you want everything set-up before hand – lights and exposures, props, your camera settings (shoot fast 1/100th and up – kids and animals don’t stand still for long) – have a favourite toy .  
  • If you’re shooting outdoors think if your aperture setting will blur backgrounds.  Remember f/4.0 low depth of field – f/22 high depth of field.  f/5.6 is a good standard portrait exposure.
  • Shoot with equivalent 85-100mm lens – a wide (28mm will look like a fish eye [unflattering distorted].    
  • You’re shooting digital – takes lots of shots.

 

Harry and PJ

Big BrotherPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
Beach DogsPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
Hello beautifulPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
FocusedPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
Keeping eyePhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
the sentinelPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
Sheparding MotherPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
AirbornePhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
Let's RunPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
LoyaltyPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Peas of a podPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
Shepards EyesPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Who me?Photo by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
CutePhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
Go for itPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

I'll followPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
At any momentPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
I'm cutePhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

WhateverPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
Your commandPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Studio Lighting with PARs

It’s often said that photography is painting with light – as I personally develop my own style and detailed eye I’m conscious of how light strikes an object.

Last weekend was spent in the studio testing lighting.  Without a model for the day the bear stepped in.  Please note that I’m still learning so there is bound to be mistakes.

Lighting Setup

  • 2 x PAR 64’s as key lights with bar doors and tungsten to daylight filters (front far left and right). (#1 & 2)
  • 2 x PAR 56’s as front middle fills with bar doors and tungsten to daylight filters (# 5 & 6)
  • 2 x PAR 56’s with bar doors as backlights; (#7 & 8)
  • Lee LD201/ 251 filters to adjust colour temperature from tungsten to daylight.
  • I also had 2 x more PAR 64’s (3 & 4) setup to be used a chroma key backdrop key lights  but didn’t use them

Using a simple DMX lighting controller software, a DMX USB interface to a JANDS 12 channel DMX dimmer box I was quickly able to try different lighting configurations.

 Studio Setup

Camera set to Av mode (Aperture Priority) so only thing to change was the shutter speed to get correct exposure.  

Frame ISO Aperture

Result

Shutter


Result
Colour Temp & Tint

1

PAR 64 

2

PAR 64

5

PAR 56

6

PAR 56

7

PAR 56

8

PAR 56

EV
Photo exposures 11 800 f/5 1/100 3950K + 22

100%

Diffuser

201 Gel

100%

Diffuser

201 Gel

+8
12 800 f/5 1/25 4300K + 22 +6
14 800 f/5 1/160 3450K + 6

100%

251 Gel

100%

251 Gel

+9
15 800 f/5 1/200 3450K + 3

100% power

Diffuser

201 Gel

100%

Diffuser

201 Gel

100%

251 Gel

100%

251 Gel

+9
16 800 f/5 1/250 3550K + 16

100%

Diffuser

201 Gel

100%

Diffuser

201 Gel

100%

251 Gel

100%

251 Gel

100%

251 Gel

100%

251 Gel

+10
17 800 f/5 1/1250 3750K + 17

100%

201 Gel

100%

Diffuser

201 Gel

100%

251 Gel

100%

251 Gel

100%

251 Gel

100%

251 Gel

+12
18 800 f/5 1/640 3750K +11

100%

201 Gel

F/ 5.0

100%

Diffuser

201 Gel

F/ 3.2

100%

251 Gel

F/ 5.0

100%

251 Gel

F / 4.5

100%

251 Gel

F/3.2

100%

251 Gel

F/ 3.6

+11

Frame 21 (below)  – ISO400 105mm f/5.6 1/125  I dropped power intensity on the left lights to create short side lighting.  If a person has a wide face then you have the face turned and light up the shorter (narrower) side of the face.

I think I then over-did the post production sharpening.

Learnings

The PARs are no where near as punchy as my flash (strobe) units -but should be OK for some video presenter work.  Will do some more testing on that later.  

Still some problems with colour temperature – I’d hoped with the filters to have these temps up around 6000K (daylight). 

Jill Greenberg. Jim Fiscus and Joey L

Wow, that’s cool, move on.  Some images grab attention without you knowing why. 

image courtery BBC AmericaNo matter what we’re looking at unless we’ve a trained eye then we rarely look below the immediate surface.

For example, a young child eating cake just loves the taste.  The chef or foodie also thinks about process, ingredients, inspiration and influence (or maybe not Smile).

With films, most of us are just engaged in the story. not conscious of the behind the scenes development; the idea pitch to the money men; the preproduction; script development; the technical production and so on (except when the experience is bad – like a bad Bali bootleg copy).

We’ve all a trained eye in something – it’s found in our work and passions.

The art collector, the sports car enthusiast, the football talent scout, the X factor judge, the model plane builder, the dancer. 

But I digress, this is a photography blog, so back to this post. 

From Wired this week – the image (courtesy BBC America)

Report: Harry Potter Director Bringing Doctor Who to Big Screen

That shiny, illustrative, grungy type of look you now see from TV to billboards – I like it, I need to try and shoot it, to learn from it.

Further my previous blogs on surrealist photography and finding David Hill I’ve just found the pioneer of the look

http://www.jillgreenberg.com/Work/photos

Jim Fiscus

And Joey Lawrence

http://www.joeyl.com

Sid Vasandani writes a very helpful blog on developing this Shiny and the Grunge Look

http://sidvasandani.blogspot.com/2010/05/case-study-shiny-and-grunge-look.html

The studio lighting setup below

As Sid says the style has already been worked to death BUT mastering the process can only add to your skills.

You then have retouching but that’s for another post (or read Sids blog).

I’m off to setup the studio and organise a model.

Happy shooting.

Travel Photography – Bali 2011

My partner and I have been to Bali for a couple of weeks – we go once a year – my girl loves to shop and I’m happy just to relax and read a book or two, take a few photos, test some new techniques and knock down a local Bintang beer (or three) at sunset. 

From a photographers perspective coming back to the same spot offers the challenge to find something new – there are just so many sunsets, flowers and rice paddies to shoot before they too become boring or cliché, so it’s about finding new ways to capture and create great images from the same things.

I suppose that search for uniqueness is true for all creative activities – fashion, art, music, advertising, writing, photography and so on.  There’s a need to develop your own style plus the desire to stand out, grab the viewer and create an emotional response.

Then again, like lifelong relationships, some people find happiness in security; the less things change the better, the same old food, comfort in the style they like.

Finding Style   

Following are images from the trip – hope you like – technically they’re a combination of HDR technique and experimenting a lot more with the lines of placement – Golden Circle, Rule of Thirds, etc.  Note: When travelling you’re limited to the amount of equipment you want to carry, so there’s much less options for controlling lighting in these shots.  

Sun Seekers PlaygroundPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Sun Seekers Playground – Kuta Beach, Bali.

Combination of HDR’s and panoramic stitching in Photoshop.  I used a polariser lens filter on this shot to remove a lot of the water glare.  New OnOne Perfect Studio 6 used for color enhancement and framing.

Daily WritingPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Morning Inspiration – Inspired by Julia Cameron – I try and write three pages per day – to connect and commit those subconscious thoughts onto paper.

The Fast BoatPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia
  

In transit to Gili Trawangan

Island TransportPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Gili T – Only horse carts, push bikes and your legs as transport around the island

ProgressPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Gili T – It takes about 2 hours to ride around the island.

 ShipwreckedPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Sunset BarPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Sunset Bar

Whereever you travel in the world where the sun sets over the water you’ll generally find a bar and fellow travellers.

Just Another Amazing SunsetPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Just another amazing sunset – The sun sets over Kintamani, Bali

Bali Convenience StorePhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Winner – Convenience Store 

An article today in the SMH about entering competions I found this on www.dpreview.com/challenges/ChallengeSlideshow.aspx?ID=51… and won!

Villa Tranquilo, Seminyak Bali

A few days of luxury accomadation at Villa Tranquilo in Seminyak Bali

After PartyPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

After Party

Very happy with the way these pics are coming out. Just loving the lighting and detail in the timber and flooring. What’s missing from a creative image point of view is maybe an empty bottle of champagne, a few glasses and maybe an unconscious body or two.

ReflectionPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Reflection

Bali sunsets never get boring.

The journey continues.

Love to know your thoughts.

Cheers

Scott

 

Need a photographer for your tourist destination, hotel, airline?  Then please drop me line. 🙂

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