Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Weekend of Shooting, Driving and Redbulls

I did 2 photo shoots last weekend. 2 entirely different shoots. First one with Strobist Ann Arbor group on Saturday. This was set in Detroit in a decayed mansion (I think it was a mansion!). No power outlets, no restrooms, no air conditioner and sometimes no floor kidding :). It was a blast though! Along with cameras, lights and models photographer also had to be aware of situation of the location itself. Mark and I setup our White Lightning on Vegabond batteries and started shooting. BTW I'm seriously impressed by performance of Vegabond II. Anyone looking forward to buy that, "Do it now!" It's totally worth what it costs. We also did some outdoor photos and the wind wasn't helping to say the least.

Some photos from this shoot:



Strike a pose

The second shoot was in Lexington, Mich. Originally planned as Olympus shoot, just resulted in Cindy and I shooting, because of Father's day. This was one of those times, where nature is too kind towards you and throws in all sorts of drama! First it was sunny but dull. Then out of nowhere a stream of misty fog covered the Marina creating entirely different look. As the mist slowly cleared out the sunshine was back again, sun took his time going down the horizon. Again a magical look. It was ecstatic. I had a chance to field test my Pana-Leica PL25 lens. I had heard all sorts of complaints, it missing the target in AF mode and that it didn't have any magical quality etc.. To me at least all that proved to be a myth. I found the magical quality I was looking for and the AF was spot on. The flower and fishing portrait were taken in AF mode (also first portrait during Saturday's shoot), wide open at f/1.4. To my eyes they are magical. I pixel-peeped to my heart's content and totally satisfied with this lens.

Lone Surfer

Lexington Marina

Chased by Paparazzi

The Boat as Bokeh


Hook It

I drove around 600 miles driving that's not much if just numbers were to be considered, but when combined with 20 hours of shooting and carrying gear.. makes it considerable for me. On my way back from Lexington, I had 2 Redbulls, instead of one, So couldn't sleep all night Sunday so fought hard to stay awake on Monday at work :D. I feel at the end of it all, the photos turned out nice and the temporary discomfort doesn't come into picture at all. Oh yes, this week is dedicated for a step which is totally out of my comfort zone... I call it Painful Processing, widely known as Post-Processing. I can rush most Landscape shots through Lightroom Presets.. for portraits I will have to go to CS4. Hope to get through this fast :D.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Tools

Recently a few people have asked me what gear I use, especially for the lighting part. Today I was organizing all my gear and I thought why not take pictures of them(okay, I was tempted to take pictures of them :D). So this is a gear post :). Click on the images to view large on flickr.

White Lighting Kit - Recently I ordered some stuff from PC Buff. I was happy with my small flash kit. But I wasn't getting enough power at times and I hate to pump up the ISO. So I got the big lights, since I don't have a studio, I ordered a vegabond battery too. May be I need one more battery, so that each flash head gets dedicated battery... although a single battery can support up to 6 heads (WL tech spec :)). I also got Large Octobox and Beauty dish with grid and soft cover. I love the light output by WLs, when mounted on Octobox. Shadow areas are very soft and overall pleasing look. Then I have the 20deg grid which sort of gives a funky look. I am yet to put some color gels on flash heads and yet to use it on location. (May be next weekend).

White Lightning Kit

Small Flash Kit - This is really flexible kit. I hate carrying stuff.... so compact flash kit fulfills most requirements except power. Also it's a big pain keep track of all the AA batteries (Last I counted I had 40 of rechargeable ones, which is not much but I lose these easily) and to know which ones are charged and good to shoot. I will still use these but I intend to minimize their usage. Flash heads include of course Oly's FL50R, Nikon SB-28, Vivitar 285HVs, OM T20 and Yashica. Different brands and different syncs. T20 is a tiny flash which really helps at times, because a person can handhold one of these, covered. That gives some funky looks like this and   this . FL50R has been most reliable and easily gives more than 400 shots per battery set. Also this will work on wireless TTL mode when used with E-3, faster recycle time. SB28 is okay too.

Small Flash Kit

Sync - It's an important step. I am terrified to connect any flash directly to my cameras. I can never be sure what's the safe sync voltage, as I use many different brands. This is the reason I never use direct PC sync. I rarely use Optical syncs... mostly FL50R acts up in optical slave mode. White Lightnings too can be optical slaves. I had Cactus triggers. I didn't have any problems with those. But Pocket Wizards are very versatile. They even can trigger my E-3, using cable release and since I have the Sekonic PW transmitter, I don't need a separate PW to trigger the camera. L-358 can measure light in totally remote mode. So I guess Pocket Wizards purchase is justified.

Sync Kit

Camera and Lenses - As I was already shooting lights, I thought I will take a picture of cameras and lenses. 3 of my lenses are missing from the picture. My favorites are ZD7-14, PL25, Hexanon 57mm (both) and Carl Zeiss 120mm. I shoot with E-3 mostly these days, but E-510 goes everywhere with me. Most of these comfortably fit in Tamaron and Lowepro bags. Film cameras have their own individual bags. (I was tired so I didn't shoot bags :D.) I will soon have to get Think Tank Modular waist pouches. I can't carry all the gear in backpack and my shoulders and back cry for help.

Camera Bodies and Lenses