So the first 'cool' day for months. From almost 90% humidity 2 days ago, it's now down to 35%. Feeling very lucky to have missed Cyclone Debbie and now this. Long may it last 😊
We had breakfast in this quaint place this morning. On Gertrude St, just off Brunswick in Fitzroy. Very nice range of Breton style crêpes, both sweet and savoury. Patrick has worked in the store for 16 years and now is joint owner. The crêperie has been open since 1999. Oh and the coffee is awesome too.
Definitely worth a visit if you can't make it to Brittany this week. Map on the front page of their website here.
And my shortlist is below. Every one of these 16 images is a story of love, emotion and connection. It's what life is about in the end, and I want to be there to experience and capture the moment. Happy New Year!
So in love. Bourke St, Melbourne.
Just chillin' out enjoying the Melbourne street music.
Really not sure with this one. Nikon D750 Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art. Natural light
A few shots from the studio shoot I did with Elise recently. The technique involved using the camera on a tripod, opening the shutter for approximately 2 seconds and varying the balance of ambient/strobe lighting.
I used a Elinchrom RX500 fired through a gridded beauty dish camera right, with a gelled & gridded reflector providing the rim light from behind left. Camera settings ISO 125 @f16. I fired the flash manually a second time with the remote trigger to get the double exposure. The amount of ambient determined the movement flow between the two.
Well, a night with Nikon at the Museum of Tropical Queensland. Interesting evening with a talk by pro commercial photographer Michael Cranfield. Great work by Garricks Camera House and Nikon for organising the evening and tomorrow's event. Garricks are actually quite awesome - such a helpful team. I would seriously rather pay more for a local service and to support them, but these guys always hit the right price as well.
This evening Michael told us about his career and some good advice on building a successful photography business. Nikon showcased their camera and lens range and we got to play with them afterwards, including some astrophotography and the ridiculous monster Nikon 400mm f2.8 which will set you back about $13k and I could barely hold for more than a few minutes (pic below).
Some pics below. Tomorrow morning is an early start at 7am for another talk and a walk along the Strand to capture the Strand Ephemera.
This is a call out to everyone that I give photos to - please take a moment to make sure that when you share our pictures, that the great care and attention that went into them is preserved.
Before the shoot, you spent a while getting your look just right, choosing the outfit, doing your hair & make up. My lighting was arranged to make you look wonderful, I toiled over a computer editing the colours, tones & sharpness (and maybe a zit removal or two) to finalise it and make it look completely awesome.
Please, please take some care when you transfer the pics that I send you on Dropbox to your Facebook feed. Because if you do it wrong, you're going to undo all the great things we just did.
The wrong way
Get the image on your screen, take a screen shot on your iphone 4 and then re-upload to FB.
The right way
If possible, do your uploading to Facebook from a computer. I know this isn't always possible or convenient, so I'll run through the steps below to get the best results on your phone. On your computer, use the download link on the Dropbox page and then upload the pics in their mid-resolution glory. Use the 'high resolution' option on Facebook. For the techies, I usually save our pics as .png files rather than .jpg because FB doesn't apply it's own disaster-shrinking techniques to PNG files like it does to run-of-the-mill JPGs.
If you must do it on your phone, you need to find a way to 'Save' the picture to the phone, not screen shot it. NEVER ever screen shot it...! Unfortunately, it's not always intuitive how to do that, which can be super annoying.
By the way, if you're reading this on your phone and both the pics above look OK, zoom in or check again when you get home. The bottom one looks awful on a computer (which is how more than half of your friends will see it)!
'Save Image' is your friend!
If you're looking at the Dropbox pics from a Messenger or Facebook link, the best way to get access to it, is to choose the square with an upward-facing arrow, and open in Safari. Once you are in Safari viewing the pic, you can tap the screen, hold your finger down and a 'Save Image' option will appear. 'Save Image' is your friend. Always look for 'Save Image'. This will get your beautiful new profile pic onto the Camera Roll and you're home and dry from there. Upload to Facey and all will be good.
'Why don't you just Facebook message it to me from the start?', you might ask. Even pics sent through Messenger are down-scaled in quality, so it will still undo our good work. Instagram is less of an issue, because the standard size is still 640 pixels square, so even a nasty iPhone 3 screen shot will not look too bad. But it will look shocking on FB - and you won't notice it until you're back home on your computer. Then, who wants to throw away all the 'likes' and do a re-upload... :)
Thank you for taking the time to listen to my rant, and for helping us show our work in the best way possible.
Shannon dropped by to have some portraits done and I took the opportunity to use a technique that I've been wanting to try for a while.
One of the usual limitations of working with studio lights is that sometimes they are a bit overpowering - as in there is a lot of light there, even on the lowest power setting. This means that we're typically working at quite narrow apertures - f7-f11 or so. Downside is that the depth of field is huge at those settings, so everything is in focus and you lose that smooth blur or 'bokeh' that gives portraits the dreamy look we love.
Just push up your shutter speed to 1/2000 sec or higher you might say? Unfortunately - for most cameras - strobes can only work (i.e. 'sync' with the strobe) at shutter speeds of lower than 1/250th sec. Our ISO is already down to 50, so we have no way of further limiting the light. Or do we....
A neutral density filter screws onto the front of the lens and essentially blocks out light in a controlled way. An ND2 filter will allow only half the light through, ND4 one quarter, etc. The high quality filters will block all colours of light equally with high optical accuracy, so no colour shifts or unwanted loss of sharpness.
A while back I bought a Hoya 3-400 Variable Density filter. As the name suggests, you can vary the density by twisting the end of the filter. Using the filter in the studio meant that I could drop my aperture from f8 down to f2.8 giving the result above.
It's going to take a bit of practice to use it, because at such shallow depth of field, the subject's eyes have to be on the same plane of distance from the camera to keep both in focus. On the other hand, you do want some of your subject to be in front and some behind of the in focus area to emphasise that effect. Sometimes I'll accept the eye farther away from the camera being a bit soft, but it's a balance. Just the same as it is using wide apertures in natural light. The same ND filter can be used outside of the studio when trying to balance flash and ambient light and maintain a shallow depth of field.
A different use of the ND filter altogether is when photographing landscapes with moving water. The ND will allow you to use very long shutter speeds (on a tripod of course) to get the soft, blurry 'candy floss' effect that the moving water leaves on a long exposure, whilst the environment is pin sharp.
The shallow depth of field in Shannon's portrait isn't that impressive but it's definitely better than at f8 for sure. Remember, the other two factors that determine depth of field are focal length of the lens and distance from photographer to subject. So to further emphasise I could have used a longer lens (this was at the 60mm length of my 24-70mm) and moved closer to the subject. Note that I also moved her away from the background to further ensure it would be out of focus. One final practical point is that if your studio isn't well lit, you might find it challenging to focus on your subject with the ND attached - it can be very dark through the viewfinder!
As a side note, moving her away from the background when using single flash source is a technique to change the background from white to grey. If you have enough room, a white background can be made to appear anything from pure white to black depending on how you light your subject.
Anna moved away a while ago, but came visiting the other weekend. We caught up for a quick shoot since it had been a couple of years. Numbers 2 and 4 natural light, the rest an Elinchrom Ranger fired through a Lastolite Mega Umbrella. Camera: Nikon D750. Lenses: Tamron 24-70 f2.8 Di VC with the strobe and Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art for the natural light.
I did some photos for Storm's portfolio this week. Although she's yet to hit her teen years, she's a bit of a photographer too and uses a Canon 5D. These here are her Mum Sarah's selects from our shoot.
Portfolio portrait shoot with Hannah. Impossible to take a photo without a smile! Get in touch if you would like some unique images captured.
Little Lola is an Italian greyhound.