31 Dec 2013

4 Steps to Improve your Christmas Light Photography

At this time of the year many towns have beautiful Christmas light displays and as photographers we naturally want to capture these as best we can. However, because the light is low it is not always possible to just go and shoot away on auto because the camera never gets the scene to look quite the way we really remember it at the time because human eyes are light years ahead of camera sensors and so what we see and what the camera captures is often less than satisfactory.

A lot of people will shoot bracketed shots and blend them in software to increase the range, but very often HDR images look really unnatural to me and not pleasing to the eye. There is also the problem of people walking around in the shot and causing multiple "ghosting". So what to do?

Well, the picture above was a single shot photograph and by following a few simple steps I managed to get the scene exactly the way I wanted.

1.) Be patient and wait for the light. Photography should never be rushed anyway, but it becomes even more important when we want to capture the light perfectly. I generally do not like to go out on a shoot together with anyone else because I always feel obligated and pressured to keep to a schedule when I am in a group. Photography is not a team sport! Wait until the light from the sky is balanced as closely as possible to the electric lights on the street in front of you for the best results. I normally find that I get the light I'm after about 20-30 minutes or so after sunset.

2.) Always use a tripod. As steady as you think you can handhold your camera, and as wonderful as your systems image stabilisation may be, you still cannot beat a tripod. Most folks just pump up the ISO and hand hold anyway, but even the best modern cameras will show noise of some sort or the other at even moderate settings. The best performance will always be at base ISO so why not go for the best? While you are at it you may as well get a decent sturdy tripod that will not shake in the wind.

3.) Shoot in RAW. The cameras RAW files always contain a LOT more information than shooting in jpeg and hoping for the best. Don't listen to the "internet experts" who claim that real photographers "get the settings right in camera" and therefore don't need to shoot RAW. I have news for them, real photographers do shoot RAW and for good reason. The dynamic range of light captured when using RAW is much greater than any jpeg can capture. Shoot RAW, you'll never be sorry that you did!

4.) Hone your post processing skills. In the days of film we would shoot away and then hand over our film to an expert at the processing lab who would do all the important stuff behind the scenes for us. In the digital age we have to become expert at every aspect of the photographic process unless we have the budget to hire someone to do the post processing for us. I generally recommend purchasing a decent program like DxO Optics Pro or Adobe Lightroom as they offer great options to extract the best from your RAW file and produce the kind of results that professionals the world over would be satisfied with. Then practice, practice, practice... and then practice some more. Maybe take a course, even an on-line course. Then practice some more. Decent post processing skills will take your photographs a large step further.

I hope that this short bit of advice will help you when you step out to capture all the pretty lights down town during this holiday season.

Here's wishing you great light, and a wonderful 2014!


30 Dec 2013

In the Aftermath of Storm Sven

Storm Sven swept through Southern Sweden at the beginning of December and the damage can still be seen along the coastline.

27 Dec 2013

Discarded Blue Rope

...because old, worn and decaying can be beautiful!

Landskrona Citadel Panorama - Stitched with MS ICE

I decided to use Microsoft's Image Composite Editor (ICE) program to create a panorama of the Landskrona Citadel and if the first attempt is anything to go by then it is a very competent panorama stitching program. It is simple and just works, but fortunately has all the needed adjustment tools to get the final image just the way you want it.

It's also free. Nothing beats free. You can download it HERE.

And it's free...

13 Dec 2013

NEWS: Photographer Wins $1.2 Million Lawsuit Over Images Taken From Twitter

From Mashable.com:

Photographer Wins $1.2 Million Lawsuit Over Images Taken From Twitter

With an endless amount of photos floating around on Twitter, it's easy to find images of almost anything. But this large social-media bank of seemingly free-to-share photos can also lead to issues regarding ownership and copyright infringement.

A New York jury delivered a landmark decision on Friday when it sided with freelance photographer Daniel Morel after he sued Getty Images and Agence France-Presse for using photos that he posted on Twitter without his permission. Morel won $1.2 million for the unauthorized use of his images.

Click here to read more.

6 Dec 2013

Hamba Kahle Tata Madiba

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
- Nelson Mandela

2 Nov 2013

Continuing with the wine theme...

Photograph of a 1978 Castillo San Simon wine from Spain. Not opening this one. Maybe someday...

Two Nikon speedlights, one gridded and one snooted, on light stands and fired by a Phottix Strato wireless trigger system. Bunch of stuff from the kitchen for decor. Edited in Adobe Lightroom 4.

26 Oct 2013

Photographing a Vintage Wine in it's Natural Environment!

So this evening I photographed a 1990 Chateau Grangeneuve, which is a smooth red wine from Bordeaux and it was paired with tasty spiced and grilled pork chops with a dollop of delicious potato salad! The best part about photographing wine and food is consuming it afterward. It was delicious!

I used two speedlights to create the atmosphere I was after, a gridded sb600 from camera left at 1/64 power and a snooted sb700 from camera right set to 1/32 output. This combined to provide a nice intimate scene full of warm nourishing flavours and mouth watering grilled aromas. The camera was at 1/200s, f3.2, ISO 200, slightly warm flash white balance and RAW, always RAW. Speedlights were triggered via a cheap but reliable Phottix Strato wireless trigger system.

Mmm, another glass of wine anyone?

Photographing Artwork with the NIKKOR AF-S DX Micro 40mm f/2.8G

While the NIKKOR AF-S DX Micro 40mm f/2.8G may not be the ideal macro lens because of it's too short focal length it never-the-less certainly is a wonderful lens with tack sharp distortion free optics that are unrivaled at the price. Therefore it makes for a fantastic lens to photograph artworks like the painting below by talented local artist Birgitte Clark (who also happens to be my wife):

Here is a 100% crop from the painting:

22 Oct 2013

What on earth does a "grid" actually do?

I was asked recently what the purpose of a grid is on a flash, and while I can explain it easily enough a picture speaks a thousand words so here are about four thousand words worth in pictures! (...and a little text)

First up a flash firing directly at a wall (with a framed drawing hanging on the wall) without any attachments whatsoever:

As expected there is a large spread of light across the entire wall in front of the flash. The flash is set to 35mm.

Next up the exact same shot but with a grid attached to the front of the flash:

20 Oct 2013

Outdoor Portraits on a Grey Autumn Day in Sweden

Autumn in Sweden is a dull overcast cold and damp affair as the season changes from glorious Swedish summer to beautiful Swedish winter and aside from a few lovely sunny days when the colours come alive it generally isn't great weather for photography... or is it? I went out to take some portraits yesterday and I figured that the dim light combined with autumn enhanced trees would make for a nice environmental setting to utilise as a backdrop.

In order to make the subjects stand out from the dreary autumn background I took along one of my trusty speedlights, a long pole and a shoot through umbrella. This makes for a very simple outdoor lighting setup but please note that you will need an assistant to help you with that long pole or you could drive yourself insane trying to keep control of the light and camera at the same time. The pull back shot looks like this:

14 Oct 2013

I think in FOV therefore I'm a photographer!

It's a funny thing being a photographer because I find that everywhere I go I see photographs I want to take. The worst part of it is that I tend to see everything in a "normal" FOV (field of view) which is not so unusual because my eyes just naturally see a, um, normal FOV. I say the worst thing, but of course that is actually a good thing because I can pick up my camera and get a bunch of pics really quickly without having to think a whole lot about it as it just comes naturally. The bad part is that when I don't have a camera with me I still find myself seeing the shots, and not being able to take them which leads to regret about not carrying my camera with me more and then I get home p-eed off with myself because I missed that shot of the double rainbow over the sundrenched city with dark stormclouds in the background that I will never ever see again!

12 Oct 2013

Direct Flash vs Bounced Flash

I am often asked by people how they can improve their photography or which camera they should buy to take better photographs. My advice is always the same, if you already have a dslr then you don't need a "better" camera or lens. There are many skills you can learn to improve your photography, some complicated, but most as simple as riding a bicycle.

One of the simplest ways to improve a photograph is to learn how to use light properly and there are several simple techniques with an on camera flash that will step up your game and produce much better quality photos. For instance, I am always amazed by how something as simple as bouncing a flash off a wall can improve a photograph by 100%.

11 Oct 2013

Samsung S3 mini pics - no wonder traditional style camera sales are down

Every now and then I see something and I want to photograph it but I don't have my camera with me. At these times I naturally pull out the camera I have in my pocket all the time, my Samsung S3 mini, and take a few snaps. When I have done this and I finally get to view the pics on my computer screen at home I am normally amazed by how far cell phone cameras have come and it sinks in again just why the camera companies are reporting a slump in sales and smartphone manufacturers are booming! Take a look at these snaps of some autumn foliage I took today on my way home. I edited them in the very handy Snapseed program on the phone before sending them to my computer where I simply resized and branded them before posting.

All Alone in the Night - Time-lapse footage of the Earth as seen from th...

This really has to be watched in HD and fullscreen in order to fully appreciate this truly awesome time lapse photography video at it best.

9 Oct 2013

Portrait with Nikon AF-S 35mm f1.8G DX

If you want a very cheap but excellent quality "normal" lens for your crop sensor Nikon camera then I highly recommend the Nikon AF-S 35mm f1.8G DX. Here you have a lightweight and handy piece of glass that is sharp all the way from f1.8 but will not break the bank. I like to use it for anything from portraits to landscapes and it never lets me down in terms of image quality.

Since I bought it the second cheapest of Nikon's lens lineup has almost always been on my camera and sees more use than any other lens I own. No zoom? Who cares, at the price it outperforms every other Nikon lens ever made at simple IQ per $! Zoom by walking back and forth, the exercise will do you a lot of good... ;-)

7 Oct 2013

More from Inside the Spooky Crypt!

Another from the crypt beneath the Domkyrkan in Lund. If you are ever in the area it really is worth spending a couple of hours in there with your camera and a tripod.

Getting creative with the white balance slider got me closer to the effect I was really after!

1 Oct 2013

Spectacular Scandinavian Sunset

With so many people all over the world raving on about African sunsets and how wonderful they are we tend to forget that other parts of the world also have beautiful sunsets. I am currently living in Southern Sweden and in the now almost two years that I have been here I can tell you that even these northern climes produce awesomely beautiful sunsets, maybe just not as regularly. Take the photo below for instance, taken in a small town called Lomma at the river right by the start of the harbour just where the bridge crosses over with some shiny new apartment blocks on the other side. Scandinavian light can be wonderfully soft and pastel like, and lasts for a whole lot longer than the beautiful but abrupt African sunsets from my home country.

Moral of the story is that you don't need to travel all the way to Africa, or some other exotic location, to photograph beautiful sunsets. All you need to do is get out with your camera more regularly and take many more photographs because beauty exists everywhere if you take the time to find it!

21 Sept 2013

DxO FilmPack 3 Essential - Tested

This morning I posted a link to the DxO website where they were offering a free license for DxO FilmPack 3 Essential. Since then I installed it and in use it looks like this:

Screen Shot of DxO FilmPack 3 Essential in use.

It is very easy to use and does what it is advertised to do. It makes digital photographs emulate various types of film, and it does it quickly and with the minimum of fuss. The film purists will no doubt scoff and say that none of these look anything like the results you can get from simply using real film and having it processed the original way. I agree. I also think real film has a look of it's own and the results from programs like this don't quite match up... but then these sort of programs are also simpler, faster, and cheaper than shooting film in our modern world. This topic can lead in a whole other direction very quickly, so I will leave it at that and move quickly on by showing what DxO FilmPack 3 Essential can do.

Free License of DxO FilmPack 3 Essential

I have never used DxO FilmPack 3, but if it's as good as the very excellent DxO Optic Pro which I use every single day then it is probably very good. What makes it even better is that in some kind of deal between Sony and DxO they have made DxO FilmPack 3 Essential available as a free download. Mine is downloading as I type so if you are interested (and lets face it who isn't interested in FREE?) click on the ad below to go directly to the download page.

There is a time limit to this offer, so do not delay, get DxO FilmPack 3 Essential today!

15 Sept 2013

Good Bye Summer!

With the advent of autumn the "lazy hazy crazy days of summer" are finally gone until next year. I will miss the long warm Scandinavian evenings of cycling along the coast and sipping beer on the patio while sunset lingers on seemingly forever.

Now roll on the magical snow filled "winter wonderland" instead!

Life is good!

14 Sept 2013

This "painting" was sold for $43,845,000

I think this is a deeply thought out piece of critique on the social imbalances prevailing in our modern society which lingers between threats of war and a Utopian vision of peace that seems so elusive to us all in the short term.

The skilled strokes of the artist are resplendent in metaphors of righteous indignation steeled by cold hard reality as the faint chant of the disappointed mass of humanity cries for the right to a new and brave world of integrity amongst the political elite whose subversion of basic human rights and mores is anathema to the objectives we all yearn and long for like a fish longs for the cool refreshing waters unpolluted by man!

The uneven shades and streaky brush strokes hail to an incompleteness in every human heart as we bemoan the fact that indeed our own lives are severely lacking in the sort of spiritual completeness that used to define us as a species many years hence. Will we find joy in our meaningless existence once more or are we doomed to a life of increasing frailty, overshadowed by the dark side of our incomplete and unloved psyche?

"How long?", cries the artists voice from the deep empty darkness that defines the world of modern art, "How long before I can cash my cheque?"

11 Sept 2013

Mixed Light Sources - Window Light with Speedlight for a Quick Portrait

Recently I took the above portrait in the lounge of a private home. I used a blank white wall as a plain background, light from the open window provided the strong side light and background light, and a camera mounted sb700 pointed into the corner of the ceiling and wall behind me provided the main light. All in all it worked out quite well for a "high key" type portrait.

I shot this with my now favourite portrait lens, the AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G on the D300s.

2 Sept 2013

Three Bottles of Campari on a Seamless White Background

Nikon D300s, Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8 G, f/11.0, 1/160s, ISO 200, 1x Elinchrom D-Lite-it 2, 2x  Elinchrom D-Lite-it 4, 1x Large Sheet of White Cardstock, 2x Long Narrow Strips of Black Cardstock on each side of product, 1x Sheet of Clear Glass.

21 Aug 2013

The Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-S G is my new Favourite Portrait Lens!

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while would have noticed that I really like the Nikon 50mm F1.8D on DX camera as a portrait lens, in fact it was my "go to" lens for several years when I needed to take portrait photos. This portrait was taken with the 50mm. I have not changed my opinion that the "nifty fifty" is a really nice lens for portraits, but the designation of "favourite" has now been reassigned to the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-S G!

After several months of use I can say with full confidence that I highly recommend it as a head and shoulders portrait lens. The quality of the out of focus areas is sublime, and is only bettered by lenses costing at least two or three times as much. (The 50mm f1.8D is 4x cheaper than this 85mm, so if you are on a tighter budget then it still ranks right up there!)

The pic shown here is taken at f8.0 (on a Nikon D300s) and the background is still pleasingly blurred while beautifully sharp on the subject which isolates the subject from the background very nicely, thank you very much!

If you are from Malmö in Southern Sweden, then I highly recommend you get your own copy from Scandinavian Photo. They have it listed here: Nikon AF 85/1,8G AF-S Please note, I am not employed by or paid by Scandinavian Photo, but when I get great and friendly service from a company then I love to tell my friends about it! Tell them I sent you. :^)

16 Aug 2013

Is the Decline of Camera Sales Good For Photographers?

I have read a lot lately about the declining sales of dslr and mirrorless cameras in favour of phone cameras that have boomed onto the markets in an undeniable fashion. Apparently the major camera manufacturers are scrambling to revise their targets and adjust their production and bottom lines to better reflect the current market trend. I predict that this trend will continue and that we will see a partial return to pre digital camera times when Joe Public carried small, easily portable cameras and the big cameras were left to "pros" and serious amateurs.

The cameras embedded into every smartphone are now good enough to produce nice results for the average person to get acceptable photographs without having to take an expensive course and be able to directly load the results to Facebook, Blogger, etc. Convenience always wins with the consumer public majority!

Could I now also predict a possible upturn for photography as a profession as more people decide that they would rather have a pro with a big camera take their wedding photos than Uncle John with his shiny new camera that has detachable lenses and a big flash simply because Uncle John ditched the inconvenient to carry around and use camera and now only has a Samsung S4 instead?

My theory is that as fewer people have dslr's they will come to rely on someone else, possibly the local high street professional, for their serious photography needs again. I surmise that this transition will take time to become apparent because it takes a while for these things to trickle through, but maybe the pendulum has peaked to the top of it's swing and is about to swing back.

Anybody fancy a quick look into their crystal ball and see if I'm right, or if maybe I'm just a hopeful dreamer? Haha!

Meanwhile back on Planet Earth...

15 Aug 2013

Downtown Fredensborg - Deserted

Taken at 23:03 at night and totally deserted it's almost eerie, but great for taking photographs. At this time of night there was still enough light in the sky to balance nicely with the street lights and end up with a single shot containing a wide gamut of fairly even exposure. This sort of photography always requires a tripod as we have to deal with longish exposures and hand holding is impossible without getting a blurry and unusable photo. Tripod = sharp and clear. Get a good sturdy tripod, it'll do wonders for your photographs!

Most people shoot until the sun goes down and then they head indoors for dinner. I try to hang around for an hour or two (or more) after sunset to get this sort of light. It can make for long, cold, hungry evenings, but it gets pictures that very few people are willing or able to take simply because they lack the dedication and commitment to suffer a little inconvenience to get the photo they really want. But then maybe I'm a little too obsessive about these things? ;-)

Nikon D300s, Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR, sturdy tripod, remote trigger, f10.0, 13.0s, 18mm, VR off, ISO 200, Auto White Balance, Matrix Metering, Aperture Priority, quick run through Dx0 Optics Pro 8, and then some adjustments in the curves tool of PSP X5.

5 Aug 2013

Using the Sun as part of your Lighting Setup

I like to treat the Sun as an integral part of my outdoor lighting setups to add depth, warmth and ambiance to my subject. In this instance we were shooting some portraits down at the beach in Landskrona and the setting sun was giving a beautifully soft and warm light that was just perfect for portraits!

The light from the Sun is coming from near the horizon to camera right and I also have a Nikon sb700 on a pole shooting through a smallish brolly to camera left and a little above the subject. I had my assistant holding the flash and I let the Sun take care of itself. ;-)

Nikon D300s, Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8 G, 1/320s, f2.8, ISO 200, flash triggered via Nikons wonderful CLS wireless triggering system, hand held.

3 Aug 2013

Portrait on a Bridge

Nikon sb700 Speedlight on a pole shooting through a smallish Elinchrom shoot through umbrella to camera left and triggered via Nikon's super CLS wireless trigger system. Nikon D90 on manual mode at 1/60s, f7.1, ISO 200, handheld, with the wonderful Nikkor AFS 35mm DX f1.8 lens attached.

Taken on a bridge over the moat at the Landskrona Citadel shortly after sunset.

22 Jul 2013

Portraits are about People!

I know it seems a rather obvious statement, but if you are going to make portrait photography your speciality, then the most important skill is not whether you have mastered the convoluted workings of a modern camera, or if indeed you have a really great "top of the range" piece of high megapixel wizardry, or if your lens can outresolve even the best that aliens on another (more advanced) planet may or may not have. It doesn't even matter if you have the best software that money can buy, or indeed rent, and have taken all the right courses, purchased all the right plugins, and know all the right scripts that a (sometimes dodgy) education can buy. Heck, it doesn't even matter if you can ride a unicycle! What does matter is your people skills!

10 Jul 2013

The (almost) Eastern corner of the Landskrona Citadel

After posting a few low-light/night shots of the Landskrona Citadel I decided to post one of it during the day, and what a beautiful Swedish summer day it was!

8 Jul 2013

Waterfront at Lake Esrum in Denmark

I still haven't got used to the extremely long summer evenings in Scandinavia, despite having been here for over a year now. This is my second summer in these northern countries and the beautiful lingering light still appears miraculous to me after a lifetime of the abrupt sunsets that characterise the evenings in Southern Africa. This particular photograph of the waterfront at Lake Esrum was taken at 20.03pm, and there was still another hour of useable light for a fruitful and fulfilling photowalk that splendid Danish summer "magic hour".

Livet är mycket bra!

4 Jul 2013

Beautiful Studebaker at the southernmost tip of Sweden

I came across this beautiful Studebaker while visiting Smygehuk, Sweden's southernmost point. A few minutes later an old guy who looked like he may have bought the car brand new ;-) came over, got in and started it up. Started first turn, no smoking, sputtering or fuss ...and what a truly beautiful nose this car has!

1 Jul 2013

Jetty on Lake Esrum in Denmark

I have photographed this jetty before, but never in a beautiful pastel painterly sunset like this!

Fredensborg is one of my favourite places in Scandinavia, and Lake Esrum is down past the palace a couple of kilometers or so from the town center. It is a beautiful walk through a forested area interspersed with parkland from the palace and then the beautiful lake is the cherry on the top.

Life is good!

20 Jun 2013

Lake Esrum Sunset

I don't often venture into the world of HDR, but when I am faced with a huge lighting challenge like the one in the scene above there really is no other way to get the full dynamic range on offer. If I exposed for the setting sun the boat in the foreground was diminished to murky blacks and greys, and if I exposed for the foreground the sunset became a wash of blown out highlights. Cue bracketing function on camera, roll on Photomatix (I never upgraded from version 3!) tweak in PSP X5, and voila! A simple exposure blend is enough for me, I try to keep these looking as natural as possible given the circumstances because overworked HDR is an abomination to behold... at least to me.

17 Jun 2013

Campari on Ice - another three light product photograph

Same basic lighting set-up as the photograph in the previous post.

Four Light Product Photo of Baileys' Liqueur

A (reasonably) simple three light product shot of a bottle of Baileys' Liqueur. But how to set up the lights to get this effect? Answer below the photograph of the very yummy Baileys'.

The rim highlight you see on the edge of the bottle is from two strip lights behind the subject, one on either side and about 10" out from each side.

13 Jun 2013

Konstruktor DIY Kit from Lomography

This looks like a fun project, and could be just the thing to while away a few hours on something creative with the added bonus of having a cool Lomographic style camera at the end. Could be a good conversation starter for the lounge as well.

Konstruktor DIY Kit

Take your analogue DIY experience to the extreme and build your own 35mm plastic SLR camera with this kit.

Victoria Falls - from a long obsolete camera!

An oldie from 2009 taken on a Canon 350D that I got super cheap because they were end of line and had been replaced by the 400D back in 2006! I took it with me on a trip to Zambia and got some great photographs from the old 8 megapixel obsolete relic. ;-)

This pic is of the Victoria Falls taken from the Zambian side looking towards the setting sun. It was the rainy season and the Zambezi was in flood making for a very spectacular flow of water over the falls and the "smoke" plume (water mist/spray) that can be seen from many kilometers away. The locals call these falls Mosi-oa-Tunya "the Smoke that Thunders". David Livingstone renamed it after Queen Victoria when he finally got there.

I still have the 350D but these days it mostly just sits in a drawer in my office. I have been trying to decide what to do with it as it is a pity to have such a wonderful camera just gathering dust. What would you do with it? Any great ideas how I can put it back into use? Be creative!

9 Jun 2013

Slow Shutter Speeds with Studio Flash for Ambient Colour and Mood

By combining a slow shutter speed and studio flash I was able to get the nice warm ambient glow of the candle falling on the scene as well as the lighting effect of the studio lights. The shutter speed was a very leisurely 4.0 seconds and the Elinchrom flashes fired at the beginning of the exposure. The Elinchroms are providing light on the label of the olive oil bottle (snoot), some fill and highlights (softboxes).

At a shutter speed of 1/200 of a second the mood and warmth is completely lost:

Doesn't really work for me the way the first one does...

And lastly, a slow shutter speed shot with all the studio lights switched off:

Olympus Trip 35 Hero Shot

I haven't been able to use my Olympus Trip 35 for over a year now just simply because I cannot find anywhere in Southern Sweden to process film. If anybody knows of a good lab please let me know, I really miss shooting my Trip... but at least I can shoot pictures of my Trip!

Here is a typical camera "hero" shot of my beautiful Olympus Trip 35 complete with authentic period Olympus Pen flash attached. The flash has a few small bits missing but that's ok, the pic looks great with it on. ;-)


Oooooh! Aaaah! *Spontaneous applause*

"Why thank you, thank you very much!"

Five Bottles of Wine - on Black

With studio lighting anything you imagine is possible. Best investment I ever made!

Some good advice, if you want to improve your photography then another camera, or some other lens is not going to do it. Rather invest time in learning how to light your subject better, I guarantee that will have a major impact on the quality of your photos, much more than another high priced f2.8 zoom ever will. The temptation is always to get that new specced dslr with the more megapixels and higher frame rate, or that new VR version of the same lens you already have, but unless you change the way you light you are wasting your money. Next time you have bucks to blow, go get a speedlight instead, or a nice softbox, wireless triggers, light stands, umbrellas, heck just about anything but yet another camera body. Be strong, resist GAS, you can do it! ;-)

8 Jun 2013

Mmmmm, beer! - Lighting is in Layers.

I like to think of setting up lighting as adding a series of carefully thought out layers. I normally start out with a background, work out the lighting for it and then slowly add layers until I match the vision I had in my minds eye for the particular subject.

Here is a final shot of a glass of beer and the can and then I will show the various "layers" of light as I added them in my quest for this photograph:

Snooting a Snoot is very snooty indeed!

Had to snoot my snoot today to get the shaft of light exiting the front a little more tight and controlled to highlight a label on a wine bottle. Here is the snooted snoot:

Piece of cardboard from a recent tent purchase (not a light tent, the camping kind) with a round hole cut in and a toilet paper roll cardboard tube stuck in the hole tightly. All taped on with some masking tape. Worked. No more to say.

And here is the result, well two of them really, one with a white background and one with a black background:

6 Jun 2013

Three Light Product Photography Tutorial

Today I have a quick and simple "how to" on putting together a nice slightly low key product shot with three lights. Here is the final result and then I will go through the steps on how to build the lighting to get this photograph:

5 Jun 2013

How Colour Can Change (Quite Dramatically) from Day to Night

Just a quick comparison between a photograph of the same subject taken several hours apart, with the first in all natural light and the second at night with mixed artificial light sources. First up, daytime:

Very nice light coming from the setting sun and giving a very pleasing and (at least to me) quite interesting quality of light. And now for the night shot:

Very different photograph, despite being of the same subject from just about the same angle. Which one is better? Well that is a very subjective answer and one that will undoubtedly elicit a very different response from whoever is asked. Flavour to taste I always say, sometimes I like mayonnaise and other days I like tomato sauce, but neither is better or worse. Today I choose the night shot, next week it may well be the day shot... or I might hate them both and prefer a Black and white!