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An oldie from 2009 taken on a Canon 350D that I got super cheap because they were end of line and had been replaced by the 400D back in 2006!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!

Landskrona Stadshuset

The Landskrona Stadshuset, or in English simply the Landskrona City Hall, offices of the towns municipality, and very beautifully located overlooking part of the harbour.

4 Jun 2013

Fountain in Landskrona

In my ongoing quest to document everything worthy of photographing in Landskrona I now have this unusual fountain that stands in the middle of a roundabout at the intersection of Östergatan and Regeringsgatan.

3 Jun 2013

Landskrona Station

The Landskrona Station was opened in 2001 to replace the original station in town which is now used as a freight only station. The little metal flag on the top of the roof has the year 2000 on it which I assume means it was built in 2000. Both Pågatåg and Öresundtåg stop here providing easy transport links to pretty much anywhere in Sweden and to Denmark.

In the picture above a train is departing the station heading towards Helsingborg and leaving some nice light trails in it's wake.

1 Jun 2013

Cobblestone Street in Landskrona

I am really enjoying Landskrona, mainly because it is such a picturesque and historical little town. It is 600 years old now and much of the old architecture is still in great shape making for a very wonderful place for a photographer to live! ...or visit. If you are in Southern Sweden then please drop by for a fika, and I'll tell you how to get to all the really good spots!

As always a tripod is a must for this kind of photography, this exposure was 5 seconds long and no amount of VR is ever going to make that hand holdable.