Thursday, January 28, 2010

Deca Photos

Chandra and Brianne are in the Deca program over at Kamiakin high school. They put together a marketing and merchandising proposal for a school project and used Greenies as their store of choice. It included a bicycle fashion show that highlighted organic clothing, and locally made jewelry. Here are few of the shots from yesterday. Good luck with the competition ladies!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Intro to Lighting - Gear

So here is a gear primer for those looking to get a bit more dynamic with their lighting.  Specifically we will look at using small flashes and light modifiers to get some great results.  In no way does this cover all of the possibilities out there, this is just what I (and many others) find to work well.  We will look at putting together a light weight and portable off camera flash kit.

Here are the basics you will need:


When looking for a flash try and find one that has manual control and external sync ports for hooking up to your remotes/receivers.  Since we are using these off camera, brand is really a non issue.  You can use Canon flashes with Nikons and vice versa.  I suggest getting older Nikon speedlights (SB-24, SB-26, 28, 80dx etc) that can be found used for around $100 because they have both of the features mentioned above.  No sense spending big bucks on a 580EX or SB900 when we won't be using half the features. (ettl and ittl)

If you get a SB-26, they will have a built in optical trigger.  Another, line of site triggering option.

Light Stand

I like the Wescott 8 foot stands.  You can find them on BH Photo for $34 a piece here. These fold down small and hold 5lbs. 

Umbrella Adapter

These are the interface between your flash and light stand.  $25 here.


I have both the white shoot through and silver reflective umbrellas, but tend to use the shoot through more.  You can find them here and here.  $19.50 each


Industry standard here are the Pocket Wizards  They transmit and receive up to 1600 feet and are rock solid.  And cost $169....each.  One for your camera, and one for each flash.

Yikes!  Luckily for us there are alternatives.

I've had great success with my RF 602's.  They trigger over 400 feet and I've never had one fail to fire (within those distances).  They are hot shoe adaptable so if your flash doesn't have the sync ports mentioned above, you can still trigger them!  How great is that!  And heres the kicker...the cost $58 for one transmitter and 2 receivers!!  So for less than half the cost of 1 pocket wizard you can be up and running with these gems and have cash left over to buy another flash...or two.  You can find these all over Ebay and come with cords specific to your camera.  They can remotely fire your shutter also.  I would suggest you get them from Amazon if you want to get them delivered in a timely fashion.

Next we'll look at other light modifiers and misc bits to keep you clicking!  Stay tuned....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rainy Fairlane

It was sunny and 48 today so I decided to drive the fairlane to work.  Of course it started raining later in the day.  Clicked a few tonight.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

How to - Clone yourself

Get twice as much done in a day by cloning yourself! 

Cliff notes.  Set camera on tripod, take 3-5 images and blend them together in photoshop.

Difficulty: Medium

Things you will need:

Image editing software (elements or photoshop suggested)

I am writing this up assuming you have a fairly decent knowledge of how to use your camera and photoshop (or other editing software)  If you have questions in the end, or this makes no sense what so ever, shoot me an email and I'll see if I cant confuse you even more....kidding....slightly.

1. Set up your camera on a tripod and compose your image. Taking some time with the set up and framing will really save you a lot of work in post production.  The idea is that the camera remains the same for each shot so we can blend them together later.

2. Figure out your exposure.  You will need to make sure it is the same in every frame.  An easy way to get your manual settings would be to shoot the scene in P or auto and then look at the aperture (fstop) and shutter speed that the camera came up with.  Switch to manual exposure mode and dial in those values.

3. Now get your focus locked and switch to manual focus.  You dont want the camera trying to refocus once you start shooting.

4.  If you are doing this by yourself, you will need to set the self timer. 5-10 seconds should do the trick. 

5.  Take a series of  photos doing different things.  Make sure you are careful not to overlap the images.

6.  Bring the set into photoshop and decide which image will be the base layer.  Then copy each of the other images onto the base.  If you 'select all' (cntrl a) and then 'paste' (cntrl v) each image onto the base, it will create a new layer.

7.  Now there are a couple ways to blend the images together.  You can erase the layers underneath (if you are using elements) to bring out the image below, or you can create a layer mask and paint back in the layer below.  You can create a layer mask by selcting the layer you want to work on and then clicking on the icon I have highlighted below.

Black takes away and white adds.  I prefer the layer mask method as I always seem to make mistakes.  So now just paint your self into the image.

Do this for each layer.  When you are done, compress all the layers by hitting cntrl, shift and E.

8. Have fun!

Have fun and post up your results in the comments!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Glass Block Portriats

We had a meeting with the local photography club tonight and the presentation was on lighting.  Along the back wall were some glass blocks that looked interesting so we set up a mini portrait session.  Heres a few. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A few from the coast

We went out to the coast to ring in the new year with family.  Lots of rain, but we had a blast.