Thursday, 25 February 2010

My Rose of Tralee

My Rose of Tralee is Catherine... if I say red shoes, you know who I mean... Catherine was born in Tralee and left it to follow her dream and mine...
Catherine #1
This is a shot of Catherine lit with two lights; an SB 800 to camera right in a silver reflector umbrella and a Vivitar 285 behind her to give the hairlight. The shot as you see it is almost exactly as it was out of the camera.

Catherine #2, straight out of the camera
I changed the photograph from colour to black and white and darkened the background just a tad. This is a simple technique that gives a very stylized effect. I first set the camera onto its max sync speed of 1/250th, chose an f-stop of 5.6 at ISO 100 and took a shot of the room. It was almost pitch black. I knew then that I could 'paint' back in the light I wanted to give me the low key, dramatic film noir effect. I set the SB 800 to shoot into a half closed silver umbrella. With the umbrella closed down I was able, more or less, to control the spillage of light into the room.

But I wasn't pleased with that alone, so I added a Vivitar 285 with a gridspot on it directly behind Catherine to highlight her hair. Both flashes were set to about 1/2 or 1/4 power and tweaked to get the result. I always try to keep the flash at a low power as the recycle times are quicker. And I have the added disadvantage of the Vivitar, being an older (and original) model; it's recycle time is slower yet.

There is a second technique to the final photograph here; the extended black background.

the same shot with the canvas extended

The first thing I did was increase the canvas width to equal the image height. In Photoshop, I did this on a separate layer. It is then a simple matter to use the eyedropper tool to sample a piece of the colour immediately adjacent to the edge of the photograph and then dump that colour into the blank canvas area.
My good friend, Glyn, explains this technique excellently here... in a cool video, check out his amazing new blog while you are there...

Here are a few more shots from the shoot...
Catherine #3
Catherine #4
Catherine #5
A big thanks to Catherine, the perfect model.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Ben and Faye

This is Ben and Faye, a wonderful (and very good looking) model partnership to work with.

Ben + Faye #1
Taken at the fantastic Ashton Court Mansion in Bristol, these two shots were with a simple set-up that gives good results every time.
In the first shot I used my favourite linear set-up; an SB800 in a shoot-through umbrella top camera left and a Vivitar 285, gridded to camera right. Firstly, I all but killed the ambient light. Then I added in the SB800 which 'became' the ambient. Next I added the 285 which gave the rim light to Ben, because it was gridded, its effect had diminished by the time it reached Faye, because I didn't want a hard rim light on her softer features.

Ben + Faye #2
The second shot was even easier; one SB800 in a shoot through umbrella to camera right. Here I did want the ambient light to be evident; to show part of the grounds outside. The umbrella was positioned to give just enough bounce back to fill in the shadows on Ben and Fayes to the left side. The ornate stonework to the window and the beautiful timber joinery frame a wonderful couple.

The flashguns were set at 1/2 and 1/4 power and the aperture tweaked as I needed to. my camera, a D200, was set to 1/250, the max sync speed. I usually start at 1/250 at f5.6, ISO 100 and go from there.

A big thanks to Ben and Faye for being fantastic models and good luck in the future.

Monday, 8 February 2010

New Blog...

It is exciting times! I now have another blog,, that will feature all the things I miss and love about my native Ireland as told in the photographs I have taken over that last too many years and those that I have not yet taken.

Do click the link on the right and drop in and be sure to let me know what you think. All photographs are available for purchase, just drop me a line and we can sort something out.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Project 52 ... 48

This is Robert. Robert has been with us since last Autumn and has fitted into the dynamics of the office very well and is very much part of the team (you can always tell someone has settled in when they let out the occasional expletive...).
D200, Tamron 17 - 50 f2.8, SB800 to camera right, bare flash
Rober commutes to Windsor (thats the castle in the background) from Salisbury. What a long way I hear you cry... his last job was in Jersey!

Harsh sunlight in the middle of the day was an issue (the approaching Squaddies weren't, thank God!); we only had a few minutes at lunchtime to take the shot. I had an SB800 to camera right on a stand at full power, I dropped the ambient about a stop and a half and then lit Robert with the flash head zoomed to 105mm.

Thanks Robert ... and that completes the office portraits...

I have only three portraits left to take and then myself as the last; a self portrait. I am behind as I had wanted to get all the shots completed in the year. But due to a variety of circumstances; Christmas, snow, illness, I am quite a bit behind. But the important thing is to stay focused and get the job done.

Friday, 5 February 2010

A Glimpse of Infinity..

A new year has started, we are one month into to it already - time flies, new projects, new ideas and a website are in the making. Many years ago I started out a photography blog called 'A Glimpse of Infinity', but never kept it up. I was a film user at the time and it was expensive to feed the habit. Digital seduced me, big time.

its all change now. And the start of it is the header of this blog. A Glimpse of Infinity is reborn and with it will come something new and exciting. This is what photography is all about for me; looking for something different, shooting people in a different way, different places, different ideas. I am going to be pushing these ideas this year.

Do let me know what you think of the new header and watch this space for details of the year to come. I can say that there is a shoot at Brooklands Motor Museum coming soon, which should be very exciting.

Thanks for reading,