Starry, Starry Night

Before going to bed last night, for some reason, I decided to step out on the back deck and see how nice it was outside.  It was definitely mild and I discovered that the stars were out and shining brightly.  This prompted me to try something that, up until last night, I had never tried before – photographing the stars!

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Creating a Sunny Window in studio

So I had this brain storm the other day, and I figured out a way to create the illusion of a bright sunny window where no window exists at all.  The following photo is the fruit of my labor, and the rest of the article explains how I created it.

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Creating a Rembrandt like still life

Last night I decided that I wanted to try to create a Rembrandt like still life photo using a few squash and apples… To set the scene, I placed an old eight sided table in the middle of my studio, and then ran the backdrop down the wall and then draped it over the table.  

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Exposure!!

I learned the mechanics of proper exposure many, many years ago – back before digital was even invented, back when I shot with film with my old Pentax K1000.  So when I picked up my first DSLR a few years ago, I was ahead of the game somewhat from most.  People are buying DSLR’s today, and really don’t know how to use them beyond Programmed Auto mode.  As a matter of fact, until recently, I still relied on one of the semi-auto modes myself when doing my photography.

For action photography, like barrel racing, I knew I needed a fast shutter speed to “freeze” the action. So I would use Shutter Priority mode on the camera (“S” on Nikons, and I believe “Tv” on Canons) and manually set the Shutter Speed to 1/500 of a second, and then let the camera automatically adjust the Aperture.

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Lighting!!

A few days ago I ordered, and received, two of each.

  • Yongnuo RF-603NII wireless transmitters and receivers;
  • Yongnuo YN560-III Speedlites (with built in wireless receivers compatible with the above RF-603’s);
  • BAVA Speedlite and Umbrella light stand mounts;
  • Westcott 43 inch Umbrellas.

This past Saturday I had a chance to try them out with Alyson at her home! I had previously booked a session on Saturday with Alyson, and I was going to use just my hot shoe mounted Nikon SB-800 Speedlight to do the job, but the arrival of the remote lighting gear presented an opportunity that I couldn’t resist! The timing couldn’t have been more perfect either because it was really dark that day. Heavy overcast and rain – so ambient light was minimal.
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Post Processing Portraits

“A portrait that is post processed properly, won’t look like it’s been post processed at all.”  

Ok, I confess, that’s my own quote. But I think it’s a great philosophy to follow regarding post processing photos – portraits in particular.

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