Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Pictures

I've decided to take a few Christmas themed pictures over the next few weeks. I just recently got my tree up and decorated, so I took a bit of time one evening taking pictures of it with my fireplace roaring and a hot cup of tea. Here is the beginning....I hope to post a couple per week starting in December.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Camera Toys

Well, for a while now I've been reading a blog about photography and lighting. The main doctrine from the blog is that you pretty much never want to have your flash on your camera. You almost always want the light that you are taking pictures with to come from off camera. So, to do this you need a few things to make this work. And then after you get your flash firing off camera, there are a whole lot of things that you can do with the light to make it better. Way more than you ever thought was possible.

First, the blog I've been reading is Strobist.

The wireless gear you need to get your flash to fire at the exact right moment is very diverse. But basically there are three main options out there for wireless:
  1. Cheap wireless triggers from Ebay: cheap=unreliable and short distance.
  2. Expensive wireless triggers from Pocket Wizard: hardcore, rugged, bulletproof, and very expensive.
  3. Somewhat expensive RadioPoppers: a bit cumbersome to attach to your camera and flash, able to transmit camera information to the flash (ie how powerful the flash should be for the picture).
There are more options out there, and there are more products that will be coming to the market soon that will change some of this.

So, as you would expect, I ordered the cheap Ebay triggers and have had them for a while. Since I'm not making any money with photography, that's pretty much what I'm stuck with for now.

But I also wanted to have multiple light sources in my pictures to add some cool effects and fill in shadows from multiple angles. So I purchased a couple more used flashes on Ebay for $75 and $129. Cheap considering what a full price flash costs.

After a while of reading Strobist, a link comes up on his site for a seminar DVD that he has produced: 8 DVD's of footage with 4 of them being the seminar and 3 of them being example location shoots for different situations. Very cool. The first DVD, however, was a separate shooting where he explains all the gear he uses. The lighting gear isn't very expensive piece by piece, except when you add it all together. $25 here, $30 there....and you're up to $400 pretty quick. That's an extra car payment for me.

Anyways, I don't really have anyone to be accountable to for spending my money, so I ordered the stuff cause it's cool and it will be fun.

I haven't been able to spend much time using it all over the past week or so, but Tyler and I played around and got a few fun shots:

Bailey is good a posing. This is shooting a flash through an umbrella on a stand to the right.

You can see the edge of the umbrella here. It makes for a nice big light source which makes the light on Bailey nice and soft.

Here's a bit of the setup. Tyler is getting ready to take a picture, but I shot this picture first. The flash really lights up that umbrella!

Tyler trying to figure out how his con-founded Nikon camera works.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Figure this one out

Tyler is exempt from putting in his two bits because I already told him how I did this.

So take a look at the photo and let me know you're thoughts on how it was done. No photoshop was used. This picture is only cropped a bit; other than that, it is directly from the camera.