Friday, May 14, 2010

Buon Apettito

Last September, Teresa and I attended a friends retirement from a company we all were employed, at one time or another.  She decided it was time to pursue something she was passionate about and open a Deli and Cafe.  Fast forward six months and now she wants some Marketing material for both print and web.  She asked if I would  come up for the day and take some photos of food, the space, patrons, and family.  It's a five hour drive from Bakersfield to Petaluma and is mostly flat and boring for four hours until you hit the Bay Area and then it get's really beautiful.

We arrived at Noon and set-up to shoot inside, with her huge front windows facing Southwest, we had some excellent natural light pouring in through the windows.  A majority of the shots were done with a reflector and a few with a single strobe and a 1/4 CTG gel to combat the fluorescent lights.  The main image above was done with an SB-900 in 15 x 15 RPS Studio softbox camera left and a silver reflector just out of frame camera right.

We shot about 400 images that included images of patrons, the deli case, aisles, food,, etc..., but what did I learn? Have a "game" plan - It probably would have gone smoother if we had planned out all the shots we needed.

It was great having Teresa and Jennifer there to help me re-arrange the food, tables and even hold equipment.  After the shoot we ate the Lasagna and all the other delicious food she made.

It was nice to see her Deli busy with customers, and to spend time chatting with friends and acquaintances, and That's A Wrap!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Comfort Zone

I've been looking at George Hurrell's work and trying to figure out his lighting technique; easier said than done.  I'm told he used a lot of spotlights that can be focused and narrowed, with hard shadows.  A lot of my light modifying equipment is meant for softer shadows, but I figured I'd try to emulate his lighting style.  This is my first attempt and learned a lot.  Mostly used strobes with grids and barndoors.  Total of three lights, key, fill and accent was used.  The accent light was boomed  and setup behind the model.

This image of Drew is using the same lighting set-up, but as you can see, the shadows are soft.  I spoke with a photographer who is familiar with this type of lighting and I think I've got it almost nailed down.  Anyway, hopefully I'll have a chance to do an experimental shoot.

What Did I Learn?

Keep playing with light, especially when you feel like throwing your arms up in the air and kicking inanimate objects. LOL

Thank goodness this is a hobby and not my job, I don't take any setbacks too seriously and know it is always good to challenge yourself.  So you may have to put up with some dicey photos, but then again my initial Strobist stuff was really crappy.

Keep shooting, learning and raising the bar to battle complacency!!!   That's A Wrap!!!

Happy Trails to You

After three months of scheduling conflicts Jenna and I finally got to shoot together, again.  We've been alternating between Studio and On Location work and this time it was an "On Location" shoot in her lovely town of Porterville.  The theme was appropriate for our neck o' the woods, Country.  Jenna has a girlfriend whose parents own a pretty large piece of property in Porterville.  Large enough that they have several structures that look like Old West establishments and even a Horse named Patches.

In contrast to Studio work, On Location work provides for numerous background opportunities, but also numerous challenges.  I have never seen this location and only had to take Jenna's word that it would work for our shoot.  We arrived at the location by 3:00 PM and began looking at all the areas to shoot.  The weather was perfect; sunny and cool and a real slight breeze.  I brought my Nikon Speedlights, some HONL and RPS Studio modifiers and my California Sunbounce.  These two shots were shot using only the Sunbounce.  We also did some shots with a horse that was quite the challenge, but hey digital allows you to keep shooting until your get the right image, right?

As the sun began to set, it was time for the speedlights and some more fun.  This shots was was done with a SB-900 in a 42" Octabox and 1/4 CTO Gel.  The background light is an SB-600 with a blue gel.  All in all a fun shoot, which had it's challenges.
What did I learn?
Scope Out the Area is probably the most important lesson for this shoot.  It was definitely a fun place to shoot, but if I had the time, I would have arrived a day earlier and moved stuff around

Going forward, I'm changing my shooting sessions by really setting up a theme and coming up with some preconceived shots instead of  the ad-hoc kind of stuff that I've been doing.  It probably won't make me popular with the models, but I really need to raise my photography to the next level.   Maybe I'm just tired of the boring glamour crap I've been shooting.  This shot with Jenna and Christene was taken with my Rolleiflex and an SB-900 camera right.

I'm actually writing this basically three weeks after the shoot and after two other sessions, so the next two entries will be quick, but hopefully interesting.  Cheers and That's A Wrap!!!