Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Hat Trick

For those that don't follow Hockey, a "Hat Trick" is when a player scores three goals in a hockey game, and for me this past week I had three shoots in a three-day period.  It started when I volunteered to provide my photographic services for a hospital's fund-raising project on Thursday, July 22.  Since I was included in the project I cannot disclose the name of the Hospital until the images are published.  What I can tell you is that I shot from midnight until 6:00 AM on July 22, and had an experience I won't soon forget.

On Saturday, July 24, I participated in the Third Annual Scott Kelby Photowalk.  Last year I attended the Photowalk in Paso Robles, but this time one of my photographer friends decided to register as a walk leader for Bakersfield.  The walk was scheduled to commence at 6:30 AM and would last for two hours in an attempt to beat the heat.  For "TheWalk" I limited myself to a 50mm Prime Lens, an SB-900 Speedlight (Flash) and my HOLGA 120 Film camera.  One of the Highlights of "The Walk" was meeting two FLICKR friends: Steve and Sandy, I really respect their Landscape images and overall photographic skills.

Barbara had mapped out a route to take the participants through most of downtown, but being a separatist, I decided to take a group of ten participants on another journey of back alleys and paths less traveled. Overall it was a fun experience and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.  Hopefully we'll have another one nearby next year.  Although I'd like to participate in one elsewhere, too. 

As we were wrapping up the Photowalk, I noticed it was 9:00 AM and my model shoot was scheduled for 10:00 AM.  Fortunately the model was running late so I was able to get everything set-up and  honed in.  I purchased two Paul C. Buff strip boxes and this would be the first time I would have to test them out.  Also I was working with a new model, so that always makes it challenging. 

We shot for two hours and four wardrobes , but I kept the same Thunder Grey Seamless paper.  I used mostly three lights, two in the strip boxes and the Beauty Dish for three of the shots. For the fourth shot, I used three gridded strobes and barndoors to mimic Hollywood lighting, but I really needed to use a fourth light for fill.  I think I'll get it the next time, which will be August 7 or August 8.

So what did I learn?  Since this was studio work, not much except I need one more light for fill.  I did pre-order another Einstein... and "That's A Wrap!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010


Drew and I were watching the Travel Channel and one of the places they showcased was Philippe's, the birthplace of the French Dip sandwich.  I haven't been to Philippe's since the early 1980s and remembered that it was real close to Union Station and Olvera Street, which would provide for interesting photo opportunities and cooler weather. I convinced my Dad to join us since he hasn't visited Downtown L.A. in a long time, too.

As part of the trip, I decided I would limit myself to my f/1.8 50mm Prime lens so I would work on composition and not make excuses about having the proper gear.
 Earlier that week, my eldest and I were watching Hell's Kitchen and Gordon Ramsay dragged the contestants to Philippe's for their French Dip sandwiches as an example of "simple," but tasty" food.  Needless to say, the food was awesome and the menu is pretty straightforward.  BTW, they only take cash, but there is an ATM on-site.

After lunch we walked over to Olvera Street and attempted to take pictures of the vendors wares, however; most did not want their merchandise photographed.  Weird.  Anyway, not a great time of day to shoot, it was about 1:00 PM and the sun was overhead.  I managed to shoot some candid portraits in Aperture-Priority Mode, but none that I wanted to post.  After we walked up and down Olvera street, we headed over to Union Station.

Upon entering Union Station the first thing I noticed was the excellent light.  Huge windows that act like giant softboxes and windows all over the place.  I brought my D700 because at ISO 800 - 1600 the grain is barely visible.  Anyway, Drew pointed out a cordoned off area and said it would make for some cool photos, I think Drew may have an eye for photography.

As we walked around I noticed a young lady wearing a wedding dress followed by a photographer and make-up person.  The photographer was using on-camera flash, so I asked if I could take a few pictures.  The photographer said that she was shooting a school assignment and gave me the okay.  I had the model pose different ways and let the photographer "chimp" my LCD.  She liked my images, so she mimicked them.  All my images were shot using available light.

Overall it was a fun day experiencing cool weather and cultural diversity, and what did I learn? It's fun to challenge yourself and timing is everything.  Wish I had something insightful to share, but the trip to L.A. was meant to be a family event, which we accomplished.

That's A Wrap !!!