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Shades of Difference and Direction « Joe McNally’s Blog

 

Source: Shades of Difference and Direction « Joe McNally’s Blog

Hard sun, big silk, beautiful light. Pretty simple. Take a nuclear blast of sunlight and tame it by interfering with its blazing, destructive path with a simple swatch of white material, and it arrives at your subject’s doorstep (face) as cuddly and friendly as a golden retriever puppy. Get fancy and add a simple white fill card to bounce a small amount back and up into the face and you got dead bang gorgeous, wraparound light. Friendly and glow-y. Below, shot at 1/3200 @ f/1.4, Nikon Z7105mm lens.

Now, I dealt myself a pretty easy hand of cards, here, having Rae Stoetzel in front of my lens. Easy-going guy, great face, fun to work with, patient beyond. (Just like all of our photo subjects, right?) But easy-going was the watchword of our workshop up on Prince Edward Island, at Dave Brosha’s beautiful, patina laden barn. Pictures everywhere up there. So thankful for the invite to come and teach. Would do it again in a heartbeat.

This is a Lastolite 6×6 Skylite panel on two c-stands overhead of him, interrupting the flow of hard sunlight, baffling it, and smoothing it out. The silk, mind you, is hovering just out of camera frame, very close to him. That’s the key. Get it as close as you can. There’s a fill board under him, kicking up some fill, and I’m shooting at 1.4 with that great looking barn for a backdrop. Boom, we’re done. Shoot like this all day, except for the fact of the sun moving, making it necessary for you to move the silk. Which I have done on jobs. Literally, all day. Move the silk. Luckily, that is usually a 12×12 silk, on a frame, supported by high rollers, which have wheels.

Okay, great light, easy-peasy, as has been said. But, shooting all day like this would have a sense of sameness to it. How do you take this gentle, overlarge swatch of light and shift it, play with it, directional-ize it?

Enter the Profoto B1-X, fitted with a 4′ RFI Octa softbox. First, the B1-X remains, for me, the quintessential big flash for location work. Yes, you can go bigger, and sometimes you need to, but the B1-X, at 500 watt seconds, pretty much covers the waterfront and then some on maybe, like, 90% of potential jobs? Easy to use, versatile as hell, and a dead bang dependable wireless transmission system makes this light indispensable.

And then, put the 4′ Octa on there and it’s magic. The 4′ size makes it big enough to be big, and small enough to maneuver, for instance, under a low slung silk. Hand held! All BTS pix shot by Annie Cahill.

The result is you have more exposure leverage over your background, and you can punch and swing the the direction of the light just about any which way, without robbing the essential soft quality of light the silk presents. The Octa fits right into the light pattern. Big and soft, but with a bit of punch.  Below shot at 1/2000 @ f/2.8 with the Nikon Z7 and 105mm lens.

Simple, subtle, effective.

Rescue Adoption Fair Photos!

If you were at this weekend’s Rescue Adoption Fair, you can find your photos here!

Pet Photos June 22

Canon explains why EOS R doesn’t have IBIS | Digital Camera World

 
 

When the Canon EOS R was revealed, the first thing many people noticed was its lack of in-body image stabilisation (IBIS). 

The missing feature became even more pronounced at Photokina 2018 with all the new cameras boasting IBIS – including Fuji’s new GFX 100S with its monster medium format sensor.

So, with the internet rife with cynicism and speculation, we went straight to the horse’s mouth and asked Canon why it opted not to include in-body stabilisation on the EOS R.

“We feel that in-lens IS is the optimum system for image stabilisation,” explained Canon UK’s product intelligence consultant, David Parry.

 

The Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is one of the EOS R lenses that boasts stabilisation

The Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is one of the EOS R lenses that boasts stabilisation

“With an in-body IS system you are creating something that needs to work over lots of different types of lenses and different lens groups, so you don’t get a dedicated system for that particular lens.

“All lenses move in different ways, and you get different types of shake depending on what kind of lens you’re using, so dedicating the IS system to the particular lens is, for us, the optimum way of doing it – but that’s not to say that we aren’t looking at in-body IS.”

It’s fair to say that Canon traditionally takes its time and is rarely the first to bring a feature to market, from touchscreens to shooting video on DSLRs. When it eventually does bring something to market, though, it tends to be among the best in class.

In other words, then, Canon will introduce in-body stabilisation when it’s good and ready. And when it does, it’s likely to be incredibly good.7

Source: Canon explains why EOS R doesn’t have IBIS | Digital Camera World

Shooting OnStage in London | Joe McNally Photo

I shoot a lot in front of live audiences, sometimes sizable ones. The places where I do this, let’s face it, are hardly inspirational. They tend to be gray, or beige, or black. The walls are blank. They recede by design. Hence, onstage, when I look out at this bland space, I will, at least occasionally, think of taking a ride into the valley of the gels, as friend and peerless shooter Greg Heisler used to describe it. In these blank rooms, color is often the first refuge I seek.

It was such a day last week in London, at a lighting seminar created and staged by Nikon School UK and Neil Freeman, a talented shooter who runs the wonderful educational programs with a great team in the UK for Nikon. We had help from the stalwart crew at Lastolite by Manfrotto who stepped up and brought tons of kit to play with.

I had MMA fighter Alfie Davis, who’s on a winning streak, and competing next in Dubai. He’s a great physical presence, so a rim-light type of an approach worked. Put red gels on two SB-5000 units in the back of the room, controlling them with radio and winging them right at Alfie. The overhead light is the Speedlight 2 softbox, with a grid, but it really just lights him a little and gives that highlight in his hair. The main deal is a blue gelled flash I have banging into a silver tri-grip reflector that he is actually standing on. The whole thing was an impromptu wing and a prayer in terms of a lighting solution, and our enthusiastic crowd helped out by standing and cheering Alfie in the background. Nothing like a little audience participation!

It was a very different approach for Alfie out on the street. One Speedlight through an Ezybox hotshoe soft box, and done. Less glitz, more character.

More tk….

Source: Shooting OnStage in London | Joe McNally Photo

Here’s a Reason Not to Upgrade to That New Mirrorless Camera | Fstoppers

One of the most common questions photographers have is “should I upgrade my camera?” It’s right up there with “what lens I should buy” and “can I take selfies with this?” (That last one isn’t actually a common question.)

You may really want that Nikon Z7 or that Canon EOS R, but do you really need it? Whenever I ask myself the same question, I remind myself of a simple phrase that I tell my students thinking about a new camera: Your camera never takes pictures any worse than the day you brought it.

I own a few older cameras. Some I bought for nostalgic value and other were my daily drivers for a time. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of G.A.S., but after having kids, that sort of thing grinds to a halt (diapers are expensive). Now, I’ve learned to really appreciate and use the cameras I’ve got, and in addition, it makes me really think about making every camera purchase count.

I recently got the pang again when I saw the new mirrorless offerings from Nikon and Canon. On paper, they’re specced really well, and one of the new RF mirrorless system lenses from Canon would scratch an itch I’ve been commenting about for a long time: a standard zoom that’s faster than f/2.8, my white whale, the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM. Such a lens coupled with a new, slick-looking EOS R bodyseems like an amazing combo.

Read More: Here’s a Reason Not to Upgrade to That New Mirrorless Camera | Fstoppers

Quick and Fast Portraits

You can take portraits with impact in minutes.

I am going to keep this blog post short and sweet, but the gist of it is as follows: You don’t need to spend hours, or even days, planning for a portrait that will have visual impact.

My last portrait gig happened like this – friend called and said, “Hey, there’s a cool building being demo’d across the street. Bring your camera, I think you could get some cool pictures.”

So that’s what I did. I grabbed my camera, two speed lights, a small 24″ softbox and drove over. Once I got there my friend, Trevor, and I walked over to the build which had been partially demolished over the last week. Just looking around you could see that Trevor was right, this was a great place for portraits. So I found a few angles I liked, got Trevor into position and started taking some pictures. And… that was it. Total time, not including driving time, was like 15 minutes. 

What makes this so easy is the small size of my kit, my Canon speed-lights and their ability to transmit TTL data. 

In picture 1, I am on the street, about 5 feet below Trevor, so when he kneels down I am able to be below him, which gives him a sense of presence in the frame, but I am also about to compose my photo so that I can still see the remains of the demolished building in the background. I exposed -2 ev to reign in the background and then push +1 ev of light through the TTL system to make Trevor pop out.

In picture 2 I’ve cheated and covered my speed-light with a full cut of CTO. I then lied to my camera manually balanced the camera to 3200k to convince it that it’s actually shooting a tungsten colored scene. In essence, I’ve told the camera the photo I am taking has too much orange in it, when in reality only my speed-light is emitting orange light. Thanks to this trickery, the camera sees my subject lit by the speed-light as correctly color balanced. However, the sky and the background, which is not emitting any extra orange light, is rendered in shades of blue. Cool, right!?

Benjamin Lehman is a professional commercial photographer in the Canton, Akron, Cleveland and Northeast Ohio Area. 

A Lost Summer’s Evening

A Lost Summer's Evening

Photos from sunset. 

Fun with mud at Camp Carl – Revenna Ohio

CAMP CARL

Winter Landscapes

Not a whole lot of snow has fallen around here this time of year, but when it did finally reach the ground I was reach with camera in hand!

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Corporate Headshots – Making Simple look Modern

I ENJOY environmental portraiture…

… a face in a place. It gives me a chance to get out of the office and it gives the client an opportunity to tie their persona to the work they do.

 

Because of that, I almost never shoot on a flat backdrop unless there is a very specific reason for doing so. In this case, the factors were time, budget and style. And, I should mention the style sort of arose out of the time and budget.

So now what? You’re stuck in a situation that could lead to some fairly brand photos.  The problem is how are we going to keep things looking elegant and modern while shooting on a flat, white background?

Well, I love shadows. Shadows instantly add depth. I was going to give the entire portrait a slightly under-exposed look, so I started by globally lowering my exposure by minus 1 ev to help bring the shadows to life. To do this, I expose properly, then dial down the exposure one stop. Then I tweak the back drop lights so I am getting pure white on the seamless, taking care so that no flare or wash is creeping in around the edges of our subject. This is backwards from most photographers who will expose for the background first (because it can be tricky) and then expose for their subject once they are on set. In my situation, however, I exposed subject and then background and went from there.

Lighting this turned out to be one of the most fun photographic exercises I have done in a long while. I had lights dedicated to the subject and some for the background, but I also had some lights that were both flagged for the background and diffused for the subject at the same time. By the end of this endeavor, I had 4 lights total lighting the scene.

The star of the show was the Einstein 640 studio light which continues to really impress me with all of its little tricks. I bought a small cyber commander which allows me to meter, adjust and shoot – all without ever touching the light. I know this isn’t new technology, but the Einsteins do it much better than even the much more expensive profoto and broncolor lights. Impressive indeed.

Here you can see an iPhone production shot of the set up we’re using. The camera is our older 5D Mark II, with the very cheap 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, which actually works great as a portrait lens. The large octobox houses our Einstein 640, the rest of the lights are AlienBees. We’re also using one canon 600ex-rt speedlite in a gridded strip box as a hair light. That light is triggered through a second wireless remote that runs out of the cameras sync cord connector. Yeah, it’s a bit of a Frankenstein, but it’s important to know that you can mix nearly any type of light on set to achieve the conditions you need.

Our Lighting Set-Up

Our Lighting Set-Up

Benjamin Lehman is a commercial photographer in the Canton, Northeast Ohio area.

Light a corporate headshot to give it a modern look.

Light a corporate headshot to give it a modern look.