Thursday, 26 January 2012

Speedlite Gels

Speedlite Gels
Finished work early today and decided i was going to use the speedlite gels i had purchased from fleabay a couple of weeks ago. I had no idea what i was going to photograph so set about looking around the house for a subject. Had to move this flower from the table i was going to use so decision made i set about setting up the shot.

Got together all me gear and set up the background first, this i had purchased from here.
I also have a black roll, these i find handy cheap and easy to use. I just put a old mop handle through the tube and clamp the handle to two tripods to give me a seamless background. Set up my speedlites and put in some new rechargeable batteries i have just started using.

Strobist Info

580 exii with stofen diffuser inside Lumiquest softbox iii camera left 1/64th power
430 exii with a blue gel attached camera right at about 1/32 or 1/16th power

Took lots of test shots with various settings on the speedlights to balance the light and direct it where i wanted it. This is how i do it anyway nothing technical just choose one light first usually fill light and adjust it to get the level of fill light right for me this was the 580 exii with diffuser and softbox. Had to direct the light from the front to fall on the flower and at a low power so as not to overpower the keylight which was the 430 exii with a blue gel attached, then just took various shots increasing the level of the keylight until i was happy with the results.

The gels have so many uses from colour correction to effects its only limited by your imagination, give it a go. Please feel free to comment or ask any questions you may have. Thanks for looking


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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Speedlite 52 - Week 2

Speedlite 52 - week 2 - Phantom
Thought i would do a complete opposite of my week one shot so this is a Low Key Portrait of Me as my favourite West End musical star The Phantom Of The Opera.

Very simple shot just one strobe used which was in front of me and very low to the ground which creates the shadows on my face making the whole image look and feel spooky!

The strobe was a Speedlite 580 exii which was set to 1/128th power fired at the ceiling with the catch card out

Made a few adjustments in Lightroom to make the backs black tweaked the highlights.

Imported into CS5 and the Black and white conversion was done using Silver FX Pro 2

Made duplicate layer and had blend mode in screen which makes image about twice as bright, i then added a black layer mask to that layer which then hides the bright effect, Took my paint brush tool and painted in the area i wanted the effect back in, for me this was the eyes. Then used the transparency slider to fine tune the effect.
Then i sharpened the eye area only and new layer for copyright.

First picture of me i actually don't mind, probably because half my face is covered but there you have it.

As ever please like to here your comments , thanks for looking

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Friday, 20 January 2012

Groyne Decay

Was out down the warren in Folkestone again today, seems to be my second home at the moment ! Had an idea for my speedlite 52 challenge i tried out but i have to be honest and say it never worked out as i hoped. This i do not consider to be a failure but more a lesson i have learnt.

I will now have to come up with something tomorrow after i get car in for M.O.T

However did get this little gem i called it Decay. Its a picture of the decaying groynes which can be found along this stretch of beach called The Warren in Folkestone Kent.

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Monday, 16 January 2012

Speedlite 52 Week 1

High Key Portrait
After reading an article in Advanced Photography (Jan issue) i decided it would be good for me to embark on a challenge to push myself to improve in one particular area.

Having just got a Speelite 580ex ii for Christmas and then a further purchase of the Speedlite 430exii i thought this would be a good area for me.

The idea behind the project is like anything else in life, the more you do it the better you become so as this off camera flash photography is all new to me and something i have an interest in, for me it seemed the perfect subject.

For my first attempt i decided to photograph my wife now this is another area i haven't done much work in so it was a real challenge for me. Deciding on a pose a composition the lighting and after a few set ups i came up with this image, that i am very happy with even my wife likes it so that is in itself a compliment as she doesn't really like being photographed.

For this shot i used two speedlites a 580 ex ii and the 430 exii

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Speedlite 52 week Challenge

I read an article in this months Advanced Photographer about setting yourself a personal challenge to help improve your photography in a area you would like to improve in.

I have recently purchased a couple of Speedlites and really enjoy using them, so thought this would be a good challenge for me.

I have seen other challenges based on one a day but due to shift work i don't think i would commit to this for very long so a 52 week challenge seemed ideal.

I have set up a Flickr Group Speedlite 52 for my shots and in the hope others will join me in my challenge.

The problem will come when i am on holiday as i wont be able to post so not sure how to deal with that may just have to have a exception there!

I hope some of you will embark on this challenge with me and look forward to seeing your work feel free to let others who may be interested know of the group


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Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Warren Folkestone

Today i was back at the warren in Folkestone and again using my 10 Stop ND The sky was amazing looked very dramatic. Here is a link to the shot i took on Flickr

Hope you like it please feel free to ask any questions or just leave a comment thanks

Also in the post today i received a set of Lee flash head filters. These can be used to create effects or as colour correction filters so keep an eye out and ill try playing with them over the coming weeks. I got them from flebay but they look fine. Here is a link to them incase you get tempted

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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Lightroom 4 beta

This episode covers some of Lightroom 4 Beta's new features in the Develop Module and Basic Panel including major improvements to image processing. ...

If you want to try this you can download the beta version and use for the duration of the beta program
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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Home made Snoot, Gobo or Flag

Home made Snoot
Just after Christmas you may recall i said i had a trip to Hobbycraft for some black foam and sticky Velcro, well today i got round to making my home made snoot and took this shot of Gollum.

The snoot is simply a tube that attaches to the flash head and gives you a more directional concentrated beam of light.

The same snoot can also be used as a gobo or flag which simply attaches via the Velcro to the flash head and stops light in whatever direction you have attached the gobo or flag to, this is used to control where the flash illuminates and directs the light away from areas you do not want the flash to light.

Strobist Info:-
  • Camera Canon Eos 7D
  • Lens Tamron 17 - 50mm
  • ISO 100
  • Shutter 1/250th
  • Aperture F/8.0
  • Flash 580 EXII home made snoot attached 1/64th power
The flash was on a lightstand to camera high right, fired wirelessly. Gollum was sat on a roll of seamless black paper. See the picture below

Home made snoot set up

The foam sheets were about 60p each the Velcro was about £9 a roll but Will be used for other projects so this is very cheap to do. The seamless black paper was £4.99 a roll and is great as a background.
Hope you found this helpful at least or has inspired you to make your own and try something new. As always leave your comments here and i will always answer any questions and always read and enjoy your comments.

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Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Warren Folkestone Kent

Groynes Long Exposure 10 stop ND filter

Today i went to a place called The Warren at Folkestone in Kent with a good friend of mine and fellow photographer Barry Stewart. The weather was a little overcast and grey with no real detail in the sky, for me i always find black and white works really well on days like this.

When we arrived the place was almost deserted with just the odd dog walker around. This place is fantastic for photographers with old groynes,rocks and drift wood around. My tip is to visit about two hours after high tide. This will then give you access to all the groynes and rocks around and the chance to photograph them as the tide is on its way out.

I set up the camera on a tripod with following settings:
  • Bulb mode
  • Aperture F/8.0
  • ISO 100
  • Manual Focus
Once i had the shot composed i got focus on auto focus and then selected Manual focus to stop the camera from hunting . I attached my B+W 10 stop ND filter and took my IR remote to fire the camera.
I started out with a exposure of 60 sec viewed it on the LCD and adjusted exposure time as i saw fit. The above shot was at 70 sec exposure.

I do find that the B+W stopper does give a slight magenta hue but is very easily corrected in lightroom before starting to edit in CS5.

If you own a iphone you can download a free app called Long Exposure Calculator, i use it and find it very helpful as a starting point, i then adjust the exposure to get the result i am looking for.Or after a little search i found a good explanation and a few charts here.
As ever any questions or comments please feel free to use the comments section thanks

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Friday, 6 January 2012

Second Speedlite

Two Speedlite Portrait
Today arrived my second speedlite, yes i am very lucky. I had a 580exii from Santa and liked it so much i added a 430exii to my equipment. I have been watching and learning from others and also playing with them myself. I have shot one portrait of myself which was a very quick set up and a few shots later came up with this.

Strobist info :
  • Camera Eos 7D
  • Lens 17 - 50 mm Tamron
  • Aperture F/ 8.0
  • Shutter 1/250th
  • Iso 400
  • 580 exii in Lumiquest softbox iii at 1/16th power
  • 430 exii behind me bare on 1/32nd power
I am still getting to grips with the way the speedlites work and the menu system used to control them from the camera is very useful as you don't need to keep adjusting each of the speedlights separately. Looking forward to putting them to good use and getting to use the in a more natural outdoor environment. Love to hear your comments on either my image or any help and advise you want to share, as you can see i am all ears !

Lighting Set up :-

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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Danbo Cocktail Party

Danbo Cocktail Party
Today was the first day after the Christmas break that the house was back to normal, i woke after doing a late shift last night, to a empty house. Over Christmas i eyed up the over sized martini glass we had purchased and had an idea i wanted to try out. It was simply to capture a cherry splashing in the water. So today seemed a good day to set up the shot.

I took my old black curtain and set it up on the kitchen table supported by my travel tripod and a few boxes. I took the glass filled it with water. I then set up my Canon Eos 7D on a tripod and set up my Speedlight 580exii on a lightstand with a Lumiquest III softbox attached. The camera was fired by a canon infra red control and the speedlight was fired by the 7Ds built in transmitter. I also used the onboard flash with a hotshoe diffuser dialled down to about 1/128th or 1/64th power, cant remember exactly but it was one of the two. Used this as just a bit of fill flash.

After taking a few shots to get the lighting as i wanted these were the settings i used:-

Camera Settings
  • Manual Mode
  • Manual Focus
  • 1/250th sec
  • F/8.0
  • ISO 100
  • Built in Flash set to fire at 1/128th or 1/64th power
Speedlight Settings
  • Manual Mode
  • 1/8th power
  • Lumiquest III softbox attached
  • Fired wirelessly

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Bare Speedlight

Deb Portrait
This is the first attempt at a portrait of my wife who reluctantly sat for me while i tried things out.
This shot was taken with a single speedlight 580 ex ii fired using 7ds built in wireless transmitter. I didn't want to have to much light so here is what i did :-

Strobist Info:-

  • Camera - Canon Eos 7D
  • Lens - Tamron AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) at 50mm
  • Shutter - 1/250th sec
  • Aperture - F10
  • Iso - 100
  • Flash - Canon Speedlight 580ex ii
After trying several setups i liked this shot the best which was just a head shot in landscape orientation with subject offset. The camera was set to manual mode with a fast shutter speed of 1/250th this cut out the ambient light from the Christmas light in the room. The aperture is then used to control the amount of flash that reaches the sensor.

The speedlight was fired wirelessly had no modifiers attached however i did have the flash set to:-
  • Manual mode
  • 1/128th power
  • zoomed to 105mm
The manual mode gives you the most control and the 1/128th power is the lowest power setting by having it zoomed to 105mm gives a narrower field of light.

The flash was hand held at eye level to camera left at about 10 inches from subject.By having the flash off camera to the side eliminated the reflections i would have got in the glasses had the flash just been on the hot shoe.

Hope you found this helpful and look forward to any comments.

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