Blog Post Updates via Email
Tag CloudAdd new tag Badlands black and white Creativity death valley Depth of field digital Fashion photography flash photography Great Lakes HDR High dynamic range imaging Image editing Image Manipulation IPhone Kansas lake superior landscape landscape photography Lensbaby Composer Mesquite Dunes Minnesota multiple exposure neutral density filter north shore painting with light panorama photography PhotomatixPro photoshop Polarizer Portrait Photography sand dunes Shutter speed Singh Ray slap zoom Split Rock Lighthouse State Park strobe Strobe light strobe lighting studio studio photography TED umbrella Venice Beach
Tag Archives: Lensbaby Composer
In this last (probably) image from Venice Beach, I finished my time with Nathan, shooting his portrait. I’ve produced a companion video on the blog you can watch in which I cover the concept of Value Systems in photography and how I arrived at this point with Nathan. This talk was given last night to the Crosstown Camera Club in Edina, MN.
The most enjoyable aspect to this portrait was Nathan. I asked him earlier in the day for permission to shoot a semi-staged portrait and he enthusiastically agreed to it. I told him I wanted to come back late, near sunset because of the light. When I returned a few hours later he said, “Hey Alec ready to shoot the portrait?” First, I was amazed he had remembered my name. I think he gets a lot of these requests.
Also, it was profound for me because he had gone to the trouble of repositioning his piano, and himself, for the light. He was genuinely excited to have a stranger shoot his portrait, and he had thought through exactly how he wanted it shot. What made it slightly profound was that it was exactly how I WANTED TO SHOOT IT. We had made a connection.
Technical: Canon 5d, Lensbaby Composer, f/4, Speedlight 580EX II, Gary Fong Lightsphere Diffuser, ISO100, 1/125 I use a simple flash technique in these settings. I put the camera in aperture priority mode and set the camera exposure compenstation to -2/3 of a stop. This slightly underexposes a scene, most important the background and any highlights that might be loosing too much detail. The flash is expsoure compensated -1/3 and this helps reduce the “flash” look. The Fong Lightsphere gives a great quality to the camera flash and I then experiment with pointing the flash/lightsphere either directly at the subject or directly at the SKY. That latter can produce really great results.
This is Nathan Pino. Nathan is a piano player on Venice Beach. He drags a piano on a cart behind his bike every day. He plays classical, mostly written by himself, and he’ll play for 20 minutes or longer without taking a break. His expression almost never varies, he almost never looks up. He is totally lost in his music and his music is totally amazing. I’ve posted a video tutorial titled: Reconnecting With Purpose about how I arrived at the images of Nathan. I hope you can get a nugget of value from this tutorial.
I’ve also provide some of his music, recorded on my iPhone, for you to EXPERIENCE along with the images. You can also find him at http://www.myspace.com/nathanpiano
I’m nearing the end of the journey on Venice Beach. I have a few images left to share, but this week’s series is fairly profound. Today you’ll meet Treeman, and I’ll say more about him in a moment. Then I’ll move on to Nathan and my personal all-time favorite portrait. At the end of the week I’ll be posting a 35 minute video talk, based on a talk I’m giving Thursday evening at the Crosstown Camera club. But it all starts with Treeman…
Treeman, who’s real name is Lionel, is a visual artist. He recently appeared in the movie, Hancock, and is a very intense artist. In this image he is in his “Treeman” character, on stilts that stand him nearly 10 feet tall. He walks, dances, and generally has a rippin’ good time doing this. I spent some time talking and photographing with him. I stepped up to him and said, “Hey Lionel, I think I got some good images of YOU.” He immediately knelt down to my level and responded, “Alec, there is no YOU, there is no ME, there is only US. Without you I have no one to watch me perform and without me you have no one to photograph.” He is on to something pretty good there.
Lionel is one of the few on Venice who operates out of joy of what he does (vs. the dudes that try to give you a FREE CD of their music but then hound you for $10). He and I spoke at length about human interaction, energy, the things that give us joy and the need to acknowledge what’s around us. I won’t forget Treeman for a long time, he made quite an impact on me personally and as a photographer. Watch a YouTube video of Treeman in action.
Adobe Photoshop Raw Converter: Fill light =51, Black Point =29, Clarity =33, Vibrance = 51, all other settings as shot.
The next series of images this week are portraits I shot of quintessential Venice Beach characters. The first few are of Harry Perry, a street musician who has played Venice for over 20 years. I connected with him late in the day and he allowed me 20 minutes of shooting (if I purchased a T-shirt/CD package for $20). He was a business man through and through, he knew his crowd and knew exactly how to work them. I photographed using my Canon 580EX II camera flash and Fong Dome Diffuser. I set the camera in aperture priority mode with a -2/3EV adjustment, and the flash was in ETTL with a -1/3 EV adjustment. I was also using the Lensbaby Composer lens and shot two frames, one with his head sharp, one with the guitar sharp (relatively speaking) and brought them together in a “split focus” technique with Photoshop. This Wednesday I will publish a short Image Critique where I discuss using this flash technique. Technical: Canon 5D, Lens Baby Composer, f/4, ISO800, 1/8 second exposure. Here’s a link to a great link to a YouTube video of Harry doing his thing.
From the Venice Beach pier I shot a lot of images. Bright harsh sunlight, tough conditions, but I had two things in my favor. First, in those conditions I’m always thinking and seeing “black and white.” Second, I was using the new Lens Baby Composer, a super fun lens. A brief description for those not familiar with it: A manually-controlled, selective focus lens. There is a small sweet spot of focus and from that point an increasing blur to the edges of the frame. The lens actually pivots in 2 dimensions, allowing you to move the point of focus.
A number of the images to come from Venice are shot using the Lens Baby Composer. This is one of several images I made of surfers. One of the challenges with the Lens Baby is trying to get your subject critically sharp, especially when that subject is moving. Even more so when the subject is moving fast and in an unpredictable manner. I shot over 40 frames this afternoon to get one I liked and could work with.
Technical: Canon 5D, Lens Baby Composer, f/4, ISO100, 1/800 second exposure, strong, direct mid-afternoon light
Welcome to 2009. I’m so excited about where this site is headed I can hardly stand it. I hope you find it a super great place to learn about and discuss photography. Also, my sincere apologies. We’re in the midst of migration to the new blog, its nearly done, but during the migration over the weekend something happened that spawned a ton of inconsequential RSS feed hits and a few automatic emails (to those set up on that process). There remains the possibility of this occurring again over the next few days as we work out some bugs.
Again, many apologies for any inconvenience. I am VERY VERY excited about the new blog design. If you’re visiting the blog to read this post then you see the new design. But, I’ll announce to everyone when the bugs are fixed and new content arrives.
Until then…click on the image thumbnail to get a feel for how the site will work. This image is a composite of four separate images shot with the lens baby composer.
I wandered down on Hennepin Ave last night, hoping to shoot some architecture for my portfolio. As is often the case, once I started looking at shots through the camera I didn’t like what I saw, so I shifted into some street photography.
This is George, and his hand puppet Mo. George is from Mississippi and Mo is from a toy store around the corner. Both are men of non-denominational faith, humming hymns for folks on the street. George was very excited to be photographed and encouraged me to do so, and enjoyed seeing the images in the back of the camera. He said, “you show these pictures to folks and they’ll start hiring you to shoot weddings.”
The image was shot using a Lens Baby and converted to black and white in photoshop afterwards.
…when we felt like this…no? This is from a workshop I took back in June. A little change of pace from the architecture, these two were shot in a square in Savannah using the Lens Baby. Have a great weekend!