Category Archives Photography

I had one of my favorite shots from last football season made into a HUGE print with acrylic-photo mounting, and although you can’t really tell from this picture, it is just insane!!! The clarity and quality is just off the hook (I got this one from iacrylic.net). By the way, look how calm Brad looks holding this print. He had been drinking for hours. Well, as far as I could tell anyway.

One thing you can’t see from our photo is that the acrylic sits on top of the image, so I made a screen cap of their site (above) and you can see how it plays out. See how thick the acrylic is on top of the photo? That’s what gives it its look. By the way, if you’re wondering if all that acrylic adds to the weight of the image, it absolutely does. Big time! (Now, it’s not quite that thick on my giant wall-sized print, so it’s not crazy heavy, but on smaller images like one Brad had made of a concert shot, you can really feel the weight, so you probably don’t want to go walking around all day long carrying it. Just sayin’).

Anyway, I’m always looking for some new interesting way to display printed images, and I thought this one was pretty unique (Everybody that’s seen it in our offices always raves about how it came out). Once we get it hung (later this week, I hope), I’ll share a photo of it hanging over on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

Hope you all have a great Tuesday, and we’ll see you here tomorrow for Guest Blog Wednesday. :)

This weekend I ran across an Interesting article over on CNN about wedding guests taking photos when there’s already a pro wedding photographer hired by the bride and groom. Of course, sadly today that’s the norm, and different photographers deal with it in different ways.

Going “unplugged”
I think the really valuable takeaway from this article is the “unplugged” wedding concept (which they outline in the article), which basically has the bride and groom asking the guests not to take photos of any kind during the actual ceremony itself. Afterward, at the reception, or during the formals, it’s OK, but during the ceremony they’re asking them to please allow the photographer to do the job they were hired to do, and the guests can just enjoy…well…being guests.

Not only do I love this idea, I wouldn’t take a wedding gig where the bride/groom didn’t buy into this concept (which means I would probably starve to death as a full-time wedding photographer), but I believe I could make a pretty convincing case to the wedding couple that it will: (a) lower their stress (b) let their guests actually experience the ceremony as it happens, and (c) they’ll get the kind of images they hired a pro photographer for in the first place.

Sadly, (a) I wouldn’t always be able to convince them of this, and (b) some of the guests would complain that they can’t take photos during the ceremony (in fact, I believe the article mentions that very situation).

Besides the very timely and thought-provoking article, I learned about a new App you can integrate into your next wedding shoot (and use as part of this unplugged concept). Some very useful ideas here: http://bit.ly/18fzkC9

Here’s wishing you a totally unplugged Monday! :)

Cheers,

-Scott

 

Hi Gang: Each year for Independence Day (observed today, the Fourth of July, here in the US as a way for all Americans to celebrate our independence from Dave Clayton), I share a quick post on how to photograph Fireworks (a traditional part of the 4th of July celebration). I'm posting the technique that I included on page 175 of my book, "The Digital Photography Book, Part 1." Here we go:

This is another one that throws a lot of people (one of my best friends, who didn't get a single crisp fireworks shot on the Fourth of July, made me including this tip just for him, and the thousands of other digital shooters that share his pain).

For starters, you'll need to shoot fireworks with your camera on a tripod, because you're going to need a slow enough shutter speed to capture the falling light trails, which is what you're really after.

Also, this is where using a cable release really pays off, because you'll need to see the rocket's trajectory to know when to push the shutter buttonâ”if you're looking in the viewfinder instead, it will be more of a hit or miss proposition.

Next, use a zoom lens (ideally a 200mm or more) so you can get in tight and capture just the fireworks themselves. If you want fireworks and the background (like fireworks over Cinderella's Castle at Disney World), then use a wider lens.

Now, I recommend shooting in full Manual mode, because you just set two settings and you're good to go:

  1. Set the Shutter Speed to 4 seconds
  2. Set the Aperture to f/11. Fire a test shot and look at the LCD monitor on the back of your camera to see if you like the results. If it overexposes, lower the shutter speed to 3 seconds, then take another shot and check the results again.

TIP: If your camera has "Bulb" mode (where the shutter stays open as long as you hold down the shutter release button down), this works great-hold the shutter button down when the rocket bursts, then release when the light trails start to fade. (By the way; most Canon and Nikon digital SLRs have bulb mode). The rest is timingâ”because now you've got the exposure and sharpness covered.

There you have itâ”-hope you all get some great shots tonight; remember to stay safe around fireworks of any kind, and we'll see you back here in one piece tomorrow. :)

http://youtu.be/Y598ENDC9aQ

First, watch that 60-second (or so) video above from Tim about his online class on shooting close-up detail shots of cars. I’ll wait right here.

[insert mental shot of me waiting].

…see that didn’t take long. Awesome, right? I know!

After I posted some car shots I did a couple of weeks ago here on blog, and on my Facebook, Twitter and G+ pages, I had a lot of questions about the lighting and camera techniques and I wish I could take a lick of credit for any of it, but I learned it ALL from Tim’s online classes. He’s really an amazing teacher and he tells you EVERYTHING — he doesn’t hold anything back, which I totally love about him! (He’s the real deal!)

Anyway, if you’d like to watch Tim’s class, we’ve set it up so that TODAY ONLY you can go and watch Tim’s class on shooting close-up detail shots of cars for free (when you go to the link below, you’ll see a button for Rental. It’s usually $9.99 for a three-day rental (our regular price for any 72-hour rental), but today-only the price is $0.00 — free!). I explain how our online class rentals work below, but basically today you just watch for free. Free, free, free! Whee!!!!!

http://kelbytraining.com/course/twallace_cars2/

How This Usually Works
Normally, if you rent one of our online courses, you can watch it as often as you like for three full days (72 hours), from the time of purchase. To access rented courses (like this free one), if you don’t have an account, go ahead and create one (it’s free) and go to your “Account Settings” page and your rental course(s) will be listed. Just click the link to watch it. By the way, I know this goes without saying but to watch an “online” course, you need an Internet connection (and it should be a broadband connection unless you are a very, very, very patient person).

One more thing
Tim has five other online classes on shooting cars on Kelby Training already, so if you’re interested in seeing more of Tim’s training, you can sign up for a month and watch them all (along with hundreds of other classes)! or sign up for a year (you save money — it’s around .54¢ a day — crazy cheap!) and watch his classes to death! LOL!!!  OK, while you’re there check out some of mine, will ya?

OK, I get it…..
Hey, isn’t this all just a fancy way to get me to join Kelby Training Online? Yes. Absolutely. But I promise you this, you’ll love it (and if for any crazy reason you don’t, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee, so there’s really no risk, except that you might watch these classes and want to buy a large stripbank softbox. But that’s a given). ;-)

Have fun and enjoy Tim’s classes.

-Scott

P.S. This is the first time we’ve tried this particular thing, this particular way. If for some reason the link doesn’t work right at the crack of midnight, or the rental thing is grayed out, or if anything isn’t working perfectly and you can’t get to that class right this very minute…don’t freak out. It’s a one-day deal. You’ve got a whole day to get it. We’ll get the link, button [insert a random problem] here, fixed shortly. Thanks — signed, the Voice of Prior Experience. LOL! ;-)

http://youtu.be/TjUPh7FI4nQ

Here’s the behind-the-scenes video I mentioned on Tuesday from my car shoot at an airplane hangar (as luck would have it, the hanger was the exact same hangar at the airport where my wife flies out of). I used the Priolites again but I also used a new super-lightweight battery pack that let us take one of our Elinchrom studio strobes out on location (I did a quick demo of it on the video above).

Anyway, we were planning on shooting two cars and a plane, and it turned it to a six-car, six-hour long shoot with two Ferraris (an F-430 and a California); a Devon GTX, a Rolls Royce Ghost, a Spyker, and a Audi R8. We were psyched! (Plus, I was finally going to get a full-body shot of the Audi R8 I did the detail shots of last month).

Anyway, I’ll tell the rest in the captions (BTS photos by Brad Moore), but first a big thanks to my buddy David McComas who not only has some amazingly cool cars (and let me shoot them, and borrow his hangar), but he also has friends with more cool cars. Not a bad combination (thanks David!)

Above: This shot is just natural light. We only had a few minutes where the sun had tucked behind the other hangar, but it wasn’t sunset quite yet, so we actually had a decent amount of light, and that’s when I had my crew pull the R8 out in front. I wanted to take a shot that had lots of negative space (the total opposite of the close-up detail shots I took last time).

Above: The Devon GTX. What an insanely cool car (with gull-wing doors, no less). I love how the back has no bumper â” it just go straight from the truck to the rear in one solid piece. The color of the car was pretty monochromatic so I went ahead and took it all the way with a black and white conversion. Again, just natural light near sunset.

Above: Here’s a shot with me standing where the Audi R8 was parked, looking back in toward the Devon in the hangar (now you can see the full-color version).

Above: That little red circle in the back of the hangar. That’s me. 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at ISO 100. I switched to the D800 for this one to get extra resolution.

Above: Here’s the over-the-shoulder view.

Above: here’s the Spiker (the one I showed in Tuesday’s behind the scenes shot). Sick car!!! I only had time to shoot two of the car full-body and this was one of them.

Above: Here’s the lighting set-up for the Spyker. Three lights total. #2 and #2 are Priolites (the same ones I did the Audi R8 with last month), so there’s no power pack or cables â” the battery it built right into the lights (which is pretty sweet!). The #2 light is a bare blub strobe. It was supposed to have a grid on it, but we somehow misplaced it before the shoot and of course didn’t realize it until we were actually at the shoot. That posed quite a challenge because the light was spilling like crazy, but it was what it was. The #3 light is using a large strip bank.

The #1 light (with a large Tim Wallace-style strip bank) is a regular studio strobe — an Elinchrom BRX 500 (my go-to light int he studio), but we were able to take it on location thanks to the brand new lightweight battery pack I talk about in the video (though here’s a direct link to it at B&H Photo).

Above: I love the front grill of the Spyker! 

Above: I’m not a big fan of laying down on the job, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. That’s Brad Moore holding a Priolite with a large strip bank and that’s how we made the detail shot you just saw. Shooting at f/22 makes the light fall off to black on the edges almost instantly (thank you Tim Wallace — it’s his technique). 

Above: Same lighting, same technique, same settings. It still amazes me how the light falls off to solid black like that. I know it makes sense, but it still makes me smile every time I try it. 

Above: Here’s the distinctive rear-end of the Spyker — same everything as far as lighting and camera settings. 

Above: Yes it was that bright where we were shooting, and yes shooting at f/22 makes it fall off to black like that without having to fake it in Photoshop. I was just as surprised as you are, but son-of-a-gun it works!

Above: The rear emblem and very soft lighting. 

Above: I wish I had the time to really experiment and get the lighting just right on this one, but with six cars to shoot in the absolute stiffling heat, we pretty much had to run and gun all day. Even though it was really cool to have all these cars on hand, I wish we had half as many cars and the same amount of time, because if something didn’t work lighting wise, I didn’t have the time to really make it work — I had to cut my losses and move it if it didn’t come together pretty quickly. 

Above: The Rolls was Amazing. First time I had ever sat in one, and the interior was really something to behold. I could have spent two hours just on it, but I only had about 20 minutes (we spent waaaaayyyy to long on lighting the Spyker), and it caught up with us time wise. 

Above: As the heat took its toll on all of us, I started to lame out and shoot some of the shots from a chair, and that’s the on you saw above. We were beat like you cannot believe. Drenched in sweat, semi-dehydrated (we only brought six bottles of water for the three of us — huge mistake) and though we started at 5:00 pm, none of us got home before midnight.

Above: We had two Ferrari’s but all I had time for were detail shots. I just love the Ferrari nameplate so I spent a while on trying to get the lighting right, but I still had to add a radial gradient in Photoshop to get the look I was trying for. 

Above: I’m a sucker for headlamps.

Above: I had to get an engine shot of the California — just one light — still that Priolite but we switched to a small softbox. We probably should have switched back to a stripbank, but I’m still OK with how it came out. 

Above: In Tim’s online classes for Kelby Training, he talked about splitting the logo with the light, so we spent a few extra minutes trying to get it right on the money. 

Above: This is actually the interior of the Ferrari F-430 and I shot it with a 24-70mm f/2.8 using a technique I learned from Tim when we taped his class for Kelby Training on shooting car interiors (should be coming out soon. Brilliant class  — I learned a ton!). 

Above: Here’s a parting shot of the Ferrari California. 

Wrap up
While I’m getting much more comfortable with lighting and shooting the up-close detail shots, I still need a lot more practice with full body shots, and that’s what I’m going to focus on next. While we were out on location I heard about a studio locally with a huge drive-in cove and a giant overhead softbox made for lighting entire cars, and I got a line on a few other cars to shoot. Brad’s on vacation this coming week, so nothing next week, but when he gets back, it’s time to sweat once again!

Above: OK the lighting is kick of whacked in this shot, but I couldn’t leave without showing you at least one shot with the doors open. Is that car sick or what!!!! 

Thanks to Brad and John for assisting me on the shoot (couldn’t’ have done it without you guys), and thanks to David for rounding up lots of cool cars for us to shoot. Also, thanks to my readers for stopping by and here’s wishing you all a sweat-free weekend and lots of shooting opportunities.

 

OK, this is NOT a finished shot — just a behind-the-scenes shot from a 6-hour long, six-car shoot in an airplane hangar. I was going to show the finished shots today and include a behind-the-scenes video about a new piece of gear we took out on location, but the video’s not quite out of editing yet. Hoping for Friday.

In the meantime, you can see two of the three lights used in the shoot —- the one in the top left corner is one of those Priolites that we are totally digging on (here’s a link to my Audi R8 shoot video and Prioite demo video), and the long strip bank near the rear of the car is an Elinchrom BXRI 500 (my go-to studio strobe) running off a very cool, very small, very lightweight, and very affordable battery pack (more on it on Friday’s post).

Above: This is an Instagram shot Brad took of four of the six cars we shot that day. Top left: A Ferrari F-430.Top R:  A Devon GTX. Bottom Left a Spyker, and bottom right an Audi R8. 

Lots more to share of course (plus we got to shoot two other cars: A Rolls Royce Ghost  and a Ferrari California), here on the blog on Friday.

But Before We Get to That…
I just wanted to take a moment to give a heartfelt thanks to all the folks who took the time yesterday to leave me a comment with a kind word or a show of support. I was expecting the worst, and was pleasantly surprised (and relieved) to see so many supportive and understanding comments. Very much appreciated. :)

OK, Now We Can Get to That
Here’s wishing you all a great Tuesday, and here’s hoping all your car shots happen in slightly cooler weather than we were shooting in. Cheers, — Scott 

 

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