More thesis shots

12 05 2011

It has finally come to an end, this whole thesis malarkey. So here’s a few more choices picked at random from it. Again in black and white, coz well, hey it looks cool, right? That and because I can’t find all the colour images from my thesis. They’re around here somewhere – deep in that 100gb+ folder labelled ‘THESIS-IMPORTANT-FINAL’. …Chances are they’ll never be seen again, so enjoy these ones.

Aren’t they lovely? Altogether now: “oooh. aaaah. *gasp*….

kj

Advertisements




President Brian McCraith, DCU

3 09 2010

I was recently asked to take the first picture of DCU’s new president, Prof. Brian McCraith for the College View, DCU’s award winning newspaper. Having been reading Strobists blog for the last while religiously, I felt more prepared for this shoot than any other. This is the picture I had in my head when I walked into his office.

I got to sit in on the interview with Vicky Kavanagh and was very impressed with his plans for DCU for the future (and his musical taste!). All that will be revealed in the College View Article when it is published.





Strobist Shoot 2 : Sweet Jane

5 06 2010

Today marked the beginning of a summer plan. Get bands, interview them and do a quick photoshoot. Unfortunately I was up ’til 2am researching background lighting options and was rather ‘fuzzy-brained’ by the time Danda & Lydia of Sweet Jane arrived. Despite a large campus at DCU, I thought it would be best to keep the shoot close to the studio. And there’s no closer than the wall outside it. It’s a pretty drab background, but we didn’t have much time to be faffing about. This is the last time I’m ever using such an appalling backdrop. I’m off to buy wallpapers for the next one…

The set up was simple. One SB-600 at 45′ camera left at 1/10 power shot through a 32″ umbrella and one behind the guys at 90′ at 1/32 power. This was done by setting them to their own individual channels (A & B).

It was an in-and-out affair. The background was prepared and set up already. The band were just placed in and the flash adjusted to them. Given that they weren’t expecting a shoot, they were cool with it and put up with my bullshitting-as-I-adjust-settings malarkey.  And while the image isn’t as stunning as I had convinced myself it would be in my head – I think I got a lot out of it. You can’t expect people to hang around for ages for photoshoots, you gotta get in quick and out quick.

But the best thing about the day (I reckon anyway) was my homemade light-guard.

Y’see, when I set up the lights the first time THIS happened:

Do you see it? No? How about now?:

There ya go. Big-ass lens flare at the bottom, in the middle. Not cool. A blemish on an otherwise mundane scene. But it’s easily solved. And with Gaffa tape too!

Take a piece of cardboard, about twice as big as your flash-gun and cover it head to toe in Gaffa tape, prefarably the black kind (Gaffa tape is light-tight and if it’s black it will not reflect any light). Then stick this to the side of your flashgun like so:

Shooting directly at it and there’s not a tiny piece of flare to be seen! Magic. As you can see in the top image, it worked too. It helps direct the light to where you need it, but stops it going where you don’t. You can buy stuff like this and it will attach easily, but you could just as easily buy a rake of velcro and gaffa tape once and you’d never have to set foot into a camera shop for it. And if you’re like me, not going into a camera shop will save you lots of money.

There ya go. One down – loads more to come. Band Two this Friday coming…





FAT – Fringe Festival Photoshoot

1 06 2010

You know the deal by now, click the image to see it larger

Having been contacted by the lovely people behind FAT, my first photoshoot was arranged. The bag was packed, two strobes in tow and my new umbrella set-up was taken along too. I was very excirreh.

Turned out the photoshoot was in a bathroom, so the umbrella was abandoned as it was far too big to fit into the room itself when open, without obstructing someone within the shot. So I was shooting with two bare flashes, hidden within the scenes. I took a reading of the room, getting a nice scene and as per David Hobby’s Strobist advice, I underexposed two stops (I actually brought it down a little more later) and adjusted the flashes to below 1/10 power each (because they were direct and not being dispersed by the umbrella). There was a little bit of flying by the pants going on here – tweaking on up and one down as need depended. Small spaces are a nightmare to shoot in – too much bouncing light and the cluttered room drew odd shadows all over the place. 90% of the time the flashes were pointed directly up, hoping to eliminate these shadows and give a nice, even spread of light.

Thankfully the girls and boy knew exactly what they wanted, and almost how they wanted it, so I was left with the simple task of shooting beautiful people, who were not camera shy. I needed to give minimal instructions – “watch your positioning” and “faces towards me” was about as difficult as it got – these guys knew how to work a camera. Took a load off my mind, I was worried about directing strangers, being bossy to them in their own home. But I got lucky first time out.

The show is an interesting concept; it looks at the fascination with image in today’s world and the importance placed upon glamour – even in things that are not necessarily that beautiful. Don’t take my word for it – especially given my ability to get the wrong end of the stick and appalling grasp of the English language. Check it out yourself (link will be added when available!)

I toyed with the images in Photoshop afterwards, but nothing too strenuous – high pass filters, gaussian blurs, fiddling with curves and colour balances. Here are some quick examples:

Here I selected the pants of Stephen, both bras on show and the lips’ of the ladies. Each got a selection of their own and an adjustment with the colour balance tool. The pants  became quite garish and needed the saturation to be pulled down and a small bit of dodging and burning to get them looking somewhat realistic. The yellow bra was changed  from a pale purple, and Im quite happy that it comes across believable enough. Think the yellow is needed too – the primary colours really make this image ‘pop’!

The lips are a little bit overdone, but I think that’s part of the point! Again, this was just a colour balance tweak.

The whites of everyone’s eyes (everyone except Oonagh’s – whose you can’t see anyway) have been boosted. I took this idea from a book of wartime photography I was given. I  didn’t realise this was an after effect, but in retrospect, who the hell has eyes naturally that white?! I first utilized this in the Faithless edits, but i think I’ve come to use it to  better effect here.

This one is a little bit more constrained. The main edit here was brightening up the foreground. The flashes (yes, I know, you can see one on the bath there…) were all aimed high, resulting in lovely tones up top, but a very shaded lower part of the image. A quick selection and curves adjustment got it up to something a little better, without taking the focus away from the main character in this scene. Think this one came out nicely exposed, the outside window is still clean and not burned-out and the faces are all well lit!

Lovely floor too, innit?

And finally there was the headshots.

This came out best:

It was desaturated using the colour balance method, her face was selected inverted and then the rest of the scene was subject to a gaussian blur of 3.7 pixels. Her eyes were  selected and given a smart sharpen and the lipstick was made darker with a small bit of burning.

Unsurprisingly, it’s already been a hit over on flickr (modest, me? yeah, I know). Less than 60 after being  uploaded it had been favourited. As had quite a few of this shoot. Beautiful people in revealing clothes will do wonders for your flickr stats. I’m up to 300 views in less than an  hour after this batch was put up.

As always there’s more over on my Flickr

Oh, and there’s still more editing to be done – 700 shots from yesterday and I’ve only gotten around to addressing about half so far, so stay tuned!





Fight Like Apes, 31st March 2009, Old Bar DCU

13 04 2010

Today, formerly-mohawked drummer Adrian Mullen has today left Fight Like Apes:

“Due to creative differences, Adrian Mullan and Fight Like Apes have parted company. MayKay, Pockets and Tom wish Adrian all the best in his future creative endeavours; as they continue to work on new material for their forthcoming second album..”

It was generally unexpected news, and comes as the band are writing and recording their long-awaited second album. I shot their gig in DCU in 2009. Above are the best three from a time when I was pretty clueless.

This was the second gig I’d ever photographed, and technically the first I’d ever shot from the pit. Given that to get into the pit, I merely had to have a DSLR and give the right people  a nod doesn’t seem like much now, but at the time it was awesome. Armed only with a 50mm (1.8) and being less than two feet away from the band meant that there was no chance of group shots or anything other than head-shots, really. But i was chuffed with the results. I didn’t care about the lighting – which was – and still is – surprisingly fantastic in it’s own way.

I’d never heard FLAPES before that night and was only aware of their more radio-friendly track, Lend Me Your Face. But it was a great night. They are one of the most energentic bands i’ve ever witnessed and definitely one of the more interesting. Thankfully the people of State.ie thought so too – and it was this gig (along with my Fujiya & Miyagi shoot at the Spiegeltent) that secured me a place on their impressive photography team. Just as well the missus dragged me along – just as well I took the camera.

Anyway, how about one more. One from the days of ‘not-so-subtle-editing’, perhaps?:

Oh yeah! Proof that there was once a time I though no image too blury, too dark or generally to bland that couldn’t be saved with a monochrome conversion and raised saturation combination. Niiice!