Talking Shop Ensemble

27 05 2011

As promised, here’s Talking Shop Ensemble:

 





The Cast of Cheers

12 01 2011

My project to photograph every important Irish band around continues with The Cast of Cheers. Plagued with technical issue (gammy flashes, broken remote releases and an umbrella adapter for a lightstand that disappeared during the drive to the location) I did the best with what I had. And it worked out alright in the end.

Taking promo shots at night is horrible – especially when you have one flash to work with and only a small softbox to use – in windy conditions.

Taking a band called the Cast of Cheers to an off-licence for a shoot might be a bit naff though…

 

Edit: Maybe this is better:





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.





Hoax

9 08 2010

The lads from Hoax were the latest crowd to get the Deadl.ie treatment. We met up at the docks and after a few minutes they were totally relaxed and some of the best models I’ve worked with yet. You can check the guys out here and if you like what you hear they’re playing Sunday 15th August in the Mezz

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Photographer’s Notes:

The lads chose to meet at 9pm, which was perfect lighting-wise. The sun was setting and the lights at the docklands were coming alive. Worked out perfectly. Two strobes were used, two SB-600s fired using Nikon’s on-baord CLS, both at full power. The lights were situated at 45′ to each side of the band, the left using a shoot through umbrella and the right through my new Ezybox.

The left light was aimed at the member furthest on the right and vice-versa with the left strobe, ensuring a nice even spread of light across the band. There was no back-lighting this time.

The green-shot  (no.3) was performed with a shutter speed of 1/80 whilst moving the camera freely in my hand as I shot. It was enough to lightly blur the scene, with the flashes (firing at the end of the shutter) was strong enough to ensure detail and clarity.

The set, so far is available here:





Self Portrait – Strobist Style

9 07 2010

Right, so the strobist obsession continues. After splashing out for Joe McNally‘s two books earlier this week, I was bitten by this photo-flash malarkey once more and had to give it a go. Lacking a beautiful model however, meant that it was up to myself to not only dial in all the numbers and figures, but to also look nonchalant and well, poncey. I succeeded in at least one of these aims.

It was a fairly simple set up, as you can see below:

So two flashes, two diffusers (one coloured), a small GorillaPod and one lighting stand. Hardly an overly elaborate set-up. But to be honest, without Mr.McNally’s tips, this would’ve been a lot more daunting that I thought it would be.

But  to be honest the storbes aren’t really the hard part here – the background is. I needed to use the available light to my advantage (you can see it to the back of the scene in the windows). So I had to work that in. So firstly expose using Aperture Mode, with matrix-metering. That gave me this:

Which is fair enough to an extent. In the camera’s brain, this is a well exposed picture apparently. But lets be honest, it’s a bit shite. I mean it’s equally dark and bright at the same time. Look out the windows – pure white. Never a good thing in a photograph, really. So then you stick it in manual and take it down a stop or two until it starts looking a bit better – in the window area only. So you should get this (well, if you live in my house and have the camera pointing in the same direction, at least):

Right, technically awful, but nicer lighting in the window area – especially on the table. I mean that’sa nice table. Poifect.

Then you just bring in the lights. One behind the model (well, hello) and the other above them seems to be a fairly standard affair, according to good ol’ Joe. The one behind lights up the background and gives a nice outline, the other obviously just lights up the face. The background light had a CTO diffuser on it, just to warm things up a bit. The lights practically do everything themselves in iTTL (intelligent Through The Lens), but I felt I needed to adjust them slightly (+3 in the back and -1 on the face).

I’m not saying these are perfect portraits (far from it – lookit the highlights on the white appliances for a start), but given that I was manual focusing, aiming, pressing a timer release, legging it around the table like a rabbit jogging through marshmallow, I think I did okay.

G’wan then. One more prat-shot:

….Oh and get The Hot Shoe Diaries. If you like any of this stuff it’ll change your view on the whole malarkey. It’s inspiring and informative and great fun too. It’ll be helping me along my way here for a long time!





Take the Money & Run

15 06 2010

Week Two brought the lovely Take the Money and Run into the studio. With a little extra time to prepare this time, I found a better location for this weeks shoot. The room was darkened (with blinds brought down) and then the lights were set up. The aperture was set to f/4 and the ISO was at it’s lowest at 200. This made the scene practically black-dark. The first light added was for detail. In retrospect, it probably could have been utilized better, but at the time it was cool. Behind the guys is one SB-S00 firing wirelessly – you can see the detail it adds to the edge of the plaid shirt, there.

By now this was the scene:

The  second flash, another wirelessly remoted SB-600 was brought in camera left, behind a shoot-thru umbrella at about 1/4 power.

Lastly is the studio shot. Two flashes again – one on-board bouncing off the ceiling, the other under the table shooting against the wall to kill any shadows (created by the window behind me). The odd angle was an accident created… well I’m not sure what I pressed, but I likes it. Little bit different, eh?

Stay tuned for a link to the show itself featuring the interview!





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…