Photo Blog

Photography and assorted thoughts

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Between Shadows and Light

The difference between a ordinary portrait and an extraordinary portrait can be the quality of the light. Last weekend, I attended a class from Roza Sampolinska from Illuminate Workshops. While we covered a number of lighting setups, the fresnel light was by far the class favorite. The fresnel light is a continuous source, so working with poses was easier.
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Accuracy was called for, since very small movements were enough to alter the emotional character of the picture. I was using an aperture of F2.8 so the depth of field was relatively narrow. And I processed the picture with Silver Efex Pro 2 for the black and white conversion.
I recommend the workshop. I have relatively little experience with models, and the ones they had for the workshop were excellent. And learning to light this way was a revelation.

To paraphrase Joe McNally, one way to add mystery to a picture is to not light all of it.

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Grand Teton National Park

I photographed this on Sunday. We were at this site, before civil twilight to get the right light.

Beaver Pond In Front of the Tetons

Beaver Pond In Front of the Tetons


This was another day to appreciate having a good tripod, both because my new one is light, and the fact it’s pretty steady. I was out with my class from RMSP

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Colorado Springs Balloon Classic – Balloon Glow

Went out to photograph the Balloon Glow at the Colorado Springs Balloon Classic last night.

Balloon Glow

Balloon Glow

This was an exercise in patience, since only when the balloon was illuminated would the auto focus work. And they only had the burners fired up for a few seconds at a time, so that the balloon wouldn’t fly into the night. I tried manual focus as well, but found that with the D800 and Nikon 24-70 the focus was fast enough.
This is one of the differences between doing night photography in an urban setting verses being out in the wild. In an urban setting, typically you can get your autofocus system to work, and then you go to manual focus for a static scene. Photographing by the light of the moon, or just with starlight, it really helps to have a laser pointer, or a lens that focuses well at the infinity setting.
I wanted to go out this year for the Balloon Classic since this is scheduled to be the last year in Colorado Springs. The folks on the news this morning said that there was a chance that it would be sold and the balloons would be back. But right now, it’s the last weekend.

This was with Efrain Cruz’s Illuminate Workshops Night Crawlers group. There were a few folks that had taken pictures at the balloon glow, which I was not one. So it was nice to have Efrain’s suggestions on what settings to start with, before I started to experiment.