A Wonderful New Model
In an earlier post, I embedded photos of M, a young lady with a great talent for modeling. I finally finished post-processing her photos and ended up with 13 final images. That’s 28% of the 46 photos I made during our shoot, much more than I generally get from new models. In fact, most of the culls were due to errors on my part. I should have used a second light on her beautiful hair and, possibly, even a third light for her deep, expressive eyes. I hesitate to label her an amateur and hope I can shoot with her again in the future to rectify some of my mistakes. BTW, I have permission to use her name but I avoid doing so with new models until she’s sure she wants to be known as a nude model. That’s why I only use initial.
The first three are my favorites. I love the way her hand languidly caresses her hip. The second is a classic study in lines, curves, angles, light, shadows and textures. In the third one, I really thought hard about clipping her elbow. In the end, I decided I wanted that stark separation between the left and right sides.
Number 6 is the only one I retouched in Photoshop. I forgot to ask her to pull back her shoulders and lift her chin to tighten her tummy. So, a little bit of Liquify magic and M has her taut tummy restored.
Numbers 5 & 7 are where I should have used a kicker for better catchlights. The only excuse I have is that I was entranced, mesmerized and flustered at the opportunity to photograph such a beautiful model.
Number 11 is an example of where I should have used a hair light to add a glow to her beautiful hair.
Over the next few weeks I’ll post finals for models A and Z. All comments, both pro and con, are always appreciated.
A Model with Real Curves (Nude Photos)
Eva Forte is another model I recently worked with. I selected her because she’s a bit older than the usual 20-something women I’ve been photographing. As Eva says, she has “real curves.” I enjoyed working with Eva because she’s down-to-earth and practical (must be her Hungarian heritage.) She doesn’t try to be something she’s not! She comfortable in her skin and isn’t trying to prove how “cool” she is.
Right from the beginning, I had no thoughts of retouching her features and skin to make her look like anyone other than Eva. I like her scars, stretch marks and curves just as they are because she likes them. When something didn’t look quite right, it was usually my fault because I hadn’t more carefully considered the light or angle.
All these photos were made with a Canon 5D MkII and a Canon 24-105/4L IS. The lighting was from two Canon 580EX II SpeedLites in an Impact Luxbanx 36″ strip light. For horizontal poses, the light was suspended about 24″ above the model while, for vertical poses, the light was on a stand about 24″ to one side or the other.
One of the cool things I found for this shoot was a LumoPro Double Flash Bracket Speedring. It was a bit pricey since Midwest Photo charged nearly 30% for S&H but it allowed me to attach two flashes to one strip light. That way, I could set both lights to 1/2 power to speed up recharging and still get full power. I had originally planned to use a 2nd light hair light but decided to forego that in keeping with the KISS principle.
Miscellaneous Photo from Past 6 Weeks
Surviving 6 weeks in a 25 foot RV with a wife and an 18 lbs cat has been an interesting experience. Amazingly enough, we’re all still talking to each other and no one has tried to kill anyone else! “T” the Cat is so ready for this adventure to be over so he can get back to his catio on the back patio where he can survey his kingdom. Tomorrow (Sunday, 6/29,) Mary’s retreat is over so we’ll meet up in Petaluma, CA for the ~800 mile drive back to Wickenburg. I had planned to stop in Oatman, AZ to photograph wild burros but Mary (and T) pointed out the temps will be in the low 100s. I’ll plan Oatman for a winter visit.
I went back over the ~1700 images from the trip and found several that could benefit from PP (post-processing.)
These top four were various rock formations around Bishop and Big Pine. The first two are, obviously, HDR using Photomatix Essentials. The last two are SOOC (straight out of camera) with cropping, levels/saturation/contrast adjustments and sharpening. I’m still trying to go easy on HDR because, deep down, it feels like cheating.
The above three are from the Laws Railroad Museum near Bishop, CA. In lieu of HDR, I’m trying more BW and I’m finding more images that “feel” like good candidates for conversion. In the above trio, I think the last two might also work as BW. I plan to try that when I get home.
The last two are mules from Bishop Mule Days. The light colored mule seemed to have such deep, expressive eyes that looked right through me. The big, brown guy was a handsome mule who seemed curious.
All photos were processed in Lightroom 4.4 with HDR taken out to PhotoMatix. Some were also processed in Topaz Labs Adjust 5. The first 2 were made with a Canon 7D and 24-105/4L while the rest were with a Canon 5D Mark II and 24-105. The belts at Laws RR Museum photographed with my Canon EOS-M mirrorless. I’m beginning to love that camera and will try other lenses in the future.
Wickenburg Photography Group Summer Unmeetings
The Wickenburg Photo Group is dormant during the summer but I’ve been trying to schedule activities to keep members and potential members involved. These blog posts are meant to give people ideas for photo trips as well as techniques and gear. If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment.
On Saturday, July 19 from 9AM to Noon, I’ve scheduled a model session at the Wickenburg Art Center. The model is Chy Von Sweets, an alternative-style model who does Pin-Up, Rockabilly and High Fashion. As you can see from her portfolio, she’s a mix of Bettie Page, Punk and Vogue. I’ll have my backdrop and lights for anyone who wants to try studio model photography. The cost is $20, payable via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Saturday, August 9 from 1PM to 4PM at the Desert Caballeros Western Musuem, I’ll show you how to define and develop your own compositional style. To quote Ansel Adams, “The so-called rules of photographic composition are, in my opinion, invalid, irrelevant and immaterial” or, more succinctly, “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” I’ll, hopefully, demonstrate how you can stop worrying about rules and start making good photographs.
Finally, in September (date TBA,) if there’s enough interest, I’ll conduct a 2-3 hour printing seminar at Wickenburg Art Center. I’ll haul my 45 lbs Epson 3880 printer to the center and demonstrate how to prepare your photos for printing and how to fix common printing problems.
The WPG meetings start again on Monday, October 6 from 6:30PM to about 9PM depending on the agenda. We’ll send out an e-blast agenda to WPG members in Sept.
Topaz Black & White Effects Plug-In
Topaz Labs produces some of my favorite PS, PSE and LR plug-ins so when Nicole Paschal of Topaz invited me to try B&W Effects, I jumped right on it. Unfortunately, life has a way of getting in the way including a prolonged health issue (see bottom) and I never got back to it.
Today, feeling well enough to review and edit photos for the first time in two weeks, I fired up Lightroom to find a photo for B&W conversion. I’m not saying this is the best I have available but I thought it turned out well (If you disagree, tell me why in the Comments below.)
Topaz plug-ins will be among the subjects I cover in my 30-Minute Webinar series (below.) I’ll show you what the controls do so you can customize the Preset to your own vision. Below is another photo that I made years ago. It never did anything for me in color but the Topaz B&W (middle) looks nice. The second conversion used BW Presets in LR3 Develop Module. It reminds me of the Twilight Zone.
Fast, Easy and Cheap – 30 Minute Webinar Series!
What more can you ask for in photography lessons? Are you aware that I have a separate site called Photography Webinars and Shoots? On that site, I list photography webinars and photoshoots. In fact, many of the photoshoots are free.
At least once per month and, sometimes, more often, I present a 30 Minute Webinar covering some aspect of digital photography and photo editing. To date, webinars have covered Cleaning Your dSLR Sensor, Applying Unsharp Mask, Using Layers in Photo Editing, Tips for Restoring Old Photos and others. Click HERE for a sample 30-Minute webinar (no password.)
Due to the popularity of these short, to-the-point lessons, I’m incorporating them into my annual subscription services. Starting December 1, 2011, I’ll offer two annual subscription plans: Basic and Premium.
Basic Subscription Service includes all 30-Minute Webinars (minimum 1 per month) for one year, free access to videos of all 30-Minute Webinars and e-mail support for questions of general interest. So, if you have a question about digital SLR photography or photo editing that may be of interest to other readers, I’ll post an answer on the web site. Until December 31, the Introductory Price for a Basic Subscription is $50 per year. After December 31, 2011, the price is $60. Readers who have previously attended 30-Minute Webinars are eligible for an Introductory Subscription price of $36 (send me a copy of your PayPal receipt.)
Premium Subscription Service includes access to all 30-Minute Webinars (minimum 1 per month) for one year, free access to videos of all 30-Minute Webinars, e-mail support for all digital SLR and photo editing questions, free photo review and analysis for up to 12 photos per year and three hours of 1-on-1 consulting time via webinar. The three hours can also be used for a webinar class (does not include guest speakers.) Until December 31, 2011, the Premium Subscription price is $99. After 12/31/11, the regular price is $120. Readers who have previously attended 30-Minute Webinars are eligible for an additional discount, just $89 for 2012.
An added benefit is “Competition Review and Feedback,” a new service to members wishing to enter photo competitions. Honest, detailed feedback is important to win photography competitions. The Digital Photo Guy will provide insightful and incisive reviews of your photos to not only select the best photos for a particular competition but also ideas for improving your chances of winning.
Eastern Sierras Photoshoot
Next Friday, Sep 30, I’ll be in the Eastern Sierras for 10 days. Anyone who wants to join me is welcome. I’ll be in some areas you may never find on your own and I’ll be experimenting with techniques such as star trails and long exposure night photography. For details, click this LINK.
Facebook Paradigm Shift
I recently read an article titled, “Does Facebook Really Care About You?” by Douglas Rushkoff. As I read the article, I suddenly realized what it was about FB that I don’t like. To quote Rushkoff, “…on Facebook we’re not the customers. We are the product.” In other words, FB packages your information and resells it. That, in turn, makes FB users unpaid employees, “The hours Facebook users put into their profiles and lists and updates is the labor that Facebook then sells to the market researchers and advertisers it serves.” Think about it.
Reports of My Death Have Been Exaggerated…
But, not by much. I rarely get sick but, when I do, it’s a doozy. Also, as I get older, it it takes longer to recover. Over the past two weeks, I experienced the worst gout attack in ten years. Then, I developed a sinus infection from allergies. Knowing I had just a few days before the infection dropped down to my chest and put me out for 6-8 weeks, I rushed to my doctor for amoxicillan. The point to all this is that I missed posting a Monday Morning Tip last week.
Lightroom Makes BW So-o-o Easy
OK, I admit it, I’m a little slow at times. My friend, Rob Sheppard, suggested a BW webinar a while ago but I couldn’t get enthused due to previous (bad) attempts at BW. I just didn’t want to spend any time learning. Well, I should know better because Rob is Editor-at-Large for Outdoor Photographer, one of the oldest photography magazines. He had suggested using Lightroom and I was still in the process of learning LR and didn’t want to take on anymore at the time.
Recently, feeling somewhat competent with LR, I turned my attention to BW in LR. Wow! It’s much better than the clumsy BW tools I’d been using. Granted, it’s been 45 years since I tried my hand at BW so my eye isn’t as well tuned to the nuances of BW as I’d like. Still, I really like some of my first attempts. LR makes it so easy to unscrew an adjustment if I screw it up.
Adding icing to my new found interest in BW, the Epson 3880 I bought a few months ago prints beautiful BW. It has three shades of black so the tones are as smooth as a newborn baby’s butt.
If there’s enough interest, I may fire up the BW Webinar idea again with Rob Sheppard. Let me know via the comments section.
Canon T3i and Wireless Flash
Last week, I conducted a Flash in a Flash Workshop at Deer Park Winery. The student was using a brand new Canon T3i that I had recommended when she upgraded from an Olympus E500. I was impressed just reading the specs on the T3i but I was even more impressed when I actually got to use it. The T3i compares very favorably with my Canon 7D except in a few areas that probably won’t matter to most hobbyists.
Best of all, the T3i has wireless flash, just like the 7D. If you’re wndering, “What’s the big deal with wireless flash,” you’re in for a treat. How would you like to position your flash off camera without nasty, messy cables? How would you like true, honest-to-goodness E-TTL in a two, three, four or more flash setup?
If you have or are thinking of buying a Canon T3i, contact me for my Flash in a Flash Workshop. It will make your flash photos jump right off the page.