Sanna and powder

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I have mentioned before that I am putting together 10 images to submit for the first level of the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) honours system. At the Licentitate level (LPSNZ) you are supposed to demonstrate proficiancy across a range of photographic styles. Quite often the photographers have used different genres to do this.

I have taken a slightly different approach in trying to show diversity of approach but within the same genre. This is risky but it stays true to my main area of photography.

I already have most of the images shot and are finishing it with two images that emply macro techniques. While normally used on flowers or insects I decided to employ the technique on faces.

I had seen a Lindsay Adler video where she had used coloured powder on a face and shot it up close. It was amazing so I sought to do the same. Sanna works part time at my work, and as she had very vivid eyes, I asked if she would help me.

The powder we used is the same as that used in the “Color Run” however its origins are with the Hindu Holi festival. It is a very fine cornstarch which is deadly on lens so we were taking no risks.

We shot in Sanna’s apartment with her sitting on a wooden stool. A large tarpolin was spread on the floor to ensure that none of the powder stains the carpet. I even bought a $2 t-shirt from a thrift store so that there was no risk I would ruin her clothes.

I had a single studio light with a gridded seven inch reflector to give me a very precise light. The camera was metered at f11. Given that it was a macro shot you have very little depth of field to play with so the camera was set on a try, and live view was used to focus to lens. As a final precaution the camera was set to self timer.

We started with shots without the powder to check that the exposure was right. The shadows on the original images were too dark so we positioned a large mirror to act as a reflector and fill them in a bit.

An initial shot to test exposure
An initial shot to test exposure

I started shooting with my original macro lens which is a Sigma 70-300mm that has a macro switch that can be set anywhere between 200-300mm. I was initially using this lens becasue it enabled me to shoot further away, and therefore avoid the risk of powder damage.

The problem is that the lens is very hard to sharply focus, and as we had placed rather than thrown the powder I decided to swap to my Nikon 105mm macro which is a much sharper lens.

sanna-3I was really pleased with the results. One thing that was quite surprizing was how black the background went. This was shot in a well light kitchen with windows on two sides, so to the huma eye is was quite well lit. But the camera set at 1/200s at f11 pretty much eliminated all ambient light.sanna-4

Cheyenne and Hine on a wet day

chy-hine-1I shot Chyenne and Hine earlier in the year and at the time Chyenne agreed to come back later in the year and complete a series of bodyscapes. When setting these upshe also asked to do an outdoor shoot based on a couple of images she had seen on pinterest. These involved outdoor caravans, deck chairs, sunglasses and sunshine.

While Saturday morning dawned fine, the day got progressively worst and by the time of the shoot rain had settled in. However one of the sites she had suggested to shoot at is the remnants of long gone petrol station, and it still has the covers in place over where the pumps were. This meant that we could shoot there without getting too wet.

It is great when you can move the model into the rain but still stay dry yourself.
It is great when you can move the model into the rain but still stay dry yourself.

Down the road from the site there are some major drainage works and the contractor is using part of it to park their trucks. That gave up some great backdrops for the images.

chy-hine-3 chy-hine-4 chy-hine-5 chy-hine-6We are planning of doing another shoot early next year when we know the weather will be better.

Hannah at the bunker

lr20161203-36Hannah is a young model who was looking to expand her portfolio. Kristy recenty graduated from Weltec’s makeup school and was also looking to colaborate for her portfolio. We arranged to do a fashion and lingerie shoot at the Palmer Head gun emplacement.

Over the last 10 years of shooting models I have been pretty lucky that just about every shoot has been an enjoyable experience. Unfortunately I could not rate this among them due to a whole string of issues that seemed to plague it.

The shoot was originally planned for the Saturday November 27th, and as all parties lived in the Hutt Valley I arranegd to meet them and then go in a single car. I was supposed to be picking them up at 4:00pm and figured that with travel and makeup we would start shoooting around 5:30pm. I was not too worried about the time of day as it was going to be light until at least 8pm and there was the promise of a period of golden light.

Unfortunatley Hannah cancelled 50 minutes before her pickup time, by which time I was already on my way. She had run into an issue with babysitting and so we rescheduled for the following Saturday.

lr20161203-19The day before the second shoot day there was a drama that could easily make a soap opera script when she hadn’t replied to either a facebook or text message I had sent. Based on some other posts i had seen her make on Facebook I assumed it was not on and so arranged with a second model. When she finally confirmed I had to change the arrangements with the second model.

Then on the day of the rescheduled shoot she arrived 50 minutes later than originally planned at the pickup point. This meant that we started a lot later than planned. While the day had started out fine and calm but by the time we got to the bunker cloud kept coming in and out and the wind had picked up to the point where Kristy was struggling with the makeup. The temperature had also dropped and so the location was turning into a not too pleasant place to be.

We worked through the series of clothes shoots, as I figured this would be a good way for her to relax before we moved onto the lingerie. While this sort of worked the wind and the light made shooting difficult.

Kristy gets Hannah ready for the shoot
Kristy gets Hannah ready for the shoot

I had assumed that shooting so late in the day we would have the site pretty much to ourselves. We had a couple of people walk through while makeup was being done but that did not cause us any grief. But no sooner as Hannah got into the first lingerie outfit then a family arrived at the site, along with a bunch of preteen boys. The family did not stay long but the boys hung around. That meant that we had to stay in one very dark room which was not what I had in mind.

I could see that Hannah was clearly nervous with the presence of the boys and was also getting quite cold. When my flash starting misfiring I decided to call it quits. There was no point in trying any further.

lr20161203-38Hannah has asked to shoot again in the new year. Hopefully that shoot will run more smoothly.

A winning way to end the year

I am pleased to announce that at the Hutt Camera Club awards night I received the award for Advanced Digital images in the ladder competition.

This is a competition judged in four sections over the course of the year. Each round has a different set topic and a different judge, with two images maximum allowed. The images below are the eight that were submitted.

Round One – A different approach

0218_l1_s_kat 0218_l1_s_shilloette

Round Two – Hidden

0218_l2_s_hidden_in_the_light 0218_l2_s_veiled

Round Three – Old Time

0218_l3_s_accordianplayer 0218_l3_s_wilf

Round Four – Adverse Conditions

a-s-l4-218-a_little_snow a-s-l4-218-below_zero

Playing with new toys

On Thursday night I attended a product launch hosted by Wellington Photographic Supplies who have become the local agent for Profoto lights. Sean from WPS and Greg from CRKennedy (the New Zealand distributors) has brought down both models of battery powered lights in the Profoto range.

Now I have often seen these lights used in the videos but it was a real treat to be able to use them in action. While I had my own camera there I also jumped at the opportunity to play with a D800E. The lights use TTL so it was quite interesting to see how they would perform as personally I shoot with lights on manual.

We shot down on the Wellington waterfront with the love Laura. It was a great time.

While I would love to own a set of these babies the reality is that they fall into the “when i win lotto’ category.

This was shot full TTL
This was shot full TTL in aperture priority. As such the camera knew that a flash was in play and set the shutter speed at 1/60s
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This is a more traditional image bringing out the model from the background. The sky was much lighter than shown in the image but I had the camera set at f14.
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As the lights had the ability of high speed I thought I would give it a try. This was shot in manual at 1/1250s F4. It is still maybe a little overexposed, but given of my other lights can shoot anything about 1/200s I am happy.