Two Lenses: A Day in the North Country

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Yesterday I spent the morning wandering around an area north of Phoenix for a few hours. Joined by photographers Dennis Mong and Miachelle DePiano, we took a loop through a beautiful part of central / north Arizona.

I had no expectations other than hoping I could capture a few shots of the fall colors that seem to last but a moment each Autumn. We took the I17 North to Camp Verde, had breakfast while hoping the very gray skies would open up with some sun, but moved on toward Strawberry, AZ when that didn’t materialize. As we went up the mountain toward Strawberry, Pine, and Payson, the sun began peeking out just a bit. The resulting soft light was really pretty.

I used two cameras, with only two lenses. The drive wasn’t formally constructed to do that, but it ended up that I used a moderate wide and a telephoto for all the images.

Cameras:

Nikon Df, 35MM f2.0
Canon 6D, 200MM f2.8L

Gear Links

So I either chose a moderate wide or a tighter tele for all the shots I did, not once changing the lenses on the two cameras. That forced me to look for tight or compressed images or things that could be presented within a wider context.

I may do this again in a week or so… 28mm on the DF and 135MM on the 6D and look for shots that fit those two specific image views. Or not… LOL. I do not have any idea what I will do in a couple of weeks.

5 Photographs with the Nikon Df and the 35MM f2:

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5 Photographs from the Canon 6D, 200MM f2.8L.

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ReBranding With Photography

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This was an interesting week.

An old friend and colleague reached out to renew a friendship and to discuss some epiphanies she had recently experienced.

Lunch was near my studio and it was with a bit of trepidation that I had agreed. While I think the world of this person, I also know that our working together can be fraught with frustration and no small measure of much needed patience.

I suck at patience, and life is too short to continually haggle with people. It simply is. We can be like water and oil at times… she with a close eye for microscopic detail, and with a heavy background in corporate people management, me with a ‘big picture’ approach, and eschewing nearly every corporate culture meme there is.

Lunch was always fun with her though… terrifically smart, very focused and with a zest for finding out everything about everything, she can match wits with most.

I was not expecting her exuberance to have faded in the last two years, and I was correct. But now there was something a bit different going on. She had found her voice, her ‘thing’ so to speak. That part of her that had made her so frustrating before was now morphed into a sureness and solidly focused professional.

“You were right,” she said almost at the beginning. “All the things you said I needed to do, were what exactly what I needed to do. I just wasn’t ready to commit to myself. I must have driven you crazy, huh?”

I smiled and brushed off the driving me crazy, although that nail was punched right on.

I had encouraged her to find her voice, find the thing that would make her, and her fledgling business, more unique and reflect more of her authentic person. Write like she speaks, be as personable on the page as she was in person. In short, be herself and stop trying to be what others thought she should be.

I am so proud of her now, that all of those frustrations are simply no worth thinking about. She has gone from a corporate ‘manager’ to someone who is confidently managing herself… and a whole slew of private clients that have been attracted to her systematic, well thought, and successful approach to her business.

We have set up a few projects together, and one of them involves an idea to share with you all.

One of the things we must remember is that what we package is sometimes not as interesting as HOW we package it.

Some of us older guys will remember the ads in magazines for the ability to “see through walls”… yes, this device would allow you to actually see through walls and doors. Like magic.

It was the little thing we put on our doors to see who is on the other side. He had purchased a warehouse full of them, and selling ‘door peepers’ just didn’t have the punch that “See Through Walls” did. He became a multi-millionaire.

Social Media, Personal Branding Photography is our package. And as of today, we have at least 5 shoots on the books for February. At a very decent rate for sure. (For sure I have mentioned it before… we have now been able to put a tighter ‘brand’ on it.)

What is included:
2 headshots: one ‘natural’ and one ‘professional’.
A full length shot to be used for purposes where that would make sense.
Two half length shots, and something with a strong environmental feel.

Uses:
Facebook header – need interesting wide shot.
A Twitter background – tall shot for left hand side of twitter page.
An About.me page.
A YouTube header.
A shot for their “About Me” web page.
Web Header images for their site.

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We are taking a full day for the photography, providing styling and hair/mu where appropriate. Most images to be shot on location, with only two images in the studio.

Well researched up front, I will know what dimensions their social media images must be, so I can shoot to “layout” so to speak.

All of the scheduled clients are entrepreneurs and business people who are discovering their social media impact and want their brand to be consistent across platforms.

And while shooting photographs of someone is not new, knowing exactly how they will be used and shooting for the disparate formats that they need them for is somewhat refreshing. No more cropping out or filling in areas on haphazard iPhone shots… we shoot FOR their social media and website presentation.

A professional and creatively presented, cohesive set of images.

A win for our customers and a win for us.

Just thought you would be interested… take it and run with it in your town if you are so inclined.

 

An Easy Set Up For Still Life: with Virginia Smith

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I needed a quick and easy set up for the small jobs I so here and there. Branding samples, food photography, accessories for the styling that I do on the side. I love window light, shadows and color so this is my easy set up for my style. The elements are:

* a diffused window (inexpensive white sheers from any big box store will do)
* an assortment of colored art papers available at any art supply store
* odd pieces of wood or a piece of paneling
* squares of vinyl flooring that looks like slate or stone, even wood
* wide painters tape

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All these elements are about 24×24 inches square. They are taped in place along with whatever props I may need in the background to set a mood (dresses, branches, fabric…). Sometimes I place my surface right against the background, sometimes I place my surface away from the background. I have latitude next to the window to use the light and shadows that fall as well as time of day. The shadows are stronger late in the day as in these test shots. I can use a reflector to soften the shadows but I tend to prefer them strong.

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If I find the backgrounds too smooth, I will add textures that I have created from old paintings, walls, rocks, dirt and whatever else looks interesting.

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Fast, easy and fits my Modern Vintage style.

The items needed for the setup.

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Virginia Smith (Modern Vintage Photography)

SUMMER-SCHOOL

“Work The Scene” with Rasmus Hald

Work the scene.

Rasmus Hald

One of the things that separate a good photo from a great photo is often planning, patience and how we work the scene.

In July 2012 I was in Italy on vacation, driving around Tuscany in an RV and we went to Florence for a couple of days. I had read beforehand about a place to camp with a RV close to Piazzale Michelangelo that have a splendid view out over the old city center.

We spent the first day down in the city and after a good dinner we went back to the RV and as soon as we got there I trapped my tripod and camera and went to shoot the city from above…

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I was not happy with this image, it was to late and the sky had gone dark, so it was clear that I had to get there earlier to get a better picture, this was shot 11.30 PM.

So the next evening I came back a lot earlier…

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This image is shot 08.53 PM in the evening. I like this image, but it was not the image I came for.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 45mm f/1.8 ISO 200, f/11, 1/50s

So I waited and tried the lenses I had with me.

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Samyang 7.5mm fisheye. 13s shutter time to allow car lights to make lines below…

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2 image panorama shot wide (12mm), I have printed this image here at home in 36x16inch and it looks very nice. This was shot 09.45 PM and was one of the last images I shot before the sky went dark.

I made a total of 50 images during this hour and ended up with the below image as my favorite:

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Olympus OM-D E-M5 12-60 f/3.5-6.3 f/16, 20mm 20s ISO 200.

All images shot in raw and processed in Lightroom 4 + Nik Color efex pro with tonal contrast preset.

Rasmus Hald
Oslo, Norway
Website
Facebook

SUMMER-SCHOOLMANY OF THE TUTORIALS DURING “SUMMER SCHOOL” ARE BY PROJECT 52 PRO MEMBERS EITHER CURRENTLY ENROLLED OR ALUMNI.

Available Light / Available Tools; with David Price

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I wanted to side-light this artisan’s hands to highlight the texture both in her hands, as well as the fabric. She was making a set of custom gloves to honor my wife for her many years of service to living history re-enactments.

I did not have a lot of equipment with me; just my camera and a little quick thinking. As you can see by the picture of the dark hands, the sunlit side goes quite bright, and the shadows quickly go to almost black. I did not have a set of reflectors with me, but there was a white dish-towel sitting on the table next to me. I asked a young lady sitting nearby if she would be kind enough to hold the towel near the shadow side of the hands, and that brought the contrast back to a level I could appreciate. I varied the distance to taste, and the resulting picture is what you see presented here.

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Available natural light and available tools.

See more of David’s work at his website.

SUMMER-SCHOOLALL THE TUTORIALS DURING “SUMMER SCHOOL” ARE BY PROJECT 52 PRO MEMBERS EITHER CURRENTLY ENROLLED OR ALUMNI.