Monday, October 20, 2008

would a new camera improve my picture taking abilities in the case of these pictures?
would a 85mm F/1.4 improve my picture taking abilities in the case of these pictures?
would another flash improve my picture taking abilities in the case of these pictures?
would it make sense to replace my 2 el cheapo lightstand with some nice one?

no (but a backup would be nice, just in case, maybe I get an old D50 or so for 300$, or if I can stretch it a D90)
hell yes

Anyway we went out to sacramento old town and starting snapping pictures at 5 and were done at 8 and boy I'm exhausted the stuff does get heavy quickly and I was very happy that saeed helped me to carry all the stuff.

The beginning felt a bit of awkward for me, since I did not really know what todo and all my ideas did not work, since the locations were closed or moved out of the way on this particular sunday....
Saeed was a great help in getting it running, since he just picked a spot and we started shooting. It was the worst possible spot and I would never had choosen it, since the background was way to busy and I just straight deleted these pictures, but it broke the ice and the creativity started.
The beginning looked like this and is nothing great or artistic. But use able

Once we got warm and the sun came a bit down we could proceed with some more advanced and creative stuff

shortly afterward we tried the first thing what I thought about and the train finally was in the right spot and the light was perfect to shoot some ambient style stuff. But a 85mm F/1.4 sure would have improved some stuff, but I still think it's a kind of a special purpose lens

and some more of this

now I finally started to get creative and played with a couple (3) of speedlights at the one particular train, while saeed was shooting pictures of stormy and he seemed kinda unhappy that he had to use film...

after we exhausted this location we moved on to a hallway I discovered earlier and I could try something what I planned since a long time. Saeed proved to be an excellent assistant and started singing to make the couple dance, while I was setting up the lights.

Once we were done there and I was sure I got what I wanted we moved on to another location I found earlier and stormy got excited by this little store with red neo signs and some light bulbs. I'm not sure that this works for me, but it was worth a try. Basically I would had needed a couple of softboxes to really make it work.

once we were done and I just basically gave up, well we discovered a nice harley davidson and the proud owner allowed us to sit on it and take pictures. He said something like "I bought this baby and put 30k$ into it" , well I stayed far way from it, since I'm way to clumsy...

Well I guess we all had a lot of fun and learned something, for example I prefer hard light so much over soft light, soft light is just not my style

The complete gallery can be found here

and I really have to say with every photo shoot I improve more and more. But one day I have to learn how to post process the pictures in photoshop, so I actually can print them large and the skin still looks great.

Basically all these pictures are taken straight from the camera and I just adjusted the contrast using lightroom, cropped them to the composition I wanted and converted them to black and white. The whole process took like an hour to sort the 400 pictures, delete the once which were setup shots or which just did not work.
The main thing is, natural light photography only works shortly during the golden hour, otherwise your pictures just look 'dull' and no play with photoshop makes a good picture out of a boring picture.
Now once you bring flash into the equation, this changes everything and makes it so hard to get the exposure were you want it, since the auto adjust features in lightroom just don't work anymore and I don't own a light meter. (And don't really need it anyway, since I can 'chimp' from the camera display. At least roughly...)

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