Dia de los muertos. Day of the dead.

Dia de los muertos. Day of the dead.

Dia de los muertos (day of the dead) at Hollywood Forever cemetery.

This was my first time attending such event and I must say, I had a great time. I could not believe the amount of people there. For starters I had to park the car almost 1 mile away from the cemetery. There were thousands of people there, and for the most part the vast majority were dressed up in all kinds of colorful costumes, families, couples young and old. It was great.

There were all kinds of things to see. Rows of altars honoring people. All kinds of display and little shops. Live bands and performers. And of course a bunch of good food.

Here are some of the pictures I came up with.

 

Self portrait. One direction.

 

 

 

 

The other day I came across a picture like it and got inspired to do one of me, for me.

The second picture was my first attempt. After I was done, I thought all 3 faces look quite similar, therefore I decided to reshot a few frames with some hats to make the mini me’s a look a bit different.

Here are both versions of my self portrait.

Feel free to comment or ask any questions.

Regards,

Alex

Image

Image

Kids photography.

Kids grow fast. Very fast. That’s what they do. On the other hand I take a bunch of pictures of them and I do that very often. I like to think I do a decent job at keeping up with their growth pictures.

Here are some recent ones. Some are just for the sake of taking pictures, some others are ideas I see online or things that pop on my mind.

Now that Sofia is almost 9 and Sebastian is 5 I can go back in time and find pictures of just about every week of the year. I love that.

I enjoy Kids photography a lot, it’s fun. You sure will not regret all those pictures in 5 or 10 years.

Don’t forget that they will not stop growing and will not be kids forever.

Like-father like son

Pictures of a hand Made pen.

Happy new year. It has been quite a few months from my last update. One other thing I enjoy doing besides photography  is woodworking and making pens. That is one of the reasons for my absence here. I just finished making a pen that I wanted to make for a while and here are some pictures of it. I hope you enjoy them.

Regards

Alex

Picture of the day. The new iPad III pictures

For Christmas 2011 My dear wife got me an iPad that I have been enjoying  a lot. Now that her birthday it’s coming, it is time to get even and I got the new iPad for her.

The  original lighting setting for this pictures was done with one Travelite 750 set to 1 o clock with a 11″ reflector and a 30Deg grid. I used a flag beneath the reflector to block the light a bit on the white background behind the box. At 7  o clock I position a white bounce card to open up the shadow on the front left side of the box. After a few shots I decided to add a second light to color the background and that was done with a Canon 580 EXII with two cuts of blue gel. All the lights were triggered with a Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5.

The Camera I used is a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-70 f2.8 L. White balance I think it was set at 6000K,  iso 100  F14  speed 200th.

Here is the original shot I took

Click on it to enlarge.

I kind of like the first picture but I wanted to incorporate the actual iPad to the image.

 Click on it to enlarge.

Then I decided to be creative and start playing with colors and that is when the Canon 580EXII came in. Also I turned on the iPad so it would look cool with a picture on the screen.

Click on it to enlarge

When saw that third image I did not care for it.  The exposure was not nearly enough to record the screen (IT WAS ON FOR THIS PICTURE)  and I think the crop did not look right at all, it was like a black square in front of the box. Then I recomposed the image and started trying to light the display with a third light in such way that it would show the image. Needless to say it did not matter what I did or where I positioned the light, the darn display was too dark or I ended up reflecting light into it or got a bunch of glare on a black screen. That is when I did something I don’t do often… Think. The answer pop right into my head.

The exposure for everything but the screen was already done with the flash, the camera was steady on a tripod. The flash duration is quite fast, therefore it did not mater the shutter speed being at 200 when nothing is moving. Now are you thinking what I’m thinking? You’re right. Turn of the ambient light and work on total darkness, take a picture for 30″ and see what happens. Bingo, the box and background are exposed by the flash and the screen it exposed using it’s own light. (I had to play with the exposure time to get it right, it ended up being 5″or 10″) and that is it.

Click on it to enlarge.

By the way, the picture on the display is my wife reading my iPad. I took that picture a few months ago and I thought it was going to be cool to use that image for this one.

If you have any comments or thoughts I would certainly appreciate if you leave some feed back.

Regards to all.

PS: If you made it all the way to the end here is a bonus picture of the settings.

Click on it to enlarge.

iPad setting

Wedding pictures at Calamigos Ranch.

Thanks Lexy and Aaron for trusting me with your wedding pictures. You guys were great and the event was a blast. I wish you many years of happiness.

Click on image to enlarge.

Sophia Baby girl pictures

Here are some pictures we did a few weeks back of baby Sophia. Her mom ask for either black and withe or sepia/toned images. I did a little bit of both to see what style she likes better. I think this baby would look great with any finish.

Click on images to see larger.

Engagement Pictures

Two weeks ago I met with Lexy and Aaron to shoot their engagement pictures. They are an awesome young couple with a fantastic future. The place they picked for the shoot was terrific, and although time was limited we had a great time taking the pictures.

Thanks for the opportunity.

Alex Elias

Pandora’s Box. Portrait and lighting technique

Lately I have being playing with light a bit more than usual. After spending some time reading the Strobist blog http://strobist.blogspot.com/  I came up with the urge to make a different kind of photo using some found knowledge and an old idea I had running on my head for a while.

I wanted to have the light to come from an unusual place like in this picture here

http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=7397779&size=lg

but I wanted a bit more of ambient light around like in this image here

keeping up with the concept and making some lighting modifications I came up with this image here.

Click on image to enlarge

Pandora's box

On this picture, I got just enough ambient light to show around the room but not so much to detract from the the main idea of a mystery box. It took a bit of playing around with the position and power of the lights (3 of them) and some reflections  until I got what I considered a decent balance of ambient light and flash light. So this is how I created this picture.

The camera was a Canon 7D with a 24-70mm f2.8L set at 30mm and f5.6, Speed 60th, ISO 125. The flashes were triggered with Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and the AC3 controller and 3 Pocket wizards Flex TT5 one on each zone A,B,C for fine control.

The first test picture I took was with the accent lampt by itself to determine the ambient light, color temp and exposure I needed for that side of the frame. Then I set up a Canon 580 EX @ 1/64 power with a snoot to shoot a controlled beam of light over the boxes on the side table ( I ended up gelling the flash with 3/4 CTO to compensate with the existing light from the lamp) and then set the camera withe balance to 4600K. The next step was to power Pandora’s box. There I put a Canon 430EXII @ 1/16 of its power with a 1/2 cut CTO and covered it with a paper towel to diffuse the light, also I lined the back of the lid box with foil to reflect light into her face from the front since the single light coming from the box was giving me some weird spooky shadows that I did not care for. With those two lights I ended up getting something like this picture bellow and that was the look I was trying to avoid. To dark around her.

Click on image to enlarge.

That is when the third light comes in to the rescue and made all the difference. Another Canon 580EXII at 1/16 power, set at 50mm and gelled with a 3/4 CTO cut . The placement of this light is the trickiest one since is the one that is doing a double duty (I learned this one at the strobist site on the lighting 102 files) this is the light that opened up the shadows on the left side to the frame (primary function) but it also created the reflection (specular light) on the headboard that defined and separated her head from an otherwise black background. The tricky part about this light is that it has to hit the headboard to create the reflection behind your models head and  that reflection is what creates the separation we are looking for.  Therefore the angle of the light and the one from the camera have to coincide in the right place and that is when the fine tuning part comes in. I will write a post about that but make sure you check the strobist site to get more details about it.

The one last thing that helped me wrap this image was the reflection of the lamp on the lid (I really like that) I have a few without it and  I did not liked them as much, the lid looked to dark and flat. Small details like that make a big difference at the end.

Here is a quick image that shows up the set up I used to get this image done.

Click on image to enlarge.

Thanks for stooping by and as usual I’d appreciate any comments or questions. I also welcome ideas for new topics.

Regards

Alex Elias

PS: A bigger and special thanks to my wife that put up with my ideas when coming tired from work.

Photo of the day. Portraits inside of a picture frame.

Nothing new that hasn’t been done before but always fun to try. In a effort to organize my garage I stumbled into this frame and decided to use it for some fun portrait session.

The set up was not complicate it at all just a backdrop and a picture frame that I hung with a wire to the necessary eight. The light source was a Travelite 750 with a Photoflex 36″x48″  softbox place to camera left and a White reflector to the right to fill in the shadows. The Camera was a Canon 7D and the lens a Canon EfS 10-22 set a the 10mm end (to make it more cartoon looking, since I wasn’t going for the glamour look) set the lens at f 5.6. Iso was 100  speed 250 and custom white balance. The flash was triggered with a Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and a Flex TT5.

The one thing I would recommend to make the post work simpler is to try to keep the frame as square as possible to the camera’s sensor plane to avoid to much distortions, specially working with such wide angle lens. Once in Photoshop I corrected the perspective to make the frame square before I did anything else. once the frame was square enough I made a selection of the subject put it on it’s on layer, created a new background  and added a drop shadow the the bottom right side of the frame.

Thanks for looking and as always do not hesitate to comment or ask any questions, I do appreciate both.

Regards

Alex

 

Click on image to see larger.