Photo of the day. Painting with light.

Today I wanted to light a simple set up with a very simple light source… an LED flash light. The basic idea is that the LED will be the only source of light, therefore a tripod is a must (unless you can hold the camera for 30″ with one hand and use the flash light with the other)

One of the many benefits of lighting something in this manner is that the light can be place exactly where you want it, allowing for great freedom and creativity, also there is no expenses to do this kind of photography aside from the tripod and LED flashlight. The one drawback and quite frankly not a big deal, is that each picture is unique and there is no way to recreate it.

The camera was a Canon 7D and the lens a Canon EF 27-70 f2.8L. I set the camera to manual everything (including focus) ISO 100, F10, 30″ exposure manual,  color temp to 10000K . Focus on your subject while you have light and then turn off the autofocus, that way the camera will not go crazy trying to focus in the dark. Make sure that whatever available light you might have on the room does not record on the sensor (do a test shot and make sure the image must be black) after that, get ready to shoot a lot of frames and make the necessary changes as you go.

Here is one picture I just did. If you like to know more details about the LED and how to use it so it does not appear in the frame while lighting, let me know and I’ll make another post with different images and a few more details on how to light the scene.

Thanks for looking.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Alex Elias

Click on image to see full size.

Photo of the day. Carved pumpkin picture.

Tonight when I walked into the house I noticed the carved pumpkin glowing on the table. I like the low light mood and decided to grave the camera and try to capture the scene the way I was looking at it. After trying a few different approaches, this is how I ended up doing it.

Canon 7D and Canon Ef 24-70 F2.8L on tripod. ISO 100 F5.6 and 1 second of exposure, and the color balance was set to tungsten.  To camera left I used a Canon 580EX with a full cut of CTO with a Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 on a 2’x2′ Lastolite Ezy box, that was triggered with a Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and a an AC3 Pocket wizard module in manual mode dialed down to minus 3. The idea was to capture the overall scene with the ambient light and use the flash to show a bit around it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Alex Elias.

Newborn. Baby girl Pictures.

I just finished doing a shoot for a newborn baby girl. The session went great since the little one literately slept like a baby.

The set up was quite simple, I used a photography posing table to set the basket with the baby, that made it easy for moving and positioning. The lighting was done with 2 Travelites 750 one with a 11″ reflector set with a 30Deg grid  for the background and the other one with a larger Photoflex softbox that was placed very close to the baby on camera’s right. On the left side of the camera as a fill light I used a Canon 580EXII with a 2×2 Lastolite softbox . All lights were triggered with Pocket Wizards Flex TT5 and a Pocket Wizard mini TT1 with the AC3 controller on the camera as the master. The camera was a Canon 7D and the two lenses for this shoot were a Canon Ef 100 macro F2.8 and as Canon Ef 24-70 f2.8L. I used the 100 macro 90% of the time for the session. I set it at  f5.6 since I was looking for a rather shallower DOP.

For the post work I used Adobe Bridge to organize and tag the files with colors and stars. From there I migrated the raw files to ACR to do some  adjustments and then open in Photoshop CS5 to do the last part. Here I did a few different styles in terms of post work from color, to black and white, duo tones and playing with vibrance  and saturation tools.

Thanks for looking.

I welcome questions and suggestions.

Alex Elias

Picture of the day. Close up and still Photography.

My dear friend Jeff got my this fabulous flower arrangement. When I first saw it I got amazed by the looks and attention to details not to mention the fragrance was just incredible as well. Since flower look great for so long I decided I wanted to make them the subject of a photo shoot. My first thought was to take a few pictures of it but the few pictures turn out to be over 100 pictures and a bit over 3 hours. I started shooting the base only and then I got inspired and started to shoot individual flowers, different lenses angles and lighting scenarios.

Equipment used

The pictures were taken with a Canon 7D set at ISO  160 speed at 250 F8 and white balance fixed at 5800K for most images. Later during the shot I started using F16 for the close ups so I switched to ISO 200 and 250. I mostly used a Canon EF 24-70 2.8L and Canon EF 100Macro 2.8 also some pictures were done using a Canon EF-S 10-22 to get some different perspectives. As far as lighting this time I did not use strobes. I took all the pictures with a Canon 580EXII and a Lastolite easy box 2×2 and a white reflector to bounce some fill light on the opposite side. Later during the shoot I added a Canon 430EXII with an umbrella. I controlled the lights with a Pocket wizard mini TT1 and the AC3 controller (both lights were in manual mode on independent groups)

Thanks for looking and don’t hesitate to ask should you have any questions.

Regards,

Alex Elias

Still photography and feathering the light

My 3 Yr old son decided to yank this flower from the plant ( along with 12 other of it’s kind ) Since he go every flower with had there I wanted to at least have a picture of one before it die.

The backdrop I used was a piece of burlap that I thought it was going to work well. After a few shots I realized I did not liked the backdrop at all and started to pull it back to make it darker due to light fall off. Next thing you know I run out of space and I was able to still see the burlap pretty clearly.   After a few tries I figured that pulling the light farther away did help the background but the flower went darker in the same relation, so I went back to the original light position, added a black back drop and changed the angle of the light and that did the trick. Basically the light was not aiming directly at the flower, it was position in a way were the light traveled in front of the flower from right to left therefore feathering the light  it created a beautiful wrapping light that brought the flower back to life and added some depth and contrast.

Equipment Used.

Canon 7D with Canon Es 24-70 2.8L the camera was set at ISO 200 F5.6 I used one travelite 750 with a 36″x48″ Photoflex soft box (I did not need such a large box for this but it was up on the stand already) the light was triggered via Pocket wizard.

This is the end result

This picture was with the original set up.

And this two images show the light in relation to the flower.

Indoor family pictures.

Last week’s  family shoot went out very nice nicely. Everyone was ready and very willing to make this work, specially the 6-year-old that  turned out to be a star. She sure had a blast modeling and working the camera. She tried a few different looks and also did her own make up, which by the way I think she did pretty good for 6 years of age; For sure better than I would have done.

The equipment I took with me for the shoot was my Canon 7D and although I took about 5 lenses the Canon EF 24-70 2.8 L was the one that I used all the time. Lighting was done with 2 Travelites 750 triggered via pocket wizards Mini and Flex and I fitted the lights with one 48×60 photoflex Softbox for the main, and an umbrella using the bouncing side as a fill. I shot everything at F9.0 and a few at F11 for good depth of field and ISO set at 200. The one thing I must confess is that I left the white balance on auto, I forgot to lock it and now I’ll have to spend a bit of extra time in CS5 with the color correction.

Overall it was a great day and I enjoyed the session a lot.

 

Picture of the day. Self family portrait.

I Just did some family portraits with a different look. (CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO SEE LARGER) Taking the pictures for the final image was not too involved (aside from the lack of cooperation from my 3 yr son)  In this series of shots I used one main light to camera right  ( Travelite 750 with a 36″x 48″ Photoflex soft box) on the opposite side (camera left next to the kids) I went with a 48″ x 60″ withe reflector to bounce light and fill in the shadows. I set the camera ( Canon 7D with a EF 24-70 2.8L ) at ISO 100 F9.0 and triggered the strobe with a Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and a Flex TT5. Later in the shoot I introduced a Canon 580 EXII without diffusion as a hair light to create some separation that was also triggered with a Flex TT5. I set that flash to manual and used a Pocket Wizard AC3 to control the output of that flash.

The overall steps are not to complicated. I used 2 pieces of withe foam core from the arts supply for $5 each. On one I cut a 13″x16″ hole  in the center and the other one was left intact. I First took the pictures of the kids inside the frame and then I took mine holding the board without the cut off. The rest was done in Photoshop using layers.

Thanks for looking

Alex Elias

My family

Outdoor Portraits.

Recently I went to visit my family and the place where they live features a great outdoor fireplace. Focal points like this make up for a great backdrop so I took my lights and shoot some pictures.

The camera was a Canon 7D outfited with a Canon EF 24-70 2.8L I used a Travelite 750 with a 36×48 Photoflex softbox to the right of the  people as the main light source, as a fill light I used a second Travelite 750 fitted with a shoot through umbrella to the left of the camera, the lights were triggered by a Pocket Wizard Mini and 2 Flex TT5. The ratio between the lights was about 1:3.

Self portrait.

I just got two new color backdrops (bright orange and blue) and wanted to give them a test drive to see what they look like in real life. When I got home the only available live subject that doesn’t mind being photographed for about an hour was me so here it is.

I wanted to darken the bright orange to look deeper. I set the background about 6 feet behind me for the light to fall off quickly.  The main light was a Travelite 750 with a 2×2 Lastolite Easy Box I wanted soft light but not as soft as the 4×6 Photoflex softbox I was thinking of using at first ( the lastolite being a lot smaller and silver inside has a more punchy light) as a secondary light (edge light) I also used a Travelite 750 with an 11″ reflector and a 20Deg  grid for a very harsh and directional light, later on I added a third light for the background and that was a Canon 580EXII that I fit with a small snoot to have a bit of direction.

The main light was on the left side besides me not quite at 90 deg to the camera but way past 45deg  (almost like side lighting) and aiming down at about 45deg. The second light (rim light) was on the far right side behind (make sure when you place this light it does not create glare) I got both lights set to F11 the camera is my Canon 7D with the Canon EF 24-70  2.8 L  ISO 100 and the white balance was set at 5800K.

The one picture I’m pulling my Vampire tooth was shot with a Canon EF-S 10-22 the lighting was the same but the backdrop was a lot closer to me.

PS: for the profile image is best if the subject is not sitting right in line with the center of the light source. Use the edges better. 

Thanks for looking

Alex Elias

Kids portraits with Canon 7D and Calumet 750 with Photoflex large soft box.

After a few months of not posting, here I am. Recently I got some new lighting equipment (Culumet Travelite 750 made by Bowen) along with a large softbox (Photoflex 3′ x 4′  )

While testing the lights, my daughter decided to join and not long after my son did too. The set up was quite simple. One light Travelite 750 at about 1/4 power with the Photoflex 3’x4′ soft box to camera right and a large white bounce reflector to camera left. I did not bother with rim, background or hair lights on this shot since it was meant to be a test shot only. The setting on the camera ( Canon 7D ) was speed 250th the lens ( Canon EF 24-70mm F.28L ) was set at F9 and the white balance was fixed at 6400K with a white balance shift to +3 green.  The flash was triggered with a Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and a Pocket Wizard Flex TT5.

I’ve been running some test with the Travelite’s to determine their color temperature. The bulbs are the clear ones and are rated @ 6100K +/- 300k I’ve done some test shots with the camera set from 5600K to 6400K.  I think that setting the camera anywhere from 5800K to 6100K gives me a decent result with except that I noticed a bit of a magenta cast on light flesh tones and that was the reason I set the +3 green on the shots here. Next time I’ll try a custom white balance and see if that proves to be more effective.

So far my overall felling about the lights is great. The recycle times are fast  and the flash output it’s pretty consistent. On the other hand the lights are rather large to be taken all over town but I can live with that. The modeling lamp is a 250W this much power is good to see the effects of the light placement. The unit also has a tracking feature that makes the modeling lamp adjust it’s power according to the power setting of the flash therefore when using multiple strobes at different power settings one can easily see where and how the shadows a placed.

Thanks for looking and feel free to ask me any questions.

Alex Elias