Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Seeing Black and White

My Sony A700 has a number of different scene modes that I never thought I would ever use, as they only affect the jpeg and I shoot raw pretty much all the time. However it does help to choose settings that will give you a good jpeg, because Adobe lightroom seems to automatically display the Raw image using the settings from the camera. The closer it is to what you want, the less tweaking there is to do in Lightroom.

One thing I have never used before on a camera, is the black and white mode, because it always felt like I was throwing away information. But if you shoot Raw + Jpeg, it works out really nicely because you get to see the image in black and white on the screen, but you don't lose any of the colour information in the Raw file.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Fruit Cocktail

Fruit CocktailInspired by my friend Caroline over at the Caz Photo Blog I decided to have a go at doing some water splashes myself. The last time I did water droplet photos, I used an underwater housing and an olympus compact which can sync flash at 1/2000th second, which is pretty damn handy. They are the only water splash macro's taken from under the water that I have seen.

Sadly my Olympus has ceased functioning and I wanted to try something other than direct flash. As I am currently re-reading Light Science and Magic, I decided to use the dark field technique, which is used to add form to glass. I thought this would work nicely with the water. The technique is to basically place a large light source behind the subject and then place a black card between the subject and the light, so that it only just fills the viewfinder. This means that there will only be direct reflections of the large light source at the edges of the glass/water.

For my large light source I used two SB28s set at 18mm zoom 1/16th power to bounce off a white wall. I used an A4 sheet of black card as my dark fill, set up the camera with a 50mm lens and pre-focussed. The disadantage of using the dark field lighting is that you don't get a great deal of light from the flashes illuminating the subject with diffused light. So there is a compromise to be made with the depth of field and the power of the flash. The more power to the flash, the longer the flash exposure and the slower the recycle times. A more efficient way to light the scene might be to use a backlit translucent panel, which would place the light source closer to the subject.

One thing to watch out for is to turn down the ambient light. Even thought there is not enough ambient to light the scene, direct reflections of things lit by the ambient light, are visible in the picture. If you look carefully you might see my hallway.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

The Episodes

The SkyshakersA friend of mine was performing at a local venue, so I thought it would be rude not to go along and take some pictures. I'd been to the venue once before when I was about 17 years old and had ambitions of being a punk idol myself, so I had some idea of what to expect. It was a fairly small cramped stage that wasn't lit particularly well. I didn't think I would be able to use flash, so I brought the low light arsenal with me. But the lighting was so poor I regretted not bringing a small strobe with me.

The first band came on the set with an audience that consisted of myself and members of the other bands that would be playing that night, so rather sheepishly I went up front and started shooting away. For the first band I was taking pretty conventional shots, but by the time The Episodes came on, I was taking low angle 17mm shots and abstracts of the stage floor.

It was great being able to have all the freedom of the floor in front of the stage, but I think that it made me stand out a little as I had a couple of plastic pint mugs thrown at me. There was no harm done, but I decided to leave before the end of the last set, because in my experience people who start on me usually want to have a fight. I'd seen enough people taken to hospital from outside that pub to even comtemplate getting into anything. That aside I had a great time, and I'll be seeing if I can do some more of this sort of thing in the future.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.