Saturday, 7 February 2009

Neil Turner

No, the photo on the left isn't Neil Turner, its a photo of me that Neil took in December, at a special strobist event arranged by David Hobby. Neil Turner is a freelance photographer who worked as a staff photographer for the last 14 years for the Times Supplements, now known as TSL Education. He is best known by strobists and non-strobists for the excellent articles that he wrote on, breaking down various techniques he used on assignment. When I first encountered his website I actually read through every single article in one night. Unfortunately, I haven't visited it often since then because it doesn't have an RSS feed. This year Neil is expanding his website and has started what he calls a pre-blog blog. Basically a blog but without an RSS feed. However in order to get regular updates you can now sign up to Neil's mailing list and he will send you updates.

Watching Neil at work is pretty cool. At the strobist meet he was the first to get set-up and start shooting. The rest of us were gawping at the location in the Brunswick Centre and Neil was looking for shade so he could work the flash against the ambient. In the shot above. Neil was using a vivitar 285 HV with a shoot through umbrella. Putting me in the shade and lighting me with the flash meant that he could expose the sky and buildings independently of the subject... er.. me. Its perhaps not as easy as it sounds because the light was constantly dropping as the sun disapeared. My own attempts at a similar shot were pretty dismal, but this was Neil's forté and he made it look easy.

A Man Called AlexLater on when the sky had gone black we worked against the building floodlights and Neil helped me pull off this shot of Alex from The Flash Centre on the right. I had already taken a shot with a random stranger walking past and as I looked at it on the screen I told Neil that I liked it, but the lighting was off and I would never get someone else walking through the shot like that again. Neil simply said, "take the shot and I'll walk into the position for you". The lighting setup was pretty simple, a SB28 camera left with a coroplast grid pointed at Alex's face.

Visit Neil at

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