Sunday, March 14, 2010

Under the boardwalk, an experimental shoot.

So I had this grand idea in my head of a fabulous shoot I could do under the boardwalk in Poulsbo. Well, maybe not fabulous, but certainly interesting and fun. My inspiration came from this photo. Whether or not you or I like Kristen Stewart, I find the setup to be enjoyable. I decided to go a different route though and use a male model.

This is my friend Mikus, recent graduate from Full Sail University and an avid bass player. While he was a fun and interactive model, for various reasons I did not produce the effect in my photos that I was going for. Not contrasty enough? Not enough light/light sources? Bad angle, even? I have photos from the shoot that I like and that I'm happy with, but I would certainly like to try this again with a different approach.

That was my setup for almost the whole shoot: one SB-800 through an umbrella. I usually shoot reflective and not through, I just thought that for a change I'd try shooting through. I'm not entirely sure how much of a difference that made, I should have put the backing on and tried reflective. I experimented with the flash zoomed all the way to 105 and all the way wide, both with the dome diffuser on and off. For a couple of shots I took the umbrella off the stand and hand-held a diffuser disc about a foot in front of the flash with my free hand. None of this created the effect I was going for.

Finally I decided to ditch the stationary flash and bust out my TTL cable. This was both better and worse. Better because when it worked, it worked really well. Worse because when it didn't work, it looked like on-camera flash.

I decided that I wanted to make the best of the afternoon, even if I wasn't able to produce the photos I originally sought out to create. I've read before that getting caught up in your original vision can cloud your ability to see a fantastic new photo.

Today's shoot saw more experimentation with EV settings in-camera and through the flash. It was fascinating how rapidly the photos changed based off of the slightest tweaks. Today's shoot also had me wishing for a set of pocket wizards. I don't normally have issues with my SB-800 "seeing" the pre flash from my camera, but I was trying new things today and the sensor on the speedlight wasn't nearly as close to me as it usually is. It was certainly fun to have the flash NOT go off... *grumble*. To top of it off it was pretty bright out so the LCD screen on my camera was of almost no use in determining if the flash popped or not.

More shoots lead to more experience, and more experience leads me to better photos. I'm really happy with the photos I have, but I'm disappointed with the photos I didn't take, the ones that I was aiming for in the first place. The original vision didn't stop me from going in a new direction though, so I'll take that victory.



Tim said...

Hey! The best way to preview your photos on something besides your small LCD is to pick up a cheap portable dvd player that has a video input, and hopefully your camera has a video out on it. The Canon's do, and I'd assume Nikon does too.

NICE PHOTOS! keep making pictures!

MJ said...

I've never checked for a video out port before. I could always bring my laptop along, or I know that there is an accessory that I can use to view my LCD in the sun. I should probably get one of those! Thanks for the info :)

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