VIN WEATHERMON: Blog http://weathermon.com/blog en-us (C) VIN WEATHERMON vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) Wed, 22 Oct 2014 00:38:00 GMT Wed, 22 Oct 2014 00:38:00 GMT http://weathermon.com/img/s12/v186/u862371124-o804841408-50.jpg VIN WEATHERMON: Blog http://weathermon.com/blog 89 120 Rest In Peace George Mann http://weathermon.com/blog/2014/10/rest-in-peace-george-mann My friend George Mann passed away today, ending his suffering at last. He was such a good guy, was generous and kind, and loved photography just like I do. He was a wonderful photographer/artist who mentored other photographers and models. I got to know him ten years or so ago, on OneModelPlace website forum. Turns out he ran the Photo Deviants of Orange County photography club that meets the second Saturday of the month at the Cowgirls Cafe Inc. Through his group I met some great friends and fellow photography enthusiasts. I am sad that George has left us, but am a better person for knowing him. Rest in Peace George...

WWW.GEORGEMANNGALLERY.COM

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) george mann http://weathermon.com/blog/2014/10/rest-in-peace-george-mann Wed, 22 Oct 2014 00:36:04 GMT
Cora Kasperski - Fitness Champion http://weathermon.com/blog/2014/6/cora-kasperski---fitness-champion

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) http://weathermon.com/blog/2014/6/cora-kasperski---fitness-champion Wed, 04 Jun 2014 04:49:25 GMT
Cora Kasperski Fitness Champion http://weathermon.com/blog/2014/6/cora-kasperski-fitness-champion

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) http://weathermon.com/blog/2014/6/cora-kasperski-fitness-champion Wed, 04 Jun 2014 04:48:40 GMT
The Sunset at Back Bay http://weathermon.com/blog/2014/2/the-sunset-at-back-bay

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) http://weathermon.com/blog/2014/2/the-sunset-at-back-bay Sat, 08 Feb 2014 06:28:12 GMT
Vows Renewed: The Arellanos http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/8/vows-renewed-the-arellanos

Family and friends came to see the Arellanos renew their vows.  There was lots of love and happiness for everyone!

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) catholic christian marriage renewing vows vows http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/8/vows-renewed-the-arellanos Sat, 17 Aug 2013 22:08:48 GMT
Camera Review: Fuji X100S http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/7/camera-review-fuji-x100s The Fuji X100S is a beautiful retro looking camera, with very high end features.  I was attracted to it since it looked very much like my first 35mm camera that my dad had bought when he was in Japan in the service.  The camera is a fixed lens 23mm f2.0 (very fast) and very sharp.  They do sell converters for even wider angle, and lens hoods, etc.  It does include a built-in flash which works extremely well.  In fact, if you just left this camera on auto mode, it would work nearly effortlessly in any grabshot, family outing kind of thing.  It is small, solid but not heavy.  The quality is evident when you look at the seams, the metal finish, and well placed buttons.   

What I liked most:

1.  Cool.   Just dang cool.

2.  The Velvia simulation mode.   Velvia reverse negative film makes gorgeous saturated slides that make landscapes look amazing.  I tried the camera out on my first day, and here's what I came up with in the Velvia simulation mode:

3. EFV viewfinder; this thing is nifty since you can pop a lever on the front and it will give you the electronic viewfinder, representing the exposure level you are about to capture as well as focus points and all the other good information.   If you are having trouble seeing (as in, your manual strobe will fire but until there there ain't much to focus on) you can use the eye sensored straight through the viewfinder.  It shows you exposure info, and where your autofocus point is.

4.  Rear display; this is a very high resolution display that can also be used as the third focus preview method.  It is not touch screen, but your 41 autofocus points are easily accessible with the command wheel.

5.  The 41 focus points!   Seriously, this is good stuff for a compact camera of any kind, and really works good here.

6. Panorama mode:  I didn't discover this feature until after my first day when I stitched vertical shots together to make the Newport Back Bay shot.   It works exceptionally well, and behaves much like the iphone style pano apps.

7.  High quality images, low light shooting.   Very good high ISO shots.  The APS-C sensor on this camera has some filtering removed so you are getting more sharpness than typical dslr implementations of this sensor size.  Stick that baby in auto and see how good your impromptu shots turn out!

8. Multiple exposure mode: really cool, and something that Canon just came out with finally on their dslr's.  Street scenes would be killer with this feature.

Downsides:

1. Wide shots; great for street scenes, great for landscapes.  Not as good for portraits.   The depth of field at the distance of 10 feet or so is quite large, even at f2.0.  So if you are all about headshots with creamy background and the subject popping out,  you will need to move in to about 4 feet...and that does not have the same "compressed distance" effect.  Most people would not care about this though...

2. Could use a reticulating screen.  Really, I do want to be able to do nice video with my photos, and having a waistlevel viewfinder or over the head monitor is pretty important to keep a steady shot and follow focus.

3. Does not autofocus video.  

4. Expect to be able to review the shot on the back screen by just clicking the review button; however if you are shooting in evf or optical viewfinder, you are reviewing in the EFV or you will have to hit the display button after going to optical viewfinder.  Not intuitive and even after about 50 shots I kept stumbling around to get to previews.   Purists would say "hey, you are a photographer you should not even need this" but I have bad eyes and getting critical focus takes work for me....missing a shot because I didn't check is just silly.

Conclusions:

All in all, this camera would make a great travel camera, and will inevitably make people go "whoah...looks like a film camera!"   The film modes are wonderful, and if you could get by with a "normal" focal length (35mm equiv.) then this camera is top notch quality.   If money were no object, I'd keep this simply because it is gorgeous, functional and feels good to hold.

 

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) camera camera review fuji fuji x100s x100s http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/7/camera-review-fuji-x100s Thu, 18 Jul 2013 05:23:17 GMT
Old Chevy in Long Beach http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/5/old-chevy-in-long-beach In the middle of a nice neighborhood near Belmont Shore, this old car caught my eye.  My nephew Trevor assisted me today with the portable flash system and we took photos of this old relic. A few neighbors were curious as to what we were doing (all the equipment) and told us that this car is owned by a guy around the corner. He knows exactly when to move it before it gets ticketed or towed away, and always moves it just in time in the middle of the night. Supposedly it still runs. Inside, it is filled with all kinds of junk.

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) automobile car chevrolet chevy eccentric old car rust rusty http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/5/old-chevy-in-long-beach Mon, 20 May 2013 13:19:35 GMT
Rusty Tractors Like Dinosaurs http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/5/rusty-tractors-like-dinosaurs

The day was overcast and desolate mostly, with a constant breeze moving the things around that weren't made of steel, wood or rubber.  The Photo Deviants of Orange County naturally make field trips like this fun.   The land is very spread out at 58 acres.   I know I didn't see probably but half of these iron and wooden beasts.

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/5/rusty-tractors-like-dinosaurs Tue, 07 May 2013 21:53:43 GMT
RAWArtist "Marvel" show April 21, 2013 http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/4/rawartist-marvel-show-april-21-2013

RAWARTIST- Marvel from Vin Weathermon on Vimeo.

The show was a great success, although I was only presenting my fine art nude work and our Anime Photography work.   Lauren was awesome, and really made the booth pop (photos of the girl with the real live girl right there).

The setup was much more elaborate than any of the other booths as we had our own white balanced lighting and a projector hooked to an ipad and sound system to show "The Making of - Anime Portrait".   I had not counted on how difficult it was to actually hang the artwork on the chain link fences, but have a better idea of how to do that in the future if I ever have to do that again.

There were many people that stopped just short of the booth because they were afraid of looking too interested in nudity (an interesting phenomenon considering the show was an artistic show.)  But Lauren and I did our best to engage them, and have them take a pick of our portfolio cards and explained we do more than just nudies.

The other exhibitors were awesome, friendly and of course crazy-creative.  Makeup artist Rachalle Llanes worked so hard to get her models ready for the runway, which unfortunately was scheduled way too late in the production when about half of the people left, including most of my guests who didn't want to wait around an hour and a half to see it.   But it was COOL for sure...will post videos later.

Overall, a great experience...my back is sore from lifting, and my feet hurt from standing all day...but a good sore I guess!

Rachelle Llanes at work

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) fashion rawartist rawartist.org http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/4/rawartist-marvel-show-april-21-2013 Mon, 22 Apr 2013 15:40:55 GMT
The Anime Portrait http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/4/the-anime-portrait This idea comes from my daughter Lauren, who loved the videos by  Anastasiya Shpagina - Real Life Anime Girl  who does fantastic makeup to transform herself into an anime character.   Lauren wanted to try this herself, so we did a photoshoot. Makeup provided by Rachelle Llanes (www.rachellellanes.com)

I thought the makeup and wardrobe really made the image; 2 hours of makeup included contacts (which Lauren could not wear because they made her eyes tear up constantly), airbrushing, and all kinds of stuff.  The photography was a 4 light setup, against a computer printed forest scene.

Here is a beginning of a video created by Frank Aragon, a gifted filmmaker, producer, actor and director.  Many thanks for making this beautiful movie..

vin sounds rough-Desktop from Steven Aragon on Vimeo.

 

 

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) anastasiya anime http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/4/the-anime-portrait Sat, 20 Apr 2013 15:06:17 GMT
RAWARTISTS.ORG showing April 21 http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/4/rawartists-org-showing-april-21 Friends, I have a show opening at the RAWARTISTS.ORG event which is happening at the Shark Club in Costa Mesa.  There, you will see a collection of my fine art nude prints and products that I'm in the process of pulling together.   These are mostly never before seen images, at least in print, and should really be a nice addition to the show.

Please come and see the show; http://www.rawartists.org/vinsanity  website has details and a link to buy tickets.  Or, you can buy your tickets directly here.  They are only $15, and you are guaranteed to have a good time with all kinds of art from paintings to live music, dancers, and other performing artists in a cool club environment.

See you there!!!

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) http://weathermon.com/blog/2013/4/rawartists-org-showing-april-21 Tue, 02 Apr 2013 17:43:12 GMT
Photography Tip # 7: Choosing your studio lighting http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tip-7-choosing-your-studio-lighting You've got your Canon, Nikon or whatever has a built-in flash perhaps, and maybe you have purchased a speedlight to go with it.  But you notice that the photos look pretty much the same, flat and casting unnatural shadows which pretty much "look like flash".  It's time to upgrade your studio lighting!

1.  On the cheap; you can extend the capabilities of your speedlight/s with a remote trigger.  There are tons of them out there now, radio slaves that are fired off by your camera hot shoe.  Sometimes they are even built into the speedlights themselves.   Mount the flash on a light stand, and you have off camera lighting to put shadows in a more pleasing place approximating sunlight.   Buy the extra umbrella hotshoe bracket for the flash and you can bounce that light into an umbrella or off the walls, ceilings.  This can be a very effective soft, broad light.   One of the problems with this setup is you will eventually run out of juice and your flash recycle times get very long; sometimes you get underexposed images if you are trying to do a stereotypical "oh yeah baby, make love to the camera" while popping of 10 frames per second.    You can increase the recycle times of your speedlights with external batteries like the Quantum packs; they replace the batteries with a fast recycle.  Beware though, this juice popping like crazy can actually melt your speedlight.  I've done it.  Quantum Flash for Canon

2. Invest in studio lighting with monolights or a pack setup.   I have been a huge fan of White Lightning monolights (Paul C. Buff) and their wireless trigger/controller/meter system.   The lights are powerful, sturdy and economical.   They are a US company with fantastic support.  I've had them replace at no charge parts like capacitors that wore out within three years.   Prompt and friendly...the best.   

You can start with a single monolight and work your way up to multiple lights.   If you start with one and learn to bounce light with reflectors and walls, you can really do wonderful lighting.   Complexity does not necessarily help.   If you have mastered one light and reflector, work your way into  a hairlight and fill light/background light.  Good thing is with the White Lightnings you can variably adjust any strobe remotely with their Commander; so you can buy three of the same lights and handle all of the typical lighting scenarios.   They also sell light stands and the modifiers that fit them.   They are a little more expensive than some of cheap JTL systems, but the quality is worth the extra price.   I have had my WL for almost 10 years and they have seen quite a bit of action!

The budget minded photographer might start with the Alien Bees line also by Paul C. Buff which are quite a bit cheaper.  I have the Ringflash and a AB1600; they are powerful and have the same features and control capabilities as the White Lightnings pretty much, but the housings are plastic.   They are still super functional and I've yet to break one.

The beauty dish is awesome and inexpensive, and the spot grids are a must to push bands or circles of light on the background, hair or side.   They fit both the White Lightnings and the Alien Bees.   Here is an example of a spot grid and a purple gel against gray seamless paper.

3.  Look at other light modifiers like Photoflex softboxes once you've got your basics down.

Learn these techniques and more with my "hands on" Photography Mentoring session.

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) Irvine Portrait Paul C. Buff alienbees canon irvine family portrait irvine photographer irvine photography irvine photography class irvine photography lessons irvine photos irvine professional photographer irvine studio learn studio lighting monolights nikon olympus photography studio lighting professional photography lighting softboxes strobes studio lighting white-lightning http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tip-7-choosing-your-studio-lighting Fri, 12 Oct 2012 13:00:00 GMT
Photography Tip #6: Understanding Manual Mode http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tip-6-understanding-manual-mode So you bought that high-tech DSLR and lenses, and have been shooting on the green "auto" the whole time while noticing that those shots just don't seem to look professional.   The sky is washed out, no longer blue but white.  The puppy you were zooming on with your telephoto does not look sharp and his background is just a distraction.  There's just something different about a professional image and all you know is that yours doesn't look like that even though you have the same camera.  Are you ready to do something about it?

Learn To Shoot Manual

Your cameras Auto features will attempt to guess what the "best" exposure is in a given situation; it will quickly size up the scene by varying degrees of exposure in the image, from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights based on a set of rules the camera must follow.  The aperture, shutter speed and even sensor sensitivity is set before you've half-pressed the shutter to take that exposure.  Your next shot moments later starts that process anew but not necessarily using the same exact aperture/shutter/ISO of that perfect shot before it.  In that sense, Auto mode is very unpredictable.  

A photographer has to visualize what the photo should look like, and Auto mode does not know what your mind's eye wants to see so it picks "best effort".   It thinks (sort of) "well, I see lots of highlights in the majority of this image so I'll stop down to F16 and give it 1/125th /sec with ISO 160" or something like that.  But if it does that, you will have tons of depth of field, your background will be extremely detailed, and your image might appear underexposed.  Or it might suddenly do something else you don't intend.  So shooting manual gives you predictability; you are in control and you learn to predict the resulting look of the image.  Not all things look great "perfectly exposed".   Drama is often well placed shadows, and manual gives you the control you need to underexpose, overexpose and set the depth of field where you want it.  Auto can't do that!

Here are some manual tips:

1.  Shoot RAW if your camera allows this.  You do not have the same latitude with jpg files later and usually the camera is doing some level of color adjusting, de-noise and other stuff that you can't undo without destroying the file.   The awesome thing about digital versus film is it does not hurt to shoot and throw away.  Also, you can look at the data for the camera settings and learn what worked, what didn't and explain why the image may be blurry or overexposed.

2. Set to manual and refer to Tip #1 for hand holding shots or shooting moving targets

3. Use your camera's exposure meter.  This is a tool that gives you some confidence that you are in the "ballpark" even before you click the shutter.  Meter the "hot" (brightest areas" at your current settings and then meter the darkest areas.   What is the difference between the two?  Is it one stop, two stops or three?  Sometimes splitting the difference is the easiest way to capture what you can and then adjust in Lightroom or other tool later.  Refer to your camera's manual as to how to read your meter.

4. Since you are outdoors and are wanting to get the sky to be blue, try metering the sky of your scene which is the brightest.  adjust your aperture until the sky is dead center exposure and back it off one fstop. Remember if it falls below the speed needed to hand-hold (tipg #1 again) then you have to push that shutter speed back up and adjust your aperture.   Then meter your scene again on the sky and take your shot. You may find that now there are deep shadows on a person's face but a gorgeous blue sky.   This is the perfect time to turn on that flash to fill those shadows in.

5. Experiment with DOF (depth of field) and then exposure.  Setup your own lab with bottles and cans.   Find a wall or fence and set a series of bottles and cans a foot apart along the length of the wall (a table will do).  Start by shooting the can nearest the camera from about five feet away, with your fstop set to its smallest aperture (f22 is common, some lenses go as high as f64).  Meter and set the combination of shutter speed and aperture while increasing the aperture (smaller f-stop) between shots.  What you will notice is there is a distinct relationship between the aperture and the shutter speed.   Do another set only this time from the beginning adjust the shutter speed faster one click for each Do this until you have gotten to the largest aperture your lens has (f2.8 or whatever).   Now compare the images in your editing program.   What aperture made the most pleasing "blurry background"?  If it was overexposed, shoot it again at that aperture and adjust the shutter speed until it has a proper exposure.   Now you have your "sweet spot" for shooting at that distance, with that lens for that "look".  This experiment can be done with just about any scenario where you are able to tell exactly what is in sharp focus or not, including people.  Once you have figured out how the two settings reciprocate and how to expose for looks, i recommend you use a DOF calculator so you can plan your shots with different lenses easily.   You can even get an app for your smartphone so you can do this anywhere.   Check out dofmaster.com. 

6.  Don't give up.  You will get the hang of it the more you do it.   Resist the temptation to go back to Auto...master this first.  Then work your way up to TV (Time Value mode) and AV (Aperture Value mode).

7.  Experiment by deliberately underexposing; some of my best macro work is intentionally underexposed because it gives super saturated colors.   I'll have another tip for brightening up selective areas in Lightroom in another Tip.

 

Learn these techniques and more with my "hands on" Photography Mentoring session.

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) Irvine Portrait aperture canon depth of field exposure irvine family portrait irvine photographer irvine photography irvine photography class irvine photography lessons irvine photos irvine professional photographer irvine studio manual mode mentor telephoto weathermon http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tip-6-understanding-manual-mode Thu, 11 Oct 2012 13:00:00 GMT
Photography Tip #5: Preparing Backgrounds for Portraits http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tip-5-preparing-backgrounds-for-portraits Studio portraiture is more difficult in some ways than doing outdoors because you have to prepare the background (depending on the materials) as well as lighting it.  There are full set backgrounds costing thousands, computer printed canvas costing many hundreds, seamless paper, and a variety of cloth backgrounds.  For this tip, we'll cover just seamless and dyed muslin.

Seamless Paper

Seamless paper comes in any color you can imagine and is supported by background stands and a rod.  Often sold in 5 and 10 foot lengths, they are shipped and stored in tubes to keep them from damage.  This is often used in studios in combination with gels to create the look needed, as with this gray seamless lit with a red gel.  

Seamless gets worn quickly, so you must be prepared to cut off the area that is stood upon every few uses.  You have to let out enough paper to cover the entire shooting area in the foreground, and you have to be careful doing it or it will unroll in a rush and make awful creases and wrinkles.   Once you pull enough out to handle the set, you need to tape the paper down to the floor, at least at each end corner so that your subjects don't trip on them.  Although seamless can be used to give professional looks, it is also difficult to store and change from one color to the next.   You will need to store the 107" or 53" rolls of paper on end to avoid making the paper "settle" and go flat on one side; that will ruin the smooth look you are after and create a Photoshop retouching mess.  

You can order seamless paper from Adorama and B&H Photo.

Muslins for Backgrounds

An economical and versatile background is dyed muslin.  Dyed muslin is much less expensive than painted muslin, canvas or computer printed backgrounds,  yet the looks you can achieve are limited only by your creativity.  For just starting out, try for something like muted grays and blues; this way you can easily gel that for any color you can imagine. You can hang it on a background stand, bunch it in the middle or use spot grids on the lights to create drama.  You can mix multiple muslins or other fabrics to add depth to the set.

Here are a few sources of muslin backdrops:

The Backdrop Outlet

Owens Originals

There are the higher end Denny Manufacturing backgrounds but they are more expensive.  

Tips: 

When you light a background, it can show wrinkles and patterns that are unwanted and distracting which leaves you with lots of Photoshop clean up later.  So if you are going for a look that is muted, and the main focus is the subject, you want the muslin to hang smooth and appear to be a "painted canvas".   Here is an example of distracting creases and wrinkles:

These wrinkles are annoying mostly because the aperture had to be f8 in order to keep the three faces in sharp focus; unfortunately the depth of field didn't blow out the background enough to hide them...a photoshop nightmare.  Below is an example of a brown muslin background with a blue gel, shot at f5.6.  The background is about five feet from the subject.

Note that if you are using black muslin for low key or white muslin for high key, keeping wrinkles off isn't a problem because you are either keeping the light off the background or you are over-exposing for clean whites...more on that in another Tip.

Making Your Muslin Wrinkle Free

To keep your muslin smooth, you will want to hang your muslin on a lightstand and clamp it on four to six points to stretch it as smooth as possible.  

Using heavy spring clamps to make muslin taut If the muslin is not wide enough to reach both sides of the light stand, clamp to one side and the double up on clamps to reach the edge..these clamps available at any hardware store are super strong.

Then you will want to steam the muslin smooth which frankly is a pain in the keister, but made easier with the use of an industrial garment steamer by Jiffy Steamers.  They put out a really good blast of steam and it is almost like ironing the background.  This one is probably 40 years old and still works like a champ.   You can prop the steamer on a stepladder so you can reach all the way to the top using the metal hook to gain extra reach.  You will sweat when you are done.  Think of it as a free spa facial.

 

Once you've stretched your muslin taut and removed the wrinkles, you are ready to light it.  More on lighting in another Tip!!

 

Learn these techniques and more with my "hands on" Photography Mentoring session.

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) Irvine Portrait adorama backdrop backdropoutlet background bhphoto dyed muslin irvine family portrait irvine photographer irvine photography class irvine photography lessons irvine photos irvine professional photographer irvine studio irvine' muslin photography photography" portrait seamless paper weathermon http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tip-5-preparing-backgrounds-for-portraits Wed, 10 Oct 2012 13:00:00 GMT
Photography Tip #4: Glamour photography with ringlighting http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tip-4-glamour-photography-with-ringlighting A ringlight is pretty much what it sounds like:  a strobe or a hotlight that is in a ring around the lens of the camera, which produces shadowless flat lighting on the face as well as some other effects used in beauty and glamour photography.  Often this helps fill in wrinkles and gives the face a glow, while really lighting the eyes on closeups.

The "style" of ringlighting is often to see the even shadow that completely surrounds the subject if the subject is near a background.  That effect is demonstrated here, with the model being about a foot away from the backdrop.   This approach means that you really want that backdrop as part of the image along with that signature shadow.

This image was shot using the Alienbees Ringlight (available from Paul C. Buff and mounted on the Canon 5D Mark II.  This type of lighting is purely manual; you set the strobe for its intended power output and set your camera to manual.  In this case, set at 1/125th of a second at f5.6, at 70mm (using the EF 24-105mm lens).   To do this you need a flash meter, in my case the old trusty Luna Pro so you can set the proper exposure.  My intention with the above image was to blow out the background a little bit but I probably could have opened up to f2.8 if I kept the eyes in focus.  You can see that it creates a perfectly even shadow around her body.

This is the ABR800.  There are many cheap ringlights that are sold for $80-100, but they do not put out enough light to do the job for shooting people; they really only are able to light macro shots up close.  This baby puts out lots of watts.

1/160th second at f13, ISO 125, 80mm with ABR800 Ringlight

In this shot, you can see how the ringlight places the highlight right in the center of the pupil; you can see this telltale ring on many beauty photographs in magazines as it diminishes flaws and larger pores with no shadows.   To accomplish this I had to set up a scaffold atop the model, and place all the fabric, hair pieces, ornamental flowers and drape on the floor.  In this case I actually used both a ringlight and a softbox to the left of the model to throw the shadow to the right to add a little more dimension.

With a battery pack and inverter, you can power the 110V ringlight anywhere.

Learn these techniques and more with my "hands on" Photography Mentoring session.

 

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) ABR800 Irvine Portrait Paul C. Buff alienbees beauty photography glamour irvine family portrait irvine photographer irvine photography irvine photography class irvine photography lessons irvine photos irvine professional photographer irvine studio learn photography hands on model photography photography mentoring photography tips portrait ringlight soft lighting tips vin weathermon weathermon http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tip-4-glamour-photography-with-ringlighting Tue, 09 Oct 2012 13:00:00 GMT
Photography Tip #3: Tricks for Macro Photography http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tip-3-tricks-for-macro-photography For today's tip, I want to share what I've learned about shooting macros.    Macros are amazing because I am surprised at what I find whenever I'm shooting.  You cannot see every detail at the time of capture, but when you see it on a big screen or printed large you find things you never imagined.   Look at the little fish stamped onto the watchpiece.  I didn't see it when I was composing the shot...

1.  Maintain sharpness your eye sees by knowing the plane you are shooting, especially hand held shots.

What many people find when they attempt to shoot tiny stuff is they are unhappy with the sharpness of the image.  It looks kinda ok in a little part of the image, the rest is just uninterestingly blurry.  

The trick here is to imagine that your lens and sensor of the camera is always looking for a flat surface to shoot; if that means you have to turn the angle of the camera around to do this, you do it until you have the broadest surface area of the object or bug or whatever parallel to the lens center. In this way, even if you are shooting a shallow depth of field (like with a 100mm macro, anything less than f11 is pretty shallow) you will have the majority of the flat surface in sharp focus.  

2. Increase your depth of field for more sharpness

Now the rule of thumb I describe in Tip #1 applies here; ideally you are shooting with a stationary object on a tripod, and then it doesn't matter how long the shutter speed takes, you can crank the aperture down to its smallest (in the above image, shot at 30th second at f32, using the EF100mm f2.8 lens at ISO125) and you will get all the depth of field you need.  It becomes less critical if you are "off" the plane a bit at that point because everything is sharp.

Here are some examples of really shallow depth of field.  The first grasshopper shot works only because the majority of the body is parallel to the lens.  You can see that the antennae behind it goes to blurry mush.  If I had shot this head on, all you would see is maybe its eyes and mouth.

The above ant swarm shot was a super shallow depth of field, and all you are seeing is the tops of the bodies, just barely enough sharpness before the ground turns to mush.  Frankly I was lucky because this was done at 1/60th of a second at F2.8 using a 50mm compact macro lens at ISO 100.  It was a grab shot or I'd have cranked up the ISO and dialed the aperture down to f8 and likely 100th of a second to keep the movement of the ants from blurring them out.

The above shot is at f2.8 (very shallow) using the 100m Macro lens, ISO320, 1/200th second.   If this wasn't higher ISO, this shot would not have been possible hand held.

When you have mastered this with daylight, you can head on to using strobes for your macro shooting. 

A macro shooting setup with gooseneck to move the flash anywhere needed.  Canon 100mm 2.8 macro lens, using the remote speedlight controller (IR) on a tripod.  With the Quantum battery setup.

Learn these techniques and more with my "hands on" Photography Mentoring session.

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) Irvine Portrait irvine family portrait irvine photographer irvine photography irvine photography class irvine photography lessons irvine photos irvine professional photographer irvine studio learn photography hands on macro photography mentoring photography tips tips vin weathermon weathermon http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tip-3-tricks-for-macro-photography Mon, 08 Oct 2012 13:00:00 GMT
Photography Tip #2: Use Your Building Like A Softbox http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tip-2 A softbox is used by photographers to spread the beams of light in many directions.  The bigger the softbox, the more "sun like" they appear to be. Having a softbox under, to the right and left shooting a person's face really lights up the eyes and adds depth to the image.

1. Use any big, flat reflective surface like a softbox

So you don't have a softbox or strobes, how can you get that look?  The idea is to make a nice, big light source, the bigger the better.  But what if you just want to take your camera in daylight?  Use your building to your advantage on a sunny day.  You find a large reflective wall to bounce light back in to the eyes.   If you can set your aperture to be pretty wide open (like f5.6 or so) and you position your subject so that the sun reflects off of the building.   A light colored garage door works too.   

2.  Provide shade from direct sunlight

Another surprisingly effective trick is to open your garage door (sunny day of course) and set up a background of some sort behind the subject, camera pointed from the outside into the garage, with the background behind the subject (again, f5.6 to blur that out really good).   I took a set of blinds and hung them up a few feet behind Jake using a background stand (but you can hang from the garage ceiling easily.) The protection of the garage keeps the direct sun from hitting the subject, but the street and driveway apron outside makes a big soft reflector which really makes  the eyes sparkle.  This is especially useful at high noon, when you can't find the angle of the sun to hit the building to bounce off of.

Here is an example of the garage technique!

 

I have even used the reflected light from a glass window to push light into the face of a subject.   If you can see it with your eyes, you can photograph it!

Learn these techniques and more with my "hands on" Photography Mentoring session.

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) Irvine Portrait Portrait irvine family portrait irvine photographer irvine photography irvine photography class irvine photography lessons irvine photos irvine professional photographer irvine studio learn photography hands on photography mentoring photography tips soft lighting tips vin weathermon weathermon http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tip-2 Fri, 05 Oct 2012 13:00:00 GMT
Photography Tips #1: Sharp Hand-held Photos http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tips-1 Thought I'd share a series of tips that photographers can use to improve their photography; here's Tip #1:

1.  Improve sharpness of your images by setting correct shutter speed when you are HAND HOLDING your camera (the most convenient way to shoot).

Using the focal length of the lens you are shooting with as a guide, for example a 50mm fixed lens, set your camera's shutter speed to exceed that number.  

So, a 50mm lens must have a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second or greater.   Shooting at a focal length of 200 for a 70-200m telephoto, you should shoot at a minimum 1/250th of a second.  400mm?  1/400 -1/500th of a second.

Shooting moving subjects, like sports?  Kick that up a to at least 1/400th of a second if you are trying to freeze motion.

One easy way to do this is to use your TV mode (Time Value);  set it to the appropriate shutter speed and the aperture will be handled automatically for you.

Even if you have an image stabilizing lens, your moving subjects will still cause blur unless you can freeze them.   Sometimes the blur helps show motion and that may be desired however so just the focal length equivalent will work fine.  

Below is an example of a long exposure (2 seconds) to create motion.

Learn these techniques and more with my "hands on" Photography Mentoring session.

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) Irvine Portrait irvine family portrait irvine photographer irvine photography irvine photography class irvine photography lessons irvine photos irvine professional photographer irvine studio learn photography hands on photography mentoring photography tips tips vin weathermon http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/photography-tips-1 Thu, 04 Oct 2012 14:24:41 GMT
Learn How To Photograph Stuff with Vin http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/learn-how-to-photograph-stuff-with-vin

If you have a decent SLR and lenses, and you really want to make your images "pop" off the page (or computer), then you may want to have some one on one photography mentoring by yours truly.

What we do is find out what kind of photography you are most interested in from the list below, then we setup a shoot so you can learn hands-on and be guaranteed some great photography for your portfolio.

Areas I Mentor in:

  • Portraiture (studio)
  • Boudoir/Glamour (studio)
  • Macro (studio or outdoors)
  • Still life (studio or outdoors)
  • Babies (studio or home)
  • Landscape/Long Exposure

The cost of the mentoring depends on how much time we need, what expenses may be involved with the session such as model, hair and makeup, and travel required.   But an example of a model shoot would be something like this:

1 Hour set design and lighting

1 Hour studio photography

1 Makeup session

1 Hour of photo editing and enhancement in Lightroom

$300 for my work mentoring

$50 for the model

$50 for the makeup

$400 total for a complete series of professionally studio photographs in high resolution, all images.   

I provide the studio lighting, backgrounds, camera (if needed) wireless triggers, instruction all along the way.   I guarantee you will love the results, learn a ton in the process, and be inspired to go off and create art on your own with your new found knowledge!

If this sounds good to you, contact me and let's chat!

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) Irvine Portrait Irvine photography irvine family portrait irvine photographer irvine photography irvine photography class irvine photography lessons irvine photos irvine professional photographer irvine studio learn to photograph photography instruction photography mentor weathermon http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/10/learn-how-to-photograph-stuff-with-vin Wed, 03 Oct 2012 03:09:02 GMT
Frame Of Mind - Culture and Nature Learned by Youth through Photography http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/9/frame-of-mind---culture-and-nature-learned-by-youth-through-photography

I find this project inspiring!   Have a look at the videos, you will smile when you see these kids grasp the importance of understanding and protecting their natural environment in Haiti, which has been decimated by deforestation.   The people who are involved are the coolest ever, and using photography to explore and capture beauty is always a good thing in my book.

Please give them your support and generous donations.

http://frameofmind.org/

 

 

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vin@weathermon.com (VIN WEATHERMON) http://weathermon.com/blog/2012/9/frame-of-mind---culture-and-nature-learned-by-youth-through-photography Fri, 14 Sep 2012 16:04:14 GMT