Thursday, February 7, 2008

SMIRNOFF: An experience in ghetto-strobism

Now I, like countless others, regularly check out David Hobby's popular Strobist Blog. Often I'll look through the gear pages, again and again, dreaming of a day where I'll own a set of fabled Pocket Wizards or another flash. However all this gear costs money - too much money.

After drinking a little bit of this bottle (not enough that I couldn't hold my camera), me and some friends hatched a brilliant plan to capture the essence of Smirnoff's Blue Label Vodka.

The epitomy of ghetto-strobism, this shot was acieved with just the help of a few friends and a 430EX. The bottle of vodka was rested on an orange pallet, which lent itself to the orange glow eminating from the bottom of the frame.

Underneath the pallet, and below the bottle one friend held my 430EX. It was set to either 1/8 or 1/16 power. Once I had focused with the lights on, another friend would turn the lights off. On a count of 3-2-1 I took the photo (half a second at f/5.6). While the shutter was open, the flash was fired.

To throw some light back on to the labels of the bottle, I got two other friends to hold some sheets of A4 paper as makeshift 'reflectors'.

Considering how it was done, I'm very pleased with the results.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

2008: What's Coming Up

Well first of all, I'll start with a wrap up of 2007.

Last year is when I really started to 'develop' (pun intended...) in terms of my technique and abilities behind the lens. That being said, I still have a lot of stuff to learn - every time I take photos I learn something new. While I took an uncountable number of photos and spent untold hours behind the computer in post-processing, there were several highlights to the year. The following are just a few of them:
  • Travel photography in France, Morocco and Singapore. I'll probably never go back to Morocco, so I'm glad I had the opportunity to photograph such an interesting country.
  • Travel to Tasmania with cadets, where we did the 'Overland Track'. I got some good shots before the camera's batteries died. And then the backups. Travel and landscape - mmm... I love it!
  • Shooting for cadets - 322 'City of Ryde' Squadron. It started with shooting the VP (Victory in the Pacific) Day Parade, and ended with taking the annual SQN Portraits. Now that was a trial by fire in terms of my photography. It not only involved the actual photography and hours of work in photoshop, but also planning for the event well in advance. Special mention should go to Gregg Odlum and Steph Parker for their help with it, both in the lead up and on the night of the portraits.

That pretty much sums up the best photographic bits of 2007, so now for 2008. This year will hopefully present some new and interesting photographic opportunities. Due to the 'success' of my photography at cadets I understand that I'll be taking many more pictures. I think I'll even get to cover the march in the city during ANZAC Day. That will be awesome.

But on to other stuff. A number of friends have asked me to do gig photography for their bands. Of course I accepted, with no real idea of what I was getting into. But hey, I've already survived one trial by fire, I'm sure this won't be too hard. Anyway, there aren't that many expectations when compared to doing 60 or so portraits. They don't have any gigs for a while, so I'll have plenty of time to read up on it.

And finally, this year sees me with a new camera. My trusty and reliable little EOS 350D was retired on the 23rd of December 2007. In its place is Canons relatively new EOS 40D. I'll write about it sometime later (when I've learnt more about it), but the difference is amazing. Compared to the 350D, this feels like a 'real camera'.

Until next time, keep shootin'.

Where to begin?

No seriously.

Inspired by a few other blogs, and one by POTN member Jason Hollister, I have seemingly jumped into this headfirst. Eyes closed. Honestly, I didn't realise the number of setting and confusing features there are for me to choose from.

It will be some time before this is running how I envisaged it. Now to go and muck around with some more settings...