Light Painting with an LED Hula Hoop

This was just one of those shoots where the planets aligned and everything just worked.

My very first solo shoot was with Ria so we knew that we had a good working relationship, Ria had also told me that she had a very interesting and complicated LED hula hoop, she didn’t tell me that she was a total master with it.

So if you don’t know how this works, basically the strobes freeze the model in place but then the shutter on the camera stays open to capture the light painting, in this case from the hoop, I think these are around 5 second exposures. Setup wise, I had my a7r3 on a tripod with my 24-70 on it, all the lights in the room were off including the modelling light on my strobes. I was focusing with a torch, locking in focus and then firing my strobes. Ria would do her thing with the hula hoops producing the amazing light patterns.

I absolutely love this type of photography, no two images are the same and the results are fantastic.

This does mean however that I will need one of these hula hoops for myself! If I remember rightly its from @astralhoops.

Setting wise, everything is at iso 100, f8 ish and around 5 seconds for the exposure.

 Love this one, the actual hoop movement was surprisingly simple.

Love this one, the actual hoop movement was surprisingly simple.

 Colour scheme works surprisingly well in this one.

Colour scheme works surprisingly well in this one.

 Excellent work here from Ria and the strobe colours fit in well with the light painting.

Excellent work here from Ria and the strobe colours fit in well with the light painting.

 absolutely love this one but annoyed that I chopped the hand off at the bottom.

absolutely love this one but annoyed that I chopped the hand off at the bottom.

 Not sure about the yellow in this one but love the light painting.

Not sure about the yellow in this one but love the light painting.

 Its important in this technique to be careful about the light painting through the model, actually illuminating the model or going in front of the model too much. I think in this one we got the balance just right.

Its important in this technique to be careful about the light painting through the model, actually illuminating the model or going in front of the model too much. I think in this one we got the balance just right.

 This shows the true power of the hoop it could roll out all manner of different patterns.

This shows the true power of the hoop it could roll out all manner of different patterns.

In all some great results, a few things to work on next time around and a hoop to purchase, I’ve already spoken to Ria about another shoot in the new year and I’m looking forward to what we can come up with.

Lena Shoot 2

I had such a great first shoot with Lena so decided to arrange another one to cover some different techniques that we didn’t cover the first time around.

As with the last shoot, we got through what I wanted to do really quick, due to Lena being on time and being an experienced model with great posing skills, makes my job much easier.

Gear wise on this shoot I used my 50mm f1.4 for most shots and my 24-70 f2.8 with a 6 stop ND filter on the front for the long exposures.

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Really please how these turned out, I got the side lights just how I wanted them, perfect gradation and difficult to recreate. Lens’s hair picks up the colour really well too!

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This is a new setup I’ve been working on, not quite there yet, the fill isn’t right needs to be more prominent. and I think that the key needs a grid on it. The glow in the background needs to be more subtle too.

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Really happy with how these turned out, especially given how difficult they were to get right, I had no tripod, it was way too light and focusing proved impossible as I had forgotten my torch so I was manual focusing too.

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This is just a variation on the other shot but really happy with how it turned out.

Really pleased with the results from this shoot, a few things to work on in upcoming shoots and will definitely shoot with Lena again in the new year.

Solo shoot 4 Brogan

Shooting with brogan was a lot of fun and pretty easy, Brogan is a natural infront of the camera with great posing skills allowing me to cycle through shots pretty quickly.

I tried a few new techniques in this shoot, one was using a soft filter to bring out flare in my images and the other was using a lensbaby composer to create interesting effects and blur.

Gear was used was my a7r3, my 85mm f1.4 and my 50mm f1.4 aswell as the lensbaby and lee soft filters (specifically number 1).

 Mixing up the gelled edge lighting in this one with orange and pink, I like how these turned out.

Mixing up the gelled edge lighting in this one with orange and pink, I like how these turned out.

 This one without the leather jacket better separates model from background.

This one without the leather jacket better separates model from background.

 Getting anything in focus proved difficult with the lensbaby, I had the peaking turned upto full on my Sony and still it was very hard.

Getting anything in focus proved difficult with the lensbaby, I had the peaking turned upto full on my Sony and still it was very hard.

 I was lucky to get both eyes in focus here. I really like the effect from the soft filter.

I was lucky to get both eyes in focus here. I really like the effect from the soft filter.

 A very simple setup that works surprisingly well. The jumper adds alot to this one in my opinion.

A very simple setup that works surprisingly well. The jumper adds alot to this one in my opinion.

 Switching the colours round to create the blue glow.

Switching the colours round to create the blue glow.

 A setup I’ve been trying to develop, its almost there in this one perhaps needs some background glow.

A setup I’ve been trying to develop, its almost there in this one perhaps needs some background glow.

 Another hit with the lensbaby, both eyes in focus again!

Another hit with the lensbaby, both eyes in focus again!

Solo Shoot 3 Gemma

I went to school with Gemma so we have been friends a long time. I’ve seen Gemma get into competitive fitness modelling and have several successes. Thankfully our calendars and location aligned while Gemma was down in London for a competition.

I wanted to work on the coloured edge lighting setups as well as the very complicated and difficult to get right coloured fill and key.

Gear wise my 50mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.4 are very much my go to portrait lenses and every shot shared here was with the 50mm f1.4

Settings for all shots are iso 100, f5.6, 1/125 exposure, lighting was all pixapro lighting.

This shoot was not without its problems, My lighting case literally fell to pieces so I hurt my back carrying my gear up several flights of stairs to the studio. Suffice to say that case is now in the bin and I’ve since invested in a very sturdy pelican case for my lighting gear.

 Quite happy with how these turned out the lights are pretty much on the money, skin work could possibly do with a little more work but pretty happy with these.

Quite happy with how these turned out the lights are pretty much on the money, skin work could possibly do with a little more work but pretty happy with these.

 Gemma posing skills were great you could tell shes modelled quite alot and competed.

Gemma posing skills were great you could tell shes modelled quite alot and competed.

 This setup is always difficult, its hard to get the shadow fall-off that you need from the key, next time I try this I’m going to try a trick with duct tape that will hopefully get me there.

This setup is always difficult, its hard to get the shadow fall-off that you need from the key, next time I try this I’m going to try a trick with duct tape that will hopefully get me there.

 Quite happy with the background intensities in this one but something I need to work on in future.

Quite happy with the background intensities in this one but something I need to work on in future.

 This is a lighting setup of my own I’ve been working on. I’m quite pleased with it but thing that it could perhaps do with a burst of pink in the background.

This is a lighting setup of my own I’ve been working on. I’m quite pleased with it but thing that it could perhaps do with a burst of pink in the background.

 Love the way that the wind machine caught Gemma’s hair in this one.

Love the way that the wind machine caught Gemma’s hair in this one.

Jake Hicks long exposure and light painting

So this is the second time I’ve been to the long exposure workshop, mainly because I wanted to learn more about light painting and also because this is the kind of work I’m really interested in and I wanted to really nail the fine detail in these setups.

So I took along my a7r3, 50mm f1.4 and my 85mm f1.4, the 85 stayed in the bag though and the 50mm f1.4 is fast becoming my favourite goto lens for portrait work.

Settings wise everything is at f5.6, 125th, iso 100 and between 2 and 10 seconds exposure.

 Setup 1, light painting, love this setup, you don’t get the same shot twice, Jake is using light painting tools from  here , I have a shoot soon where this is the focus of the shoot, so looking forward to that, I’ve also picked up a pair of Pixapro 200s and swapped out the 150w modelling bulbs to 250w modelling bulbs ready.

Setup 1, light painting, love this setup, you don’t get the same shot twice, Jake is using light painting tools from here, I have a shoot soon where this is the focus of the shoot, so looking forward to that, I’ve also picked up a pair of Pixapro 200s and swapped out the 150w modelling bulbs to 250w modelling bulbs ready.

 Gabriella absolutely killed it in this setup with the wavy red dress, absolutely love this and will definitely be doing something similar again soon!

Gabriella absolutely killed it in this setup with the wavy red dress, absolutely love this and will definitely be doing something similar again soon!

 This was the shot of the day I wanted to nail and I think I did, not only nail the shot but I also wanted the fine details of how its done from Jake, so I was watching this like a hawk!

This was the shot of the day I wanted to nail and I think I did, not only nail the shot but I also wanted the fine details of how its done from Jake, so I was watching this like a hawk!

Im sorry for anyone reading this but I can’t share with you detail on how these were lit, that would be revealing the magicians secrets and wouldn’t be right. If you want to know though you can either go to one of Jake’s workshops or alternatively he has a video showing you how all these were done and you can find it here.

Jake Hicks Gelled lighting workshop

Yesterdays workshop completes the set of currently released Jake Hicks workshops. I've learnt so much in a very short time. 

I've already attempted a couple of the setups myself so knew pretty much how they are done. That's all well and good but seeing it done by the man himself allows you to see how he does it- the little details he looks for, exactly how he has his kit setup, the things that will take the shot to that next level.

I had the privilege to shoot with Gabriella again, she's an incredibly talented model, its hard not to come away with great shots. This time I took a lot of care to make sure I wasn't cutting off hands or clipping elbows, this is easier said than done but I managed a pretty high hit rate.

All in all it was another great experience and I look forward to the next one!

Kit wise I took my a7r3 with vertical grip attached, lenses I had with me my 85mm f1.4 and my 50mm f1.4. Settings everything is around f4/f5.6 at iso 100 and 1/125 sec.

All the images below were lit and setup by Jake, I took the shots and did the edits.

 I'm very happy with this shot, I shot Gabriella's hair at just the right moment. Editing this was a lot of fun.   This is my favourite setup from the workshop and apart from the long exposure setups my favourite so far, I'm looking forward to getting into the studio and applying what I've learnt on this one.  This was shot with my 50mm

I'm very happy with this shot, I shot Gabriella's hair at just the right moment. Editing this was a lot of fun. 

This is my favourite setup from the workshop and apart from the long exposure setups my favourite so far, I'm looking forward to getting into the studio and applying what I've learnt on this one.

This was shot with my 50mm

 Another great setup, I need more lights to recreate this one, something that's on the shopping list, Jake also used a lens baby with this one, which gave a fantastic effect, one of those will be going in the kit bag too soon.  This was shot with my 85mm

Another great setup, I need more lights to recreate this one, something that's on the shopping list, Jake also used a lens baby with this one, which gave a fantastic effect, one of those will be going in the kit bag too soon.

This was shot with my 85mm

 Last but certainly not least, this is by far the most complex setup I've learn yet, there's a lot going on here and its very easy to get it wrong. With that in mind I was watching Jake like a hawk when he set this up, I will definitely have a go at this one on a shoot soon, I think I know where I've gone wrong with this in the past and hope to nail it next time out.  This was shot with my 50mm

Last but certainly not least, this is by far the most complex setup I've learn yet, there's a lot going on here and its very easy to get it wrong. With that in mind I was watching Jake like a hawk when he set this up, I will definitely have a go at this one on a shoot soon, I think I know where I've gone wrong with this in the past and hope to nail it next time out.

This was shot with my 50mm

Second Solo Shoot, long exposures

As you will know if you follow my blog regularly, if anyone does that is, you will know that I'm quite into long exposure photography and that I have been trying to learn more about studio photography of late, so combining the two has been something I'm very interested in. With this in mind I booked Amersham Studos and the fantastic Lena to model for the afternoon.

Kit wise I went armed with my a7r3, I took a few lenses but only actually used my 50mm f1.4. Lighting I had 3 pixapro 600's with various modifiers and 2 Broncolor siros lights that I used for my continuous source. I also took my laptop and shot tethered. 

Settings wise all the shots apart from the last setup were shot at between f5.6 and f8, iso 50 and between 1 and 4 second exposures.

 This was one of my favourite shots from the whole shoot Its a great pose from Lena, showing the long exposure effect really well. my fill light isnt quite right but it doesnt detract from the image and I like the catch light in the eyes here.

This was one of my favourite shots from the whole shoot Its a great pose from Lena, showing the long exposure effect really well. my fill light isnt quite right but it doesnt detract from the image and I like the catch light in the eyes here.

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Setup 1, This was probably the most difficult of the shoot, balancing the orange fill with the skin tone was hard when re touching, also I don't think the location of the fill is quite right but its not too far off. Still pleased with a few of the shots.

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Setup 2. So this is a colour change on all the lights and an outfit change, I prefer this outfit and colour choice, again my fill looks a tad lost but I don't think that it detracts from the shot at all.

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Setup 3. I'm pretty happy with the way this setup turned out, again the fill isn't perfect and I could do with some diffusion on that background but happy with it for a first go, will be revisiting this with different colouring in my next shoot with Lena that is booked in for October.

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Setup 4 outfit 1, this was my favourite setup of the day and I still have loads of shots from this that I need to edit, so many keepers to work with. Love the first pose from this set of two.

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Outfit 2, I think the top on this set goes really well with this look.

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Setup 4, So this was a pretty simple light setup but I'm shooting at 1.4 with a shitter spead of 1/200 here and I'm not actually looking down the viewfinder when I'm taking these shots as I'm holding something in front of my camera to give the effect that you see here. Ill revisit something similar in our next shoot but with gels this time.

So in conclusion I'm really happy with the work I came away with from this shoot, I learnt a few lessons and have a few things to work on in the next shoots.

My first solo shoot

As you may know, if you read my blog regularly, I've been working on my studio photography skills. I'm mostly interested in coloured lighting and long exposure effects in the studio. Anyway this was my first shoot, I booked Studio 33 in High Barnet and my Model was Ria

The studio is a great venue with plenty of space, there is a lot of natural light flooding in which some people like, personally I prefer to be in a dark room with now windows but the studio was great for the sets that I wanted to work on.

We worked on 3 sets over a 3 hour period, they were as follows:

  1. Gelled edge
  2. Coloured fill 
  3. Temperature wrap

These are all very effective and eye catching sets but each come with their own challenges.

Here are a few of my edits from the shoot. 

Lens wise I'm using my 50 f1.4 for everything other than the head shots, for those I'm using my 85mm f1.4

Settings are all f5.6 and 1/200 of a second at iso 50. That's about as shallow as I could get with the ambient light in the studio.

In summary, though I'm really happy with my results, I'm working on another shoot with the same model to do some long exposure work.

 This was my first edit from the shoot, a great pose, really happy with this shot could have maybe done some more cleanup of the background.

This was my first edit from the shoot, a great pose, really happy with this shot could have maybe done some more cleanup of the background.

 I'm really pleased with the lighting on the dress and background in this one, I clipped the models hand off the bottom though which is a little annoying, Ill not make that mistake next time.

I'm really pleased with the lighting on the dress and background in this one, I clipped the models hand off the bottom though which is a little annoying, Ill not make that mistake next time.

 Im pleased with the lighting in this one, that fill is hard to get in the right position but I think I have it here. Could do with some more shape to the face, this was probably due to my lack of direction on makeup which I will correct next time.

Im pleased with the lighting in this one, that fill is hard to get in the right position but I think I have it here. Could do with some more shape to the face, this was probably due to my lack of direction on makeup which I will correct next time.

 I like this pose and the catch lights coming out in the eyes.

I like this pose and the catch lights coming out in the eyes.

 Really pleased with this one, I could have maybe introduced a shoot through for some foreground detail. And I'm not 100% on my toning work but don't think I'm far off.

Really pleased with this one, I could have maybe introduced a shoot through for some foreground detail. And I'm not 100% on my toning work but don't think I'm far off.

 I love the way the light has brought out the hair in this one, no so pleased about the discolouration I have in the skin, I could have probably done some better work on that.

I love the way the light has brought out the hair in this one, no so pleased about the discolouration I have in the skin, I could have probably done some better work on that.

Scorching in Kent

We had a long weekend away in Deal, Kent. We enjoyed a picnic on the beach, burgers on the beach and a new level of strange sunburn all down my arms. Definitely need to work on applying sun cream in future. 

Shooting wise I stuck to the usual shots in deal and ventured out to Herne bay, that was mostly a scouting trip for later in the year when the sun sets at a reasonable time.

Sadly. I didn't get to fly the spark, too windy and too many people on the beache. 

Gear wise I used my 16-35 f4 and my 70-200 f4

 70-200 f4 at 101mm, f20, iso 50, 60 Secs

70-200 f4 at 101mm, f20, iso 50, 60 Secs

 It was a nightmare to get this anywhere near in focus, mainly due to the wind, if you zoom in on this, it isn't in focus.  70-200 f4 at 185mm, f16, iso 50, 30 secs

It was a nightmare to get this anywhere near in focus, mainly due to the wind, if you zoom in on this, it isn't in focus.

70-200 f4 at 185mm, f16, iso 50, 30 secs

 70-200f4 at 154mm, f13, iso 50, 30 secs

70-200f4 at 154mm, f13, iso 50, 30 secs

 I think there's an epic pano of the pier here that I haven't done yet. Next time.  70-200 f4 at 200mm, f13, iso 50, 30 secs

I think there's an epic pano of the pier here that I haven't done yet. Next time.

70-200 f4 at 200mm, f13, iso 50, 30 secs

 This would look good at blue hour with the pier all lit up.  16-35 f4, at 17mm, f11, iso 50, 30 secs

This would look good at blue hour with the pier all lit up.

16-35 f4, at 17mm, f11, iso 50, 30 secs

 70-200 f4 at 123mm, f4, iso 50, 1/640

70-200 f4 at 123mm, f4, iso 50, 1/640

London daytime long exposures

Last weekend regardless of the heatwave I decided to get myself out and shoot some daytime long exposures. I limited myself to a small area on the opposite side of the river to the Shard, an area I've not really shot before.  I also wanted to do some location scouting for later in the year when the night doesn't happen at 10pm.

To get movement in the clouds in the summer you have to take exposure of over 60s. This does come with its own issues. Like dust on the lens, the slightest spec will be quite prominent in your image and will require extra work in post processing. Glare is also an issue, If there's even the slightest glare it will be very prominent. If you are using a dslr you need to cover your viewfinder too as you get strange reflections from it. To try and combat the glare I use circular nd filters rather than plate ones, its more expensive but you can use the lens hood and it massively cuts down glare issues. I had my polariser with me but in the bright sunshine and shooting at around 24mm every image would have ended up with a strange blue circle, so that didn't get used. I used a cheap cable release to time my exposures.

So armed with one lens, my camera and my larger sturdy tripod, away I went.

All images shot with Sony 24-70 f2.8

 This is a great location, would look loads better with all the city light and some golden hour colour. I will deffinately be back here and with a wider lens.  24mm, f22, 70 secs, iso100

This is a great location, would look loads better with all the city light and some golden hour colour. I will deffinately be back here and with a wider lens.

24mm, f22, 70 secs, iso100

 A well photographed view but not one I've shot before myself.  24mm, f22, 60secs, iso100

A well photographed view but not one I've shot before myself.

24mm, f22, 60secs, iso100

 I like the line of the shadow with the line of the bridge in this composition.  25mm, f22, 60secs, iso50

I like the line of the shadow with the line of the bridge in this composition.

25mm, f22, 60secs, iso50

 This is another great location but again I think this would look better at night with a boat going past and with a wider lens.  24mm, f22, 91 secs, iso50

This is another great location but again I think this would look better at night with a boat going past and with a wider lens.

24mm, f22, 91 secs, iso50

 This is me attempting some street photography, something I need to try and do more of with my 50mm prime and my 85mm prime  52mm, f2.8, 1/80, iso50

This is me attempting some street photography, something I need to try and do more of with my 50mm prime and my 85mm prime

52mm, f2.8, 1/80, iso50

More Pluto Pump Shooting

Due to the heatwave and life getting in the way I haven't had chance to shoot as much as I would like recently. So this weekend, undeterred, I decided to see if my new pixapro lights made droplet photography with the Pluto pump any easier. 

In short they did massively improve my hit rate with consistent light output and proper modifiers took lighting out of the equation as a problem. Next time I will try to do more with the gels, I have a purple on the right and an orange on the left here with a blue or white gridded light from above. The orange isn't really coming through so will go with a different colour next time.

The main issue I was having was settings on the pump. It took me about two hours to get anywhere until I watched this video. This video unlocked the whole thing, basically me telling you my settings won't really help you, follow the method in this video. I also had to change my settings when the pump ran low, when I put ink in and if I moved the pump.

Another thing to be aware of is getting the correct focus. Im not far off here in my opinion, I'm using a macro lens so my depth of field was very fine. I got there basically by putting a drop into the bowl, then sticking a tube of toothpaste in the bowl so the writing on the back was visible, then I focused my camera on the writing. This is the best method Ive found so far.

All settings are roughly the same on each shot:

90mm, f8, 1/125 secs, iso100 all with the Sony 90mm f2.8 macro 

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A few shots of my setup and my settings. Remember as I said my settings probably won't work for you. All drop 3 settings were set to 0.

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Learning Studio Photography

Recently I've been devoting a lot of my free time to learning studio photography as you will know if you read my blog regularly. Jake Hicks and his various online resources and community are my main learning resource. I've tried a few resources online before and this is by far the best for me. I get constant feedback on my work, regular tips, tutorials and workshops, this has helped me massively. Anyway, this is just an update, with a few of my images so far.

Gear wise Im using the following :

Lights : 3 x PixaPro CITI600

Modifiers: I currently have 2 x soft boxes, 3 silver umbrellas, a 42 inch beauty dish and a poppy background.

All shot in my small one bed London flat.

My current model is my girlfriend Polly, who Im very grateful to for helping me out. I'll obviously branch at and look for other models and rent a studio when I'm confident enough and feel ready.

Lenses I'm using here are the 24-70 f2.8 and the 85mm f1.4, settings will be similar on most, at around f2.8 -f5 and 1/125. The long exposure shots are at 2 seconds and 6 seconds.

 Quite happy with this one, I think I've just about got the balance from the lights where I wanted it.

Quite happy with this one, I think I've just about got the balance from the lights where I wanted it.

 This is a really awesome setup and pretty simple..

This is a really awesome setup and pretty simple..

 Long exposure fun.

Long exposure fun.

 One of my first shoots with the new lights, needed to work on my editing here and the colours aren't separated properly, lighting placement isn't quite right.

One of my first shoots with the new lights, needed to work on my editing here and the colours aren't separated properly, lighting placement isn't quite right.

 This was pretty difficult, with strange settings and an incorrectly placed key light with the wrong modifier on it!

This was pretty difficult, with strange settings and an incorrectly placed key light with the wrong modifier on it!

 I don't think I'≥m far off light wise here, I think Im getting some ambient light interference and my key should perhaps be closer.

I don't think I'≥m far off light wise here, I think Im getting some ambient light interference and my key should perhaps be closer.

 Reasonably happy with this one, apart from cutting her elbow off on the left.

Reasonably happy with this one, apart from cutting her elbow off on the left.

London Imperial War Museum

I've been concentrating lately on studio photography but decided to give Polly a weekend off. I had a wander over to the Imperial War Museum, the main thing I was after was the atrium at the top of the building, but I took a few shots while wandering around. It is a great museum and well worth a visit. I had hoped to get a shot outside with the cannons and the clouds moving the the background but that wasn't meant to be this time. I imagine the atrium will look pretty impressive at night too so will be back later in the year.

 This is the image I came for, quite happy with it, could have maybe removed the door to make the image a bit stronger.  This is a 3 shot HDR. around these settings :   12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4.5, 1/500, iso100

This is the image I came for, quite happy with it, could have maybe removed the door to make the image a bit stronger.

This is a 3 shot HDR. around these settings : 

12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4.5, 1/500, iso100

 Quite happy how this one turned out.  This is a 3 shot HDR. around these settings :   12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4.5, 1/500, iso100

Quite happy how this one turned out.

This is a 3 shot HDR. around these settings : 

12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4.5, 1/500, iso100

 I think the lower down composition is better, although I like the composition without the door in.  This is a 3 shot HDR. around these settings :   12-24 f4 at 24mm, f4.5, 1/500, iso100

I think the lower down composition is better, although I like the composition without the door in.

This is a 3 shot HDR. around these settings : 

12-24 f4 at 24mm, f4.5, 1/500, iso100

 This would look loads better with clouds and maybe at twilight, I'll be back later in the year for that one.  This is a 3 shot HDR. around these settings :   12-24 f4 at 12mm, f5, 1/1250, iso100

This would look loads better with clouds and maybe at twilight, I'll be back later in the year for that one.

This is a 3 shot HDR. around these settings : 

12-24 f4 at 12mm, f5, 1/1250, iso100

 The main atrium, pretty impressive as far as atriums go.  This is a 3 shot HDR. around these settings :   12-24 f4 at 12mm, f5, 1/15, iso100

The main atrium, pretty impressive as far as atriums go.

This is a 3 shot HDR. around these settings : 

12-24 f4 at 12mm, f5, 1/15, iso100

 The atrium from above.  This is a 3 shot HDR. around these settings :   12-24 f4 at 12mm, f5, 1/15, iso100

The atrium from above.

This is a 3 shot HDR. around these settings : 

12-24 f4 at 12mm, f5, 1/15, iso100

 I think this is actually a bomb or some sort of submarine.  16-35 f4 at 16mm, f4, 1/25, iso 500

I think this is actually a bomb or some sort of submarine.

16-35 f4 at 16mm, f4, 1/25, iso 500

 More atrium.  16-35 f4 at 16mm, f4, 1/60, iso 500

More atrium.

16-35 f4 at 16mm, f4, 1/60, iso 500

 I thought this was just some cool art, its actually a section of the Berlin Wall!  16-35 f4 at 35mm, f4, 1/200, iso 100

I thought this was just some cool art, its actually a section of the Berlin Wall!

16-35 f4 at 35mm, f4, 1/200, iso 100

Jake Hicks Colour and Exposure

Studio photography is unlocking a whole new area of photography for me and Im loving learning it. In the past I've tried a few different resources, learnt a little but nothing would ever stick. I've long been a fan of Jake Hick's work and I can safely say that attending the first workshop was by far my best investment this year. So, when he announced his second workshop that centres around colour and long exposure photography, I couldn't book it quick enough. Jake doesn't just provide great workshops, but also provides an incredible community, where like minded artists can learn and grow together, encouraging each other with constructive feedback and invaluable tips.

As you know if you have followed me at all, long exposure photography is something that I really enjoy, so learning how to do it properly in a studio setting with coloured gel lighting was a fantastic experience. Jake explained 3 builds to us very clearly, giving us fundamental knowledge on how and why each setup gives the effect that it does.

We then got the chance to shoot each setup with the amazing Gabriella modelling again, making it difficult to not come away with great shots.

Retouching portrait work is a new skill to me which I am really enjoying learning, this is made much easier by the feedback Jake gives on the Facebook group associated with the workshop. My current focus is colour toning with curves, getting that right in my opinion, is the key to portrait retouching.

Anyway here are a few of the shots I came away with.

 This was the second setup of the day, simple when you know how but incredibly effective. This unlocks a whole host of variations on this theme.  24-70 f2.8 at 50mm, f5.6, ido 200, 1/125

This was the second setup of the day, simple when you know how but incredibly effective. This unlocks a whole host of variations on this theme.

24-70 f2.8 at 50mm, f5.6, ido 200, 1/125

 This one is magical and the technique used unlocks so many possibilities. I'm really happy with this shot,   and brilliant posing from Gabriella. I have an idea for an image I can try at home with a similar setup.  24-70 f2.8 at 50mm, f5.6, ido 200, 1/125

This one is magical and the technique used unlocks so many possibilities. I'm really happy with this shot,

 and brilliant posing from Gabriella. I have an idea for an image I can try at home with a similar setup.

24-70 f2.8 at 50mm, f5.6, ido 200, 1/125

 There's more going on here than you might think and doing this on your own would be difficult but I will definitely be giving it a go soon.  24-70 f2.8 at 50mm, f5.6, ido 200, 1/125

There's more going on here than you might think and doing this on your own would be difficult but I will definitely be giving it a go soon.

24-70 f2.8 at 50mm, f5.6, ido 200, 1/125

The more studio photography I do, the more I realise that the devil is in the detail. The main skill is developing your eye, knowing if a light is in the wrong place, if the intensity is too much or too little and how to put it right. Also how to work with colour and contrast, how to retouch skin properly, the list goes on....

So my journey continues, the Colour and Exposure workshop was amazing, I learnt loads, met some great people and came away with some amazing images. There's still one more Jake Hicks workshop I haven't attended, so as soon as that is announced I will be booking.

Greenwich

I've been focusing a lot recently on learning more about studio photography and specifically shooting with coloured gels. This weekend I took a weekend off studio photography to watch the royal wedding and visit Greenwich.

I've always loved visiting greenwich, its a great place with tonnes of history, quite nice bars, restaurants, museums and the amazing view from the hill.

From a photography stand point theres the Cutty Sark, The Queens House, the Maritime museum, the foot tunnel and the Observatory. All great places to shoot. Today I visited two of the locations Ive never visited before. The Cutty Sark and the Queens house. I went armed with my 12-24 f4 as its was inevitable that I would be shooting wide angle and I also had the new grip attached to the a7riii. I must say I really like the grip and can't really see it coming off the camera any time soon.

 One of the most photographed stair cases in London, Queens houses famous tulip staircase. Its actually much less grand in person, the idea angle gives it more gravity. I was there on a relatively quiet day and there was a queue to take a shot of it.  12-24 f4 at 13mm, f4, 1/20 iso 100

One of the most photographed stair cases in London, Queens houses famous tulip staircase. Its actually much less grand in person, the idea angle gives it more gravity. I was there on a relatively quiet day and there was a queue to take a shot of it.

12-24 f4 at 13mm, f4, 1/20 iso 100

 Cutty Sark, this is a fantastic museum in Greenwich. The Cutty Sark was an extremely fast and advanced merchant ship back in its day. What surprise me was the shear scale of it. The size of its cargo bays and the very small crew quarters. Personally I think the best shots of this are either underneath it, or on the deck at the front at night with a longer lens to take advantage of the lens compression and pull the city in closer when its all lit up.  12-24 f4 at 12mm, f10, 1/640 iso 100

Cutty Sark, this is a fantastic museum in Greenwich. The Cutty Sark was an extremely fast and advanced merchant ship back in its day. What surprise me was the shear scale of it. The size of its cargo bays and the very small crew quarters. Personally I think the best shots of this are either underneath it, or on the deck at the front at night with a longer lens to take advantage of the lens compression and pull the city in closer when its all lit up.

12-24 f4 at 12mm, f10, 1/640 iso 100

What happens if you try to pixel shift a long exposure with movement.

As we know the new A7riii has a pixel shift function, it takes 4 images moving the sensor around each time. When merged with special software it creates a large and very detailed image with huge dynamic range and great colour. Sony do however point out the limitations of this approach. If things move in the scene it won't really work so you need the camera on a tripod and have nothing move in the scene.

I thought I would put this to the test, as the images created when using pixel shift are awesome. Is the image totally destroyed by the movement or would it be usable?

While In Bruges for my birthday I decided to try this at night. below is the resulting image from the merged 4 pixel shifted images.

 So from this perspective the image looks kind of ok, if you shared this on insta people would be probably non the wiser, there's some strange coloured lighting going on that is immediately obvious but not much else.  24-70 f2.8 at 31mm, f4.5, iso100, 30 Secs

So from this perspective the image looks kind of ok, if you shared this on insta people would be probably non the wiser, there's some strange coloured lighting going on that is immediately obvious but not much else.

24-70 f2.8 at 31mm, f4.5, iso100, 30 Secs

 This is the pixel shifted image at 300%, the light wasn't ideal due to Belgian restaurant service being really slow. You can start to see some strangeness happening in the car door.

This is the pixel shifted image at 300%, the light wasn't ideal due to Belgian restaurant service being really slow. You can start to see some strangeness happening in the car door.

 This is pretty much the same section taken from a 3 shot HDR, you can see the difference in detail and the colour.

This is pretty much the same section taken from a 3 shot HDR, you can see the difference in detail and the colour.

 This is what happens if a car goes down the road, so light trails are out of the question.

This is what happens if a car goes down the road, so light trails are out of the question.

 A person moving doesn't work very well either.

A person moving doesn't work very well either.

 These men were fitting this fantastic sculpture late into the night, its about 10pm in this image. Their movement created more interesting artefacts in the image.

These men were fitting this fantastic sculpture late into the night, its about 10pm in this image. Their movement created more interesting artefacts in the image.

 This is an edited HDR with the same settings, is it worth fixing up a pixel shifted image if it has artefacts from movement. Probably not.

This is an edited HDR with the same settings, is it worth fixing up a pixel shifted image if it has artefacts from movement. Probably not.

So this is what happens if things move in your image, you get these strange artefacts. Im not sure what this would mean for cloud movement in the sky, it would probably create a massive mess. This would however work in certain circumstances with minimal movement and you could alway edit out the artefacts in post, colour matching may be difficult but not impossible. 

I won't use this in the majority of my shots but it does have its place and it was fun finding out.

Birthday in Bruges

My wonderful girlfriend Polly is pretty good at birthday presents, the most notable being a helicopter ride sat on the floor with the doors off taking photos over Manhatten. This year she took me away for a surprise weekend to Bruges. 

Bruges is a beautiful Medieval city with interesting architecture, lovely canals, wonderful local beer and tasty chocolate. We spent 4 days sightseeing, sampling the local food and beer and of course I got a few shots in here and there.

For kit I decided to take my 12-24, 24-70 and various filters for the 24-70. It was a mistake not to take my 70-200, that will be coming in future.

 This is the shot everyone takes in Bruges and I was joined here by several other photographers taking a variation on this theme. Sunset was a bust due to a cloudless sky. I will note with this picture I had sampled a few strong local beers and some Flemish stew so was a little wobbly!  12-24 f4 at 12mm, f22, 30 Seconds ISO 50

This is the shot everyone takes in Bruges and I was joined here by several other photographers taking a variation on this theme. Sunset was a bust due to a cloudless sky. I will note with this picture I had sampled a few strong local beers and some Flemish stew so was a little wobbly!

12-24 f4 at 12mm, f22, 30 Seconds ISO 50

 Room with a view. This is my girlfriend Polly looking out at the top of the Belfry of Bruges in the main square. The view is pretty amazing and its not that far up to the top. You get to stop a few times on the way but it is a little narrow. Get there early as we queued for over an hour and we got there at about 11am. It is a lot higher than it appears in the film.  24-70 f2.8 at 43mm, f2.8, 1/500, iso 100

Room with a view. This is my girlfriend Polly looking out at the top of the Belfry of Bruges in the main square. The view is pretty amazing and its not that far up to the top. You get to stop a few times on the way but it is a little narrow. Get there early as we queued for over an hour and we got there at about 11am. It is a lot higher than it appears in the film.

24-70 f2.8 at 43mm, f2.8, 1/500, iso 100

 This is the other shot that everyone takes in Bruges. It is a little bit further away from the main square but well work finding. They were also erecting an interesting sculpture that you can see in the later night shot.  24-70 f2.8 at 31mm, f22, 4 seconds (6 stop filter and a polariser in use) 

This is the other shot that everyone takes in Bruges. It is a little bit further away from the main square but well work finding. They were also erecting an interesting sculpture that you can see in the later night shot.

24-70 f2.8 at 31mm, f22, 4 seconds (6 stop filter and a polariser in use) 

 I've been wanting to do some shots like this for ages but just not got round to it. Bruges is full of cyclists so I thought I would have a go. I ended up with a lot of blurry shots but a few that were in focus.   24-70 f2.8 at 31mm, f8, 1/20

I've been wanting to do some shots like this for ages but just not got round to it. Bruges is full of cyclists so I thought I would have a go. I ended up with a lot of blurry shots but a few that were in focus. 

24-70 f2.8 at 31mm, f8, 1/20

 One afternoon after a days sightseeing we wandered a little bit further out to one of the fantastic parks. This is one of the very well tended flower beds with beautiful tulips.   12-24 f4 at 16mm, f8m 1/60, iso 100

One afternoon after a days sightseeing we wandered a little bit further out to one of the fantastic parks. This is one of the very well tended flower beds with beautiful tulips. 

12-24 f4 at 16mm, f8m 1/60, iso 100

 The earlier shot but at night. Possibly got there a little late for the perfect light but that's debatable. Would have been better to have some clouds with movement in the sky. For the sculpture in the distance, they had more or less finished erecting is a dolphin or whale made from plastic bottles coming out of the canal- a great piece of sculpture..  24-70 f2.8 at 26mm, f11, 4 Secconds iso 100

The earlier shot but at night. Possibly got there a little late for the perfect light but that's debatable. Would have been better to have some clouds with movement in the sky. For the sculpture in the distance, they had more or less finished erecting is a dolphin or whale made from plastic bottles coming out of the canal- a great piece of sculpture..

24-70 f2.8 at 26mm, f11, 4 Secconds iso 100

 On one very sunny day we rented bike to escape the crowds and look at a few windmills. We rode down the river to the nearby picturesque village of Damme. This is Polly on her bike on the way to Damme. Don't be fooled by the picture it took about 4 attempts to get this right she had to keep going backwards and forwards a few times.  24-70 f2.8 at 24mm, f8, 1/30, iso 100

On one very sunny day we rented bike to escape the crowds and look at a few windmills. We rode down the river to the nearby picturesque village of Damme. This is Polly on her bike on the way to Damme. Don't be fooled by the picture it took about 4 attempts to get this right she had to keep going backwards and forwards a few times.

24-70 f2.8 at 24mm, f8, 1/30, iso 100

 This is us stopping on the way back from Damme, the path was a fantastic tree lined road. Sadly I didn't have my 70-200 to take advantage of this with compression! That lens is now coming with me every time I travel.  70-200 f2.8 at 59mm, f2.8, iso 100, 1/2000 iso 100

This is us stopping on the way back from Damme, the path was a fantastic tree lined road. Sadly I didn't have my 70-200 to take advantage of this with compression! That lens is now coming with me every time I travel.

70-200 f2.8 at 59mm, f2.8, iso 100, 1/2000 iso 100

 A few interesting buildings in the main Bruges square, probably not dark enough for this shot but it was late and I was tired. It also took ages to get it this free of people.  12-24 f4 at 14mm, f4, 1/15, iso 100

A few interesting buildings in the main Bruges square, probably not dark enough for this shot but it was late and I was tired. It also took ages to get it this free of people.

12-24 f4 at 14mm, f4, 1/15, iso 100

 A wide view of the main square.  12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4, 1/15 iso 100

A wide view of the main square.

12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4, 1/15 iso 100

 A man on a bike talking to one of the hard-working horses. The horse seemed to like him, it didn't like other people but was quite receptive to this guy.  12-24 f4 at 13mm, f9, 1/125, iso 100

A man on a bike talking to one of the hard-working horses. The horse seemed to like him, it didn't like other people but was quite receptive to this guy.

12-24 f4 at 13mm, f9, 1/125, iso 100

Jake Hicks, Creatively Simple Lighting

I've been wanting to have a go at studio lighting and portraits now for ages. I've watched countless Youtube videos on the subject but they always seem to miss out  that you need to properly learn whats going on. Like they say the magician never reveals their secrets, that and they are often trying to sell you one thing or another!

Jake Hicks is the master of using coloured gels in studio photography. His work is fantastic and really stands out. So armed with my 85mm f1.4 and my 24-70 f2.8 off I went to Jakes Creatively Simple Lighting workshop over at Amersham Studios. I was jumping in at the deep end but Jake is a great teacher and like he says if you can master gelled light then standard white light is easy.

The day was fantastic from start to finish, we had a great group of like minded people eager to learn. Jake gave us fundamental knowledge to allow us to go away and realise our creative ambitions. He demonstrated 6 excellent lighting setups and we all got to shoot 4 of them.

I came away with the tools I need to attempt similar setups myself and unlock a whole new area to my photography. 

Our model for the day was the beautiful Gabriella Grigo. She was very professional and she made each set up easier to shoot and come away with a great image.

Here are a few of my shots:

 Setup 1, incredibly simple yet effective.  24-70 f2.8 at 51mm, f2.8, 1.125 iso 100

Setup 1, incredibly simple yet effective.

24-70 f2.8 at 51mm, f2.8, 1.125 iso 100

 Setup2, This is slightly more complicated and requires some balancing of the colour temperature, but I love the effect!  85mm f1.4, at f1.4, 1/125, iso 50

Setup2, This is slightly more complicated and requires some balancing of the colour temperature, but I love the effect!

85mm f1.4, at f1.4, 1/125, iso 50

 This was probably my favourite setup, it opens up a whole host of creative possibilities!  24-70 f2.8 at 60mm, f2.8, 1/125, iso 100

This was probably my favourite setup, it opens up a whole host of creative possibilities!

24-70 f2.8 at 60mm, f2.8, 1/125, iso 100

DSC02705-Edit.jpg

So what now? I loved the experience of shooting a model with gelled studio lighting, learning how to control the light in this way has unlocked so many new creative possibilities.

I'm definitely going to need to do a lot more of this! With that in mind Im probably going to need some new kit, this will include, a vertical grip for the Sony, some studio lighting with modifiers and some gels. Oh and further down the line a nice 50mm prime.

I'll also definitely be attending more workshops with Jake Hicks.

Tate Britain

After living in London for around seven and a half years now, I still have a massive list of places to visit and photograph. Tate Britain is well up there, so today I decided to pay a visit. We actually had a warm day in London, which led to the museum not being too busy, making my job a little easier. I went in with a few ideas for compositions, mainly around the main hall and the dome. I had a good wander around but I did miss a few exhibitions, so will definitely be back. I was in a bit of a rush to get back for the Grand National!

I took along the 85mm f1.4 and my 12-24 f4, both fantastic lenses. Here is what I came away with.

 Golden ration composition going on here, quite happy with this one. I did have to remove someones hand though.  This is a 3 shot HDR, with 2 shots 3 stops either side of the below settings.  12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4, iso 100, 1/125 Second

Golden ration composition going on here, quite happy with this one. I did have to remove someones hand though.

This is a 3 shot HDR, with 2 shots 3 stops either side of the below settings.

12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4, iso 100, 1/125 Second

 The dome from below.  This is a 3 shot HDR, with 2 shots 3 stops either side of the below settings.  12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4, iso 100, 1/125 Second

The dome from below.

This is a 3 shot HDR, with 2 shots 3 stops either side of the below settings.

12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4, iso 100, 1/125 Second

 Again I didn't read the note on this but I know I love it!  85mm f1.4, at f1.4 iso 100, 1/15 Seconds (how is this sharp!!)

Again I didn't read the note on this but I know I love it!

85mm f1.4, at f1.4 iso 100, 1/15 Seconds (how is this sharp!!)

 An abstract shot with the 85mm  85mm f1.4, at f1.4 iso 100, 1/320 Seconds

An abstract shot with the 85mm

85mm f1.4, at f1.4 iso 100, 1/320 Seconds

 The room where I found this was full of interesting models and sculptures.  85mm f1.4, at f1.4 iso 100, 1/320 Seconds

The room where I found this was full of interesting models and sculptures.

85mm f1.4, at f1.4 iso 100, 1/320 Seconds

 Bokeh!  85mm f1.4, at f1.4 iso 100, 1/320 Seconds

Bokeh!

85mm f1.4, at f1.4 iso 100, 1/320 Seconds

 This lens is pretty awesome and should get some good use next weekend!  85mm f1.4, at f1.4 iso 100, 1/320 Seconds

This lens is pretty awesome and should get some good use next weekend!

85mm f1.4, at f1.4 iso 100, 1/320 Seconds

 Very colourful, maybe theres a composition hidden here somewhere.  12-24 f4 at 23mm, f4, iso 100, 1/15 Second

Very colourful, maybe theres a composition hidden here somewhere.

12-24 f4 at 23mm, f4, iso 100, 1/15 Second

 This was like a swimming pool with a ladder, didn't read the text on this but I quite like it.  12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4, iso 100, 1/15 Second

This was like a swimming pool with a ladder, didn't read the text on this but I quite like it.

12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4, iso 100, 1/15 Second

 Not sure whats going on here but Im annoyed I didn't get a shot with the 85mm of the manakin.  12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4, iso 100, 1/30 Second

Not sure whats going on here but Im annoyed I didn't get a shot with the 85mm of the manakin.

12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4, iso 100, 1/30 Second

 No clue whats going on here, there were strange noises going on too.  12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4, iso 100, 1/30 Second

No clue whats going on here, there were strange noises going on too.

12-24 f4 at 12mm, f4, iso 100, 1/30 Second

 A sculpture on the way to the Gallery.  85mm f1.4, at f1.4 iso 100, 1/2500 Seconds

A sculpture on the way to the Gallery.

85mm f1.4, at f1.4 iso 100, 1/2500 Seconds

 Scouting for future shoots nearby.  85mm f1.4, at f2.8 iso 100, 1/2500 Seconds

Scouting for future shoots nearby.

85mm f1.4, at f2.8 iso 100, 1/2500 Seconds

Westminster

I haven't visited Westminster for a while, I had decided that I didn't want to photograph it while the repair work was being done on the Elizabeth tower (most people call it Big Ben, but that's actually the bell). I have since come to my senses, the work will apparently be going on until 2021 and the bell wont chime until then, so I would be waiting a while to photograph it.

So armed with my 24-70, a selection of ND filters, my tripod and a polarising filter, away I went.

 Managed to catch what brief sunset we had from the hospital garden.   This is a 3 shot hdr with 3 stops either side of:  24-70 at 46mm, f20, iso 50, 1.6 seconds, I think I used a 4 stop nd here.

Managed to catch what brief sunset we had from the hospital garden. 

This is a 3 shot hdr with 3 stops either side of:

24-70 at 46mm, f20, iso 50, 1.6 seconds, I think I used a 4 stop nd here.

 Sunset from the hospital garden.  This is a 3 shot hdr with 3 stops either side of   24-70 at 40mm, f22, iso 50, 20 seconds,  6 stop nd and a polariser

Sunset from the hospital garden.

This is a 3 shot hdr with 3 stops either side of 

24-70 at 40mm, f22, iso 50, 20 seconds,  6 stop nd and a polariser

 Another shot from the hospital garden, I had to time it just right to avoid peoples heads getting in the shot while taking selfies.  This is a 3 shot hdr with 3 stops either side of   24-70 at 34mm, f11, iso 50, 2 seconds,  6 stop nd and a polariser

Another shot from the hospital garden, I had to time it just right to avoid peoples heads getting in the shot while taking selfies.

This is a 3 shot hdr with 3 stops either side of 

24-70 at 34mm, f11, iso 50, 2 seconds,  6 stop nd and a polariser

 Blue hour with the clock in the middle.  Again a 3 stop hdr with 3 stops either side of  24-70 at 61mm f11, iso 100, 4 seconds   

Blue hour with the clock in the middle.

Again a 3 stop hdr with 3 stops either side of

24-70 at 61mm f11, iso 100, 4 seconds

 

 A blue hour shot from the side of the river.  24-70 at 24mm, f22, 30 seconds

A blue hour shot from the side of the river.

24-70 at 24mm, f22, 30 seconds

 Close into the bridge, not sure I like the perspective on this one  Again a 3 stop hdr with 3 stops either side of  24-70 at 24mm f18, iso 100, 30 seconds

Close into the bridge, not sure I like the perspective on this one

Again a 3 stop hdr with 3 stops either side of

24-70 at 24mm f18, iso 100, 30 seconds