August 2008 Archives
A snoot is a tube in front of your flash, which keeps its beam of light tight and concentrated, while a grid has lots of smaller, parallel tubes that do essentially the same thing.
Snoots and grids have a lot in common and the line between them is thin, but I usually refer to snoots as longer tubes, often made of a softer material like foam or fabric, while grids are usually shorter and place a tubular grid or honeycomb in front of the light.
You can use snoots and grids in two ways: to make concentrated spots of light and to keep light from falling where you don't want it... by keeping it as a concentrated spot.Continue reading Flash snoots and grids.
OK, I know the specs and opinions on the new Nikon D90 are spreading like wildfire on the web right now, but the number of people who handled one is still quite limited. I'm one of them. OK, Chase Jarvis had several for a while it seems, but he's Chase. I'm just Martin.
This morning Nikon Denmark presented this new Nikon consumer (maybe more prosumer) DSLR in Copenhagen, and I was invited to join.Continue reading I filmed with a D90!.
I did hear of the Black Rapid strap a while back, but when I searched the web I found no trace of it. That might have been because I searched for Black Rabbit and not Rapid, which is the name of this new camera strap and seems to be exactly what it is: rapid.
I have toyed with many different camera strap systems in my time, and not so few home cooked contraptions - "suspensories" as some of my friends have dubbed them.
But I must admit that the Rapid R-Strap seems pretty neat compared to my own clumsy inventions.
The thing is that I have always used the eyelets on the camera, while this one literally turns things upside down by using either the tripod socket or the D-ring in a quick release plate - on the camera or on the lens tripod foot. It seems to leave the camera very well balanced, and judging from the videos on the inventor Ron Henry's web site, it's quick and easy to use too.
BTW: it's funny how many videos with camera shutter sounds still use the sound of old film cameras, where you can clearly hear the film being wound - click-bzzzzz, click-bzzzz rather than click-click-click. Well I digress...Continue reading Black Rapid R-strap.
Photographer Zack Arias has had a blog centering on one flash shooting for a while, and I have followed him almost since the beginning. Zack is based in Atlanta, and has a thriving business as a music and promotion photographer.
One of his hallmarks is using one flash off camera - and that's one flash only. Following his blog has taught me that Zack is not only knowledgeable on flash photography (and photography as a whole), but also able to convey that knowledge in an easily understandable and entertaining way.
He has made a number of posts and online videos with instructions on different ways of shooting with one flash, and he has also conducted a number of one light workshops all over the continent of North America.
Zack has now compiled a lot of that knowledge and the experience from the workshops and his assignments into a set of DVD's on flash shooting.Continue reading One Light DVD's.
I went shooting in the rain yesterday- recording an "On Location" podcast about shooting in the rain. And of course it rained... that was the whole idea. Now, rain and cameras probably isn't the best combo, but you can get some really nice pictures when the weather is rough, and there is only one way to get them: get out there!
So I did. Went out in the worst rain we've had all August, and apart from having a fun day shooting, I got some decent pictures - and a wet camera. I shot with my D200 and my 70-200mm f2.8.
Both have "dust and moisture countermeasures" as Nikon puts it, and I'm sure that has saved me lots of times. I usually don't bother much about rain and dirt, and my philosophy is to get that camera out and shoot some images - no matter the weather or the conditions. OK, it has cost me a few point&shoot cameras but (knock on wood) I still haven't sacrificed an SLR to the gods of the elements.
I went shooting again today with the same combination of gear - in great weather by the way - and it all worked like a charm.
A blog reader and podcast listener - Chris from the UK - wrote me an email pointing my attention in the direction of Denis Darzacq's fabulous images of people hovering.
You have to see them to get the idea. They are fantastic.Continue reading My "want-to-shoot-list".
Well, I might not have it personally, but my D200 certainly suffers some from some kind of disease, and DBS - Dead Battery Syndrome - is a very likely diagnosis. I have mentioned it before in my podcast: my D200 will sometimes go into spasms and start blinking wildly in the veiwfinder. The focus points will turn on and off and the viewfinder will dim slightly for every convulsion. Of course the camera fails completely when it happens, and usually won't react at all - not even turn off.
I had the problem yesterday during a shoot, but while the camera usually fails completely, it did fire yesterday, but right after the exposure the image in the viewfinder would jerk due to a sudden erratic motion in the VR in my 70-200 f2.8 - and worst of all: the camera wouldn't record any image. It focused, the VR worked, it fired, but then a total failure and no image.
Help, I've got DBS!.
As the Olympics roll over the arenas of Beijing and the screens of the world, I have been following a lot of photographer's blogs. I have noticed two things that has made me a happier photographer:
1) An increasing number of professional photographers share their experiences and knowledge through blogs, picture galleries and articles in their respective media. This is a very positive development in the photographic community, where more and more see the value and importance of sharing and the positive effects of telling people what you know.
Continue reading Canon:Nikon - 1:2.
A photowalk or a photo meetup is a social event where a bunch of photographers agree on joining forces and shoot a certain subject, a certain location or a certain theme together.
Typical photowalks bring people together to walk a certain route or neighborhood. You walk along and shoot, trying to avoid getting too many other photographers in your pictures.
At a meetup you usually agree on meeting and staying in one place and shooting with a planned technique or shoot particular subjects. Strobist meetups are becoming particularly popular these days.Continue reading Photowalks, meetups - what and how.
I recently mentioned Chase Jarvis in my post about the low value of images and what you can do about it (Why your images are worthless). His name popped up in connection with my advice about making a difference and adding value to your brand as a photographer. Here is an excellent example of what Jarvis is doing.
Join a gathering of photographers, provide space, gear and experience and have everybody fire left and right. Learn, teach, share and have what seems to be a *beep* good time. This is the Seattle Flickr Roundup - a gathering of photographers, models and gear.
By helping out at such venues Jarvis again emphasizes his name as a professional photographer making a difference. He underscores his willingness to share, boosts his popularity and certainly increases his value in the market for what he really does: selling pictures for money. See images from the shoots here and here.
This is probably the most often used flash modifier apart from the diffuser - if not, perhaps it ought to be.
Filters are cheap and easy to find, fairly easy to use and can give some great effects as well as downright save pictures by adjusting your flashes to match different artificial light sources.
The most common way to use gels is to get the light from your flashes to match the surrounding light, which is particularly interesting when shooting indoors in incandescent or fluorescent light.
Continue reading Flash filters or gels.
I was together with my family this weekend and had a great time with nice weather and a barbecue. The morning after our dinner it was raining and everything was covered in soft light and raindrops.
So I dug out my 85mm f1.8 and started shooting the remains of the night before as well as other things around me. I oftentimes use this lens at full open and shoot with a very shallow depth of field. I love the way it renders out-of-focus areas - AKA bokeh - really soft. The way this lens registers things, you can imagine how the even more praised 85mm f1.4 works. Creamy! But the price difference is huge. I got my f1.8 lens for about 300 US$ or 200 Euros used, which is cheap here. It's listed at US$ 650.- from new in Danish shops! You get it for 400 US$ as new in the US shops, while the 1.4 version is 1000 US$, so a significant difference.
The images came out with a lot of variation in color saturation, so I converted them to B/W using a simple Channel Mixer with varying filter settings.
PS: People subscribing through RSS - remember to visit the page to see the slideshow.
Yesterday I was shooting at night having fun with light painting together with a bunch of other photographers. I will return to that in a later post.
But the evening's activities reminded me that I have to make up some kind of method to avoid being Over-ISO'ed.
I was shooting next to Silas and had a nice setup that gave some fine shots at f11 and some 15 seconds. For some reason he was getting way dark images at even though we shot exactly similar lenses and almost similar cameras.
We couldn't see what the difference was until I checked the ISO on my D200. Duh! 1600! No wonder I had had problems with noise in the dark part of many of the images I shot for my flash modifier theme the day before. I had been going steady on 1600 ISO for days...
Duh! Continue reading Over-ISO'ed!.
This entry on diffusers is the first "real" entry in the series on flash modifiers I introduced in this overview article. Diffusers are definitely the most common light modifiers.
By diffusing or spreading the light, you get a softer look to your pictures and not least: soft shadows. The hard and harsh shadows of a direct flash is a definite no-no unless you aim for exactly that: unforgivingly hard and bright light and black shadows with sharp edges. In most other cases you want to completely loose or at least soften the shadows and you want a light that treats your subject nicely rather than reveal all its flaws.
A rule of thumb is: the larger the diffuser, the softer the light. Softboxes and umbrellas are the ultimate diffusers, but we will concentrate on the smaller types here.
I have always been envious at the folks carrying around a Canon G9. The G9 is a cool little Point&Shoot camera - almost bordering on a real rangefinger. Nice resolution, great build and a great facility set - including a hot shoe for external flash. And it produces some really nice images.
Nikon buffs can soon get an almost similar camera in the long rumored and just announced P6000. And it seems like a nice camera: GPS, optical VR, hot shoe for accessory flash, manual focus option (but not on the lens), user defined shooting modes, menus like the DSLR's and much more. Continue reading Coolpix G9.... eh... P6000.
I haven't routinely announced my podcasts on the blog, but I think I will make it a habit to talk a bit about this other part of my Nikonians production to extend and expand a bit on the stuff that I didn't get into the sound file and the slideshow quite like I wanted it. Remember that all podcasts are accompanied by a slideshow that will show you pictures from the shoot along with my comments.
This time the podcast was recorded during the weekend where I attended the Copenhagen Historical Grand Prix as I have mentioned several times on the blog.
I will just run though some of my thoughts and experiences from shooting this arrangement. Continue reading Classic Cars Podcast.
"Come on", I hear you say, "There is no such thing as nice noise! Noise is bad and we don't want it!"
And you are right. Noise is bad, and we don't want it. But sometimes noise is inevitable, and something we have to learn to deal with. Sometimes it might even be something you want - to create a special mood. And in that case it really helps if the noise is nice.
I have seen nice noise before - when introduced by myself to obtain a certain effect. Plugins like Alien Skin Exposure and Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro can produce some beautiful and controlled noise to an image, adding an ambiance or feel, which wasn't impossible without noise or grain. Continue reading Nice noise.
Well, I don't want one so much that I'd go out and pay the dizzying 5,000 US$ it costs - not to mention the current Danish price of some 34,000 DKK, which translates into approximately 7,100 US dollars! Yikes.
My budgets don't stretch that long, and my income from photography don't soar so high - unfortunately. Not to mention the fact that two of the three lenses I use most are DX lenses, and I'd just have to add a 14-24 and 24-70 to the list. Ouch, ouch and triple ouch! Continue reading I want a D3!.
I made sure to get a press credential for the Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix - a car race with classical cars, which takes place the next couple of days here in Copenhagen. I want to be sure that I get access to this major sports event in Copenhagen - unlike my unfortunate venture at the Copenhagen Marathon.
The race is run in the city streets, and cars dating back to the 30's and onwards to cars, which recently competed in the 24 hours of Le Mans, will be present - on display and running in the races.
Continue reading A day at the races.
Well, I do, of course. If I was offered to use one, I'd instantly say thanks and be very happy. What I mean is that I don't want to buy a D300. I had the chance to play with one for a few days just recently, and it sure is a nice camera, but...
As you might know I shoot a D200 every day, and in comparison there is no doubt that the D300 is a better camera. It's a newer generation, has more facilities, more megapixels and a lot more going for it. But I will still stay with my D200, and could even be tempted to buy one more. I will return to this in the end of this post. But first a few words on the D300. Continue reading I don't want a D300.