pocket wizard

Tuesday's Tips: Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  Every Halloween the area around my Boston studio is filled with hundreds of trick or treaters.  I am not really sure where they all come from, but it's great fun to stand outside my studio with a bowl of candy, a camera and a strobe. 

Here are tips to shoot Halloween!

Drag the shutter!
I love shooting  photographs that are a mixture of ambient light and strobe. Start your exposure with the element you can not control, that being the available (ambient) light.  Set your camera meter on manual exposure and your strobe on TTL.  Meter off the available light and use the strobe to fill in.  Due to darkness and very little available light you will be able to hand hold your camera at a much slower shutter speed than you normally would.  That slow shutter speed enables you to record what little there is.  The speedlight will fill in where you want it. 

This is a strobe on camera camera image. I used a slow shutterspeed and moved my camera from right to left.  The Green light is from glow sticks which the kid was holding while trick or treating.  My settings for this image was 1.6 seconds,  f4 ISO 200.


Speedlight off camera!
I held my speedlight lower left.  Light coming from lower angle gives you eerily feeling, perfect for Halloween!  My camera was set on manual to read the ambient light (candle in this case) using the in-camera meter.  My exposure for this shot was  2.5 seconds, f4. ISO 200.  I used a Pocket Wizard Plus III to fire my strobe. 


Get Low!
Get low and use your foreground!  I used in the camera meter to read the  exposure from the sky.  I  held my speed light off to the left and triggered it with a Pocket Wizard Plus III.


Get High! 
Get high and use your foreground!  


Wait for dusk
Wait till dusk to start shooting!  This was strobe on camera, with the head of the strobe at a 45 degree and bounced through a cube.  


Play with focal length of your lens

Shot with a 16mm fisheye.


Shot at 50mm

 

007.JPG

Shot at 70mm


Don't be afraid to get close.... I'm sure they won't bite...

 

Happy Halloween! May everyone have a safe and fun Halloween!  

This image is from my hands-on Location Lighting Workshop! 

Come join me for lighting and laughing,  upcoming workshops info here

Tuesday's Tips: Lighting London

This series of photographs is from my one day workshop "Lighting Goes on Location in London", part of The Societies of Photographer's Convention last month.

The group spent the day shooting in Piccadilly, Chinatown and Soho.  We used several different portable lighting kits, and rarely used light stands!  

Equipment & settings under each photograph. 1  Nissin  Di700A Speedlight  Westcott  Rapid Box  PocketWizard  Plus IV ISO: 100 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/250

Equipment & settings under each photograph.
1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 100
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/250

1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight Westcott Rapid Box PocketWizard Plus IV ISO: 125 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/125

1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 125
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/125

1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight Westcott Rapid Box PocketWizard Plus IV Crossfiltering with  Rosco  CTO gel. ISO 64 Aperture: 4 Shutterspeed: 1/250

1 Nissin Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
Crossfiltering with Rosco CTO gel.
ISO 64
Aperture: 4
Shutterspeed: 1/250

2 Nissin Di700A Speedlight  2   Flashbender XL PocketWizard Plus IV ISO: 100 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/100

2 Nissin Di700A Speedlight
2  Flashbender XL
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 100
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/100

1  Elinchrom  ELB strobe with a Pro head Rotalux Softbox Deep Octa 70cm Skyport transmitter ISO: 160 Aperture: 5.6 Shutter: 1/100

1 Elinchrom ELB strobe with a Pro head
Rotalux Softbox Deep Octa 70cm
Skyport transmitter
ISO: 160
Aperture: 5.6
Shutter: 1/100

1 Westcott Ice light 2 ISO: 64 Aperture: 5 Shutter: 1/250

1 Westcott Ice light 2
ISO: 64
Aperture: 5
Shutter: 1/250

3 Nissen Speedlights,   2 Rogue FlashBender XL 4 PocketWizard Plus IV Rogue grid shot thru Rosco Cinifoil pattern from Rosco Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit ISO: 64 Aperture: 5 Shutter: 1/250

3 Nissen Speedlights,  
2 Rogue FlashBender XL
4 PocketWizard Plus IV
Rogue grid shot thru Rosco Cinifoil pattern from Rosco Rick Friedman Location Lighting Kit
ISO: 64
Aperture: 5
Shutter: 1/250

Rogue Reflector ISO: 800 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/100

Rogue Reflector
ISO: 800
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/100

1 Nissan Di700A Speedlight Westcott Rapid Box PocketWizard Plus IV ISO: 200 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/50

1 Nissan Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 200
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/50

1 Nissan Di700A Speedlight Westcott Rapid Box PocketWizard Plus IV ISO: 100 Aperture: 4 Shutter: 1/13

1 Nissan Di700A Speedlight
Westcott Rapid Box
PocketWizard Plus IV
ISO: 100
Aperture: 4
Shutter: 1/13

Most of the time the attendees photographed the models.  I took a few minutes at each location to demonstrate my lighting and shooting style. .  We started at 10 o'clock, with a  lunch stop at the pub between, we finished shooting after 5 o'clock!  All my images were shot on a Nikon D810 with a 24-120.  My camera was set Manual for all the photographs, lights were read using Sekonic light meter.

Come join me at one of my upcoming workshops.  Lots of lighting and laughing!

This spring, I am teaching Unique Photo (NJ), Boston Center for Adult Education CenterHarwin Camera (NYC), Cardinal Camera (Philadelphia & Charlotte NC) CanAM Photo Festival and Pixel Connection (Avon, OH).  I will be back in the UK for a series of workshops this summer.   Please visit my workshop page to see a complete schedule.

Tuesday's Tips: A Slice of Orange!

I always carry a slice of orange in my camera bag.  Don't you?  

You do realize I am talking about an orange gel, better known as a CTO, (Color Temperature Orange). Similar to the other orange, this orange has several uses.

It’s amazing what a little orange can do!  You can bring out high lights in your subject’s hair and change gray skies to blue.

This photograph was shot during a lighting demo at Photo Plus 2016 in New York.  The main light was Dynalite Baja B6 with a Dynalite Grand Softbox. The hairline light was a Dynalite Baja B4 with a 20 degree grid with a Rosco CTO color gel. The shooting space was about 10 ft x 7 ft., proving you can work in a really small space!   Main light was about 2.5 feet from the mode while the backlight was about 2 feet behind.  The orange light give her a halo!  I used the Dynalite Baja dedicated transmitter to fire the strobes and a Sekonic L478DR light meter to read my light.

 

 

 

This photograph was shot during my Location Lighting UK Tour sponsored by SWPP. (I'll be leading 3bworkshops at their convention in London this January).  So... It was a rainy grey day in Caerphilly, Wales, UK, what are the odds?  Have you ever set your camera on tungsten and gone outside to shoot? What happens? Your photograph turns out blue!  So use this to your advantage on a cloudy day. Set your camera white balance to tungsten, and place a Rosco CTO orange filter over the flash. A CTO filter is a color correction filter, converting your speed light, which is balanced for daylight, to tungsten. You color correct the skin tones of your subject while your background turns blue.

The model is lit by a speedlight with a CTO gel in front of it, shot through a soft box on the right side, with a reflector on the left.  The output of the speedlight is tungsten, which matches my camera setting.  Because of this, the model has proper skin tones and the background is now blue.  To determine the exposure, the camera is set on manual and use your camera meter to read the "Element you cannot control":  In this case it is the ambient light on background.  

 

Rosco CTO gels and Cinefoil, along with 22 other gels are included in my "Rosco Location Lighting Kit" (wink wink!) 

 

Here is my upcoming workshop schedule for the next a few months.  Come join us!

December 9-11, 2016
New Jersey Camera Show at Unique Photo

January 11-14, 2017
SWPP Convention in London, UK

January 28, 2017
Location Lighting Workshop at Unique Workshop

February 7-9, 2017
WPPI, Las Vegas

March 4, 2017
Boston Center for Adult Education

March 25, 2017
Harwin Camera, New York City

March 31-April 2
CanAm Photo Expo, Buffalo, NY


 

Tuesday's Tips: Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  Every Halloween the area around my Boston studio is filled with hundreds of trick or treaters.  I am not really sure where they all come from, but it's great fun to stand outside my studio with a bowl of candy, a camera and a strobe. 

Here are tips to shoot Halloween!

 Drag the shutter!
I love shooting  photographs that are a mixture of ambient light and strobe. Start your exposure with the element you can not control, that being the available (ambient) light.  Set your camera meter on manual exposure and your strobe on TTL.  Meter off the available light and use the strobe to fill in.  Due to darkness and very little available light you will be able to hand hold your camera at a much slower shutter speed than you normally would.  That slow shutter speed enables you to record what little there is.  The speedlight will fill in where you want it. 

This is a strobe on camera camera image. I used a slow shutterspeed and moved my camera from right to left.  The Green light is from glow sticks which the kid was holding while trick or treating.  My settings for this image was 1.6 seconds,  f4 ISO 200.


Speedlight off camera!
I held my speedlight lower left.  Light coming from lower angle gives you eerily feeling, perfect for Halloween!  My camera was set on manual to read the ambient light (candle in this case) using the in-camera meter.  My exposure for this shot was  2.5 seconds, f4. ISO 200.  I used a Pocket Wizard Plus III to fire my strobe. 


Get Low!
Get low and use your foreground!  I used in the camera meter to read the  exposure from the sky.  I  held my speed light off to the left and triggered it with a Pocket Wizard Plus III.


Get High! 
Get high and use your foreground!  


Wait for dusk
Wait till dusk to start shooting!  This was strobe on camera, with the head of the strobe at a 45 degree and bounced through a cube.  


Play with focal length of your lens

Shot with a 16mm fisheye.


Shot at 50mm

 

007.JPG

Shot at 70mm

 

Don't be afraid to get close.... I'm sure they won't bite...

 

Happy Halloween! May everyone have a safe and fun Halloween!  

This image is from my hands-on Location Lighting Workshop! 

Come join me for lighting and laughing,  upcoming workshops info here

Tuesday's Tips: Let the Campaign Begin!

Happy Tuesday!  

One of my great passions throughout my career as a photojournalist has been photographing presidential campaigns, especially in the very early phases, which is where we are now.  Campaign 2016 is well underway!
Every 4 years, I photograph a lot of people who think they are qualified to be president.  This is my 10th Presidential campaign.  I started doing this when Carter first ran.  My first great success was shooting the Newsweek cover when Ronald Reagan won the New Hampshire primary defeating George Bush.  I was on assignment for Newsweek covering George H.W. Bush in Manchester, NH.  After Bush gave his concession speech, I quickly left his campaign headquarters and drove from Machester to Concord to see if I could make it before Reagan gave his acceptance speech.  I made it in time and nicely pushed my way through the crowd to the third row behind two rows of fellow photojournalists and positioned my 50mm lens between the other photographers. Today, due to security this would never happen.   I sent off my film and would have been happy to have a photo in the magazine.  When my agent, Howard Chapnick of Black Star called on Thursday early evening and asked "how does it feel to have your first Newsweek cover?'  I respond with "how would I know".  That excitement of covering politics has never left me.  I still believe I have the best job in world. The person I am with could go on to become the president and today they are shaking hands with a few people in a drug store.

 

So far this campaign, I have photographed, Jeb Bush, Chris Christy, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ben Carson and Rand Paul.  With in the next few weeks I will photograph at least a dozen people who think they are the one to lead our country.  It is an unique experience.  Whether or not you agree with them politically, it is fascinating to spend time with this amazing group of people and hear their political views.  

Over my 10 presidential campaigns I have learned a few things that have worked well for me covering the campaign trail.  

 

Dos & Dont's:

Do: play nice with others!

Get to know the candidate, they may become president!

Get to know their staff, they control access.  Get to know the national and local politicos.   And very important, get to know security.  Whether it's local police or Secret Service, be polite, understand their job.  You may want to make a photograph, but they have to protect the candidate.  I learned a long time ago, never challenge a person with badge and a gun.  You will not win.  If you are nice and you get to know them, you will get your shots.
 

 

 

Do: Play nice with fellow journalists!  They can make your job some much easier or much more difficult.

 

 

Do: Travel Light
Some times there is not much light and high ISO is the answer.  I would always rather use the native ISO of a camera.  If the stage is not lit, sometimes I will light it with my own strobes, my strobe of choice is a Dynalite Baja, set up in the back of the room.  I'll fire the Dynalite with a Pocket Wizard Plus III.  I can have nice light with direction and make portrait in a situation that is not optimal and have the flexibly to move around the room.  I was able to shoot Chris Christie at ISO 400!  You can read more detailed info on "how to" in my past blog post "Lighting Politics!"








Do: pay attention to color balance. All of my strobes have a Rosco CTO and 3304 fluorescent filter attached with Velcro to the top of the flash.  It's always there when I need it. 

This is me using my Rosco 3304 fluorescent filter, covering Ben Carson in NH.




Do: Keep an eye out for items that add to your photos.  If there is an American flag or a campaign sign, add to your photo.  Place your photograph, look for things that show the location of the event.

 

 

 

Be ready, the great photographs happen in a second.   Pay Attention for candidate's entrance and exit .

 

 

 

Do: Use negative space in your images.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't:
Don't block other people's view.
Be award of the people you are working around.  Be respectful of the people whose lives and homes we invade.  A journalist who is inconsiderate makes us all look bad and makes our job harder.

Don't: carry too much equimpemet with you.   During a long campaign day, your equipment will feel like it gains weight as the day goes on.  
 

 

What I usually carry on the campaign trail:
2 Nikon cameras
Nikon 17-35 f2.8
Nikon 24-70 f2.8
Nikon 70-200 f2.8
2 Speedlights with Rosco CTO and green filters.
ThinkTank Retrospective bag.

Things I sometimes carry:
Nikon 16mm Fisheye
Nikon 105mm Macro lens (great for portraits)
Nikon 300mm f2.8
Dynalie Baja 400WS Strobe
PocketWizard Plus III
Chimera 22" beauty dish
Induro tripod.

When I need my 300mm and my computer at an event,  I carry a ThinkTank Street Walker backpack.  

 

One last do:  Enjoy this amazing experience!

Here is a list of my upcoming workshops! Hope you can join us!

April 25
Miami Photography Workshops, Miami, FL

May 7
B&H Photo, New York, NY

May 16-17
Hunts Photo, Melrose, MA

Happy Shooting!!

Tuesday's Tips: To Light, or not to Light

I had an assignment to photograph author Nicolson Baker using a Kindle in Boston.  For a location we chose the front of the Boston Public Library. It was a grey day with even light on his face. I did not have to light it, however, my sky would have been blown out and just muddy.  By exposing for the sky and using my strobe to match the light on his face, I was able to produce this photograph with 1 Speedlight, 1 small soft box and a reflector.

Nicholson Baker with light

Nicholson Baker with light

Nicolson Baker without light 

Nicolson Baker without light 

 My camera was set on manual and my strobe was on TTL. I took a meter reading off the sky, using the camera meter and underexposed it slightly to get a darker background. The strobe on TTL lit Baker's face from the right side and the reflector on the left bounced some of the strobe back on to his face, to give more even lighting. I needed enough depth of field so both  Baker and the Kindle were in focus. My exposure was at ISO 320, F8, and Shutterspeed 1/80.  I used a small Chimera softbox with a Speedlight ring.  The Speedlight was triggered by a set of PocketWizard TT5s.  In positioning the Kindle, I had to make sure that there was no glare on the screen from my strobe.  This photograph was shot with a Nikon.

The timing also worked out. This photo shoot was done at the end of the day, because Baker had a book signing at the nearby bookstore after the photoshoot.  If it was at a different time of the day, I would have come up with a different picture, as the Kindle and underexposed sky could not be matched for the exposure under bright sunlight.  As a photojournalist,  you don't always control certain aspects of your photo shoot, but you can always be prepared. It is important to see the photograph in the environment that is assigned to you and come out with a unique image each time.  One of the elements I enjoy about photography is lighting and teaching other photographers about lighting.  A lit photograph tends to have a lot more jump and snap to it and I get to choose where the light is coming from!

Come join us at one of my upcoming Location Lighting Workshops in Telluride & London
September 29-Octoberr 1 at the Telluride Photo Festival, Telluride, CO
January 16-18, 2015 Societies Photographic Convention, London, UK 

Happy Lighting, everyone!