Having a small, powerful light is a good thing to have in your kit. This will work super as a fill light, a special effects color light and creative tool. If you are not at a far distance it will even serve as a main light. I measured 1/30th of a second at f/2.8 ISO 200 at four feet. The beauty of working with LED lights is WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get.
I had the opportunity to get my hands on an LED light from FALCONEYES. It’s the F7 Pocketlite. You can see my thoughts below but the short answer is I like it. 97 Color Rendering Index and a good size and power as a fill or main light in a pinch.
I’ve often heard the expression the best images are made with the camera that you have with you. This light is small enough to have with you all the time.
I enjoy working with creative people. It’s a blast. Creative folks tend to bring an extra little something to the photo session. I was working with Sedona musician Peter Sterling the other day. He had some specific thoughts on the session we were photographing for some headshots and CD cover art.
Once an idea is put forward, then it’s time to tweak the lighting to create the mood and feeling needed. We started with a high key background then went to a low key background with more dramatic lighting.
Above and below are unretouched photos on a high key background. Peter was an excellent subject as he made excellent eye contact with the camera and was easy to get relaxed. He made my job pretty easy!
I liked this one as a different look but wasn’t thrilled with the foot pad and stool. I wanted to crop in but it has a very casual feel, and it keeps growing on me.
Moved to a black background and worked on a more moody look. Peter asked me to retouch this one, and I like it a lot! ** the setup described below
When I do final retouching for artists, I always include a black and white version. This is often way better than sending off a color image and letting the newspaper or magazine do the conversion.
* White seamless backdrop with a Fiilex 360ex Variable LED light with 24×36 inch softbox as main light (camera right) Camera left another light with a smaller softbox used as fill.
** Black seamless backdrop and lights as above but adjusted for more drama. A 5-inch Fiilex Fresnel attachment was added to another light for the background
I don’t often share my commercial work on Successful-Photographer. I probably should.
So I will.
I received a call from a pleasant voice asking about a photography session for a book cover. Images needed would include an RV, two people, and two dogs. The owner of the friendly voice is named Amy Burkert. She and her husband Rod have been on the road for about six years traveling the country in an RV, looking for pet-friendly places and sharing their findings via their blog https://blog.gopetfriendly.com
The main photo Amy for which Amy was looking was her back cover author’s image. Especially for the book, she has written, the image should make her appear open, friendly, and inviting while telling a bit of her story. I always ask plenty of questions before coming up with a plan for the capture.
What is the layout of the book? Do you need a horizontal or vertical photo/ Have you considered your wardrobe? What background would you like to have, studio or environmental? What story do you wish to convey?
Amy at the wheel of the thirty-seven foot Winnebago
After all the questions were answered, we ended up with Amy behind the wheel as she does most of the driving while they are on the road. There wasn’t a lot of room for supplemental lighting which made me reach into my bag for LED lighting bricks from Fiilex. With three of the bricks, I was able to add some fill light and get some background separation. These battery operated lights are color and brightness tunable and can be tucked into tiny spaces.
I choose a high angle from which to shoot to enhance Amy’s friendly and open feel. When the subject is looking up in an image it makes the viewer feel they are looking down on the person. It didn’t hurt that the camera likes Amy and she was entirely comfortable in front of the camera.
I supplied a horizontal and a square version of Amy’s portrait. Additional support images were made of the RV with Rod and the rest of the crew including the two dogs Ty and buster which I’ll share in a future post.
Images were made with the Lumix GH5 and the Leica 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 Lens
I’ve always wanted to attempt water droplet photography.
And now I have!
It’s kinda like photographing fireworks in that you never are quite sure what you are going to capture when the shutter is fired, but you don’t have to wait for the Fourth of July either. This is something that could consume me as there are endless variables to throw into the mix. What can change the look of any image? Type of liquid, the color of the fluid, the temperature of the liquid, the size of the drop(s), flash duration, add another flash, and another, change the background color, add color gels on the flash…
Arrghh! It’s fun if a little frustrating at times when you think you have done everything exactly the same but get an entirely different result. I now understand where someone had said that making these images is part science, part art and lots of luck. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The harder I work the luckier I get.” That might not be an exact quote, but you get the idea.
Here’s are some examples from my first couple of days.
This is from day one of playing in the water with splash photography
This from day two shooting. Playing with lights and droplet timing.
Day Four with thickened water and new timings for dropping the drops.
As I said, the photographing of the drops is part science and part luck. You can increase your luck by adding to the science in your arsenal. I purchased some help in the form of the Pluto Trigger and the Pluto Valve. The Pluto Trigger is a pretty amazing controller for your camera. In this case, the trigger releases the waterdrops and times the firing of the flash. Even with that control, there are still a lot of variables in play.
And I like it.
In the next couple of days, I’ll share my set-up and some things I learned as I have started this new photography genre.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
PS – I’ve just bought the Pluto Trigger, and like it so much I’ve signed on as an affiliate
They say the camera you have with you is the best camera. I’m a big believer!
How many times have you been out and about and left your gear at home because it would be too bulky or a PIA to have with you? Since joining with Panasonic as a Lumix Luminary I have had access to a number of cameras, all of them smaller and lighter than my former DSLR kit. As a result I almost always have a camera on hand and less of those found moments are getting away from me.
I was giving a workshop and stepped out to go to the rest room and saw this scene unfolding in front of me. I dashed back and grabbed the Lumix FZ – 1000 because of it’s 400mm reach and was able to grab these two images of the red rocks of Sedona being lit in front of some storm clouds.
The camera allows for up to a 7 stop bracket. In this case I bracketed 5 stops at one stop intervals and processed in PhotoMatix Pro 5. This kept the rocks being lit by the sun from being blown out against the dark background of the sky.
Don’t forget to ‘Work the Scene’ when you come across different photo ops. Shoot as a horizontal, vertical, zoom in, try different crops. I didn’t have much time to do this but at least I captured 3 different renditions of the scene.
The Lumix FZ 1000 is often the camera I am grabbing to have with me all the time. 25-400mm f2.8-4 all in a body unit that weighs about 2 and a half pounds. Sweet!
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
PS – Please remember that if you use the links from this web site to make your purchases it helps support the education provided on Successful-Photographer.
Occasionally I'll send out a digest version of the blog posts on Successful-Photographer. I'm not a fan of Spam and I'm sure you are not. Your Email address is safe with me. Bob
For infrared conversion of my cameras I use LifePixel. Infrared allows you to put an older camera to use and opens up a new time time of day for productive image creation.
Learn Photoshop in a fun environment. Aaron Nace applies the right amount of fun with easy to understand and follow tutorials. Actions and brushes are included with lessons!
Luminar 4 and LuminarAI software from Skylum are creative tools. In addition to being a stand-alone program, I often use it as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop. Full of creative possibilities! Find all of the Skylum products by clicking on this link.
By using the COUPON CODE COATES you'll save 10 bucks or get the best deal going on Luminar. Click on the logo for more info.
Luminar 4 and LuminarAI
Best embroidery ever. Give Queensboro a try, get a $20 instant credit to get started by clicking on the logo! They specialize in great quality custom logo apparel and promotional products with the best customer service.
Lightning, waterdroplets, sound, time-lapse, HDR sequences, smiles and much more control for your camera!
Cameras Get Smarter -
A High Speed Smart Camera Remote