Strobist shoot of Eddie and a 75 Nova

My friend Eddie and I headed up to Mounds View Park in St. Paul for a little evening photo shoot. I wanted to let you know how I took this shot.

First, we are in the twilight hour, just before the sun goes down. I decided not to meter this manually. I set the camera on aperture priority, with -1 2/3 exposure compensation. This is what is controlling the background exposure. For the lights, I used manual. I usually shoot in TTL, but I both wanted to experiment, and I knew that for the light on Eddie it was going to need pretty much full power.

I started with a SB800 speed light toward the front of the car, that is skipping across the side. I had one SB900 mounted on a stand to the left of the car in a 24″ lastolight softbox. This was pointed at Eddie. My 3rd light was on the camera, a SB900 acting as a commander. But, the back of the car was too dark, and as the light went down, I was able to switch to just the popup flash on my D7000. I was surprised, but happy that I had another light. I was out of stands, (only 2) so with only the foot, and pointed up at 45deg at the car, I lit up the back end of the car.

So, if you caught that, I am using the pop up flash on my camera to trigger the flashes in manual mode. The cool thing about this, is that I could change the power of the lights without going over to the units themselves. I would have had to do this in SU-4 mode. Instead I was able to adjust the power and settle on 1/4 power while staying at the camera.

The next issue was that I didn’t get enough power out of the flash on Eddie. I had it zoomed to 200mm, but it was fairly far back to stay out of the frame. (Shooting at 55mm if you were wondering). So, to fix it, I upped the ISO from 200 to 400. This gave me the power I was looking for from the flash, and we were good to go.

The rest was all composition. I think some of the best shots came from the low position when I was kneeling on the ground. The only issue is that you can’t really see the city in the background this way. Anyway, there are some other pictures on my portrait site.

MN Strobist Meet Up

This Sunday I went to a MN Strobist meet up event. The MN Strobist group is a flickr group that uses small (usually) flashes to light their pictures. This was the first meet up event that I have attended. This event was held at the Jackson Street Roundhouse. It’s a train museum, and I had no idea it was here. I definitely need to bring my kids back here. There are a ton of cars that you can walk through, and see what life on the train would have been like.¬† There are also a bunch of toy train tables to entertain kids if they get bored and you want to wander.

MN Strobist Meetup

Looked like a movie set!

The event was very interesting. I am not sure what I expected, but it was very loose. The location was organized, but once there you are on your own. You need your own equipment, your own vision, and the gumption to grab a model and start taking pictures.

I was a little overwhelmed. I have been using my single flash a little bit, but dropping into an unfamiliar location and coming up with a place to shoot and an idea in my head of what to do was difficult for me. I mostly wandered around and watched others. There are some very good shooters here. There are professional studio photographers, location photographers, and other amateurs here. I was one of the few rookies Sunday.

Michael Breeden on Train

In a sleeping berth.

It seems like a good group. Many people knew each other and formed up little groups right away. Like in most of these situations I don’t tend to jump right in. I am a little more reserved, but I did meet and talk to several people. I did set up a shoot with Jorge Rimblas, and globbed on to a shoot that Ben and Martin had set up. Martin helped me out quite a bit, so thanks! My pictures from that shoot didn’t turn out unfortunately. I really need to pay more attention to the expressions on the model faces, and be more prepared and willing to direct. The pictures of Michael here were from the setup that Jorge and I did.

Michael Breeden

Head shot for Michael

My pictures are definitely not up to what some of the others shot, but I really shouldn’t let that get me down. It seems like many of these people have been to a lot of these things and have quite a bit of experience setting up their equipment. I have a lot to learn, but there seems to be people there that will help me out, especially if I step up and ask.

I’ll be back.

Check out the MN Strobist group on flickr for more of the pictures from the day.

The Look

Available light shot taken while others were working.

Lighting Friday

I have a whole bunch of lighting related stuff to mention today:

starving student kit sx1I got my starving student kit (SX2) from Midwest Photo Exchange. This is a pretty neat kit. If you check out the link you will see all the stuff that is included. The highlights are the stand (fairly compact), a shoot through umbrella, a swivel that connects the stand, the umbrella, the flash, and allows the flash/umbrella to tilt. The umbrella is really compact when folded.

I decided to get the kit to get all the pieces to try it out. They are supportive of the strobist community, and the kit gets a discount. There is some other stuff in the kit that will be fun to play with too. Gells, tape, straws and cinefoil to use to make DIY light shaping tools.

Mpex also has a new all manual flash, the LumoPro LP120  for only $129 that I might look at later.

Photoflex Lightdome

Well, I decided that the umbrella wasn’t enough, I needed to spring for a softbox. We had been using them in the studio lighting class exclusively, and this small LightDome that works on my SB800 was on sale. I head of this gem from Matt Brandon. He¬†posted about¬†using one here and then PhotoFlex was highlighting him.

What makes this kind of funny is that tomorrow I am going to go take pictures of a newborn with this very contraption. Just so happens that friends down the street just had their second baby, and I just happened to get a light box. Coincidence?

This is not the same item, but I will try the same ideas as this strobist post too soon.


I am also finally going to get to use my new light toy. Well, those other things are really my newest light toys, but at one time this was, and I haven’t used it yet. I need to make sure it is changed up. Heading out with some friends to hit a barn with 2 million¬†watts of light. Actually, 8 million watts of light if we all hit the barn with the lights. Might even be too much light! Anyway, that should be fun.

So, lots of new toys, and I am going to try to use them all this weekend. Everyone always says you shouldn’t buy new shoes the day before the big race, and I probably shouldn’t head to take portraits with¬†new equipment¬†I have never tried before, but hey, what the heck. Pictures to follow.