October 2013

Studio lighting techniques

Up until recently the majority of my work focused on landscape, architecture and nature photography. I have, however, always like the idea of photographing models but just had not really tried it much. If you have looked at my portfolio you will see I have shot some models when the opportunity presented itself but the majority was the latter. Recently I tried my hand at some new lighting techniques like shooting white on white, blacks on blacks and some glamour photography. Below are a few images from the shoot.

Snow White photo shoot

The afternoon began with a nice rain storm but luckily cleared to allow the photo shoot to take place. The idea for a Snow White inspired shoot was that of the model Caitlin, who also created the costume. The concept was to try and re-enact some of the memorable moments from the Disney fairytale. Despite the dampness everything played out well and I think I was able to capture some decent images in the end.

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Night or low light photography

My favorite time to take photographs is in the early evening and into the night. The majority of the black and white, city scenes, panoramic and astrophotography images were taken in the late evening or night. I find it is a great time to take photos because of the even light conditions and lack of hard shadows. Sure it presents some challenges but the images become more saturated and details come alive. There are two main challenges when it comes to night photography; the first is focusing in low light conditions and the second is getting the exposure right. Luckily we live in the world of digital photography which makes things a lot easier than others (including myself) had to deal with in the past. Today’s SLR cameras are equipped with LCD displays which provide us with instant feedback. After you take a picture you can review it on the viewfinder to check for focus (enlarge the image as much as possible) and assess the exposure. If the image is too light, reduce the exposure, if it is too dark, increase the exposure. By doing this you can, with some trial and error, get that exposure near perfect. Even if it isn’t perfect you can always fix it in post processing if it isn’t too far off.

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Panoramic photography

I have always found panoramic images interesting. The ability to combine 2 or more photographs, horizontal, vertical or both, opens up a new realm for displaying a scene. The image featured above is actually a combination of 12 images, 2 rows of 6 images, spanning from Gatineau on the left and across the bridge to Ottawa on the right. I love this image because I was able to capture a beautiful sunset as it occurred during the summer. The process to capture the image was to make sure the camera was as level as possible (on a tripod for best results especially if you are taking long exposures as I did) and then take a series of photos across the scene, ensuring to overlap each by 10-20%. It is best to take the pictures in manual mode to ensure the exposure is consistent across all the images. The next step is to use either Photoshop or Lightroom to do some preliminary processing on the RAW images and then sync those settings across all of the images. I like to do this before I merge the images into a panorama but you don’t have to. In Photoshop you can then merge the images – you have a few options to choose from but I find  auto works just fine. Once the image is finished, merge the layers and then do your final editing on the image to add your special touches.

I always shoot in RAW because of the exceptional quality and range of adjustments when it comes to post processing but you can use JPGs if you are not familiar with RAW.


It has been a busy summer

As the title indicates it has been a busy summer of taking photographs but I had neglected to upload the images to the site. Accordingly, I will be posting a few posts over the coming days to catch up a bit. Over the summer I was involved in various shoots ranging from nature photography to model shoots to astrophotography to  night shoots and creating large panoramas. I seem to enjoy many types of photography but if I had to choose some favorites they would be black and white and night time landscapes. If you have visited the site before please note that I have reorganized many of the categories and in doing so added a lot of new images to each in the process. I will continue to add new images as I process them.