Everybody Wants To Be Like Mike

Everybody Wants To Be Like Mike, originally uploaded by paggre.

Continuing with the theme of trying to capture those expressions that my wife and I see everyday but they only last for a second, here is a shot taken the same night as the previous post. She has been doing this one for a week or so. Still not the one I am after. But very cute!

This one was taken with the same setup as the previous post: 1 285HV into silver umbrella @ 1/2 power. I know, it is getting old. Maybe there is no need to continue listing the equipment since I don't have anything new.

Cactus Triggers
By the way, I am using the Cactus V2s triggers. There is much discussion on the web concerning these. Lots of talk about reliability. My experience with them has been very positive. I have had probably 5 to 10 fail-to-fires out of thousands of shots. Now granted, the failures have happened during a paid shoot in a fast-food restaurant. Interference from all the electronics I'm sure. I didn't bother changing channels which may have helped. It only failed a few times and I didn't miss anything. I am just not able to shell out the bucks for pocket wizards.


One Light Portrait

Smile, originally uploaded by paggre.

This is my favorite type of photo to take. Or maybe it is the one that I take most often. Trying to capture candid photos with off-camera lighting is challenging. I have tried a setting up my equipment with multiple lights and then coaxing my kids into the zone. Works sometimes. But I really want to capture those faces that just happen from day to day. When I go man I wish I had my camera. So having one light and an umbrella is easy to move around while the kiddos are playing. Especially with radio triggers. There are no cables to trip over and get angry with.

So I was trying to capture another face that she has been making for the past few days. She did it once with her hands in front of her face. Arghh. So I did get this great happy face.

I move the umbrella in close. Take a couple test shots, checking for blown highlights. Then just wait for her to do something cute. That's photography for me today.


My First Family Portrait Shoot

My first family portrait shoot for friends. I was very happy with the results. I hope they are as well. I got there early to look around and set up. I got my equipment all put together and started taking some test shots to determine ambient/flash ratios.

I ended up setting the 285HV into the silver umbrella at 1/2 power to get f5.6. I am very comfortable with the on light portrait. . .because it is only one light. I tried the bare Canon 540EZ for rim light on two of the photos seen here. Added some nice separation on the shadow side.

We were down by the river and kept getting gusts of wind. One knocked over my umbrella. The umbrella hit first then rolled over for the flash to hit. Vivitar is fine. Umbrella was bent up a bit but I was able to carefully bend it back enough to be functional.

A good experience and I think we got some very good photos. Please critique if you have time.

My Other Hobby

My Other Hobby, originally uploaded by paggre.

So my other hobby is woodworking. I need to look at this as another thing to photograph more often. So, to that end, here is a miter fixture that I made. I got the plans from Woodsmith Shop on TV. I added a plexiglass guard to it as I do with all fixtures. I have good reason since I got bit by this saw a while back. God saw fit to let me keep my thumb so I took that as a reminder to be more safe.

Two lights here. The usual 285HV into silver umbrella @ 1/4 power for the key light from high camera right. Then the 540EZ bare @ 1/32 power for accent light under the table saw.


Where's the color?

Where's the color?, originally uploaded by paggre.

I love this little kiddo. She is such a punkin' and what a great model. She is the only one that I have that will stay still for more than 6.5 ms.

So I have been taking black and white lately. It is actually very different. I tend to look for great colors for taking photos. At the detriment of composition I'm sure. So a new world opens up when you aren't thinking about color. More concentration on light quality and quantity, composition, expression of the subject.

So the next time you are in a room lit with fluorescents that you are not in control of, switch to black and white. See what happens.


I did my first commercial work. If you are in the food business and are tired of entering your temperature data by hand, you need this system: Temp Taker.

So I am using the plexiglass over a black table. This works nicely because it reflects whatever you set up for the background. I have been looking for a piece of black granite to use but this is cheaper I think. Anyway, I had the plexi laying around and read about this from Strobist or possibly DIY Photography.

The photo with the red background uses a 285HV into a silver umbrella for the key light. There is also a gelled Sunpak 411 for the background. My fedex reflector is providing fill.

The shot with the black background uses the 285HV into a silver umbrella for the key light. The Sunpak 411 handles the rim light. The fedex box is the fill and creates the nice specular highlight on the LCD screen.

For post processing I cleaned up dust on the unit. Used a little unsharpen mask for sharpening (that one still baffles me).

Please critique if you have time. And remember to order a few Temp Takers.