Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
High school photography class led me to purchase a 1978 Nikon Nikkormat FT2 for $40. High school friendships led me to receive an old pre-AI 50mm f/2 lens. This was the beginning of my film adventure.
I will readily admit that posing people is not something I'm used to doing. Sports shooters have it easy in this regard. It's just a Nikon D3s on each shoulder on a harness thing, 300mm on one, 70-200mm on the other, maybe a third body around the neck with a 24-70mm. Easy (sports shooters will kill me for this). People skills aren't really necessary. For portraits, however, you have to verbalize and build rapport with models. That is something I have some improvement to do.
Neil van Neikerk and Joe McNally seem to have a very easy attitude with their models. Their experience in wedding and general portraiture, respectively, allows them to know what they want quickly, and the ability to verbalize (or in Neil's case, act out) the pose. I think I need some inspiration. Neil suggested clothing catalogues and practicing the poses yourself in a mirror. I just might do that.
I've seen videos of Annie Leibovitz posing people, and she does not look as comfortable. It's strange, considering her end result. Perhaps it is because of her reputation that she does not need to relax her subject; they are already relaxed. I remember her saying that she still does not feel particularly comfortable building a rapport with her subject. It doesn't show in the pictures.
I guess I have more work to do. Hopefully you won't find me striking poses anytime soon. I can guarantee it won't be pretty.
Monday, July 4, 2011
As a starving teenager with extremely limited resources, sometimes one must get creative and re-purpose wholly inappropriate materials to serve your needs. In a blog post many months ago, Joe McNally discussed the method he used to sort gels for his flashes. The king of TTL small flash, Joe needed a better way to sort the myriad of colors he had, from a quarter-cut CTO to 2-stop ND filter. He was using leather business card wallets to hold them, but he felt he could do better. A local shooter found a solution in the Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket memory card storage system. Designed for pro shooters with 10 Compact Flash cards at a time (unlike me, with only a single SD card and a spare inside a compact camera), this storage system was re-purposed by Will Foster simply by cutting the seams out of the middle of the memory card wallet (eliminating the compartments) and using that to organize gels. Very clever. Still, each Pixel Pocket Rocket is something like $20, which I was loathe to spend. Besides, it's sort of overkill since you don't really need padding around sheets of plastic. Until I did this, I was carrying my gels in my actual wallet, each one nestled beside a debit or library card. That was not working out. I wanted to stick little Velcro (sorry, hook-and-loop-fastener) bits on the sides of my gels so I could use my speed strap to attach them instead of gaffer's taping them to the flash, which was quite a fiddly and time-consuming operation. Alas, the fasteners were too thick for my wallet.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Michael's, the mecca of compulsive scrapbookers everywhere, has been seducing me lately with extremely well-priced picture frames. While many of their products are surprisingly good for the price, avoid the value-pack frames like the plague. Even though they're ridiculously cheap and even of an acceptable quality, they seem to cheapen the picture inside of it. I have this 3-pack of 11x14 frames I got for something like $20 after several coupons. While they are thankfully not shiny, even after I put a mat in it, it still doesn't look quite as good as the other frames I bought in singles (made of real faux-wood rather than plastic). It just seems to lack visual "weight". It became painfully obvious this morning as I was framing one of my better "big city" shots (i.e., one of my only "big city" shots, since I live among feral deer and rabbits in suburbia).