Friday, June 6, 2008

Agust in the sunset

Loving how the sun stays up till 11 PM here right now.

Last night I went rollerblading along the coast road in Seltjarnarnes (it's the tip of the peninsula that Reykjavik, our capital, is on) and the light and blowing grass was just breathtaking. I knew the lighting was just right for some photography. I raced home, told my roommate to get dressed and head out with me so I could photograph him and get some practice and possibly nice images. My bag was mostly packed, but I had to throw a few things in, unplug some things charging, and we hopped in the car.

When we parked and headed out, I saw that the blowing grass would be nice for a shot as well. I took a few sans flash just to experiment.

After those, I had him sit down near some small fishing net drying racks with tall grass around. This would give me lots of interesting foreground and background elements. I used a 28mm lens to get some wider angle full body stuff, while not having to be too far away.

1 Vivitar 285hv
set to 1/32 power
3/4 CTOrange gel
Full zoom setting
Light stands at .5 meter height
3 meters to subject left, 2 meters in front of subject.
Aimed toward the subject, slightly up so not to spill on the ground.

I set my shutter speed to 1/200 and aperture to 3.2, with iso at 200. I set my vivitar 285hv to 1/8 power (it's been hacked to allow 12 full stops of power) at camera left about 1.5 meters to the left and 1.5 meters in front of the model, essentially at a 45 degree angle. A few test shots showed that with the gorgeous orange sunlight as rim, the plain flash appeared too blue. I popped on a 3/4 CTOrange, and angled the flash up a bit so it would feather his body and not touch the grass or ground. The flash was also too powerful so I knocked it down to 1/32 to give me a nice ratio between the rim light (sun) and the fill (CTOed flash) I opened the shutter up to 1/125 to let in a bit more background light as well.

Here are the resulting images.


And a closeup, showing that since the cross lighting was in place, I could have my model move and rotate his head freely while maintaining good details and volumes.


My only regret is that I wish I would have been more aware of the background net stand merging with his head, and have him move a bit to the right or left so that it was a bit separated.

Full set can be seen here:

Post processing was fairly basic. The sky was originally light blue. I used Lightroom's selective color editing to darken it a bit, shift it over to red for a slight purple hue, and saturate it a bit more heavily. I warmed the entire image's White Balance slightly, and then to counter that, I used the selective color editing to make the greens (which is the shadow area of the grass) to be bluer, and more saturated. This gives the illusion that all the light was warmer than it was in real life. A slight vignette to keep your eyes in the frame on top of the 28mm's natural slight vignette, and some small contrast, black point adjustment and clarity, with a bump in vibrance finished it off. I use the Lightroom/mogrify/flickr uploader to sharpen the final 1024x768 uploaded image so that it's not too soft with a radius of .2

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