17. desember 2014

Pin-up massacre!

Finally, I had a solo-shoot with miss Marion Massacre!

We've sort of orbited around each other in the photographer-model community for a few years and on earlier occasions sent some messages back and fourth, relating to shoot-ideas and concepts, never actually ending up having a shoot :D

Some of this can be related to life-events for miss Marion (child, among other things), so it's understandable, most of it can be related to me, not following up the contact good enough =D
Though, really, no pressure/stress either, we had time to do this whenever everything fell into place.

In the end, I met Marion during the Tursday-workshop initiative, where the theme for a particular week, was pin-up, then she sort of just popped in and we had a shoot, together with miss Nicky Namnam.

As mentioned in that blog-entry, it was a fun time and we agreed to hook up a little later for a solo-shoot.

In this particular shoot, miss Marion had a leopard style lingerie-outfit and even cat-ears, haha, loved that detail, gloves were also present, very stylish ^^


'Meoooww' :)

Burlesque show

Low angle "stage shot"


We did a variety of settings during the shoot, here she is even posing with my old-school Rolleiflex Automat from the 50's, very fitting. ^^


Vintage style


Here's a shot I did, using my own Rolleiflex 2.8F and Fuji Neopan 400, came out really great!

Rolleiflex 2.8F with Fuji Neopan 400
The bin was a lovely prop ^^


The lying-down poses were done in a couch. I always have problems "seeing" how I am supposed to place the lights on lying down poses and lying on the back towards the camera poses, but I somehow managed to find the right angles  ^^

Diva


The final settings were her being very cat-like, having a bowl of milk, as cats tend to do ;-)

Milk break

Very cool to shoot with Marion in a solo-setting, chatting about this and that and generally just having a good time, would definitely be cool to do something again at a later time ^^

This lovely entry, rounds off 2014, a year filled with lots of photography-fun, cool shoots and great inspiration.

I wish the people I've worked with trough the year a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year, the same goes to you, who read and follow this blog ^^

See you all in 2015 \o/

17. november 2014

Fia in the rain

Fia Rouge....wow, the name sounds like it comes from an action/adventure movie or a Bond-movie with a female villain running the show ^^

Though, Fia is a very calm, friendly 19 year old, with a very unique style ^^

I had messaged with Fia back and fourth a little on Modelmayhem in June, but due to messy planning on my part, I kind of fumbled and never got round to actually book a shoot-date before holiday-time struck the country.

- So the summer more or less went, before we finally hooked up. ^^

In the end though, we managed to do a meet-and-greet-shoot in Frognerparken in Oslo at the very end of August.

- I like to start there, or in a public setting with models that I have no previous experience with. It's just less pressure and a better setting to relax for both parts in, I think.

Cute pose

We started with some poses while the sun was shining, the warmth caused me to sweat too much for my own liking, as usual! =D

Long-haired vamp


I tried to vary the setting as much as possible and used various bushes and paths in the park for effect and mood.


Park-trail catwalk

Stopped pose


Stockings and look


Then, as we got to the great monolith monument, the northern sky turned pitch black, a wall of rain was heading our way, and fast!
Lingering storm


Luckily I had my umbrella with me, and I also had a few plastic bags in my kit (hey, I like to be prepared for anything).

So, I covered up most of my gear, gave Fia the umbrella and stripped my setup to the very basic (camera, the Canon 70-200 and a mounted Speedlight 580EX II, all weather-sealed).

I put a clear bag, meant for bread over my 70-200, strapped the end around my camera, opened the end at the tip of the lens, and secured that with my lens-shade for extra protection.

Just in time, the downpour started just as we got everything safely covered.

I did some extra processing on these, to create vintage and slightly cross-processed/tinted look to the shots, to add to the atmosphere.


Sweet downpour

Glancing



I ended up ditching my 580EX II after a while, because I quickly saw that the flash was accentuating the rain too much, and continued to use natural light only (knew I had to adjust the shots in post anyway, the only addition without the flash. would be adding some fill-light).

Here are two really in-control poses and scenes that I really liked a lot from this shoot.





Much better-looking rain without the flash, the flash tend to freeze the drops, as well as being reflected back in an unnatural way.

The intensity of the downpour changed almost from second to second, from super-saturated showers, to lighter rain and back to drenching showers again. ^^

The cool thing about this incident, was that the park got completely deserted, people ran like mad chickens. (If I didn't know better, I'd say that there was pure acid coming down, based on the panic in the park lol).

I myself, got soaked, but didn't mind.

The next two shots are a bit more romantic in the mood, striking eyes in the second shot.







It was worth it and the rain was pretty warm anyway, and I was too heated from the ongoing shoot, so the rain was simply just nice. =)

I think Fia escaped quite dry and not too cold, she did a really bang-up job, looking relaxed, sexy and collected while the whole world was falling down form the sky, the shots came out great!

These final two shots, are processed, to create a quite dramatic '300' kind of look, very punchy skies, check out how the rain was really hammering the ground on the first shot, almost creating a mist on the ground.




Who's the boss?

After the rain had subsided, I decided to call it quits. The camera and lens, even though it was pretty well protected, did get some water and I didn't want to push my luck too far...!

- Even though my camera and lens is supposed to handle a bit of water, you're not supposed to keep going with wet equipment. It's sealed so you may quickly wrap up a shoot, get into cover or not loose your equipment due an accidental splash or two.

I hope to shoot with Fia again, perhaps in a dry and warm studio-setting?


Possibly working on a interesting concept together, while she is still in Norway ^_ ^

You can visit Fia on these links, both on facebook and modelmayhem.com :)

7. november 2014

Beach shoots, recap and technical


My last two entries, have been about my two model-shoots at Hvaler, which is located at the south-eastern tip of Norway. This area is known for a multitude of beaches, and a rock-sloped archipelago landscape.


Hvaler archipelago, satelite view

My equipment decisions for the beach-shoots:

 

Paul C Buff, Alien Bees 1600
I decided to bring with me my strongest flash, the Alien Bees 1600, because it can overpower the sun. There are more powerful options available though, but I have this one, the AB1600, which is 640 watt-seconds.


The vagabond mini battery pack
With the increasingly added confidence and comfort of the super-strong, light-weight Paul C buff Vagabond mini battery pack, based on other shoots on location mentioned in this blog, I had good confidence that one battery would be sufficient for a single shoot, but I charged the extra battery as well.
The whole pack weigh maybe 2 - 3 pounds and clamps onto the flash-tripod.



Paul C Buff beautydish with and without the sock

The modifier I planned to use, was a beauty-dish, mounted on a weighted boom. This rig with the weighted boom is seriously heavy, but I thought it would be a good choice to battle the ever present and never-ending wind at the coast.

The choice of using the beauty-dish, was twofold:
1) It's a 'directional hard/soft light source' (contrasty, soft light source? ^^), which I felt would fit the bill and light the models perfectly in relation to the scene.
2) The construction is much more sturdy and not affected by deformations due to wind.
- and that proved to be a sound choice.

My particular dish is a large Paul C Buff white beauty-dish, and I also brought with me the 'sock' for the dish, should it be necessary to cover the dish itself, if the wind was so strong that it grabbed the dish and pushed the heavy boom out of position.

- also proved to be a sound choice on Kristin's shoot, as the wind was tougher and more gusty.

General observations 


I had to try and plan the shoots, so that the two separate results would be different, but still retain some of the same style. So, some of the setups were very similar and overlapping, while others were unique to the particular session. (it's important that the models don't feel that they ended up with the exact same result).

The reason for the similar setups, was that I needed more location-experience with this rig, and by running similar settings under slightly different lighting-conditions, I could learn a whole heap of things to put in my experience-bag.

- Also, by gaining good shots while shooting a certain way, I made sure that both models would end up with good shots, not just experimental, weird ones. ^^

Conclusion and lessons learned 

 


Some of Kristin's shots
Things to be aware of:

I find that the 1/200s sync-speed of the Canon 5D mk III to be annoying/constricting. (Nikon is much better in this regard, providing 1/500s).  1/200s is the max-speed this camera will sync properly with a studio-fhash. The 1ds and 1dx series isn't much better, with their 1/250s sync speed. 

The problem arise when you try to freeze movement, or shoot with longer lenses, both which can cause blurry photo's. I was already aware of this, off course, but it was more of a struggle on these shoots, due to the models having hair and cloth, moving in a fresh breeze. I also had to shoot with the stabilizer ON on my 70-200, which drains the batteries in the camera faster.

Flash-recharge time with the battery was impressive. Still, one need to reduce the number of shots and the number of shots per second(!) to one shot per 2-3 seconds (which is more the burst-norm for me on model shoots anyway), or one will end up with shots having a variance in exposure.
In other words let the flash charge.
Also, be aware that the charging-time will be more and more affected as the battery reach between 1/2 to 1/4'th of it's capacity, then you need to wait 3-4-5 seconds to have a fully charged AB1600 flash.

Some of Nicky's shots


Positive suprises and experience-points

The Vagabond battery really proved to be a impressive and powerful pack. I changed the battery on the very end of Nicky's shoot, just as we reached the final setting of the day, by then it was at 1/4 (or lower).
The shoots, respectively, produced
Kristin: 302 shots, 1 battery
Nicky: 366 shots, battery 1 was changed at 298 shots.
 - most of the shots were done using close to full power on my AB1600 flash-unit!

Pretty sick for a 3 pound pack I must say! Paul C Buff, I bow do thee! o_O

Recycle-time, as mentioned, did not suffer much, until the battery was down to 1/4 of full capacity, also very impressive. On Kristin's shoot, I simply turned down the power, as the light was already fading, so I could wrap up the whole shoot on one battery. The recycle-time was normal when I used my flash on 1/2 power and below, so I basically didn't notice much difference and just kept on shooting.On Nicky's shoot, I started to notice longer recycle times more and decided to swap the battery for the final scene, just to avoid any pauses as the light was changing quickly.

The beauty-dish proved to have just the right qualities, to create natural-looking flash for a model on the beach. A softbox would have been too soft (I think) and an umbrella too spread out and soft as well, a smaller lightsource would be too hard and contrasty (from my experience with 580EX-flashes anyway). The dish was cumbersome to carry, but is sturdy and really gives nice light.

Got even more experience in placing the sun, in conjunction to the flash, balancing the exposure and shooting with a sea-background.

A few other secrets as well, that I noticed and put on my experience-list for future shoots.  :)

21. oktober 2014

On the beach with Nicky

As mentioned in my last blog-etntry, I did two beach-related shoots at Hvaler, this second entry, relates to my shoot with miss Nicky Namnam .

This shoot was done a couple of days after the first shoot, luckily the conditions were fairly similar, nice sunshine, not too many clouds, the wind was also slightly less intense. This also meant that I didn't have to worry too much about my flash-rig toppling over from the wind.

The equipment I used, was also the same as the previous shoot, but I dropped a few redundant items, that I noticed I really didn't have any use for last time, like one extra studio-flash + flash-tripod, one octabox, one Canon 400mm 4.5L, power-cords and some bits and pieces. This made it easier to actually move around and lug all my stuff on location.

The shoot setup then, consisted of my Canon 5d mk III, my Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS, one Alien Bee 1600,  one weighted boom, one large, white beauty-dish, one Vagabond mini battery-pack + cords and triggers for the whole lot.

Nicky, blonde for the occasion (not sure what she is these days, as she change her style ever so often ^^), brought with her some cool clothes, hair-bandana, some cool sunglasses  and even a brand spanking new bellybutton-piercing =)

I did some of the same types of settings as I did previously, ie. walking towards the camera, glancing out to the sea, generally posing while walking parallel to the shoreline.

However, we also did some artsy-poses at the same time, to mix it up a little.

Playing with the waves
Canon 5D mk III, Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

Fabric display
Canon 5D mk III, Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS


Nicky did some clothing magic and style changes, and we continued with a few similar shots, but we also moved onto the sand and into the water.

Sand-diva
Canon 5D mk III, Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS


Checking out the water
Canon 5D mk III, Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

Cool pose
Canon 5D mk III, Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

Here I created a new type of duo-tone black/white version of one of the shots, I think this style fit Nicky well, giving her an ethereal, marble-skin and almost statue-like look, especially with those eyes ^^


Thoughs
Canon 5D mk III, Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

After all the fun with various outfits, we did some bikini-shots as well. She brought her US of A-kini ^^ , which not only look cool, it also fit her body perfectly.

So, with the red, white and blue, coupled with tanned skin and blonde hair, we got cracking, first in the water.


Testing the water
Canon 5D mk III, Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS


Stylish beach-babe
Canon 5D mk III, Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS


Then some sandy ones, trying to make it slightly different from the previous shoot, regarding poses and angles, while still retaining some of the same style.


Owing the sand
Canon 5D mk III, Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

The look
Canon 5D mk III, Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

Last shot is one of those dual-toned versions again, very strange but lovely mood in those, I like it in this partcular shot as well, as the face/pose/setting is really cool and controlled.


As a round-off for this shoot, we did some romance-style shots as the sun was setting. As is typical with Nicky, we also did some weirder ones as well, while we were at it :)

Italian style veil glance

Mysterious woman in fog


Golden sunset hue


It was a nice trip and shoot, as always. :)

I've known Nicky for a few years now (many when I think of it), and it is always cool to meet up and have a chat, laugh and a shoot together, I am sure we'll work again on some weird or interesting idea in the future as well. ^_^

29. september 2014

On the beach with Kristin

In late August, I was lucky enough to arrange two shoots with a beach theme with two different models.

The first shoot I had, was with Kristin and we drove down to Hvaler to have some shooting-fun in the late, summer warmth. =)

Kristin sows and creates a lot of her own dresses and clothes, thus she has a lot of stuff she can bring to the shoot.
And Kristin did bring with her a whole heap of stuff, various, light dresses, a beach hat, bracelets and necklaces, really a lot of goodies to be creative with.  ^^


She could quickly change her style and appearance, by popping over and change, while I scouted and pre-planned the next stage in my head.

Walking
Canon 5d mk III with Canon 400mm 5.6L

Fun to shoot with my 400mm lens again, but it is, as it always was, hard to keep still and stable, the above shot is a free-hand shot at 1/100s, which, surprisingly, came out sharp O_o

Classic water nymph
Canon 5D mk III with Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

Flower-diadem girl
Canon 5D mk III with Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

Dynamic with beach-hat
Canon 5D mk III with Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

"Bond-girl" :)
Canon 5D mk III with Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

Relaxing
Canon 5D mk III with Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

Bikini-fashion
Canon 5D mk III with Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

Romantic sunset
Canon 5D mk III with Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

Stylish beach-pose, with shoes
Canon 5D mk III with Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

I feel we managed to get a lot of varied poses, styles and expressions.
There were a few people out and about at the beach, but as we started in the afternoon, I didn't feel that we bothered everyone by "taking up the whole beach".

People were mostly packing up, to go home and start up their barbecue.

It was a lovely afternoon and great to be out shooting, soaking up a few rays, before the summer finally said goodbye for 2014.

Always a hoot hanging out with Kristin as well, who threw herself into the challenge with a smile, after just being back in Norway for 12 hours, coming back from France the evening before. ^^

The second entry in this series, will cover the shoot with Nicky and then there will be a final part with a more technical approach, where I babble a bit about equipment and technique on location.

7. mai 2014

The dark session with Lady Lunatic

This shoot was supposed to be posted and published some time ago, but due to unforeseen events, it was put on the back-burner, so unfortunately I never got to do that.
.....before now :)

Lady Lunatic (not her real name, off-course :) ), is a nice and interesting person that I met trough the Twilightmodels initiative in May 2013. It was during the duo-shoot I did with an Angels and demons theme, along Miss Nicky Namnam, that I got to know her.

In September the same year, we decided to do a separate for-fun shoot together, theme was a mix between steam-punk and other things.

The location chosen for this particular shoot, was an abandoned warehouse in the vicinity of my apartment at the time. Some scary warehouses indeed, very worn down (and very dirty as well, unfortunately).

During the summer, I had bought a Vagabond mini, which is a (very) portable battery-based power-souce for my studi-flashes. (before, I owned a Innovatronix Explorer battery, which was led-based and weigh 15 kg(!), it died on me pretty fast and was never very good, so.... )

Anyway, with the Vagabond in place, I decided to use two studoflashes (AB800) with umbrellas for the location shoot.

Miss Lunatic ( :) ) did her hair, makeup and clothes as I set up my lights and scouted for the initial "scene" for the shoot.

The intial shots, were of her wearing this elaborate dress, have loose hair and wearing a dust-mask (which I had painted a few days before).

Came out really nice.




Dark dancer


Wondering


Masked pose



I also made a couple of shots with an even more sinister look, like these:

"The devil within"

"In a dark place"



The walls are 'shopped' to look Silent Hill'ish, and I like the pose miss Lunatic strikes here.

Then it was clothes-changing time again, and the light was fading fast.....really fast!

Challenges:
As always with locations like this, the existing light is a problem even in the day. Usually these places are very dark to begin with. The time of the year we did the shoot at, dictated that the sun would set pretty early in the evening, and it did, so it got dark, really dark.

Pitch black, to be totally honest.

Solutions:
You can basically do a few things when you're trying to focus in the dark;
- Use a Nikon with the focus-strobe helper.
- Use a Canon speedlight and put a piece of cardboard in-front of the flash, so you utilize the focus helper strobe only.
- Use a flashlight to help you focus.
- Use the modeling lights on the studio-flashes.

I use Canon gear, and I didn't bring my speedlights so the first two options was out.
Using the modeling lights on the strobes would drain the battery on the Vagabond, so I was very reluctant to do that (it had gotten chilly as well, which affects the batteries even more).

-I did have a small LED-based flashlight though, so I used that to light up Miss Lunatic's nail-bra, because it reflected the light very well and gave good contrast for the focus, and then fired away.

I knew my studio-strobes were much stronger than the little flash-light, so any residual light from the flashlight would not affect the photos.

It was probably annoying for the model getting a sharp LED-light on her there in the dark though, but hopefully it wasn't too bad.


We used a steam-punk inspired gun, along with the most wicked costume I've seen to date, this gave some really awesome shots.
I simply love the licking pose here, proper psycho-killer woman ^^


Just take a look at these! ^_^


You don't want to be kicked by those shoes ^^

"Entering the room"

"Killing is fun"

The fly killa babe

Proper pilot goggles

The last shots by the door, were done using two studio-flashes (and a small flashlight to be able to focus at all in the dark ^^).

Miss Lunatic was really interesting to work with, no complaints, good inputs and off-course, a very lovely person.

Hope to see her in the studio some time soon, for more shoots, I promise better light conditions, a cleaner environment and also warmer temperatures :)