Friday, October 31, 2008

Team picture Strobist Style

Wow, what a crazy time I've had since coming back from Italy!  Just before flying off I shot a super wedding, then only a few days after my return another fantastic wedding and last weekend I was honored to photograph the brother of one of last years brides as he tied the knot.  As if that wasn't enough, I've been absolutely slammed with commercial assignments.  It's a good thing I love what I do because the long hours working into the night lately to "almost" keep up have been totally nuts!  I'm not complaining, it's good to be busy!  

Yesterday I had the opportunity to photograph an awesome group of young people at the Rolling Hills Country Club.  They are the WPIAL Championship Golf Team.  It would have been easy to show up, line them up and shoot them in a row.  But that's not me!  Instead, I came prepared to make something memorable for them and their coach.

After scouting the course we decided on one particular green based on the location of the sun and the surrounding trees.  Setting up two battery operated strobes (Dynalite Uni-400 units with Jackrabbit packs) I arranged the golfers in a semi-circle.  One strobe was used as a main light while the other was positioned just off camera to the right of the group to add dramatic rim lighting.  Both strobes were set to full power and fired with Pocket Wizard Transceivers.  Because of the high ambient light I could not rely on the units built in slave eye.

The ambient light was under exposed by about 1.5 stops with my Canon 5D and 16-35 mm Mark II.  ISO was set to 50.  The ISO extension is a great feature of the Canon system because it works for both high and low ratings, although it's most useful to me on the low side.  To further enhance the scene I set my shutter speed to 1/250th second, even though the "correct" sync speed is 1/200th second.  By over clocking the sync of the camera I effectively darkened, or vignetted, the bottom of the frame.  

Once the lights were in position and my exposure set I dropped to the ground to take advantage of the long shadows created by the late day sun.  I tweaked the group by asking the gentleman on the left to come a few steps closer so his head blocked the sun.  Snap, snap, snap and done.  A dramatic, yet quite simple, group photo.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Buon giorno!

What an amazing week!  Italy is one of the most magical places I've ever experienced.  The Italian people are warm and friendly, the scenery is incredibly and the food is out of this world.  Oh yes, and the wine isn't too bad either ;-).

When all was said and done I shot just over 6,000 images covering everything from street scenes, portraits, food shots, vineyards, sunrise, sunset and a whole lot more.  Most of the time we spent in small towns -- the kind that don't get mentioned on highway directional signs.  We did go to a few larger towns, Bologna, Sienna, Pisa, but the time spent there was at the absolute minimum (usually just a few hours).

Even though I took a laptop on the trip, yesterday was the day for a first edit.  Laptops are fine, but I like my dual 23" cinema screens for serious work.  Below are a tiny selection from the first round of editing I hope you enjoy.


It's Italy, fashion is everywhere

Italians don't need gyms to stay fit, they have the landscape of Italy.

The most famous butcher in the world, Dario Cecchini

Did I mention the food?  

Did I mention the grapes and the wine?

And did I mention the tourists??? BLINK

More to come...