Eines der edelsten Bikes am Markt wird von Ducati gebaut – die Panigale 1299S. Ein brachialer Zweizylinder mit mehr PS, als man essen kann. Eine wunderschöne Maschine, bei welcher die Italiener mal wieder gezeigt haben, dass ihnen in Sachen Design keiner etwas vormacht. Diese Bilder haben eine etwas unschöne Geschichte (nein, dem Biker geht es gut so weit ich weiss). Ich habe lange überlegt, ob ich sie veröffentlichen soll. Die Fotos entstanden im Juni 2016, das Shooting hat viel Spaß gemacht und ich habe mich gut mit dem Biker verstanden. Monate später gab es leider Streit, weil der Fahrer ein Bild aus dem Shooting unter seinem Namen bei einem Wettbewerb einreichte und auch das Wasserzeichen entfernte, um die Herkunft der Fotos zu verschleiern. Damit war ich nicht einverstanden. Er hatte das Shooting kostenlos erhalten, und jetzt reicht er meine Arbeit unter seinem Namen ein. Es ging mir nicht darum, dass er etwas hätte gewinnen können, es war eine Frage des Urheberrechts und Respekts. Sich mit fremden Federn schmücken gehört sich nicht, Punkt. Zudem stand im Kleingedruckten des Wettbewerbs, dass der Veranstalter (ein Motorrad-Zubehörhändler) sämtliche Rechte am Bild erhält. Das Bild darf durch den Händler dann beliebig verändert, verkauft, verwendet werden. […]
Readers of my blog will remember the giant potash mine dump I used as a gorgeous backdrop in previous posts (location scouting and quick shooting). I returned to that location to take some more images. I’ve got that perfect image in my mind with a deep blue sky during magic hour, a shining white mine dump and a perfectly lit bike in front of it. Well, for that I would have needed a full moon to illuminate the mine heap, but it was a new moon. I started with some bike and biker portraits. The sun was setting off camera right, so there was a pink-ish sky. I placed camera and flash on the other side of the road and dialled in my settings. Again I was rider, photographer, lighting guy and the model (at least I was able to wear another jacket). This is the setup shot, nothing fancy. You see the remote trigger on the camera with the connector cable. Another trigger was mounted underneath the flash, the third trigger was in my hand to take the image. Using such a setup it was hilarious to experience every single passing car slowing down noticably once the outline of […]
You know what I said about noon. Harsh sunlight, not good for photography, go into the shade if you must take images in such conditinos. And don’t photograph against the sun, your subject will just be a dark silhouette against a blown-out sky. I chose to break with those „rules“ and went out for a test shooting. The goal: Taking decent images of my bike in direct, hard sunlight, photographing against the sun. I took two flashes with me a SB-700 and a SB-910. I drove to a small parking lot in the neighbourhood and set up my gear. I placed the flashes on the ground, refer to the attached sketch. The camera was set to 1/200, f/20 (to receive a decently lit sky) and ISO100. The flashes were set to TTL with EV +3 (full power against the sun).To prove my point I needed the sun to be in the shot. It was noon and the sun was at its highest point. To include it into the shot I needed to go really wide-angle, 14 mm in this case. Ready, aim, fire. Result see below. The sky is blue, the surroundings are well recognizable. The bike has been illuminated […]
I have photographed motorbikes excessively this year (Link1, Link2, Link3). All these shootings took place in the bike’s natural habitat: roads, streets and in one case an open field. These shootings are fairly easy concerning the logistical part – just take the bike somewhere at the right time of the day, bring a camera, maybe a tripod and flashguns, and off you go. But I wanted to knock it up a notch and go into a studio environment. Last year I conducted several photo sessions with sports cars in the studio… ok, _model_ sports cars (Ferrari FF, Lamborghini Aventador) and I particularly like the shots with light straight from above, illuminating the silhouette and some details on the cars. I had to use model sports cars because a.) I don’t own a Ferrari and b.) neither do I own a lighting rig large enough to illuminate the whole car (like this one). But I own two 80×120 cm softboxes with studio flashes – and that is big enough for a decent bike shoot. Setup I cleared the carport in front of your house of the trash can, bicycle and our car, sweeped the floor and started installing my equipment. I […]
There are people whose eyes are closed or half-closed on every single picture when they are photographed using a flash. Getting a decent portrait of such a person is difficult. Today I want to explain the background to that circumstance and show two ways of avoiding closed eyes. Blinking is a natural reflex. The average human blinks every 4-6 seconds with a duration of around 300-400 ms per blink (source: wikipedia). You automatically do it so that your eyes won’t dry out. It is also a protection reflex against foreign object or intense light. It is that protection reflex, in combination with TTL mode, that ruins your photos. What happens in TTL mode In TTL mode the flash fires a short test burst (pre-flash). The reflected light enters the lens and is measured (thus the name TTL: „Through the lens“). Now the camera knows the flash power A of the pre-flash and the amount of reflected light B which is captured by the camera. By using that ratio the camera can determine how strong the main burst must be in order to get a decent exposure. Now the main burst fires and the image is taken. The whole process is so quick […]
Following the positive response on my Ferrari FF post I got hold of another RC model car and took it into my studio. Again a red car, but this time it’s an Audi R8. In the studio I used a black backdrop, placing the model on a table which is also covered by the backdrop material. To separate the model from the background as much as possible (light from above illuminates the black cloth, thus revealing the texture of the fabric and ruining the illusion) I slid a box underneath the car. The less fabric is directly around the car, the less work in post to black out the background. The shots were made with my D800 and the 70-200 f2.8 lens. I shot at 200 mm and f20 / f22 to receive maximum depth of field. During the shoot I moved the lights around a lot, since getting a pleasing reflection on the car is tricky and requires some try and error. I have not distilled golden rules from my experiences (yet), so you just have to try out and see what looks good. If you are using studio lighting you will have a modeling light. This is pretty […]
The son of our neighbors next doors is seven years old and collects minerals („treasures of the soil“ as he calls them). When we visited them a while ago I suggested to photograph his treasures along with some of his Lego figurines. The idea was very welcome and so I packed my Lowepro photo trolley and rolled it over to their place. I chose a simple tabletop lighting setup, photographing the minerals on the dining table surface. To create an interesting background I applied a technique called „El Bokeh wall“ by photographer Laya Gerlock from the Philippines. The idea is very simple – take a sheet of aluminum foil, crumple it into a ball, fold it out again it and tape the crumpled aluminum sheet to the wall. When lit by a flash the crumpled surface throws back countless tiny reflections, which, out of focus, result in a pleasing pattern of bokeh rings. But why blabla when images can tell the story: The setup requires two flash units. One flash unit illuminates the background, the main light illuminates the mineral and the Lego figurine (the main purpose of the Lego figurine is to act as a reference for the size […]
When I made the shots of the D610 for my „purchase decision post“ I did not have the time (and patience) to make a proper studio setup. So I decided to go for a quick’n’dirty solution. To my amazement the results were far better than expected. I placed the D610 on the box it came in and put both in front of a 24 inch display which was switched off. With the D800 and a SB-910 flash unit I took the images at eye-level of the subject. The flash was angled 60° towards the ceiling with the white bounce card pulled out. Here is the setup: The setup results in a nicely lit background (note that this might not work with glossy screens). The bounce card is responsible for the reflection on the surface of the TFT screen. The subject itself is also lit quite well. To bring out the details in the subject I raised the dark areas, cloned away the dust (gee, it’s everywhere and I unboxed the camera only a day ago before the shoot), cropped the image, applied a slight vignette and violà ! It is a good result in my opinion considering this very simple setup.
When I was reading the lighting 101 guide from strobist.com one product which was presented there struck me – the Lumiquest Softbox III. It is a flexible, lightweight and very flat packing softbox which is attached to your flash directly. Lumiquest offers a range of such light modifiers. I purchased two of those softboxes and in this video I make a mini review and show how to install them.