Yeah. Where are the pots? After this past weekend, I needed a day where I didn't spend the entirety of the hot sweaty day staring at the same mountain of pots. As much fun as looking at pots can be, there is a threshold. And I crossed it yesterday. At this point, I would be happy to start our sale a month early. (just watch out!)
Instead, I wanted to try some new ideas with my camera. I try not to dwell on some of my problems or snafus... but I have been grappling with an issue for about two weeks now. The strobes that I am using are not infinitely adjustable (as most new flash units are)... instead they use 1/3 power, 2/3, and full power. Even at 1/3 power I find myself shooting typically around 1/100 at f/5.6 or more. If you take just a few steps back at that aperture, the focal length preserves too much distracting background. So my goal has been to figure out how to retain that buttery background (narrow DOF) while shooting flash. I asked one of my photographer buddies (J.Souza!!) out in California for ideas and he suggested using a BIG bed sheet to increase the size of the light source (which then could be pulled back from the subject (to lower the intensity)... which is a great idea. Didn't get a chance to get to the fabric store this weekend so I was hoping there was another option.
J. Souza also suggested I try putting a neutral density filter on the lens. Most of my experience with ND filters has been using them to turn waterfalls into those silken streams everyone seems to think is so great. So... after having made my share of waterfall silken pics, I tossed the ND filters back in the bag and promptly forgot about them. This is the best thing about the concept of coopetition (cooperation + competition via LIDLIPS [syl arena]... the idea that even though Justin and I could potentially see one another as competition, the reality is that we are both learning from each other. What could be better? I only wish he lived closer so we could shoot together more! Perhaps as our professions grow we'll find reasons to both be on the same side of the continent and we'll have more opportunities.
Back to the ND filters. I tossed them onto my favorite little 50mm f/1.8 lens, and kicked on my flash transmitter. First shot out of the gate was pretty close. Dialed up a bit more light... because the ND filter I was using was a .6ND which cuts a substantial chunk of light out of the picture. I anticipated it making the camera struggle more during focusing. It may have impaired it some, but not as much as I would have guessed. I shot pretty close to wide open and I LOVE the buttery quality of the background. Luckily I had an amicable (and patient) model today. We also had a chance to test out our reflector and stand today.
Suffice to say, I LOVE the way the light is moving. I wish (and will probably keep right on wishing) that we had a grip who could lug lights and hold reflectors during our shoots. Seems like most of the time, it just isnt going to happen, so I need to learn how to do it without the extra hands. Stands are coming in VERY handy.
As things would have it, today was as sticky and hot as summer days get around here. Mid-eighties by 9am, and the humidity has climbed all day. As I type this tonight, we're hovering around 94% humidity. You could wring gallons of water from this "air".
Shooting in the studio is always a fun respite from dealing with hot stuff in the house... chores, cleaning, bills. Somehow the studio stays cooler till much later in the day. Probably the concrete slab acting as a thermal sink. Tomorrow the day is filled with physical therapy and delivering images to my most recent portrait clients.