Nov 22, 2012

Busy in China

That's how fast two weeks go by without a blogpost, which was partly planned to happen this way, and partly not. As the post title suggest, I was busy here the last weeks, ending up in another trip to Shanghai the last days as well. In addition, Internet connection issues (new modem necessary) and a bad cold added up to that, causing an even longer blog absence than planned. Still lying in bed trying get totally rid of my cold, I'll give you a short update on what happend in November so far:
  • Another visit to Wukesong Camera market: added up to my lightning gear incl. 60x60 Softbox, 2 Umbrellas refelective&shoot through, a medium snoot, a third Yongnuo YN 460-II Speedlite, 2 more Yongnuo YN603C Transceivers and 2 Travel light stands. I managed to do a first setup at home, but after that the issues mentioned above hindered me on doing any more test shots, yet - Update on this will definitely follow
  • Visit to the Great Wall: thanks to my Surui Tripod with some fine landscape photo results
  • Travel to Shanghai: staying for 4 days, enjoying the almost perfect weather in my free time mainly indoors - due to my cold getting worse - meaning hotel room or Starbucks / McDonalds with fast, free and reliable Internet connection! (big difference to Beijing here). For some reason - I guess because of the cold - I could not enjoy the Chinese food as much as I used to, making the stay my first western fast food eating since some 8 weeks
Besides that, I had some time to fill with reading, which led me to use a promotional offer from Craft&Vision to buy 5 e-books with an discount. This means my photography related library now consists of 10 ebooks (Newly added Finding Focus, Slow, Great light Easy light, Essential development, Growing the visionmonger).

Greetings Steve

Nov 2, 2012

Day 2 Night: getting rid of ambient light using my flash(s)

After the first Strobe Testshots gave great results, I was into it for more. So I started reading around on the Web and was looking for some educational material, when I found the Craft&Vision Website. Convinced by there fair eBook prices, I got myself the "Making Light"-Bundle and read through both parts in a flow. Most interesting news from part one, being a photography and flash newbie: Aperture controls flash, shutter speed controls ambient!

Putting my knew learned knowledge into action, I tried two different setups at home using one and two of my Yingnuo YN460-IIs, all during a sunny day.

Setting 1: Self portrait on our red couch, against south-window. Flash 1 through white umbrella, positioned about 45° on right side of face, pointing slightly downwards. Second "fill" flash standing on table at left side of face, using a small 16x22cm Softbox-diffusor, pointing upwards.

Ambient shot, recognize the sunny day
Two flash shot, ambient light slightly underexposed
Flash positions revealed - ambient fully underexposed 
Final Self-portrait result 
I did some final editing in Lightroom, as you will have recognized by the color key setting, slightly reducing the overall exposure while adding some highlights - all done in a minute.

Setting 2: "Product"-shots in the middle of our living room, one flash with 16x22cm Softbox-diffusor used "hand-held", lowest setting, camera on tripod.

Ambient shot with straight flash
(black chair used as "stand")
Camera settings reduced to completely darken ambient light
Final result with flash pointing downwards from top front
Second try, some more finishing work was necessary here
Finally, my Oakley
(could have used the second flash here to highlight from behind)

I am perfectly happy with these results, even in non-ideal environment (no backdrop, umbrella reflections etc.), which makes me looking forward doing more "Strobist" work.

Greetings, Steve