Model: Deborah, MM #1286532. http://www.modelmayhem.com/1286532
MUA: Can’t Remember
Strobalism. 11mm Tokina, F5.6 at 1/60, ISO 250. Nikon CLS to SB600 in softbox camera right, 1/2 power. Another one to rear of model with red gel, 1/2 power.
Taken at my first London Strobist meetup. Fantastic day on which I learnt alot of new stuff, and met a really FANTASTIC bunch of guys and gals.
Technical: Tokina 11-16 at 11m. F22, ISO 100, -0.5 exposure bias. 3 raws tonemapped. Middle exposure remixed into the shot for the stairway walls and people, layering and curves including one layer using Topaz Adjust 4 (my own preset based on the Spicify filter) – to add some detail. Opacity of this layer was then reduced to soften the effect, before some noise reduction and sharpening, selective dodging and burning, was performed on the final image. All of which took too much time by far…x
Here’s some quick tips for taking a firework photo like the one above!
1. Take a tripod, it helps with the long exposures you’re going to be requiring
2. Arrive early, get your drinks lined up and secure yourself a decent vantage point! This is often very hard in a place like London, where huge crowds attend the biggest public displays, and many others will be thinking the same as you.
2. If it allows, switch your camera to a manual focus mode and set your camera’s focus to infinity. Leave it here while shooting the fireworks!
3. Try a low ISO. 100-400 will help with noise and artefacts from the smoke (note this smoke will build up during fireworks displays – i find the best shots will always be taken near the start of the display, before the sky becomes grey and hazy with smoke). Using a low ISO will mean long exposure times, often 3,5,8 seconds – hence tip number one above.
4. Try auto bracketing with your camera set to a multiple exposure for each press of the shutter, if you have a camera that can do this.
5. Lean back, press the trigger, enjoy the fireworks and take tons of shots! portrait, landscape, handheld, try shooting the crowd (great for candids as everyone looks in awe at the fireworks – you’ll need to bump up the ISO if doing this though).
6. Try not to spend the whole time peering through your camera. There’s often some nice toffee apples or pork rolls to be found on these occasions!
7. Bit more technical this one! If you do ‘HDR style’ processing, as I often do, try remixing in the sky from one of your original shots, as the fireworks can look really awful and too fake, when combined from multiple exposures. In the above , 3 exposures were tonemapped in Photomatix. I then took the darkest (-2) exposure and used a layer mask to remix this into the tonemapped image Photomatix had given me. I went quite far with this process, and most of the sky in the resulting image is from a single raw (I chose to remix the sky from the darkest one of my shots because it gave me the best chance of a nice black sky, also to help take out a lot of smoke from the original). Final wave of noise reduction and some adjustments to the water in Topaz Adjust – and I’m fairly happy.
I would love to hear from anyone else learning to process fireworks in these tools. Meanwhile, enjoy the shows..
An unusually warm October evening greeted us as we headed for some of Kent‘s finest fish pie at the Coastguard pub in St Margarets Bay. Lights illuminated the sky above Calais and a full moon was sweeping across the channel, making for a magical seasape.
music to edit by…
Site of the 1970 Ancash earthquake which was peru’s worst ever natural disaster. The quake destabilized the northern wall of Mount Huascarán (seen in the background of this picture), causing a rock, ice and snow avalanche. This buried almost the entire towns of Yungay 20 metres deep , killing over 20,000 people with only 400 survivors, who were at high points in the town. 300 children from the town also survived, as they had been away attending a circus at the local stadium. Across peru, the quake is estimated to have killed 80,00 or more and made 3m people homeless.
What you see here is the memorial, 40 years later. Walking around, all that remained of the old Yungay was the top of the old church spire, poking out of the ground – all around were gorgeous gardens, and smiling faces. The town has moved on, we always rebuild, try and start afresh. All in all a chilling story, in a beautiful setting.
Slow day at market. Best have a kip before the long walk home.
Technical: nikon 24-120 VR @ 70mm, 1/30 at F5.3, ISO 1600. Crazy dark market in Caraz, felt way off the tourist trail. needed the toilet, nowhere to go, boiling hot, surrounded by andean market strangeness. Black and White jpeg conversion, dodge and burn, trusty vignetting.
Great re-edit of the much loved sir billy ocean from Andrew Clarke. Check out Andrew’s mixes on Soundcloud, if you like this and the whole balearic thing, he’s ace (my Ipod agrees too).
an old classic from the school bus this one. With a bit of the now mandatory disco re-edit treatment. Good job Domenico!
I learnt that these gorgeous purple plants, which surrounded us on the high plains of the andes (before we entered the even higher, valleys of the cordillera blanca) were beans being grown for market. it was wonderful hiking through this terrain. Every now and then a woman or boy would pop out of nowhere, sheperding a small flock or carrying a sack of whatever it was they were harvesting. a wonderfully fertile place, though like everywhere, under increasing amounts of pressure and ever more hungry mouths to feed.
One technical tip on this image, that i have learned the hard way – foliage and leaves dont work well in HDR! Well at least, not without some tweaking. If you do use foliage in your images, then open up the image in your editing program, and go to the ‘hue/saturation’ tool. Use this to select the ‘yellows’ in your image, and try dialling down the saturation a few points. Play with the hu and lightness sliders too, but only if you really need to. You’ll be amazed at how well this works at making organic matter turn more green! The key insight here is that though we process verdant foliage as being green, it is in fact blended with alot of yellow too. So dial that yellow down for a more natural, believable effect. Its that simple to fix! and avoids horrid, lurid yellow leaves and grass that you often see on some of the HDR forums.
Lewis Floyd Henry is a one man band sensation, often to be found doing his thang along Brick Lane on Sunday mornings, else somewhere on the UK festival circuit. Check out this clip www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEwOzxv7P7U&featu re=related
The man deserves a record deal!
I took delivery of an ND500 filter yesterday, and took a quick stroll after work to give it a tryout. The filter reduces light entering your lens by 10 stops – in simple terms, by screwing it onto your SLR lens, you can shoot long exposures, in broad daylight. Great for milky cloud and water effects, also making people dissapear into your exposure. I quite like this shot for my first attempt using one. 50 secs at F19 iso 100 (had to multiply normal exposure by 60, then use a stopwatch to time the exposure), white balance on auto, very grim and grey evening.
This shot took very little post processing, bit of contrast and some dust removed, slight vignette added. If you use an ultra wide angle like me, from what i can tell it seems the ‘fader’ Nd filters that seem very popular at the moment, dont really work great for 25mm or wider, hence i went for a straight up nd500 from light craft workshop. This is a 10 stop, and it’s a bit more expensive to buy especially for a large dimater 77mm lens. I think it may payback for me over time. I’ll post more on this filter once i’ve played a bit more with it….x
Single jpeg shot from a coach window. Apparently there’s a man with a goatee in the picture, can you see him?!