Simple corporate headshot diagram. The is a typical lighting set up I use when space is limited and I need to travel with minimal equipment. The back light usually a lastolite umbrella softbox allows for the choice of either a rim highlight with lighting on the background as well or just a rim light if the umbrella is swivelled 180 degrees and feathered away from the subject and background.
This video shows in slow motion what happens inside the mirror housing of a Nikon D4 as the shutter is released at 10 Frames per second at 1/200th of a second shutter speed. The vibration created during this short burst is not surprising. Despite the amazing mechanics its surprising how antiquated it all appears, it seems likely that the next generation of Nikon DSLR will be mirror less.
This is in an interesting video I came across via fstoppers blog, Comparing the 14mp Red Epic with a Hasselblad H3d-22. The video shows headshot photographer Peter Hurley shooting a model with the Red Epic and then pulling stills from the footage to be printed and compared to stills shot with the Hasselblad in the same setup. The comparison is interesting not so much for the printed results but how Peter had to change his approach to working with the model and the time spent editing the footage. Read the full post here.
I previously wrote about upgrading to Mac OS Lion and the process I used for testing before installing on the main hard drive volume. I have now upgraded from Lion to Mountain Lion using the same method of testing before install on the main hard drive. Results on the test volume have been satisfactory with no obvious bugs or problems.
After purchasing and downloading the new OS update for the first time from the App store. Its worth noting that when returning to the App store, it was still asking me to purchase Lion. At first it was not obvious but you can download the update again without purchase by clicking on Purchases in the App Store menu bar. You should see a list of previous purchases and Lion should say Download next to it.
There is a very useful set of articles covering all of this and more from Macworld.
I have included some additional about information about my configuration which might be useful.
- Mac Pro 2008
- Processor 2.66 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon.
- Memory 6 GB 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC
Main 3rd party Software:
- Adobe Lightroom v4
- Adobe Phtotoshop CS5 v12.0.4
- Filemaker Pro 12
- Microsoft Word v12.3.3
- Superduper v2.7.1
I have been searching for a light weight but portable tethered set up for shooting schedules were a lot of ground needs to be covered. I have a laptop which I can tether and now with the new breed of light weight laptops from Apple this is becoming easier. However as a recent ipad owner I wondered if shooting connected to the ipad would a good solution. Using an ipad3, the apple dock camera connector and USB cable connected to a D3s and shooting Raw Nefs. I have found the system to be adequate but not as streamlined as shooting to a laptop. I don’t know about other manufactures tablet devices and how these differ when it comes to connecting a camera but this is my findings with the ipad3.
If you do not own an ipad or have not yet used the dock camera connector or Camera Connection Kit, I should explain how these work together and you will get an understanding of why this is not quite as good as shooting tethered to a laptop. First of all when you connect a camera the ipad will automatically open up the import dialog. As you shoot, images will appear in the import folder. You then have to select the images you wish to import. I believe you can select all as well as individually. Once files are imported you can view the in the normal way using the ipad photos app.
The disappointment with this workflow is as follows.
- Having to import image files manually rather than have them auto import is inconveiniant and adds more time to reviewing images. I would hope that in the future images will be auto imported or saved in the same way that happens when shooting tethered to a computer or laptop. Images appear on screen and are saved to memory immediately without any input from the user.
- After images are imported they are stored in 2 folders. The recent import folder and the Photos folder. It would make more sense to select the folder to which files are imported especially as its not possible to quickly batch select images to place in a new folder. This opens another downside to using the ipad as its not possible to flag or organise images into folders especially when viewing the larger single image view. It is possible to select images from the thumbnail view but this screen is not practical for assessing image quality etc.
- After each import from the camera the ipad asks if you want to delete or keep the images on the camera. I would prefer if this could be a choice set in preference rather than after each import as it is time consuming and more importantly could result unnecessary deletion of image files.
- One last point is the choice of file format to import. Shuttersnitch the app which provides wireless import of images to the ipad has the option to import jpg only rather than raw or tiff. This makes a lot of sense as it would speed up transfer time and image review etc.
On the plus side its very easy to mount an ipad to a tripod using a superclamp and compatible tablet holder. This makes the system very portable and quick to set up. I tend to use the system in the same way that polaroids are used for assessing composition/ lighting ect with medium and large format film cameras. This is a huge benefit over the small screen screen when shooting subjects which require accurate composition and positioning of props.
I had hoped that a third party developer may have come up with an app which addresses the above. Unfortunately Apple has not made public the API’s for the Camera Connection Kit. So it looks like that won’t happen until the API is made public or Apple provides an update to streamline image import from the Camera Connection Kit. I’d be grateful if anyone reading this knows of any new developments or apps which could facilitate this.
This post is for anyone who is new to using a UK Apple mac keyboard and is searching for the hash # key on your apple keyboard. You wont find it…..as its not there. But you can use a shortcut.
Hold down the alt/option key then press 3
For anyone who is an avid Twitter user the # hash key is becoming an important character.
If you don’t get a hash appear when you press alt > 3; open the Keyboard Viewer (you will find this on the top right of your screen next to the date and time.) If when you have opened the keyboard viewer you don’t see any other character changing when you press the alt/option key. Try this:
Open system preferences > Keyboard > Select the ‘Modifier Keys’ button at bottom right > you will see a list with the Option key and a drop down list next to it. It should say ‘Option’. If it says ‘No action’ change this to ‘Option’
Cambridge Photographer Alex Orrow
There are many Depth of Field apps available for the iphone but this one is unique. Phocus has the ability to calculate depth of field based on selecting your optimum aperture or minimum and maximum focus distance. These options are useful for composing images where focus is critical between two key areas or where you need to know what will be in acceptably sharp focus at a given aperture.
The ability to calculate this used to be available with most manuel lenses. Now with autofocus lenses the depth of field calculator has gone and you only have the distance scale available, at least on Nikon lenses this is the case. I don’t tend to need this kind of tool
for most of my work. However occasionally its useful for critical work or when working close to the subject.
The brief was simple, capture a striking portrait of a staff member with their award for leadership, for an internal company publication. The person in question worked across a department involved in creating maps from geological data. I settled on creating two different images. The first a simple headshot of the subject with award and the second a portrait involving other staff members and some action. For the purposes of this post I am using the example of the basic headshot portrait with award to show how using lighting and background can create an effective and engaging image, of what is usually a fairly standard shot of someone holding an award.
With this type of assignment it is preferable to be able set up without causing to much disruption and to be able to do this quickly, especially if planning multiple shots. As such I travelled light for this assignment I had with me x3 SB800 flash guns, x 2 stands, 1 softbox brolly, 1 translucent brolly
For the first shot, the headshot I new I needed a background which I could either blur using a long focus lens wide open to isolate the subject or I could create a backdrop which was tied in a little more to the story of where the subject worked and could also serve as a background to the second shot involving some action. After a quick scout of the open plan office I settled on the option to create a colourful and striking backdrop using the many maps found in the office. The map we selected was pinned up over other maps already covering the wall to create a large area of map and colour which would provide a large enough background to fill the frame.
I made sure that the space I was going to use would provide enough depth to allow me to light for both the background and the subject as well as allowing me to throw the background out of focus slightly. I set up 2 lights on stands one with the Softbox and the other with a shoot through brolly. The softbox was placed high and close to the subject on camera left so that light would fall on background, as well as creating quite hard shadows on the subjects face. I took the first test shot to see how this looked.
This has created quite a punchy image, but I felt that the shadow created on the subject’s left side was little dark and needed fill. I also noticed the background seemed a little dull. To overcome these issues, I placed a light with shoot through brolly on camera right, close to my position and high. For the background I placed a 3rd light on a box low down behind the subject on camera right. I left this third flash bare without a gel or any light modifier. The other 2 had green and orange gels, the purpose of which was to match the flash light with the white balance setting on camera and the ambient overhead flourcesnt of the office and also contrast with the bare background light. Shooting with my chosen white balance setting with the bare SB800 meant the background took on a subtle bluish colour. After some tweaking by aiming the light away from the background slightly the light fall off was enough not to be distracting and gave the maps more life.
I have for some time missed the depth of field scale provided on Nikon Manuel focus Lenses. After moving from manuel to Auto focus cameras in 2000. All the autofocus lenses I purchased to replace the old manuel focus lenses all lacked the Dof scale. Although I could preview Dof this was still not adequte as the tendancy is always to use a smaller aperture than absolutly neccesary. Resulting in compromising quality due to excessive diffraction.
The guess work has been taken away by the introduction of stand alone DoF calculators from the likes of Expodisc, but it is now possible to get smart phones Apps at a fraction of the price which will make the calculation for you based on many different focal length and Film/Sensor sizes and even allow you to input your prefrence for the size of Circles of Confusion.
One app which stood out for me is Phocus for the iphone. The app has a clear interface and also provides quick adjustment of preferences and parameters.