February 4, 2020

Goodbye my brother!

This is going to be a sad, sad week. One of the two friends I consider my brothers, just passed away past weekend, he was 42, this month is his birthday. He had a wife and two little kids, a girl and a boy. He was going to the top, had a wonderful job but with a lot of stress and responsibilities. 

During our University years we spent countless days and nights at his house downloading music and studying, smoking like chimneys and talking about everything. I knew him since kindergarten, that's the longest friendship I've had.

It's a real irony that him, with a wife, kids, a good job and willing to live, had to go. Mean while others like me, with nothing to hold on to, are still around. Rest in peace my friend, my brother, you'll be missed.

January 21, 2020

Finally, another portrait shoot

Well, it's been like two weeks since the last time I grabbed my camera for a portrait session and finally another one came along. This time was for a new friend, a girl that works next door. I told her a couple of months ago that I shoot for fun and she told me that she wanted some pictures of her taken. The photo shoot was yesterday.

It was the opportunity to test different lighting setups. First I used my popup background on the white side, with one light on the back for a white background giving me f/8, the key light was camera right at 45 degrees with a 24" softbox and a white reflector on the right side of my subject.

Another setup I used was clamshell lighting, I put the key light on front 45 degrees down and used my reflector down to give back some light to fill and also the background light at f/8 for a white background.

I also removed the back light for a light grey in the background and changed to a charcoal gray background for a more dark look to it, it worked great because of her black clothes and her olive skin.

A rim light might have been a good idea, but I wanted the shoot to be less complicated, I'll try using a speedlight reflected to the ceiling the next time I do a portrait shoot. That's a trick I got from a photographer on line, and gladly it works, it gives some separation from the background.

It was a short shoot, I shot around 60 frames to give me around 10 keepers, that's a good percentage. The ones with the darker background I liked the most, but all of the images turned out pretty good.

For editing I used Darktable to select the ones I was going to edit and used a saved preset I have with some contrast, vibrance and saturation. I then exported to jpeg to do some blemish removal on Gimp, and then exported again to jpeg. I found out that the final images weighted a tiny bit less than the ones exported from Darktable but that's to expect. The next time I will export the images to tiff to do the last retouches and then do the final export as jpeg using Gimp.

I only removed some blemishes from the pictures because I like them to have a more realistic feel to them, and not blur them out or use Instagram like filters, like some others do. At least I like it that way.

The images where nice and my friend liked them, so I have to count it as a complete win. I hope you like the one I posted too.

January 7, 2020

Starting the year with portraits

To start the year with photography, my brother asked me to do a photo shoot of him and his family, even my dad got involved in the pictures.

It was a pretty simple setup, two strobes, camera right and camera left at 45 degrees, a bit far to make the inverse square law to give me f/8 on two rows I planned to set the family. One strobe for key light the other one for fill.

This time i used a popup background I have on it's white side, hanged horizontally from my background holder. Had to squeeze the family a bit, but with my 50mm (85mm equivalent) I was able to get them all in frame and without leaving the white background.

The advantage of the lighting setup were that no matter if I placed the whole family or one person, the settings were going to be the same each time. Not my best work but I think it was ok for something quick and out of the blue.

December 2, 2019

Starting the month with Christmas spirit

It's the starting of December, the best month of the year. Christmas is around the corner and I have my new 80d and wanted to take some portraits of my colleagues with a Santa hat.

I used one stand, one speedlight and a shut thru umbrella, very little power on the flash since I used f/2.8 on most of the portraits with my 80d and the 50mm lens.

I did just a bit of editing in Darktable to make the images just pop a little bit more. Nothing to fancy, but pretty Christmassy.

November 29, 2019

When opportunity knocks on your door!

I was gone for a long time, since I had zero photography in my agenda. Still life photography is still an option, but an option I still don't embrace, but will do, pretty soon, I think.

My brother in law works at my old high school and they were missing a camera for a School Fair they were going to do. So he told them about me and since I'm a former student, I think that helped with them giving me the ok.

I took my kit lens (18-55mm) and my 50mm f/1.8. For four hours I walked and walked and walked and took pictures of everything I could. The last hour or so I took advantage of some back lighting, put my 50mm on camera and started shooting at f/2.8 and f/4, depending on the number of people.

I think it went pretty well, the school published the photos on their facebook and gave me credit for helping with the shooting, so I feel pretty good about my self.

July 29, 2019

Thankyou Jerry Ghionis!

A friend of mine asked me to do some pictures of his cousin that was getting married. She asked him for me, because a few years back I took some pictures of her when I was starting with this hobby. She told him she wanted me to take the pictures she was going to hang on the wall of her house.

So I arrived to where they asked me and she was already fedup with a family member that bought a dslr and thought he was able to take the pictures, so I had very little time to take the pictures.

Befor all this I was completely clueless of what to do so I reach to some YouTube videos of photographer Jerry Ghionis, a master in wedding photography.

I took one flash, one stand and one umbrella with me and my telephoto lens, since I wanted good depth of field and blurred backgrounds and still be able to use a flash under my camera sync speed.

I barely made it with the sync speed and despite some issues with the cheap flash triggers, I managed to use Jerry's work as example and take some nice pictures. At least they were nice for me.

May 28, 2019

50mm vs telephoto

Finally this past weekend I was able to test my telephoto lens at f/5.6 at 200mm, and have to say the blur of the background is pretty much the same as the one with the 50mm at f/2.


The main difference is with the telephoto I have more depth of field to play with, and more room for error on the focus, with the 50mm I have to be pretty precise and change the focus point in my camera. With the telephoto is pretty much focus and recompose.


The main disadvantage of the telephoto is that you have to be very steady when holding the camera since the focal length is larger the movement is higher in the frame. Another disadvantage is the distance to subject, you have to be screaming for your model to hear you.

With the 50mm you have to be more precise and move your focus point so you don't have to recompose that much and the depth of field is way shorter than with the telephoto.

But have to say, I was impressed with the telephoto, it's a very good way to blur the background if you want lots of depth of field and I think it may be a better choice for pictures with more than two people and still have a sharp image.