Event and Portrait Photography
4 Hutcheson Dr, Kingston, ON K7L 4V3 613.539.5876
Like many a photographer, I look around the Web for information and inspiration and would like to share a site I just recently came across called thePhotoArgus. Among many fine features, I've been especially happy to find a page there featuring 15 cheat sheets and infographics for photographers. Some of them are repetitive and aimed at the complete novice, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
In particular, the infographic entitled The 3 Elements of Exposure is very well done, and another called Three Ways to Affect Depth of Field is a very handy and straightforward guide.
I'm quite sick this weekend and spending most of my time sleeping, but I look forward to exploring this site in more detail once I can sit upright and focus on the screen for longer periods.
Sunday, 27 July 2013 — Website Resources
One of those things that I've been longing to try but never seeming to get around to doing is shooting high dynamic range (HDR) photography. I'd picked up RC Concepcion's The HDR Book a couple of years back at Photoshop World in Orlando and found it entertaining enough, but I still longed for a little more explanation of the artistry behind the shot.
So I recently read through Rick Sammon's HDR Photography Secrets for Digital Photographers, finding exactly what I needed to go out and give it a try. I've done a little practice and was ready to shoot a live model on a tricked-out motorcycle, but a confluence of events have conspired to delay the shoot.
The aspect of this book I enjoyed the most was Sammon's attention to detail, providing before and after photos to demonstrate each idea and technique, along with various series of photos to better narrate a concept. Now all I need is a sufficiently gritty location to give it a try!
Thursday, 26 September 2013 — The Photographer's Bookshelf
Another of those great PeachPit deals, I bought Shooting in Sh*tty Light recently (by Lindsay Adler and Erik Valind) as a bit of a lark. I thought I knew enough workarounds to make lemonade from the ugly lighting situations presented to any event photographer, but these two managed to give up a few fresh ideas to try. For a student still learning, this book is both fun to read and quite informative for getting around the usual collection of bad lighting one encounters out in the real world.
One consideration I hadn't really thought of that is included in this book is mixed colour temperatures. I routinely shoot events where any and all kind of light sources are present, and do it without a second thought. But I'll be putting a bit more thought into it after reading the entire chapter on this subject.
The book is full of comparative photos illustrating each of the problems and showing both the setup for solving that problem, and the resulting photo. Nice work.
Thursday, 29 August 2013 — The Photographer's Bookshelf
I sat in on a couple of seminars dealing with the developing 3D aspects of Photoshop at the last two Photoshop World conventions and have been intrigued by the concept, but limited due to my older computers, both at home and at work. I have done a little experimentation with simple text characters, but was limited to only one or two light sources, and trying to use textures or reflections pretty much exceeded the capabilities of my machines.
Planning ahead, though, I'm watching for the release of the new model of Mac Pro and recently purchased Steve Caplin's 3D Photoshop: Imagine, Model, Create to guide me into the world of 3D objects.
Leafing through this book, it looks like a great guide to learn the concepts of 3D, with which I have very little experience. As a graphic designer in my day job, I'm always looking for ways to improve my design skills, and have wanted to venture into adding 3D elements to various posters and training aids that I'm asked to produce or update. I hope to take some time over the holidays to read through and practice some of the low-level concepts, then dive into it further once the new computer is up and running.
Most importantly, I hope to incorporate some of my photographic images into 3D scenes through reflection. Past attempts failed miserably, both to a lack of skill and woefully inadequate processing power. Money will buy me the power, now I'll just have to work on that other part to see what I can make happen.
Travel photography is, I find, just about the most difficult type of photography I can imagine. You're usually in a group and people don't want to wait around while I wander back and forth to find the perfect angle. The lighting is almost always wrong. People are everywhere. I don't have enough equipment. Arrrrgggghhh!
I've just returned from a trip through Hong Kong, Australia, Bali and Singapore. I've got the usual hundreds of images to catalog, but really only a few will ever stand out and be worth showing. I've got to hand it to the people who do this sort of thing well, they certainly work hard for their imaginative images of wonderful places.
It's not all a loss, though. I don't find impromptu photos of buildings to be particularly interesting; there's just not enough time to fully study the structure, locate the angles of visual interest, determine the best conditions of lighting and occupancy, and set up for the shot. Instead, I tend to concentrate on more limited views and closeups, to capture the moment rather than the location.
Here are a few shots from the trip. This was our second cruise, by the way. Our transatlantic sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome was such a great time that we booked ourselves on the Sydney to Singapore leg of a cruise on the Celebrity Millennium. Great food, great people, and the diving on the Great Barrier Reef was the best we've ever experienced.
It always sounds so easy. Let's get everyone together for a group shot and have the photog take the shot. No problem.
Then the day arrives in late October and it's cold, it's sunny without a cloud in the sky, and it's close to midday, with the full sun almost directly overhead. Then, just for fun, let's throw in a couple of vehicles. Oh, and we want the school headquarters building in the background so that everyone is facing away from the light!
Such is the life of a photog. I collected a portable stepladder from the warehouse to get me about 3m above the ground, set up three SB-900 speedlights on Pocket Wizard radio triggers to help light up the faces, used a Nikon 24-85mm zoom lens opened up wide, and shot lots of images at different speeds while keeping a constant aperature. Thanks to a little work in Lightroom to bring up the shadows and add depth to the highlights, and exchanging parts of different images to make sure everyone's eyes were open, the resulting image wasn't too bad. Printed it out at 21 inches width and it hangs framed outside the OCs office.
Saturday, 9 November 2013 — The Photographer's Bookshelf
Thursday, 12 December 2013 — Travel Photography
Tuesday, 29 October 2013 — On Location Shooting
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Blog entries — January thru June 2013
Blog entries — January thru June 2014
All images © Donald MacPherson, all rights reserved. Images may not be reproduced for any purpose without express written permission.
Some regions of these images may have been altered or obscured for public viewing.