It’s been a while since my last post, i have taken advantage of the Easter holiday to get some rest and spend time with my family and friends.
During last weekend, together with my friend Jimmy Pats, we decided to shoot a different project than usual. A series of three images with an unusual person an the main subject. It’s been a long long time since I used my Nikon flashes and it was a good chance to do something different.
This image was shot at the balcony of my house at night (no studio needed when it’s pitch black outside). I used the Nikkor 135mm f2 DC which is a fantastic portrait lens. We placed a SB-900 flash just right from the head and a SB-700 about one meter high from the ground on the left. It took about 20 shots to get the final image. The LCD screen of the D700 was not very helpful and a laptop tethered to the camera would far more suitable, but we got the shot.
This image was taken during noon at my back yard. A friend of mine noticed that the harsh sunlight created a very contrasty background on a wall and we thought it would be a good idea to combine that bright white background with the white color of the bandages.
The same setup was used (D700/135mm) and no flashes were needed. It actually took only a couple of shots to get the final image.
The third image has a more painting like look, shot with a SB-900 in front of the target. A texture background was applied to create a more grunge look. The Nikon 50mm f1.4 proved to be adequate for the job since I didn’t need to shoot it wide open (at f1.4 it gets really soft).
As it is obvious, there has been some serious post processing to get the final result. The first image only needed some dodge and burn brushes, but the other two were altered heavily in order to get the final look.
I really enjoyed the whole process from planning the concept, shooting and processing to get this series of photos. It was something completely different from what I normally shoot, and working as a team to accomplish a composition was refreshing (since I normally do landscape images alone). We will definitely plan and shoot another project soon.
One final thought about these kind of projects. Working with a DSLR is a must !!! I am sure I could have shot the whole series with my Sony NEX or Leica M8, but that would really be a very hard effort. The Nikon D700 works as a charm with external flashes off camera, due to the wonderful CLS (Creative Lighting System). It’s on board flash can trigger my SB series flashes without the need of a wireless trigger, and the TTL works as it should. It allows you to concentrate on your project which is essential for this kind of shooting. Also, the Nikkor 135mm f2 DC, is a fantastic portrait lens, razor sharp with the sweetest bokeh I’ve ever seen (although in these shots I only needed the “sharp” part of the lens, no distant background to defocus).
For our next mutual project with Jimmy, I am thinking of employing a medium format film camera (probably the Makina 67). It would be quite tricky to work with external flashes, but the Makina is a leaf shutter camera capable of syncing flash to any speed, so it should be a very interesting session.
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