Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May Strobist "Newbie" Meetup

A couple of weeks ago a bunch of folks from the Vancouver Strobist group on Flickr got together to teach the newbies how to do strobist stuff, the art off off-camera lighting. The idea was to get a few experience folks as mentors, give them a small group of us green newbies, and teach what they could. The models model in exchange for pictures for the portfolios, which the photographers give them in exchange for models to create pictures for their portfolios. TFP is what it's called, Time For Pictures, Trade For Portfolio, etc.

Anyway, as one of the newbies, I had a great time and I just yesterday finally got around to processing a bunch of images, and after getting approval from the models, am ready to post a few here.

The first model we worked with was Jessti, with Glen (or Glenn?) as the mentor. His method was very exacting and precise, using a light meter, etc, and getting great results. I'll update with a pic from the session when the model gets back to me with approval to post them though.

Maggie 4

This is actually the second model we worked with, Maggie. To light her we set up a flash on tree in the background, a bare flash as key light hanging from a tree to her right, and shoot through umbrella to camera right (manned by a V.A.L.). This second setup was even a bit nicer as it was with Steve who lives not far from me and who does some awesome and funky shoots. The setup wasn't as extreme as some of his other portfolio, but it was a different way of doing things that was cool to see.

Cindy 2

This one is from the end of the shoot, when everyone retired to the grass there was one group still going, and I jumped in and got a few shots of Cindy. Lighting her there are flashes behind on left and right and homemade straw grid spot to camera right.

End result was a great day, meeting lots of new people, and learning a lot from the group. Well, that and a sunburnt head :) The only disadvantage with these types of strobist meetups is that there are so many people who want to learn this stuff that the setups are more done by committee in a way, and there's not a lot of one-on-one work with just you and the gear and playing around. Could also be that I was just too scared to start messing with things with 3 other guys waiting to take pictures and a model who is sitting there all made up and waiting :)

Hardware wise there were a couple of things that were a bit off for me. The K20D has a max sync speed of 180th (vs the 250th that the newer Nikons have) which meant that when things were set up and people figured out the right settings, I had to adjust things to compensate. Also even when I did my exposure settings seemed way different than everyone elses, not even just moving an f-stop or two to compensate for the 180 vs 250, but some completely different stuff. Though time alone with equipment might show that it was more me than the Pentax gear that had the problem.

The last thing was this again cemented my desire for a 70-200/2.8 equivelant portrait lens like the big boys have. The DA* 50-135/2.8 would be perfect for those long shots with shallow depth of field. The 16-45 I use most of the time gives the wrong perspective if it's used in anything but the most zoomed position (67mm equiv) and the 70-300 I have is a) slow and b) too zoomy a lot of the time (150mm equiv at the most un-zoomiest).