Selective lighting

A few minutes ago I took this photo:

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Fairy figurine on stage

I had something like stage lighting in mind, which I tried to set up here. On stage, actors are often illuminated by a single spot light, so this is what I took:

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Fairy setup shot

This is my Yongnuo YN-460II compact flash with a Honl grid added to its front, in a position – relative to the small figure – which would resemble a spot light in theater. The flash ist set to its lowest possible power output, so I could get it close to the figure without having to stop down my lens too much, here it was 1/64th power of the flash and f/7.1 on the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm/1.8 lens.

As you can see, the “stage” is our dining room table, but with the gridded flash at this position the light pretty much ended less than 10 centimeters behind my object – so the white wall over our wooden bench went black. No backdrops needed at all, and the room light you see was even switched on while I took the photo – with a 1/160th of a second and f/7.1 at ISO 200, that room light is gone as well, and for the setup shot with the same lens on my E-PL5 camera, I needed 1/13th of a second at f/4 and ISO 800 (about 7 stops more or so).

It’s fun playing around with these “one strobe pony” setups. And with cheap Chinese stuff used like here, it’s not even too expensive. So if you haven’t done so yet, get some of these compact flashes and start – you’ll learn tons of new tricks, and you’ll also get good colours and sharp photos of your family.

Thanks for reading.

That macro lens on my “Pen”

Yesterday I took a photo of a very small animal on a grass leaf which itself wasn’t much longer than any of my fingers. For that I used my DSLR with the Olympus Zuiko Digital 50mm/2 macro lens. I even prefer that lens on my Micro Four Thirds E-PL5 camera – and here are some pictures I took with that combination this morning:

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Alice band with three roses

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Clay cat

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Clay owl, hand-coloured

I used two flashes for taking these – one was my 300Ws studio strobe with a beauty dish above to the left and slightly behind the objects (that’s the one which threw their shadows), the other was my Yongnuo YN-460II through a 24″ square softbox from the right and slightly behind camera to fill the foreground a bit. Both fired with Yongnuo CTR-301P radio remotes, so yes, on a “Pen”-type camera you have to remove the VF-2 electronic viewfinder to be able to mount such a radio remote. But since you focus a macro lens manually using the rear display anyway, that doesn’t matter that much. For quick portraits tho, I’d prefer an OM-D camera with a built-in viewfinder.

The lens is wonderful.

Thanks for reading.

Last of October

Two photos from today, one taken in the morning, the other during our lunch walk:

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Fall

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Alien

Update, short after midnight:

So the following picture was definitely the last one taken in October, maybe 10 minutes to midnight, and presented here 10 minutes past, in November already:

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Balloon – a present from Zuleikha’s bankers

All three taken with the Olympus E-PL5 camera and the 14-42mm zoom lens.

Thanks for viewing. Hope you had a nice Halloween.

Two, out of camera

I took two photos today on film – and then again digitally. The film was black & white, the 50mm lens was set to an aperture of f/4. The digital ones are with colour, the 25mm lens was set to f/2 – so the depth of field might be comparable. Just two (times two) quick snaps. Here are the digital ones:

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NG Kids

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Zuleikha’s gallery

Cropped them in-camera to an aspect ratio like 24x36mm film. The first one was focused on Sharbat Gula, Steve McCurry’s most iconic and famous photo, better known as the “Afghan girl“. The second one was obviously focused on “Stupsi”, and it shows a series of photos taken by Zuleikha with her E-PL1 camera.

Thanks for viewing.

One from a short Sunday walk

We were out looking for the bridge construction works, which were planned to be finished in two weeks from now. Zuleikha found some stuff and showed it to me, so I took a picture:

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Flower on a leaf bed. Olympus E-PL5 camera with Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 lens at f/4. Almost like out of camera.

Thanks for viewing.

Bleialf

We had a short break and a three day family holiday, the first time this year that we weren’t home. And since we didn’t want to go or drive too far, we decided to visit the place where I was born. Here’s a 2.35:1 wide view of Bleialf (not the complete village; we didn’t have an airplane to get that):

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For a quick view of just the photos I took, here’s a slideshow:

Or you can look at the album I created for the place on Flickr, or view photos tagged with ‘Bleialf’ there.

Of our combined photos, Zuleikha wants to make a book. Can’t wait to see it.

Thanks for viewing.

One / two weeks off

Two days ago, I took some kind of “street” photo by chance. I just came out of my employers’ garage and thought the yellow street lights and the blue sky made a nice contrast, so I took a photo:

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Early morning beside my employers’ garage

Only when “blowing up” the image, I saw the sleeping guy in his Smart…

It’s autumn holidays now in our county, two weeks for the students, only one for me. We’ll visit my birthplace for a few days, while a neighbour will care for our cat. We haven’t been there since July 2005, when Zuleikha was less than a year old. We’re hoping for good weather and will walk the village quite a bit.

And because today was the last school and work day, both Zuleikha and I could play a bit after dinner:

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Zuleikha, playing with Mama’s Nexus 7, October 2014

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When all the stars align…

All photos taken with my Olympus E-PL5 camera and the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 lens.

Thanks for viewing.

What I’m reading right now

I was finally able to get the paperback version of Kirk Tuck’s first novel, called “The Lisbon Portfolio“:

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The Lisbon Portfolio

I’m only some 50 pages in right now, but it seems to be a fun read. Espionage / suspense thriller, and for photographers I consider this a good one already. And now you have to excuse me – can’t wait to finish Kirk’s book…

Thanks for viewing.

P.S. (Update, from Tuesday, Oct. 14th, 2014):

I’ve finished it. Yesterday evening or rather this morning at 3 minutes past 12 (midnight). Just couldn’t stop.

And it’s a real nice book. Fits right in the list of spy fiction authors, and people like Jeffery Deaver, James Patterson, or the Kellermans (Jonathan and his wife Faye) come to mind. And while as a first it’s not as polished and perfect as these, it’s fresh instead.

If you know Kirk’s Blog and have seen some of his photos, you’ll admire how he describes the ‘making of’ of some of them.

This is no book review, so I’ll stop here. But I really recommended it to Mitchie already, since our bookshelf is full of the authors mentioned above, so I think she’ll love it as I did.

So this is really recommended, especially to photographers, but also to fans of the modern espionage thriller genre.

Zuleikha, decorated

Another photo of Zuleikha. Same camera and lens as in the last article and photos, this time with flash instead of natural light:

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Zuleikha, decorated by a friend’s mum, October 2014

Thanks for viewing.