I said my new year’s resolution was to photograph and post about it at least once a week. I know I’m already a week behind, but I have good reason. With the little spare time I have to spend on my photography endeavors each week I simply did not have enough time left to write about it all last week. That was because I spent it all doing the actual photographing…lol.
I spent last Friday evening working on the next subject [Naomi] for my series on tattoos and body ink. She was a great sport and subject to work with. I’m on a bit of a time crunch with this series as I would like to have it ready for exhibit/display by late this spring or summer. The entire series will be available for a very limited print run. My main goal is to present the subject of body ink and tattoos to a mainstream audience in a fashion that highlights it’s artistic qualities and present a different take on my subjects as curators of fine art. Below are some behind the scenes shots of our photo shoot as well as a sample. Because this series will be made available in limited print production only, I am less inclined to publish any of the images on the web.
The main shots were taken with the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM. The behind the scenes shots were taken with the Canon 7D and the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM. Two Canon 430EX speedlite flashes were used for lighting.
Making minor adjustments
Getting my final shots in
Always check shots and make adjustments on the spot
As part of my new year resolution, I plan on photographing something each week and post about it. I’m hoping this goal will motivate me to explore new photography subjects and techniques and grow as a photographer. So here we go!
Tonight I decided I wanted to come up with a magazine quality product shot of a bottle of one of our favorite liquors: Tequila. I don’t really drink hard liquor (anymore), so I tend to amass a sizable assortment of the stuff every time I throw a party. I have several bottles of Milagro in my stash and have always liked their design and presentation.
I shot with the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. I cannot say enough about how versatile this lens is. For lighting I used two Canon 430EX speedlights in full manual mode. On one I had a Strobies softbox and the other a honeycomb and lavender blue gel. The bottle was placed on a piece of black plexiglass I had laying around my workshop. I posted a cell phone shot of my setup. It was a good and fun exercise to shoot a product shot using the bare essentials and with no editing. The JPEG compression does not reproduce the subtle colors well. Without further ado, here’s what I came up with.
This year I decided to stop thinking about watching (photographing) the fireworks over the San Francisco Bay and actually get out and do it. One of my good friends and great photographer, Steve was only happy to come along and plan our New Year’s Eve photo excursion. We decided, since we were going to be out in the cold weather we may as well catch the sunset over the city. I had been wanting to revisit my last shoot from the Port of Oakland where I shot my last time lapse of the Bay Bridge lights. This time my focus was to obtain a really good high quality wide panorama shot for large format print and reproduction. I did however capture a time lapse of the sunset and city lights as well. It’s hard not to, as it has become fairly easy for me with my 7D and 17-55mm f/2.8 lens. I’ve shot so many time lapses with that combo, it only takes a few minutes to setup.
Magic hour over the city only lasts for a few minutes, and I found it very challenging to capture a full panoramic set of the city with a long enough exposure at a narrow enough aperture (f/8 or smaller). This was due primarily to the amount of the disturbance on the water from boats, ferries and large cargo ships. While you might see a few minutes of calm, they are punctuated by wakes, shadows of moving vessels and light streaks. My frustrations were only compounded by the fact that I decided to use my EF 2x Extender III on the 70-200mm f/2.8. I chose the wrong time to experiment. Under anything other than perfect lighting conditions you will find it exceedingly difficult to use any lens with the 2X extender III. As a result, I missed easily half of my photo opportunities. Below are some panoramic shots I managed to salvage. The detail is pretty impressive – you can see inside offices and hallways in all those buildings you see. The full res compressed JPEG is just under 200MB and the master GIMP file is 1GB (1000MB).
Canon 5D Mark III + EF 2x Extender + EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
Canon 5D Mark III + EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
We shot through the sunset till about 9pm then we packed up and headed out to treasure island to scout for a good angle on the action. I have never seen this many photographers and enthusiasts in one place. The whole island was crawling with people like me. Even in the seemingly remote bushes along back roads. We finally settled on the waterfront as the best vantage point. Fireworks are a challenge to shoot! This was my first time shooting fireworks and nothing could have prepared me for it. Below is a collection of some of the highlights. Overall I think it was a success. There are a few things I would’ve done differently now. Your feedback would be highly appreciated.
I was also able to capture a time lapse of the fireworks. The entire show lasted about 13minutes. It was a spectacular affair. If you missed it, the time lapse compilation below should help you enjoy the experience in a matter of seconds. My new years gift to you. I wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year!