Tag Archives: strobe

Giving Apple Pages a Try

Rubi_Fitness_02

A magazine spread-like document created in no time.

I really enjoy making this magazine spread using Apple’s word processor and document editor called Pages. Pages provides what I believe to be the bare minimum tools necessary to create quick presentations and then adds a few nice features like adding mirror reflection, page effects, etc.  But where I think Pages shine is on the fast learning curve and how intuitive the environment feels after a few minutes of use. I used box shapes to arrange where the text would be, then added the text and played with font style and sizes, changed the color schemes, and finished with a few touches like the reflection effect and the ball note above. I did based the layout on a few examples of actual magazine articles found o the web so there was almost no thought put on the design. But, hey, have you seen the magazine covers lately? They all are copies of their own past editions. If not Google it.

Bottom line, I will be using Apple Pages more and more. It offers just the right amount of tools necessary for most documents in an intuitive and easy to learn environment. Plus, it is all iCloud based so you can edit and finish on the go.

Advertisements

Creative Cloud

When Adobe first announced their subscription plans for Lightroom and Photoshop, I quickly joined the torch holders and stick wavers. How dare they come up with such a thing, right? Who are these fools willing to pay a monthly fee for access to their beloved software? And, of course, I am not talking about you Mr. Hook.

Well, count me in as one of these fools.

So what got me hooked up (no pun intended Matey!). Shockingly to most torch burners: price. Let’s get out our solar-powered Casio calculators for a minute. Adobe charges $9.99 monthly for the Photography subscription. Let’s leave aside the fact that this amounts to a cup of coffee and a chocolate croissant from your local Starbucks. In a year, you would be forking out $119.88. Yeah this sounds a bit steep right? Well, let’s dig in. Photoshop CS6 currently has a price tag of $420 big ones. Lightroom 5 is a little easier on your pockets at a nicely priced $80. That is a hefty $500 you have to drop like it’s hot a the time you get them both. Well, I’m thinking I can hold off to that cup and french pastry every month.  But it get’s better. Even for the amateur, if you like photography, you already have these two software or at least they are under your radar. And you want the most up to date, without of course breaking the bank so you (and me before subscribing) only update every two years. During that time, you just check magazines to see what is new with the new releases and patiently wait for the next one after to pull out your wallet. In this scenario, your $500 would equal to $20.83 per month. That is $500 over a period of 24 months.  Hmmm, right? That is more than twice the price of the monthly subscription.

Signing up for Creative Cloud and one enjoys the benefits of always staying up to date and having the latest shenanigans that keeps our souls full of joy. So it is all joy  and happiness, right? Wrong! Here is the fine print kick in the butt… If you decide to cancel your membership, you will lose the software after 30 days. That’s right, even if you have already paid 10, 15 months.  On the other hand, if you opt for purchasing your software, you will keep it yours forever and ever, even if it’s 200 years old.

So, should one go with purchasing or membership? Well, I went for the last one. I know I will want to upgrade after a couple years, so why not pay less and be up to date all the time. Of course, this marriage will last until I decide that I do need that extra cup of coffee and chocolate croissant every month. Until then, I am as happy as muddy mudskipper.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 11.28.46 PM

IMG_7622

Rubi Fitnes – B&W

Image

Just a simple single-light setup and a silver reflector.

The picture was shot indoors in my home studio. The only real trick to get the shot just the way I wanted was balancing the ambient light and strobe light to generate a dramatic light effect on the model while keeping the surroundings dark.

The shot was taken during the day with lots of lights coming through the windows and bouncing and getting diffused by the white studio walls. The light balance is achieved by selecting an appropriate f-stop that will get you a complete dark image when a picture of the model is taken in just ambient light. So set the speed at the camera’s flash sync speed, which for the X-E1 is 1/160th, and start taking pictures changing the aperture nay until you get a complete dark image. So, once this is achieved, then one starts playing with the power of the strobe, painting the model with light while keeping the background in the “dark.” This is achieved by using a rectangular soft box with a honeycomb grid to direct the light exactly where you want it. Once the light is set and the pose is placed, then one can make the final few slight adjustments to the aperture and power setting to get the finished shot.

LR and CS used to achieved mono and retouches.

The hardware: X-E1, 35mm XF, Alien Bees 800, Rectangular grid softbox, Silver reflector, and a couple Wireless triggers.

 

Portrait of Rubi

Another one from the Rubi Series. For this shot, we moved back to the white paper background. The setup included a key light to the models right and a hair light. The studio’s white walls acted as a reflector and helped retain details in the shadows.

The XE1 is an amazing camera which I enjoy a lot. Pair it with the 60mm XF Fujinon prime lens and you will be holding a very capable studio portrait system. I would love to have a faster flash sync body but the X-E1 speed is good enough for portraits at 1/180. Although, I am yet to have some luck using my strobes at the rated speed, I always have to go as low as 1/125. Nevertheless, the system delivers great, crip and brilliant pictures.

Shot with the X-E1 & 60mm XF Fujinon running the latest firmware at the time this post was published.

Paramount Lighting/Mono


Taken while studying Paramount lighting techniques, or Butterfly lighting because of the shape of the slight shadows achieved under the nose of the model. I had the model facing straight at the camera for most pictures taken during this session to really get a hold of the technique, once achieved, I asked the model to turn slightly to the left. With the light setup the same, I simply reduced the power on my single strobe to produce a much dimmer light and reduce the falloff around her.

Post processing involved skin, hair and eyes treatment, and Lr to turn the photo mono and add the final effects.

From the instance I saw the picture, I though I saw La Gioconda.

XE1/60mm XF – B800/Gold Reflector – Butterfly Lighting

Paramount Lighting


So I decided to try the Butterfly or Paramount lighting technique. I am very surprised I have never tried it before as it is such a simple setup but yields really high glamorous results. It requires a key light high above the model pointing down to illuminate the face, and a reflector right under the camera to soften the shadows. That simple. I could have used a second strobe or flashgun to add light to the model’s hair but I really wanted to focus on the face and pretty much fade everything else. Some light post processing and you have a beautiful portrait.