Monday, 26 March 2012

Behind the scenes shot

Behind the scenes shot, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Simple lighting set up - dragged the shutter to underexpose the outside ambient light by a stop or so. Took a few shots of another dancer here recently (Jessie Jing) and realised that I had to have the frame of the window in the shot otherwise the lighting looked really false.

Here you can see the Elinchrom 186cm Octabank. Inside is the El RX AS Speed A head fired using a pocket wizard plus II. I do also use the skyport but I like being able to trigger the pack with the Sekonic L758 DR meter. Of course when you have the benefit of an assistant you also have someone to alter the power of the pack so the skyport is less essential.

Shooting with the Hasselblad and not tethered as the amount of dust in the warehouse is unbelievable and I do not trust my laptop to it.

Shooting from slightly lower down to elongate Emms.

Post production in PS via my own personal recipe - enjoy :-)


Saturday, 24 March 2012

Circle squared

Circle squared, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Last image to accompany the previous BTS shot

BTS two

BTS two, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

The sharp eyed among you will notice that the laptop was having an off moment here. I shoot tethered to Hasselblad's Phocus software but like using Lightroom (just used to it's workflow now) - so I typically setup the autoimport feature in Lightroom to directly export out of Phocus. Sadly everytime the 'blad is switched off I have to start and restart Phocus to get them all playing along nicely - to save time here I just "got on with it" without the tethering :-)


Seated elegance

Seated elegance, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Final result as promised from the BTS shot below

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

BTS shot from the recent shoot with Tamsin Isles. Tamsin is a fantastic make up artist based in Leeds. She wanted some shots with a 1950's styling - not hard as she dresses like this pretty much all the time.

The location is a casino with a number of bars - this one gave us loads of scope and the management bent over backwards that day to make the whole team feel at home.

I shot tethered as usual which as I have previously mentioned has the effect of slowing everything down and making things much more purposeful. The Phase IQ digital backs have wonderful iphone like screens I am told - but the H3Dii's screen is truly awful - cannot even rely on it to check focus.

I will upload the photo from this set up so that you can see the finished result. Two assistants that day plus the hairstylist Sabrina who was very welcome when it came to stopping me having a nasty fall!



Tuesday, 20 March 2012


Tamsin, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

First shot out of the editing room from my latest shoot with the gorgeous Tamsin. Shot in a local Casino - great room with lots of scope (almost too much!). Had two assistants this time and I have to say this really is the way to go. Lots of help, lots of inspiration and subsequently lots of images to edit :-)

This was taken using the two octas as key and fill with a bare quadra behind the glass for effect.

Just a touch of post production - it's all good!


Wednesday, 7 March 2012


If anyone can tell me how to pronounce this I'd be very grateful.

Meanwhile of course this is something that having moved to Medium format digital I am having to deal with for the first time.

There is Phocus of course (I'm a Hasselblad man now) but I am so used to Lightroom and must say that I am loving the de-moire features - a touch of clarity reduction and lowering the sharpness with the TAT and voila! All gone from Dancer's tights and skirts - happy happy happy :-)

The Holy Grail

Unbelieveable - what can I say - chuffed to bits. Having spent ages trying to get prints that match what I see on screen (often too dark or too vivid, too magenta etc) I have at last sorted it all out.

Previously I have been using a Colormunki Photo alongside my Epson R2880 and Sony Vaio Laptop. Yes I hear you shouting out there that if I had gone Mac none of this would have taken so long. I am indeed "Mac-curious", "Mac-smitten" indeed but as long as this laptop is working I struggle to justify a new OS etc. Anyhoo I was calibrating the printer to the screen with the Colormunki Photo but inevitably the laprop screen was seriously letting me down. If for example I set a brightness level when setting up the profile - the monitor could not hold that one bit.

So the solution? Just bought a Eizo CG243W from the Focus on Imaging show. Saved a few hundred quid to boot.

Lots of things changing at once however - upgraded to LR4 (with soft proofing capabilities) and have just this evening installed a Fotospeed CIS. Loving LR4 (had the beta) and cannot tell the difference (I printed some shots out with the original Epson cartidges to compare against) with Fotospeed's inks.

Have spent a while working out the workflow and in essence whether to calibrate with the Colormunki software or the ColorNavigator - have gone with Colornav in the first instance but if I need to create my own ICC profiles for papers that I cannot get one for then I will revert to Xrite's option. Good to have choices although I must admit this can be a little overwhelming at first.

Hope that might help crystallise someone else's decision making and of course if you want to know my exact settings please just ask.



Sunday, 4 March 2012

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes, originally uploaded by DrFireball.

Need to be more disciplined and take more shots of the lighting setups. This was taken by my assistant that day.

When at my best I write down settings etc and have even used an app on the ipad to recall lighting diagrams (or even to plan them in advance of a shoot). Typically however I like to be more free flowing and just "get on with it!".

I have been asked to speak to a local camera club though about these photoshoots - not because I am any good but rather because no-one else at the club really does this kind of thing. So I had the idea of doing a live shoot tethered to a laptop and projector. Should be good fun - will be good to have a few shots like this also though to show other alternative lighting setups.

Still enjoying the Hasselblad - even more since the Canon 5D III has been announced - I can understand why they went with "only" 22MP - but it makes me feel even happier to know that my Hassie has not immediately received a challenge to my desires :-) That said the AF on the H3D is fine in continuous but the delay between pressing the shutter and capture meant that on this shoot I had more accurate leaping captures from the 5DII. I did have the 7D for a short while (always let down by the IQ compared with the 5D) and liked it ergonomics. Will I sell the 5Dii therefore to make way for a 5Diii? Unlikely - I will wait for the ii to break by which time the iii will be a more sensible price.

As always enjoy :-)