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Archive 2012 · Beach portraits with minimal equipment....
  
 
cgardner
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p.4 #1 · Beach portraits with minimal equipment....


die_kruzen wrote:
First Chuck, I liked what you did with the photo. Seemed to warm it up a bit. Seems like something Brian had pointed out with the gel. Also liked what you did with the skin tones.


No it's actually similar to what I suggested and the opposite of what Brian suggested.

You need to first consider the camera WB baseline you start with. If daylight and you shoot in daylight you get a normal background and normal faces if they are in the sun. On a cloudy day if you use Daylight WB you get a blue bias because the light is cooler. Shoot in shade with camera set to Daylight you get the same cooler than seen by eye results. Under trees the light gets a combined cooler and greenish bias, but you won't notice it.

Why? Your brain adapts perception to the cooler / greenish light, the camera stuck on its Daylight baseline doesn't and records over saturated foliage and dull flat looking skin tones.

Stand on a beach at noon with the camera set to Daylight and the sand will look like my edit of Jim's photo in person and in the photo; pretty normal. Stand on the beach just as the sun sets and look down at your feet and your brain will tell you the sand is the same color as you saw it at noon because your brain knowing the color of the sand will adapt your perception of its color. But the camera still set to Daylight WB will record it with a blue bias, what is seen in Jim's original. The faces in the skylight will also would also be recorded cooler than normal from a Daylight WB baseline because the actual light hitting them is cooler. What is puzzling to me in Jim's original is how the got so over saturated in red while the background is cooler than normal.

At sunset if the WB is set to daylight and a warming gel is put on the flash the gel will make the faces and parts of the beach it hits warmer to the point of looking "normal" again in the photo, or with enough gel warmer than normal. But but the rest of the beach outside the range of the flash will be rendered cooler and because the flash increases exposure in the foreground the background will be darker.

If instead of gelling the flash the just the WB of the camera is changed to match the now bluer than Daylight WB skylight illumining the beach everything on the beach will look "normal" in the photo. A simple way to do that is set Custom WB off a gray card placed in the bluish light. That shifts the WB baseline of the camera from Daylight warmer, compensating for the bluer light.

By happy coincidence the color temp of flash is similar to the blue bias of skylight. So changing the WB preset to from Daylight to Flash has a similar result: everything gets warmer and the flash is a close match to the cool skylight beyond it's range.

At noon bare flash looks too cool relative to the sunlit background if the camera is set on Daylight WB. When the sun set and ambient light gets cooler it matches the flash temp but if the camera WB is set to Daylight everything flashed and ambient looks cool. The solution? Shift the camera's WB setting to match the flash and the ambient.



Jul 19, 2012 at 04:37 PM
die_kruzen
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p.4 #2 · Beach portraits with minimal equipment....


Sid, yep that is something I was wondering about...but what would happen if my first shot's sky looked like your third shot...right where I would want it. But, the model in my case was very under exposed. Sure, I could change my shutter and/or aperture, but wouldn't that now impact my ambient? My sky may no longer be where I want it with the changes. At that point would it be necessary to go to the flash and change the settings?

Brian. the Sto-fen gold arrived. It's very nice. For something so simple it does a nice job. I like putting the film, type gel over the flash, but that gets to be a pain taking on and off. This is far easier.

We are hoping for better weather in Maryland today..so I may get a good opportunity to get out and shoot. In any event, I have set aside some time with my daughter and if all else fails we will practice indoors (I usually bounce when indoors -- but I will try off camera).

Thanks again all, Pete



Jul 21, 2012 at 10:52 AM
jstephens62
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p.4 #3 · Beach portraits with minimal equipment....


I want to ask the group about the flash placement, specifically about placing the flask low to the ground off to one side pointed up at the sugject. I assume this would give light similar to a campfire, would it necessarily be displeasing?


Jul 21, 2012 at 02:42 PM
cgardner
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p.4 #4 · Beach portraits with minimal equipment....


jstephens62 wrote:
I want to ask the group about the flash placement, specifically about placing the flask low to the ground off to one side pointed up at the sugject. I assume this would give light similar to a campfire, would it necessarily be displeasing?


It's all a matter of context.

Up lighting seems natural in a campfire shot because the source of the light, the campfire, is seen in the photo. But if you took a shot by the campfire but the fire wasn't in the shot and the viewer didn't know the source of the lighting was a campfire it would look odd because faces are normally lit from above most of the time and that pattern is our baseline for "normal".

The same is true for natural light. Except at sunrise and sunset the sun is overhead and neutral in color (as captured from a Daylight WB baseline). If the background clues like warmth and long sideways shadows tells your brain its late in the afternoon than warm yellow faces with a long sideways nose shadow will seem normal. But in a close crop, absent those clues in the background lighting yellow faces and long sideways shadows would seem less natural and flattering unless you connected the dots between what you see in the photo and an assumption about the time of day it was taken.

What seems normal is mostly a matter of the lighting clues (color and direction) being consistent with the time of day the shot appears to have been taken. Unlike a campfire the sun never gets lower than the horizon so up lighting, absent an artificial source in the the shot or the subject illuminated by light bounces off the ground will not seem natural. Uplighting on faces is a convention used in art for making a person seem sinister or evil, as if lit from below by the fires of Hell. But if the person is seen sitting on the beach at noon with an uplit face the source of the uplighting is grasped the the overall context seems natural.

What makes flash assisted shots seem fake is when the clues created by the flash (color and direction) don't match the background context or what the viewer would typically expect to see by eye. It's a subliminal reaction that can be difficult to quantify, but they just know it doesn't look "right".

I recall doing C&C for a portrait where the face indoors was up lit. It looked odd given the context of the background. In the discussion it was reveal the subject was standing in front of a doorway with a concrete sidewalk bouncing direct sun up off it. In a wider shot showing the doorway and source of the light on the face it would have seemed more normal, but still wouldn't be very flattering on the face.






Jul 21, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Thats Fresh
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p.4 #5 · Beach portraits with minimal equipment....


I skimmed through thread. FWIW, the best place to take sunrise/sunset shots in top of Jockeys Ridge in Nags Head. lOL


Jul 21, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Michaelparris
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p.4 #6 · Beach portraits with minimal equipment....


jstephens62 wrote:
I want to ask the group about the flash placement, specifically about placing the flask low to the ground off to one side pointed up at the sugject. I assume this would give light similar to a campfire, would it necessarily be displeasing?


I have heard it called "devils lighting". Not flattering. Gives a very moody mysterious look. Hitchcock used it, if that gives you an idea of what it might look like. When the light hits the cheek area it casts a shadow under the eyes that looks "evil"...



Jul 22, 2012 at 12:08 AM
 

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BrianO
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p.4 #7 · Beach portraits with minimal equipment....


jstephens62 wrote:
I want to ask the group about the flash placement, specifically about placing the [flash] low to the ground off to one side pointed up at the sugject. I assume this would give light similar to a campfire, would it necessarily be displeasing?


Michaelparris wrote:
I have heard it called "devils lighting". Not flattering. Gives a very moody mysterious look.


Yep. Also often called "ghoul lighting." It's a special effect placement, and like all SFX should be used sparingly and for a specific purpose.



Jul 22, 2012 at 11:20 PM
die_kruzen
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p.4 #8 · Beach portraits with minimal equipment....


Well, did some more shooting last night and got the sky exactly where I wanted it....but still had some issues with the subject being lit correctly. I will mention this was all done using on camera flash (85 1.2 about 10 feet away) as my flash no longer fired using the CyberSyncs.

I opened the CS up and noticed that the receiver had all sorts of corrosion in the battery compartment...and it appeared the transmitter had issues. I cleaned the best I could and replaced with fresh batteries, but still the flash wouldn't fire. So, I am getting some replacements and should have them soon. Thanks again for all the info...I'm half way there!!

Pete



Jul 25, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Jim Cowsert
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p.4 #9 · Beach portraits with minimal equipment....


Went back to the beach and this time used the Quantum Qflash off camera with their standard reflector on a Cheetah stand all in Manual...The Qflash puts out some nice light...



Jim Cowsert 2012


1.







2.




Aug 27, 2012 at 07:01 PM
BrianO
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p.4 #10 · Beach portraits with minimal equipment....


Jim Cowsert wrote:
Went back to the beach and this time used the Quantum Qflash off camera with their standard reflector on a Cheetah stand all in Manual...The Qflash puts out some nice light...


Really liking #2. That would make a nice engagement photo if they were an engaged couple.



Aug 27, 2012 at 07:08 PM
die_kruzen
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p.4 #11 · Beach portraits with minimal equipment....


Very nice shots Jim. I wasn't that fortunate. We had tons of rain while on vacation and therefore not much beach time. But, I did get to experiment with off camera flash as we would take some pictures when the rain let up and/or inside. So, it wasn't a complete loss. We are planning another beach trip for the end of October and maybe we will have better weather. I have plenty of time to practice.

Thanks all, Pete



Aug 28, 2012 at 12:30 AM
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