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LinuxHack3r
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


So, I've been commissioned by a good friend to shoot him proposing to his girlfriend this Friday, weather permitting. I've been now twice to the location and went yesterday to test two different focal lengths to see what he thinks. It was between 70mm and 135mm. I think I've convinced him 135mm is the right one to go with, he likes the below linked photo.

So, I'm not in any fashion, shape, or form asking for specific critiques of this photo. What I'm asking for is specific advice on what to do during.

The plan is that after they start their descent to the waterfall I will get into position and have about 5-10 minutes before the big moment. My gear will be a Canon 6D with 135mm f/2L lens. I originally planned on using a monopod to help steady everything as well as just make my job easier. However, I think I have potentially decided I'd like to attempt to use a tripod instead and either before they are in position or after they are in position take either a burst of images or a long exposure so I can get the waterfall blurred. Then I can pick the single best shot of the proposal itself and using various blending/compositing techniques in Photoshop paste them into the long exposure. However, obviously for this to work I'll need a stationary tripod that doesn't move during the 5 minutes or so that it presumably takes. I don't know whether I should do this or not. I've thought about if I do try it, I should probably attempt to do it after the "proposal" but when they are out of the shot, that way NOTHING interferes or potentially interferes with the exact moment (exposure settings, etc).

I'm going to attempt 1/250 or 1/500, depending on light, if I shoot handheld/monopod. As long as ISO is manageable, I'd like to shoot about f/5.6 but this may not be as important. The below shot was f/2, so I'm not sure how important it is to try to get a wider depth of field. Thoughts on this? Maybe, set ISO to 100, f/2.8 or so and then set shutter to match?

I'm very open to any and all advice.







Aug 28, 2017 at 01:45 PM
jecottrell
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


I would put more emphasis on the proposal than the waterfall.


Aug 28, 2017 at 02:11 PM
LinuxHack3r
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


jecottrell wrote:
I would put more emphasis on the proposal than the waterfall.


Me too. However, he and she are both extreme outdoors enthusiasts and he specifically requested that I get the waterfall in the shot. Preliminarily I went over things with him and discussed what I could do to get the shots that he wanted, he was adamant about having the waterfall int he shot.

Unless you meant emphasis in terms other than focal length? Was this in direct reply to my thoughts on getting the waterfall blurred a bit?



Aug 28, 2017 at 02:21 PM
jecottrell
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


Hmmmm.

I would ask exactly how much of the falls are needed. I think you could crop almost 50% and still have some nice feeling for the falls from your sample shot.

Maybe a 70-200 would allow a variety of shots? Have everything pre framed to work with a closer zoom as well as your 135ish view and make sure you don't have to change tripod settings between zoom settings?

I would think a CP would help with the water.

Once it's over you can do the longer exposure shots for the compositing. Just don't forget to do them before moving the tripod.

I would go with a shallower depth of field. Your test shot's foreground is OOF just enough to be OOF but not bokeh-ish.



Aug 28, 2017 at 02:39 PM
LinuxHack3r
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


jecottrell wrote:
Hmmmm.

I would ask exactly how much of the falls are needed. I think you could crop almost 50% and still have some nice feeling for the falls from your sample shot.

Maybe a 70-200 would allow a variety of shots? Have everything pre framed to work with a closer zoom as well as your 135ish view and make sure you don't have to change tripod settings between zoom settings?

I would think a CP would help with the water.

Once it's over you can do the longer exposure shots for the compositing. Just don't forget to do them before moving the tripod.

I would
...Show more

I think in his opinion that 135mm is about right. I talked to him about paying for a rental 70-200mm and he didn't see the need to reach further. My job is doing what he wants, in my opinion.

I hadn't really considered a circular polarizer. Interesting thought, I'll research and think about it.

As for a "long exposure", I think I realized that if I leave my shutter speed fast and on a nice tripod, I can theoretically use all of the proposal shots, masks, and blend all of the waterfall into a shot and then selectively blend just a single image of them into it. So even if I "forget" to do that at the end, I'll still potentially have something. But they may not even like the "fake" look of it, I suspect it would be a cool shot though.

As for depth of field, leaving it wide open at f/2 sounds nice for available light (who knows what sort of weather when we get there). However, I still don't think I'd mind opening it up just a stop perhaps.



Aug 28, 2017 at 03:49 PM
brick33308
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


a number of people have fallen off waterfalls in western NC where I live this summer and died. Personally I'd look for a safer locale where a couple being distracted from their surroundings wouldn't be in the possible danger that they would near the edge of a steep waterfall drop.


Aug 28, 2017 at 04:17 PM
LinuxHack3r
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


brick33308 wrote:
a number of people have fallen off waterfalls in western NC where I live this summer and died. Personally I'd look for a safer locale where a couple being distracted from their surroundings wouldn't be in the possible danger that they would near the edge of a steep waterfall drop.


Thanks! I agree that areas such as this are very dangerous. I myself am considerably against falling long distances (some people call this "fear of heights", I'm just afraid of falling). That said, it was his call from the beginning. He wanted to do it here, I suppose that's where he'll do it. I'll be exercising extreme caution myself.



Aug 28, 2017 at 04:34 PM
dwa652
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


I actually did something similar a few months ago when my oldest son got engaged. He proposed at a spot on the Brazos River and I was across the relatively wide river on the other side with a long lens. His (now) fiance actually spotted me across the river as he was giving her his speech but thought I was just some weirdo taking photos.

So if you can set the tripod up when they get out there, and go unnoticed, then I would do that. I disguised myself pretty well (nothing like a jacket and a hood on with a baseball cap in the Texas heat) and you may want to do the same.

I suggest shooting at around f5.6. You can always lose DoF later but you cannot get it back. Also, for me it was better to shoot at a slightly higher ISO (e.g. 400) and get sharp shots.

I like your crop here. I think if the proposal took place about halfway between the girl in the photo and the edge of the cliff (not too close!) then that seems pretty ideal.

Best of luck and prayers for the couple!
Don



Aug 28, 2017 at 07:37 PM
 

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stevez32
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


You have more than one camera? I'd put one on wider angle on a tripod and auto trigger once things start unfolding and then use the longer lens for some detail shots.


Aug 29, 2017 at 05:35 AM
GeorgieGirl
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


I missed the girl entirely in my POV. when looking at this example...its about the subject, not the waterfalls...although beautiful, your shoot is about the couple at a crtical moment. Let the scenery blur and be the backdrop a bit more to that incredible lifetime event you want to capture. Or find a way to showcase the couple and make them standout amongst the huge backdrop.


Aug 30, 2017 at 12:45 AM
DougVaughn
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


I don't have anything to add to the advice already given, but as a fellow Tennessean, I recognize this spot.


Aug 30, 2017 at 02:30 AM
LinuxHack3r
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


DougVaughn wrote:
I don't have anything to add to the advice already given, but as a fellow Tennessean, I recognize this spot.


That's cool. Lula Lake/Falls? Honestly, I had never heard of it until he introduced me to it. Just a few weeks ago was the first time I had been there, period.Beautiful place for sure!



Aug 30, 2017 at 11:17 AM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


Two thoughts, as I have done this kind of thing before as well.* Your first priority has to be "Don't screw this up." There are no do-overs, and no room for experimentation. Just get the shots you need to get all of the moments involved in this ritual (there will be many). Don't try to get a shallow depth of field (at this distance, you can't anyway). If you do want to try to blend exposures to get a silky waterfall, spike your camera on a tripod and do not move it even slightly. Get your long exposure before they arrive (so you have it), and then re-set the exposure values to what you need to keep them sharp; just don't move the tripod or the camera. Second, I understand that the setting is very important to your friend(s), but I'd be willing to wager that the bride, and both sets of families will be asking for a much, much tighter crops. If this were my gig, I'd be working with a 70-200, and getting the kneeling shot around the focal length you show here (135-ish) and then go in much tighter. Either that, or be prepared to crop significantly after the fact.

You can do this, just get there before they do, and nail your exposures without trying anything risky. They'll love it.

*When I did this a few months ago, I worked with the groom-to-be to get the kind of shots he wanted surreptitiously. To make a long story short, I was casually lurking in the pre-determined spot, and when the groom kneeled down, I started firing away, getting some really nice shots. But the bride eventually spotted me, and whispered to her man, "Is that guy with you, or is he some kinda creep?" He vouched for me, and she gave me a huge smile. It was one of the best shots of the day.



Aug 31, 2017 at 07:15 AM
LinuxHack3r
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


jecottrell wrote:
Hmmmm.

I would ask exactly how much of the falls are needed. I think you could crop almost 50% and still have some nice feeling for the falls from your sample shot.

Maybe a 70-200 would allow a variety of shots? Have everything pre framed to work with a closer zoom as well as your 135ish view and make sure you don't have to change tripod settings between zoom settings?

I would think a CP would help with the water.

Once it's over you can do the longer exposure shots for the compositing. Just don't forget to do them before moving the tripod.

I would
...Show more

Well, I'm happy to announce that a Breakthrough X4 CPL shows up at my house later today! That's good because I will be able to play with it tonight to gain familiarity with it. I'd hate to have to receive it and use it in the same day, that sounds bad.

However, the weather is looking like it may be cloudy and rainy to begin with. In which case, I don't think it would be beneficial to use it, or would it? Comparatively, I still use my polarized glasses on cloudy days, so maybe I should use it. Thoughts anyone?

---------------------------------------------

Steve Wylie wrote:
Two thoughts, as I have done this kind of thing before as well.* Your first priority has to be "Don't screw this up." There are no do-overs, and no room for experimentation. Just get the shots you need to get all of the moments involved in this ritual (there will be many). Don't try to get a shallow depth of field (at this distance, you can't anyway). If you do want to try to blend exposures to get a silky waterfall, spike your camera on a tripod and do not move it even slightly. Get your long exposure before
...Show more

Yes, I am very much of the attitude "Don't screw up!". Truth be told, even at f/2 and 135mm, my depth of field is going to be something like 67' or more based on PhotoPills (awesome app, look into it if you haven't heard of it. It is easily worth the $10 I paid for it). So without a longer focal length (not happening at this point unless someone in Chattanooga wants to loan me their 70-200 for a day) or getting closer (not happening, impossible at this location), I'm not blurring the background because it isn't really that possible. If it is sunny, I plan to shoot closer to f/5.6 if possible. I figure it will help everything to be much sharper, especially since I'm not shooting the subject in the center of the frame. I can always add blur later.

The good news is that it's been raining a lot lately so maybe the falls will be quite active. The bad news is it might rain tomorrow. I personally have no wet weather gear for my camera. I'm thinking I may take some garbage bags just in case. With a filter and hood on the lens, I imagine I can wrap the rest of the body/lens in plastic and hopefully that will help. From what I understand, tomorrow *is* going to happen rain or shine. So there's that.



Aug 31, 2017 at 12:47 PM
jecottrell
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


LinuxHack3r wrote:
However, the weather is looking like it may be cloudy and rainy to begin with. In which case, I don't think it would be beneficial to use it, or would it? Comparatively, I still use my polarized glasses on cloudy days, so maybe I should use it. Thoughts anyone?


The CPL will help even without direct sun. You'll notice that you can turn it once mounted on the lens. Try different settings and see which looks best.

It will reduce brightness as well so it may affect your ability to get the settings you wanted/planned for, especially if it's overcast.



Aug 31, 2017 at 01:56 PM
LinuxHack3r
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Upcoming "Live" Engagement Shoot


jecottrell wrote:
The CPL will help even without direct sun. You'll notice that you can turn it once mounted on the lens. Try different settings and see which looks best.

It will reduce brightness as well so it may affect your ability to get the settings you wanted/planned for, especially if it's overcast.


Got the polarizer yesterday, it's awesome! However, quick question (shoot is about 5 hours from now). Obviously the polarizer will work with the hood. Also obvious, it is basically impossible to adjust the polarizer with the hood one (it's a very deep hood on the 135 f/2. What is preferable?

1) Shoot without the hood
2) Adjust polarizer as needed, attach hood

I don't know that I'll need the hood today, it is mostly cloudy. If anything, it may rain. If raining, my thoughts were to take a garbage back, place camera w/lens and hood in garbage bag, tape around where the hood is, poke hole and rip around hood so lens can see out, seal garbage bag to hood with tape, leave "opening" of garbage bag mostly open for hands/eyes. It is supposed to hold off on rain today, but I have everything available for exactly that if I have to.



Sep 01, 2017 at 03:50 PM







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