We are proud to announce that this year we were inducted into the Applied Arts annual, not once but twice! This year’s issue was full of amazing and inspiring work. Congratulations to our fellow winners.
While speaking to clients and potential clients I’ve been faced with many questions about color. It’s a topic that’s extremely important when photographing architecture and interiors. It’s also a struggle that all photographers are subject to. Do we stay true to the architect and designer’s intent or do we push the boundaries into something creative? When we want to document a scene more often than not we are faced with mixed lighting (in terms of color temperature and obviously luminosity) which casts its own color onto the surfaces specifically picked out by the designers for their color and texture.
To our naked eyes an interior scene might appear to be perfectly fine, as our eyes are constantly adjusting to different color temperatures and levels of light. Unless the shift between colors is drastic it can easily go unnoticed. To a photographic sensor/emulsion the scene is recorded to a single colour temperature standard that remains constant. To replicate these constant adjustments our eyes make, the editing of an interior architectural photograph usually requires selective edits to neutralize foreign color casts and regulate luminosity to fit within dynamic range of the chosen camera.
If any lighting architects happen to be reading this, I’d love to hear from you about your own concerns and approach to architectural lighting.
Lurzer’s just posted our version of their Vol. 5 99 cover on their Facebook. Neat!
What could be better than seeing my photographs in print for the Wurst? … Perhaps their new menu!
Just finished up another image for Erin Boukall‘s upcoming jewellery look book and since this image is particularly interesting I thought I would share some of the process. Working with Erin has always a pleasure; she’s very hands on and lets me have basically as much creative control as I could ever want. She usually tells me in passing about a new piece that she’s working on and I come back to her with a barely coherent sketch or idea that she usually signs off on.
Over the next month I mentally pieced together what gear I needed to effectively illustrate the concept and how I was going to tie everything together (both literally and metaphorically.) The Firefly had to be suspended within the mason jar which required the use of thin fishing line. Erin was able to handle this, while I tended to shooting background plates. After picking a proper location we planted the camera on tripod, from which it would not move. Focus would not shift throughout the entire shoot, in order to retain a touch of realism. Everything was locked down and I began to shoot the background plate. The simulated “ambient” light hitting the trees and ground was created by popping multiple flashes of a Vivitar 285hv, wrapped in green gels, from within the scene.
To emulate whispy streaks of light from flying fire flies a last-minute trip to Radioshack/The Source was needed. Originally I had planned to use an iPhone app to turn the LED flash on my phone into fake fire fly. This proved to be too touch and go. The illumination of the main screen created a problem that I was not interested in dealing with. Instead of this proceeding with the app, I was able to source a simple green LED bulb (roughly the size of the glowstick within the jewellery piece), switch, and 9V battery. After hooking this up, I had a simple and effective firefly. The long-exposure firefly dance we developed to create the light streaks over the long exposure proved to be hilarious for everyone involved…
This particular piece of jewellery is actually self illuminated with its abdomen acting as a chamber for glowsticks. I wanted to balance this light with my key and supplementary light sources. The glowsticks weren’t bright enough to give the effect I was looking for so I placed one Dynacore Bicolor Model ELD/T 1X1 LED panel with green gel below the hand+jar. To prevent this light placement from being blatantly obvious in the end image I flagged the side closest to the arm and utilized a bit of Photoshop trickery to match the light quality on the top of the fingers to the bottoms. The key light (another battery powered Dynacore Bicolor LED panel) was placed camera left and well above the mason jar. This light established a daylight/nuetral color temperature on the silver head of the fire fly. This light also added some needed dimensionality to the hand carrying the jar. ***NOTE TO SELF: Real bugs love light. Be ready to spend another 15 minutes after the shoot cleaning bugs out of the lights.***
After some gentle massaging and composing of background elements in Photoshop we have the final image.
Hi Justin, quick question.
How did you find the Chinese sliding back on the horseman in terms of general precision and focus accuracy ?
Thinking of picking one up to use with my Ebony to shoot some landscapes. Probably hire a p45+ back now an then to use with it
I currently employ a Chinese sliding back on my Sinar X and Horseman LE 4×5 cameras. Having past experience with the Phase One branded Flex Adapter I can tell you that focus accuracy is extremely similar to that of the Chinese copy: piss poor. The Phase One Flex Adapter is roughly ten times the cost of a Chinese copy and they both serve one job well, which is keeping your digital back clean while you are utilizing the ground glass. The ground glass on a sliding adapter will get you very close, but for an accurate focus the best thing you can do is shoot and check. If you happen to utilize a back with decent live view (p1 iq series and certain sinarbacks) you won’t have this problem. I’ve found myself employing a system of acquiring focus with the ground glass, rolling the focus gearing back one notch/gear on the Sinar X, shooting, and checking by zooming on the horrible screen on the back of my P25+. This gets me extremely close, even shooting wide open (see below).
If you can stand to tether, using Focus Mask in Capture One Pro will make the process much less painful. Using a tape measure and focus mask is how I focus successfully with the viewfinder-less Cambo WRS-1000 camera. I only bust out the Cambo WRS ground glass if I am using dramatic tilt/swing movements, and even then it is difficult to see without shooting and checking. I hope this sheds some light on medium format ground glasses for you.
We all know moving can be a pain. Especially when doing so in a midsize sedan or smaller. Most of the time it’s smart to rent the Uhaul…or better yet pay someone else to do it entirely.
Working on a public service announcement about drinking and driving I decided to use the manual transmission of an automobile as my main graphic. I used the columns/stems of the gear box to illustrate a funnel chart demonstrating the choices one has when they are finding a way home after and evening of indulgence.
Although I could have easily shot a shifter in a car I chose comfort and ease in having a shifter/base removed and shipped to me for studio shooting. Originally I had planned to stick the shift knob on dowel that I rigged to a stand but after eyeing up the actual shifter knob I found that it fit right on the top of my Manfrotto stacker stand without much rigging. The leather cuff of the base was also tight enough that the entire base could be suspended/supported by the adjustment latch of the stand.
The entire shoot was powered by a Broncolor Grafit A4 RFS power pack. A Pulso G2 was shot through a large Calumet softbox to emulate a wide windshield. The sunroof was emulated by a Broncolor Boxlite that I slightly diffused/obscured with a nearby shoot through umbrella. Side fill was provided by two sheets of white foamcore.
When editing an image like this one usually had the choice to use CGI/3D rendering or create a physical model/object to shoot. I chose neither of these options and experimented with the built in bevel and embossing features in Photoshop CS5.5. I found that when each character/emblem (shot glass, beer bottle, skull, etc) was seperated by removing global lighting I was able to re-engineer from my original lighting setup how the shadows should fall. A slight liquify tool was administered to all emblems to add to the dimensionality of the shift knob.