Monday, December 19, 2011

on Spider Sunday

One reason why I love macro: I can find subjects wherever there are plants.

Last Sunday, after our annual reunion, I decided to go looking for new subjects to shoot. And I was lucky when I found four different arachnids in a hedge in front of our ancestral home. I didn't waste the opportunity to add to my growing collection of Jumping Spiders and Orb Weavers. And it was a good test for my new gear.

I found an orb weaver spinning its web at dusk and I waited until it finished as I could not track its movement as it made the web from the middle outwards. After it finished, the weaver left the web and rested on an orchid root and that's when I got this photo.

orb weaver resting

I call this Jumping spider a ghost as it has semi transparent legs which blend into the leaves. I was lucky to spot it moving from one leaf to another but it was hard to take a photo as it seemed to be aware of my presence and reacted every time I pointed the camera at it. I took the photo of it on the underside of a leaf.

ghost jumping spider

This next Jumping Spider is quite small and was nicely camouflaged in the tree bark. It is about five millimeters and is quite hard to spot. What I like about this one is that it has blue legs and bronze hair.

blue legged jumping spider

For the last photo, I found this on an orchid. Among all the Jumping Spiders I have seen, this is quite unique because it is the only one I have observed to have some sort of a web where it lies and waits. It didn't move a leg when I was shooting as if it wanted to simply hide in plain sight.

orchid jumping spider

I hope someone identifies these arachnids for me. I really wish to learn more about them and I am hoping I would find more of them the next time I visit.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On Sharpness, Composition and Portrait #25

Sharpness and resolution don't matter when there isn't subject and composition -- Kai Wong (DigitalRev TV)

There are times when the photo you like the most in a set is the one that is out of focus, blurred or over/under exposed.

I came in late for a photo shoot. I was drenched in the rain and had a long day in the office. It was on a Monday and people know how much I hate Mondays. But we had Janelle, who I always wanted to shoot, as the model and I didn't want to waste such an opportunity. So I had to make the best of the little time I had (since I came in on the last set) and the smallish makeshift studio setup. I only had my legacy Tamron 90mm f2.5 macro lens with me so all I could do were half body shots and close up portraits. I'm glad I still had some good shots of her.

portrait 25 (1 of 1)

And for the photo I'd add to my 100 portraits, it isn't that sharp due to the motion blur but I like it anyways. It is still a good shot for me. It is a unique addition since this is the first action/in motion shot I'll add to my project.

Portrait #25: Janelle
b&w portraits (2 of 2)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

on Revisiting Dannica

"Seek and you shall find..."

At the request of Dannica, I revisited her shoot to look for one more photo she could use as portfolio for a contest. I found this particular photo. At first it was a bit over exposed but I liked how her beauty radiated through with the setting sun behind her. So I went to do some post processing on it to see what it would look like. And after about an hours worth of tweaking the levels and exposure, I found what I was looking for. Its still over exposed but in a good way. This photo was indeed a diamond in the rough. And I am left wondering why I skipped it before.

Spurred on by this photo, I'll be revisiting some of my other shoots and perhaps I'll be able to find more hidden gems. And since my archives is over a 100gb, I am sure that the odds of finding workable photos are high. This is also a good practice for my post processing skills.

Monday, November 28, 2011

on Rainy Days and Mondays

There are good days and there are bad days. And there are times when one photo is enough to make your day.

I had a recent shoot with Sofia along with some of my Photobomber friends on a rainy Monday afternoon. It was a damp and dreary afternoon. For me, rainy afternoons is the ideal time to sleep. But boredom got the better of me and we decided to proceed with the shoot. And on the first location, I didn't even bother looking for keepers as my brain wasn't working.

On the second location, my friend had the idea of taping a strobe to an umbrella and letting the model use it as one would use a normal umbrella. When I knew I had my shot, I passed on the strobe trigger and called it a day.

Portrait #11 by Darryl Lara (martian1018)) on

Ansel Adams once said that having twelve good photos in a year is a good crop. In the age of digital photography, one good photo per shoot will make it worthwhile. And with a model like Sofia, a shoot is never boring as she has a limitless supply of energy. A fun shoot plus a fun model always makes things interesting.

PS: click the image to be redirected to my portfolio.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

on Portrait #24 in High Key Mono

"One very important difference between color and monochromatic photography is this: in black and white you suggest; in color you state. Much can be implied by suggestion, but statement demands certainty… absolute certainty." -- Paul Outerbridge

Most of my friends say I shoot better in black and white. I don't really intend to shoot everything in black and white but it admittedly does makes my photos more interesting. I have found that I tend to process my ambient light shots in color and my strobist shots in black and white. It probably has something to do with my preference in shooting. I tend to find it easier to shoot in ambient light than with strobes. Although I get more flexiblity when I control the light, I find it much simpler to just find a steady light source. Or probably I just hate setting up the lights. Plus it is easier to balance my lighting when it is an ambient light source.

Here is the latest addition to my portraits project in High Key Black and White. Simple white background, 3 lights and my model Aya. Shes still in highschool but works as a part time ramp model. Its always fun when you have a cheerful model who easily adjusts to the shoot. We had a ton of laughs while doing the shoot.

Portrait #24: Aya

  B&W (1 of 1) 

And it is the first time that we used my house as location for a shoot. I started thinking of putting up a makeshift studio in the garage during the Christmas break. Hopefully, I find the resources and time to do it.

PS: special thanks to Karina Asetre, our MUA and Stylist for this shoot.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On Confidence, Fashion and Portrait #23

The most difficult thing for me is a portrait. You have to try and put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt. -- Henri Cartier-Bresson

I do portraits and I find interesting. Well, not as interesting as Macro Photography; but still interesting. There is that need to show the personality or the soul of the model in the shots you take.

But the hardest thing for me is doing fashion shoots. And in this set, I attempted to do just that. I wanted output that I could place on a billboard. That is something hard for a guy who doesn't really look at magazines or care about whether his shirt matches his jeans.

This shoot was done in one light, with a blank wall that was painted in a funky shade of pink. I chose to do shots with a whole lot of negative space and I used the lighting to walk the eyes towards my subject. It is kind of like those billboards with the negative space where you place the brand or the tag line for the clothing line. I'll just leave that space for my viewer to add whatever he/she wishes.

I know that I need to work on my fashion photography a bit more but this is a start. When I get better with the simple outfits, I'll try and do complicated ones. I'll watch some Zack Arias DVDs so I'd get a better idea of how to deal with fashion photoshoots. Working on my weaknesses would be a real confidence booster for me if and when I do solo shoots.

Here is the set...

Fashion Monochrome
fashion photo b&w (1 of 1) 

Fashion in Motion
fashion photo jacket (1 of 1) 

And before I forget, the model is Margarette Shane. Shes a nursing student at a popular university here and has a really bubbly personality. Though shes not a professional model, she does look the part in front of the camera. Outside the shoot, shes a bit boyish and simple which is a bit of a contrast to what she shows when doing shoots. One thing I do know is that her confidence is evident the moment you see her strike that pose.

Portrait #23: Margarette Shane
fashion photo (1 of 1)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Birthdays and Dreaming of the Beach

Today marks the start of another year in my life.

I have been fond of spend my birthday in a quiet manner. Be it in a coffee shop with good friends or just a casual dinner with the family. I am not a fan of big parties or drinking sprees during my birthday. I want it to be as simple as possible.

And today, I have been daydreaming about being somewhere quiet. I dreamed of spending this birthday in Malipano Island, in one of the cozy Pearl Farm Beach Resort villas with an awesome view of the ocean while drinking a nice cup of hot choco. My friends say it’s a birthday celebration befitting my personality.

And I remember this shot I did about two months ago, in the main villa of Malipano Island while savoring a cup of hot choco early on a Sunday morning. This is a 15-shot handheld panorama of what I was looking at on a comfy couch facing the ocean. I didn't even bother getting up to get a better vantage point. This is the exact view I have been dreaming about the whole day.

pearl farm

Too bad I am stuck in the office doing mundane tasks today. Anyhow, I'll be out early because its my birthday. Happy birthday to me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On Black and White Treatments and Portrait #22

Life is a lesson, you'll learn it when you're through.

Photography for me is an endless learning experience. I shoot macro and learn new things about insects and flowers. I shoot portraits and learn about the person I am shooting. And after shooting, I decide on how to post process a photo. And since I am still in the stage where I do not have a permanent workflow, I experiment on techniques; and again I learn new things.

And in the photo I am going to show, I learned that having a Sepia layer on top of the traditional Black and White layer makes the B&W look softer. I tried different opacity values and layer arrangements. Experimenting on the treatment is as fun as researching things about my macro subjects; and takes up as much time.

The day that I stop learning in photography is the day that it will become boring.

Portrait #22: Genie
love is color...

A little something about Genie, she is a model and singer. As you can see, she is really pretty and she has a voice that is as pretty as her face. She is always seen in product launching events and other events with models. She is probably as busy as I am and this is only the second time I had the chance to shoot her as she is busy with all her gigs.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

On Spiders and Flies

Here I am again, stuck in the office. But I am glad I have new insect macro shots to blog about.

First is the common Striped Lynx Spider (Oxyopes salticus). It has thorns on its legs, eyes on top of its head (probably to see horizontally when they are in a vertical orientation) and a rather painful (but not poisonous) bite. I see a lot these Lynx spiders in our garden but this is the first time I took a photograph of it feeding. Curiously, it doesn't wrap its prey in silk and drag it away to some dark corner to consume; I found this one on an exposed leaf. And I can say this is a female because that the pedipalps are quite small.

lynx (1 of 1)

Second is a Jumping Spider (Salticidae). This is one of the most common spiders. Scientists say that among spiders, they are the most intelligent. This one is orange, and is a bit smaller than the common ones. I found it under leaf. I can't tell you much aside from the fact that it was the most behaved Jumping Spider I have found so far as it did not move while I was shooting.

jumper (1 of 1)

Lastly, I found this curious looking fly. It is a Hunchback Fly (Acroceridae Toxophora). And upon doing research, it is a parasite that lives inside spiders where it develops into the mature fly that you see. It flies really slowly, I think partly because of its unusual shape.

hunchback fly (1 of 1)

Monday, September 26, 2011

On Different Light Sources and Portrait #21

Always go where the light is...

Lets face it, photography is about light. And I have observed that all great photographers understand light. If you do not know how to use light sources to your advantage then you wont go far in photography.

And in this particular shoot, I had 3 different sources.

First, we were bored waiting for our co-photographers who were doing a client shoot so we decided to play around with two portable light: a battery powered LED array and a circular florescent light powered by a car battery. And we also had the headlights of the car we had with us. So we found something workable and I managed this single image. Note that there is some flaring due to the fact that I was shooting straight into the car's headlights which we used as sort of a rim light.

portraits (1 of 3)

Second, we were waiting for the crew to set up the lights so the model asked me to shoot her inside the coffee shop. The place had an assortment of lights. Just in the stairs they had three different warm lights. This image is what I got from that set. I changed the image to a colder tone since I wanted to accentuate her hair color.

portraits (2 of 3)

Lastly, we played around with strobes and colored gels. We had a strobe with CTO gel (color temperature orange) and bare strobes diffused by a white reflector. I turned it into something vintage because the orange gel already played a lot in setting the tone of the shot. This is also the image I will add to my portraits project.

Portrait #21: Krizha
portraits (3 of 3)

A little background on the model. I met Krizha through a good friend and always wanted to shoot her. When she sent me a message asking for a shoot, I instantly accepted since I wanted to add her to my project. Aside from modelling, she also sings and has a band. This is one talented girl. I promised her a reshoot and I hope that will push through. Hopefully, the next shoot will just be in ambient daylight so I can do much more as that is where I am most comfortable in.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

On Shooting Orb Weavers

The easiest way to find a spider is to follow its web.

Most nocturnal spiders I see are those from the orb weaver family. And the right time to look for one is at about 5 to 6 in the evening. They'd be starting to weave their webs and wouldn't really mind a photographer pointing his camera. But when it finished building its web, most spiders either hide nearby or sit in the center in a tight ball; either way, you'd have a hard time finding an angle for a shot. So the best time to shoot an orb weaver is when it is building its web.

This particular spider I found made its web on our gate. I watched it start moving from one place to another to establish the anchor points of its silky net. And I watched it hastily weave through those points, leaving a thin silk thread to form the orb web. It took me a while before I realized I had to shoot it. It was hard to track as it was moving at a frantic pace. What I learned about shooting orb weavers was that if I held my camera parallel to the web and steadied myself so that the web would be in my depth of field, I could shoot the spider while it moved without having to track it. I don't usually shoot on top of my subjects but I had to if I wanted any output with this one.

orb weavers (1 of 1)

orb weavers (2 of 2)

Oh, I forgot to mention that this is the first time I shot with a strobe during the twilight hours. I think I'll continue shooting more during this time of day. Though I really like ambient light and shooting during the golden hours, this is probably a good time to catch new species of arachnids and nocturnal insects. I'll probably do it again tomorrow if the weather permits.

Monday, September 19, 2011

On Music, Photography and Portrait #20

A little known ritual I have before shooting portraits: I listen to random songs for inspiration.

People wonder why I always have around these huge headphones in my camera bag. It is because I need to crank up the volume before shooting. Music has long been my pick-me-up; be it work related stuff or photography. There is nothing like a bit of alternative or trance to get you going.

And I also turn to music when editing. My output is, more often than not, based on what I listen to. When the song is mellow, I tend to do cross processing or add that Indian summer like effects. When its trance, I go with loud and vivid colors. It is either I match the output to my music or the other way around when I already visualized in my head what I want to achieve. 

Last Sunday, before heading to the shoot, I went with easy Sunday music. Some Maroon 5, Jason Mraz and a compilation of John Mayer acoustics. And on my first impression on the model for Sunday, I knew I played the right songs.

So, the model is Dannica. She's fourteen but is tall enough to pass as an 18 year old. She's mature for her age and much more refined than a lot of the older models I've been in shoots with. You wouldn't really know her age until you ask. I find that younger models are harder to shoot because they lack the attention span (which probably comes with age) but with her, it was a breeze; she knows how to work with the photographer. And I was surprised that it was her first shoot.

Vintage Look
vintage look 

I'm happy with the output. I wish I had more shooting time but I was still struggling with the 90mm manual focus. But again, when it's spot on, the output is cool. I'll stick with the 90mm for now, until I get something like a 50mm f1.8.
Portrait #20: Dannica
Portrait #20

Sunday, September 4, 2011

On Close Ups and Portrait #19

"The eyes are the window to one's soul..."

Before I get caught up in editing the panoramas I took today, I'd like to introduce you (my readers, if there are any) to Lean Mariz. I got an invite to a shoot with her and did not know she studied in Cebu and lives about an hour and a half from Davao City; She came all that way just for the shoot. As a photographer you'd have to feel flattered to know that your model came from another place just for a simple shoot.

Lean (le-an), has this amazing look. Her gaze can mesmerize you into just looking; and her smile, well, can make you smile as well. I had to capture that look so I used a macro lens to get up close and personal with her. And for me, it was the right decision. It was hard as I was using a 90mm lens with manual focus and no light metering. But what was good about it was that I could really get close (six inches from her face) and capture the details in her eyes.

And this was a good shoot for me as I found what lens I am most comfortable with. I think I will need to save up for another 90mm macro lens; this time with Auto Focus and metering. Finding my range made all the difference as I can know concentrate on my own style of portraiture. Its back to the telephoto range for me.

I'll end this blog with my two best shots of Lean.

Raw Beauty
headshots (1 of 1)

Portrait #19: Lean

PS: those with accounts please do add me up :D

Thursday, August 25, 2011

On Ants Marching In

It's raining again, so it means I can blog before I leave the office.

I have long been fascinated by ants. When I was a kid, I would start ant wars between red and black ants. Sometimes, I'd find insects to place in the ant mound just so I could watch those vicious red ants dissect them piece by piece. I was also fond of messing up their scent trails so the next ant following the line would get lost. Its always fun watching ants; or perhaps it’s just me.

And lately, I discovered an ant colony in a shrub just in front of our house. They were bigger than the normal red ants, have mean looking mandibles and brandished stingers at the rear end when threatened. And yes, their bite is pretty painful; I wouldn't recommend going near them.

tamron 90 (5 of 6)

Since I shoot manual using a manual focus lens, I need to first understand how they move and react to me. And the first thing I noticed when I started shooting them is that they are feisty. Any movement near their colony would make the ants show of their weapons to deter you to get closer. But that’s probably the only way to shoot them creatively since as ants, they never stand still for very long. I constantly coax them so that they wont move away while I shoot. That little trick works for me.

tamron 90 (6 of 6)

I didn't spend a very long time shooting as I forgot to clean my memory card before I went exploring. Hopefully, I can find the time this weekend to shoot them again; and hopefully in good light.

tamron 90 (1 of 6)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

On Insects and People

A client once asked me: why do you spend more time shooting insects than shooting people?

She probably wondered because I told her that I spent a lot of time shooting macro when I should be out earning a living to support my hobby. I know insects can't pay me. In fact, I spent more on macro stuff than any other type of gear; I even use my only portraiture lens for macro purposes. The return on investment is practically zero in macro photography. Nobody wants to buy stock photos since its too easy to just go out and shoot. And those darn macro lenses are so darn expensive.

So why do I do it?

Well, for one, there is a different sort of satisfaction in taking photos and learning at the same time. You get to observe insects and other living things up close. You learn how they move, react to people and what they are made of. It's fun to spend hours on end crawling and searching for new insects in a grassy field; cuts, itching and all. And shooting macro is no easy feat especially with jittery insects and all the things that crawl around your feet. I developed discipline and patience; moving slowly and not rushing into things is key in this field.

And there are other things as well...

Insects do not complain how you shoot or what your output looks like after. They don't dictate to you anything and they don't make faces when they aren't happy. Oh, and they trust you fully. How can I say they trust me? Because they sit still. If they don't trust me, they just simply jump or fly away. No words said, no complains, they will just let you shoot if they want you too; creative freedom at its finest.

I wish people were more trusting or honest just like insects.

And lastly, unlike most other hobbyists who aspire to become pro photographers, I do not aim to be like Lito Sy, Dino Lara or any of the other big name photographers. My dream is to be a National Geographic Society photographer. Now, I can't name any NatGeo photographers even after watching that special on macro photography; but I do know I want to be one. Growing up, my dad a whole collection of NatGeo magazines and I read every one of them. And ever since, I wanted to take those kinds of pictures. Shooting macro is my way of somehow living my dream. I am not a NatGeo photographer (yet), but at least I am making interesting photos. That in its self is worth the time and money I spend.

So there... I am, and will always be a macro photographer first and everything else second.

(I'll leave you with my newest addition to my growing macro insect dictionary.) :D

Tortoise Beetle
tortoise beetle

White Leafhopper
white leafhopper

Derbid Bug
derbid bug

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On Portraiture Year One

It has been a year since I started doing portraits. And curiously, I didn't blog about the start of my portraiture journey.

It started with an invite from a friend to shoot with models. It was a holiday and I didn't really have anything else to do so I went. It didn't go well since I didn't know much about portraiture then; the next shoot had similar results. But during my third shoot, I met people who were already into portraiture; they gave me tips on how to do portraits. And it was the first time I played around with off-cam strobes.

That was probably the real start to my portraiture.

Well, it went through the roof after that particular shoot. Everybody from my group was doing portraiture and I must say that we all improved on our skills. There was even a point where we had weeks that had consecutive shoots; sometimes even days. It's all in the name of the love of photography.

I have experienced shooting in a whole host of different locations and themes. I found what I like to do and where I usually fail. I have learned a lot of things over the past year and I am continuing to make myself better. And it's a continuous learning process which I like since being bored will kill my interest. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish my 100 portraits project this year or perhaps early next year.

So, I'm ending this blog with some of the shots from last year I haven't published.

Marie: The Fairy
marie the fairy

Marie: The Fairy in Mono
marie b&w

Jaynie: Split Light
jaynie split lighting

Sunday, July 24, 2011

On Ambient Light vs Strobes and Portaits #17 and #18...

Photography rule #1: always look for the light.

I took portraiture as a field of interest when I started playing around with strobes. I started with ambient light like almost everyone I know and my inspiration for my portraits came from Danny Santos, who is a well known ambient light, street portrait shooter. I also was inspired to do 100 portraits just like him.

And lately I have been leaning towards shooting in ambient light. If you'd ask me why: its always about simplicity.

Photographers these days think of concepts and themes, go with outlandish makeup and costumes, and consume time with setting up and everything else when they should be shooting. Truth be told, I never had a strobist or concept shoot that started on time and ended up the way I wanted it to be. It's not that I don't get good results out of it; its just that I hate having to take too much effort to get where I want to be.

Playing around with strobes has its merits. You'll always have full control of the light source, you can move it around without changing composition. And you light will always be what you want it to be. Not to mention, you can light only the parts of the person you want to be visible, which is impossible with ambient light (or at least I haven't figured it out yet).

So what path do I choose? If given a choice, I'd be doing ambient lighting for its simplicity. I am a firm believer that simple portraits can be great, and can even be better than any studio shoot if done correctly. My aim is to be better in photography and going back to the basics and all natural feel is probably the best way to go.

But that doesn't mean I wont be shooting with strobes anymore... I'll take any opportunity to shoot. So, I'll end this blog with two additional shots for my 100 portraits project. One is done in ambient light and the other is with strobes. The one in ambient light is my best Danny Santos impersonation as of the moment; I'll get the hang of it eventually. I guess you'd be the judge on what suits me better.

Portrait #17: Maggie

Portrait #18: Gail

PS: special thanks to Kaye Garino for the makeup on Gail. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On Shadow Play and Short Lighting

There is a sense of mystery when something is hidden in the shadows...

I've have long been a fan of drama in lighting. You elicit emotions in your viewers even when your subject doesn't show any. The move from light to shadow and how certain parts are lighted and hidden from the viewer makes a photo more interesting to look at. It seems that the subject's beauty comes out more with the lighting.

In this particular set, I did short lighting and made it low key so that I'd get a lot more shadow play. Short lighting is when you illuminate part of the subjects face that is turned away from the camera. I wanted to make it very dramatic by using shadows to hide part of the model's face or body. I got some good shots but had some problem during post processing. I guess I still need to practice on controlling light spills and other things. I'll get better as I go along.

Kaye Short Lighting
kaye portraits (1 of 1)

Maggie Short Lighting

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Burger Joints, Ambient Light and Portrait #16

Simple is better...

On one rainy Saturday afternoon, I found joy in sitting inside a burger joint and shooting in ambient light. No concepts, production or complex lighting; just me and the model sitting down and waiting for the rain to stop.

My model was Luvley and we really did intend to do a shoot on that day in an open field. But the weather did not cooperate with us; it rarely does. So we sat there, patiently waiting for the rain to die down. I knew that we had to reschedule but since the store was empty, we decided to do a simple shoot just to pass the time. And boy, I was happy we did.

luvley b&w portrait

portraits (2 of 2)

Its been a while since I have done something solo but I am quite pleased with my output. And my model did really live up to her name. I've done a shoot with her and covered her 18th birthday but this simple look really suits her beauty. Now I have a portrait of her to add to my project.

Portrait #16: Luvley Mae Amoguis

Sunday, June 26, 2011

On Beauty Shots and Portraits #14 & #15

Its been a while since I last had a chance to write a blog. I've been preoccupied with all the other stuff in my life. I have had a ton of backlogs and some finished output waiting to be blogged. But since its raining outside again, I'll shoot a quick one.

We had a shoot last Friday complete with studio lights. I wanted something unique for my portraits project so I ended up processing two portraits as beauty shots. Normally, I wouldn't go for beauty shots since I am used to doing full on portraits. I'm not used to chopping off the head and shoulders so that the focus would be on the face. And I prefer a different lighting setup too. But sometimes, breaking the habit makes it all worth while. And I am happy that I have two new faces to add to my portraits.

Portrait #14: Roj
roj portrait (1 of 1)

Portraits #15: Mylz
mylz portrait b&w (1 of 1)

PS: Special thanks to Kaye Garino for the awesome makeup and Richard Amora for the studio lights.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On Post Processing Hell and High Key

I have this habit of looking for leftovers inside the fridge in the middle of the night and making a meal out of what I find. It's something I have been doing since college and I usually write blogs while I'm eating; it helps me think better.

Last night, I did something similar. I scanned my old archives for shots I haven't done any post processing on. I actually found a couple of whole shoots that were left unprocessed. Most were dated around November to December last year. Back then I had photoshoots every weekend. The set I chose was one sandwiched between a prenup shoot and volunteer work. I have been trying to find time to do some light post processing for this shoot but newer shoots keep coming up and it gets stuck in the back burner.

In the IT industry, we call projects that are stuck in the back burner as being in the "Development Hell". I'll call this "Post processing Hell" since the shoot has been done but the photos never got to the post processing stage.

Well, I made some progress last night and found some pretty interesting shots of Anne. The photos belong to the High Key session (our group refers to shoots either by the name of the model or the concept); I never got to publish any of the shots from that session. I applied some of my newer post processing workflows to this set; my workflow from November last year didn't really do much to get the most out of my shots. A few plugins here and there, some clone stamps, and then some cross processing and B&W conversions later, I got some quality output. Funny, how a little post processing can go a long way.

I should do this more often as I think I am doing a better job post processing some time after the shoot than having to rush my output. But then again, I don't want my shoots to end up in limbo for a long time.

High Key B&W
Anne in B&W

High Key
plain (1 of 1)

Cross Processed
Anne Cross Processed

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Last of Summer: Portraits #12 and #13

It's the rainy season again which means summer is officially over and schools have opened once again. There is a heavy downpour outside I can't go home so I’ll just write another blog. I think it’s time to buy one of those rain covers for my camera and try shooting bad weather photos again.

And speaking of seasons, I have been shooting with the PhotoBombers in a remote part of the city where I have seen the seasons changed. First it was parched, and then burnt (naturally or via human intervention), then green shoots started appearing and lastly, a spectacular sea of green. It is a very versatile location and that’s why it is my favorite spot; plus the fact that its secluded.

And our last shoot with the waist high grass sporting those fluffy cotton like things on top was for me the most memorable.

We had Dexia and Michelle for models the last time out. Dexia is an image model for a local clothing line and Michelle is a first time model. They were classmates since kindergarten and are practically inseparable; not to mention they mirror or complement each other in looks and behavior. I enjoyed the shoot but I was having a hard time controlling aperture priority mode while being against the light. It was too late when I figured out how to work through it. Lesson learned, next time use the Manual mode. One other thing I failed to do is bring out my zoom lens as I wanted to have lens blur of a different sort. Anyway, I'll get my chance soon.

Here are a couple of shots from the set. I used only plugins for Adobe Photoshop in this set. Nik Software can really make life easier when you know what to do. Since I don't, I spent a week experimenting on what effects to use.

Dexia (Indian Summer)
dexia (1 of 2)

Michelle (B&W Film effect)
michelle (1 of 1)

And here are the portaits I will be adding to my project.

Portrait #12: Dexia
dexia (2 of 2)

Portrait #13: Michelle
michelle2 (1 of 1)