Archive for January, 2008

27Jan08Gel that Flash

Well it is officially the “off season” heheh. I have not taken a photo in a while :) I thought it might be time to share a little something I have learned recently. Let me preface this by saying I have learn this stuff by reading other blogs and talking to other photographers… nothing new here just something I have started to put into practice.

So what is it? Gels. What do you use them for? To balance or alter the color temperature of light sources. Typically when I use a flash, it is for lighting a subject in a semi dark room at say a a wedding reception where there is usually some light from wall and ceiling lights and sometimes more like candle light… Mixing those light sources with a flash can result in very ugly lighting. Cool (daylight balanced) light from the flash on one side of the subject and warm (tungsten and warmer balanced) ambient light on the other. Most of the time it is not very nice to look at and it makes color correction a very difficult job. Luckily there is an easy way to get more balanced light and it happens with the gels.

All you have to do is gel your flash so that the light coming from the flash matches or at least more closely matches the ambient light. It is that simple. I know this was not very in depth but I decided to write and demonstrate this way to late. Not to mention that you can find this very info a multitude of other places on the web (like the places I got this info :) )

  • The Strobist – Link
  • Lighting Mods – Link

For starters I would recommend at least having a CTO (balances flash to tungsten), a 1/2 CTO (not quite as strong), a Green (balances for fluorescent ), 1/2 Green (not quite as strong). Those will get you through most scenarios just fine. I keep mine in a little envelope I made for them out of cardstock but any old envelope would work. Then I just slide them in my camera bag so that I have them when I need them.

Here is where I got some of the supplies:

  • Flash Gel Filter Pack – came with 5 each of 10 colors- Link
  • Speed Strap – You can use rubber bands or regular velcro but these are REALLY nice – Link
  • iKlear Apple Polish – who doesn’t love a clean monitor? – Link

Here are a few pics of the supplies and a before and after type of pic to illustrate.


16Jan08Fun with my Camera Phone

I have been thinking lately that I wish I had my camera with me more. Most of the time it is for stupid little stuff that I find amusing or something I want to remember. Then all the sudden it dawned on me that I have my camera phone for these sorts of things. Then I remembered how horrible the picture quality is and decided to live with it.

So I have been taking random pictures of stuff and thought I would share some of them periodically. I am categorizing these posts as “Camera Phone Fun.” Should be fun. So here is my first installment. I will have some descriptions as they are warranted in the popup when you click on the thumbs below.


13Jan08Ellie Turns 2!

A couple weeks ago Alison asked me to photograph her daughter’s second birthday. I said of course, of course. I got up to their house a little early to be greeted by a view that was as good as any in the area. Overlooking the Tennessee River gorge which was under a blanket of fog. It was really cool.

After brushing Ellie’s pony Sweet Pea, Alison took me in to meet Ellie. I could hear her singing in the back room as she got ready… Then she saw me and got really quiet :) I seem to have that affect on little kids until they come around. She proceeded to show me all her toys and finally started to loosen up once all her little friends started rolling in. Needless to say they all had a lot of fun! Thanks for having me guys!

Click HERE for a slideshow and make sure to click on some of my favorites below.


10Jan08Studio Lighting on the Cheap

Last night we had the monthly meeting of the Chattanooga Photography Group and we talked about Do It Yourself lighting for portraits. It was fun and a bit of a challenge for me to make it interesting :) So I will tell you a little about the setup and then put in a few pics of the results.

I have used this setup in various forms a few times before I got my speedlights and it works really well if especially in close quarters. I started with 2 – clamp work lights with 10″ aluminum reflectors (Link) each with a 200 watt bulb. Ready three of these would work better but I forgot one of them at home so we had to make due with two! Added in 1 – white matboard for reflecting in some fill light. For a backdrop, I was lazy and used the nice Wescott dual sided folding backdrop that I bought later on but had I the time, I would have stopped and picked up a set of black sheets or something just to illustrate how simple this all can be.

For the setup I clamped the lights on light stands (again sub in a tripod or anything that will get the light at the height you like) one to camera right as close as I could get it to our subject without making her uncomfortable. Then for some I added in the second light around back on to camera left for a rim light. Then add in a reflection fill from the mat board to camera left and you have standard portrait lighting on the cheap.

The whole setup cost me like $30 using some stuff I had around and some stuff I bought. So here are some resulting pics.


3Jan08Google Reader and New Site Feature

Over my Christmas vacation, my brother in law Alex introduced and consequently sold me on Google Reader for all my RSS needs. For those of you who don’t know what RSS is check it out on Wikipedia and then go get your Google Reader setup to handle all the RSS feeds you will undoubtedly start monitoring.

As many of you know I am a serious blog stalker. I monitor about 70 blogs daily. Doing that all in a browser was tedious so I started using RSS and never went back. I used to frequently email people about stuff I had seen or wanted to share. Also tedious. So with Google Reader you can setup a cool little thing to go on your blog or website with all your shared stories as links in it. You will now find all the stuff I choose to share in a little box on the right hand sidebar of this blog entitled “around the web”. Some may interest you some may not.