Thursday, October 13, 2011

Todays Shoot - Alesana (live) Lumiquest gear!

SO! if you follow this blog or my concert photography, you know that the Lumiquest 80/20 is not only a staple of my equipment but is KEY to getting the look I strive for in my live photos.

Recently I was fortunate enough to add a slew of lumiquest gear to my arsenal, and what is the best way to test any equipment? Test it in the field!

SO! I brought my 80/20 - along with the big bounce and softbox 3 to an Alesana show. I'm pretty sure the softbox 3 is mainly for off-camera flash, but in concert photography I generally dont use off camera flash, however I plan on testing all this gear out again in a portrait setting.

Anyhoo - I wanted to really experiment when Alesana and Attila came on, so I warmed up with Serianna and Memphis May Fire.

I did my photo shoot with Alesana and ended up missing the first band Lions Lions (while doing the shoot).

I ran down to catch Serianna, and just shot with the 80/20 to get a feel for what the lighting situation would be before even thinking about experimenting.

During their set, their lighting did NOT change from red the entire set... HORRIBLE! but! the best thing about the 80/20 is its powerful enough to clear out the reds from your subject while still bringing in the red stage lighting evenly - which is pretty much unheard of.

check it out - these are at f 8 at a 15th at iso400 - shot with the 16-35 lens using the 80/20. note: these are unedited images.

Next up was Memphis May Fire, and for this band I wanted to experiment a little bit, and again to my utter dismay, the lighting was red for the ENTIRE SET!!! ugh! So I started with the 80/20 for the "safe shots" knowing id get what i needed, then experiment after. These are at the same setting F8 at a 15th - and again - raw/unedited.

Next up I wanted to try out the big bounce because it was the closest thing to the 80/20... kinda. The first thing I noticed was that I needed to back up and jump up my Fstop to F11 - it was BRIGHT! and I believe the artists noticed the change of flash power. But what I found the big bounce perfect for was full stage shots with a fish eye - or close up shots using the 70-200 of the drummer. for drummer shots this light mod is PERFECT! - it throws enough light onto them so they are well lit, and movement is locked in, while not blasting out the stage lighting. - the settings were between F11 (stage shots) and F4 (drummer shots)

Next was Attila - and as always I got my safe shots first - shooting with the 80/20 - and luckily their lighting wasnt RED! yeay! - but it was a bit darker than the other bands blasted reds. SO I was shooting at F9.5 with the fisheye - these are about one stop under where they should be - but none the less - you get the idea - these are unedited

Next I used the softbox 2 with the fisheye and then the 16-35 lens. All in all i LOVE the big softbox for this light set. It filled in everything it needed to, but being that it is stronger than the 80/20 it did bleed out the stage lighting a bit, but not enough to kill the image. this again, was great for bigger shots but was also AWESOME for individual shots, check it (unedited images)

Last was Alesana, I had previously warned them that I would be using all sorts of different lighting when I shot them, so they were well aware haha. I started with the 80/20. shooting at F8 with the 16-35. (unedited images)

Next up I used the big bounce, which, if the artist was too close, it blew out the stage lighting a bit too much, but was great for wider shots of multiple members or fisheye shots. these are at F11 (unedited)

Next up I popped on the softbox 3 - and used it with both fisheye and 16-35. I was at F11 still - and what I noticed is it blends the stage lighting and subject lighting better than the big bounce, but the lighting on the subject is still too hot and concentrated. but its PERFECT for wider shots and for any show with brighter lighting, but with mid to dark lighting its a bit too spotty for close ups. however - PERFECT for wider shots and full stage shots (unedited)

lastly I put the 80/20 back on and finished up with some final shots to compare and contrast from. (unedited)

SO! my thoughts... The 80/20 is still king for what I want to capture - its the PERFECT way to blend stage lighting and get even lighting on your subject for close ups, wide angle, and full stage shots, but absolutely lacks the power to hit the drummer if he is super far away. for that, I would use the big bounce. the big bounce throws light like a football with the precision of an assassin scope and rifle. It is awesome for bouncing light where you need it at the right angle. The softbox is a bit like the mini softbox I used years ago for a few shows, but the softbox 2 just shows that size matters. Making your light area greater is KEY to getting good lighting on bigger subjects. I can easily say that all three of these items will not leave my camera bag anytime soon.

What I would LOVE to do, if I get another big bounce, id love to get innovative and cut up the top a bit to make it like a gigantic 80/20 - I think that could be SO awesome.

all in all the 80/20 is still going to be my primary light mod for concerts. Im going to try them all in a portrait and wedding situation in the next few weeks as well, and see how they measure up.

But all in all, if you are serious about being a photographer, you need different tools for different situations, and Lumiquest mods is clearly what your photographic tool box should be loaded with. I still strongly suggest the 80/20 with frost diffusion for any serious concert photographer who uses flash. its a MUST have

heres where you can get it

ill be updating this blog more often - the reason for its lack of updates is I have literally been shooting almost every day with tight deadlines, so I never have time to do this labor of love that this blog is. I will do my best to back-blog alot of past shoots this year, so keep your eyes open.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Todays Shoot - Blessthefall (days 1 and 2)

Day 1.
Todays shoot is a two part shoot with Blessthefall for the upcoming Outburn Magazine COVER!

So the plan was to do on location stuff the first day in poughkeepsie outside of the chance theater, and shoot in studio the next day.

The drive to poughkeepsie is SKETCH - like straight up farm land most of the way. I havent been to that venue in YEARS so I wasnt entirely sure where I could even shoot, also knowing that it was a fest there would be tons of cars, vans, and buses. (but that also means i get to see my sister and brothers from other mothers IWABO, MIW, and C-GRIN yeay!)

Anyway, I got to the venue, and had a few other shoots to do for Vic Firth. So I got those out of the way then did a bit of location hunting for where I was going to shoot the band. I found 4 spots and thats pretty much all I needed for today as the bigger shoot would be the next day.

So I quickly met the band and found my good friend Bobby was on tour with them doing merch, so it was cool to see him, as i havent seen him since the Eighteen Visions days.

Anyway, so after meeting the guys, we went over to a spot with a green wall and I set up some triangular lighting (two rims one key) all hard light - using two bare parabolics as rims and a large beauty dish on a boom stand about two feet above them pointed at them. all dynalite uni400 jack rabbits. I shot these with the Canon 1ds Mark 2 and the 24-70 lens at ISO100 - F14 at a 50th to bring in some natural light

Next I wanted to get a big sky shot, but instead of standard triangular lighting, I wanted to offset the rims a bit so I took their right (my left) rim and set it a bit back to offset the balance. I was shooting at the same settings aside from jumping up the speed to a 160th - and also switching out to the 16-35 lens for the wide shots

I turned off my pocket wizard and did some natural light solo shots with the 24-70 - i wanted the max depth of field so I shot at 2.8 at a 500th.

Next, I went to a wall across from the entrance which had this crazy colorful painting on it - I shot this with just the beauty dish blasting straight at them, I wasnt really into these shots but heres one so you can see what it looked like - was F18 at a 160th.

The next spot was a concrete wall with alot of texture to it (which I tend to like to use with lighting from above) So I boomed the dish as high up as possible and shot these with the 24-70 and 16-35 at F18 at a 160th - and I made sure the dish was close enough where it would put a ring of light around them, but not put too much into highlights and shadows behind them

I switched off the pocket wizard and went to natural light shooting mainly with the 24-70 at F9 with a 125th - The reason I was at F9 is I wanted to have a wider focus point. and loved the way it turned out in the solos

I turned the pocket wizard back on to get a few quick solos of Beau at F18 at a 160th with the same lighting from above.

I quickly set up two parabolics for triangular lighting for the last set of solos with Beau for the day, and got one of my favorite shots from that day.

It was a great first day of shooting, and ending the day hanging out with my ol tour buddies in IWABO and Chelsea Grin was a great way to close out the day. I sorted out the details for the next day, and we had a good morning of studio shots coming up, so I left a bit early to prep the studio for tomorrow.
Day 2.

the second day of shooting was at the studio. As much as I like shooting on location, at different venues, my studio is where I know exactly what is going to get done before it even happens. So I came up with a game plan of shooting regular stuff in studio, shoot around outside a bit, then finish up with a fun shot in studio, I was thinking something with blood, or weapons, or... i dunno, whatever we come up with.

We started with a 5 light set up. A boomed key beauty dish, two umbrella rims, and two 3x4 soft boxes split for lower lighting (see the set up shot) the dish was at 50% while the other lights were all at 75% to balance the hard and soft lighting. I shot these with the Canon 1ds Mark 2 with the 70-200 and 24-70 (wider shots) lenses. I was at iso100 F10 at a 160th - we did some straight shots, some fun shots and jump shots so we would have a good mix for the mag.

I had an idea to get a heavily shadowed shot where I would do something cool in post with the shadows. Although I didnt end up liking the post production I did (so I never ended up finishing the post) - the magazine liked and used the original images with the shadows. These were shot with a single light with frost diffusion pointed up at them - shot at F14 at a 160th with the 24-70 lens. If i was any good at digital manipulation it woulda been a good idea but... OH WELL! haha thats why im a photographer and not a photoshop-ographer. BUT! theres a set up shot here, so check it out.

Next up I set up triangular lighting, using two parabolics flagged with soft boxes, because this was all hard light, but I wanted the rims to be a bit brighter I left the lighting at 75% for the rims and 50% for the key. I shot both white and pink as an alternate, I dont think the pink ones will ever be used for anything haha. but these are all F10 and a 160th.

Next we went outside. I brought my fisheye along to do some cool super wide shots if lighting allowed. I started with natural light shooting F8 - with fish eye I didnt want to be wide open at 2.8 because alot of it would blur out - so I kept with mid-range. I was at a 125th - and we had a perfect partly cloudy day, so lighting was even with no blasted out highlights.

I set up a beauty dish from above boomed straight over the dudes, and was shooting at F16. I didnt want the light to overpower the natural light like the photos from the previous day on the concrete wall. I wanted more of a blend between the two with little to no heavy shadows so I kept the light away from the wall - check the test shot for example.

We went back into the studio for the last sets. I had Beau write BLESSTHEFALL in fake blood and splatter the background a bit, I figured its been a while since I used alot of fake blood, I was well over due. SO! after the background was ready I had them stand on the background and I started with lighting from above to do some darker photos - using a boomed beauty dish shooting with the 70-200 lens at F10 for the tighter shots and the 24-70 for wider shots. - see the set up shot

I wasnt feeling the darker shots so I used triangular lighting to flood in way more light - again using softboxes as gobos for the rims - and I had beau put blood in his hands (check the test shot) - these were at F10 with the 24-70 and for the last shots I had him take off his shirt and have more fun with it - had the dudes jump back into the shots and do something really "evil metal" looking - as if braveheart were holding oranges as some like to say haha. and THAT is the shot that got the cover...

Yes, they turned the cover shot from a white background to yellow, but the inside shots are still on white - I guess it was to make the cover pop a bit more. anyway..

It was AWESOME getting to work with these dudes, I'm really pumped on how so many of these shots came out, and they are such an excellent band to work with. I'm sure they will be in front of my lens again before the year is out. Best dudes, for real.

I will be putting up prints from this shoot at sometime in the future, so keep your eyes out on the print section.