Sunday, February 28, 2010

I did not fall off the face of the Earth...

I'm still here. Quite active if you see my flickr photostream

Problem is, I can't keep my head above water long enough to breathe. So I can't blog. I can't even sleep (not well at least).

Needless to say, I've been shooting. A lot.

I'll be back. Don't worry. It's just a matter of time before the crazy train slows down just a bit.

I've got vacation in 2 weeks. Until then I'm working 7 days a week 12-15 hour days. You do the math. I'm averaging 100 hour weeks.

;) Still alive, barely.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Alexandra: Face

I must be growing a soft spot or something because I've been shooting stuff with no contrast... Interesting.

Camera: D3/70-200mm f/2.8G @125mm 1/100th, f/5.0, ISO800. Long live the D3

Strobist: Ambient from back. Reflected from front

Model/Wardrobe: Alexandra Mathews

Makeup/Hair: Kelli Zehnder

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Alexandra: Kapow and Lean

Okay, I need to reboot soon so I'm going to make this quick.

A few updates. Actually I'm going to save this for later since I'm running out of time. Suffice it to say that my post work is speeding up just a little. Maybe 20%

Camera: D3/24-70mm f/2.8G @44mm and @70mm, 1/200th, f/9.0, ISO100

Strobist: AB800 in 40º gridspot from camera upper left.

Model/Wardrobe: Alexandra Mathews

Makeup/Hair: Kelli Zehnder

Friday, February 12, 2010

Alexandra: Soft Spot (1 & 2)

Just in case you were thinking "All Charles does is hard lighting and studio work"...

Here's some soft ambient light work!

Camera: D3/24-70mm f/2.8G @70mm, 1/60th, f/5.0, ISO320

Strobist: What strobes? We sandwiched Alexandra between strong backlighting and reflectors in the front. Still underexposed it some though...

Model: Alexandra Mathews

Makeup/Hair: Kelli Zehnder

Wardrobe: Kareena's Trends

Here's part 2:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Alexandra: Blue

First of several I'll retouch from this set. Wanted to export this out first though. What a beast the 70-200mm is to work with. Impossible to focus/recompose even at these apertures. You'll lose sharpness if you recompose. I'm still looking through the pictures and seeing which ones were complete fails LOL!

What's crazy is that I've had this lens for more than 5 years. One of my earliest purchases!

Camera: D3/70-200mm f/2.8G @116mm, 1/200th, f/8.0, ISO200

Strobist: This just gets old. AB800 in 40º gridspot beauty dish from camera upper left LOL!

Model: Alexandra Mathews

Makeup/Hair: Kelli Zehnder

Wardrobe: Kareena's Trends

Here's more:

Shooting Tethered: Part 2

I practiced it. I got it to where Sofortbild would not crash. I practiced shooting with the 6 foot USB cable. I was comfortable with it.

But when it came time to shoot tethered, I couldn't do it.

2 things made me stop.

1. No backup
2. It's too slow

It bugs me like hell that after a day's worth of shooting, I'm transferring the RAW (NEF) files to my MacBook as the sole source of the pictures. What happened to my JPEG CompactFlash card? Don't I have 2 slots? Yes, but I didn't use it today because I thought I'd be tethering so I accidentally wrote to only the first CF card. Anyway my concern is that this process is too risky. Usually I have 1 CF with NEF and 1 CF with JPEG of the same pictures. If one crashes I have the other. I would most likely never lose work. So it bothers me that today I only have 1 copy of the pictures. It bothers me just as much that when tethered, the D3 doesn't also write files to the CF cards. WTF is up with that? Canon got this one right on the money. Backups are a must! Especially on a pro-grade camera.

Secondly. Today we popped off 900+ frames. That's unusual because I usually only shoot 300-500 frames these days per shoot. I got a dynamic model today. She gave me a lot of motion/movement and therefore I needed to follow fast enough. If I shot tethered today, there would have been no way that the MacBook (USB 2.0 file transfer) could have kept up with the writing of the files. Luckily I have a big memory buffer in the D3 which would have served me well if I were tethered too, but the write speed isn't as fast as my Sandisk Extreme III CF cards.

Anyway, I DID use the MacBook after a few test shots to verify that the focus and exposure were correct. I predict that on the next iteration of the Nikon flagship (possibly D4) we'll see an even larger LCD. The LCD can't be big enough. I'd take a 5-6 incher if I could but that's not gonna happen LOL :)

Tethering and transferring to the computer is going to have to wait until there's a better solution. I can't be tethering without a backup. I can't be tethered with wires, too dangerous. I can't be tethering with such slow transfer. I can't wait until Eye-Fi releases a CF version of their card! Or at least until Nikon releases a better Wireless Transmitter!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kelby Training - Light It; Shoot It; Retouch It

Learned 2 things in Photoshop from Scott Kelby:

Bringing out detail in the hair:
Duplicate layer>blend screen>mask>paint back highlights/brighter/details

Getting rid of bags under the eyes:
Clone on lighten blend at lower percentage opacity for darker spots for bags and other things that are too dark... only affects pixels that are dark. Pick an area of skin that has even tonality

I can hear that Scott's using a mouse. Why, oh why are you using a mouse instead of a tablet Scott? :) Very cool with the things that he can do in Lr though! He was really focused on the gritty Dave Hill look though. And he shot a male model which I don't usually (actually ever) do.

As I mentioned, there are a lot of neat things that Scott does with Lr that my workflow is devoid of. I kind of wished he'd show me more things in Photoshop!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sofortbild: Mac/Nikon Tethering

Do I love
Sofortbild? I don't know yet... I'm testing it out as we speak :)

Amber: Pose

Great pose by Amber, not so sure about the left hand though, could be a little more relaxed but overall. Like it.

Camera: D3/24-70mm f/2.8G @56mm, 1/200th, f/9.0, ISO200

Strobist: AB800 in 40º gridspotted beauty dish from camera upper right

Model/makeup/wardrobe: Amber

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tyra Banks

If you can get over how annoying she is in the first 2 minutes, she's got some very good points about life in general!

Bret: Cold

It wasn't that cold. Besides this was probably the warmest she'd been all day with the wardrobe and what not :)

This was not the original crop. The original crop had a lot of length at the bottom and I needed something in a tighter crop. Actually I retouched both these images (this one and Going Rogue ) with the combination in mind. So I needed some contrast. Hence the coloring and the tighter crop. Actually I had 4 images in mind but the other two were too tough to retouch so I opted for just 2.

Camera: D3/24-70mm f/2.8G, 1/200th, f/8, ISO200

Strobist: AB800 in 40º gridspot beauty dish from camera upper left

Model: Brett Harmon

Makeup: Kelli Zehnder

Hair: Michelle Green

Wardrobe: Angelina Scantlebury

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Darlene: Necessary

If you compare this image and the one below it, there are a couple differences.

I spent 2x as much time on the image below, yet it looks strikingly "less real". Going back to the "forest from the trees", I think sometimes I forget that removing all "signs of life" isn't healthy for the image.

Camera: D3/24-70mm f/2.8G @62mm, 1/200th, f/8, ISO200

Strobist: AB800 in 40º gridspot beauty dish from camera upper right.

Model/Wardrobe: Darlene Lutz

Makeup: Kelli Zehnder

Hair: Michelle Green

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Brett: Going Rogue

What's the title got to do with the picture? Absolutely nothing.

I've been retouching most of the pictures that Brett's liked and although that's very unusual, it's time to retouch the pictures that I like... I suppose I'm going rogue!

Here's one of her in color. How rare! :)

Camera: D3/24-70mm f/2.8G @66mm, 1/200th, f/8.0, ISO200

Strobist: Blah blah blah 40º gridspot beauty dish AB800 from camera upper left.

Model: Brett Harmon

Makeup: Kelli Zehnder

Hair: Michelle Green

Wardrobe: Angelina Scantlebury

Friday, February 5, 2010

How it all began...

Hey Gregory, this one's for you :) The following was written on March 29th, 2009, the day I retired from male modeling. I don't know what I was thinking! I had my whole career ahead of me! And I was SUPER hot. What can I say, I wanted to go out on top... oh well. :)

What goes through my head during a Charles Yeh shoot? Let me take you through the bullet points:

What’s the main focus of the shoot? Seriousness/humor for this one.

What’s effect am I going for? Edgy. Hard lighting on the face (snooted SB-800 flash). But we need to make the subject stand out from the background (rim lighting from the subject’s back)

What about the background? Black it out. The subject is the primary focus. Let minimal light spill into the background. Only enough to identify the setting.

What are the details of the subject? It has to be believable. The shorts? Hike them up as far as possible. The headband, necessary for the added effect. By the way, the headband is actually the “belt” of a white robe. It’s about 45” long and needed to be kept out of sight behind my head. The racquet, absolutely necessary.

The colors need to be bright and vibrant. The shoes added color, the shirt stood out like a sore thumb. And the red shorts? Priceless.
The posture of the subject needs to convey realism. Think nerd. Think geek. The hunched shoulders, the shoulder width stance, the facial expression “Can you handle this?”

So, I flew in a model that I know will work for peanuts. He’s easy to work with and doesn’t mind long shoots with hundreds of exposures.

It's funny to reread this 10 months from this picture. I was so inspired and so easily inspired. Now I'm more mad than I am inspired. I'm viciously determined you could say and a lot less naive. Do I still ask myself all the questions above? Not in the same way. I consider things a lot more subtly now and if I do, they are definitely not on the forefront of my conscience but latently being considered... like background tasks on your computer.

To answer your question Gregory, I started with me and an inspiration ( and some time on my hands (I just left my corporate position). I had a few strobes (one SB-800 and one SB-26), a remote trigger, and a bag full of questions that I wanted answered...

Actually Gregory you did me a tremendous favor. Asking me how I started reminded me where I came from. Humbly. I came to blogger in June. Yet I started this journey in February and should have imported my blog posts from my previous blog that I abandoned in order to focus on strictly photography...

But if you're curious, knock yourself out on my walk down memory lane :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rebekah: Perspective

I love the balance, composition, and poise of this one. Admittedly this wasn't the crop at which the photo was taken. There is about 10-15% of white wall added (copied) and pasted onto the left. If you look closely, you'll see where the blend occurred.

Anyway, this is in line with my uber lens post and the photographer's eye. If you train it, you'll have a tool that's better than those of other's and as I've said... it can't be bought.

Camera: D3/24-70mm f/2.8G @50mm, 1/200th, f/9.0, ISO200

Strobist: AB800 in 40º gridspot from camera upper right

Model/wardrobe: Rebekah D.

Makeup/hair: Kelli Zehnder

Anneliese: Filler

So I needed a collage for Anneliese and with the first 3 pictures, something was missing. I remembered seeing a nice collage from
TheSheepShagger and I wanted something similar. I retouch so often but rarely put stuff like this together because I'm lazy. There I said it. LOL! :)

Anyway, I retouched this one specifically for the collage. Admittedly not my finest work, really needs more TLC than I gave it. It was my 3rd retouch that night and I think I had a shoot that day! This crop was not the original out-of-the-box image. I have promised however to shoot more tight crops to work with and not have to crop in post.

Camera: D3/85mm f/1.4D, 1/200th, f/6.3, ISO200

Strobist: AB800 in 40º gridspot beauty dish from upper right. Am I a broken record yet???

Model/wardrobe: Anneliese Nicole

Makeup: Kelli Zehnder

Hair: Michelle Green

Here's the collage:

L U C I M A... the blog

No more separation of church and state.

After blogging for nearly a year as Charles Yeh Studios I have now changed and aligned my blog with my alter ego...

I am L U C I M A

Of course the man behind the curtain is still me. This just makes it easier for all the pieces to come together in a meaningful way. I'll be updating the website soon and need everything to "make sense".

If you've followed me here, your dedication is truly appreciated. This was without warning and the old link no longer works... so without knowing the new link you'd have no way to find this page unless you searched or "Follow" via blogspot.

Cheers :)

The Uber Lens

There is one uber lens out there. It's a lens that is universal mount. Fits on any camera. It weighs nothing and yet it creates incredible contrast and imagery with colors that you can only dream of.

It can't be bought. Though everyone has one, they're not all created equal.

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm not talking about actual "glass". It's the photographer's eye. The "perspective". The "eye". It's the best lens in the world. You can shape it, cultivate it, change it... and best of all it's free.

Shape it literally by throwing on a pair of tinted glasses...

Cultivate it by taking classes in photography or simply having more life experiences...

Don't like what you see? Change it (your perspective) by changing your mood and suddenly everything changes...

In a consumer world where we are driven by the latest and greatest gear, sometimes we forget that the best "gear" you can have is the stuff that can't be bought. The stuff that separates the legends from the average joes.

I've been on a rampage with new photography and retouching but I need more variety... getting bored of the cut and dry studio stuff. I don't know if anyone still reads this since I posted 10 or more pictures without any explanation LOL :) but here's what I promise to do tomorrow if there's a shoot:

1. Take more closely cropped pictures. Hell I'mma take some without eyes/heads/etc. Time to grab that 70-200mm f/2.8G that I swear is broken!

2. Take more angled and varied perspective pictures. I need different perspectives of the same set so that I don't have to crop in post-production. I'm going to mix it up and use both the wide-angle to telephoto in the same set.

3. Try and use ambient light in the shape/form of a bedsheet.

4. MAYBE we'll try the staircase again tomorrow... I tried it once and failed but it doesn't mean it can't be done :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Amber: Spot Corner

A new wall setup. Amber rocking the corner and the "spotlight". Amazing how much you can accomplish with just one light.

Camera: D3/24-70mm f/2.8G @52mm, 1/200th, f/7.1, ISO200

Strobist: AB800 in 40º gridspotted beauty dish from camera upper left.

Model/Makeup/Hair/Wardrobe: Amber Melfi

Candyware: SaveCircle

I like SaveCircle better because it saves to the same folder my file opens from (in Lr). It also got a nicer graphics interface and is detachable and shows time remaining before next save. Again, I don't know if it's malware of what not, but it seems to work as advertised!

Darlene: In red

Red's been a common theme/color lately. Not by design. Just happened.

Camera: D3/24-70mm f/2.8G @50mm, 1/200th, f/7.1, ISO200

Strobist: AB800 40º gridspotted beauty dish from camera front left. AB800 in 20º gridspot from camera upper right.

Model/Wardrobe: Darlene Lutz

Makeup: Kelli Zehnder

Hair: Michelle Green

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Brett: Gorgeous in red

I like evening gowns. Know why? Because I don't have to retouch the skin tones :)

Still took close to 3 hours.

No crash though.

Camera: D3/24-70mm f/2.8G @70mm, 1/200th, f/8.0

Strobist: AB800 in 40º gridspot beauty dish from camera upper left.

Model: Brett Harmon

Makeup: Kelli Zehnder

Hair: Michelle Green

Wardrobe: Angelina Scantlebury

Monday, February 1, 2010

Anneliese: Expression

You can remove all the wrinkles on the face, but just like the overuse of botox you'll wind up with an expressionless face.

I hope my retouches are more "natural" now.

Camera: D3/24-70mm f/2.8G @70mm, 1/200th, f/7.1, ISO200

Strobist: AB800 in 40º gridspot beauty dish from camera upper left?

Model/Wardrobe: Anneliese Nicole

Makeup: Kelli Zehnder

Hair: Michelle Green

Rebekah: Curves

An amazing body with incredible great curves. Oh and I botched the focus on this picture. The face was out-of-focus. I think I might have had the camera on Continuous focus for several frames (or even more than 1 shoot... as I discovered a couple days ago!)

: D3/24-70mm f/2.8G @70mm, 1/200th, f/6.3, ISO200

Strobist: AB800 in 40º gridspotted beauty dish from camera upper right

Model/Wardrobe: Rebekah Davis

Makeup/Hair: Kelli Zehnder

Resurrection: Photoshop Autosave

It was just a matter of time before it happened.

I've seen it happen. I've just never lost any "real" work. Yesterday I was almost done with an Brandy Resurrection after 4 hours of retouching and while playing with the B&W channels (I think I just changed the red channel), the program crashed.

I almost threw up.

Then I took a shower and cussed out Photoshop for about 5 minutes.

Then I looked for a solution.

#1. Disable OpenGL

Disclaimer: This might be a virus. It might be spyware. I don't know. It seems legitimate. I am using it now. I'd suggest you backup your computer before running it. It's Applescript.

Hopefully this will never EVER happen again.

Wacom Intuos 4 WIRELESS

Hot sex. I've always hated wires! More details

Brett: Resurrection

I did this one twice. 4 hours into the first one and pretty much done, Photoshop crashed.

Hence the title.

Can't get over this face...

Camera: D3/85mm f/1.4D, 1/200th, f/8.0, ISO200

Strobist: Actually this picture is inverted horizontally. The light was originally coming from camera upper right but now in this shot would be from camera upper left. AB800 in 40º gridspot beauty dish.

Model: Brett Harmon

Makeup: Kelli Zehnder

Hair: Michelle Green

Wardrobe: Angelina Scantlebury