Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Control vs. The Uncontrollable

Duck and Model. Nikon D3, 50mm f/1.8D, ISO 3200, 1/250th, f/2.8

I should apologize for the new layout because it's more difficult to navigate. I'm experimenting with this layout as I'm working on my website (www.lucima.com) because it is more uniform with my website design.

As I was looking for a specific quote by Richard Avedon, I stumbled across the following:

I think all art is about control - the encounter between control and the uncontrollable. - Richard Avedon

And it gave me the chills thinking about the process by which I walk that fine line between control and the uncontrollable.

If you've read this blog then you know that I've always preached a good technical foundation for every photographer. Learn the ratios, lighting setups, camera settings, etc. You'll need to know these things like the back of your hand so you can improvise.

But art is unpredictable and uncontrollable. When I step onto a shoot, I'm not 100% sure I'm going to get "art". I know for sure I'll get great images, but the magic that transcends ordinary images is transient and hard to create. You might have all the right ingredients and still not be able to create "art".

Friday, November 25, 2011

Trying something new

While it feels like I haven't experimented with shooting anything new in a while, today I had the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone.

There's something to be said about stepping outside your comfort zone. I do this best when I'm comfortable that my mistakes won't come under fire when/if they occur. Which is why I don't experiment when I'm shooting a big production for a paid client. Too risky on all levels.

When do I experiment? On my test shoots. I don't have nearly as much time as I used to, but I test as often as I can to keep my skills current and broaden my skill-sets. Testing allows me to balance my schedule, stay sharp, meet new people, feel the pulse of the industry, practice what I know, find out what I don't know, amongst other wonderful benefits.

I won't go into the specifics of what I tried because that's not the point of this post. The point is that like anyone else, I can fall into a rut and do the same thing over and over again. Fortunately I get bored quickly and usually try something new.

My model today was wonderfully accommodating which allowed me to comfortably be uncomfortable. Like coaxing a turtle out of its shell, I'll stick my neck out if I know the coast is clear.

Below is one of the things I did differently today. Balancing ambient with a shot of strobe lighting creates a dreamy effect that I plan on practicing more in the future. Keep trying new things!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Black Box Marketing

Below is my response with an Internet Brands administrator regarding the EDU content I have on ModelMayhem. We've been discussing the effect of the negative responses on EDU to all the contributors' posts and changes going forward. For reference, many of my posts on MM EDU have been reprinted from this blog. None of them have been adapted for the MM audience. And at the heart of the LUCIMA blog lie personal philosophies, many of which are driving forces in my photography. And with the fledgling MM EDU not fully stating or understanding its own purpose and direction, there has been a disconnect between the content delivered and the feedback received. Below is the resulting discussion:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Workshop Q/A

Monday Mornings. Jordan Daniele.

Here's an excerpt of a conversation I'm having with a future workshop student

I think I would have to do two days with you then, I just have to figure out how to work it into my budget.

I would like to learn how you do your post process work, how you pick a good picture from a great picture, how you retouch, dodge and burn technique, how you network, get noticed, and work with agencies. (west Michigan is more of a wedding photography area) How you interact with the model, how to pick what model to work with for different projects, and how to get published. I would like to spend half the day learning about this with you (would you mind if I bring a recording device to take note, it would be for my own use) the other half I would like to spend shooting with you.

I think the second day (if I can manage it), I would like to spend building my portfolio just shooting indoors and out, with different locations outdoor. I would like to book a second model for this day.

I don't need to learn about setups, lighting, metering or anything that has to do with studio work seeing how I don't own a studio (yet hopefully). I will eventually have to learn, but I feel like I can learn that stuff from local photographers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fast Glass

I've always hated the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D. For me it was always somewhat hazy and lacked contrast and sharpness.

It's not even the best 50mm that Nikon makes. The f/1.4 opens up even more at 3x the price.

Actually this is actually my second 50mm f/1.8D. My first 50mm, I purchased second-hand and after minimal usage, the aperture stopped responding to electrical commands. The physical blades still opened and closed but it just stopped working properly on my digital body.

Today I pulled out the 50mm f/1.8D. My rationale was that I was tired of the lousy bokeh on the 24-70mm f/2.8G. Great lens. Sharp. Great for zooming. But ugly bokeh. Prime lenses do much better in that department so I decided to pull out the nifty fifty and take it for a spin.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Too many full-layered .TIFs

I keep all my edited images in their full-layered states in the event I want to go back and play around and/or re-edit an image.

Problem is that my file names are usually DSC_XXXX.

Recently I've been encountering the following error message:

Thinking Photoshop was lying to me, I have been saving anyway. Little did I know that I was overwriting existing files. My rationale was, "That's impossible, I just shot this. How could there already be a file with that name on my computer?!?"

Simple, my file names have been used and reused because it only records 4 digits (DSC_XXXX).

So I have recently changed my file name to write DSD_XXXX for new file names that won't recycle at least for a while.


Bekka at Vasquaz Rocks

I've been asked to talk about "tilting".

I had no idea it even had a name. I think "tilting" refers to shooting an image without regards to the horizon being flat and straight. My initial response was that I hadn't thought about it enough to verbalize an intelligent response.

Well, here's my attempt at verbalizing an intelligent response.