Networking Photo Shoot

The Strobist St. Louis Group will be hosting a photo shoot on November 20th & 21st in downtown St. Louis from 11am to 5pm both days. Ten photographers are setting up in a large downtown studio for two days to network with local people interested in fashion photography. There is no cost to attend for models, makeup artists, stylists and designers who want to network and create images with other local artists.

This is a Trade for Prints photo shoot – there is no charge for photos. We will be working primarily on Fashion and Head Shots but are open to other types of shots as time permits. This is a great networking and portfolio building opportunity for everyone with multiple photographers and models of all experience levels welcome.

I’ll be there both days taking photos. Registration details will be posted shortly.

Mark the date!

Death To Dolls Bring On The Babies

We  had a Strobist St. Louis photo shoot the other night at a venue called “Fear The Drip.” I’m not big on haunted houses but I like taking photographs and trying (some) new things. Dolls seem to take a lot of abuse at this time of the year and this one is no exception. I took this photo before it got totally dark outside and before the fog machines were in full production. After that it was rough going because the autofocus on the camera refused to play in the dark.

The doll photo was taking with my DIY Ring Flash adaptor on the camera and my DIY Beauty Dish on a stand to the right of the camera. The flashes in this photo were triggered with Yongnuo RF-602 remotes.

Of course I had configured the camera settings for something closer to normal conditions and that would not work here. I turned the autofocus assist light back on and switched from continuous focus to single focus. Then I switched from focus release to focus+release. I ended up mounting a flash on the camera to take advantage of the more powerful focus assist light on the flash. I was still shooting off-camera flash with an SB800 in SU4 mode.

Going into this situation I had planned to shoot everything in manual flash and I did until it got so completely dark and foggy that the camera could not focus at all. We went through the haunted house several times and each time I tried a new flash configuration to see what would work best. I wanted to try using the Nikon CLS but that meant I would have to change multiple settings on the flashes. I could use either the SB900 or the SB800 as a Master on the camera or perhaps just the pop up flash. Since I already had the SB900 on the camera I decided just to use the SB800 in SU4 slave mode and keep the power settings on manual. That worked pretty well except that I got one or two random fires from the other photographers flashes going off.

Another reason to own multiple flashes seem to be that you can configure them ahead of time to work in a certain way and then swap them out if conditions change. I usually set the SB900 for iTTL shooting and my other flashes for shooting in manual. If you have plenty of time you can fiddle around with the flash settings and change them relatively quickly from one mode too the other but only if you practice ahead of time and are familiar with the flash menu settings. In this case I had no time to fiddle and no light to work by. I was also pretty limited in where I could place the flash. We were really running to stay ahead of groups of customers going through the haunted house at the same time we were taking photographs.  My friend Darren calls this “run and gun” photography. Once we had the flash and camera settings sorted out we were shooting more than just blanks.

Fantastic Fall

I fell over today. The weather was great so we went to a ride. Taylor found a very twisty road with a bunch of twenty five mile per hour turns. Oh yeah, I survived that but when we pulled over at a turn-out I was trying to turn my bike around and fell over. I wasn’t going fast. In fact I was barely moving. I had the handlebars turned all the way over to the left and was leaning over when the front wheel hit a rock and came to an abrupt stop. Nowhere to go but down, so I rolled off and out from under it. I was pretty mad. I couldn’t even see the rock I hit because it was hidden by some tall weeds. I traced my tracks through the gravel up to this rock that was barely the size of a softball but it was just the right size and shape to stop me cold. No damage done except to pride. The bike was harder to pick up than I thought it would be. I was glad to have help.

Earlier in the day we had gone off the pavement and spent a few minutes riding around on rutted dirt and large gravel. Riding on unpaved surfaces makes the motorcycle act strange and is a little unsettling. Standing up on the pegs is supposed to help the bike work under you but it is also wears you out pretty fast. I guess it was good practice but it didn’t do me much good when I fell over. The other thing was the wind and when you get to 50-60-70 miles per hour the wind makes me tense. Being tense also wears you out. The bike usually goes where it is supposed to regardless of how hard you hold on. Perhaps that is a metaphor for other things. My To-Do List says, “Ride, ride ride.”

The weather in general has been great for the last couple of weeks. So if I must fall, I’m happy to do it during Autumn.