Posts Tagged ‘Strobist’

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Food photography, or something like that…

August 23, 2009

Yet again, I am pushed to the limit.   My photo bud has beat me to the punch and he has again made an image ahead of me. On top of that, I have to watch a movie with my boy, which is mostly in Afghan language… in subtitles.  So if I  become incoherent… it is because of Kite Runner, so far it has been  quite good… but distracting to photography.

I had to scramble to do my assignment.  I had to make something simple.

Off to the fridge!

A lonely tomato.

I shot the tomato using a white plexiglass which I picked up in a signage workshop when I was still stationed in Thailand.  Got it for free and I still kept it and brought it with us here in Singapore as it is quite useful…

That plexiglass got me my Istock contributor status… it been really good.

I had cut the tomatoes and place them on top of the plexiglass put a Canon 550 ex underneath set at 1/4 power. The flash was triggered by a poorman’s wizard.

That’s pretty much it.

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the Generic Asian

p.s.  Here are his images and explanation

used available light (direct sun)

f7.1, 500s, iso100 (veg 016)
f7,1, 40s,  iso100 (veg 008)

these 2 are a staple in every refrigerator unit in the philippines.  its almost that a day will not pass that the simple onion and / or tomato will not be pulled out for use in the kitchen (in this case differently).  used most often as an ingredient to dishes, in the philippines, it extends its use as salsa or salad.  you see us pinoys can barely eat our food without having ewach and everyone’s side dish of salad (in our case its called “sawsawan”) which literally means to “dip”.

Jerico... my friend's image set upNice simple set-uplast one
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Spoon & Fork

August 16, 2009

Being Asian, by and large, you either eat with your hands or with chopsticks.

On the other hand, some come from a part of Asia which uses the spoon. I use it as part of my regular arsenal of dining artillery.   Yes I like my spoon as much as I like my fork.  Let’s say I am an equal opportunity diner.

In photography however, the spoon has been difficult to photograph side by side its beloved partner, the fork.

The shape and curves of the spoon and the fork are different.  Those westerners may have been onto something.

This is again part of a series of images we will be trying to make on a weekly basis.

I found that it was extremely difficult to include both in one image.  My agreement with my shooting buddies is that we will shoot both spoon and fork in one image.

Very challenging from a lighting and  composition point of view.

fork in chili

The thing with shiny objects is that they are a beast to light.  This was particularly difficult with the fork I used, as this was our normal everyday utensils.  They were scratched and abused and therefore not very photogenic.  I also could not polish it as my wife would probably kill me if she sees me using some form of chemical to polish them.

To overcome this, you would probably want to kill all the shadows.  I did this by using a extremely large light source, which is not so difficult if your photographing small objects.

The other thing I had to watch was the reflections.  To recall, light travels in a straight line.  Placement of the subject relative to the light and lens is critical.

I shot the above image with a Canon 550 EX on TTL, with exposure bias of + 2.  The Speedlight was fitted with a softbox.  I set the aperture at f 2.8 aperture priority.

See my setup here.

set up shot

I had to shoot at almost 90 degrees to the softbox to avoid glare and reflections.   I also used a white plate below which helped fill in some shadows.  I also brushed some oil to the chili so we can get the pickled fresh chili look.

I thought it was a pretty neat and simple setup.  No frills TTL lighting.

However, I was still spoonless!  SO in my lame attempt, here is a shot with the agreed spoon.  The chili was added to the scene to create tension.  I can here the fork whisper “Come on Ms. Spoon… spice me up!!!”

fork in chili 2I also added a yellow kicker to give the spoon some points for interest.

Anyhow, that’s it for now.  I am open to suggestions and comments so please drop me a note or two.

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the Generic Asian

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Old Speckled Hen – Beer Photography

August 10, 2009

I recently had beers with a friend and he is a big fan of this beer.

From where I sit. Its not the best tasting beer, but my friend loves it to bits.

Anyhow, the beer as long as it is not made from sewage water is great especially when your around people you like.

Shifting gears, as part of an ongoing project with another friend of mine, we agreed to take photos using our available portable flashes and this time photograph beer.

This time he submitted earlier than me so I had to rush.

I basically used coffee to simulate the Old Speckled Hen Beer look and used soap as my foam.

I did use one light the Sunpak 120 J bounced off the white wall.  The flash is triggered with a cheap wireless trigger bought from Ruby Photo from Singapore.

I used a Canon 40D hand held set between f11 to f 20 @ 1/250th of a sec.

Hope you like it!

all photos are photos by the Generic Asian except where indicated otherwise.

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the Generic Asian

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Studio tabletop lighting on the cheap

July 26, 2009

I have been working with a friend on possibly doing something photography related.  I won’t go on specifics, but I must say its not been that easy.

Things get complicated rather quickly and because its complicated things just fizzle out.

Anyhow, this was actually the theme of my post today and its about lighting done simple and on the cheap. Actually, the general idea is we will try our best to photograph something as mundane as pencils and see how we can make it look “professional”.

So with that theme in mind, I needed to start on something simple everyday items you find everywhere and I decided with a friend that we were going to photograph pencils!

Ordinary everyday used pencils shot with available light

With the theme of simplicity in mind, I took a bunch of old pencils sharpened them and then bound them together with a rubber band.

Again, in keeping with the theme of simple & cheap, I decided to use available light and a simple torch light which anyone can buy for a few bucks in any decent store or grocery. I decided to use an led torch from Osram.IMG_0661

Simple setup in my "home studio"

The whole set up is simple.  I needed to mount the pencils so they stay still.  (very easy, pencils never complain, even when you tie them up).

Then, I set the camera at f11 for 25 secs. closed all the lights, put the camera on timer then push the button.  Actually the time was not much of a factor, I think, all I needed was about 8 – 10 seconds of “lighting time”.  Because it was completely dark, my eyes needed a few seconds to adjust, thus the 25 seconds shutter speed.

I “lit” the background first, then the pencils in the foreground paying attention to the highlights on the pencil.   I had to make a few trials, but overall, this was a pretty simple technique and a cheap one at that.

All photos were shot with a Canon 40D using a 100 f 2.8 lens

KISS “Keep It Simple Stupid” approach also works in photography lighting!

That’s it for now… see ya!

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the Generic Asian

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Khun Am folio

October 23, 2008

I was listening to a podcast by Brooks Jensen called Lenswork.  He is probably one of the most insightful photographers I have come across on.

In one of his podcasts, he did mention that he was working on what he called a folio.  A folio, as far as I can remember,  is a body of work without it necessarily having tied up to a theme.

So this week, I would like to share with you a folio I shot for a model who wanted to build her book.

I shot the sequence of photos entirely using one or two canon 550 ex off camera.

You can see the rest of the photographs I made of her here  http://www.flickr.com/photos/thegenericasian/sets/72157608168640812/

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the Generic Asian

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Photography and intimacy

August 18, 2008

I recently shot with 5 guys…  and when I mean shot I mean photographed the model above.  I have never done a shoot with 5 men before.  On top of that, we basically needed to finish the shoot in 4 hours.

Now, we are a bunch of amatuers and we do this just for fun.  But boy was it physically and mentally demanding as I was the only one who had a sense of how to photograph using flashes or strobes… in this case we used a couple of Canon 550EXs.   Multiply that by the heat in the gym…  let’s just say I was a bit pressured.

I did not realise that shooting with four other photographers was not an easy thing to do… you had to shoot, fire and nail the money shot everytime…

Let’s do the math.. we had 4 hours divide by 5 = 48 minutes per photograher… we wanted to do at least 3 layouts = 15 minutes per then subtract the costume changes and the breaks and the time to set up the lights.. we basically had close to nothing left worth of time.

In short, taking photos with 4 other guys is not exactly a lot of time…  it is very much like making love, but you only have 2 minutes to get it done and over with…   There simply is no time to be intimate.

You basically become a plumber… you get there, open your tool box, crawl under the sink, shut up and do your job.

Don’t get me wrong I loved it… it had a heck of a time shooting with this guys… it was great fun.

I think despite the fact that we did not have much time… I guess you can tell from the photos that it was fun… or so I hope.

Here is pretty much how we lit the scenes…

The photo on top of the article was shot with two lights on a white foam core as background.  I placed a bare flash to it the background 2 stops over the main light which was on a shoot through umbrella.

On this next photo, we basically shot the model with a basic umbrella as the main light and a snoot for the hair light.  I had placed a white reflector opposite the main light and white foam core board to reflect light under the chin and that was it.  So far, it looks good to me.

There are a couple of more shots that day…. it was great, it was challenging and most of all it was fun.

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the Generic Asian

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Water in Bulb

August 4, 2008

Just sharing how I shot this…

Basically dismantled two bulbs.. on by mistake really… so I had to do it again.

I had injected th bulb with some water, recapped it with the second bulb.

Then i set it on a blue background aimed the snoot behind the bulb… gelled it with blue and yellow cokin filters then fired away.

The effect varies as you change the position of the filters.  I like it… and I hope you like it too.

Shot it it with one lightsource using an “old” Canon 550EX on a lightstand, I attached a home made snoot.  No Photoshop was done all in camera.  : )

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the Generic Asian