Camera Porn, How-To

As usual I get email/twitter questions that surprise me anyone would want to know. For the two people that asked as well as anyone else remotely interested, here’s the how-to for a few eBay shots I made in my Leica fire-sale over this weekend.

The Gear

  • Nikon D600 - you know, the one the internet tells you just cannot make pictures due to dust and oil.
  • Broken Nikkor 105mm AF (pre-D) Micro
  • Manfrotto 3221 Tripod — the black one as that’s critical, the black ones look way cooler than the silver ones, do they even sell the silver ones anymore? Back when I bought this one it was hard to find in black and they used “Bogan” in big letters and Manfrotto in small letters.
  • A way too expensive Gitzo Ball Head
  • A super cheap but really nicely constructed Fotodiox 63 in 1 48” reflector That I happened to use in “scrim mode”. In other words with the reversable black, white, silver, gold, banana, red, white, blue and purple cover off and so it’s a big translucent white silk.
  • A 25 year old American Airforce brown leather bomber/flight jacket I got from some surpluss store.

The Setup and Techno Details

After a few pots of coffee I had the energy to make a few pictures of the last eBay item for the weekend. Not that it takes a long time, it’s just boring as hell.

The sun was directly streaming in a window facing east this morning. I positioned the scrim directly in the sunlight so it was casting a big oval shadow across the floor where I happened to want it. You could call this diffusion if you like but it’s important to note that there was still direct sun blasting all around it hitting everything else in the room. I propped the reflector up and at the angle I wanted using a handy dandy camera bag. Too lazy to get my whiz-bang reflector holder arm/boom/stand out of the trunk.

I chucked the jacket on the floor as a nice backdrop (nice = convenient and not too ugly) and proceded to go to town. Going to town happened to be a quick custom WB using my pocket color checker and arriving at an exposure of 1/10s f/16 @ 400ISO after a guess and a test shot. None of that is super important, what is important is where I choose to position that diffuse oval of shade on the floor. I choose it because it was really close to a reddish-brown-warm piece of furnature that was bathed in sun really close to that spot. That’s where the warm/orange/gold opposing highlight is coming from. The rest of the room averages around a slightly warm/nuetral which as I mentioned is also being blasted by the sun. It’s not quite as strong as the sun filtered through the white scrim but a nice ratio for this sort of stuff. If you used two scrims the ratio would be even closer. The filtered/difuse sun would get darker and the bounce-back from the rest of the room would stay the same along with the warm highlight I pointed out… Might be better for a portrait.

So there you have it. Studio on the fly.

RB

blog comments powered by Disqus