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Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Playing with Marbles

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Last week, I spent a couple of enjoyable hours playing with marbles. Loyal readers will recall I sometimes do closeup (macro) shooting of marbles or other colorful objects. This is partly for fun, partly for testing out lighting ideas and partly just a creative exercise.

 

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Here’s an iPhone picture of my setup.  The marbles were propped up on an upside-down Chinet plate, with a blue poster background for most shots, and two lights on the sides in umbrellas (one visible in the upper right corner here).

The camera was on a tripod – something I never do when shooting portraits.

 

 

 

 

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There wasn’t much editing in Photoshop for these – punching up the color slightly was about it. In most of the pictures, there’s very little area in sharp focus. In the photograph above, just a tiny bit of the blemishes in the green marble is sharp. And of course there’s a marked drop off in focus as you move further back in the image – I purposely went for a very narrow depth of field.

As always, I’d welcome any reactions, comments, questions on the pictures.  I’m aiming to do more of this type of shooting over the next few months – who doesn’t enjoy playing with marbles?

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.
“Individual, Indelible, Iconic Images”

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Mentoring a Young Photographer

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(Click on any picture to see a LARGER size.)

This afternoon, I spent some time with my friend, Ashley, giving her some tips on photography.

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Ashley has really gotten the photography bug. At age 13, she is off to a great start. She has a good eye and is already taking some very engaging pictures.

I’ve had quite a few photographer friends that have mentored me along the way, so I’m always happy to help others.

Ashley’s family has been dear friends of ours for many years and she is a delight to hang out with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below, in the shade by the swimming pool, we discussed the finer points of auto-ISO, depth of field, composition and shutter speed, among other esoteric subjects.

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I quoted Cartier-Bresson, one of my favorite photographers, who said, “My first 10,000 pictures were my worst.” He was saying, of course, shoot, shoot and shoot more. This is just what Ashley is doing.  She even goes under the tree where the bugs are to get the shot!

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In the picture below, Ashley is dreaming of her next new lens. (Sorry, Mom and Dad!) And yes, I told her that the rule is to have the eyes in focus, not whatever the person is holding. But we both liked this rule-breaking image.  Look forward to shooting with you again, dear one!

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.
“Individual, Indelible, Iconic Images”

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Channeling Martin Schoeller

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Martin Schoeller is a very famous portrait photographer with a unique and instantly recognizaable style.

At right is a portrait he took of Jack Nicholson, which is pretty representative. Schoeller is shootng up close to his subject and uses two vertical strip lights, one on each side of the camera. Notice the two catchlights in the eyes. The expressions tend to be serious or almost blank. The eyes are in very sharp focus but most of the rest of the head falls out of focus fairly quickly.

His subjects are almost always squared up to the camera. And the background lighting is always brightest close to the shoulders and less bright higher in the image.

Here’s another portrait Schoeller did, of Timothy Geitner, for the New York Times Magazine cover last weekend.

 

 

 

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I’m intrigued by Schoeller’s work. It certainly causes the viewer to look twice. And there is a strong connection between the subject and the viewer.

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You can see more of Schoeller’s work here.

I think the technique works better for men than for women. Cate Blanchett was likely game for this picture, as there are thousands of flattering images of her. But I’m not going to try this lighting technique on my female clients unless they ask for it!

This morning in the studio, I experimented with Schoeller’s style with a few selfies. I had some with the blank/serous look, but decided to edit one with at least a hint of a smile.

I’d love to know what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

“Individual, Indelible, Iconic Images”

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