Archive for June, 2011

Teaser: Gabriel & the Apocalypse Promo

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

I jumped the gun a while back in posting a full set of these, but for now here’s a teaser of a promo shoot I did with Minneapolis hard-rockers Gabriel and the Apocalypse about a month ago. This shot were taken on the fourth floor of the Guthrie Theater, in a lounge area dimly lit by warm incandescents was offset by that cool blue background. Those colors are there “in real life” and not done with either my own lighting or post-processing. I popped a single flash into a bounce umbrella at camera right to light this, hiding it behind a wall so as not to get reflections off the glass in the background, and dragged my shutter big-time (down to 1/10 of a second for some shots) to let in that colorful ambient light.

Promo shoot: Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Last year when I was poking around the underground music scene a bit here, I stumbled across a show by Gabriel and the Apocalypse, got some fun live shots, and later did a quick shoot for the band’s frontwoman, Lindy Gabriel. Yesterday I did some shots for the band’s upcoming album, in two distinctive locations: the Guthrie Theater, which is full of awesome spots to shoot and has a staff that apparently doesn’t care at all if you come in without asking and set up a bunch of lights; and Coldwater Springs, which I’ve been to a few times lately. I’m posting a couple highlights here; there are a few more on Flickr. If you haven’t already, please check me out on Facebook or on Twitter to keep up with my work!

The above was shot on the Guthrie’s ninth floor, which has these insanely tinted windows (those yellow tones aren’t Photoshopped at all) and a pretty stunning view of the Mississippi River. A simple two-light setup snagged us the above shot.

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

These two shots were taken on the Guthrie’s fourth floor, in a lounge area dimly lit by warm incandescents was offset by that cool blue background – again, those colors are there “in real life” and not done with either my own lighting or post-processing. I popped a single flash into a bounce umbrella at camera right to light both of these, hiding it behind a wall so as not to get reflections off the glass in the background, and dragged my shutter big-time (down to 1/10 of a second for some shots) to let in that colorful ambient light.

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Then we moved to Coldwater Springs and used a couple spots there: first a graffiti-filled stall of some sort that I’ve used before but is just too good to pass up, and then a simple shot from the road with a decrepit building in the background. For the first shot I used two unmodified speedlights, one on each side of the band, plus a background light behind them putting some extra illumination on the walls. The second shot was tougher, as I needed two unmodified speedlights at full power to keep the ambient down (late afternoon sun isn’t much easier to deal with than midday sun!), and still needed some post-processing to get the exposure to somewhere near what I wanted.

Thanks to GATA for being awesome and easy to work with – I’m looking forward to seeing a few of these photos in their promo materials and album art.

Molly & Sam, brighter than the sun

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Molly & Sam

This is just one of several great shots I got in doing an engagement shoot with a couple friends. We were at Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, which might just be the single biggest wedding-and-portrait-photographer-magnet in all of the Twin Cities. Unfortunately, the only time we were able to meet was late morning, and the sun was shining full force. We did a few basic shots in the open shade and then venture atop the bridge and I struggled with mitigating all the harsh shadows that go with midday sun.

For this shot, I zoomed a single SB-900 in tight on Molly and Sam’s faces, turned it up to full power, dropped my ISO as low as it would go and stopped down my 14-24 all the way to f/22. I got what I was after: a darkened scene with Molly and Sam lit brightly by my flash. (In retrospect I wouldn’t have zoomed the flash quite as tightly, which would have lost me some brightness but gotten me a bit more density in their bodies and legs.) I don’t really recommend trying this with Speedlights if you have studio lights handy; the SB-900 overheated after not all that many shots at full power, but luckily I got what I wanted within the first few frames.

Another thing I don’t recommend: shooting at f/22 without doing a thorough sensor cleaning beforehand. Gross.

Alex & Ali at Coldwater Springs

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Alex

In the past week and a half I’ve shot with two models, Alex and Ali, at Coldwater Springs in Minneapolis: a great location with a bunch of abandoned government buildings. Even though most of the buildings are tightly boarded up, there are still plenty of great backgrounds to be found in the environs. My shoot with Alex was a morning shoot – I don’t normally like shooting in the late morning because direct sunlight isn’t really always the kind of lighting I’m looking for, but this shoot turned out well because we had plenty of spots with nice open shade. Alex was a total pro, and adapted well to the environs; we went for a semi-fashion look that was a neat contrast to the surroundings.

Above and immediately below are close-up shots with just natural light and my 85/1.4 wide-open. For the shot below I fiddled with a tonal shift in Photoshop, not a processing technique I normally use, but I liked its effect for this shot. The one below that is a more complicated one: we were inside a large electrical box that had been stripped bare except for a few unidentifiable (to us at least) metal protrusions. I lit the inside of the box using a Speedlight bounced off a white umbrella, and then added two blue background lights shooting through grates on the side of the box. Because of the extremely tight confines I had to use my 14-24, hence the distortion, but I think it works nicely.

Alex

Alex

With Ali, I similarly did a bunch of natural light shots in the open shade, and then tried a few things with some lights. One of Ali’s outfits was an incredibly awesome colorful dress that worked perfectly for several backgrounds. The first shot below is inside some kind of tiny auxiliary structure housing a bunch of pipes; again, this was a tight fit so I shot with my 14-24. The lighting comes from a single Speedlight bounced off a white umbrella. The other two shots are just natural light; the last shot was a nice surprise: I didn’t go to Coldwater Springs expecting to shoot traditionally “pretty” photos, but those dandelions were a perfect compositional element and too good to pass up.

Ali

Ali

Ali