Light from an earlier time

10-06-2008

This still life depicts a soft moody setting, with the viewfinder lit much more brightly than the rest of the scene. Naturally, your eye will go the brightest part of an image, so make sure that the brightest part of the image is the most important part.

This image was taken in a very dark room with a 20 second exposure; the lens was set on f/22. Using a technique called Light Painting, the entire scene was “painted” with a small LED flashlight. I kept moving it around the center of the scene to give a brighter center and darkened, vignetted edges. I also held the light on the glass viewfinder for a couple of seconds to make sure it glowed brightly.

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Sacramento World Music and Dance Festival Photos

09-22-2008

The Sacramento World Music and Dance Festival is a celebration of world cultures, ethnic dance and musical performances. The Saturday performances were at the Memorial Auditorium on Saturday, September 20. The above group, Fishtank Ensemble, presented an incredible array of Romanian folk and gypsy music. Each of the performances brought out a rich experience of ethnic and cultural brilliance. Performers showcased the native dances of Africa, China, Egypt, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Scotland, Spain and Ukraine.

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Passionately Pink

I recently shot some images for a promotional campaign for the Sacramento Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation – the campaign is called Passionately Pink. I photographed a few prominent legislators at the State Capitol; they are showing their support for the Komen campaign by wearing pink ties, boas, whatever.

These are some of the final images chosen for the campaign. On all photos, I used a single speedlight with a white shoot-through umbrella. I needed to move quickly so as not to interfere with their busy schedules. In some cases, I had less than 5 minutes to move into the office, pick out a setting, establish rapport with the subject, set up the light, test exposure, move them into position and get the right expression, take some shots, then grab everything and get the heck outta there. (Click on the images to see a larger version.)

Senator Darrell Steinberg’s office had this great old brown leather couch, so I asked him to sit on his couch. I positioned the main light to the left of the camera and attached a white reflector to the door that is just out of view on his left shoulder. Senator Steinberg was very relaxed and quickly jumped into the picture.

Assemblyman Dave Jones was a lot of fun. He was busy that afternoon, he was literally putting on the pink tie while he was walking around his office discussing things with his staff. There was not a lot of floorspace in his office, so I set up the light stand on the center of his conference table and let the reflective wood paneling on the wall take care of filling in light on the dark side of the image. (I used three business cards as coasters on the table to insulate the light stand feet from the surface of the table.) When I was ready, he stepped into the photo and was immediately relaxed and present as I shot away.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (top photo) was very receptive, in spite of her busy schedule. I set up the main light on camera right and let the window light provide fill and nice ambient light for the scene. This photoshoot was the fastest, yet we had time to include Assemblywoman Patty Berg (right) in some of the shots. Both women were very down to earth and the images show their genuine support for the Komen mission.

This assignment was a lot of fun. It’s always a pleasure to shoot for the Komen group, they are very committed to eliminating breast cancer. These images will be shown on video screens in restaurants, in movie theaters between movie screenings, and on websites. The final video presentation required that all images be taken in a horizontal format; usually portraits are taken in the vertical format. It’s always important to understand the final usage of the images before taking them.

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