Andrew Macpherson

Tag: Studio

Notes from the Tabernacle

by on Mar.09, 2013, under Learning

A seminar arranged through the London Photographic Meetup Group, featuring the Internationally famous photographer and trainer Frank Doorhof, who I had seen earlier this week at Focus on Imaging at the NEC

Arrived early at the Tabernacle for Frank’s show.

The Pan Man

The Pan Man

The hallway has a fascinating wireframe sculpture of “The Pan Man” a carnival Steel drum player, under a memorial to Claudia Jones the mother of the Notting Hill Carnival. As I’m sitting enjoying a mocha I get to say say good morning to Frank and Anneweik as they go past to set up.

We are asked to wait until 10:15 before going up to the theatre, a very nice space, set up with round tables, and surprisingly comfortable folding chair.

Frank Doorhof addressing the audience

Frank Doorhof addressing the audience

Frank is sitting under a spotlight, on a high chair, somewhat reminiscent of Dave Allen.

The class starts with a reprise of Frank’s theme “Why fake it when you can create it?”

Here are a few notes, points or aphorisms from the talk:

  • Emphasis on Knowing how to do it right, as second nature.
  • Great bare bulb shots to show that expensive strobes are not required
  • The seminar is “PowerPoint” but with a big emphasis on composition and audience interaction.
  • Go low for a new viewpoint.
  • “Find a stage and the players will come” – Jay Maisell
  • Interesting examples of wide angel lens fashion
  • Be careful to put in deliberate asymmetry.
  • Deliver the picture you are happy with
  • Tip try DxO Optics vs Lightroom for lens correction
  • Lose colour, and add contrast and noise for interest
  • If you have to title a photo it’s possibly not strong enough

Finished up with finally buying Frank’s “Live in Boston” instructional DVD.  Get yours here.

It was also good to meet a new people, I expect I’ll try more of these meetups.

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YN565 E-TTL Flash Speedlite fails with Canon ST-E2

by on Oct.04, 2011, under Equipment, Off the wall, On Site

At £102, tax paid,this looks like a real bargain, and for some people it may be.

The Speedlite works in hotshoe mode perfectly, has no flash master mode, but makes up for that with 3 Slave modes. ETTL (Canon and Nikon), plus S1 and S2 (S2 is supposed to ignore pre-flash).

It’s billed as working with the ST-E2 which is what Canon call their Speedlite trigger.  It turns out that Yongnuo make their own ST-E2, and any attempt to use it with my Canon transmitter results in a premature flash (it does recognise which channel is in use though) It also ignores the test firing signal from the ST-E2, but does operate with DoF preview (button to the left below the lens on Canon).

My Speedlite 580 is out of commission (with Canon for £104 fixed price repair) so I did not test it using that as Master, but as the whole point was to have 2 powerful speedlites for off camera use, it would be unsatisfactory even if that worked.

The EBay trader who sold it to me  accepted the return, but was unable to furnish me with a unit that would work with the Canon transmitter, so refunded my payment.  I’m left £3.50 lighter (return postage), so I hope this will help anyone else looking to use this unit who might also be misled by the description.

Anyone got any other suggestions for a lower cost unit? (Already got EX430)

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Misled by omission

by on Mar.11, 2011, under Equipment, Off the wall

Ever since I bought my studio kit I’ve been kicking myself.  It’s nice, does the job, is significantly better than the older heads owned by the club, but

  • It came with nice long sync cords rather than wireless triggers
  • Adjusting the power output requires one to have ready access to the back of the head

An after-market wireless trigger was easily obtained online, and the units do have photo-triggers, so one can use a speedlite at minimum power as well, but the power settings, that was a serious PITA.

Nor did it help that every training video I watched had the presenter clicking up or down the lighting with their Elinchrom SkyPorts.   Obviously the Elinchrom SkyPort system is the way to go.

Then I noticed the next generation of the Elinchrom system I have the D-Lite IT 2 Go, comes complete with built-in SkyPort wireless trigger for just £200 more.  I didn’t notice what wasn’t being said, but I hope you have (continue reading…)

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That sense of Déjà Vu

by on Feb.19, 2011, under On Site, Retouching, Workflow

When I went to Scott Kelby’s excellent Photoshop for Digital Photographers course last year, one of his stories was of spending a day photographing a Bride, and only realising later when he sat down to edit the photographs that she had a considerable mark on her shoulder.

On Friday I was photographing a client, and feeling fairly on top of getting a reasonable Head and Shoulders portrait, even down to making sure I had whites showing either side of their irises, and not just having a black spot in the corner of the eye. (continue reading…)

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Why use shoot-through umbrellas?

by on Feb.16, 2011, under Camera Club, Equipment, On Site

Yesterday evening was one of those interesting sessions at the camera club, with lots going on.

Kevin, the chairman, was continuing his occasional talks on Photoshop Elements for beginners,  Dave Woods was doing some HDR demos, with photoshop, Photomatix and HDR Efex (and possibly others), and we had 2 ‘studio’ sessions.

Bill was doing a macro session, and had 2 tabletop setups: a tent and a square area with backdrop and white walls, while I was trying out 3 portrait techniques with interested parties.

For my setup I had:

Setting up the autopoles and paper is extremely fast, but assembling the softboxes is slow, even though they have one spreader pocket closed with velcro to make the job easier, the octabank really needs 2 adjacent spreaders set that way, as getting the ends of the final 2-3 spreaders into the flash head ring is murder when everything is under tension from the already placed spokes. (continue reading…)

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Fresh reading and viewing

by on Jan.22, 2011, under Learning

Photo Recipes Live: Behind the Scenes: Your Guide to Today's Most Popular Lighting Techniques

Photo Recipes Live

Just picked up some excellent training. This book and DVD takes the ‘How to get this photo’ chapters from Scott Kelby’s “Digital Photography” series to the next level, and is a great resource.

Photo Recipes Live: Part 2: Behind the Scenes, Part 2: Your Guide to Today's Most Popular Lighting Techniques

Photo Recipes Live: Part 2

The format is a slim book in the standard American size for technical books (ie slightly too wide for speed reading) with a dust jacket comprising the DVD box.  The book is held in by spots of clear easily peeled sticky, which I immediately removed to avoid it setting hard over the next few years — there is no reason to suppose that the basic techniques explained are going to go out of date, even if the details of the equipment used, and the processing do change with technology.

The same remarks apply to the sequel .  Click on either image to go to Amazon in a new window.

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