Friday, August 24, 2012

On reflection.....

Wow, is it already August? Holy shit, where did the year go?

Despite having posted bugger all on here for a long time - since last Christmas in fact - I have actually been fairly busy. Way too busy in fact, thanks to a colleague leaving the job and having to deal with a lot of their stuff, but that's another story.

A few weeks ago, I had the inspiration to shoot some portraits using water to create a reflection. Well, owning one's home, replete with a large garden, definitely has it's advantages. So, I bought some thick plastic sheeting, the kind one lays under paving/pebbles to prevent weed growth, built up some barriers, and set up a black backdrop, to create a small pool of water about 2" deep. Enough to create a reflection, anyway.

Unfortunately, as it was getting late in the day, it wasn't too warm, so I had to plough on toward the end, and the shot I originally envisioned didn't quite pan out as I had in my mind, but still, on reflection (shit pun, I know),  I'm very pleased with how these came out. I did play around in Photoshop to darken the blacks down, as there were a few bubbles and creases on the bottom of the plastic, but overall, some pleasing results.

Karin, of course, was generous to step in and be my model, as always, which is always good. Take a peek at a few of my favourites......












Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Greetings!

Work has it's drawbacks (being tethered to a desk 9-6 and being forced to work New Year's Eve being two of them), of course, but for the most part it's a fun job, for sure. We had to do some cheesy photo for a christmas card to be sent out by our HQ in Austria, and I was asked to take care of this. It made for a more fun office afternoon than the usual day-to-day, and I quite like the end-product, so thought it was worthy of a quick post on here. 

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Sounds.....

Holy crap! Wow, so it's been over a year since I made any kind of post on here. I guess that's just down to sheer laziness on my behalf, though it has been a crazy year at work and at home.

Anyway, to make a stab at getting back into this, which is long overdue, here's a meagre offering, a few shots of Swedish group The Sounds, who recently played at The Wiltern in Los Angeles. They're a fun group to see, a mix of rock, indie, electro and pop, and frontwoman Maja Ivarsson is great value - sexy, boisterous, swaggering and full of energy for the whole set, as if she'd just chugged a six pack of an un-named energy drink.

The concert was a fun one, though ruined in part by some dickhead deciding to record EVERY song on his iPhone, right in front of where I stood after finishing shooting (I did move, he still pissed me off). This is one of my pet peeves - what on earth do these people do with all these clips? Really? They stand there with one hand in the air recording every song, and probably miss the best bits of the concerts as they're too busy worrying about the phone in their hand. It's not like they can watch it back to enjoy it, as the sound is dreadful and the screen is either blown-out with too much light, or too dark. Such idiots. Right, rant over, here's the photos....










A willing model......

So, I haven't been completely lazy these last few months, just busy. Buying a house and all the work that ensues is a time consuming affair, let me assure you of that.

Anyway, my most frequent model, Karin (my wife's neice), is always willing to let me mess about with lights and shoot her, and I did a couple of shoots with her over the last six months, which I've only just got round to working on and finishing off in the last week or so. Here's a few shots from one evening at our old place, which as ably assisted by my good friend (and great photographer, check his site here) Armin.

I wanted to use a few lights, and the theme, as is evident, was for the end product to be in black-and-white. A couple looked nice in colour though, hence the vintage-look shot I dropped in at the end. Quite pleased with the results on this one.


 





Garden lights....

I set up a couple of lights in the back garden (a new addition to my life, this garden!) and had Karin graciously sit for me for a few shots. She's open to ideas, and of course very photogenic, so makes a perfect model, and here's a few results.....






Hipster lighting......

This is one of my pet peeves. Open a magazine, specifically a fashion/lifestyle one, such as Vice, and you'll see countless photos of attractive, emaciated young ladies, usually standing at an awkward angle, against a white wall, looking off demurely in the distance. They usually have heavy eye make-up on as well, to really show off those puppy-dog eyes and inner mystery. 

Urgh, please, give me a break. I have no problem with the models, it's the people behind the lens who call themselves photographers who piss me off. Don't get me wrong, I have no substance to claim to be the best photographer in the world, but picking up an SLR and slapping on an external flash unit does not make you a photographer. There is a lot of science (as well, admittedly, as philosophy) that goes into lighting subjects for portraits. I know this because I am learning. And I have a hell of a lot yet to learn. 

It seems to me to be too easy to just over-expose your subject, run an overdone high-pass sharpening on your image, and say "hey, here's a portrait of XXXX person". To me, that's not real photography, it's very amateur. We had a shoot recently at my job, whereby we shot a famous skater for a magazine cover, and the magazine actually REQUESTED this style of photography. To say I was dumbfounded is an understatement. I thought the photos were very average, and could have been taken by any fool with a camera; they were poorly composed and exposed, and looked like crap. Some people I work with loved them, though. I guess that's the beauty of art in general, that we can all see something different in the same piece. So, I'm sticking to my guns that this style of photo, which I refer to as 'hipster photography' is dogshit. 

All this brings me to explain about the photos below. I spoke with a hip friend of mine (most definitely not a hipster) about taking hipster photos, so I decided to take some, to show how easy it is. I took these photos, below, in less than five minutes, and I batch processed them all, so the whole process took about 15 minutes, including the time to download them from the card.

Still, Karin makes them look good......






Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bullet For My Valentine

I've been quite busy of late, a few concerts coming in the space of a couple of weeks, and a few of my favourite bands too, so a bonus there. This time round, Bullet For My Valentine played at the Hollywood Palladium on Sunset Blvd. There were three support acts, and I missed the chance to shoot all of them - who the hell starts the first support act on a Wednesday night at 6:30pm?! Really?! It's not exactly a quick drive at any time, even less so at rush hour, and even less so when there's been a 12 car pile up on the 10 freeway that afternoon. So, I managed to see and shoot the band I went there for, but no more.

In doing a little bit of research into this band online, as in what they get up to on stage, I saw one video of them playing at Rock Am Ring, and I was quite surprised to hear that they sounded awful. After being stood right next to a speaker blaring out the singer's vocal track, I know why - he can't sing! The sound engineers certainly do a great job with these guys in hiding the vocal deficiencies. It doesn't affect the fact that I very much enjoy their music, but I was taken by surprise somewhat. Anyway, here's some of the photos, and photos never lie (!).......

















Next up for me, Helmet, on Friday 5 November.....