Looking from a Different Perspective…

It is amazing what turns out when things do not work out like you want. Bordering on the magikal. This past weekend I was experimenting with a bit of a high key, beauty look with two lovely young ladies who are close friends of our family. My influence behind this shoot came from a Lindsey Adler presentation on Creative Live. The premise is to shoot lights into angled V flats to create a wrap around dreamy look.  Had to do a bit of improvising with the materials as I do not have the V flats yet. A bit difficult to transport 4×8 sheets of foamcore in our vehicles right now. I just utilized a couple of reflectors positioned at 45 degrees on either side and had one speedlite pointing into each one. I also played with a light from above through a 12″ softbox.

One of the resulting images:


This set up worked great with this young lady but I could not reproduce this effect with her older sister. I thought this to be quite odd and attributed it to the fact that her hair was darker. I changed exposures and positioning of the lights and reflectors to no avail. We did get some very awesome material out of it though.

After presenting the final images to mom I went back and looked at the ones that did not make the cut. After reviewing them again I was wondering what my deciding factor in not selecting them the first time was. Little things that bothered me perhaps, a few were too hot or uneven. Maybe I was just being stubborn because they did not turn out like I had visioned. And this is where the Magik kicks in…

After some more reviewing and different edits I think I actually came up with images that trump most of the ones that I had initially presented. Got to hate when that happens… Again, good friends, second family, party buddies… makes it all easier to present a second set of shots.

First one of the shots that made the final cut..I think if I had the full V going I would have been able to achieve what I was initially looking for although I really like this image.

EmilyHK_pSp-44And a few of the ones that did not, but after re-edits should have.

Em_PhilShepherdPhotography-5 Em_PhilShepherdPhotography Em_PhilShepherdPhotography-2 Em_PhilShepherdPhotography-3

This style is very different for me, but it is one I am going to be expanding on and get dialed in. My main focus will always be head shots,  but I will be doing some more with the beaty/glamour style of shooting and see how I like it. And as I have been told before, never get rid of the images you do not like, for one day you may look at them in a different way and something magical will happen.

Lots of dancing to come in the next three weeks, recital and then nationals!

Thanks for stopping by, Till next time…     

A Little Change of Pace

About a year ago when this whole adventure began, I had purchase a very inexpensive set of Fotodix extension tubes to see if I would like Macro photography. I had never really experimented with them for one reason or another so for a little change of pace I decided to put them on and see what I could come up with. The set comes with three interchangeable length tubes for varying magnification levels. All together you get an adapter ring, 7mm, 14mm and 28mm tubes which you can use separately or all together.  As the name states, these are just tubes, cylindrical  hollow pieces of aluminum. No mirrors, no electronics. Focusing is done manually though a combination of moving back and forth and using the manual focus adjustment on your lens.

For $14.95, I think they are worth it if you are just starting out or you, like me, want to see what Macro Photography is like without investing in a true macro lens. For these experiments I use the full set of tubes and an 85mm lens.

First up on the hit list is a roll of funky colored duct tape. Good job catching the interwoven patterns.

Duct Tape

From the cave to the living area I went, pausing at my daughter’s eye

Britt eye

One of the first things I noticed is that there is an incredibly narrow focus point. Incredibly narrow as in if you are off by the width of a hair, you go blurry. Very little wiggle room. Since there are no electronics you have to rely on shutter speed and iso to control exposure.

Off to the great outdoors we go and since the weather is getting nicer things are beginning to grow. First up the roses. And it looks like the insects are already building a home.

Rose Bud

While there are many plants beginning to show growth, the weeds are already grown…I am really liking how it captured the little spiral thingy’s on this dandelion. Even the most annoying things can be interesting.


I have no idea what this little fellow is called. I doubt I even would have noticed this if I was not looking for small subjects.

weed of no name

A positive outcome so far, my only gripe is the difficulty focusing but the results are decent. Static objects are doable with these tubes. Back to the cave for the next series of tests. A bowl of water, a gelled flash and a colorful garment to put underneath said bowl of water.

Well, that difficulty focusing was magnified ten fold trying to capture water drops. Almost impossible handheld and even difficult with a tripod.This next image is from my set up testing shots. Not nearly in focus but I really like the reflections and the colors from it.


And one of the handful I had enough patience with to find a sweet spot with.


The red and white dish towel was replaced with a funky summer shirt


I then increased the height of the drop, hoping to get a bigger splash. Even though I was not able to find a decent focus point I did manage to get another really cool reflection/color shot. A bit artsy even.


So with static objects the extension tubes provide a good but narrow understanding of Macro photography. I may experiment with each size and a couple of different lenses as the flowers start to bud and bloom. But no more water drops. At least not until I can get my hands on a true Macro Lens.

Thanks for stopping by, till next time!

Return of the Crystal Skull

Indiana had his adventures with a Crystal Skull and I have been eyeing up the one my wife received for Christmas, just waiting for it to be emptied of its tasty contents. I have been wanting to see how light reflects through it when it is empty as well as when it is full of liquid. A little experiment to satisfy my curiosity and to help me understand the effect of water as a diffusion device. It has been empty for a couple of weeks now, just waiting for me to make my move on it wondering what I had in store.

The Crystal Skull. Empty, its contents consumed by worthy adults.


I finally decided to try my experiment out but it took motivation from another object to really get me going with this. A little get together, a nice fire and a warm house prompted  our guest to remove an article of clothing………… a sheer, fashionable scarf. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!  While it was being folded I noticed it was see through……ding, ding, ding…diffusion device! Grabbed the camera, the scarf in between my lens and a vase of roses, SHABANG! Yes, I stole that word from a head shot photographer I follow. Seem to fit though. So, today the skull, my wife’s purple scarf (with black skulls on it no less) and I became acquainted.

Before we get to carried away, the original intent of this little project was to measure light refraction through glass, with and without water. The set up for these shots – an 85 1.8,  a glass end table, glossy black wrapping paper with a cut out of the base of the skull, a speedlite set at 1/4 power and zoomed to 105 mm and the Rogue Grid with the 45 degree head on. I also used some gels for added effect. The flash was placed on the ground, underneath the table and pointed of course, straight up.

I was not liking the look with the cap on so I removed it to decrease the bounce and to eliminate over cooking the top. So here is the empty skull without cap and a view of the cut out…..whoops.


And full of water:


For overall appearance, I think I am liking the empty version better. The water does bring out certain facial features in the mouth and chin area and picks up the purple gel more but it dulls the top. It also carries the light through the hole in the top which is why I took the cap off. I bet a couple of drops of red food coloring would have been cool. Save that for another day.

Time to break out the scarf…..hung up on a stand about 8  inches in front of the skull. One more speedlite, through a 12″ octobox, was added overhead to assist in lighting the scarf. The skull was still full of water.

Scarf camera Close

Good stuff. The water gets dumped, changed the gel to red and I do not remember what prompted me to try it with the cap on. The scarf was moved closer to the skull so I could get more…..skulls in the shot.

Red cap on

And with the cap off, I also moved up.

Red cap off

I think it is very interesting the way the gel is coming through. Looks like it is bouncing all over and not quite sure what little crevice to fill. I did the red gel a couple of days after  we got this, lots of liquid still in it and it filled the entire skull up. The difference in that shot is that is was straight through a glass base and not directed by a cut out.

My final shot in the sequence with the scarf was placing the scarf against my lens hood – very interesting results. Had to focus manually as well.

against hood off A very interesting and enlightening time with the scarf and the skull. And…..possibly feeling the effects of this crystal skull too much, I decided to change colors one more time and see if I could make a happy skull. Believe it or not, this is a Pink gel……

Pink Gell

Pretty in Pink?  Whoa, Flashback……whatever happened to Molly Ringwald?

I hoped you enjoyed my little experiments. Thanks for stopping by!

Till next time….