Monthly Archives

August 2009

Inman Park Soft Light

Like I was saying… since yesterday’s actor/model canceled on me due to illness (she was really sick) – Leah agreed to be photographed for the low, low price of breakfast at Highland Bakery! (Everyone’s a winner when you get breakfast there – it’s also where we ordered our Red Velvet wedding cake.) We were going to go around L5P but then we realized that it was just the two of us instead of the planned Four and after having lived down the street + reading the weekly crime reports released by the police + our own lingering paranoia, we weren’t going to be out there in near dark with expensive looking equipment (when we lived down there we actually bought several alarms and other deterrents like you know, nun-chukas, ninja stars and we both learned the Five Pointed Palm Exploding Heart technique.)

It’s funny because we drove about a mile down Euclid Ave. and ended up near the Krog Bar and Jake’s Ice Cream and we weren’t worried at all.

This is me doing my 1st real attempt at soft light with OneLight. Watched the DVDs several times and I was really just trying to get some shots resembling the quality of light that I was aiming for. Like Strobist – the OneLight Workshop deals with off camera flash and controlling ambient light. Chances are good that I’ll never really afford the actual workshop (that’d be kind of neat since I’ve only had my D40 since March) – but I was able to borrow the DVDs from a friend and they’re exponentially better and more interesting than the Strobist set of training DVDs. Plus – it’s just nice to see the locations around Atlanta where Zack Arias is based out of and where the DVDs were filmed.

Oh yeah. Since I just have an $80 lightstand set from Ebay – the shoot through umbrella wasn’t diffusing the light the way I wanted, but fortunately I made that Rubbermaid drink bottle diffuser and that + the umbrella made the light change the way I wanted (although, it may have been the same if I would’ve just lowered the power on the flash – but come on, it’s funnier that I put a cut up drink bottle on it.) Since I’ve spent all my money on lenses from 1969, flashes, and triggers – all of my light modifiers are gonna have to be of the DIY variety. Next up will probably be a DIY softbox at least as big as my umbrellas. It would be nice to have less light spill. I think I’ll try a wider lens next time too – since these were all taken with my 50mm prime.

Leah starts her internship at C.A.R.E. today and I’m trying to line up some photoshoots with business owners/residents on Buford Highway – I think one of my first shoots might actually be with the director of CPACS (if they agree) – oh yeah, I’m going to a class tonight provided by APE – because I’m showing some photos at their next exhibit and I don’t even know anything about printing or mounting my work. I suppose that’s enough name dropping of the acronyms. So yeah. Let’s go.

Birthday Party


I was at a roller rink taking photos of a birthday party yesterday. You know, I thought that getting good shots at the club event I went to the night before was difficult – this birthday party thing was even more tiring. All those kids running around, not posing and the really bad overhead flourescents! At least complete darkness is interesting – but these lights… they made my eyes tired. I think each bulb was dying so they seemed to noticeably be flickering ever so – but enough that after a while my eyes were just really tired.

Brought along my light stand and my rubbermaid drink bottle diffuser + bounce card (see previous post). It worked well enough as far as lighting the space, but it was definitely much more harsh than I had wanted – I eventually moved over to just taking available light shots and then switching back and forth.

It was… an interesting experience. Alright look – we live in Sandy Springs now and this roller rink was all the way down in south Atlanta on Metropolitan. Not that I was bothered, but I always notice such things – like the part where I was not only the only Asian person there – but the only person who wasn’t African American. Me and some of the other people there did joke about it a little. I had a good time – like everything I’ve shot this weekend – it was good practice. The mother – standing there center in white – works in the cubicle next to mine so it was nice to be able to get some good shots for her and her daughter. Didn’t really have any time to do any formal shots that looked good – got some terribly lit photos with hard shadows on the wall – but I delivered a reasonable number of printable photos.


My model for that L5P photoshoot cancelled this morning at the last minute – but we were set to go – so Leah, always being my default model – decided to fill-in and let me take photos for the price of breakfast at Highland Bakery. I’m still working on trying to get soft light without a softbox and then also controlling ambient light. We didn’t end up at L5P but Inman Park. Here’s one. More tomorrow.

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So. Since I’m basically shooting anything and everything at every opportunity – I signed up to be one of many photogs at a ‘fashion show’ that took place at a club… Not really sure what happened with the fashion show – but according to the loose outline of events, there was to be some photo session with models and expensive cars, and then a fashion show, and then a taping of a Photography Shoot-out reality show. (Basically, different teams of MakeUp artists, Photogs, wardrobers and models compete at… um, photo sessions.)

Since I’ve never shot an event like that before – I figured why not? So… well, it ended up being two Lamborghinis, a couple of models and about 30 photographers of varying experience… so you know that was a train wreck for getting any good shots. I brought along my off camera flash and I added some modifications! I put on a diffuser and then a bounce card. Well, I cut a 32 ounce rubbermaid drink bottle in half, fitted it with double sided foam tape, and then attached the bounce with ummmm… Leah’s hair rubberbands since I didn’t have any real rubberbands lying around. I liked the way it worked. Oh. I also brought a lightstand which came in handy once I realized that I could use it. Again, everyone else had hotshoe mounted flashes or attached by a camera bracket. So I think my shots are mostly the only ones with lighting not from straight on. Wish I knew how to control everything better/faster.


It was an interesting and long experience. I did get to meet two people in person that I had been facebook ‘friends’ with for a while now – through one of the actors I met at the fight choreography sessions for that small film I’m in. Her name is Clarissa and last night I met her sister Alona, and her friend Reagan who were there to try to get in on that Photography Shoot-Out show. Alona actually got herself upfront in one of the show’s opening shots so I’m sure she’ll be in that episode for at least a quick second.

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The light behind this model is the same lamp post that it’s flaring more prominently (on purpose) in those other shots. In fact, I really wasn’t getting anything usable until I met Alona, her boyfriend Andres and Reagan – and then had them pose for me – instead of trying to shoot the specific models in front of the cars with bad lighting (they were in near darkness and they were shiny – the cars not the models). And then all of sudden, it was like I had finally warmed up and shots were coming. I was dragging my 7 ft lightstand around and in between people, probably looking like a weirdo newbie who brought his lightstand to this thing – ha, more and more I’m alright with it.

Still, I’m glad I went, it was good practice.

Shot a birthday party at roller rink today. That was more tiring than last night. Tomorrow I have a photoshoot with Clarissa down in L5P. That should be fun. I hope to get some good shots. It’ll be a nice change after doing these ‘events’ and having to run-and-gun shoot everything where I really only get a 2nd chance at a shot or else it’s all gone.