Sunset portraits

Discussion in 'Lighting Forum' started by RobWatson, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Been reading stobist quite a bit so time to take some shots!

    Scrounged an old Vivitar 3700 Thyristor flash (from my dads closet) and rebuilt it due to battery acid leaks all over it. Also got a external power supply for it to get the cycle times down to ~6 seconds on full power. Using Cactus wireless V2 for off camera manual flash control.

    Setup is tricky because there is very limited area in which to actually find an unrestricted view near the horizon and there were clouds to catch the light. Set a chair up on top of the yard waste trash can and placed a wriggly boy up there. Flash back and to the left unmodified.

    Oly E-P1+Sigma 28-70mm F3.5 @ F5.6 ISO200. Lots of fiddling with shutter speeds to get decent light/coloration in the sky and not too much motion blur from the wiggler.

    PA288090b.

    PA288111b.

    Battery died and then the sun set and the wiggler got distracted ... supposedly some clouds/fog this evening so will give it another shot.
     
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  2. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Just picked up a 20"x30" print of #2 from Costco (just because) and gotta say it looks really good. I never had prints made that big ever (no reason, guess I never thought it would turn out very well). This could get addicting!

    Ultimate goal is to have the wifes blessings to do Easter, Xmas and maybe even school portraits instead of sinking $$ for photos I can take better for even less!
     
  3. wildcat

    wildcat Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Apr 7, 2011
    Looks like you're off to a good start. For the more formal portraits, find a less cluttered background and try a cheap modifier like a transparent umbrella, and you should really like the results you'll get.
     
  4. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Should recieve an umbrella and better flash today. My old Vivitar only does full, 1/2 and 1/4 power in manual mode.

    As for this particular setup ... this is the best spot in my yard to see the sunset! Any other direction is blocked by trees and large vegitation.

    Time for some location shoots! Actually, I tried that yesterday but after a busy day at parties and the beach (yes, California is awesome) the kids were in no mood to play model and the light was not waiting or responding to my plaintive wails.
     
  5. wildcat

    wildcat Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Apr 7, 2011

    I feel your pain...I live in an area with gorgeous sunsets, but my house and neighborhood is surrounded by trees and lies in a valley. I have to drive 15-20 minutes to get to where I can get a good shot.

    You're really gonna like what you can do with the umbrella. I couldn't believe some of the results I got when I started using one.
     
  6. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Got my umbrella+stand and Yonguo 560 flash ... set up in the front yard this time.

    Umbrella to the right and trusy old Vivitar way off to the left snooted. Triggered RF (Yonguo slaved optically to the Vivitar). I wanted hard light from the left and used the umbrella to raise the shadows from the right.

    That boy does like his pumpkin!

    EthanPumpkin.JPG

    I tried to get a photo of the setup/layout but it was too dark! Now I need to work on the background and group portraits ...

    Me likey flash.
     
  7. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Rob, looks like your off to a great start using electronic flash. Many folks are not into using flash or are just not up to speed and are intimidated by it, but photography is all about having light fall on the subject, and controlling that light. Good luck, hope to see more. :smile:
     
  8. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    Rob, nice job! If you don't mind a suggestion... Try putting a warming filter in front of the flash to have the color balance of the subject blend better with the background. The color difference gives a somewhat unnatural look. It's more work, but could also be done in post processing.

    Fred
     
  9. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    Here's something quick to show you what I mean.

    EthanPumpkin_var.JPG
     
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  10. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Thanks Fred, next on the list is some gels to play with colors.

    I was very happy with how the shots turned out considering I had very little time to setup and get the two flashes mostly balanced (the umbrella flash is too low). Had ~5 minutes and the light was gone!
     
  11. wildcat

    wildcat Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Apr 7, 2011
    Very nice.