Kim by Natural Light

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She came to cut my hair and agreed to pose afterwards. Yay.

Natural light, for a change and I finally decided to use something besides my trusty 35mm f2 for a portrait. I’ve had a Nikon 105mm 2.8 for years, but have never really liked it much for some reason. However, since it’s my most expensive lens I forced myself to put it on the camera, and I’m glad I did. The focus was tack sharp and the window-light so nice that it made me wonder why I bother with strobes at all.

 

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Gotcha!

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Gotcha!

A teacher colleague drove in from Wales to see her parents and flew by me with her little girl for a quick photoshoot first. Such fun we had. We covered Minnie with a tulle scarf and she found the whole thing delightful even though it meant she had trouble eating her apple!

One snooted SB-600 on 1/4 power, camera left, aimed directly at Minnie.

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture f/14.0
Focal Length 35 mm
ISO Speed 200

(Minnie got Explored, too. Yay.)

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Rosie Before & After

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Rosie Before & After

How to change your granddaughter into a wax doll.

I used a softbox for this one, Camera Left, with an SB-600 inside + a little window light from the same side. Still not quite enough, hence an added ‘sun flare’ via Florabella. You can always add light afterwards, if you haven’t used enough to begin with.

For processing, I used Color Efex Pro – tonal effect filter, initially. Then I overlay the shot with some wallpaper I found on the net afterwards, rubbing out the model with a 7% eraser. Then I added some Florabella textures (Pure White and White Linen) and tried a few Muse actions until l found something I liked. Et Voila. (Half the people who see this say they prefer the original. I’m an unsung prophet.)

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture f/6.3
Focal Length 35 mm
ISO Speed 400

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Sidelong

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Sidelong

Sometimes window light does the trick. Today was one of those days. I was baby-sitting my littlest grandson as he was ill, but in my house you’re never too poorly to pose!

Camera Olympus E-M5
Exposure 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture f/4.0
Focal Length 45 mm
ISO Speed 200

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The Walking Dead

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The Walking Dead

Very polite zombie who came trick-or-treating and didn’t mind being photographed.

I had a snooted SB-600 on a light stand to the right of the front door, set to quarter power and aimed down at ‘kid’ height although I had to raise it a bit for her. She was a very patient zombie.

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture f/8.0
Focal Length 35 mm
ISO Speed 200

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The Littlest Pirate

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The Littlest Pirate

Another scared little trick-or-treater. So sweet.
Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture f/4.0
Focal Length 35 mm
ISO Speed 200

I had a snooted SB-600 on a light stand to the right of the front door, set to quarter power and aimed down at ‘kid’ height. Poor trick-or-treaters, they didn’t know what hit them! I did give them sweeties, though.

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First time….

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First time....

Little trick-or-treater who looked very unsure about the whole process. (The price they pay for their little pack of sweeties is to let me take their photograph. How I love Halloween!)

I had a snooted SB-600 set up on a lightstand to the right of the front door, believe it or not. Quarter power.

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture f/4.5
Focal Length 35 mm
ISO Speed 200

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Gravitas

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Gravitas

This was a natural light photograph taken of one of the dinner ladies in the school where I taught for twenty years. It was my last day, and I went everywhere with my camera to record memories. I think this woman has the most amazing gravitas, but I did have to beg her not to grin, as is her wont. I’m afraid I cheated a lot to make the shot look like one of my typical studio strobe jobs – complete with faux Rembrandt lighting. What can I say? It’s a look I like.

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture f/3.0
Focal Length 105 mm
ISO Speed 200

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Intensity

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Intensity

Littlest grandson, Sebbie, looking so much more intense in b&w. This is a crop of a half-portrait. I always end up cropping portraits, for some reason.

I used one snooted SB-600 on half power, aimed more directly at his face, rather than angled down from the top left as is my wont.

Camera D700
Exposure 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture f/16.0
Focal Length 35 mm
ISO Speed 200
Exposure Bias +2/3 EV

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It’s really him!

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It's really him!

Benedict Cumberbatch arriving on the set of ‘The Imitation Game’ which for two glorious days was filmed in Chesham, the Bucks market town where I live. We get a lot of ‘Midsomer Murders’ filmed hereabouts, but this was much more exciting. Cumberbatch AND Keira Knightly in Chesham. Who would believe it?

This was the closest I got to a reasonable shot of either of them. He shouted ‘hi’ to us all and disappeared into the Vicarage for filming. They made us stay far back, as it was all ‘lights, camera, action – quiet on set!’ stuff.

Thank goodness I’d taken my heavy old 80-200 with me.

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture f/4.5
Focal Length 200 mm
ISO Speed 200
Exposure Bias +2/3 EV

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Sebastian James

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Sebastian James

My littlest grandson, over for a visit and willing to model for a few shots. Such a sweetie. His curls are finally growing back after he was so ruthlessly shorn a few weeks ago.

Used one snooted SB-600 on half power, camera left. Should have used another aimed at his hands, but too late now. Story of my life.

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture f/16.0
Focal Length 35 mm
ISO Speed 200
Exposure Bias +2/3 EV

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Milady in her Tower

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Milady in her Tower

Another shot from the series I took at little Tilly’s Christening a while back. At the buffet after, I just wandered around with a snooted SpeedLight in my left hand and my D700 in my right. Everyone agreed to pose. It was such fun having so many models to choose from.

This was Nicola, the baby’s auntie and one of the Godmothers. I thought she looked especially mediaeval, helped by her hairstyle and the mullioned window in the background. I added a texture to the shot and used my usual post-processing techniqes: Color Efex Pro, the tonal contrast pre-set. Plus, I have to admit to running Portrait Professional on this one, hence the air-brushed look. I should probably try to tone that down a bit.

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture f/13.0
Focal Length 35 mm
ISO Speed 200

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Draped

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Draped

Thought I’d post something recent for a change. Just took this a few hours ago. It’s my nine-year-old grandson Appomattox letting me drape him in a black veil. Not quite sure why I felt impelled to cover him up, but he was a good sport about it, as usual.

Used one snooted SB-600 on half power, camera left.

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture f/22.0
Focal Length 35 mm
ISO Speed 200
Exposure Bias +2/3 EV

Masque

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I used two SB-600 Speed-Lights for this one, both on 1/20 power. Seemed to work after a bit of trial and error in the placing. At one point, Ishaq was holding one of the SpeedLights between his knees for me, to light the mask. I’m sooooo the very opposite of a professional photographer. BTW: Ishaq is my neighbour’s son. He’s an actor/model/dancer so the mask seemed an appropriate symbol. He’s hoping to break into Bollywood films. Watch this space.

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture f/16.0
Focal Length 50 mm
ISO Speed 200

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Richard

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Richard

A guest at little Tilly’s Christening and my best friend’s youngest son. When Richard was a baby I was his favourite person after his mummy. Long time ago, now. (This isn’t a studio portrait. I was just walking around at the christening buffet, with my D700 in one hand and an SB-600 SpeedLight in the other. The PowerSnoot creates the studio feel. The room was actually well-lit.)

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture f/9.0
Focal Length 35 mm
ISO Speed 200

Profiling

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Nothing but window light through a slatted blind and my son in profile. I used to have a jawline like that around forty years or so ago. No more, alas.

Camera NIKON D700
Focal Length 35mm
Shutter Speed 1/125 secs
Aperture f/5
ISO/Film 200

Jack and his Lolly-pop

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Don’t worry – the lolly was sugarless. I find that it’s a handy way to keep children occupied during a shoot.

I think I used the same lighting setup as the shot of Jack with his daddy. Two SB-600s, one shooting backwards into an umbrella so that the light was falling directly onto his face, and the other placed camera left and angled up, to add light to his hands and body.

Camera NIKON D700
Focal Length 35mm
Shutter Speed 1/100 secs
Aperture f/5.6
ISO/Film 200

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Daddy’s Boy

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Daddy's Boy

Jack and his daddy. My daughter-in-law’s brother and his little boy. Ed only sees Jack every few weeks so he wanted a shot of the two of them together. Jack just did what came naturally when he was in his daddy’s arms, and I was lucky enough to be there with a camera.

Two lights. One SB-600 shooting backwards into an umbrella so that the light was falling directly onto their faces, and one SB-600 placed camera left to add light to the side of Jack’s face and to his father’s hand. (To whom it may concern: please stop telling me that I need light behind my subjects. I like them isolated in a sea of black, and anyway, I don’t have a third SpeedLight!)

Camera Nikon D700
Exposure 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture f/5.6
Focal Length 35 mm
ISO Speed 200

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Striped!

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My baby boy, over for a visit this morning. No-one comes to visit me without posing for a photograph. It’s the price you have to pay for a cup of tea. Natural sunlight through a wooden slatted blind.

Camera Olympus E-M5
Exposure 0.002 sec (1/640)
Aperture f/2.0
Focal Length 45 mm
ISO Speed 200

Pandemonium

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Statue of Pan and the she-goat on display at the ‘Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum’ exhibition: British Museum. On loan from the Museum in Naples where it is normally kept behind a curtain with an age restriction of fourteen. This was not thought necessary by the British Museum curators. The statue was in a glass case and lit from above, so I had to do some work to hide the unwanted reflections and glare, hence the texture. I got caught twice taking photographs, and was warned that if I was caught a third time I would have to leave the exhibition, so I wasn’t able to take many shots. It was only luck that I managed this one.

The ancient statue has an interesting history. It was unearthed from the Villa dei Papiri in 1752 and the King and Queen of Naples and all the court were present as it was brought to light . They were horrified when they saw what it depicted as a contemporary report explains:

“Amidst a flotilla of courtiers in silks and befurred velvet finery, Charles and his Prussian wife Queen Maria Amalia arrived in a rustling, stately procession and took their seats on folding chairs. From the bowels of the earth the carved white marble group of two embracing figures, which Weber had found in the Great Peristyle, appeared at the mouth of the tunnel, borne upon a litter carried by prison labourers. A shiver of excitement rippled through the court. Already the dainty turn of that horn revealed the prized Greek look. When the whole sculpture group hoved into view two heads could be seen and two bodies. One seemed to be a man of sorts, though at closer look he wore two small horns on his head. He gazed fondly into the female’s languid marble eyes. For locked in his embrace was a female goat, surely the prettiest in the flock, whom he was in the act of penetrating.”

The King was so shocked that he ordered the excavation to be halted and the statue was thereafter hidden away and kept under lock and key in the gabinetto segreto. More on its subsequent history here:

enfolding.org/pan-disreputable-objects-of-pagan-licentiou…