24 April 2009

Current readings

I'm working my way through a very interesting book at the moment. The Hotshoe Diaries by American photographer Joe McNally shows examples of his work and how he has achieved the looks in particular shots using just small speedlight flashes.

It is full of inspiring ideas and is written in quite a humourous way. Joe certainly has all the equipment I think he could ever need, including the latest Nikon D3x cameras and SB900 speedlights (several in fact!).
He's been known to use up to 12 speedlights at once to get the look he's after which is more than enough to worry about!

The book is certainly giving me some ideas about how to be even more creative with my photography - I just need to get out there and try some of the things out now. It's a book that I can see myself dipping back in and out of as a kind of reference manual in the future. Should be some fun times ahead.

Bumper pack of lighting gels!

I want to start experimenting more with flash and learn about colouring my lights with gels. You can use gels to correct white balance, or gel lights to create coloured backgrounds or similar creative uses. I've had a brief go at this in the past and through the very simple use of an old Quality Street sweet wrapper, I managed to turn the whole of my living room red! The effect was way more than I had been expecting and was my first, early foray into gelling.

LEE Filters are acknowledged to produce the best filters in the world, and their range is outstanding. I discovered that it was possible to sample the delights for FREE; using their contact page I requested a sample pack. It just so happens that the sample pack gels are the perfect size for use on my Nikon SB800 and SB600 Speedlights too!
Now I will be able to to add colour into my shots in new and exciting ways. Hopefully I'll be able to get some shots done soon and then I'll post up the results.

15 April 2009

Best image in class!

My shot of Mount Burgess (above) in YoHo National Park received the 'Best In Class' award in the lastest competition I've entered and scored a 20/20. I was really pleased with the result as I had the competition set subject in mind when I took the photo during last summer's trip to Canada.

It took a bit of work to get the right amount of detail in shadow areas of the trees without blowing out the brighter areas of the photo and I think I managed to pull it off OK.

The 'Reflections' competition was the last of the regular print league competitions of the year and all that remains now are a couple of one off competitions in May. I'll hopefully find out how I've done over the course of the year quite soon.