Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday project.

So- spending far too much time at Flickr reading the Strobist discussion threads while anxiously awaiting the arrival of new light stands, umbrellas and a used SB-25 picked up for an excellent price! ;-) In the meantime, I did a DIY project inspired by David Hobby, the Strobist himself.

There is a lot of discussion at the Strobist group on Flickr about Do-It-Yourself  (DIY) light modifiers and such. Inspired, I made my own. So for your viewing pleasure- a 10x8, foam packing material softbox, for about $4.
Cardboard and duct tape to start with.

Mmmmmmmm...time for spray paint. Fun outside (kids- always spraypaint in a well ventilated area. I prefer 'outside'). 

Gloss white goes on the inside for better light, black on the outside for that 'professional' look.

Here is the finished product. The piece of 2mm packing foam that inspired this project makes a GREAT diffuser, but wasn't big enough. I am getting a lot of light spilling out the sides. Tomorrow I will swing by a packing store and get a bigger sheet and cut it so its fastened all the way around. I am also looking forward to experimenting with different materials, as I used velcro around the rim- making 'quick changes' easy.

Given that its a totally home built rig- it fits on the SB-600 perfectly (had to re-enforce some of the key points with extra-duct tape). The light it produces is actually quite even. I am glad I used white paint inside and not tinfoil as I originally planned, I think the glossy paint is better.

And now that we are done...

 an homage to David Hobby. 
The original can be found here(scroll to the picture at the bottom of his post).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Finally taking pictures again!

After a bit of a hiatus- I'm  back on the shutter. I am really spending some time with off-camera flash right now, mostly just experimenting, so todays post includes some of the experiments (hopefully none in the Frankenstein mode!)

This is Marin and Lor in the basement. Strobe is camera right and up high, with a totally jury rigged diffuser (some foam clamped into the Justin Clamp that's holding the flash. I included this because you can see the flash and diffuser reflected in the TV. I just ordered new stands and some shoot through umbrellas, and I hope to add another flash soon, to really expand the options.

This was an experiment in color. Flash is gelled blue, with a home made snoot, and held directly over the glass. I was just messing around on this one. I tried a bunch of colors, liked this one the most. 

And last, a shot of Lor outside that I made today. We were trying to get some new images for her website ( It was breezy and we had hair control problems, so she wasn't happy with any of the shots for that purpose, but I really like this one. I also really liked shooting portraits with the bigger lens (Nikon 80-200 f2.8), which I hadn't done much of so far. I will do a lot more of it. The flash is on a stand camera right and just out of the frame. I do like the way the sun worked as a rim light/hair light- wish I had stopped it down a bit and I wish I had noticed that the snow on the hill was intersecting her hair. If we had moved there would have been a bit more separation.

I've also discovered Flickr recently, so some of these images are showing up in my photostream under JGstott.
Hopefully more experiments on the way.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Best of 2008

Okay- so I've been sick for the past six days, and haven't taken any pics, let alone good ones. So as an intellectual exercise, I went through the library to see what 2008 produced. There were a bunch of shots I liked, a few I loved, and one that was really a keeper.  

It was tough to sort through them all, since there is not really a unifying theme in my photography. Portraiture is all about making the client look good and representing them in a way that they are pleased with. Sports is about capturing a moment, if you can. Shooting family snapshots is just that. Yes, I am always trying to make the shot better, but its not always creating images for the joy of it. So it is no surprise that my favorite shot of the year is a landscape. That is how I started in photography, and it's where I tend to return.

Here ya go... my fave of 2008.

Arches National Park, Utah 
November 2008