A few nights back, I was in a odd mood (for me) wanting to shoot some self portraits. As per my usual self, I didn’t want to make it easy and I came up with a bit of a challenge. “Take a photo of me, that I like and want to show off.” Yeah right.
After a 20 min brain storm, I decided on a tight shot at dusk with diffused side light plus a rim and that is exactly what I got. But! The challenging part was getting the image. As I mentioned before, this was a self-portrait. My only help were two light stands and a tripod. Let me tell you, those guys aren’t very good for anything beyond standing upright and staying still.
I had a spot picked out on the ground which helped a lot in terms of getting focus and keeping focus, but I still needed to manually dial in the focus to keep it tack sharp since I was shooting at f/1.4. I started by guessing the distance and then tweaking to get the exact focus. Once that was complete, I started working on getting the exact exposure for my lights. I use the new Pocket Wizard TTL radio slaves to make some things a bit easier. My main light was set to TTL, but because I was bouncing out of an umbrella Canon’s TTL system has issues (as with any bouncing with Canon flashes). So I set the flash exposure compensation to +1 to get the results I was after.
Then I moved on to the rim light which is always a bit tricky to get setup. Any good rim light is basically pointing directly at the camera lens so you have to use gobo to block the light from the lens. Otherwise, you will get some crazy lens flare that is not very attractive for most shoots. I used the same type Pocket Wizard to trigger the rim light as well, but this flash was set on manual at 1/16 power because TTL has no idea how to deal with a rim light. In my experience you are better off keeping full control of that light.
Once I had the lights, exposure, and focus dialed in, it was just a waiting game then. I gave myself plenty of time to get the shot setup before dusk. This was also useful because I kept having to reshoot the images to get myself lined up exactly as I had the image in my mind’s eye. This part was a little tedious, but I really like this image of me and you won’t hear me say that often!
What do you think? What could be better?
Yesterday, while I was photoshoppong all the photos I posted, I got an idea for a self portrait. Mallory let me barrow her tripod and I proceeded to setup all my gear for the photo. This is very close to what I envisioned but I still might be doing some more here soon.
Both of my roommates graduated this past may and have begun the transistion into the next chapter of their lives. Adam, Ben, and I had some great times this past year in this apartment and it was by far one of my favorite places that I have lived in college thanks to these two great roommates. We celebrated on this night in the same way we celebrated the first night the three of us hung out at our new home and these memeories will stick with me for the rest of my life. Heres to a great year guys and a great beginning to your new lives! (oh and Brittany took the photo for me)