Archives - May to Nov 2012:

Oliva's scary birthday party - Nov 2012 - Dave/Sonia

We recently had the opportunity to take some scaaaaary photos at Oliva's themed birthday party and with Halloween just passed the fancy dress of choice was mostly that of the UNDEAD!

You can check out some of the images below. For a more complete selection you can check out Oliva's personal gallery here though it is password protected so you will need to get the password from her directly. The hint should give it away for those that know her.

If you would like a photographer at an upcoming event then get in touch. We are available all around the Málaga area and will bring our studio to your event. If you would like more info then get in touch through our contact page and let us know the details of your event, the location and details of coverage required.

Equipment Used: Nikon D800, SB-910, 16-35 f/4, 50 f/1.4G, 85 f/1.4, PocketWizard Flex TT5, Mini TT1.

The Wedding of Caroline and Fergal Harte - The Guest Gallery

For those lucky enough to be present in Carton House, Co. Kildare this recent weekend, I think it is fair to say it was truly a wonderful day and I hope you will join me in wishing Caroline and Fergal heartfelt congratulations and the very best for the future.

I have set up a guest gallery for those that were present and have photos from the day. You can upload your images in their original format and all guests can view the complete gallery including those images uploaded by other guests. It's a great way to look back on the day from a guest perspective. It can also act as the single central location for photos and videos from Caroline and Fergal's special day.

If you have photos or videos you can upload them using the gallery link here. There are a number of different upload options so there is certain to be one to suit your operating system.

If you would like to view the guest gallery you can do so using the link here. It is password protected though if you know Caroline and Fergal the hint will easily give it away!

Check back soon for some official images from the day. Or alternatively "like" our Facebook Page and you will get our news updates immediately posted to your news feed.

The Think Tank Airport International v2.0 - Is it worth the price?

At well over €300 in your cheaper outlets, the Think Tank Airport International is pretty darn pricey given it is just a camera roller bag. It also ain't the lightest roller out there either. The Lowe Pro Roller x200 is about 1kg lighter and similarly priced. However, when it comes to protecting your camera gear, €300 is a small price to pay is it not?

To me, the answer to that question is a resounding "Yes". Given you are packing it full with pro equipment, the peace of mind a bag like this gives you is definitely worth more than the price tag. I will go into detail as to what this bag carried for me on a recent trip but first I wanted to give a couple of alternative viewpoints.

If air travel is a big part of your life as a photographer then a bag with wheels is almost a necessity. At the beginning of the year I ended up using a big LowePro Stealth Reporter shoulder bag (the 650 AW) for an event and I swore I would never make that mistake again. As good as the Stealth Reporter range of bags are (and I do love my 650AW), when you start going for the bigger bags and loading them up with gear it will not be long before you are crushing vertebrae and if you are shooting all day events then hauling a 12+ kg bag around all day is far from practical. . . . . read more. . . .

Portrait Session - Edith and Juan. - Oct 2012 - Dave

Juggling balls and silhouettes were the order of the day with Juan and his girlfriend Edith when they popped in to our studio to get some portrait photos. They were after something classic and then something just a little different.

The juggling ball photo took a fair number of attempts to get right as I wanted to avoid any motion blur on the ball in the air. The problem we had was the shutter speed, the more we went above the high sync speed (HSS) of the flash, the less power I was getting out of the flash to freeze the motion and light both Juan and Edith. In the end it was perserverance and a little bit of luck that got the shot. Given 1/250 was not fast enough to freeze the motion of a ball travelling through the air, Juan tossed the ball so I managed to grab it at the top of its flight where it's more or less stationary and then in the photo itself I moved the ball using Photoshop back in to the frame. It took a few attempts (OK, maybe more than a few) but we got it right. Well done Juan, precision ball throwing, the likes I've not seen before! :-)

With the silhouette shots I was looking for something dramatic yet something intimate. Sonia held the SB-910 with Flex TT5 about 5 metres from where Juan and Edith were standing with the flash head facing the camera. The light from the flash was unmodified and Sonia aimed it straight at Juan and Edith. As the flash was aimed directly at the camera we ended up with some lens flare but I think it adds to the drama. We knocked off the street lighting to avoid any spill light ruining the shot. Doing that of course we ended up in total darkness! To allow the camera focus in the dark I used a torch on Juan and Edith and then quickly turned it off before tripping the shutter.

You can check out some of the images from the shoot below. You can also view an even bigger selection of images in their online gallery here though it is password protected so you will need to get the password from them directly.

Equipment Used: Nikon D800, SB-910 x 2, SB-900, 50 f/1.4G, PocketWizard Flex TT5 x 3, Mini TT1 and AC3 Zone Controller. Lastolite 60 x 60 EZYBOX, Lastolite Superwhite background, PhotoSel continuous studio lighting.

Portrait Session - Juan, Pepi and Family. - Oct 2012 - Dave/Sonia

After a fairly serious rebuild of their family room, Juan and Pepi were looking for an extra-large framed portrait of the family to fill one of the walls. They were after a black and white but something that was more candid than classic fixed pose. With their two sons, Juan and Javier thrown into the mix it turned out a relatively straightforward task given the amount of messing about that took place!

As the size of the print was going to be either 60 x 90cm or 80 x 120cm it was an absolute necessity to mount the camera on a tripod. Also, given the D800 is more prone to blur when hand held at normal shutter speeds, I wasn't taking any chances even on a tripod so shutter speed was increased by two thirds of an EV over what it normally would be on the D700 in a similar situation. ISO was set at 100, aperture at 6.3, group A flashes (background) + 2 FEC, group B flash (main lighting) 0 FEC. And then the fun started!

I've added one of the more "civilised" images above. More images from the day are in their online gallery here though it is password protected so you will need to get the password from them directly. Juan and Pepi have been good enough to allow us put the full resolution un-modified color image (with watermarks) of the above photo on the site so if you would like to see the actual clarity of the 12.2MB image you can check it out here. The black and white image was processed in Capture NX2, converted to JPEG and then in Photoshop I used the Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 plugin to convert it to black and white.

If you are looking for a family portrait or any special image for that matter and you need it printed extra large then get in touch. We can organise prints up to 3m x 2m if necessary.

Equipment Used: Nikon D800, SB-910 x 2, SB-900, 50 f/1.4G, PocketWizard Flex TT5 x 3, Mini TT1 and AC3 Zone Controller. Lastolite 60 x 60 EZYBOX, Lastolite Superwhite background, PhotoSel continuous studio lighting.

Portrait Session - Antonio and Patricia. - Sept 2012 - Dave/Sonia

Antonio got in touch with us recently and asked us to organise a studio shoot with himself and his partner Patricia. Patricia, originally from Columbia, but living in Spain since 2000, was keen to get some nice images to send to her buddies back home.

Sonia was on make-up duty again. Light and natural was the order of the day so light shades and browns were chosen to suit Patricia's skin tone. You can check out some images from the day below. I've added a couple of pullback shots for those interested. You can also view an even bigger selection of images in their online gallery here though it is password protected so you will need to get the password from them directly.

If you, your family or any of your friends would like some portrait style individual, group or family photos then get in touch and we will let you know the details and prices to suit. Prices start at €75 for the basic portrait session. We can cater for families/groups of all sizes. Your photos will be placed in your own personal password-protected online gallery where you can choose your favorites. You then have multiple options available to you. Check out our portrait page for all the details and if you need further details or information feel free to get in touch with Sonia or myself through our contact page. As long as you dont mind our little two year old saying hello, or Alvin and the Chipmunks on the TV from time to time you can be sure you will have a great time and get some great photos that capture that special moment in time for all involved.

Equipment Used: Nikon D800, SB-910 x 2, 50 f/1.4G, 70-200 f/2.8 VRII, PocketWizard Flex TT5 x 2, Mini TT1 and AC3 Zone Controller. Lastolite 60 x 60 EZYBOX, Lastolite Superwhite background, PhotoSel continuous studio lighting.

The Nikon D800 - First Impressions.

After having a little play around with the D800, there are a couple of things that stand out straight away. The first big thing to report is the file size. Yes, it is huge, but not that huge, they're around the 50 to 55MB per .NEF file. A bunch of 12 photos ended up having a size of 624 MB. That's what, about 450 floppy disks! As a test to see what sort of processing power you need to post-process these files I have been able to sucessfully modify and manipulate the .NEF files on a 10 year old Pentium 4 running XP with 4 GB of RAM. It was slow, but I could get the job done. I then modified some RAW files on my Core i7 laptop with 3GB RAM and it worked no problem. It seems internet scaremongering is unjustified. If you have a decent machine it will work fine. The only thing you will need is a bigger hard drive to store the RAW files. You will also need to update your Capture NX2 software to Version 2.3. Also, if you are a fan of Photoshop, you will need a later version of this, version CS5 or higher. . . . . read more. . . .

The Big Guns: Nikon D4 Vs D800 - Is the D800 the better camera?

With all the new DSLR’s coming on the market this year the lines have been blurred once again for those interested in the Semi-Pro and Pro range of gear. The Canon 5D Mk III, a cracking camera, just released and the talk about the 1DX certainly gets people excited but being a Nikon shooter myself I wasn’t too interested in the Canon offerings. It was the D4 that first caught my eye and then the subsequent release of the D800. Being honest about it the release of the D800 went a little unnoticed because I was so fixated on the flagship D4. However when I did a little research it didn’t take long to see why I may have been looking at the wrong camera.

I had been contemplating buying a second camera body for the last couple of months. There were a couple of reasons behind it. The first is convenience. A second camera with a different lens at the ready in moments. If you are simply walking around a city the beauty of being able to change cameras is so handy. No longer is there any need to stop shooting and carefully change lenses. Apart from the convenience aspect, it also saves wear on the lens mount and reduces the probability of getting dirt on your sensor. But it was the joy of being able to go from a tele zoom to a macro in seconds that convinced me a second body was necessary. . . . . read more. . . .

Loriana Photoshoot - July 2012 - Dave

We recently did a portrait shoot with Loriana in one of the more picturesque parks of Dublin, St. Enda's in Rathfarnham! Loriana was looking to build on her portfolio as she was hoping to work more regularly as part of an agency. Since the shoot I am glad to report that she has actually started working for a model agency so congratulations Loriana from Imagen-Estilo and we hope everything works out for you.

We only had a little over an hour to complete the portrait session before the park closed but in that hour we managed to get three different "looks" and lots of different photos. We also managed to get a dog to join the shoot as some passers-by were more than keen to have their labrador in a photo or two!

As some of the locations within the park were bathed in evening sunlight (yep, it was one of those rare blue-sky days in Dublin) it made some of the shots a little tricky. So some of the photos are without flash and the lighting on Loriana is direct sunlight. With a little bit of clever body positioning, we avoided any of the harsh shadows you would usually associate with direct sunlight photos. On the flip side, all the back lit photos used flash to balance.

For a more complete selection of the images from the session, head over to Lorianas July gallery. You can also view an even bigger selection of images at Lorianas own online gallery here though it is password protected so you will need to get the password from her directly

Equipment Used: Nikon D700, SB-910, 85 f/1.4G, 70-200 f/2.8 VRII, PocketWizard Flex TT5 and Mini TT1, Lastolite 60 x 60 EZYBOX

Carly Photoshoot - 19 May 2012 - Dave/Sonia

I'm just getting around to updating the news page for the photoshoot we did with Carly back two weeks ago. We had arranged a double-themed shoot and Carly chose a number locations which worked out pretty nicely!

On our way down to Nerja the weather was great but then as is typical of southern Spanish weather around the months of April and May the sky started to get pretty threatening and it was fairly obvious that it was only a matter of time before the heavens opened. This along with the wind made for a pretty eventful shoot. The off-camera flash gear almost took off a couple of times! Thankfully we didn't have to check in with a hotel and Carly had come with her make up done which meant we could get straight into taking some nice photos before the rain came down.

Given the sky was quite threatening I wanted to get that feel in a number of the images to give that nice moody atmosphere. Check out the image above. This was taken at 1/250s at f/14 at ISO 320. The 1/250 ensured I got enough power out of the flash to balance the light on Carly to the light in the rest of the image. To ensure the balance of ambient versus flash I increased the FEC by 1EV. After the shoot, I desaturated the image in Capture NX2 to give it that threatening yet 3D feel. If you check out Carly's May gallery you can see a similar image with the aperture wide open at f/2.8 but the shutter speed at 1/2500s meaning you are into the realm of high speed sync on your flash and a loss of flash power. In this case it was not an issue as subject and background could be balanced given the sky was so dark but in brighter weather or backlit shots you may have difficulty keeping the depth-of-field nice and shallow and the light balance on subject and surroundings right in high-speed-sync mode. Comparing the two images you can also see how your choice of aperture completely changes the mood of a photo.

We got some lovely photos on the steps by the river near the entrance to Nerja town. I personally like photos on steps as they add another dimension to an image. You can also be creative with the lines and symmetry and use the balustrade as a leading line if the situation allows. Ben was good enough to send on some pullback shots from the steps which we've included below.

A big thanks to Carly (and Ben) for putting up with the wind and cold (AGAIN! I think we need to break this habit sometime!). Her library of different poses didn't stop for one moment making every photo unique in its own individual way. For a more complete selection of the images from the shoot, head over to Carly's May gallery. You can also view an even bigger selection of images at Carly's online gallery here though it is password protected so you will need to get the password from her directly

Equipment Used: Nikon D700, SB-900, 85 f/1.4G, 70-200 f/2.8 VRII, 16-35mm f/4, PocketWizard Flex TT5 and Mini TT1, Lastolite EZYBOX