I was organising a few old photographs from the beginning of this year and noticed that I have not take any street photography shots since March.
One of the reasons I like using my Leica is the challenge, focusing and composing the shot, getting the metering right with the old fashioned centre weighted meter; in fact my M4 has no meter, only my M8 and M10.
Occasionally I’ll have an idea but it needs a bit of work, extra equipment or its a technique I have not used much, so I need to run some tests. The above shot is one such test with the lovely Sharon, a local model. Here we are mixing light sources, but trying to make it look like natural daylight through a window out of shot.
My new idea is about a model in the woods but involves complex lighting and modifying the colour temperature. The shot above and below is part of a test sequence I did to work on the concept. Above is a straight flash shot of our dining room which has been taken over by my wife while she finishes up her latest sewing project.
This time the flash has been heavily filtered. I then adjusted the colour temperature in camera to compensate.
The basics are there now, next I’ll be introducing another light again at a different colour temperature but this will be when I introduce a model to the test. This will be mixing flashing at different colour temperatures and daylight. I hope it will give a unique look but the models face with bit lit correctly.
Above is a shot where I used blue gels on the background and on the hair light to enhance the slight blue dye in the models hair.
Messing with colour is fun and I have several ideas I am working on mixing colour and colour temperature.
This week I ordered a new studio background, paper is relatively cheap but the larger muslin/curtain style are more expensive. I see people on forums often asking what colour to buy.
The lovely blue curtain background you can see in the above picture is not a blue but a light grey mottled muslin background from India. It was taken at my local Worksop Studio, I feel one of the best in the country. I used a cheap old flash head, fitted with barn doors and a blue filter.
If you are interested in my opinion buy a white, grey and black, those with a set of coloured filters will do most jobs.
Helen was my kind test subject while I tested out this new fantastic location and I also got to use Pixapro / Godox flash for the first time.
I worry about cheap flash, working flash hard I managed to get a cheap studio flash head to burst into flames, but the Pixapro worked well. Many people consider Pixapro / Godox disposable flash. As its relatively, so cheap you can just buy again. They are slowly getting their customer service together, at least in Europe and the products are getting better and better.
I own a Elinchrom Quadra portable system and I have used Bowens, and I intending testing Profoto soon. Buying flash is a long term thing, while many people replace cameras with every new model, people tend to keep flash heads for twenty years plus. One thing to consider is as technology changes colour temperature of flash heads can also change. So mixing flash heads between generations and between manufacturers can cause issue with colour management.
So with COVID-19 and the summer lockdown in the UK that February shoot was my last. Now over the last couple of months things have opened up a little and I got back into the studio
September I hit the studio with full social distancing in force and I photographed the lovely Jasmine. It was 2006 when I last shot with Jasmine, after which she retired to have children. Now that the children are older she is back and as wonderful as ever.
October saw me experimenting with the light a lot more, fewer great pics but I learnt a lot by pushing the limits. Plus while my assistant changed backgrounds I took a few snaps while Nicola was resting between sets.
While I finish my edits of my October shoots, I had booked my November shoots and I was planning for December. I was concerned that with rising rates of infection we would be under more restrictions again but I needed to organise. Just waiting for COVID-19 to be over is not an option.
This weekend the UK government announced another four week lockdown. So planning for December has now been pushed back, and I have been contacting the models booked for November to try and re-arrange for December.
What better then on a spooky halloween’s night and a full moon at that; then to wander through our scary village taking pictures with my Leica. High ISO, an f/1.4 Summilux lens, and with it being a mirrorless, no mirrorslap, makes nighttime photography if not easy than at least achievable.