16 Nov 2014

Snail Shoot

I had my first complete shoot out with a model last Sunday, and it was the first time I did the whole process to a satisfactory level in a single day.

In the morning, the wife left to teach in a supplementary school, leaving me and my 2.4-year-old to play around. There was a drawing board left in the garden, in the rain, that I took in to repair and use. I put it in the living room, cleaned it up, and discovered four tiny little creepers having a stroll in the vast space of the drawing table.

So I went up to my room and got these bad boys:

I chose the EOS M for this shoot, featuring my own EOS M DiY grip, because it was light weight (especially couple with that huge M42 russian macro bellows) and uses liveview so I should be able to see precisely where I'm focusing (or so I thought). The two lights are Canon Speedlites 580EX and 430EX II because this is what I currntly have, and thy are all linked with YongNuo's brilliant YN-622c wireless ETTL system. The lens is an enlarger's lens: EL-Nikkor 80mm f5.6 adapted from M39 to M42 with a real cheap adapter from eBay.

Seeing where I'm focusing was not really that easy even with liveview, due to the extremely low amount of light reaching the sensor. I was using an 80mm f5.6 at f11 or f16, with bellows extended the whole 30cm. I think it would have been more than the equivalent of an f64 aperture stop. So I needed both lights, which were firing full power every time (bounced off walls and the ceiling in different directions depending on the shot, and in conjunction with the room light coming from the big window), and also ISO 800. I would have hated to use ISO any higher. Even with all that, I wouldn't see much on my LCD. The photo would only appear when the flashes fired.

All in all I was extremely happy with most of the shots, aside from the fact that they made me realise just how much my sensor needed a clean. A considerable amount of spot-healing to remove the now-apparent dirt (remember how small my aperture in these shots is. This makes the tiniest speck of micro dust visible on the sensor), and some toning and colour edits (I preferred to convert most of them into black and white except where the colour played a role in the making of the shot)

When I was done it was time for the test of horror: seeing the fantastic shots on other monitors. Needless to say, the result was horrific. I definitely need some calibration devices and I have no idea just how well you can see these shots as I intended them to be.

Here are a few other shots. Let me know what you think.

And again, all taken with the following kit:

6 Nov 2014

I Flound Black

18th Century Frigate (fatural light)

Just as my next-door house was being reclaimed, I gave my neighbours a hand removing some of the furniture left. And to my delight, one of the things the landlord did not want was very few boards about 50x70cm of cardboard, left by the architecture students who used to live there, and I was able to take them.

One of those boards was an brand new black acrylic board, still in film, and also a black, very thick cardboard of about the same size.

Immediately, I removed the film off one side of the acrylic, revealing the extremely shiny and beautiful black mirror, and set the black cardboard some distance to the back. I used the EOS M and EF-M 18-55mm STM lens for speed, and the YongNuo YN-622c triggers for two flashes.

And I got me the following shots. Not bad for a first try?

The photo on top was taken in natural light. The two below were taken with two flashguns (one 580ex, and one 430ex II)


 Optimus in his Prime (flashguns)

The one drawback is that the surface of the black acrylic is literally a dust magnet. Dust that falls onto it sticks. Probably some static electricity from the removal of the film? Let's hope I can clean it up perfectly for the next item.