In June 2015, Photogen.lu organized a workshop for photographers and bikers in the nature reserve Haardt in the south of Luxembourg.
My friend Olivier asked me to take some photos of the new BMW 430d Gran Tourismo. Here are the results!
The final picture was created using two flashlights stuck into a blue neon protection tube.
In September my photography club organized a tour from Beaufort to Berdorf. I mostly used my macro lens along with a set of PocketWizards for off-camera fill-flash.
Above is a behind the scenes video for a fairy-tale themed photograph I took of my red Ford Focus (2011, Titanium). The video explains how I turned the Little Red Riding Hood idea into an image, from the two-hour shoot with Olivier Kerschen to the six-hour editing process in Lightroom and Photoshop. The two photographs below show an unedited picture with nothing but ambient light and the final edited image.
The same video is also available in Luxembourgish.
About a month ago, Photogen.lu had challenged its members to take part in a ‘street battle’. The purpose of the get-together in Luxembourg City was to roam the city centre and take photographs of the people there, then meet up again and share images and experiences. Most of the photographers went for the candid approach, in which you photograph scenes happening in the streets where people are not aware of being photographed. I decided to do the opposite and approach people directly.
I think it’s easier to decide on a target group. If you can photograph anybody, you’re likely to end up not being able to decide who to approach. If fewer people meet your arbitrary criteria, it’s easier to pick somebody from the masses. In this case, I focused on people with greying hair.
I had a memorable exchange from the workshop in Arles in mind that day. I had asked Serge Picard how I could make my subjects feel more comfortable. He answered: ‘Why on earth would you want them to feel comfortable?’. My goal for the day then was to get out of my own comfort zone by approaching complete strangers and getting them out of their own comfort zone in the process. I went around addressing people, briefly told them that my photography club had given me a mission and asked if I could take their portrait. If they agreed, I first took a regular close-up portrait. Having a camera with a ring-light pointed at your face can be a bit intimidating, so I didn’t want to come straight to the point. The photo I was after was one of my subjects pulling their favourite face. Once a person has agreed to having their portrait taken, the first picture is just a means of breaking down a barrier. After that, it’s much easier to persuade your subject to do something silly or unusual.
In case you’re wondering why there are only men in the gallery: none of the women I asked for a portrait agreed!
Oh, and this would be a valid reason for always shooting RAW and at the camera’s full resolution. You never know when your picture gets printed at the size of a billboard!
Chris Willmott asked me for a casino-themed shoot before I was going to leave the UK. The School of Drama building at the University of Kent had recently been finished and provided a fairly modern setting that would work, seeing as I didn’t really want to go through the whole logistics of working in an actual casino. So, thanks to the university for letting me shoot there.
The photographs ended up somewhere between the styles of James Bond and Gambit. I used Speedlights and PocketWizards to set the mood in terms of lighting, playing around with gels to get some colour contrast and get away from the boring fluorescent light.
The post-processing was a challenge for me. For two of the photographs we wanted the cards to be in mid-air. Getting it all done in-camera turned out really difficult, so I decided that I’d place the cards later on in Photoshop. Thus I ventured forth into Photoshop’s 3D world :) I hope the results look somewhat realistic.
The Christmas holidays have started for me today. With a little bit of time on my hands before my friends from the UK arrive in Luxembourg, I went to the Prënzebierg in Pétange this afternoon. Shooting snow-covered landscapes has always been a bit of a challenge for me. With all the snow, pictures usually turn out grey and it’s difficult to get a decent composition going. I decided to try whether adding a bit of strobist gear would help. I also finally got around to trying the AC3 together with my PocketWizards. It came in very handy to control the manual power levels of the flash directly from the camera.
I’m not sure I want to do this again though, even water-resistant gear can only take so much molten snow…
I met Savio while I worked in P&T’s Téléboutique in Luxembourg city – my summer job for the last couple of years. I think he saw the slideshow from Martine and Mike’s wedding and showed them to Julie. They asked if I could take photos at their wedding, and once my schedule for my MA last summer had taken shape I could confirm that I’d be able to cover one last wedding during my time as a student – theirs.
Once more I asked Olivier to help me out as assistant and second shooter, and he did a great job. We started the day at Julie’s parents’ in Thionville. From there it was but a short drive to the lovely neo-apostolic church where they got married. This was the first non-catholic wedding that I’ve covered so I checked with the priest to make sure I’d be aware of the differences. After the moving service, a limousine picked up the newly-weds. We drove to Mondorf-les-Bains: the reception and the dinner were held at the Orangerie in the park. Having everything in one place like that made logistics a bit easier and meant that we could spend a bit more time for the couple photos.
I had a really great time at the wedding, and I hope I captured the ambience in the photographs! That was probably the last wedding I’ll cover. My time as a student is up and I’m moving on.
I’ve pretty much finished work on my dissertation now, so I could take a day off when Coralie and Oliver came down to visit us in Canterbury. Together with David and Alison we drove to the Ice Bowl in Gillingham.
[Update: Some people have asked about the editing of the ‘splash’ photo, so I’ve uploaded the original for comparison.]
I really liked Southlands Beach which Alison showed me when we were in Bermuda. I had a Fashion photography competition that I wanted to participate in while we were there, so I asked Alison to play the ‘local’ card and get in touch with one of the models she’s worked with before, Stephanie Wilkinson.
For most of the photographs I used three flashes. Two were used together with a shoot-through umbrella which Alison held on to to avoid it falling over. The third flash was used on its own as a kicker or sidelight and was safe on a tripod. Or so I thought.
The shoot went really great – until we got to the final location. The wind blew over the tripod with one of my flashes and a PocketWizard. The hotshoe foot of the latter snapped off, so tomorrow I’ll have to head over to the Flash Centre in London to get a replacement foot (they said they can fix it in time for my Eurostar to Luxembourg in the evening if I drop it off in the afternoon).
Sod’s law. I think I got quite lucky for the rest of the shoot anyway. The forecast had announced rain but it stayed dry, I got way too close to stepping on a Portuguese Man o’ War, and the light levels were just on the sweet spot for me to make use of the flashes at full power and a 1/500 sync speed whilst keeping a shallow depth of field.
Jacky and Steve’s wedding in September was the last one I covered in 2009, and oh boy, it was great to be there. Alison had come down to be my assistant for the day. We started the day with the couple shooting in the park in Colmar-Berg. It offers some gorgeous backdrops all along the shores of its lakes. On the technical side, I finally got to make proper use of the PocketWizards’ full potential. Their high sync-speed capabilities made it easier to balance the flashes against the full daylight and generally made using the lights more practical. The shoot in the park was a lot of fun, and the atmosphere just carried on right through the rest of the day.
The ceremony was in the town hall in Vichten. Their ceremonial room upstairs was very interesting in terms of lighting, the mix of indirect sunlight from the windows and artificial light sounded like it was going to be tricky, but it turned out to make for some great sidelight and colour contrast which gave the whole ceremony a very warm character.
The reception and dinner were back in Colmar-Berg. We had already briefly visited the area for some architectural elements in the couple shoot. The dinner hall was nice because it offered such an open space and a lot of room for the dance floor. I actually asked Alison to film Jacky and Steve’s first dance with her 5DMkII while I was taking photographs. I think the short clip makes for a nice moment in the slideshow. The evening was marked by some crazy games for the newlyweds and their guests and an all-round festive mood – definitely an awesome evening for a very cute couple.
Two recent self portraits that I shot for the Camera Bag and Boats II contests over at dpchallenge.com. No need to worry though, I still prefer being behind the camera rather than in front of it.
For the cathedral shot I placed the 5DII with the Peleng 8mm fisheye at the bottom of the camera bag and used PocketWizards to trigger two flashes, one below the lens in the middle and one to the right (you can still see the bright diffusor panel). For the pirate shot I used Canon’s ETTL system to trigger a 580EX in a softbox over the camera and a 430EX in some ziplog bags under water.
Kent Union hired me again this year along with Mikey and Alison to photograph the annual Summer Ball. Last year I went as a guest and had an enjoyable experience, and it was fun on the staff side this year too. The acts this year included Clacket Lane, Feeder, Pendulum and Florence & the Machine (whose tour manager, it seems, fails at communication). I’ve posted a selection of my photographs below, if you want to see more of mine and the other photographers’ images head to Kent Union’s flickr stream or directly to the Summer Ball 2010 set.
This was probably the last Keynestock I could go to. When I finish my MA this summer and leave the University of Kent this great little festival organized by the Keynes Student Committee will be one of the events I’ll miss in the future. The weather didn’t play along this time, but fortunately my equipment is mostly weather sealed; a small platic bag around the body kept most of the rain off anyway.
My favourite act this year was Black Sun Down. They’ve played at Keynestock and other local venues before but this time they really delivered a great performance. All in all, I was impressed by the talent showcased yesterday. Great bands and artists all day long. I also like the way the voting worked this year, the audience could simply send a text with their favourite. Black Sun Down ended up in third place, Alex Quaye second, and History of the Trade won, which, afaik, means they can play at the Summer Ball and Artsfest (at both of which I’ll be around with the camera again).
Keynestock 2010 photographs by Gilles Glod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Luxembourg License. You can download these photos for free, but you have to link back to this blogpost if you want to publish them elsewhere.
Here are the photos, the sequence is the same as on the lineup.
Bardo Thodol (winners of Keynestock 2009)
Half a Crown (Keynestock 2008 winners)
Southlands Beach has got to be one of the most interesting places in Bermuda, photographically speaking. Rocks are scattered along the beach and make for great focal points in landscape images. Getting up at insane-o’clock in the morning to get to the beach before sunrise was well worth it I think, and the clouds, which initially looked rather discouraging, actually made for a great atmosphere. After this session at Southlands, we went back there twice more for shoots with specific themes.
After my last class from the spring term, I visited Bermuda with Alison for a week two weeks, thanks to the ashcloud. Before then, I always thought the colours in the photos she’d taken over there were pure Photoshop. Well, no, the water is actually that blue. Below are some general impressions of this and that, from the places we visited in between me researching my essays (which I handed in yesterday, yay!). I’ll post some more sets from my visit later.
I’m trying a new way to display photos on the blog here, with the WordPress NextGen gallery plugin, instead of the SlideshowPro flash plugin I have used so far. On the one hand, it’s going to save me some time getting images ready for the web, on the other hand I can now show photos that are bigger than the main column in the blog. What do you think of the new gallery style?
One of the recent challenges over on DPChallenge was ‘Rejected Movie Posters‘. I came up with this parody of the Iron Man movie. The slides below should give you an idea of the process from the first concept ‘drawing’ to the final image.
I took the picture in a living room. Not much space, otherwise the lights would have been further away. I used to flashes with barn doors for the rim light, and two lights with umbrellas as side lights. My Iron Man, Aaron, had to balance on the ironing board I borrowed from my flat and which was propped up on a couple of pillows.
The background I ended up using was made in Photoshop using the Clouds Pixelate/Mezzotint and Radial Blur/Zoom filters. The bigger streaks are from a separate image I made with some christmas lights – I zoomed in during the exposure to create straks. The font used for the title is CGF Arch Reactor with a starting sand/soil texture from CG Textures.
A couple of photographers from the Photogen community decided to meet up in Luxembourg City on the evening of May 1st for a 'nightwalk'. Since I happened to be in Luxembourg that week rather than when my volcano-free schedule had planned, I drove up to the Kirchberg to join the others: -Kiischtii-, deBaemm, m-otiv, MB-Photos, McQueen, and Mexx. (Mouseover the photos to see the who's-who in the captions.) We walked from the LuxExpo down to the Philharmonie, where Ben took a great group photo of us, using the combined light power of 4 PocketWizards, 2 580EXs, 1 430EX and 2 SB900s.
Some of us wanted to go see Iron Man 2 after the get-together, and with only 20 minutes to go before the screening, we realized that we had covered quite a distance on the way down from Utopolis. Doesn't feel like it when you can just drive the distance in a car! Oh, Iron Man was crap by the way. But at least it inspired me to take another photograph, which I'll blog about next week.
The Photography and Modelling Society organized a 50s themed photoshoot in Keynes college at the University of Kent last month. I'm not sure if the clothing styles the models came up with all matched that exact time span, but let's say it was all 'Vintage' to give the whole thing a coherent style.
The shoot was a bit of a challenge because there were about 20 people, both photographers and models, in a fairly small common room stuffed with tables and sofas. Without much space I made use of superclamps and magic arms to get my lights where I needed them to be.
The last image isn't me, by the way, it's this year's (well, last year's, since the elections were right after the shoot) Photography President Mikey, shooting Bert Stephani style with reflectors to shape the light from his main flash.
The editing is based on Matt Kloskowski's 'Ralph Lauren' Lightroom preset which I adapted to my own needs. After that, some Photoshop to clean up the place: I mainly got rid of some stains on the floor and fix scratches in the leather.
Thanks to my models, Pulo, Laura, Solenne, Nicola, Chris and Rachel!
A friend invited me to come to one of the American Football games, at which he played for the Kent Falcons, the University of Kent's team. At this game they played against the University of Christchurch team. He told me it was their first season as a team, which might explain why they lost quite badly against Kent.
It was also the first time ever I've seen American Football. It took me all of the first half to figure out more or less how the game works. Once I was able to get a feeling for where the ball was going to go I started to get some decent pictures.
Such a cute couple. I had a great time at Lynn and Tim’s wedding last summer. Tim used to work with my aunt and that’s how we got in touch. As usual I went to see them and we discussed the details of their wedding well ahead of time, so that everything could go as smoothly as possible on their big day.
Once again, Olivier Kerschen assisted me throughout the day. It’s great to have an assistant with you who knows the way you work. We started the day at Lynn and Tim’s home with detail photos and some shots of Lynn getting ready. The church in Obercorn in which the ceremony was held wasn’t far from their home, so we could spend a good deal of time with Lynn and still meet Tim at the church, early enough to confirm with the priest the decisions Olivier and I had made when we had scouted the church on an earlier occasion.
The ceremony was great, with some brilliant solo performances by the choire and lots of emotions.
The reception and dinner were at the Claimarais in Belgium, a lovely hotel-restaurant with a beautiful parc surrounding it. We stayed with the couple and their guests well into the night: the dinner was followed by catchy music by an Italian trio, and the family and friends had come up with some priceless games for the couple in between the dances.
We took the couple photos of Lynn and Tim on a separate day, which allowed us to visit a couple of locations. We started in the Grund in Luxembourg city, which looks great in summer; then we moved on to the Schueberfouer, the yearly Luxembourgian funfair for some photos in a more unusual and exciting setting. Finally we drove to an abandoned warehouse to finish the shooting with a modern, gritty edge.
Meet Zazu, Alison’s African Grey parrot. She’s a crazy one. (Zazu, not Alison.) When I took this photo, Zazu was about three months old. You may already have seen this photo in my PAD collection, but I wanted to show you a bit of behind the scenes information from when I took this. The setup shot below should give you a pretty good idea of how I managed to light Zazu in her ‘natural habitat’.
So, first of all, for Zazu to be sitting somewhere outside her cage with not too much clutter around her, I first set up a lightstand with a superclamp, which in turn held one of her perches in place. To keep her occupied we let her play with a pen top, one of her favourite toys.
The lights are all triggered using Canon’s ETTL system. An on-camera ST-E2 sent out the signal to the slaves, which were all set to manual mode. The lights on the left and right in the back are 430EX Speedlights with my DIY snoots on them. (The snoots are cookie boxes lined with gaffer tape.) The snoots shape the light into a tight beam, to reduce flare to a minimum and to avoid the light bouncing around the room.
The softbox on the left is the Westcott Apollo set with a 580EX inside it. It’s rotated towards the camera so as to avoid it spilling light onto the wall in the backround. On the table on the right side is another 580EX. This one is flagged by a tissue box (whatever comes handy, really!) and I put a CTB gel on it in order to end up with a strong blue background. I also didn’t want the background to be homogenous, so I placed a basil plant in front of the light. The shadows from the plant add a bit of interest to the background.
Oh and the white thing floating at the top of the image which Zazu is staring at in the setup shot is an origami crane. She has since taken care of it.
Last week I posted photographs from London Zoo that I took in October, this time I would like to share with you a short film I made in the same zoo last weekend. The trip was organized by the Photography and Modelling Society. I had about four hours during which I could shoot. Some of my favourite enclosures, including the rainforest indoor area, were closed to the public, and somehow I ended up shooting birds more than anything else.
Around 20 minutes before we had to catch the train the delivery guy showed up with my new LCDVF as well! I had been thinking about buying a Zacuto Z-Finder, but since they are sold out pretty much everywhere and cost 2-3 times as much I had ordered the LCDVF from lcdvf.pl. (The buying part was a bit tricky since the payment instructions got lost in translation, but I called them up, got everything sorted out and had the parcel within four days.) I might write a short review of the LCDVF, but in a nutshell, I prefer it’s 2x magnification to the 3x of the Zacuto (which I tried briefly at The Flash Center), and the magnet mount they use seems like a good solution to me. Having the LCDVF with me was really helpful for focusing, especially as most of the animals kept running or flying around. The experience is definitely very different from shooting stills! I had taken my tripod with the Manfrotto 808 head with me. There really would have been no way around a tripod, at least for the telephoto scenes: I used the EF 70-200 2.8L IS lens with both the Kenko 1.5x and Canon 2x Extenders on it, giving me an effective focal length of 210-600mm, and without the IS the footage would have been fairly shaky even on the tripod.
For the wide angle shots I used the Canon EF 24-70 2.8L which was attached to a shoulder mount. This helps to distribute the weight of the camera a bit, but I had to find out that it’s not very practical to use it whilst carrying a backpack.
Unfortunately Canon won’t release the new firmware for the 5DMkII until later this week, so I still had to shoot at 30p rather than 24p. I hope the video doesn’t look too choppy! I also think that I’ll have to invest into some kind of external microphone sometime soon if I ever want to make anything that isn’t overlaid with music. Here I mixed the song with the ambient sounds, but I was fairly limited even with that, since the camera picks up the noise from the IS as well as the wind and the noise when I touch the camera.
If you’re interested in the music, the album by Denis Richard can be downloaded from Jamendo.