My computer's decided that stitching panoramas isn't going to happen tonight. Instead, here are some photos from this year's edition of the University of Kent Fashion Show, organized by the Photography and Modelling Society. We had guest appearances from the Pole Fitness and Capoeira societies. All the profit that we made has been donated to the British Heart Foundation. I still have to find out from our treasurer exactly how much that was but I think it's something around £700.
This week will also be my last as co-president of the society, on Saturday we're holding committee elections and a new team will take over. Ooh I'm getting all sentimental about it... :)
I made this poster about a month ago, it has now been put up all over the University of Kent campus to advertise the annual Fashion Show. It’s organized by the Photography and Modelling society, of which I’m co-president, and full infos about the show are available on our website, here. I’ll say a few words about the poster.
We took this in the Templeman Library with permission from their administration. Mikey and Alison helped me set up the lights. We used 2 430EXs behind the models pointing towards the camera for rimlight and lighting the books. 2 580EXIIs were in the bookshelves to either side of the model. One 580EX was lying on the floor to provide some fill from below. One 430EX sat in a shoot-through umbrella just above the camera pointed towards the models. I used Alison’s Canon 5DMkII (its 21MP allowed me to print the poster on A3 at over 300dpi).
I took photos of about a dozen models and later on decided to go with this one, because the lighting, the pose and the dress came together so well. Then the editing started. For a before and after comparison, have a look at the two photos below. First I cleaned up the bookshelves and coloured them in after boosting the saturation on them. Then I got rid of the emergency exit sign in the ceiling and the chewing gum on the carpet. Next up the model (Carole Mathias) got a quick digital makeover. I made the colour of her dress more striking, cloned out some stray hair, and added some colour to her make-up. The title logo uses the font AvantGarde, on which the society logo’s Maple Origins is based. The waves in the background were made following a tutorial I found on psdtuts. After getting plenty of feedback from fellow photographers at Photogen, the text with all the information ended up at the bottom rather than in the shelves.
[The video may take a moment to load and contains strong language.]
The inQuire newspaper features a section on fashion. For this issue the focus was on suits, which we got from BHS and Burton Menswear. I met up with features editor Laura Harrison and five models in the Abode Hotel in Canterbury, who kindly offered us a common room and one of their regular rooms to shoot in. Alison Begeman assisted me for this shoot; since things had to move relatively quickly with changing models, scenes and clothes I needed someone to position the lights where I needed them and set the required power settings.
The common room had a great antique athmosphere to it. The furniture looked expensive enough to stop me from attaching superclamps to any of it. I was shooting with my 40D and the 17-55 at around 1/15-1/50 @ f/4 throughout the shoot to balance ambient and strobe light. I used an ST-E2 to trigger the flashes using Canon's wireless system and the main flashes were gelled to make them match the colour of the ambient light. One of the advantages of the common room was space, I didn't have too many problems putting the lights exactly where I needed them, albeit we moved some of the sofas out of the way. I used my shoot-through umbrellas most of the time, but I think it's time to invest into a softbox to get a better control over the way the light spills.
As you can see in the video, the doors to the room had glass windows. A few of the guests that passed by the room stopped to have a look at what was going on, including one old lady who seemed to check out the models as they were changing... Still the audience was smaller than during the Varsity Poster shoot.
The second part of the shooting was in a regular-sized hotel room (the Cathedral-view room they were going to give us had unfortunately been booked that morning). With six people in that room space was more of an issue but I think it worked out alright. The only thing I'm not so satisfied with is the shadow that one of the flashes has cast in the mirror shot.
This is the poster used to advertise this year's edition of Varsity, a series of sport events in which the University of Kent and the Canterbury Christ Church University compete against each other. The original idea for the poster was to have students from both universities facing each other in two rows which through perspective would have formed something like this: ><. However the Christchurch students left before I arrived; I've been told they took their photo in five minutes, so they either have a photographer who can work way faster than me or, well... I haven't been able to find their photo, the Christchurch Varsity page hasn't been updated since last year and still shows David Cater's 2008 poster.
Change of plans then, I had the Kent students stand back to back in a V formation in front of Westgate (part of the medieval defence system that spans around the city centre), facing east towards Christchurch. Most sports gear is easily distingushable, the only trouble I had was with trampolining, a sport which distinguishes itself through jumps and figures, none of which could easily have been implemented in this picture without breaking the symmetry. So I had the trampolining representative on the right pull one knee up which she said was similar to one of their figures.
I borrowed a Canon 5DMkII with a 24-70 lens for this shot; it was good fun to work with that combination. I metered for the ambient and dropped it about a stop and a half to make high street a bit darker, then I lit the students with four speedlites. I only had three light stands available, so Cai Robbins, the Kent Unions sports sabbatical stood in as voice activated lightstand. You can see her in the original photo. The one thing that still annoys me in this photo is that I couldn't get the lights high enough, as a result of which the light which was in the front camera left cast a shadow onto the cricket player's cheek.
Post processing consisted of cleaning up the chewing gum from the street, removing pedestrians and the lightstands and some cables which were visible in the sky. I dodged and burned the players to give them a bit more edge. With a fifth light behind and in the middle of the players the whole thing would have looked much better, giving them a rim light on the inside to set them off against the background. Time to buy more flashguns, I guess :)
Teams f.l.t.r: Netball, Tennis, Women's Football, Basketball, Women's Rugby (2x), Cricket, Women's Hockey, Trampolining, Lacrosse.
On 1st February 2009 it started to snow in Canterbury and large parts of the UK. In London traffic collapsed, flights got cancelled, people didn't get to work. In Canterbury, on Sunday, the University of Kent campus was transformed into a giant snowfight warzone. People got buried in snow, Canon 5D MkIIs had to prove that they were indeed water- and snowball resistant, students tried to dodge massive projectiles from the three-man snowball slingshot. In the calmer areas, the occasional snowman saw the light of day. The Rutherford field became a massive slope for makeshift sledges, including inflatable matrasses, office chairs, binbags and construction site signs. On Monday, the University sent out an e-mail to all students saying that campus would be closed from 1pm onwards. The library and all colleges closed down. Society meetings got cancelled, parents had to pick up their children from the campus nursery. Only the builders on the Mansell site just opposite the Venue, where a new drama building needs to be completed on schedule, kept working.
In autumn I've already visited Dover, this time I went with the Photography and Modelling Society. Most of our trip was spent exploring Dover Castle, which was closed last time I went.
In late December I met fellow photographer Shantideva for a shoot in the Terres Rouges industry buildings. The model was my cousin Nickie. We photographed for a few hours despite the blistering cold (something around -4°) and incredible amounts of dust. There was dust everywhere. It took well over an hour to clean all my gear when I got home, but my camera was scheduled for a trip to the Canon headquarters anyway.
If you want to see some behind the scenes footage, watch the video, but keep in mind that I'm not a videographer :)
About an hour ago the results for a photo competition entitled The Connection Between Generations (Lëtz: D'Verbindung tëschent den Generatiounen) organized by 45Plus together with photogen.lu were announced. My photo above won the public voting and convinced the professional jury. I'm now the happy winner of a Macbook, the photo will make the first page of a calendar and I can take part in a workshop during the Rencontres d'Arles.
I'm a happy camper, and the least I can do is to share some of the behind-the-scenes info of this photo. (more…)
Essays handed in. Sun in the sky. Trains on time.
On Halloween, the UKC Photography and Modelling Society set up a studio in the Lighthouse at the University of Kent. The aim was to raise some money for the society to buy more equipment, and it worked out quite well.
The last photo shows out setup. The trickiest part was lighting the background without having too much spill on the people since we only had about two metres in depth with which to work. The backdrop is lit with two Canon Speedlite 430 EX flashes, both with gobos to make the light hit the background only. The lights left and right of the camera are a Canon Speedlite 580EX MkI and MkII with Manfrotto 001B Nano stands and Westcott 2001 double-fold shoot-through umbrellas. All flashes were set to slave mode and triggered with a Canon ST-E2.
Once again a bunch of crazy photographers met to walk around London in the rain and take pictures. This time the get-together had a slightly more international feel: Olivier and I represented Luxembourg (we're used to the rain and the cold). Alison and Mikey from the Photography and Modelling Society represented Bermuda and Barbados, respectively (they're not used to temperatures below 15°C). The four of us who are or have been studying in the UK met up with Natalya, Andi, Robert, Dain and Matthew. Some of their photos can be found in the DPChallenge.com forums, here. Apart from taking photos, by walking about three miles we also contributed to the Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours.
Related links: International Brain Tumor Alliance, Rose McGill, Digital Photography Challenge.
Martine and Mike are now enjoying this slideshow in DVD quality on their home cinema, as well as a costum designed hardcover photobook and an elegant traditional leatherbound album, all part of the coverage they ordered for their wonderful wedding in Mondorf.
I put the money from freelance jobs into camera equipment, my friends invest their regular income into cars. Alain recently got himself a BMW 3 and Joe had tweaked his gorgeous Ford Focus ST a bit further (one day I'll buy me one of those...). Unfortunately it began to rain after sunset, so we postponed the nightshots until next time.
Trivia: Googling around, I found another Ford Focus picture, where the photographer seems to have been a bit trigger-happy with the clone tool. Not only did he or she remove potential distractions from the chassis reflections, but the door handles disappeared as well.
In between revising for my upcoming university exams there remains some time for photography. During my stay in Luxembourg I met up with photographer John Oesch for a shooting with model Kimberley at the Abbaye Neumünster. From there I went on to take the first photograph shown above, which I entered in the Photogen competition 'Luxembourg City'. A bit later I continued for an exploration of the Kirchberg area.
Before the Easter holidays the Photography and Modeling society met up for a last shooting session. We started in the Cathedral Cloisters where the basics of flash photography and balancing it with ambient light were covered. I lent my camera to someone else so I have no pictures of that part. After a delicious Sunday lunch in the Dolphin we decided to take some group shots in the nearby park area as well as the pictures of Charlotte in the daffodils. For the eTTL adepts out there I'm happy to report that the 430EXs had no trouble picking up the master signal from the 580EX in broad sunlight from about 15 metres.
These are some older pictures from a shooting with Cazz Walker in the University of Kent Library. The shooting was aimed at the DPChallenge.com photo contest 'Books Smarts' where the first picture posted here got second place. There's something in this photo that adds further interest to it for me. The half a dozen black volumes in the upper right hand corner are copies of Bennett and Royle's Introduction to Critical Theory, a work that has simplified and simultaneously complicated my life as student of English and American Literature for some years now.
For the copyrigth part of this UNESCO organized international day, this may be a good point to explain why all of my new images that ever see the internet, and most others, are watermarked. One reason is that some of my pictures have been taken from this website and different photo communities and have re-appeared on sites with a somewhat dubitable reputation. Other instances include publicity managers 'forgetting' about the payment part of non-use agreements, or even big organizations like the 'Lëtzebuerger Guiden an Scouten' printing a book with one of my photographs on its cover without asking permission or giving credit.
So, yes, the watermarks are a necessary evil. It doesn't make the images theft-proof, but makes stealing them more difficult. [Rant over.]
Singer, actor and musical director Jean Carlos Lopez met me in town for a shooting on an overcast afternoon. Locations in Canterbury included Westgate, the Westgate gardens, Greyfriars, High Street, and the Cathedral.
Since our hosts decided we'd need to wear appropriate clothing for the Goodfellas Poker Night I thought I might as well take the camera along and take some shots before we get started. I still had a friend's Canon Speedlite 480EX from a poster shooting the day before (which will be posted soon) so I went for off-camera lighting. The basic setup is the 480 in slave mode triggered wirelessly by the 580EX as master.
Uhm yeah I lost the last game against Juan. Tonight's James Bond Poker night, so watch out Juan, you won't get away with it that easily this time.
Update: I beat Juan but lost against Goose this time...