This is the last photoshoot I did for inQuire this term. The shops are Punky Fish for the girls and Third Eye for the boys, so the wardrobe was street/punk/skate themed. The decision to shoot outdoors in Canterbury's less glamorous parking lot and warehouse areas was easy. The weather was dry but overcast, which is always a plus because it makes it easier to underexpose the ambient within the camera's flash sync limit (the 40D's is at 1/250th). Alison was there again to help me out. When you keep moving between locations and setting up new shots every ten minutes it's good to have someone around who knows how I work and what I mean when I say 'Drop the B slave by half a stop and flag it, I don't want the rimlight to bleed into the exposure.'
Thanks to Laura for organizing the shoot, to Alison for helping me and to the models: Liam, Katy, Cazz, Sarah, Rosie and Daniel.
For this week's edition of inQuire's fashion section we photographed clothes from Kent Union's clothes outlet, Unique, situated on the University of Kent campus. Since the clothes are intrinsically linked to the student experience here at Kent campus itself seemed a suitable location for the shoot. We were lucky to have sunshine and tolerable temperatures for our outdoor shoot.
In technical terms, one comes closer to the limitations of flash photography with these bright conditions though. I wanted to shoot with a wide open aperture, but if I wanted to use flash without moving into Canon's HSS system, in which a good deal of flash power is lost, I had to stick to the 1/250th sync speed of my 40D. Solution: I popped a .9 ND filter onto my lens. That way I could shoot wide open without having to reduce the shutter speed beyond the x-sync.
For some of the photos I also used a single reflector as a fill light source instead of flashes. Since we were shooting with more than one model, one of the others could easily hold the reflector for me.
[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.
Each year those students and societies that put special effort into making student life at the University of Kent worthwhile or/and contributed to the newspaper and radio station are honoured at the UKC Student Activity Awards Night. This year it was on March 28th and apart from covering the night for inQuire, I received one of those shiny glass awards myself. Bragging is healthy once in a while: I am now officially Best inQuire Photographer 2007/8. Yay!
For the pictures of myself on stage I passed the camera on to fellow photographer Dave Cater. All pictures were taken with the Canon EOS 40D and EF 70-200 2.8L IS lens, mostly at F/2.8, ISO 1250 and 1/100.
Sometimes, I have to work with the pressure of a wedding photographer and the salary of a bartender. Such an occasion was the results night in the Venue last Thursday, when the winners of the Kent Union elections were announced. In spite of tricky conditions for shooting I managed to be in the right place at the right moment for most of the night.
Congratulations to the winners:
Union President - Tom Christian
NUS Delegate - Faith Victoria
VP Welfare - Tom Page
VP Education - Helen Palmer
VP Sports - Cai Robbins
VP Activities - Caz Brooker
Men's Officer - Liam Carmichael
Women's Officer - Nicola Barker
Ethics and Environmental Officer - Peter Gray
LGBT Officer - Jack Bowman
Students with disabilities Officer - Marsha Todd
Postgraduate Officer - Jason Simpkins
RAG President - Ian Simons
International Officer - Charlotte Brower
Student Trustee - Taiwo Otaiku, James Howard
Keynes JCC President - Lauren Granville
Darwin JCC President - Iain Kiy
Eliot JCC President - Helen Wood
Rutherford JCC President - Alice Maskell
Parkwood Committee President - Sven Stear
During election week the University of Kent Campus is usually crowded with candidates for the different positions available within Kent Union for the next academic year, and their eager campaigning assistants. This year the dismal weather significantly reduced the number of students strolling over campus, and, consequently, the campaigners clustered in front of Eliot college to brave the rain-promising skies together.