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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Raising the Crane




























Little Destiny and her big sister Ashley had to have wondered "how in the world did this happen?" A whole hour had passed and they were only on number 11. That means there is only 339 more cranes left to finish.












I believe that 2011 was a very interesting and yet very important year for me as an artist. I also believe that this project is just what I need to prove myself right. Okay, back to the paper cranes. I had never made one, so I YouTubed it and after watching the video 3 times I knew I would be needing help with this. Coincidently my friend Adobe was visiting home for the holidays, so I stopped by to see her. Her sister Ashley and I started talking and I asked her if she knew how to make paper cranes? She said no, but if I could show her plus compensation she'll be more than willing. She wanted my iPhone 4 since I am looking into upgrading. It didn't take little Destiny long to say she wanted to help after hearing how Ashley were to be compensated ( of course Destiny also drove a harder bargain). Nonetheless, the deal was made, Adobe had agreed to manage the project and after an hour of folding sheets of white paper, they had to be wondering if they had bitten off more than they could chew. Adobe asured me that they would focus and complete them before I needed them. 2 days later they have just about hit their target. This is what focus and determination can do for anyone no matter what. So what do I plan to do with 350 white paper cranes? You'll have to stay tuned to my blog and find out in January of 2012. Just know that for 2012 I am raising the bar; well in this case "the crane."



How did I shoot it:

Nikon D700

105 f2.5

ISO: 1000

S/S 1/125th

Aperture: f2.5


Natural light and a bounce reflector. Sharp focus is obviously on the paper cranes positioned on the front row. The rest of the photo is bokeh from shooting with the aperture wide open.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Coffee, Wine and Bumble and Bumble

All week I rambled and tweeted about Bumble and Bumble. Many asked me what it was all about? Well it was all about a hair show for a very good cause. This photo reminds me of the the television show America's Next Top Model . Only none of these ladies are going to fade out of the picture because they were all winners for volunteering to help raise money for the Vine Maple Place (www.vinemapleplace.org), a christian organization that helps homeless families with children build lives of hope, by providing them with transitional housing and support services. This outstanding charity event took place at Ristressos Coffee & Wine located in Maple Valley, and was organized and hosted Stan Parente Salon in Maple Valley(www.stanparente.com).

For me, the show was fun because it again, reunited me with Ms. Ange Smith, the up and coming teenaged fashion photographer whom I had the honors of working with for a high school assignment (see previous blog: Highschool photographer picks up on shooting fashion early). Keep an eye out for more of her work.
I would have liked to post up all the photos to show the transitions between the before and after shots of these models, but then this blog would have be all photos and nothing to read about, and quite frankly, I enjoy writing my blogs. However here is one of the before, during and after processes. These ladies all went through very dramatic hair changes from what I saw as I first greeted them. And these changes made good only get better. Well rumor has it that Stan Parente is preparing for another show that will include his other salons. A bigger show, with even more glitz and glamor that will be nothing short of amazing. Keep an ear open for it. If you missed this one, you'll definitely want to attend the next. Be sure to check out more of the photos via my Facebook fan page www.facebook.com/bluestilling101.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The most disciplined beating you will ever take




















































I met a very wonderful family. I mean that literally. I was meeting up with a young teenage model and her mom's name just happen to actually be "Wonderful". And trust me when I say this "it is in the gene pool" and so contagious that it rubbed off on dad, who is no easy pushover let me tell you. You see Robert Morrison owns and run a couple of dojos. Some of you might already know what I am talking about, however, for those of you who need that translated a dojo is the place where martial arts is taught. I won't go too much into his story, but I hope this blog encourage local residents to stop by and visit and all others to check out the family business website: http://www.leesmartialarts.org/. I guess it would also be cliche if I said not only a wonderful family but also a very very beautiful family, but they are. At this model meet & greet, I handed the mom one of my business cards because she blended in so well with the beautiful models in the room, and her almost 6 ft, perfect symmetry framed young teenage daughter could have easily passed for an 18 or 19 year old. The dojo happen to be next door to the Stan Parente Salon in Maple Valley, Washington, where I was meeting these models whom I would be shooting for a hairshow being hosted on December 14, 2011 at 6:30-8:30 PM at Ristrettos Coffee & Wine House. 27203 216th Ave SE Suite F, Maple Valley, Washington 98038 by the Salon owner, Stan Parente http://www.stanparente.com/. If you are in the area please do drop in and check out the show, and definitely read my next blog because that is what it will be based on; the show itself. Now back to disciplined beatings :-)



So my new friends, the Morrisons invited me to an Exhibition show that his school was hosting. The show was very spectacular. The kids were unbelievably disciplined and very well trained, and by the time it was over, every spectator had learned that martial arts is more about being discipline and exercise that leads to a healthy lifestyle as a whole than it is about fighting. But as the title of this blog suggest, I am quite sure that should someone as skilled as these young black belts and climbing can assure you, if they ever needed to defend themselves, I am quite sure it will be a very well disciplined beating.


How was it done:


Technically, I wanted to capture a lot of movement and there was somewhat decent light, so I didnt use any flash whatsoever for the event. Criticizing my own work, I perhaps could have captured some of the intense moments with a bit more sharpness, but I got so wrapped up in this show, it was hard to stop watching and change my settings. I already knew in my head that I would do a lot of layering in photoshop to create the distance of travel in the shots and it was my fortunes that the photography gods were on my side because the backdrop curtains were pitch black which made it so much easier for me to layer the photos and remove a lot of the guess work on how to make sure the backgrounds stayed lined up in post edit work. I shot this event using the following settings:


ISO: 800-1000


Shutter Speed: 80-125


Aprature: f2.8-f4


Primary lenses used:


85. f1.4


70-200 f2.8


17-35 f2.8


Monday, November 28, 2011

When the light flash move and keep moving.














































































When I first started trying to shoot fashion something was wrong. My images got better looking, but they didn't look like the images I saw in the fashion magazines. Those images seemed to come alive, with energy and a life of their own. Even the light seemed to still be flashing as I browsed the magazine. I became absorbed with the fact that people liked my images, but inside, I didn't like them because I knew something was always missing. But this was it. I felt energized and ready. Everything on my checklist had a check near it. This was my first shoot since getting tips from the well known beauty and fashion photographer of the stars; Matthew Jordan-Smith during his 3 day workshop. A ton of information that will last a life time... and model Zipporah W. rocked the hell out it. The lighting tips were on point. As I briefed Zipporah about what was about to take place, I could see the diva swelling up in her eyes, and I knew I had the right model on the set. Thank you Creative Live and Mr Jordan-Smith. But this shoot wasn't about copying a style. It was all about creating my own style and putting my signature to it, so when you hear the click and see the lights flash, just enjoy the views on this blog.


How was it done:

Music selection by the model

earplugs for the photographer
A 1 light setup, using the 86 inch Parabolic umbrella about 4 feet in front of model off camera's left at a height of 6 feet.
Lens: 70-200 f2.8
ISO: 250
Shutter speed: 1/125 sec.
Give it a try and see what kind of results you get. (post edit work included some lightroom adjustments using the old polar setting or the color creative CP2 presets, and I tweaked the sharpness in CS5).
Aperture: f 16
So here is the tip I took away from the seminar: I metered my Key light at f 22 instead of f 16, and I periodically checked with the meter to ensure my light stayed balance. Kudos to Ja of Faces by Ja (abbreviation for Jamyrlyn and pronounced Jah). Our first of many many future collaborations. Be sure to swing by her website and tell her that Bluestill sent you. www.facesbyja.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Falling out in Ponchos






I have sat and waited patiently for the fall colors to start showing up, so I could shoot some fall apparel. If you are familiar with the cliche "a watched pot never boils" ... well the same thing applies to watching leaves change color. I have booked and scheduled 3 fall shoots but I don't want ot execute them too early or they'll just look like late summer photos. Finally... it happened, I drove down some familiar roads and saw the change. One of my fall shoots i have on schedule is an indoor shoot with a super busy model that I am just dying to work with again. My other model is a teenager still attending school so that one must be carefully planned. But the third one, the one you see in these pictures, sort of just fell in my lap out of sheer coincidence from networking. I met the model, and found her features striking and her name so unique that we definitely decided to use her nickname; Sa (pronounced SAW). This would be Sa's first modeling assignment but she wasn't too nervous, and the conversation flowed. We browsed some magazines to see what was currently trending. We found the look we wanted as far as makeup goes. I whipped out my iPhone, shot a photo and sent it to the Morina, owner of Moxie Glam (www.moxieglam.com www.mmartinezmakeup@yahoo.com). Now that we had an idea what to build the wardrobe around we decided to go and take a look at some wardrobe based on the ideas I had in mind. The first outfit was fitting of a fall look like no other and probably complimented the makeup idea we wanted to use, but something just wasn't quite right with it. And even though it looked great on Sa, it failed to appeal to me for some strange reason which only the photo gods could answer for. looking around, and looking around, we kept adding to the look. Before long it just looked like rush hour traffic, it had become so busy. I need a stylist and I need one right now, is all I could think. Then i saw it!! A plaid ladies poncho with brass buttons. I had just read an article in Glamour about how 70s inspired ponchos are turning out to be the biggest trend of Fall 2011 New York FashionWeek. The look excited me, and I saw my vision. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with Sa.
On the morning of the shoot, I was already being challenged with a downpouring of Good Ol Seattle rain. I decided to switch to an alternate location which would give us a little protection from the rain and afford us to get at least a few useable shots. Phong aka PHD Photography, my 2nd photographer/videographer showed up a lot earlier than I had anticipated and this was good. We discussed the shoot more in detail due to the weather. He was definitely okay with it, and this is one of the things I really appreciate about Phong, because he is really laid back and flows with the ideas. This also gave us an opportunity to discuss a project that Phong will be the lead photographer and videographer on. The makeup was a bit complex so I knew this was going to take a while plus the model had quite a distance to drive to the location and I-5 traffic is never ever forgiving about this sort of thing. Finally she arrived, and we went to the first shoot location, only to find the access chain locked. How could this be?? I had driven out a few times to survey the area and there was never a locked gate across the road. As it turns out, the weekdays are the only time access is permitted. Nonetheless, we proceeded to the 2nd location where we did have coverage from the rain, but this location only gave me decent headshots and I just couldn't envision my full wardrobe here. After enough of the headshots, we drove to the 3rd and final location. Phong began to laugh hard. Because he knows the area a lot better than I did, he informed me that we would need waders to shoot in that area because it was all marsh and wetlands, but clear as day it was there. Luckily enough I had Phong with me on this day because he knew another area close by, which turned out to be a small park surrounded by this very wetland. Since the rain was coming and going I decided to introduce the leopard print umbrella as an accessory. I think it really added a new dimension to the photos and we had fun capturing some great images, and Sa was very happy with what she viewed on the camera while we drove back to where we had left her and Phong's vehicles parked. As I began to drive off the skies opened up and the rain fell really hard. All I could do was think "Wow". Not sure if I was wowed by how hard and constant the rain fell or wowed about the images I was going to be editing tonight.
Equipment used:
Nikon D700
Nikon 85mm f1.4 (manual)
Tamron 70-200 f2.8
ISO 400, S/S 1/60 sec, Aperture f4 and f8 (you can determine which ones was shot open and closed by looking at the bokeh on the background).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Highschool Photographer picks up on shooting fashion early






NOTE: "These photos were not taken by me (except for the one photo of Ms. Ange Smith, the upcoming fashion photographer). These are her photos. Taken because she wanted to learn first hand what it would be like to do what I do everyday."
Reflecting back on my high school days, I remember our school photography class consisting of cameras made of cardboard boxes which you dropped in a mailbox and a few days later you got some dark, grainy horribly exposed photos mailed back to you which you turned in for a grade. The advanced photography class learned how to develop film, and worked on the school paper and yearbook. I never made it to the advanced class and today my business is photography. Ms Ange Smith, a highschool senior with aspirations to become a fashion photographer is suppose to begin a 8 hour session of "shadowing" me and observing how I create my art. But I wanted her to walk away with more than just an insight of being a photographer, so I gave her the best seat in the studio. Instead of shadowing Bluestill, she would become me, and walk away with the experience none of her classmates would have. A full understanding of what it takes to meet a prospective client, arrange a shoot, set it up, direct it, and shoot it. And if that wasn't enough, I decided to videotape the entire episode to give her some real bragging rights and one heck of a resume, because if my client liked the images, they would be used on their website and printed on their brochures and business cards. And young Ms Smith would not find out how much responsibility she was about to take on until she walked in the door to meet me.
I watched her eyes grow as big as saucers and then dinner plates as I explained to her what she was about to endure. "This is no reality TV show. This is real business and real serious business". She seemed a bit wobbly as we approached the client's store, but then she put on her game face and took her charge. The client did not hold back from telling Ms Smith her expectations and that the merchandise she would be shooting was brand newly arrived and she needed the images as soon as possible. Ange took notes every time the client spoke, as she had been instructed to do, and this pleased me. Ange then introduced Phoebe, the model for the shoot which she would be using to the client, and proceeded with wardrobe selection, accessory matching, and fittings. Afterwards, we left the client's store to discuss where and how we would shoot the wardrobe. Satisfied that we were ready, we called it a day. The next morning came quickly as I went down my checklist ensuring that I had everything ready to go. I picked up the model and proceeded to the shoot location, where Ange and her parent arrived only moments later. As we waited on the makeup artist to arrive, I took the opportunity to familiarize Ange with the Nikon D700. we then set up and metered our lighting for two of the three sets where we would be shooting. The third shoot was a possible outdoor shoot, but just in case the weather changed we had planned a third location as a backup. Finally the makeup artist arrived and he whisked the model off to get her ready. Ange took this opportunity to get used to the weight and operation of the camera by shooting photos of the makeup process. Then the moment had arrived and Ange placed the camera settings on the previously recorded settings from when we had metered the lights. Her nerves got the best of her at first, but as she calmed she begin to shoot some pretty impressive shots. Satisfied we moved to the next outfit and the next set, and she did even better shooting this session. As the model changed into the 3rd and final outfit, I checked outside and the weather was looking pretty ugly, so we made a split decision to shoot the alternate location indoor. And a good thing because before we finished it, rain was pouring outdoors. By now, Ange was used to the camera and metering the lights, and she moved around like a pro capturing her visions. Finally it was all over. As we broke down equipment, repacked wardrobe and took accountability for everything. We then sat down and had an after action review of the shoot, and viewed the images. Now it was time to edit. Ange was familiar with photoshop, but it is impossible for me to teach or even expect her to be able to edit these photos to the liking of the client. However, from looking at what she had captured, I knew that the edits would not be difficult because she had captured some amazing photos and taken highschool photography to the next level. I asked Ange a few questions which she replied " I thought the overall experience was a real eye opener. I didn't expect to be so involved with the makeup and wardrobe as I really was" "The first thought about the equipment I used, was really expensive, but I could tell that the more I got used to the camera and its settings that it got easier as the went along" "The biggest lesson I learned was how the equipment came together to make the shot happen. All the lighting and camera angles make a big difference". I then asked Ms Smith if she still wanted to be a fashion photographer, and she replied "yes, more than I did before this experience".
It makes me feel good knowing that this project turned out to be a huge success in inspiring a young girl to follow her dream, and I felt like I was giving back to the community in a really good way. In closing I would like to thank my client and very good friend Julia Jones and her employees at A Little Touch of Magick (www.alittletouchofmagick.com) for allowing a future photographer to experience something she had only thought about but never had the opportunity to achieve until this act of kindness. I would also like to extend a special thanks to Jordna Peflr for the wonderful makeup job you did. The model and the photographer spoke well about your work and your skills.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Playing with knives





One morning while meeting with a client in a local eatery, we were kindly interrupted by this soft whisper. Looking up from the computer, we noticed this extremely beautiful woman who took ownership of that whisper. At the time she seemed more interested in talking about food, so I sat quietly waiting for their conversation to end. However, my client did reference that I was the photographer of the photos that were displayed on the laptop, and this beautiful woman, name Juliana, made small talk about my work. I gave her a business card, and we finished up our business. Not really expecting to hear anything from her, since she gave my client one of her business cards, but failed to return my gesture, I took no offense to it. How off target could I have een when a few days later, I did receive an email from Juliana. We scheduled a meeting with one another, and she told me about her business, and I told her about mine. By the end of the meeting we had scheduled a few photo sessions. The first one being with swords as a prop. She and I tossed a few ideas back and forth, and Juliana let me take the reigns and lay out a plan. She liked it. A few weeks went by with me tending to other business and she stayed busy with her own business. Eventually we had a second meeting and I laid out more detail of what I had in mind as far as location, wardrobe, and other resources. Basically this second meeting became the kickoff meeting because by the time we finished, we were both super pumped up. Juliana had seen the locations we would use, and she thought they were excellent. Our final meeting came on the day before the shoot. This meeting was suppose to be a measuring & fitting appointment, but my seamstress had to call off of the program due to a family situation. Nevertheless, with my best game face, I told Juliana that the seamstress had given me explicit instructions, and I was going to get this costume made... with less than 24 hours before the shoot. I had never sewn anything in my life, but I had a plan. While browsing for some more ideas, Juliana and I came upon another photo that really caught my eye.... Suddenly I wanted to scrap the entire idea of what we were about to embark on as far as wardrobe, and redesign the costume (with way less than 24 hours). My brain was really processing at this point, and I had a full vision of what this costume would look like, but best of all, it would require no sewing what-so-ever. Juliana looked me straight in the eyes and said "I trust you". I wake up at 4:00 a.m., make a final weather check, and start packing up to drive to the first location. Enroute I noticed water starting to hit my windshield "NO WAY" Then everything started to play in my head, "what if the fog machine fails? What if the costume looks really horrible and cheap? Would Juliana really wonder if I was ready for this shoot or if the rain became a good excuse for unpreparedness"? I pulled myself together and after another mile or two the rain stopped, then started, then stopped. Upon arrival at the 1st location, I looked up at the sky. It didn't look anything like the weatherman had stated. I hesitated to start setting up the lighting gear. I finally found an alternate way of shooting this, even if the rain started falling. There were some pretty large oak trees with full leaf covering, and this would slow down the somewhat light rain enough for us to get at least a few good shots unless it started raining bigger knives than the ones we would be playing with. Right on time as usual, my business partner/partner-in-crime, Emerson aka Belles Lumieres arrived and we went over the new game plan. "Let's go for it Blue" he stated and we began setting up the gear. About half way through the setup, Juliana arrived and repeated to Emerson what I had told her "when you arrive the lights and everything would be ready to go, and we'll just need to get you into wardrobe".... (thank you very much Juliana), I thought to myself and after a few more minutes we had everything setup, fogger machine tested, and we began assembling the costume. It looked amazing and way better than anything amatuer. Juliana had been successfully transformed from a business woman to a barbarian. Then presto... the rain began to fall heavy. But not heavy enough to be considered "cats and dogs" or "knives" for that matter. For a brief moment of panic, or for safety, I forget?? We did unplug the strobes and the fogger machine. But once I realized that the tree canopy was keeping us dry, I said let's do this. I had won, and the rain once again stopped as suddenly as it started. Well the rest of the shoot in the 1st location went without incident. We eventually abandoned location #2 for a few reason, and moved to location #3 with the notion that it was okay if we got rained on because it was now full daylight and we could shoot natural light with our camera gear inside of it's "rainjacket"http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_17?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=camera+rain+cover+for+nikon&sprefix=camera+rain+cover. However, we didn't have to use them and we got amazing shots utilizing a one light strobe setup. We played with knives and got away with it. If you want to try it, here are the camera settings:
Location #1 Nikon 24-70 lens, F8, ISO 200, Shutter speed 1/125, 2 gridded strobe setup (1st strobe lighting subject, 2nd strobe in background aimed at fog
Fog machine. Time of day approximately 1 minute passed sunrise (6:54 A.M)
Location #2 Nikon 85MM 1.4, F4, ISO 100, Shutterspeed 1/100th, 1 gridded strobe (for fill light).
Thank you Belles Lumieres for assisting me with yet another crime of Passion into Art (Belles Lumieres will be departing for an assignment overseas so I am going to try and squeeze in the next project with him before he departs), and I definitely look forward to my next project with Juliana. Be sure to check in again and find out what our next project will be about.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fashion in far away borderless places































I am vibing off of something really old right now. After discovering that Washington State has its very own Stone Henge, I researched it and couldn't rest until I saw it with my own eyes. Now I truely believe that everything happens for a reason, and my reason is going to be a test of everything I know about photography and execution of an editorial shoot. The Stone Henge is nestled in a small town overlooking the Columbia River, and the architect, Sam Hill was a genious and clever business man indeed. If my research serves me correctly, Sam Hill laid the first 10 miles of paved roadway here in the U.S. right here in Washington State. He then advocated for paved roads everywhere, and although his aspiration for paved roads caught on, his vision for the town he built, went up in ashes when settlers never came and the town caught fire. Sam quickly turned those lemons into lemonade because from those ashes came this dramatic astrologically alligned and visual replica of a modern Stone Henge. Surrounded by vineyards, windmills, sweeping hills and a spectacular view of the Columbia River. Tell me about something worth being in pictures wherever you are and I will be pointing my lens in your direction. Have passport, will travel. I want to do something significant before the economy collapse completely, and I believe this is it.


So what does all of this have to do with fashion? Because just like Sam Hill, I have a vision for my first look book and that vision is going to begin at the Stone Henge site here in Maryhill, Washington and go to every place in the world that will sponsor my vision and project, ending it at the Stone Henge in Wiltshire, England. I plan to hopefully raise the funds to caravan my entire team and all of our equipment, to new locations where we will be greeted by the best models in those areas, as well as the best local designers presenting each geographical location fashion statement through the local designer's look. My kick off meeting will begin with my team and will reoccur as need be to incorporate each location that will participate, and I will run a project blog and list the progress as it occurs. Sounds difficult? Everything worth doing usually does. And if good Ol Sam Hill could keep bouncing back well so can Bluestill. 100 years from now people will be talking about this project as they turn the pages and read the history of your geographical wonderland. Any volunteers willing to help decide how we can raise the funds for this project? Any donors willing to send contributions to this fund? My roadtrip from Seattle cost me $100 in gas, $60 in picnic groceries and a priceless day of laughter and spectacular views for my companion and I for this one monumental look in order to bring your story.

Monday, August 1, 2011

High Fashion at a young age






I would like to think that I discovered her, but the truth of the matter is that I didn't. I am the third photographer she has shot with this year. At least that put me in the top 3 right? What I can take ownership of is that I have a lot of aspirations for this one. 5'9" tall with the glide of a gazelle when she walks, Chanel Milan B. is her name. I won't use her last name because she is a minor with a former Fashion Week mom name Belle who is extremely protective of her cub. And that is how it ought to be. Chanel's mom used her clout to get her daughter a fresh start in Seattle Fashion Week, and from what I saw with my own eyes, it is undoubtly in the bloodline. It was her fresh young look that bought her clout with Bluestill Photography. Enough clout that I took her name to "the family" for their opinions. It was worth the gamble. Chanel hit her mark on first poses, and flowed into the next one with precision and fluidity. For the first time, I wish I could have been in the audience watching this event occur rather than being stuck behind a small black box, peering through a smaller hole to see what was going on. But you know what? My view gave me a much better up close and personal view of a young model's aspiration for this industry. So what is this blog about? This blog is an attempt to over expose this young model until she lands in the right hands. This blog is the very beginning of The Chanel Milan B campaign which started with a meeting, a test shot, a little skin care treatment and grew into this fierce tiger you are now viewing. A venture worth investing in. There are a very few select who are fortunate enough to be spotted in a crowd and find themselves living the dream. For everyone else it takes work. Networking, self promoting, and finding the ideal teams to become a part of. I am eager to see how Chanel navigate her modeling career. The entire crew I call "the family" all agreed that this shoot was what a test shoot was all about, and young Chanel Milan B made the grade. But on a personal level, I learned through this project what passion is all about, and just how much I really love doing what I am doing. I think for the rest of this month I am going to give $10 off of all of my work (hehehehehe).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Long Shutter using strobe lighting in the foreground







My love is fashion photography. Nothing beats it. Well, except for the no hassle, no flakes, no deposits, permits, designers, cliques, etc, etc world of landscape photography. A few camera adjustments, take aim and fire away and move on to the next subject. That was until I decided to incorporate the wonderful world of modeling into the unique world of night photography. Not that I am the first to do it, but I like to think that nobody does the dew like Bluestill. I always attempt to exceed my own expectation, and as I promised when I first began shooting the long-shutter series, I would include how I shoot with a strobe to light up the always seemingly dark foreground when shooting long-shutter. All the equipment needed is the same as I explain in the first of this series, except for now, I add a very beautiful and willing model. I had her dress in relatively dark clothing for a particular reason, and that reason being so that I could exaggerate how that once very dark foreground is so well lit, that even dark clothing is defined without having an affect on the light from the background. So how is it done you ask? I start by setting my camera again on the same settings as I used for the long-shutter shoots (see previous blog: Long Shutter Night Photography [series 1]). As stated earlier, all the same equipment and add





1. strobe or speedlight and stand.





2. power source (vegabond, generator, etc)





3. light modifier (grids, softbox, beauty dish, etc) to assentuate the model's beauty.





4. model or subject to stand in all that beautiful light you are now creating.





Hook up your lighting equipment, and make adjustments for settings. I personally like to stop my strobe down to its lowest setting because it doesn't take a lot of light to light the subject or you would notice a lot of blowout in the finished product. If your camera is capable of being placed in the rear shutter sequence for flash, use this setting. Why? Because it allows the least amount of interference between the metered background light and the fidgety subject wondering why there was no flash when you clicked the shutter button. It helps to explain the process to the model, and make them aware that they can move without causing too much blur, but they might want to be in position once the countdown to the shutter speed setting reaches about half way (example: shutter speed is set for 10 seconds of duration. Upon the shutter closing the flash will be triggered as the rear door of the shutter closes, so your subject just may want to strike the pose as the countdown reaches about 5 seconds). Small movements beforehand will not cause ghosting of the subject as long a a strobe/speedlight is used. The strobe flash will freeze movements when it fires. I have attached two photos that I processed from the shoot. Again, some small post edit work might be necessary or desired, but not necessary. Only you know your own post edit capabilities. I suggest you grab your camera, strobe and a willing model and go give it a try and see what you come up with. Practice makes perfect and nothing is set in stone about the settings you will use except for some general ballpark figures that are necessary for long shutter photography. Good luck, give it a try and tell me what you think by commenting, and let me see your results. Again, thank you for following this series.