THE ONLY ALL DIGITAL SLR SYSTEM MAGAZINE
Fall 2008 · VOLUME 1, ISSUE 4 · WWW.FOURTHIRDSPHOTO.COM
THE Members ISSUE
Shooting the 90-250mm
By Tony Spore,
& Garry Frankel
Starts on Pg 6
Studio lighting Primer
By Lawrence Keeney
Travel : Tasmania
By Ray Pollanen
By Rob Scott
An Interview w/ Lou Manna
Confessions of a food photographer
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Adobe CS4 -
After only 18 months Adobe has an-
nounced a full upgrade to New 4/3 cameras on the horizon-
its suite products. In the This month we had 3 bodies annouced for
PhotoKina news - press event they now claim the FourThirds / Micro FourThirds format.
With Photokina this year, we have more a further compatibility be- Panasonic with the DMC-G1 as the first Mi-
than usual news for this issue of 4/3 Photog- tween former Macromedia cro FourThirds camera, as well as 2 concept
rapher but this is the info which seems to be and Adobe products. The bodies from Olympus. A very nice finish to
the most important. products bring many new the year for the 4/3 format. Info about the G1
features as well as tools and about the 2 concept cameras from Olym-
E-520 and E-420 firmware 1.1 - to help you work faster. A pus located here. Don’t miss the Q&A session
Improved brightness level of optical view- great preview of PS CS4 is with panasonic over the G1 - Great answers
finder AF target points. However, only a few available at Chris Orwig’s site. Search ID 158 about this new camera.
people are noticing the difference in the view- Olympus concept cameras ID 159
finder. More info On Olympus Global site. Panasonic DMC-G1 ID 160
Search ID 155 Bibble 5 - G1 interview ID 161
A preview of Bibble 5 was at Photokina,
early comments are that the colors from Oly
Lensbabies - files are much better than Bibble 4. Stay tuned,
Have totally redone their entire line of
we will try to get a preview of it online soon.
products, and added a new model called the
“Composer”. This model promises to “deliver Search ID157
smooth selective focus photography with un-
paralleled ease.” In addition to the new model
the new lens babies also have swapable op-
tics from high quality double glass optic’s to a
pinhole plate. The 4/3 mount is not currently
avalible, but should start shipping in Novem-
ber. A very nice set of tools for selective fo-
cusing SLR’s. Also, many users in the past have
commented that a 50mm lens is a bit long,
but they also have the Wide angle and tele-
photo adaptors (at .6x and 1.6x) which will
further extend the usefulness of the lensbaby.
Search ID 156
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Nik Software - ThinkTank - UD35 Olympus 9-18mm Standard lens
Nik Software has been think tank photo announced at photoki- olympuS iS now Shipping the 9-18mm lenS.
very busy in 2008 start- na the urban diSguiSe 35, which holdS 2 e-3’S, we picked up a early Sample and will be poSt-
ing with Viveza and upoint 14-35mm, 7-14mm, 35-100mm, 2 fl-50r’S, up ing info aS faSt aS we can. early impreSSionS are
technology as well as up- to a 13” laptop, and a ton of acceSSorieS. it very poSitive, and we think that it will make a
dating Color Efex to now lookS like we are finally going to get a Small great landScape budget lenS.
having a very powerful bag, which will carry the35-100 attached to
suite of tools, which I am the e-3. the think tank urban deSign bagS
finding saves me hours a are built with the higheSt quality material aS
day in my normal workflow. well aS being ultra compact.. Search id 163
The entire master collection includes Viveza,
Color Efex, Silver Efex, Define, and Sharpener
and the master suite cost
$600. I highly recom-
mend downloading the
tools and trying them out.
Search ID 162
Sigma 50mm f1.4
Sigma iS annoucing
the 50mm f1.4 lenS for
the 4/3 SyStem. thiS will
add an additional faSt prime to the 4/3 SyStem.
Something that uSerS have been aSking for the
laSt few yearS. thiS year we have Seen many new
primeS introduced from 24-150mm. in addition,
panaSonic haS a 20mm micro 4/3 prime on their
map, all that iS miSSing iS a 11-12mm prime and in
my opinion the SyStem iS nearly complete, minuS
a few Specialized lenSeS.
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from the editor’s desk
As October soldiers on, we take an opportunity to look back at the recent past.
We’ve seen lots of news. Photokina, and the time before it, gave us lots of news.
The piece of news that has perhaps gotten the largest interest is – not surpris-
ingly – the Canon EOS 5D mk2.
I like the new 5D, it seems like a good dSLR. But wait a moment, what did I say?
Oh, that’s right, it’s a dSLR. But what’s new with that? For me, the best news in the
time before Photokina was the announcement of the microFourThirds-system. Simon Aldra - “Nomix”
Why is that?
The reason I think the microFourThirds-system is the bigger piece of news is the fact that it’s actually new. The
new 5D is a good camera, a great camera. But it’s just evolution. It’s just a 5D with a new sensor, basically. Micro-
FourThirds is a completely new system. It’s a revolution, frankly. And a revolution is always bigger news than an
evolution. Actually, when I heard of microFourThirds I was afraid that John Lennon’s words in Revolution, (“You
say you want a revolution […] but if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with any-
one anyhow […]”) was to ring true.
Not that Olympus and Panasonic have been waving pictures of a totalitarian communist dictator; but they’ve
showed something completely unusual. And that’s the point of Lennon, you never get people to listen if you’re
too controversial. It’s the same as telling people in the 1300s that the earth is round. How can it? It looks flat,
It could have happened. It could have become the greatest flop since the Betamax. It was a brilliant idea, but it’s
a proper revolution. Personally, it’s the biggest news in photography since the first dSLR. Right now, it’s the most
innovative idea that’s around.
The best camera in the world is the camera you have with you when something substantial happens. The foot-
age of President John F. Kennedy being shot in Dallas, Texas, was shot by an amateur with a cheap video camera.
The winning picture in the Picture of the Year award in Norway in 2007 was not taken with a full frame dSLR
that can take 10 images per second. It was taken with a compact camera, by a journalist just happening to come
across the news.
I was at the Norwegian launch of the 5D mark 2 in Oslo a couple of weeks ago. It was a big event with free
champagne, tapas and Corona. One thing I remember quite well was Canon telling us that “CMOS + DIGIC =
Better Images”. That’s not true. Better images are made when people actually bring their cameras. And micro-
FourThirds will make sure you have a camera with you more of the time.
If that’s not a revolution worth having, I don’t know what is.
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The CountryWide Classic
With The 90-250mm and the EC-20
and I was very excited to be able to get out and
cover the event.
I had a couple of goals that day which I real-
ly wanted to accomplish. First, I should mention
that professional tennis is probably the fast-
est moving game I have ever covered outside of
basketball, and to capture the tennis ball in the
shots is a lot more difficult than a basketball. I
really didn’t want to machine gun, because over
a five hour period I would end up with too many
photos. My first goal was to test the C-AF, and
second, I really wanted to shoot with the EC-20
by Tony Spore on the 90-250mm and get some real world ex-
which gave me over an hour to look around the
court, grab my passes, as well as a few minutes amples of AF speeds, and loss of sharpness.
Olympus is a major sponsor of the US Open, to double-check the schedule. I soon realized
one of the oldest tennis championships in the that I no longer recognized most of the names The first thing I found was that from within
world. With prize monies totaling almost 20 mil- of the players—I haven’t been to a match in over the press pit, the 90-250mm with the EC-20
lion dollars, it is a serious competition and well seven years. However, it was a very nice day were not going to work for me. But the 90-
respected in the world of sports. As such it is 250mm by itself was ideal. I could get in nice
a great opportunity for Olympus cameras and and close to the players, so there was no need
lenses to get some exposure and demonstrate for the EC-20. One of the first things to note
their abilities to the world.
I was able to grab a couple of tickets and
get down to the Countrywide Classic, one of the
tournaments leading up to the US Open in New
York. Maybe next year I will try to fly out to
New York but for now it is a bit out of my reach.
I arrived at Straus Stadium at the L. A.
Tennis Center on the UCLA campus, at 11 AM
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when shooting like this is you have to get your
camera off “P” - No, it doesn’t stand for “Pro”
mode. Program mode does have a place in pho-
tography. Also turn the AF beep to “off” , it can
be quite distract-ing to the players.
The press pit had a great perspective to
shoot from. Personally I was a bit too big to sit
in the little chairs and my long legs rolled over
to the next seat. But we all just squeezed in to
make it work (The press pit is spot quot;“Aquot; on the
picture below). The press pit is just about the
most ideal place when shooting tennis, but for
me, too many guys were standing in the way, or
sitting to close so I abandoned that after a few
matches. The biggest problem with the press pit
for me was I didn’t have enough time with the
ball in the shots, to get what I wanted.
The spots I really wanted to be were at the
At 338mm (on left) and 500mm (right), the focal lengths in 4/3 format, I was able to get very close even from the first row of the
two diagonal corners of the match behind the
stadium. The EC-20 does degrade the image a bit, but still sharpens up nice. (Only used Tonal Contrast adjustment from Nik Color
effects and default raw sharpening from Aperture.
Olympus signs. There I would be on the players think that the EC-14 would have been a better
level, but I would also be able to have some time teleconverter, because I would have had a little
with the ball. However, the officials would not let wider angle to shoot, as well as a stop faster off
me sneak into those spots. See spot “quot;Cquot; on the the lens. That would have been ideal. Not that
overview map. the EC-20 was a bad setup. In fact I was able to
get a few photos that I know I couldn’t have if I
From the UCLA stadium we had very few didn’t have the closeness of the EC-20. Though
bad places to shoot. It was a smaller sta- I did notice some image degradation with the
dium and this leads to a lot of people be- EC-20 it still outperformed any other 2x tele-
ing very close to the action. My favorite spot converter that I have used. Now, I am contem-
was in the front row marked “quot;Bquot; in the dia- plating if it would be better to shoot with the
gram where I could shoot across the court, and
I was able to grab everything from head shots
to full body shots very easily. I did have the
The court side Press pit is just about the ideal shooting location,
however, timing is very difficult, and quite cramped for my 6’7” 90-250mm+EC-20 for this, but even here, I
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EC-14 and just upsize in PS, but more of those once again has a great winner with the E-3 and
tests later. the 90-250mm combo.
When using the C-AF I think that my throw
away rate is higher than with S-AF. First and
foremost, I am not a machine gun shooter. I usu-
ally don’t end up with 10+ pictures from a series,
I may come up with at most two or three. But
with the C-AF I simply had more pictures which
were focusing off the back wall when the player
would move off my focus point, and the camera
would refocus. So is this a problem with the AF
system in my case? Nope, just the photographer.
At the end of the day I threw out 10% of the
photos which were obviously out of focus and I
had around 90% which sufficiently captured the From court side even without the teleconverter I was able to get in
moment correctly (and have online). So having a very close to the action and capture this serve.Taken from spot “Aquot;
90% keeper rate is in my opinion very high, with
10% ready to print. A very good rate, from su-
All in all it was a fun day, on the court the
temperature wasn’t too bad, we were around
100 degrees and the humidity was low, but I still
was constantly wiping my head and brow to see
through the viewfinder. With my normal shoot-
ing and work schedule I don’t get a whole lot of
time to shoot sports. So, when I had a chance, I
was very excited to do it. My overall keeper rate
was very good. I also enjoyed being at a sporting
event and seeing a majority of Olympus cameras
in the stands. I did see quite a few other brands
but Olympus really won out in the stadium. All
in all, the E-3 and the 90-250mm is an ideal
setup for this type of shooting. I saw a profes-
sional from a magazine at the event, and when
comparing photos the E-3 / 90-250mm out per-
The action is quite intense and fast moving even at 1/750
formed his much higher priced gear. Olympus shutter speed doesn’t stop the motion, but its a nice effect, but I
A near miss, slightly out of focus - see the back wall,
but it still is my favorite shot of the day. don’t want all my photos to look like this.
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TOP:With the EC-20 a bit more sharpening than normal is
needed. Still a high performing kit but image degradation does
occur. 1/1000 second at180mm ISO 500.Taken from spot “B”
Left:Without the ball the action just stopped in the shot.Taken
from spot “A”
Between matches the ball boys/girls would run up into a
line I think that they had as hard of a job as the tennis
players. Shot from spot “B”.
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Tony’s Tips for shooting
Spend time to find the flow of the game. In most settings everything
that we shoot has a flow. In Sports if you hit the shutter button as
you see the ball you will probably miss the shot. The problem isn’t
with the AF of the camera, but the lag from your brain to your hand.
However, having the AF system of the E-3 helped a lot.
Work 1/2 the court. I saw a couple guys who constantly were
bouncing back and forth on the field. After watching those guys a
couple of times I was warn out, and from seeing them Chimp (looking
at the LCD) I noticed they missed most of the shots.
Use high Shutter Speeds. With long lenses and fast action, our goal is
to get the Shutter speeds up. To do this shoot shutter priority mode,
and keep it up to 1/1000 - 1/1500.
Use Auto ISO. Throughout the day I went from ISO 100 - 560. With
auto ISO, I very rarely wasted wasted the energy to Chimp. I just
shot away confident in the camera.
Use a Monopod - Even with IS a monopod is essential. Your arms are
going to be mush if you don’t, and I do keep IS on, but I haven’t tried
the difference between on and off.
Use a single AF point - The camera focuses faster as well as you are
in control of what is in focus. (Though I very rarely use the middle
Use S-AF - In sports like this people are bouncing around, with C-AF
I found that I would end up with a lot more shots of the back wall,
when they moved off my point.
Carry a couple Teleconverters. For shooting from a limited number of
places you really need to carry at least 1 good lens (in this case the
90-250), and a couple teleconverters with you at all times.
Use focus limiter - Off the Top lenses olympus has placed a focus
limiting switch. This switch probably saved me more than anything
else. I never had the lenses traveling too far off focus, and it kept
the 90-250 constantly in the zone.
Experiment. The points above are my starting point. I did shoot half
the day with C-AF, and diamond pattern for my points. I never really
felt that ESP did a bad job of metering so I left that alone.
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highlights. It makes my pictures sparkle like jewels so we can get it as right as when they had one store. Now they have six stores and they need more photos
possible at the shoot. because they realize that their image makes the difference.
How has your E-3 experience been? Do you feel that you need more than 10MP ?
My E-3 experience has been wonderful. The quality is great and holds up I am fine with it, I just blow up what I am given, and it works fine, but I am
very well, I have made shots that were 4x6 feet posters. The rainbow stack of always interested to see what is coming in the future. I think that we will see
cookies were for Little Italy and they really drew the crowds. I really like the con- higher quality pictures with smaller files, and more megapixels.
trols on the camera and the easy to use the Super Control Panel. It’s just easy
to use. It really is a Super Control Panel you can just toggle through the controls,
simply. It is a visual control for visual people. I also like the way it feels ergonomi- What advice would you give to someone wanting to become a
cally. professional food photographer?
Let me tell you how I got into the business. When I was working for the New
What are your most used lenses? York Times they sent me out to Craig Claborn’s (A chef and food reporter for
I use the 50mm quite a bit about 80% of the time. I also love the 50-200 to the NYT) house and a few other homes. It was great, the chefs would then come
get those high impact Lou shots. The 12-60mm is my third most used, it lets me to me asking for more pictures and other pictures. I just fell in love with food
shoot on location with ease. photography. But food is about 70% of what I do. I also do a lot of other shoot-
ing. If you love it you will be successful at it. Shoot all the time. Join an associa-
Tell us about your book Digital Food Photography? tion such as ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers), it is a wonderful
It is in its third printing and has been a great hit. I get emailsnearly every day organization. Many don’t think about food photography, but really it is a great
from people who have bought it. It is laid out for access to information and also field to work.
to be very visual. The book encapsulates the whole art. It talks about the trends
of the industry the past present and future of the business. The necessities such
as the camera and lenses. It’s about how the client is going to use the shots. It
also has tips such as using glue in the shots instead of milk, because with milk
the cereal will be soggy in a minute. So that with glue the food stylist is able to
tilt the flakes to look their best. About Lou Manna:
Lou Manna is an award-winning photographer
Side note: the book has really become the standard for food pho- whose work has appeared in national ad
tography. campaigns, major magazines and more than 30
including Jacques Torres’s Dessert Circus and
What is the value of photography in the food world? Dr. Phil McGraw’s The Ultimate Weight Solution
A picture is worth a 1000 words. When selling food products people buy be- Cookbook.
After shooting for the New York Times from
cause of how good it looks. I also shoot menu boards. Right now I am shooting for 1975 to 1990, Manna went on to establish his
Energy Kitchen, which is a new healthy fast food company. I shot for 2 years ago own Fifth Avenue studio, where he works with corporate,
advertising and restaurant clients to create photos that can only
be described as exquisite. In 2006, Manna published Digital Food
Photography, a book that teaches readers how to use digital
technology to enhance food photography.
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Lou’s Blog A Recipe for Successful Food Photography
http://www.digitalfoodphotos.com/blog/ by Lou Manna (excerpted from FOOD ARTS July/Aug 2007 issue)
1-Start with a full helping of the CAMERA MANUAL.
PDNonline Believe it or not, these days digital cameras are mini computers and they can
Behind the shot - soft Icecream make or break an image. The manual is the cookbook that will help you find the
key ingredients of your camera and allow you to create a much better photo.
I know that grey is not an appetizing color, but it’s what the camera’s light meter
Digital Food Photography is calibrated to measure. Use a grey card to meter the reflected light or an
incident light meter to meter the light falling onto the subject. This will give you
the correct exposure for a colorful photograph that everyone can digest.
Not just white plates to make the color of the food stand out, but be aware of
the very important White Balance setting on your camera. Did you ever get a
shot of food and it looks green, ugh...that’s because you shot it in an area lit by
fluorescent light and did not use the correct setting. Auto White Balance doesn’t
always work well; you can set it manually or take a Custom White Balance and
that’ll clean up the color of your photo so it will be tasty.
That’s correct! In the Western World we read sentences from left to right, so
doesn’t it make sense that our eyes scan a photo the same way? There are
some simple rules of good composition to hook your eye and make you hungry.
One is a spiral composition that leads your eye clockwise into the food.
5-Serve with the PROPER RESOLUTION.
Here’s the pixel payoff...be sure to use some type of photo editing software
(Adobe Photoshop) and cook the photos to enhance their visual flavor. Set the
digital oven to 300dpi with an image size of at least 5x7 to 8x10 in a TIFF
format for the best look. Don’t forget to write captions and a descriptive file
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the E3. I have never used a monopod to shoot and that can be distracting when it is a parking
soccer games. lot or other unattractive setting.
I have pretty much been happy with the re- So right about now most of you are nod-
sults but it can sometimes be a struggle, espe- ding your heads up and down and saying the
cially in lower light levels. The 50-200 plus 1.4 easy solution it to just spend lots of $$ and get
TC combo can spend some time hunting in low- a fast, long, lens. You are right, naturally, but
er light and lower contrast. So you learn to an- it may not be just that easy. Using the expen-
ticipate the action and to be mostly pre-focused sive, fast and long lens may be a little harder
before the action hits, and then the system only than it appears at first glance.
has to “quot;tweakquot; the focus for the shot.
Getting ready for this years “quot;Cupquot;, I had the
When zoomed in to max the combination is a opportunity to borrow an Olympus demo 90-
bit slow at f 4.9 so you start to get some slower 250 lens, so I jumped at the chance to try my
shutter speeds and have to crank up the ISO. If dream lens out. It was a bit more work than I Above, this was how I carried around the lens for a whole week,
you are shooting action on the other side of the had anticipated. usually with the E3 attached. I often had the E410 with the
field the f 4.9 also yields a fair bit of depth of 12-60 swinging loose in my free hand at the same time.
field, so the background can be mostly in focus The lens arrived about a week before we
were to make the journey down to Blaine, MN that I was not going to whip this thing around
for the tournament. That gave me a chance to like I was used to on my 50-200.
try out this big brute before I would be shoot-
ing for real. My first discovery was that this It was time to dust off my monopod, which
set up was not as light and easy to use as I had had not seen any use since the release of
been used to with my old lens set up. In fact, the E510 and in-body IS. After some care-
I could not hand hold this lens for more than a ful manipulation, I found a good balance point
few minutes at a time without quickly fatigu- and settings where the monopod could take
ing. Keep in mind I am an out of shape 50 year the weight of this monster and the not so tiny
old, so for some of you younger quot;gym ratsquot; you E3 and grip. Once I got things well adjusted, I
might do a bit better in this regard. found that I could keep the viewfinder at ex-
actly the right height and just had to rotate the
The other obvious physical difficulty is the camera within the collar to switch from land-
size of the zoom ring and the force needed to scape to portrait mode. I feel kind of stupid
turn it. The lens functions very smoothly but that I had never figured this out before ! But
with the big zoom ring you need much more using a monopod is much slower than hand
effort to move this much glass than you do on holding, so once again I had to anticipate the
a 50-200. It became very clear from the first
With the collar attached you simply slack off the screw to go
from portrait to landscape modes and tighten the screw up. As
you can see here, I found it easier to use with the ball off to
the side rather than having the camera on top of the ball.
FULL SCREEN CLOSE 24
action a bit more than I had been doing for the to zoom even as fast as I did with the 50-200,
last few years. so I would have to choose my focal length ahead
of time and anticipate the action. After a few
The next thing I figured out was that using thousand frames I got this time down to a sec-
this lens was going to be more like using a fixed ond or less, but when you are shooting action
focal length lens. There was no way I was going that is a long time.
By the time I got to Minnesota, I was pretty
comfortable using this big lens, and it was per-
manently mounted to my monopod, even when
not on the camera. It was also easier to carry
around by slinging the whole affair over my
shoulder, with or without the E3 attached. I am
glad both the camera and lens are very tough.
Even the lens hood on the 90-250 is metal be-
cause something this big and heavy is going to
take a pounding.
On the practical use side, the first thing you
notice is how bright things are in the viewfinder
and how little the lens has to hunt when chang-
ing from near to far focusing. I did find I was
The pictures above and below demonstrate how a shallow DOF
more confident using single point focusing. At
by shooting at f2.8 can really help to reduce the background.
At f 4.9 the background would be much more prominent. f2.8 you don’t have a huge lot of depth for fo-
Above, when the lens and camera popped out of the quick
cusing, so I want to be sure I am not accidentally
release set up on my tripod, the only damage to the camera or
focusing on a point behind the action (a common lens was a tiny dent in the metal lens hood.The small 1.5” by
cause of OOF action frames). 1” quick connect on both my tripod and monopod may not be
enough for such a large combination.
The results and image quality from this lens
are truly amazing. It was a pleasure to be able the frames that I can only compare to what I get
to shoot action on the other side of the field when I use my remarkable 35-100 f2.
and to put the background slightly out of fo-
cus. This really adds to a three dimensional feel Besides working action shots during games
to the athletes featured in the action shots. At on the monopod, I also got to use the combina-
the same time, even in very high contrast light- tion on my tripod during the opening ceremonies.
ing, you get that little extra feel of quality to As these lasted over 1 hour and I was going to
be doing all the long shots while others were
quot;embeddedquot; in the action, I chose to set up with
the video guys to get the same point of view as
FULL SCREEN CLOSE 25
they had. This was where my only mishap with a bit of a joke amongst the whole media de-
this camera/lens combination happened. The rig partment because in a way it is a bit of an un-
fell out of the quick release holder, glanced off a intended insult to us photographers !! My pal
woman’s head, and smashed into the metal and Alex got that a lot with his 1DmkIII as well, so it
concrete of the seats in the row below. became our mantra, sometimes just shortened
to '‘Nice Camera' or '‘Good Pictures'. So after a
It was a treat to also shoot some profes- while we wore it as a bit of a badge of honour !!
sional teams when Burnley came to town to play
against Minnesota’s own Thunder. Because I Truly though, even when we were knee
had this rather long lens I was given the assign- deep in other photographers with their D3’s and
ment to make sure I could get shots with people 1d’s and such, each and every one of them was
in the not often populated east bank of bleach-
ers. Just to help make a visual suggestion of
what a great crowd it was (and it was !!). To ac-
View from my location at 35 mm (above) with Ethan Zohn at
the mike, and below is the view at 250 mm complish my assignment I had to shoot across
the entire pitch, a distance of some 50 yards.
So by now you can all probably see I was
really in love with this lens and what it could
do for me, as a photographer. I would still urge
you to consider that just spending this much
money by itself will not solve all your problems
and may not make you a better photographer.
This lens needs thousands of frames of practice
before you can become really proficient with it,
and perhaps will require some changes in your
normal practices, even just how you carry your
kit around. A good example is how my hardware
was not totally up to the stress of this very
large and heavy gear, and that may have con-
tributed to the lens and camera falling off the
tripod and crashing to concrete and metal below.
The fact there was no damage speaks volumes
Frame left, Minnesota Olympus shooter Hebert Gomez who for the professional quality of this gear.
took the pictures of me with the 90-250 shoots with his E510
and 35-100 and in the centre of the frame Brown College OK, about the title for this story, . . . “Nice
Photography Intern Alex Caroll who was my partner in crime Camera, ‘Bet It Takes Good Pictures”. You hear Above, play action is in focus while the slightly out of focus
for the whole week. Alex shoots with his 1dMKIII (No he has that a lot when you wander around with a lens background still give a nice affect due to the “compressed”
not had time yet to send it in to fix the CAF !!!).
that is physically this large. In fact it became view of a really long lens.
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Primer for Photographic Studio
by Lawrence Keeney
bare light and a large softbox. There are reflec-
Photographers who use the great outdoors tors that are made of different colors to reflect
as their studio normally have one main light a cool light or a warming light. There are barn
which is the sun. The sun can be augmented doors which when fitted to the light will allow
with fill flash, reflectors, scrims, or gobos, but control of the size and shape of the light. There
the photographer is always at the mercy of are gels which change the color of the light.
the sun which, during the day, changes in in- There are scrims which diffuse the light, and
tensity, direction, and color. gobos which block and shape the light. There
are grids which attach to both the bare light, or
Other things outdoor photographers are softboxes which help confine the light to spe-
faced with are clouds which diffuse the light, cific shape and size.
and reflection off buildings, trees, and other
objects that can add a color cast to the image. The trick to studio photography is to know
when and how to use all these lights and light
With all the problems associated with light- modifiers.
ing outdoor shots, we still must remember that
some of the world’s greatest photographs are I have to insert a disclaimer here: I am a big
of the outdoors with only natural lighting. fan of Paul Buff’s Alien Bees series of studio
lights and accessories. I presently have 5 of the
A studio photographer has much more standard Alien Bees flash units of various power
control over the lighting of his/her subject. levels. I have one Alien Bees ABR800 Ring Flash,
Over the years, many products have been de- and one Zeus ZRM1 RingMaster with the Z2500
veloped to help control studio lighting. There Power Pack. I have one large soft box, one medi-
is the bare light which produces a hard light um soft box, two strip boxes, a 30” Moon Unit, a
which produces high contrast in the photo. 56” Moon Unit, a Beauty Dish, gels, gel holders,
There are soft boxes, of all different sizes and numerous light stands and boom stands, reflec-
shapes, which provide a large source of very tors, etc. All of my lighting experience is based
soft light which produces lower contrast in on using this equipment. I must also point out I
the photo. There are beauty dishes that pro- am not a professional photographer, and even
duce a light source something in between the
FULL SCREEN CLOSE 28
though I have been studying lighting for about 5 Lighting, Short Lighting, Rembrandt
years, I have a lot to learn. Lighting, and Split Lighting. In actual
practice, a fill light is normally used,
When I started looking into setting up a but with one light the effect is easier
home studio, I started from ground zero with no seen.
knowledge of what was available, or what the
different pieces of lighting equipment were even When you are doing studio por-
used for. The objective of this primer is to pro- trait lighting, one important thing to
vide those just starting out with studio lighting remember is to make sure the eyes
with some basic understanding of what is avail- are properly lighted.
able and how it works. Subsequent articles will
go into setting up the lighting and backgrounds, Butterfly lighting is achieved by
metering the lighting, and a few tricks that make placing the light high above and di-
setting up, and using, a studio easier. These ar- rectly in front of the subject. When
ticles will include example photos of different the light is in the proper position, you
lighting setups, as well as lighting diagrams. will see a shadow under the nose
that takes on the form of a butterfly.
If you ask almost any professional studio I personally have a hard time iden-
photographer how to get started with studio tifying this shadow as a butterfly
lighting, they will recommend you to start with shape, but I do see the shadow.
only one light. The reason for starting with a
single light is to learn to “quot;see the lightquot;. What I Broad lighting is when the light
mean by this is when you are lighting a model, is illuminating the broad side of the
as an example, the studio light will not only light face and the nose is producing a
her face, but the light will cast shadows. It is shadow on the short side of the face.
the combination of the light and the shadows The broad side of the face is the
that make a great photograph. Adding addi- side of the face that has the most
tional lights, or reflectors decrease the amount surface exposed to the camera, and
of shadows which, for the beginner, make it dif- the short side of the face is the side
ficult to see what the light is actually doing. The of the face that has the least sur-
more lights you add can only add to the confu- face exposed to the camera. In other
sion of which light is doing what to the overall words, in broad lighting, the nose is
lighting of the subject. facing toward the opposite side of
the camera as the main light is com- of the face. In short lighting, the nose if facing
ing from. the same side of the camera as the main light is
Lighting Styles: coming from.
Short lighting is when the light is illuminat-
With one light you can easily set up the ing the least exposed side of the face and the Rembrandt Lighting is similar to short light-
classic lighting such as Butterfly Lighting, Broad nose is producing a shadow on the broader side ing, but it is when the nose shadow connects
FULL SCREEN CLOSE 29
with the shadow on the side of the face. This to as AB), I will discuss these, but most of my encircles the modeling light is out of view in this
shadow looks like a triangle of light. If you don’t comments will apply to any brand of lights. photo. On the top of the light you can see one
see this triangle of light, it is short lighting. of the handles for the reflector clamp. Squeez-
The lowest power, and lowest priced light is ing these two handles releases the grip on the
While all these lighting setups require a fill the AB400 which is rated 160 true watt sec- reflector so it can be removed. Between the two
light from either a flash or reflector for a truly onds. This light is really the workhorse of my reflector release handles, you will see a thumb
well lighted image, you can demonstrate the studio. I have four of these lights which I use to screw. This screw is used to secure the umbrella
shadows with just a single light. light my backgrounds, and for a hair light or fill rod when the umbrella is fitted to the light. At
light. I also use these lights in a large 6’ x 6’ quot;“Vquot; the bottom of the light you will see the adjust-
Split Lighting is a little different in that the reflector I built. I suggested earlier that a new able mount for the light. The thumb screw holds
subject’s nose is pointed at the camera, and studio photographer should start with one light, the light securely to a light stand, and the longer
the light at 90 degrees to the camera on either and this is the light I would recommend they use. adjustable arm allows you to adjust the angle of
side, the patch of light on the side of the face the light. This photo also gives you a good view
opposite the light disappears. Basically, only of the screw that attached the light to the light
one side of the face is lighted.
What I haven’t mentioned before is profes-
sional studio lights contain a modeling light that
allows you to see how the image will be lighted
prior to taking the photo. This will train your
eyes to quot;“see the lightquot;.
Most other lighting setups are variations on
these 5 setups.
Now, let us take a look at some of the light-
ing components we can use in the studio. The other lights available in this series are
the AB800 which is rated 320 watt seconds, and
The first item we will look at is the studio the AB1600 which is rated 640 watt seconds.
flash, sometimes incorrectly called a strobe.
Since I am only familiar with the Paul Buff line I will describe the details of the AB400, but
of lights called Alien Bees (hereafter referred my comments will also apply to the AB800 and
The picture above shows the back of the light, and all the
the AB1600 lights. controls.
This photo above shows the front of the
light. Here you can see the removable 7” reflec-
tor, and modeling light. The flash lamp which
FULL SCREEN CLOSE 30
stand, and to the lever that allows you to adjust can be found on the dump feature by reading the bare flash by shaping the light, diffusing or
the angle of the light. the on-line Operation Manual on the Paul Buff reflecting the light, coloring the light, etc.
The top control on the control panel is the web site. Umbrellas are generally used to increase the
flash intensity adjustment, which has a range apparent size of the light source which softens
of 5 f-stops (1/32 to full power). The adjust- The final item in this row of controls is the the light which, in turn, reduces hard shadow
ment is made by a continuous adjustable slider. Remote connector. This connector can be con- edges. Umbrellas come in various sizes up to
Beneath this adjustment is a row of lights, push nected to an optional remote control panel via 60”, and there may be some that are larger. I
buttons and connectors. a telephone extension cord. This remote control use the 32” size. The size is measured across
comes in handy especially for a hair light which the top of the arc length across the top of the
The first item on the left is the sync con- is generally placed high above the model, as it umbrella when it is opened.
nector. If you are triggering your light through a allows you to change the intensity of the light
sync cord, this is where you connect the cord. from a remote position. Umbrellas are made with white, or silver,
If you are not using a sync cord, but triggering and some are reversible. The white produces a
the flash from another flash, the next item in softer source of light while the silver produces
the row is the optical slave sensor, which will be a high output that increases contrast. There are
used to trigger the flash. This sensor will trig- also translucent white shoot-through umbrellas
ger this flash when it sees another flash go off These umbrellas come with a black cover so the
in the room. This optical sensor is disconnected umbrella can be used as a bounce light, or by
when a sync cord is connected to the flash. removing the black cover and turning the light
The next three buttons in this row are la-
beled On, Track, and Cycle. These buttons con-
trol the operation of the modeling light. The On
button allows you to turn the modeling light on
or off. The Track button allows you to set the
light to be constantly on, or to be on with an
adjustable intensity that tracks the intensity of
the flash. The Cycle button allows the modeling
lamp to be used as a recycle indicator, turning
itself off when the unit is recycling, and coming The last two items on the back of the light
back on to let you know when the unit is fully are the Power On switch and the socket for the
recycled and you are ready to shoot again. power cord.
The next three items in the row are for the The next component we will look at is the
flash recycle. The red Dump LED will light as the umbrella. The umbrella, and many of the other
unit recycles, then the green OK LED will light items I will be describing, are called a light modi-
to indicate that the recycle is complete. You can fier. Light modifiers change the characteristic of
manually trigger the light to dump the charge by
pressing the Test push button. More information
FULL SCREEN CLOSE 31
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