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Thread: Another session with my new model

  1. #1
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Another session with my new model

    I know that a number of you suffer, like me at the moment, from having all the fates stacked against you and just not getting the chance to get out and do the sort of photography (in my case, landscape) we prefer. So, in order to at least remind yourself what your camera looks like, you make the most of in-house opportunities.

    I introduced you to Garry in this thread and explained the circumstances whereby I have come to be caring for him. So, when all else fails, Garry is pressed into service.

    I wanted to see how he'd be with flashlight. He didn't bother about it.

    What is really good is the challenge presented by him being black & white. The way I approach it is to make sure I get the light working on the blacks of his coat to give me some detail, while keeping the whites within the right hand side of the histogram. And then get the best out of the RAW file in PP. There is, for me, a bit of trial and error involved in the exposure - especially in this case as it was the first time I'd used flash in shooting Garry.

    I wanted to throw the background in this into semi-darkness. The colours in the background lent themselves to me getting quite bold filter sliders in Silver Efex Pro2 (SEP2)in order to darken things up. Then I put on, as you can see, quite a heavy vignette (much heavier than I would normally do). It was finished with SEP2's medium copper tone.

    Still trying to work on this pet photography. Any thoughts and comments welcomed.

    Another session with my new model
    40D, 24-70mm f/2.8L @ 51mm. ISO100. 1/125s@f2.8. 580EXII Flash c/w Gary Fong Lightsphere - ETTL + 1 1/2 (camera mounted)
    Last edited by Donald; 17th March 2013 at 09:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Another session with my new model

    Nice timeless image. Were you using the flashlight to direct his attention? The backgrounds not recognizable so if it looks good to you consider it a success on your first pass. How did you meter the shot, perhaps experimenting with spot, multi-segment will throw more into darkness.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Another session with my new model

    Thanks John. He was quite happily just ignoring the flash. Even looking directly at me as I fired it, he was unperturbed.

    In terms of metering, I was using my usual mode which is spot metering. I was reading off the blacks, with the aim of ensuring that I kept just off the left-hand edge of the histogram.

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    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: Another session with my new model

    Donald, very nice photograph. Bruce

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    Re: Another session with my new model

    Hi Donald,

    This may or may not be relevant depending on if you wanted a slightly subdued look or not, but I noticed that the histogram stopped a full stop short of clipping the highlights -- just thought you might not be intending to have quite a safety margin.

    I've adjusted it up a full stop here, and still don't have any blown highlights ...

    Another session with my new model

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    Re: Another session with my new model

    Nice image of a handsome (even regal) looking dog. I like either conversion...

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    Re: Another session with my new model

    I much prefer Donald's version, partly because I simply like it more and partly because it fits in so much better with Donald's typical style.

    In both versions I prefer a crop that is immediately below the dog. I might like the current crop better if the the vignette was brought up much higher to be immediately below the dog, but I doubt it.

    Colin,

    You mentioned only the right side of the histogram but your version also affected the left side by mapping dark tones to even more dark tones. Your version also introduced a reddish color cast.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 18th March 2013 at 12:10 AM.

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    Re: Another session with my new model

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    I much prefer Donald's version, partly because I simply like it more and partly because it fits in so much better with Donald's typical style.

    I wasn't trying for a "better" or "worse" conversion -- just picking up on Donald's desire to keep highlights from blowing and wondering if he knew that there was a bigger safety margin than perhaps he realised. If it's intended to be a low key image then that's fine, although personally, I think it makes it look a little flat (more akin to what a print may look like as opposed to monitor display).

    I might like the current crop better if the the vignette was brought up much higher to be immediately below the dog, but I doubt it.
    You mean like I did in my version?

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    Re: Another session with my new model

    Nice to have you back on the boards, Colin!

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I think it makes it look a little flat (more akin to what a print may look like as opposed to monitor display).
    That's an interesting concept. For me, it's not at all flat, though your version certainly has more contrast and tonal range. Instead, I would describe Donald's image as being more romantic and your image as having more punch.

    You mean like I did in my version?
    No, not at all. Your version doesn't attend to my suggestion that the vignette be applied "immediately" beneath the dog.

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    Re: Another session with my new model

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Nice to have you back on the boards, Colin!
    Thanks Mike.

    That's an interesting concept. For me, it's not at all flat, though your version certainly has more contrast and tonal range. Instead, I would describe Donald's image as being more romantic and your image as having more punch.
    Images like this are extremely sensitive to correct gamma adjustment where the difference between "soft and romantic" midtones and "grey mist" over the midtones (as I'm detecting slightly) rests on a knife edge. Neither are necessarily right or wrong - not all images contain white (or a primary or secondary colour if only 1 or 2 channels are clipped) which is what a portion of the image is forced to if the full extent of the histogram is used (something a lot of people don't appreciate when offering advice on histograms). So in the end it comes down to taste - but - I think it stresses the importance of working from standardised monitors or the version Donald thinks he's created may well look like my version on someone elses screen (which is why I personally like to use the histogram as a last minute "sanity check" of my work -- and often one where I can push the levels a little harder in for a better image too I might add).

    No, not at all. Your version doesn't attend to my suggestion that the vignette be applied "immediately" beneath the dog.
    I just ran a GND up from the bottom to part way up. A common "gotcha" with flash is that people say "get it as close as possible so that it's as soft as possible and needs the least amount of light" - unfortunately - the flip side to that is often it over-illuminates the areas closest to the flash -- in which case a digital GND works wonders on the image. For this reason alone, these days I typically apply several GND filters to my images in PP to simulate the effect of targeted lighting -- it takes a few seconds longer than using a vignette, but I can customise the result to allow for lighting variation like this.

    I talk too much.

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    Re: Another session with my new model

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    these days I typically apply several GND filters to my images in PP to simulate the effect of targeted lighting
    Another interesting concept! I don't know enough about lighting to attempt to simulate any particular effect.

    Just one question: Have we sufficiently hijacked Donald's thread?

  12. #12
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    Re: Another session with my new model

    Very nice, Donald. I prefer the first version as {I think Mike said} it has more romance. Either have their merit which is not surprising having started with a nicely done image to begin with.

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    Re: Another session with my new model

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Another interesting concept! I don't know enough about lighting to attempt to simulate any particular effect.
    Usually lighting covers a wider area that we need - applying a "pseudo vignette" just gives the impression that we know what we're doing and illuminating just the subject.

    Just one question: Have we sufficiently hijacked Donald's thread?
    Probably!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Another session with my new model

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Just one question: Have we sufficiently hijacked Donald's thread?
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Probably!
    Please carry on. It's the sort of discussion I hoped for in terms of helping my learning.

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    Re: Another session with my new model

    Donald, you did an excellent job maintaining details in Garry's fur. Talk of histograms is usually centered on not blowing the highlights, so kudos for keeping the left side in mind (something I need to work on - thanks for the reminder). I don't think the square crop is well-suited to your canine buddy, but your technical objectives were definitely met. Exposure-wise, I think splitting the difference between Colin's edit and your own would be ideal. The shadow behind Garry's head is a little distracting (remote flash, slightly to camera left at around -1EV with -2EV exposure compensation?), but a little burning could take care of that. Overall, this is a technical wünderfoto.

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    Re: Another session with my new model

    A great looking model Donald. It is a challange to shoot a black and white anything, but a young dog even more. I had quite a few pets of all sizes. The fun begins when they cooperate and your new freind looks llike he is happy to oblige. You are talking all the right steps to train him and a confident owner makes for a happy pet. There are all kinds of training for dogs out there, will we see "Portraiture for dogs" by Donald?

  17. #17
    Meisam's Avatar
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    Re: Another session with my new model

    A very nice model, and it looks so calm, maybe it likes to be a model
    Well done.

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    Re: Another session with my new model

    It's a beautiful image of a beautiful dog! Thank you for sharing.

    It's challenging to set the exposure right in B&W animals, which I expect would be even more so in B&W photography. I'd love to see more of your photos of Gerry.

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    Re: Another session with my new model

    It's a striking image. Both edits have great merit and bring a different feeling to the viewer. It's a beautiful dog and a beautiful image.

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