Summertime

This image was also shot in the Strobist workshop I gave in Montevideo last November. It was the height of summer and I wanted to achieve a summery look which at the same time had a vintage feel as the building we were shooting in was from the 1930’s.

Off camera flash Model Paola Risso

We did the the session at the Yatch Club Uruguayo, a classic and emblematic example of the architecture that prevailed in 1930’s Uruguay. It was built by two architects, Jorge Herrán and Luis Crespi.

Strobist   © Diego Castiglioni

The location allowed for shooting exteriors, interiors and also on the clubs impressive balconies with their panoramic views. We shot on three different sets but the photo I liked the most of all was shot on the third floor balcony, having to mix natural ambient light with flash. This is the photo which I explain further on.

Strobist

On the web I found a book, written by Joann Biondi, which features a photograph of the famous photographer and model Bunny Yeager on the cover. It gave me the idea for this post, recreate the cover as an homage to this famous photographer. Yeager began as a model and upon retiring switched to photography. In 1954 she met Bettie Page and took most of the photographs of her that year.

Strobist   Strobist

Bunny Yeager and Irving Klaw helped to make Page famous through their photos for Playboy. Although Bunny used various formats, one of her favourite cameras was the legendary Crown Graphic, the superior model to the Speed Graphic used by Weegee.

Strobist   Betty Page

Today its difficult to imagine shooting people with a large format camera, forcing the model to stay put, focusing, the plate, etc,etc. The Speed Graphic doesn’t have all the tilt/shift features of a full view camera and is thus more portable, earning it the name, “field camera”.

Super Graphic

On to the important stuff, the lighting. I chose the big yellow balcony initially as it allowed a lot of freedom to play with contrast against the blue sky even though I ended up going for a closer shot.

Marcelo Isarrualde   Marcelo Isarrualde

The first step was to measure the ambient light and choose the combination of shutter speed and f stop I wanted to use. The sun was strong so I opted for the fastest shutter speed possible, allowing me to open up the aperture and reduce the need for huge amounts of flash. I wanted to create an effect of concentrated light on the model but instead of putting the zoom of the flash in the tele position, I chose to use it in the wide position and mount a parabolic reflector with a honeycomb grid from Bowens.

Marcelo Isarrualde  © Diego Castiglioni

Using a Fomex adaptor I can attach any of my Bowens equipment to the Yongnuo 560 flashes I usually use. I also use Godox PB820 batteries and the indispensable PocketWizards to assure there wont be any problems with flash sync.

Strobist   © Diego Castiglioni

Off camera flash  Adaptador Fomex for Bowens

The light this reflector gives is hard and very direct, by moving it further from the model it gets harder and starts to look like sunlight, which on that day was very hard as there were very few clouds.

Off camera flash   Off camera flash

The final touch was given in post production, changing the overall tone of the image to give a vintage feel like in the previous post.

Marcelo Isarrualde © Marcelo Isarrualde

Lighting diagram  Lighting diagram

Summertime.pdf

All rights reserved. © Isarrualde Photography

All reproduction is prohibited without the written consent of the author.

Strobist Kit 1

The most important thing to have in mind when using Strobist should be the portability and the weight of this equipment in relation to the use and and the ability to move a studio equipment of flashes to a location. Another important aspect is that the technique used with Strobist is simple but effective.

Strobist

The portable electronics flashes are most suitable for this practice and there is a large variety of brands and benefits. The ideal is if they have plenty of power so they can to deal effectively with outdoors situations where there might be a lack of light, where it may be required that the ratio is 0 EV or sometimes + 1EV. In my case, I always use M (manual) and never TTL (thru the lens) and can there for acquire models that only work with manual, such as the flashes Yongnuo 560 of Chinese origin, which works very well.

Rechargeable batteries are essential to this practice and the best ones are the nickel-hydride metal batteries (Ni-MH). I use those of 2700 mAh and they work very well and they recharge within a reasonable  time. Obviously you will need chargers for these batteries and there are a large variety of models, with space for 4 or 8 batteries and with various charging times.

Strobist  My DIY Battery and PB820

The alternative to the rechargeable battery is to have batteries at one’s disposal. This way you can make more shots and maintain the recycle time for the flash. There are several models among which the batteries PB820 from Godox work very well. There is also the possible to make them oneself. I did two that work well, in addition to the two PB820 that I bought a while ago. I use the home made batteries with the Metz 32CT3 flashes and the ones from Godox with the  Yongnuo 560, the Canon 580EXII and Canon 430EX .

Strobist  Westcott umbrella

The alternative to the harsh light of direct flash can be an umbrella. By bounce the flash light into the umbrella or pass the light through a translucent umbrella you will increase the illuminated surface and hence  the light will be more diffuse and enveloping. The umbrella is fast and easy to carry in relation to other diffusion accessories such as the light boxes. The are many different brands and prices for the umbrellas. The bigger the umbrella is, the smoother the light will get.

Strobist  Manfrotto 026 + Hot Shoe Kaiser

You will need a ball head for the umbrella, for example the Manfrotto 026, and a foot with a synchronization cable PC, like the Kaiser 1301. Without any doubt I recommend a metal ball head and not one of plastic. That is why I think the Manfrotto ball head is the best option, although there are other manufacturers of metal bearings of this type.

Strobist  Kupo stands

The foot of the tripod is the thing that gives support to the set and should be very stable, especially when working outdoors where there may be windy. Although a model like the Manfrotto 001B is lightweight and convenient to carry, I prefer a more robust model, like the Bowens BW6610 or similar ones. Folded  it measures 86 cm and can reach a height of 3 meters. To give more stability to the set I always carry a couple of camping showers of 15 liters with me. Filled with water they allow me to replace the not so practical sandbags, perfect when you want to work with light equipment and laptops. Of course there must be a tap near the set!

Strobist

It is necessary to synchronize the flash with the camera. The cheapest alternative is to have a sync cable that unifies the flash shoe to PC connector of the camera. You can also use optical cells  like the Wein – which is perhaps the best on the market – if you shoot with one flash from the camera and synchronize the other flash units. You can also use infrared emitters and receivers, these options are good if you only work indoors.

Strobist Wein cells   Wein optical cells

But if you want to work outdoors in broad daylight you will need to have radio emitters and receivers. There is many types and prices, the high range coming from PocketWizard whose scope is unique and the reliability very high, just like the price.

Strobist PocketWizard

Finally, the great utility of having a set of color temperature correction gelatins like the CTO and CTB type should be highlighted, plus some  gels with color effect like the ones from Rosco, Gam or Lee.

Strobist Rosco gels

Up to here the basics, but there are many more accessories to complete a good Strobist kit. I will keep on explaining them.

Kit Strobist 1.pdf

All rights reserved. © Isarrualde Photography
It is forbidden the use partial or global of this website unless authors written permission.

Head in a freezer

Some months ago I was in Montevideo, Uruguay, where I exhibited
my latest personal project – Love Rooms – and where I also did
workshops on the subject “strobist” techniques for two groups on the
occasion of the workshops organized for the Fotograma 2011, an
international photography encounter. Four practical classes and three
theoretical classes were realized, and during the first practical
practice this picture was made.

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde  Model Laura Martinelli

A friend of mine had got permission for me to work comfortably in an
abandoned spa facility, and in one of the corners inside this spa
center I saw an old fridge that inspired me to take a photo. The
natural light on the place was very good, but it came from behind of
the model.

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde

I decided to decrease the contrast with a translucent umbrella, from
the left of the camera and in this way balance the ratios of light to
Ratio 0.

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde

I opened the fridge and decided to take a picture where the model took
something out from it or looked if there was something inside of it.
That was when I realized how dirty the environment was and how worn
out the fridge was… You could only find something strange in there!

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde

I liked the result. For the light in the refrigerator to be the main
lighting of the scene I decided to underexpose the ambient light -2
EV. The light of the refrigerator lacked of character, which I gave it
by placing a green gelatin on the flash that I had put inside of the
fridge. In this way the color would emphasize the morbid theme.

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde

Finally, the wall in the background needed another tone and therefor I
decided to use a second flash, a Yongnuo 560, with blue gelatin from
Rosco. The interesting thing with the result was to see on the screen
of the camera, once the photo was made, how the picture had changed
from what we had seen before the flashes were fired off and before we
underexposed the atmosphere.

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde

Lighting diagram © Marcelo Isarrualde  Lighting diagram

Head in a freezer.pdf

Dino or “Flaco” Pérez ?

Dino © Marcelo Isarrualde

Dino or “Flaco” Pérez ?

You will see Flaco Pérez in this blog quite often whereas Dino, I don’t think so. Álvaro is a great friend of mine who is always ready to take part in all my photo experiments. You will remember him from the post “Crisis? What Crisis?“. And today he has got a role in this one, too. He’s becoming my “muse”.
We had decided to drive to the Sant Adriá del Besós beach when suddenly on the way, we saw Dino. We got off the Vespa and discovered there was an exhibition on dinosaurs. There was a strong contrast between the ambience under the marquee and the midday sun in a clear day. Dino’s picture was taken with a Canon G9 ISO 80, 1/320 and f8.

Dino © Marcelo Isarrualde Dino at Barcelona

I tried my DIY battery that I had just built and took a quick picture of my friend. There were a lot people waiting to get in the exhibition and only had time just for three shoots.

"Flaco" Perez on Capture One Pro © Marcelo Isarrualde  “Flaco” Perez on Capture One Pro

I wanted to focus the attention on my friend despite having Dino’s presence in the background. Therefore I underexposed the background to -1EV and shoot Flaco’s portrait with a Metz 32 CT3 to balance the difference in light between the ambience under the marquee and outside it. The portrait was finally taken at 1/640, f8. The flash was shoot with Pocket Wizard and the little Canon G9 synchronized very well at a high speed. Even compared to my Canon Mark III that synchronized only till 1/250 the G9 was able to reach 1/2500 !
After the takes, I used Capture One Pro to gain back some details in the dark areas of the blue curtain as well as of my friend’s face.

"Flaco" Perez © Marcelo Isarrualde “Flaco” Perez

Lighting diagram © Marcelo Isarrualde  Lighting diagram

Dino or “Flaco” Perez.pdf

Emerging

It was the last day of the summer, and with it many people’s holidays would have now come to an end. I wanted to take a fun picture to remember the good times we have had, and also to remind that it was time to go back to our routines, early general elections and the crisis.

Would we swim or sink?

Swim or sink © Marcelo Isarrualde

Technically it was a very easy picture to take. We just had to wait until the sun didn’t shine the beach directly. But we couldn’t wait too long because otherwise the reflection of the sky in the sea would become darker. At that time of the year the best moment had to be around 6 pm.

I used a portable flash Canon 580 EX II with a diffuser Gary Fong Light sphere Collapsible as I needed enough power to be at least + 1 EV above the ambience light and to project subtle strike of light onto the face of our diver. To avoid reflections on the glass of the googles and to better see the face, I stand in front our model. And as electrical power source, I used my DIY battery!

Despite the fantastic colour of the sea, I wanted to add it a slight blue shade cast with a warm touch to make our diver look tanned, as if he had spent the whole summer at the beach.

I could have left the colour treatment for the post-production, but why not kill two birds with one stone and save time?

Sometimes thinking analogical can be very practical! I put over the flash a colour correction gel of ½ (orange colour temperature), that gave the skin the warm orange colour shade that we wanted. The colour was later balanced with the RAW development, while the rest of the scene still kept a blue shade. Finally a greenish-blue touch was also added.

Making of © Marcelo Isarrualde

Lighting diagram © Marcelo Isarrualde  Lighting diagram

Emerging.pdf

All rights reserved © Isarrualde Photography
It is forbidden the use partial or global of this website unless authors written permission.

Crisis ? What crisis ?

The world is in crisis due to uncontrolled credits granted by banks. Nothing new under the sun with this regard those who come from Latin America. But now the crisis is also affecting the “less” Latin America, Europe and Spain. This is why I wanted to pay tribute to the crisis -by way of “exorcism” – reinterpreting that fantastic cover of Supertramp album “Crisis, what crisis?”.

Supertramp

I spend my Summers in Barcelona, – because I have holidays at the end of the year- and I go quite often to the Sant Adria del Besós beach from where it’s coal-fired power station can be seen. I find it a fascinating place which I wanted to capture in my “remake” of the cover . Also with this remake of the album cover my intention was to minimize the trascedence of the crisis and having some fun at the same time. It is interesting to think that just a year ago I had photographed Santiago Niño Becerra for Gentleman magazine for an article in which he had already predicted the crisis…

The picture was shot with natural Light reducing it’s contrast with a external camera flash at -1/ 2 EV. The color of the skin was later destaurated and the overall contrast of the scene was increased. These retouches were subtle but very effective.

Lighting diagram © Marcelo Isarrualde Lighting diagram

Double take

When Alejandro Castellote saw the picture published, he pointed out its resemblence with one of the photographer Marcos López, that I had not seen yet. I know and admire his work and even had the chance to met him briefly in the photographic syposium Tercer Colquio Latinamericano de Fotografía de Caracas .

Having had taken the picture in a similar style to the one of Marcos Lopez without actually knowing it, made me think of “Double Take” by Richard Whelan, a fantastic book that my good friend and ex business partner Guille Robles gave me. It deals with reasonable likeness in general the same way Pedro Arroyo does with his reasonable discoveries.

Crisis.pdf

All rights reserved. © Isarrualde Photography
It is forbidden the use partial or global of this website unless authors written permission.