Saturday, 26 February 2011

Big Red Fun Bus

Wednesday saw me undertake an assignment for one of my long-standing clients. An absolute pleasure, it was a prime example of how working with a simple setup can help get the sort of pictures I and my customers want.

On this occasion, events were centred around a big red double-decker bus which was used as an activity centre for children who live in a particular community. With distractions such as computer games, mask painting and giant Jenga - not to mention the temptation of free pizza - my job was made easier by the fact they were so engrossed in what they were doing.

In spite of the threat of rain, the weather was pretty kind to us. There was no need for umbrellas (for the 'outdoor' Jenga, Community Support Officer and group shots) and the onboard pictures were helped along by some strong, but diffused, sunlight coming through the bus' large windows.

This equated to the use of natural light for the great majority of my shots upstairs; below required the use of additional lighting via an SB-800 flash gun. Using a D3 set on Aperture Priority, sensitivity was set somewhere in the region of ISO 640-800. Lens choice, because of the restricted available space, was mostly my trusty 24-85mm although, on occasions, the super-wide 10-20mm was brought into play.

With any shoot, I'm always looking to get a variety of perspective in my images. And of course, lens choice is the first consideration for this. You want an all-encompassing wide shot? Fine, stand in a corner and shoot wide. Close-up detail? No problem - zoom in with a telephoto or go in close with macro.

In order to get the best out of those lenses, a photographer has to be prepared to move around with his/her subjects, to interact with them where necessary, to exploit the qualities of the kit being used. The great thing about natural light is that it allows subtlety; yes, the subjects are aware of the photographer, but they soon just accept his/her presence and get on with the task in hand. As a photographer, you're then free record the action in near silence.

The picture above is a case in point. I saw this young man sat there and could immediately visualise the shot I wanted. The camera was already set up, so my next step was to sit down at his level, ask his name and see what followed. He was an excitable little chap who loved to play up to the camera (I knew this from having photographed him in the past), so it was only a matter of time before I got a reaction from him. Then - and only then - I raised my camera up, went in close and started releasing the shutter.

As ever, there's a formula: Colour, reaction and context - 10% technical, 90% people management.

For more behind-the-scenes information about this shoot, check out The Active Photographer podcast - Episode #11.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Steve Edge - Dress For A Party

Every now and then, I come across a video out there on the Interwebs which makes me stop and think.

Sometimes such films make me pay attention because they are funny, other times because they are sad. Or they might be simply thought-provoking, clever, quirky, funny...

I was shown this excellent little Ross Casswell production whilst having a good ol' chat with Matt about the wonders of video now being shot on DSLRs (which this was).

We both liked it - let me know what you think.

Dress for a Party from Carwell Casswell on Vimeo.