Back From The Twilight Zone

I think that even if I were Joey L, I probably would have OD'd on seeing my own Twilight movie photos everywhere in London last week.

Okay, maybe that is just sour grapes on my part. The Boy Wonder's work was plastered on pretty much every flat vertical surface in the entire city.

Undeterred by teenage photographers with mega-movie photo assignments, we made some photos of our own, too...

Don't Make Me Take This Hat Off...

First up was from Saturday's session, wherein we photographed Sean McCormack who travelled through the night only to arrive with a near-fatal case of bedhead. He kept it in check with an industrial strength hat, and thus were we all safe.

Just to be ornery in an all-white room, we used the white walls as backdrops and tamed them to make a low-key photo.

We shot him with a Lumiquest SB-III as key light, hand-held riiiight in front of his head and pointed straight down. As you might imagine, this makes for some pretty gnarly eye-socket shadows. (Hey, at least it detracts from the bedhead!)

Not to worry, as we filled with a new Orbis ring flash adapter, which allowed us to fill those shadows exactly as much as we wanted without ruining the character of the downlight key. This is a very cool combo, as it creates a little drama that you can control to any exact degree.

The background light was courtesy Masood the VAL, and I thought it fitting to leave the flash in the frame, all things considered.

(Setup shot here, courtesy Huy, who also won a CSB Micro Mini on Saturday...)

The Orbis handled our various test drives with flying colors, creating a really nice quality of light. It is not quite as efficient as the Ray Flash, so use as an outdoor key light is best left to shady situations. (As opposed to shady subjects, as seen above...)

Having seen about a thousand too many shots with ring flash as the only light source, I'd personally rather eat a whole box of Chocolate Kimberlies (don't ask) without any milk to drink than use the Orbis that way. But it shines as a fill -- and with it brings infinite possibilities of hard-light-taming goodness.

Lust at The Brunswick Centre

Next was Richard, who posed reading an Elinchrom brochure outside of The Flash Centre.

We had an ad-hoc Monday meetup of sorts, pulling off a quick couple of outdoor portraits in the winter chill. (I chose not to wear shorts on Monday out of respect for Londoners everywhere. Plus, all of my shorts were dirty by then.)

"Could you just stand here and look at the flash brochure for a few minutes?" we said. Nice work if you can get it.

There were three lights on this one, two of which were subtle enough to make them not so easily seen. Ambient is down a stop and a half, maybe two stops. Main light is a VAL'd SB-800 in a Honl shorty from camera right aimed at Richard's face.

Second is another VAL'd SB-800, zoomed to 105mm and aimed at the TFC sign to pop it a little in the dropped ambient. And the third is an on-camera flash for a little frontal fill on Richard.

I Could Buy and Sell You Ten Times Over

We moved over to a second floor terrace for the second photo at TFC, just because we could not feel the full effect of the wind at street level. There we stuck Nick in front of a vine-covered wall to do a quick, three-speedlight portrait.

We dropped the ambient down a couple stops before bringing Nick back with a Lumiquest SB-III as a key light. From this working distance, the effect is not hard or soft, really -- sort of "direct flash with the edge sanded off." We warmed that light up with a 1/4 CTO gel to offset the winter chill in Nick's face.

About half way through I thought, what the heck, let's go ahead and make this a decent CV portrait. So, Nick, what do you do for a living?

Turns out Nick is the head of art at a large, internationally known advertising agency.


At that point, I needed about a full-cut CTO to put the color back in my face. No pressure, no pressure...

So we filled Nick with a speedlight in an Orbis (about two stops off of the key light) and raked a flash across that back wall to bring up the area behind Nick and give it some texture in the overcast light. Setup shot here, courtesy background VAL RC Hill.

A Little Light Fare

Having lost part of my trip to a bug which had driving the porcelain bus for two days, I lucked out by feeling well enough to join Neil Turner, of DG28, for dinner on Monday night.

Don't know what it was that helped me to get better so fast. Could've been the unpasteurized IPA's they had me drinking after Sunday's session. (Can't hurt, right?)

Neil, (who himself will be teaching in the UK in March) told me several of the funniest PJ-related stories I have ever heard, including the absolute funniest photo tale I have ever listened to in my life.

The poor chap in the story has forever become etched into my mind as "Officer Hans Blix," and I will not ruin it by trying to retell it here. Suffice to say that Neil has promised to post it one day. And when he does I will cancel whatever I have scheduled and link to that instead.

There is nothing off color about it at all, but it will have to be labeled "NSFW" merely because you might get fired for laughing your butt off uncontrollably at work for the rest of the day.

I thought I was gonna get us kicked out of the restaurant when I heard it. Which would have been a bad thing, because there were vampires friggin' everywhere out there.


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