Yesterday was a mixture of experiences, which I will not soon forget. I met some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet yesterday. Nancy Kilburg was so helpful and gracious. She made us feel at home and recruited people to have their portraits made. Thank you Nancy.
Jeanne as always was amazing. She felt terrible with a bad cold and I could tell all she really wanted to do was stay in bed. I tried as hard as I legally could to convince her to stay home but she wouldn’t hear of it. Not only did she go with me, she lugged equipment, shepherded people to where they were supposed to stand and posed for a ton of pictures (she hates having her picture taken) while I balanced the lights. She even used my steamer to get all the wrinkles out of the background. Then of course afterward she help carry the equipment back to the car. I fully realize how lucky I am to have her. 🙂
I also want to thank my friends who sent encouragement my way. That meant a lot.
So some of the technical (photo stuff) you can skip if you’re not into that.
Camera – Nikon D4 on a tripod in manual mode. A Nikon 24 – 70 mm f2.8 lens | ISO 100 1/125 sec shutter speed at f11. I shot tethered to my laptop using Adobe Lightroom CC 2015. I used a 4 light set up (which I probably will not use again) that one of my favorite photographers uses. Joel Grimes uses the 4 light set up and I’ve taken several video lessons from him so I thought I would try it. It works for him but I think I like a two light set up better. The edge lights were Elinchrom BRX500 mono lights with 25.5 inch soft-boxes with grids. My main light was from an Elinchrom Quadra Hybrid 440 mounted on a 52 inch octagon softbox placed directly over head of the camera. I also used a small strobe (that I’ve had for years) with a blue jel attached set up behind the background. I have mixed feelings about that.
What I did wrong. I was tethered to a laptop that I don’t normally use to process images and it has an ultra bright screen, which gave me images that looked brighter than they really were. Consequently I had the power set too low on my main light. It was okay but it would have been better a half or full stop brighter. If I use a background strobe again I will use it in a much different manner. In this case I would prefer (in hindsight) to not use it. Because the lights are sandbagged and difficult to move I sometimes don’t move them when I should. I should have used my light meter to get the correct lighting settings and then adjusted to suit from there.
What I did right. No reflection of light in people’s glasses. Even lighting of the face, which is what I always strive for. Got some really great shots of people capturing their emotions. I didn’t use a green screen 🙂
It was a long day. We were on the road at 7:15 p.m. and drove through a dense fog to get there. It took 1 hour and 45 minutes to get set up and be ready by 10:00 a.m. and then we sat until 10:30 before we had anyone come though. Two grandmothers with their granddaughters. They both hugged me after their session and thanked me for taking their picture. They have never had a picture of themselves and their granddaughter. WOW, that made my whole day. We had around 25 people come in and have their portrait made. Far fewer than I was hoping for but more than I thought I would get.
In the end was it worth it? Oh my goodness yes indeed. The grandmothers sealed that deal. I got to practice my craft. Learned (re-learned) a bunch of new stuff and techniques. Met some wonderful people that will now be my friends, found out where there is a 100 year barn and got permission to photograph it. Spent some time quality time with my best friend, Jeanne. Got to see some other people in a different way then I do during a normal work week. So yes it was a great day. Lots of work and I was tired by the time we got home but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
This is my favorite shot of the day. This is Ted Strait and his little friend Abby. I’ve known Ted for several years but haven’t really spent much time with him. I got to meet his wife as well. Ted is a very community minded individual and contributes so much of his time and talent to the community and especially the Maquoketa Art Experience. He is one of the most interesting individuals I’ve met and he’s fun to visit with. I absolutely adore Abby.
Finally I’d like to thank Bob Osterhaus and the Maquoketa Art Experience for opening up their building for my use. If you have never been to the Art Experience you owe it to yourself to visit it. They are open every day. They hold special events and classes (there was a class for young artists going on while we were there) on a weekly basis. Some magnificent artists show their work at the Art Experience as well. Thanks again to Bob and Nancy!
So that’s my day. I need to process the images I took. Print them and get them to the folks before Christmas. Think I’ll do it again soon maybe at our church on “Food for the Soul” night.
That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your day. Be careful.