Anatomy of a Magical Moment with Heather & Diesel

May 11, 2014  •  Leave a Comment
During my recent Tattoos & Rescues photo shoot with Heather and her Boxer/Pit mix Diesel, I noticed a scene that was surely going to provide some great photographic opportunities.  This room had windows complimenting each other on opposite sides and a good amount of natural light was wrapping around, however there was one thing missing, subject PUNCH!  After all, the moments between a proud parent and her furkid are sure to happen, but not as often as you might think.  And in the most idealic situations your speed and technical skills can leave you wanting more.  After all, nothing is worse than missing that moment because you didn't plan correctly.
 
Based on earlier shots in the day I knew Diesel would be content to lay down with his mom while I "fiddled" with lighting.  At first the blinds in the back left of the frame proved problematic.  There was good light coming in but it was too much for the camera to deal with, especially since I wanted a shallow depth of field.  So let's talk technical for a minute.
 
I used the following gear for this set of shots:
 
-Canon 5D Mark III (full Manual mode)
-Canon 24-105mm f4L lens
-Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 Transmitter (full Manual mode)
-Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 Receiver
-Canon 580EX II Flash
-Apollo Orb 43" Silver reflective umbrella with diffusion shield
 
My thought process was to use between range of f4-f5.6 for shallow depth of field but keeping the subjects in focus with a touch of softness to the edges.  After a few test shots at f4, shutter speed of 1/200th of second at ISO 800 the depth of field was just too unforgiving and not giving me the look I wanted.  So while I was planning the next shot I noticed this blinding sun coming through the blinds.  I took this shot without flash to get an exposure for the ambient light.
This shot is when I noticed the lens flare and knew I had to incorporate it into the shot so I made yet another improv decision.  Those happen A LOT in photography.  Having the vision to not only see something in your mind but the ability to create it based on the information and tools you have available is nothing but awesome.  I love the creative process, from start to finish.  And the results are just awesome!
And here is the final shot, all 100% in camera, no Photoshop used.  The flash to camera left just comes in to provide a nice wrap around lighting effect to match the light coming from the left rear from the window.  Now I know the base of the lens flare is overexposed but most light sources while in frame will be and I really don't care.  It provides a nice faded desaturated look to the overall image.  Plus I just think its really cool.
I am supremely proud of this series of shots but this one in particular is my favorite.  The settings used for this shot are:
 
I am 6 feet in front of the subjects, my flash is 9 feet away set to 1/4 power
Cloudy white balance to add warmth with the afternoon sun
Lens is zoomed in at 50mm to compress the background into blur
f5.6  1/60th  ISO200
 
Consider all sources of light the next time you are out shooting, you may surprise yourself, and wow your clients.
 
For more images from this shoot check out Heather & Diesel's Tattoos & Rescues gallery.

 


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