Each new DSLR Photography Lesson with Karin we add a little to the complexity of product shot we practice. This time we needed a setup much larger than that for the pillows we previously photographed. After some office space rearranging we used all three of her continuous lights for getting only the wanted shadows on a large, stuffed chair to be photographed for use in her website catalog. This was surprisingly easy as the strobist techniques for photographing people largely apply to continuous light product photography as well.
Karin now has all the photography tools to make product photography like this very simple with no mess, no fuss. Putting her new Nikon D5100 on a tripod, attaching the cable release and using Live View mode to see the image right on the back on the camera, plus using continuous lighting, means once we got all settings locked in and all lights positioned, the settings could be noted on paper and the light positions marked on the floor with tape so that consistent results can be produced shot after shot week after week. This is the benefit of shooting in studio-like conditions.
For our next lesson, we may add tethering to our setup so that the images appear instantly right in Aperture 3 for preview on Karin's MacBook. Exciting!
At a recent car show in St. Petersburg I had a chance to see and photograph my current favorite car in the world, the Ferrari 458 Italia. As I described in this other photography tip post on the Ferrari it is very hard to get good full car photographs at a car show. Therefore, I focused on detail shots more than showing the 458 Italia in full.
These flexible spoilers on the front facia of the Ferrari 458 Italia are designed to change shape at speed to improve downforce. In the middle of the rest of the matte black spoiler resides the Ferrari Prancing Pony logo.
One of the most striking design features of the 458 Italia is its elongated LED headlights. These are a new design element being featured on all new Ferraris (California, FF) and ad a distinctive look that to me signals a new generation of Ferrari. They are radical, but I like them even though the remind me of the head of an Alien from the Alien series of movies.
The taillights also contain LEDs but maintain the traditional circular Ferrari design, although they are in a single cluster, while the previous F430 model featured dual clusters. I prefer the dual design as a single cluster seems a bit small and in the middle of no where looking.
The rear of the 458 Italia is Spartan with just another Prancing Pony logo and the Ferrari nameplate on top of the engine cover. Not pictured is a triple, centered tailpipe cluster. For some reason I did not think to photograph those!
The engine cover is transparent showing off the massive V8 that looks more like something that would power a spacecraft rather than a mere automobile. Obviously the engine sounds even better than it looks.
Any supercar nowadays has to come with carbon ceramic brakes and usually brightly color brake calipers. The 458 Italia is no exception. The wheels themselves are a kind of generic pentastar looking design that seem conservative in comparison to the styling of the rest of the exterior.
Here again is the full side view photograph I made by cloning out many distractions. I may someday have a chance to properly photograph this particular 458 Italia as the owner did express interest at having photographs. I of course gave him my business card. Hopefully he will call soon!
Many of my DSLR photography students have abruptly gone from a regular point & shoot pocket digital camera to plunging into the DSLR world. Then the DSLR sits on a shelf somewhere for a few months due to the initial hurdle in learning how to use it. This is the exact situation my 1-on-1 private DLSR Photography Lessons are designed to remedy. I met Rose on a pleasant Monday morning in downtown St. Petersburg for our first lesson. She was a beginner not even knowing basic photography terms. By the end of the 2-hour lesson, I had her using her Canon 50D in manual mode!
Now, I do not expect Rose to stay in manual mode from here on out, but she took thorough notes (recommended) throughout the lesson carefully noting what aperture, ISO, WB and focus mode we used for the various photography situations we practiced. Therefore, she does not have to rely on her memory alone the next time she wants to make a shot with bokeh or freeze a fast moving subject. She can refer to her notes and at least have a starting point for getting the type of shot she wants.
Rose, also like many other students, was surprised to learn that buying the DSLR itself (and accompanying kit lens) is just the start of the expense that is actively doing photography. She was a bit shocked to learn the price of software (she asked about full Photoshop) for editing digital photos, plus that before she heads to New York later this week she really should buy an external flash if she wants to get the best results of photographing her friends & family inside restaurants and other dimly lit places. I always advise the best value for money solutions, but even those are often several hundred dollar options. My top advice is learn how to use the gear you have now as best as you can, so that you can clearly see where you have outgrown that gear making it also very clear what you should purchase next.
I look forward to seeing Rose's photographs of New York and to helping her use her new external flash!
You do not need to use a wide angle lens to make a landscape or panorama shot. For the above photograph of two pelicans out on The Pier with the St. Petersburg waterfront in the distant background I used my favorite Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens at 80mm. To create the panorama look I simply cropped the image. Shooting at f/8 and 80mm allowed the distant background to not be totally blurred out (bokeh) while at the same time still create a unique sense of depth to the image that one cannot produce using a wide angle lens.
In the comments below link to your long lens landscape/panorama shots.
The current fastest car in the world is the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. There are no challengers. It is so dominant that just saying the word Veyron ends any discussion. Seeing the Veyron at speed makes me feel like I am looking at something supernatural. The sound it makes, the unblinking performance, the methodical cornering, it all happens in absolute dominant fashion . . . yet with no hard edge. It is like a benign apex predator.
The crowd at the car show in downtown St. Petersburg either were all very aware of the mystique of this car, or the crowd itself around it kept drawing an ever new crowd. I believe it was mostly the latter. Therefore, it was impossible to get any clean shots of it without someone getting in to pose with it as if it were some celebrity. Using the cloning techniques on this Ferrari photo to clean up the shots was not really possible even.
What struck me about seeing the Veyron in person for the first time was how small it was. It has a 16-cyclinder engine in the back after all. Yet it looks no bigger than a Porsche 911. You could easily park it or drive it down any road (without speedbumps). It is really compact. There was a guard making sure this $2.8 million hypercar was too fawned over. I spoke with him at length about this particular Veyron. Since it was the Super Sport version and had special blue carbon fiber body work, it demanded that higher than the usual $1.5 million or so price tag. The car was actually just purchased that morning. I was told that a buyer had been interested in it for awhile and finally pulled the trigger on it.
In blue, the carbon fiber body really stands out and looks striking. Underneath the lightweight exoskeleton, the engineering behind the car is mind boggling. It is extremely hard to create a car with air conditioning and blinkers that can also go over 260 mph.
After watching many videos of the Veryon, to see it in person gave me a new appreciation for it. It is kind of like seeing the Eiffel Tower or any other engineering marvel. The difference with the Veyron though, is you can take it home.