Ebb and flow

….is how photography goes for me. Now, I am sitting in an airport, looking at 25 hours to complete an 8 hours flight… and reflecting on how few photos I made in Holland this time. It was not a holiday, so I may perhaps be forgiven. But I did shoot pics of my friends, some long-lost.

(I met Bob, above, once in Libya, in Ghaddafi’s birth town. He drove in from Tripoli, I drove in from Marsa El Brega. We met half way. Small world.

Photos bring it all home.

 

Old friends/same friends.

What an great evening I just had in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Met up with an old friend, super-talented NOS journalist Jeroen Wielaert. Even though we hadn’t seen one another for almost 40 years, we had not changed one bit where it matters. Personality, stories, language, all the truly important things. A wrinkle or two more, or in my case a hair or two less, makes no difference.

And you owe it to yourselves to, if the same happens, take a proper photo, not just an iPhone shot.

And yours sincerely:

Great evening, all I can say.

 

All sorts of everything.

I am shooting a three day event, a conference, at Niagara Falls, while my son house-sits back home. So I shoot lots of speakers and so on,
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And I love this kind of shooting because if done well, it leads to so many “oh wow” reactions.

But only if done well, and it is complicated:

  • I am using a long lens (70-200) without flash, and on another camera, a wide angle lens (16-35mm on a full frame camera) with a flash, so all settings are totally different from shot to shot.
  • Many, many different environments. A large ballroom. Hallways. Smaller rooms. Restaurants (several). Easy bounce, Then, no bounce. Then, difficult bounce. Coloured walls. Every shot is an engineering challenge!
  • Speakers who will not stop talking, or stand still, or even turn the same way, for a millisecond.
  • Dead batteries all the time.
  • Heavy cameras, two of them. And the arthritis in my hands doesn’t make this any easier.
  • The need to minimize post-production work. Hundreds of times “just a moment or two” means many moments, and that means “hours and hours”..
  • Tough environments including “dark inside with bright outside also visible in the shot”, like this:

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But it does not end there…

  • TTL does not always work well when there’s reflections, so I have to use Manual flash setting for a lot of the work. And that is sensitive to changing the distance to the flashed object (“inverse square law”).
  • Impossible white balance.
  • Bouncing means direction, and you need to think about that direction: “Where is the light coming from?”

So I really have to work for my pay. Fortunately, I love my work. And there are ways to make it easier: start with good starting points, like the Willems 400-40-4 rule (look it up) as your basis, and adjust from that basis. When you take my courses or buy my e-books, you will learn these starting points.

And then you can shoot quickly and get great colour, and with a modern camera this applies even at high ISO. Here, for example, is beauty:

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No, I did not mean the girls. Well, yes, they are very beautiful, too, but I really meant the venue and the colours. This is why I love flash.

In the next few days, some more about this shoot. It is 1:15 AM and now, finally after a 16-hour non-stop day, I get a rest. But only until 7AM.

And then back to Black Betty, who is waiting patiently in the garage for me:

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And then tomorrow evening, I run a photo booth, 80km away. No rest for the wicked!