Well, not exactly, but at least I can go outside and do some location photo shoots now.
It’s been a while since I was last out with my camera, in fact my main camera I haven’t used to take photos since the beginning of December last year, although I did do a tiny bit of video with it more recently. On my walks when I’ve taken a camera out, I’ve taken a more portable one that easily fits in a bag rather than taking a specific camera bag with me.
I missed out a post for February as I didn’t really do much except a bit of video for a local burlesque performer, and I’ll add a few stills from that video into this blog post
This will still be a short post as it wasn’t until 29th March that people could meet outside in groups of upto 6, and with this being the case, I thought on that day I’d organise a location photo shoot around Leicester City Centre.
This was an idea I’ve had for quite a while, and it didn’t quite go as planned due to some equipment issues, but it has room for improvement and I’m sure I’ll re-visit the idea in the future. I’d wanted to do a photoshoot with someone based around a dance theme, around the city centre, with another photographer coming along to act as a light stand, then taking it in turns to take photos. The idea of having another photographer along was that they would know a bit about lighting and camera settings, so when they were taking photos or setting up/moving the light, they could work quickly, and having someone else coming along would cut down on equipment as a light stand wouldn’t be needed. In the end, things changed a bit and the setup I had in mind wasn’t as easy to put up and take down as I’d thought, so we changed a few things as we went along.
For this shoot I had Allen along as another photographer and we were working with Katie, who we have both worked with many times before, on solo shoots as well as group shoots. We started off with the setup I’d had in mind at the start but the wind was quite bad, so after a few different locations we were back at the start to do an outfit change and as we would then be walking a bit further, we adjusted the lighting setup to something a bit more manageable in the wind. Although later on it either wasn’t as windy or we were just in places that blocked a lot of the wind out and we probably would have been able to manage with the initial setup.
We walked round to a few different locations around Leicester City Centre, and I had a couple of planned shots I wanted to get, but other than that, it was more a case of walking around and seeing if anything catches our eye. The sun was out but it was also quite cloudy at times, so the sun going in and out of the clouds was quite a bit to deal with when setting up your shot and the light instantly changed.
It was great to be back outside taking photos again, meeting up and socialising with other people than my household and people at work, in a socially distanced manner. The weather, while not necessarily the best for taking photos, mid day bright sunshine is probably the worst time to be out with your camera, was nice and warm, and with the aim to basically get outside with my camera again rather than take the best photos ever, it was mission accomplished. I’m sure there will be many more shoots coming up over the next few months.
And now for a little technical bit, so you can skip over this if you have no interest in this type of thing.
For this first shoot back outside I wanted to try something different to how I normally shoot, and with the sun out and quite bright on the day, it was a perfect chance to try this out. When shooting with flash and using high speed sync, you lose quite a lot of power from your flash due to the technology limitations, so I wanted to try using some ND filters on my lens to try and keep my settings under the camera sync speed. I already had some filters for one of my lenses I would be taking along and the other one I bought a 3 stop ND filter to attach to it. So for this shoot I used a 35mm and an 85mm lens, both with a 3 stop ND filter attached to the front. Years ago I tried this technique, when HSS wasn’t as readily available on flashes as it is today and the images didn’t come out that great, so I’ve been reluctant to try it again. On this occasion it was a bit hit and miss and I’m not 100% sure why. Some of the images are pretty good, although I can see that they aren’t quite as sharp as they would be without the filter, but they are acceptable, and then there are others that when you zoom in you can definitely see they are slightly out of focus. I need to do a bit more investigation, but I think it’s either the filter causing the camera to miss focus, or the focus and re-compose method which is causing the missed focus, but it being more than normal leads me to believe that it’s the combination of the dark filter and the camera focus system. I shall do more testing on future shoots, but it’s something different to try out.
One more photoshoot in March and it was with Bree, who I’ve worked with on many occasions over the years. We had access to take some photos at a local bar which I hadn’t been in for a good few years and either I don’t remember it that well or it has changed a lot since the last time I was there. There were lots of interesting areas to take some photos and we barely even touched the surface with the shots we took. There was a kind of 50’s diner themed area which I really liked, so we used that for most of the shoot. Really fun, always a good laugh when working with Bree.
Finally, I did take a camera out on a few walks, but as I’m generally walking around my local area, I don’t find it too inspiring that I want to take my camera out to grab a few photos, so there aren’t that many photos from any walks.
And that’s it for February/March, hopefully April will be a bit busier as we can now meet outside in groups of upto six people and as of 12th April some other thing may be allowed to open up a bit more, we’ll just have to see what happens.