Saturday, January 17, 2015

Gothic Geisha



From an enjoyable creative shoot with designer and artisan Emily Yoshizawa last Wednesday.

Model, hair, styling: Emily Yoshizawa
Makeup: Bronwyn Martens

Lighting: Paul C Buff Einstein in Westcott Medium Apollo softbox, camera-left; Einstein with socked 22" beauty dish on background, camera-right.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Gandalf

More testing with my new lighting gear has produced one of the best portraits of Gandalf the Russian Blue kitty yet.



Camera: Pentax K-3, SMC DA* 16-50/2.8 SDM @ 39mm, f11, 1/125th sec, ISO 100.

Lighting: Paul C Buff Einstein e640 monolight with 22" beauty dish wearing white diffuser sock, camera-right forward (just feathering the subject); white foamcore sheet camera-left.

Post-processing in Lightroom.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Santa was good to me

I've been needing to upgrade a few bits of gear moving into the new year, so I appealed to Santa and was rewarded with a new iMac and five boxes of Paul C Buff lighting stuff.

Here's me sitting in my (messy) office illuminated by a 22 inch beauty dish fitted with a 15 degree grid mounted on an Einstein 640 strobe. The grid does a fine job of tightly controlling the beam spread.

I did little retouching to this image, I just used a red filter in the black and white conversion (Nik Silver Efex Pro).

Grim? Who's grim?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Downgrade for a better phone!

I bought an Android smartphone in the spring when my ancient dumb phone finally expired. (The battery physically expanded until the back cover couldn't be attached, and it held less than a day's charge.) But as usual I went the cheapest possible route: a pay-as-you-go top-up "plan" with an out-of-date almost free phone.

As an Android newbie I gleefully configured my new to me (but actually rather old) Huawei Y215 with everything I could think of. I frequently updated all the apps, both pre-installed and some I downloaded. I learned that when you get the "insufficient memory" message it was time to clear all the app caches. I was a wizard.

But the phone slowed down. I frequently had to wait for it to come out of an apparent coma when I tried to launch apps. Eventually even simply turning it on was a chore and it would very often ignore my frantic stabs at the screen. I had to reboot it daily (or more) and it recently started crashing randomly -- even while sleeping in my pocket -- or producing the weirdest garbled UI screens you can imagine.

I started to think that perhaps I should contact somebody about a warranty exchange or hardware repair or something (do these cheapies even have warranties?). But then I remembered that it's always a good idea to try a factory reset first. So I Googled it and found out you can do a neat trick with the volume up and power buttons after pulling the battery, so I tried it.

Amazeballs! All kinds of memory freed up, messaging has returned to the Facebook app, everything runs faster again, and so far -- touch imitation wood grain vinyl -- it hasn't crashed or bluescreened. Too good to be true, but I'll take it.

Lesson learned: under no circumstances am I to update any apps. I have disabled all the updates and notifications. I will only install the bare minimum of extra, non-builtin, apps. So far just Instagram since Gmail, Twitter and Facebook are all standard -- though obsolete -- pre-installed apps.

So there you go folks: one of the very few occasions where a complete and utter downgrade has netted me a vastly improved user experience. I hope that this thing gives me a few more years of reasonable service before succumbing to the "Sorry, you need a new widget to play" doom.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Advice for aspiring photographers

35 Magnum Photographers Give Their Advice to Aspiring Photographers

Eric Kim took a Magnum blog post (with permission) and illustrated with each photographers' work.

"Be yourself" is often suggested, along with the need for good shoes. There's a strong PJ slant, imho, but it's a good thought-provoking read.

Thursday, June 26, 2014