Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Dorothy by Bruce M Walker
Dorothy, a photo by Bruce M Walker on Flickr.

Theme of this shoot was Hollywood Glamour ala George Hurrell. Played fast'n'loose with that though. George would have used about 4 or 5 fresnel-lensed hotlights. I used my Pentax portable strobes. The secret sauce though is a ringlight installed inside an 18" softbox, attached to a monopod and hand-held a few inches above Dorothy by my assistant (who is probably nursing sore arms today. Sorry, Marzi!). Other lights in this shot: AF540 in a 42" bounce umbrella camera-left, and a snooted AF540 hairlight well back camera right.

Huge thank-you's to Dorothy, Vivian, Ladylyn and Marzi. You guys rock! And a giant thanks to Derek for letting us crawl all over his Cafe. Go down and catch some jazz, and have a steak while you're there. Tell 'em I sent you. :-)

Model: Dorothy Weiss www.dorothyweiss.com/
Photographer: Bruce Walker www.modelmayhem.com/1440574
MUA: Vivian Orgill www.modelmayhem.com/135165
Hair stylist: Ladylyn Gool www.modelmayhem.com/2096721
Photo Assistant: Marzi Leszczyk www.coroflot.com/marzidesign
Location: The Gallery Studio Cafe www.thegallerystudiocafe.ca/

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dust and Dance

This is quite brilliant. Dancer is dusted with flour, makes athletic leaps while back-lit with strobes. Any direct light paths from strobes to camera are blocked with black cloth. Finished shots from this project are on Flickr ...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Monday, May 07, 2012


Lee, a photo by Bruce M Walker on Flickr.

Many would say this couldn't be done: vintage Pentax K100D Super (entry-level DSLR), ISO 800, Pentax DA* 55 wide open at f/1.4. Accident totally waiting to happen.

"It'll be uselessly noisy!" ... "It'll all be way too soft!" ... "6 megapixels isn't enough!"

You be the judge.

At a posing and direction workshop held by my friend Neeto da Silva. I was kind of a guest participant, and I got this in the chill-out area while Lee and I were waiting our turns on-set.

Model: Lee Riley - ModelMayhem 1847806
MUA: Christine Chan
Photo/Retouch: Bruce Walker - ModelMayhem 1440574

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Flash Success

I've read a fair bit of negative chit-chat on lists and forums regarding Pentax flashes, so here's just a bit of positive news: once a Pentax AF540-FGZ flash is repaired, it works well and hard.

A few months ago I blew up one of my two 540's, for the 2nd time. This time time I learned the hard way that if you have it powered on while inserting it into a metal cold shoe and you manage to short the contacts, it will try to fire multiple times rapidly and expires in the attempt. I left it out of my kit for quite a while until one day I realized I'd need it for an outdoor shoot I was to be part of.

I drove it over to Pentax Canada, they fixed it, charged me 200 bills (ouch!) and I drove it home a week later.

It didn't work! Same symptoms: faint ticking sound inside, the red charged light never comes on. So I contacted Pentax, the service manager apologized and asked me to try a few tests, failing which to bring it in. So I did, drove it over again (now my car knows the way), and the tech proceeded to demonstrate it working perfectly on his K-5 body. Aaaargh!

But I left it with them for observation, they ran all the tests they could think of and called me to pick it up a few days later. This time I brought fresh batteries with me and tested it in the lobby before accepting it. Drove it home, fired it up ... and it worked fine. And 100% fine ever since.

Last Thursday I did a creative fashion shoot using an Elinchrom softbox feathered to light the model's fronts and my two 540's lighting up the background (rough, unpainted concrete) with two coloured gels from a good distance back left & right of the models. I fired those suckers over 500 times, at full power, including a fresh battery change, over about 4 hours. When we finally wrapped and I got them down off their stands, the flashes were very warm and the batteries were hot to the touch.

So, summary: AF540's may be electrically a bit fragile, and kinda pricey, but they are friggen' workhorses, and will stand up to heavy use. They lit up a concrete wall 12 feet high over an area at least 12 feet across, bright enough to be seen nicely at f/8, ISO 100.

Here's one of my proof of concept lighting shots:

It's the "Accidental Tulips" setup with a feathered softbox, then the black foamcore background was lit from right and left by gelled, snooted (or gridded) and gobo'ed AF540-FGZ flashes. The criss-crossing shadows create the cool coloured patterns.