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 ...

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.