3 Great Lighting Tutorials

Bert Stephani is a professional photographer based out of Zaventem, Belgium. His work consists of portraiture, kids, weddings and corporate photography. Fortunately, for you and me, he’s videotaped one of his shoots and then walked back through it teaching his techniques and observations along the way. If you’ve not come accross Mr. Stephani yet, then take a few minutes, sit back and learn something.

1. Lighting Right at High Noon

2. Backgrounds and Light

3. Light Leftovers

Check out more of Bert’s photos and musings on his blog.

[tags]lighting, tutorial, how to, diy, photography, flash, off-camera[/tags]

2007 WERA Grand National Finals

The 2007 WERA Grand National Finals were held at Road Atlanta on October 13. I took a trip down there with my cousin Joe, who’s an avid motorcycle enthusiast. This was my second year of watching and shooting the WERA GNF. I took my trusty Canon Rebel XT and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8. While this setup performed quite well at Road Atlanta, due to the track setup, I could’ve used a longer lens and/or more megapixels. 200mm wasn’t quite long enough to reach out on some of the corners. I would like to have had a EF 100-400mm L or something longer to really get in tight. Unfortunately, those weren’t an option for me and I was limited to cropping in on some of those shots that were way out there, which is where more megapixels could’ve come in handy.

That said, here’s a few of my keepers from the day:


Race start coming out of Turn 1.


Close in on Turn 1.


More from Turn 1. Seeing a pattern here? Turn one was the one place that I really had close access to and the light was on the face of the riders coming at me.


Coming out of a deep lean on Turn 1.


Showing off a bit out of Turn 10B.

If you dig these, you can see more on my Smugmug page. Also, you can check out Steve Beck’s photos from Road Atlanta. I met Steve at Road Atlanta this year. He had a great setup for shooting bikes at Road Atlanta – Canon 1D Mark III and a 500mm f/4 L, which enabled him to really get in tight.

Photographer vs. Soccer Mom

Here’s one worth a read. A poster over at DPReview.com was “testing” his equipment at kids’ soccer games and was confronted by a soccer mom. This is his account:

Went to soccer games testing my equipment. When I finished one field moving to another one, one mom asked me if I have permit to shoot, I said no. So she wanted me to give her all my images and leave. I told her no way. They want my business card, I don’t want them to harrass me so I said no. I’m not sure if her husband shoots soccer and don’t want any completition. I told them I am a pro sports shooter and just here to test my equipment. I told them I know the vendor that shoots their league and I don’t want to mess up his business so I won’t give them the images. She said if I don’t they’ll call the police. I said go ahead and they called the police. I heard the father trying to explain the serious this could be. I stayed there until he finished his call. The father at this point change his attitude trying to explain they were just trying to protect their kids. I went on to shoot the other team until the police tapped on my shoulder.

The police asked why I shoot, I told them I’m here to test my equipment. He ask to see my images, after reviewed 300+ images he said no problem. He asked me for a business card so I gave him one. He then asked if I want to call it a day. I said not right now I don’t want to give them the impression I was escorted out. I also told the police to tell the moms to cool off not to over-reacting and harrass me by asking my images with bad attitude. So I stayed there for another hour shooting away.

After the first game I met the father calling the police, he was much nicer, no problem any more. Later I gave it a thought, maybe I should show the parents some great shots I took of their kids, but I doubt it will make any difference.

Any suggestions?

Things get interesting after this. There’s a lot of differing opinions over there – some were glad he stood his ground and others would have cold-cocked him. Check these links out and tell me what you would have done.

This is a probably a good time to plug my post: 5 Things You Should Do When Confronted By Police.

[tags]photography, photographer, police, rights[/tags]

Desaturating Color – Sublime Light

Here’s a great little photoshop tutorial from sublime light. I’ve been following the posts over there for a few weeks now. Tim Solley is doing a fantastic job on putting together some great content for his readers. Note that I’ve added sublime light to my Blogroll in the sidebar on the right side of the page.

Keep up the good work Tim. The rest of you should head on over to sublime light and check out the latest pointers from a good teacher.


[tags]sublime light, photography, blogs, tips, tutorials[/tags]

Fast Bikes, Low Light and Fog

Makin’ the Gap

Originally uploaded by hawridger.

Here’s another shot from the 2007 NORBA Showdown at Sugar. This particular shot comes from part of the downhill course where there riders clear roughly a 10′ gap over a creek. Needless to say, they’re moving on at this point. That’s where my problem arose though.

Thankfully, it didn’t rain (much) at the race or I probably would have packed up my Canon Rebel XT and headed home. However, the conditions were less than ideal for shooting action shots. It was plenty overcast, this part of the course was complete under cover of trees, and it was rather foggy at times due to the elevation.

I think I would have felt fine without the fog; however, the fog really caused some lighting issues that I didn’t know how to resolve on-site. This left me with several photos that seemed washed out – like a white film over the whole image due to the moisture particles reflecting the flash. The only solution that I could come up with was in Lightroom – and this is where shooting RAW, I think, saved my butt. I was able to boost contrast and blacks enough to resolve the fog issue on the image for most shots so that they are now usable.

All of the photos at this creek jump has some fog in them (see gallery). Some more than others. I am satisfied with the post-processing results; however, I’d like to know what some of you guys (and gals) think about my lighting quagmire on-site. Is there a better solution for shooting in fog with my setup (particularly, you strobist wizards)? If not, is there something else that I need in order to be prepared for these conditions?

My setup: Canon Rebel XT, 18-55 Kit Lens for wides & Sigma 70-200 f/2.8; EX 420 Speedlight.

My settings: Shutter priority — Wides – roughly 1/60s to 1/125s with panning — Zooms – 1/200s minimum; ISO 400 (I really don’t like the grain above 400)

[tags]photography, lighting, fog, cycling, bike, mountain, biking, downhill, jump, strobist, canon, sigma, flash, how to[/tags]