WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE SPOT?

DREAMING OF IRELAND

Do you ever dream of going someplace again that you been before? How does it feel when you see photos of that place, whether their your photos or not?

For me that place is Ireland. I’ve been a few times now and fell in love with it that very first time on the approach to the airport as the plane was descending from the heavens onto a misty emerald green landscape. It’s pretty hard to describe the feeling of going there to others. It just is a happy feeling I guess that stays the whole time I’m there.

Even though it does tend to rain a lot there the people are extremely nice and the food isn’t bad either. Many castles and old history are abound and is extremely fascinating to check out. Walking along the shore of an ancient beach that has been battered for millennia is magical.

Being a photographer and carrying around a bunch of gear to snap shots is almost like a zen like feeling while there.

Where is your favorite spot or one you’d like to check out at some point? I have many other places I’d love to visit but I must say Ireland is still at the top of my list.

AN OLD STRANDED IRISH BOAT

I took this shot a little over a year ago on a trip to Ireland for business. This photo was taken while it was pretty windy and rain was coming down. I’m not sure if this boat would actually be in the water as the tide was out and it seemed pretty far from it, though I could be mistaken. The photo was shot on the coast of the inlet from the Atlantic towards Shannon and Limerick.

If your interested in following me on Twitter you can either click on the link below or go to twitter and click on follow. I’m now also on Google Plus which is a great new platform. Are you on Facebook? If so please ‘like’ the Maugiart Photography Page.

ASSIGNMENT: CREATIVE BOOK SHOT

Book Shot BTS-3

RULED OVER

This shot was taken for an assignment for a photography hangout I take part in on Google+. The idea was to shoot a creative book shot. I had some ideas in my head and immediately knew I wanted to shoot my leather bound edition of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’.

IDEA AND COMPOSITION

When trying to realize the shot in my head I first off knew which books I wanted to shoot. The leather bound edition has some great texture and the writing on the binding and details on the covers is some sort of metal foil which really adds to the shot.

I also wanted to somehow incorporate some rings into the shot since that is a major character in the books. To make things interesting I decided to make the rings appear as if they were floating above the books.

To capture this shot I used 3 studio strobes and my Nikon SB-800 flash. I have a little DIY shooting table that I had made out of a piece of plywood and screwed that to an old tripod I had. Then I laid a piece of glass that I had spray painted black on one side to place the books on.

For the rings, I used a boom above and out of frame and hung them from that using fishing line.

For the lights, I started with the SB-800 on the ground behind the little table and put a blue gel over it and aimed at a piece of white foam core that was about foot behind the subject. Next, I had 2 studio strobes that were place right and left in front and level with the subject with DIY strip boxes. The 3rd studio strobe was hung above the subject by about 2 feet from another boom with a soft box on it.

Initially when I took the shot the blue color was totally washed out with barely a hint of color. That was due to the strip boxes that had over spilled the subject and blasted the white background. To remedy that I flagged each side of the table with a piece of white foam core and also used a little strip of it across the top.

FINAL SHOT

To get the final shot I made one exposure. I did a little color correction in Lightroom for white balance and then brought the image into Photoshop and spend about 1.5 hours cleaning the image. I removed a few spots that I had on my sensor, some random dust I has missed while cleaning the area for the shot and also removed the fishing line. Oh, and of course I added a few sparkles to top it off with.

All comments are much appreciated. If you like what you see, please consider following my blog and passing it on to others who may be interested in learning how to do these types of shots. I do hope you found this post to be helpful for you in your own photographic endeavors.

Please also find below this final image a few bts(behind the scenes) shots I took.

If your interested in following me on Twitter you can either click on the link below or go to twitter and click on follow. I’m now also on Google Plus which is a great new platform. Are you on Facebook? If so please ‘like’ the Maugiart Photography Page.


Here are some BTS (Behind the scenes) shots of my setup. This first shot below shows the strip boxes from front and either side of the subject and the softbox above. You can also see the white foam core flags I used. That little black area to the bottom back of the tripod is the SB-800 with blue gel aiming up.

Here is another angle showing more of the same, but gets you a better idea on the overall setup.

This shot shows a closer view of the little DIY table I made. It’s just a a small piece of plywood I cut and drilled a hole in middle where I put a 1/4″ blind nut to be able to screw to the table.

This final shot shows a closer side view to better see the position of the back ground.

ASSIGNMENT: AD STYLE COCKTAIL SHOT

SMOKY COCKTAIL

This shot was taken for an assignment for a photography hangout I take part in on Google+. The idea was to shoot a creative advertisement style cocktail shot that somehow captured emotion.

IDEA AND COMPOSITION

After the assignment was given I quickly went to our liqueur cabinet where we also happen to store glasses and my eye was drawn right away to the margarita glasses we had. I think they’re hand made as they’re not all exact a not perfectly straight. I also wanted a little umbrella, this is a cocktail shot! The final touch was the smoke to add some sort of mood to the image. But wait, there’s more!

USING A TABLET IN YOUR WORKFLOW

WACOM TABLET

Do you use a Wacom tablet? Last year in September I picked up one of the Intuos small tablets based on suggestions from many digital artists, photographers & retouchers like Genia Larionova. I was a little unsure of its usefulness as I had never used one and had always used a mouse for all of my edits.

ORDERED IT

When I finally decided to take the plunge, I ordered it online. After placing my order I eagerly waited the several days for it’s arrival. I was excited to try it out and hopefully boost my editing technique with it. As with any other gadget that I’ve ordered, when it arrived, I quickly opened up the box, installed all the hardware and software and started to play with it.

FIRST REACTION

Well, let me first be honest about my initial reaction to using it. *This sucks!!!* and is so hard to use. I fiddled with the settings as best I could for sensitivity and what the buttons all do. Still, it was really hard to use. After using a mouse for almost 20 years the pen, which to paper is so natural now, was a pain the butt.

PERSISTENCE

So I dabbled with it here and there for the first week not working on anything super important as I didn’t have the feel for it just yet. After about a week or so, I decided that, after reading a lot of opinions on it use, that I’d put the mouse away for a week and struggle only using the tablet; *For everything!*

I used it from photo editing, browsing the web and checking email and even work and excel documents. The first couple days was a nightmare. Now, if you own or have checked out the Intuos, it comes with several different pen tips, or nibs, as they call them. I found one that seemed a bit easier to use and felt more natural.

Just a couple days before the week was up I started to get the hang of it and could see why so many professionals use and rely upon it.

7 MONTHS LATER

Well 7 months into using it I can safely say it’s so awesome! The ability to adjust pressure on the fly when using a brush in Photoshop is so fantastic.This past week I was working on a photo to prep it for working in Photoshop and I didn’t have the tablet with me at the time. I got to the point of using Photoshop and was stopped in my tracks. I’ve now myself become reliant on the use of the tablet. The mouse is not natural anymore for using the tools in my work. The pressure sensitivity and other great features of the tablet have proven to be such useful tools. I use the pressure all the time to do different amounts of opacity when brushing with a clone stamp tool or standard brush. You *can’t* do that with a mouse.

IN CONCLUSION

So, to finish up with my experience with the tablet so far I can’t stress how much this has helped in editing photos. Are you on the fence about whether to pick one up? Do you have one that either you bought for yourself or someone gave you? Is it still sitting in it’s box waiting for you to have the *time* to set it up and learn it?

Well, let me tell you go for it! If you have one already and haven’t used it yet then your kicking yourself in the heels. If you haven’t purchased on and have thought of it then it’s a must.

No joke, there is a bit a of a learning curve, but if you give it a little persistence then I promise you’ll be amazed at how much better your editing will become. I still use a mouse for most things not related to editing photos like email, text document and browsing the web, but for photo editing or digital painting, there is no other way to go. I just can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get to this point.

Don’t wait as long as I did!

If your interested in following me on Twitter you can either click on the link below or go to twitter and click on follow. I’m now also on Google Plus which is a great new platform. Are you on Facebook? If so please ‘like’ the Maugiart Photography Page.

ASSIGNMENT: AD STYLE BEER SHOT

SATISFY THE GERMAN IN YOU

This shot was taken for an assignment for a photography hangout I take part in on Google+. The idea was to shoot an advertisement style beer shot. I happened to have several bottles of Paulaner beer and the proper glasses they’re served in so I figured this would be the best choice of subject for my shot.

IDEA AND COMPOSITION

For the composition I wanted to some how show the bottles and glass in various states of falling down. You’ll notice the glass starting to tip over, and the bottles either on their way down or horizontal already. I also wanted to show the typical ‘sweating’ look that you see in a lot of beer advertisements in magazines and on television.

For this shot I used 3 strobes, some white foam core boards for bouncing, a piece of translum plastic sheet (I found that on B&H – great stuff) to make a shooting table, poster putty, glycerin and water.

After setting up my shooting table, I posed all the bottles and the glass. I used a little poster putty (the stuff you can use to hang posters on the wall with) to prop the glass to show it leaning over. I wanted to get all the lighting set before filling the glass with beer and also giving the bottles and glass the ‘sweaty’ look.

I place a strobe fitted with my DIY strip box off to the right and shot through a diffusion panel. I had a second strobe on a boom up above the subject aiming back to to light the background. Just above the subject I had a small piece of foam core to remove the light spill from the second strobe from blowing out the whites on the bottle caps. I then had a third strobe just left of the camera fitted with a DIY snoot (I used a paper towel roll center and gaffer tape to attach to strobe) aimed at the labels to get those to expose correctly.

Once I had the shot the way I was hoping for, lighting wise, I spritzed the bottles and glass with a mixture of glycerin and water. I just made a 1:1 ratio mixture. This gets the water a bit thicker to help having staying power on the surfaces so they don’t just drip away. Last but not least, I filled the glass with beer. I wanted to have a proper head on top and though this is a hefeweizen beer, I didn’t want the yeast to cloud the glass so I had to pour carefully.

FINAL SHOT

To get the final shot I made one exposure. I didn’t a little color correction in Lightroom and then brought the image into Photoshop and spend a few hours cleaning the image. I made sure the background was white. I also had a few shadows I wasn’t happy with so I removed those as well.

All comments are much appreciated. If you like what you see, please consider following my blog and passing it on to others who may be interested in learning how to do these types of shots. I do hope you found this post to be helpful for you in your own photographic endeavors.

Please also find below this final image a few outtake shots and bts(behind the scenes) shots I took with my phone.

If your interested in following me on Twitter you can either click on the link below or go to twitter and click on follow. I’m now also on Google Plus which is a great new platform. Are you on Facebook? If so please ‘like’ the Maugiart Photography Page.

Here are some BTS (Behind the scenes) shots of my setup. This first shot below shows the strip box above on the boom and the strip box to the right through the diffusion panel. You can also see the foam core I used to reduce light spill. I also had a diffusion panel to soften the light on the back side of the subject.

Here is another angle showing more of the same, but gets you a better idea on the setup.

This final shot shows the strobe with the DIY snoot to focus light onto the labels of the bottles. It also shows my camera position.