Thursday, December 12, 2013

4th of July Christmas?

So many people want Christmas in July, we did things a little differently. We had 4th of July in December.

My boss, Jeff Jensen ( had made some plans for our team to get some in studio time after a long day of meetings. His instructions to us were "bring a tripod, a camera, long lens... and a filter you dont care about...earplugs could be nice too"

We went down to a studio in Salt Lake City area where a friend of his is in a Co-Op studio (NSL Studios) look them up on Facebook if your in the area. In the back of his car was a plethora of goodies- Christmas Ornaments, little ceramic figurines, and a dozen eggs... eggs?

Needless to say based on the image above, you can see what was in store for these little festive pieces of glass.
RGB Explosion
One of the studio guys had this neat little device that was attached to a airsoft gun. It had sensors that would detect how fast the BB was going, all we had to do was measure the distance, set the flashes, turn off the lights, and set the cameras for a long exposure... yes, a long exposure. In this case we were shooting at 5 sec, f11, ISO 200

That egg on the right looks a little too happy, guess he does not know whats in store for him next
Once we got bored shooting things (did I just really say that?) it was time to bring out the big stuff... explosives! Ok, firecrackers, but it might as well been dynamite. Now (most) of us safely were hiding behind a wall, foam core or another person to avoid the flying shards of glass, Jeff was the "fuse man" and yes, he still has all his fingers and most of his clothes came out unharmed.

This little piggy went...

Bad Santa
Super Nova Ornament
No REAL mythical holiday creatures or jolly old elves were harmed in the destruction of their figurine counterpart. Please do not try this at home (use someone else's place). We are not trained professionals, and this just shows what happens when 7 bored photographers have time, explosives, and a lot of tarps to cover the walls get together.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Satellite Beach Orbs

Well, as usual I was on the road again this week. Recently I picked up a Manfrotto Befree travel tripod. This has been a great little addition to my backpack (ThinkTank Street Walker Hard Drive). While it's not a gorgeous Gitzo Carbon Traveler, at only $200 with the ball head, I'm finding this going with me everywhere. 

I called my friend Ashley Kuvlesky ( in Melbourne FL and she wanted to see how we do our light painting orbs. I brought a couple LED lights with me and she had scouted a location at Satellite Beach for us. Upon arrival, we noticed the tide was coming in QUICK so we had to work fast- hmmm long exposures, tricky lighting, getting dizzy spinning in circles and the tide ready to wash our gear to Cuba...this could be fun. 

Our first set up was ok, there was a ramp that brought you down to the beach and looked like a decent background. After a few test shots, we determined a 1.5 minute exposure would be good. I grabbed the LEDs and did a few orbs varying the time. In the end, a 60 second orb (about 2x around) this was the result. 

Man, I need to work on my "orb technique"

We REALLY wanted to get some water in the next shot, but time was getting short so we only had time for one or two more. So we turned around and reset. We tried to get more water in the shot, but the tide did not want to cooperate. One big surge did come up and Ashley had to grab both cameras to keep them from a watery demise... That girl can move quick (esp when her 5D III is in danger)!

Again, need to work that technique... On a hill is not easy. 

We then wanted to use the ramp we came down on and this is where it got fun! 
We kept the same 90 second exposure and shot down the ramp. It was a little narrow, but I really liked this view shooting down. 

I had one more shot I wanted us to try, a "warp". We adjusted exposure to 30 seconds, I stood in front of the camera and proceeded to walk away from the camera while slowly spinning the LED. I think this is my favorite of the lot. 
The "gaps" are from where the light passed in front of my legs and head. 

In case you're not familiar with this effect, a few things you need:
DSLR, intervelometer (Canon TC-80N3), tripod, a fairly bright LED light (these are blue camp LEDs from Dicks Sporting Goods with the "cone" removed), string, and BandAids (from the rope burn you may get from the string)