Light on a stick

A few months back I was shooting a client in the Ginza district of Tokyo at night. I was basically relying on the bright and crazily coloured neon lights to provide my lighting – giving a funky, modern, fast paced big city feel to everything.

Then I found a really good location, but it was too far away from the bright neon lights I had been relying on. Stumped, I gave up on that spot. But it did cause me to recall something…

Ages ago I saw Zack Arias* in a video using a speed light mounted on a short stick with an umbrella as the modifier. I think he called it ‘light on a stick.’ Finally got around to knocking one up today. Here’s one test shot. Three more tests with it on my work blog here.


* this is not the original video I saw. Can’t find that one now. In this one he calls it a travelling light

Wide and Shallow – the so-called Brenizer Method

The Brenizer Method is simply taking a grid of photos of a reasonably close portrait subject with a long or longish focal length and wide open (or close to it), and then stitching them together to make a single final portrait image.

What it gives you is an image that looks wide or wide-ish and still has a shallow depth of field. Usually it has a depth of field more shallow than you would expect for that lens and format. It is a great way to mimic medium or large format results.

It was popularised in recent times by the work of Ryan Brenizer, hence the name. It is also known as panoramic stitching, bokeh panorama and bokehrama. The actual technique or idea has been around for ages – since 1843 according to the Wikipedia entry.

Anyway, I’ve been playing with it for a while now. Here’s two recent-ish shots. With both more and less attention to fixing up the background oddness that can result. In fact, I often like the surreal weirdness that can occur after the stitching.


D lumberjack_Panorama1-Edit

Industrial Strength X100s Prt 2

As mentioned here, I’m not long back from a portrait session with the owner of an engineering firm. Here’s two versions of the same photograph from that session. First is a tweaked version of VSCO Agfa Vista 100 and the second a tweaked version of VSCO Kodak Portra 160 NC.* Shot at ISO 200, 1/250 sec @ f2.8.

_DSF4465 _DSF4465-3 * and Fuji Neopan 1600+ in the cropped image in the header if you are on this post’s dedicated page


Industrial Strength X100s

Just returned from a portrait session with the owner of an engineering firm. Once again just with the X100s and OneLight.

I’m constantly amazed at how much you can do with just a single light source & a leaf shutter (and a reflector, which I forgot to take!).

Having said that, I think I’m going to start throwing more lights into the mix.

And having said that, I’m also trying to get people to do portraits outside in the Golden Hour more, sans lights.

Today’s photos to follow. Right now I need to buy some wood and make two study desks for my children, as then I can reclaim my photography workbench back!


Early Birds And All That – 6 am Shoot To Catch The Blossoms…

Just back from a 6am family portrait session. Cherry blossom season tends to last at the most a week here in Japan, and much less if the wind picks up. You have to get the photographs while you can. Nothing to show yet, other than this blossom strip.


While coming back, I saw that we had not only beaten the professional cherry blossom photographers time wise, but also location wise. If they had only gone to the effort of going another 200 yards down the road and around the corner…