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.

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* 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.

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Chichibu Line – Into The Wilds V

More from a now no longer recent train riding day trip into the Chichibu highlands / interior. These four from Nagatoro Station and surrounds.

_DSF4853 _DSF4855 _DSF4857 _DSF4863 All X100s in Advanced Filter Toy Mode, via Capture One Pro and Lightroom (but minimal – like just a little exposure and contrast)

 

Chichibu Line – Into The Wilds IV (warning – contains photo of peeing)

From a now no longer recent train riding day trip into the Chichibu highlands / interior. Nagatoro Station and surrounds.

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_DSF4852 All X100s in Advanced Filter Toy Mode, via Capture One Pro and Lightroom (but minimal – like just a little exposure and contrast)

Chichibu Line – Into The Wilds III

From a semi-recent day trip to Chichibu, Saitama, Japan.

Nagatoro Station and surrounds.

_DSF4835 _DSF4837 _DSF4845 _DSF4851X100s. All are pretty much chronological and shot with Toy Camera Advanced Filter Mode & with kinda minimal post (exposure, levels, & maybe some shadow enhancement in Capture One and saved as TIF, and then similar or just hitting “Auto” in the Basic panel in Lightroom – which actually adds up to a lot in terms of the final impact).

Chichibu Line – Into The Wilds II

From a semi-recent day trip to Chichibu, Saitama, Japan.

Nagatoro Station.

_DSF4828 _DSF4830 _DSF4831 _DSF4832-2 X100s. All are pretty much chronological and shot with Toy Camera Advanced Filter Mode & with kinda minimal post (exposure, levels, & maybe some shadow enhancement in Capture One and saved as TIF, and then similar or just hitting “Auto” in the Basic panel in Lightroom – which actually adds up to a lot in terms of the final impact).

Chichibu Line – Into The Wilds

On the Chichibu line yesterday, into the wilds. Decided quite early that I was getting better results with square format. Also, while I understand all the criticisms of faux toy camera modes and recognise their intuitive validity,* I still find I really like the way Fujifilm does it, so decided to use that too. These and all that follow are pretty much chronological & with minimal post (kinda – deliberate exposure, levels, & maybe some shadow enhancement in Capture One and saved as TIF, and then similar or just hitting “Auto” in the Basic panel in Lightroom – which actually adds up to a lot in terms of the final impact).

_DSF4820 _DSF4821 _DSF4823 _DSF4826

* i.e. like many things that seem to make sense on the face of it, I don’t really think they are valid on examination