Little Cowboy

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Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L lens – 1/125 second, f/9, ISO 100

November 30, 2007 at 12:07 am by | Categories: Post

Impromptu Portrait: A Man and His Skull

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During the Provo Photowalking event earlier this month, the group came across this cigarette smoking donkey skull mounted on the front of a Jeep. While we were checking it out by alternating between photographing it and laughing about it, the jeep’s owner emerged from the tavern it was parked in front of (yes, there are taverns in Provo). After getting over the initial shock of seeing 10+ photographers around his vehicle, he posed for a portrait.

To light this shot, I had my friend Dale hold a Pocketwizard triggered 430EX to the left of camera. I then quickly balanced the strobe’s power to about 2/3 f/stop above the ambient light. This gave the subjects face (and the skull) a bit of pop to separate them from the background.

The next photowalk event will be a December visit to the Christmas lights at Temple Square. Details will be posted here as well as the Flickr group.

Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L lens – 1/30 second, f/5.6, ISO 200

November 29, 2007 at 8:06 am by | Categories: photowalking

Legal Team

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OBJECTIVE: Photograph an attorney and paralegal for an article in a trade magazine
LOCATION: The attorney’s office
CHALLENGE: The office space was small and the attorney had very little time for the shoot

The limited space was the largest hurdle in capturing this portrait. I was actually standing outside the room shooting through the doorway. The size challenge also limited the amount of lighting which could be used.

For lighting, a single softbox was placed to the right of the camera to give a strong directional shape. This also served to create a pseudo-window light effect in the windowless office. A large silver reflector was placed in the corner left of camera for fill.

All said, I was in-and-out in 15 minutes and the attorney was quickly back to work.

Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L lens – 1/125 second, f/8, ISO 100

November 28, 2007 at 9:43 am by | Categories: Post

The Graduate

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Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L lens – 1/125 second, f/5.6, ISO 100

November 27, 2007 at 9:32 am by | Categories: Post

I Bought This Expensive Camera, But My Pictures Look BLAH!

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“I bought this expensive camera, but my pictures look Blah!” I have heard a variation of this expression many times. It usually comes from people who have recently upgraded to a digital SLR camera. With Christmas coming and many more photographers hoping to find a box of Digital SLR goodness under a tree, let me state my opinion on this subject as a cold, hard fact:

If you use a digital SLR camera, your images WILL require editing!

Unlike their inexpensive point-and-shoot cousins, digital SLR cameras are aimed at the more experienced photographer. These shooters are the type that don’t want the camera to do all the thinking for them. The camera’s job is to record the scene accurately at a high level of quality. It is essentially creating a digital negative which then needs to be developed.

Here is the unedited file* straight from the camera of today’s photo of a newlywed couple on railroad tracks.

Couple on Tracks Unedited

Notice how blah the file is. The colors are drab, the contrast is low, the whole scene is rather dark and unsharp. In keeping with the film vernacular, this file is my “digital negative”. Like any negative, it needs developing. Today, we do this in our digital darkroom – photo editing software.

For my stock portfolio images, I do the bare minimum of editing. This is done intentionally to leave the final editing to the buyer, usually a graphic designer. But even my bare minimum consists of several steps.

– Cropping (if necessary)
– Adjusting exposure (I shoot at -1/3 f/stop to preserve highlights)
– Tightening Levels
– Adjusting Vibrance and Saturation
– Sharpening (using the High Pass Filter method)

For portrait and client work, I do much more editing. This includes:

– re-touching
– softening
– saturation
– color adjustment
– dodging & burning
– vignetting

and so on…

Some of this work is done with Photoshop actions (it is no secret that I am a big fan of Kenneth Linge’s actions). I would never want a client to receive an image that I have not edited – period.

If you are shooting a digital SLR, think of it this way: You capture the image with the camera, you develop the image with the software. A little bit of work with an editing program goes a long way in removing the BLAH.

Canon 5D, Canon 70-200 f/4L lens – 1/1000 second, f/4, ISO 160

* – This image was shot in RAW mode and converted to JPG with Adobe Camera Raw (added 11/29/07)

November 26, 2007 at 10:35 am by | Categories: tutorial

Wasatch Moon

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Canon 5D, Canon 70-200 f/4L lens with 1.4x extender – 1/400 second, f/5.6, ISO 160

November 24, 2007 at 8:49 pm by | Categories: Post

Black Coffee Friday

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Canon 5D, Canon 70-200 f/4L lens – 1/125 second, f/11, ISO 100

November 23, 2007 at 7:09 am by | Categories: Post

Digital Photography: Ten Things I Am Thankful For

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What’s a Thanksgiving blog post without a cheesy list of things we are thankful about. Here is a quick list of ten things in digital photography that I am thankful for:

1. Flash memory and hard drive space is cheap
2. Nikon and Canon are neck-and-neck competitors
3. Internet Distribution
4. Photoshop CS3 on a Mac
5. Pictureline and Wasatch Photographic being local
6. Great models always willing to help
7. iStockphoto
8. Knowing Kenneth Linge
9. Mpix’s $9.75 overnight shipping
10. The wonderful people that take time to read this blog

As for today’s image, I’m thankful that turkeys taste better than they look. Please enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday.

Canon 30D, Canon 70-200 f/4L lens – 1/250 second, f/5, ISO 100

November 22, 2007 at 8:51 am by | Categories: Post

Do You . . . Facebook?

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I have had a Facebook account for a year or so but have rarely used it. Recently though I started to add friends and use the site as it is intended, and guess what? I’m enjoying it.

If you are on Facebook (or willing to sign up) and would like to add me as a friend, please do so. Just do a lookup for “Rich Legg”. I shouldn’t be too hard to find, I’m the one with the camera.

p.s. Obviously today’s image has nothing to do with this post.

Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L lens – 1/125 second, f/7.1, ISO 100

November 21, 2007 at 12:49 am by | Categories: Post

A bit of Zoom-Blur on the Photowalk

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The photowalking event this past Saturday evening was great. We had a group of 15 photographers (and friends) join in as we walked the historic downtown district of Provo.

In addition to capturing images of my fellow photowalkers, I got into a Zoom-Blur mode on several shots – as evidenced by today’s photo. As I was following the group up the street, I made this shot. If you look closely, you can spot six of the photowalk participants in the scene. The blur effect was created with a quick twist of the of the zoom ring on the lens at the end of the half second exposure.

To see more images taken by the photowalk participants, visit the Flickr group at flickr.com/groups/photowalkslc.

The next photowalking event will be in December as we set out to capture the Christmas lights at Temple Square. I will post details on the Flickr group in addition to this site when they become available.

Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L lens – .5 second, f/13, ISO 200

November 20, 2007 at 7:28 am by | Categories: photowalking