Tag Archives: redwoods

Light & Motion LED’s – part 1

Over the past year I’ve been working with the people at Light & Motion to show off their incredible Stella LED lights. There’s lots of benefits to using LED lights for both photography and video. These continuous lights are powerful, lightweight, don’t generate heat, don’t need to be plugged in, produce daylight balanced light, are dimmable and, as a bonus, several of the Light & Motion Stellas are completely submersible. I’ve got the Stella 5000, Stella 2000 and the Stella 1000 lights.  They can go anywhere I can go.

This last spring I did a shoot with some friends on a camping trip to Big Sur. We were setting up a outdoor, fashion-style shot in a creek to show off the qualities of the lights. I’m photographing Gabbie Morfeld and there’s a Stella 5000 on a light stand to my right as the key. The Stella 2000 that we’re using as a backlight is clamped to a branch, and the Stella 1000 is in the creek filling in shadows. Photo © Daniel Brittain

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Here you can see the little Stella 1000 just sitting in the water. Check out how sharp the 120° beam angle is, which allows for very precise feathering of the lights. Photo © Ralph Clevenger (l) and Daniel Brittain (r)

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The shot on the left is the final of Gabbie with the 3 lights. I lit the portrait of Daniel with just the Stella 1000 underwater in front of him. ISO 2500, f/4, 1/60th sec with the Sony A7R2, 16-35mm f/4.

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My Favorite Photos of 2014

Photographer Jim M. Goldstein has been hosting a project on his blog called “the best photos of the year”.  He solicits other photographers to post their favorite images of 2014.

Here are seven of my favorites from 2014.  Be sure to check out his blog.  Hope you enjoy.

 

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Camp Food

It’s hard to beat sitting around an evening campfire listening to the sounds of the woods as night falls. When you add the sounds and smells of food cooking over the open flames, life is truly good. Mary Jane makes this amazing meal; layering potatoes, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, onions and sausage, dotted with butter and drizzled with olive oil, all wrapped in a foil oven. Then it’s 30 minutes in the coals, plated on warm camp ware and served with a nice red wine or cold beer. People from other campsites follow the smells and ask us what we’re eating. You can check out other camping recipes at About.com Camping.

 

Mary Jane’s famous camp dinner.

 

I shot the image on the left with a Lensbaby Composer. These are really fun; rent one and try it out. You can get a similar effect in Photoshop with one of their blur filters (that’s what I did for the campsite image below).

 

Painting our campsite with light.

 

Rubber Boots

The thing about shoes is that if we trust them, we can go anywhere.  That’s why I think your shoes are one of the most important tools for location photographers.  Whether it’s bare feet, cowboy boots, climbing shoes, flip flops or snowshoes, if your feet are happy you won’t think twice about where to step to get the shot.  The rubber boots I wear, Xtratuf Boots, were recommended by a friend of mine, Tom Backer, who shoots for TV shows like Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers.  My feet are happy.

Kayla McKenzie and I working Hare Creek in Limekiln State Park, Big Sur, California.

Fun with rubber boots and a 16mm fisheye.

Shining new light on Trilliums

Each spring I visit the redwood forests. It still rains a bunch but the forest is coming alive with banana slugs, newts, salamanders, and spring wildflowers, like this trillium. Trilliums are large and beautifully designed, lots of symmetry and triangles. I had been looking for a perfect one, with new leaves and a young flower, and found this one right next to camp.

I set up a tripod and wide-angle lens, carefully worked with the plane of the plant to get everything in focus and took the first shot (upper left). Ok, it’s a decent record of the plant but it deserves more. So I underexposed the ambient and popped a gridded flash, better (lower left). But I have more than one flash … and we have wireless flash trigger … .so let’s add a flash under the trillium to pump light through the translucent leaves. Underexpose ambient a bit more, fire both flashes … nice.

I’m running a couple of macro workshops next spring. The advanced one will cover techniques like this, plus we’ll get to work with Dennis Sheridan and his amazing creatures.  If you’re interested in getting email notices about workshop and travel opportunities, sign up by clicking here.