Shooting it: Blowing Bokeh


Blowing Bokeh!

Since this gathered a lot of attention on Flickr, I guess I’ll show every one how it went down. There was a bit of “cheating” involved, but it came out great! (And plus, I’m not shooting for a news paper or anything.)

Here’s a shot of how I set up the light!

The softbox was very high, I’d say maybe 9 – 10 feet pointing down at her. I also had a nude flash coming from behind her to give some fill light. Here’s a picture of the setup to give you a better idea just where the lights were.

Personally I don’t think this photo deserves as much attention as it got. I feel the lighting isn’t all that great, and if we had a few more minutes, I could have gotten a better angle of her face, instead of just a flat profile. I got the idea from gathering what other photographers have already done. We’ve all seen the photo of the person holding the sun, or people using filters to get heart, or star shaped bokeh. I’m pretty sure I have seen this exact picture somewhere else, but I can’t seem to find it. :/ Anyways, now to the cheating bit. I used photoshop to change the exposure, and help with the contrast a bit. I also photoshopped out some distracting lights from the picture. Here’s what the photo looks like unprocessed…

Doesn’t it look so boring and lifeless when it’s not processed?

And post processed…

Long story short, it took more lining the bokeh up with her face than it did lights! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this, and feel free to ask any questions!

Advertisements

Shooting it: Half the Hour Glass


My first post here will be about what I think is currently my best work of art, “Half the Hourglass.” I will go over my difficulties, and inspiration, and motivation, and setup, and post process.

Motivation:

I attended the “Art Erotica” party this year, hosted by the Octopus Club, and was amazed at everything that was happening there! The main idea of this party is to raise money for AIDS awareness. They do this by becoming a venue for a giant silent auction, where they sell works of nude / erotic art! All the proceeds generated by the silent auction go into a charity donation! I decided I would like to donate a few pieces of art myself next year, and help the cause!

Here’s a link to the group that hosts the party every year!

http://www.octopusclub.org

Inspiration:

I actually had the idea in my head a few months before my motivation came along, and it’s from an Infinity ad campaign! Here’s a link to the video that inspired me for this shot.


Here’s a link to the video in case the player didn’t work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1kbzpYRogg

The contour lines of the roof, and the door is what led me to my idea. I don’t know how I went from a car commercial, to a nude girl, but viola!

Process:

Before this shoot I had no experience shooting a nude model before, and it was very difficult to find a model willing to ‘donate’ her body for this cause. I was looking for a model for several months prior to the shoot, so this was a major hold up as well. After I found a willing model, and a place all was set!

I used a single strobe paired with a soft box for this shot, straight overhead of the model, and maybe a few feet back. The model was to be laying in front of a window for the shoot, so we had to block out as much light as possible. I took two sheets to block out the sun, and dropped the ISO as low as it could go, and bumped up my shutter speed to 1/200 to keep it dark. At first when I started shooting, I had the model lay on her side to get a profile shot, just like in the Infinity commercial. This proved very difficult, and I think a long rectangular softbox would have proven much more useful, but also wouldn’t have given me the image I ended up with. In this image, there is a “hot spot” near her waist, and it kinda fades off as you near the edges of the photo. It took me forever (about 2.5 hours of shooting) to get this image we see here, and it is the very last, or second to last one in the series. Here are a few shots of what I was experimenting with…


After many attempts I got this image!

Of course there are many things wrong with this image straight from the camera. I had to adjust the contrast, sharpening, erase some distracting objects, and even crop it a little to adjust the placement of everything. I even played around with black and white versions as well!

At first, I didn’t want the sheet in the photo at all, and I even started out with a black sheet. However, there was light spilling onto the sheets behind her, and I could not stop it from happening, so I decided to use the red sheets to be more aesthetically pleasing. I then also wanted the sheets to be perfectly flat, as to not distract from the subject, but her weight created ripples in the sheets, which then act as leading lines, so even if the eye is distracted by the redness of the sheets, the folds in the sheets will still lead the viewer’s eye back to the subject. I also had to end up snooting the softbox with a spare shirt laying about to reduce light.

The final image:

And that’s how I made, “Half the Hourglass.”

Adam D. (Obtuse Photo)

Follow me on Facebook!

Shooting it: Drinking in the Night


Sometimes I really love playing around and shooting one of the most difficult to please models in the world, but in many cases it’s the only one I have – Myself! 😉 I’ve been quite busy recently and didn’t have time to take a lot of photos, but now since I finished my studies I’m gonna have time and do some more self portraits, so this will be the first from the series I’m thinking about!

I am doing a section with setup information on my homepage as well, so feel free to check my journal there with a lot of other articles, here is the link:

That was a damn cold night in Kobe, don’t ask me how I motivated myself to go out in the middle of the night and do this! So, about the setup I’m using, my main light is coming from a gridded 80x60cm softbox on the left of the camera, I wanted to have some cool light on myself here! And for some fill on the right I’m having a shoot through umbrella with a Nikon SB-26 and a blue gel. I’m using some blue gels on this shot to make up a little the atmosphere the way I wanted it to be, a little colder. Also behind me you can see one more blue gelled Nikon SB-26, and there is also a gridded flash on the left side. That one I use to put some more detail on the objects in front of me, and I gridded it to restrict the light that I didn’t want to hit me.

I’m triggering the main flash here, Canon 580EXII with a Pocket Wizard, and all the others are triggered by optical slave, that’s why I love the old SB-26s, they have built-in optical slave unit, and they are cheap. I have the PW attached to the 580EXII and actually on the camera body I have a Phottix Atlas Trigger. This is a new tranciever I purchased recently as I managed to break both of my PWs hot shoes, so now I can use them only as receivers and I can’t attach them on the camera anymore! Here the Phottix trigger comes really handy, it’s much cheaper than the wizards, and is doing basically the same job! And the most important thing… has a metal hot shoe! lol

So here is the setup from the shot with all the details in it:

Strobist info:

Canon 580EXII in a 80×60 Gridded Softbox – Camera Left
Nikon SB-26 with a shoot-through umbrella – Camera Right with a Blue Filter
Nude Nikon SB-26 behind me for the blue glow, with a Blue Filter
Nikon SB-26 with a DIY Grid Spot camera left
580EXII Triggered by Pocket Wizard II Plus, and Phottix Atlas trigger on the camera body 
All three Nikon SB-26s are triggered by Optical Slave

photographer: Ilko Allexandroff 

Also I’m using the LEE Filters, to gel my flashes, I usually got them for free from the company that is a representative in Japan, and they are very handy.

Well, as I said that was a really cold night, it was below the zero, and after we finished the shot spent a few warm hours in a McDonalds around there! I’m having one of my favorite models here Kt as an assistant, and she helped me a lot for this! She is awesome as a model, as an assistant and as a cameraman as well! Thanks~ If you click on the image you will be able to see it on my Flickr Account!

In the end you may see a website here where my photo was featured as a different photograph, so if you click on the image below you can open the website and read the review!

Feel free to write to our e-mail anytime for questions, creative.lightbrary@gmail.com or also you can leave a comment below and we will make sure to reply!

You can also follow me on my Facebook page: Ilko Allexandroff Photography, or check my homepage where I’m uploading some other articles on other topics: http://ilkoallexandroff.1x.com/

Stay tuned to our website for other articles soon!

Ilko Allexandroff Photography

Shooting it: In the Temple


Long time no see, guys! Here we are back again, this is Ilko, and this time I will white about a recent shot, with a simple one light setup!

I am doing a section with setup information on my homepage as well, so feel free to check my journal there with a lot of other articles, here is the link:

As I already said, it’s a one light setup here! The model is Asuka, and she is one of the models I’m most used, as we’ve been shooting together for more than one year at various locations, you can see a set with other of her photos here: CLICK! The location is a temple in Amagasaki, Kobe called Joon-ji, 長遠寺, and it’s not our first time to go there. The place is very quiet without a bunch of tourists, so it’s pretty easy to do some setup without getting scold!

I am using my Canon 5DMII with a 135/2 lens, and as you can see the settings it’s set at wide open aperture! It’s a one light setup, with the softbox set right from the temple on the ground. This was a bit difficult to manage, and I wish my flash stand could go a bit higher, but that was the only way to put it in this situation. The natural light was just enough to allow me to shoot at 1/200 sec at ISO100 and with wide open aperture – F/2 in this case, which gave me some really nice and soft DOF!

So here is the setup from the shot with all the details in it:

Strobist info:

Canon 580EXII in a 80×60 softbox, camera right;
Triggered by Pocket Wizard II Plus
(Phottix Atlas trigger on the camera)


photographer: Ilko Allexandroff 

I am triggering the flash with a Pocket Wizard II Plus attached on it, and a Phottix Atlas trigger on my camera body, as recently I broke the hot shoes of all my PW2’s, can’t believe they make them plastic… lol and now I can only use them as receivers on the flashes, since then on the camera body I put Phottix Atlas – nice metal hot shoe!

Feel free to write to our e-mail anytime for questions, creative.lightbrary@gmail.com or also you can leave a comment below and we will make sure to reply!

You can also follow me on my Facebook page: Ilko Allexandroff Photography, or check my homepage where I’m uploading some other articles on other topics: http://ilkoallexandroff.1x.com/

Stay tuned to our website for other articles soon!

Ilko Allexandroff Photography

Photography in motion – Mountain bike performance


Two days ago I went  to one of the hill’s in my town to take a few shots of the guys from my previous “Ten minutes photoshoot” article. They asked me to take some shots during their training session and I was ready as always. The fact that I am mad about shooting action and high speed performance brought me to the idea to put some strobist element in my shoot.  Of  course I had a chance to shoot some video along with the photos but I was unable to bring more gear since we are climbing up the hill so I’ve used what we had at our disposal (a single Samsung smartphone and my Nikon D7000).  Fortunately I had my camera stand in my stand bag and this time I got rid of my shaky hands effect 🙂 but the footage  taken with the smartphone was as shaky as usual.

The hill was high enough to make you go for a beer instead of climbing it and the weather was too hot (30 degrees by Celsius) which is a little bit warmer for the season.  I had to choose from various pathways where I can set up my gear. Tight route’s , steep terrain and lots of trees and nasty branches…something normal for the day of a mountain biker .

I’ve been using only one modifier but this time I’ve put three flashes inside so I can overpower the sun as much as I need. The flashes usually freeze motion but if you combine them along with the available  light you can have some different effects like panning and bring more fill to the subject without destroying the effect.

Using Nd filter shooting in conditions with high contrast where the shadow and the sunlight are too strong might appear to be very tricky . Yet I’ve used Nd2 filter to kill the sunlight a little bit hoping that the light from the flashes will bring some fill light to the background and it did at some point.

The lenses used for the shoot are the Nikkor 35 mm 1.8 AF-s and the Nikkor 28-80 AF D and a wide angle converter.

Panning with strobes for fill

The position of the light is different due to the different places we used to shoot at but mostly it is the diffusing umbrella with the three flashes.  We were there for  4 hours and yet we didn’t have too much shots done since we used to pack and unpack the gear all the time.

Again the same setup

For the next one I’ve used the flashes at full power like I did in the previous shots but this time it was darker around and the flashes actually froze the motion and the background here is not so blurred as it is in the other shots.

Strobes at full power

In the end I had some video footage to work with and I did what I could with what I had  🙂 The  next time  I intend to use a wider lens with more extreme angles to shoot from since I am aware with the terrain already.

So watch the short video now and have fun!

Mountain bikes strobist photoshoot from Oggy Dimitrov on Vimeo.

Oggy Dimitrov

Shooting it: Coming Out of Age


Ok, it’s time to write about the setup of some previous shots in our blog, and today I will start with this old shot I did more than year ago! The occasion was that the girl in the photo was becoming 20 which is considered as already being adult in Japan!

I am doing this section with setup information on my homepage as well, so feel free to check my journal there with a lot of other articles, here is the link:

Ilko Allexandroff Journal

I had a really big fail on that day, as I forgot to take one of my Pocket Wizards, so I was really about to slap myself very hard, and I was almost about to do only available light shots. Then I rememnered about the optical slave function of my Nikon SB-26s, so I put my Canon EX580II on the body of the camera, and with a snoot pointed to the main Nikon SB-26, I was triggering my flashes! I put the snoot, because I didn’t really want the on-camera flash to interfere in my pictures.

So here is the setup from the shot with all the details in it:

Strobist info:

SB-26 with a Shoot-through Umbrella – Camera Left (Up)
SB-26 with a Shoot-through Umbrella – Camera Left (Down)
Triggered by optical slave by an on-camera 580EXII with a snoot (didn’t want the on-camera flash to interfere in the photos)

photographer: Ilko Allexandroff , hairmake: AKI , assistant: Abdul

Coming of Age Day (成人の日 Seijin no Hi) is a Japanese holiday held annually on the second Monday of January. It is held in order to congratulate and encourage all those who have reached the age of majority (20 years old) over the past year, and to help them realize that they have become adults. Festivities include coming of age ceremonies (成人式 seijin-shiki) held at local and prefectural offices, as well as after-parties amongst family and friends.

It is difficult to take pictures on that same day, so with the model we decided to do a separate shoot, and take some pictures in a different day. The hair & make-up in this shoot was by Aki, and assistant was Abdul, so that made it a really fun time!

We were shooting in a bit separated part of Amagasaki, where we defenitely were the attraction of the day, having many people to come and see what we were doing. In the first comment I have some Behind The Stage pictures from the shooting setup and atmosphere, I hope you like them!

Feel free to write to our e-mail anytime for questions, creative.lightbrary@gmail.com or also you can leave a comment below and we will make sure to reply!

You can also follow me on my Facebook page: Ilko Allexandroff Photography, or check my homepage where I’m uploading some other articles on other topics: http://ilkoallexandroff.1x.com/

Stay tuned to our website for other articles soon!

Ilko Allexandroff Photography