I’m On The Bandwagon!

Interiors!! It ‘s not new, not even new to me but it seems to be floating around a bit.

Just like any genre of photography it is hyper-saturated and competitive! There are so many really good interior and architecture photographers out there it’s easy to find a really good example.

I recently watched a podcast/youtube video with Randy Henderson. He is a really good real estate photographer from the Ozarks, MO. During his interview he explained how he got started and how streamlined his process is. His is HDR with a flash pop frame in run through Photomatix. Randy mentions Scott Hargis as a source of inspiration for lighting and where he felt real estate could go. Randy is a member of the Flickr group Photography For Real Estate. There are some really good examples from around the world (mostly U.S.) of real estate photography.

Apart from Randy’s technique for lighting is what is usually called “light painting”. This technique usually uses a “base” frame with multiple flash pops on the highlights of an interior then hand blended in photo editing software (typically Photoshop). This is a very popular technique with Dylan Patrick, Scott Hargis, Mike kelley and Dave Dugdale.

And the simplest non blending way is to bracket and use an HDR program. Photomatix is pretty good and very affordable, HDRefex (google) or Photoshop (merge to HDR). These will give you a good starting point. If you want to get a cleaner (in my opinion) starting image Photoshop Merge to HDR (use RAW and 32bit) it is very natural and clean.

So I am trying to figure what technique I like the best for speed, accuracy, and aesthetics. Randy Henderson’s is very enticing and produces great results with quick turnaround. An investment in the NiceFoto n-Flash 680a might be a consideration. Small flash units might not have enough oomph for high ceilings and large rooms.

Light painting looks beautiful and very artistic (think hotel rooms) but can be involved. I get the technique, just not sold on wanting to put all the effort into “creating” an image rather than capturing.

Not perfect by any means but on the way. A ways to go in post and staging but just some rudimentary lighting trials.

What about…

High Speed Sync? I have two Neewer tt850 speedlights. One of the reasons I got these was to have the capability of High Speed Sync (HSS).

There is a great photographer named Dylan Patrick. You may have heard of him. He does amazing “cinematic” portraits and headshots. He also uses mostly two speedlights and HSS.

These little flash units have served me well. I am not reliant on them for a source of income and I do not use them everyday! For my purpose they have served their purpose. For the price and what I have received it has been well worth the purchase.

I have used them in beauty dishes, octaboxes, and shoot through umbrellas. As long as your expectations aren’t that of studio lights (even low WS units)  you would be happy.

Fstoppers did a review of these units here.

So I gave the HSS a try awhile back. I used my built-in model, I did not use a modifier and I bounced the light of the refrigerator (white). I shot wide open with a Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX DG II and a Canon 7D.

I fall back on this…


HDR. Yep HDR. I find that it gives me a chance to grab my camera and just start taking pictures. I have found that I am a bit more selective in what I try and HDR. I used to photograph and HDR almost everything! I found that I am not very accomplished in some areas (landscapes):) Bt fun none the less.

A few years ago I got The HDR Book by RC Concepcion (About RC) and really enjoyed the processes used and found some great info along with inspiration. I recently replaced it with Volume II. It has more examples and new techniques, so it’s pretty good in my opinion.

RC  Concepcion is not the only HDR guy out there! There are LOTS!! Tony Sweet, Klaus Herrmann, Captain Kimo, well just check the sidebar :).

HDR is so subjective to all involved. Some love it, some hate it and others are ambivalent. I go back and forth. I love it, I hate it. It’s fun, it’s lame. But I always return to it at some point for some reason.

Needless to say I have to put two at the top of my list. Klaus Herrmann and RC Concepcion. They are both HDR guys but, in my opinion, completely different. If you are thinking of trying HDR I would recommend starting with these guys 1st.

I have gone from taking these bracketed images and combing them in Photomatix and trying to work solely with the created image to blending a “straight” bracketed image into the HDR or using an HDR merge at different opacities to get an image I  want.

I thought I would give it a try…

Long exposure! Yeah I am all over the place with what is interesting. That’s why I have been able to keep photography a hobby :).

So I thought I would give long exposure a go. I went to my favorite site (Amazon) to purchase inexpensive gear to give so technique a try. So I ordered a shutter release and the XCSOURCE® 8 PCS Complete Cokin Filter. I bought this set because it was cheap…yes cheap. I had a feeling there would be a color cast with these filters, and there is. Magenta. But my intention was to use them to make black and white long exposures, and to be able to do long exposure earlier in the evening. They do exactly what I expected. They aren’t great, but it did help get my feet wet in long exposure without the monetary commitment. As often as I use them they fill my current need.

If you want a really good example check out Jerzy Bin. Be sure to check out his long exposure section and his YouTube channel. He has a pretty good comparison of the Lee little and big stoppers.



Children’s Pool La Jolla, CA


Children’s Pool La Jolla, CA


Children’s Pool La Jolla, CA

There are just soooo many…

What? Good photographers! Nevermind so many “masters”. Avedon, Adams, Burke-White, Evans… to name a very few. And our modern masters. Well to me :). Joel Grimes, Peter Hurley, David Hobby, Joe McNally. Well, ok the second few are more “my” favorites but great (to me) none the less. And those that are in my blog roll!! so many goooood artists, photographers, image makers, whatever you want to call them. It can be quite intimidating with so much saturation in a medium to, not stand out, but to not get discouraged!! Some days I can surf around and feel inadequate even owning my camera and other days some of the a fore mentioned make me want to grab my gear photograph something! So please you these incredible individuals as creative inspiration.



So I have these speedlights (Neewer tt850). And some modifiers. A beauty dish, and a Fotodiox 36″ Octabox. I have to say, I am impressed with the build on the octabox! It is a snug fit on the speedring and holds it’s shape great! I am a fan of David Hobby and what he has done with speedlights. I wanted to get myself using these and making some portraits. Actually I wanted to see if I could make some nice portrait/headshots with small lights and modifiers. So I used my built in models (my kids). Yeah I know cute kids and pictures go hand in hand. I was more interested in the can I get something I like?

IMG_2722 IMG_2746 IMG_7584 IMG_7593

These were all shot with a single speedlight and octabox with a fill card with white seamless paper.

What I also like is the ability of High Speed Sync (HSS). Using the same octabox modifier on the 1st two I was able to get something like this…

IMG_4586 IMG_4590IMG_3627

this final image is actually HSS setting bounced off the refrigerator.

So I have found that using these lights I can get some images I really like! The speedlights performed well and didn’t overheat and the recycle time was very fast.

For the love of speed…

And sports. The San Diego Fair just wrapped up and I had the chance to go…TWICE. I usually go twice. Once with the family and once with my wife so we can see the stuff we want to. This years theme “The Fab Fair” (think British invasion). I was a bit underwhelmed with the fair theme exhibit. LOTS of Beatles images and other stuff. There was something very fun at the area though! Mystik Lubricants Terracross racing! They are small off-road four wheel drive vehicles. Think Buying The Bayou!

Apparently they don’t race on the west west coast (first time ever at the fair) so if they come back in town sometime it’s kinda fun.


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