Compositing -- either you love it or you hate it. Kind of like HDR in that sense. I don't do a whole lot of it, but I've been strangely interested in it over the last few months. I think it tests you. It tests your skills in capturing, lighting, and selecting images that work well together; and it sure tests your postproduction skills to, as Joel Grimes says, "sell the fake." Color blending, lighting effects, blend if sliders, atmosphere layers appearing in front of and behind, hopefully adding a sense of dimension -- all that combined to make a final image. The shot above of Alyssa was taken in late December with rim lights on a grey background in the studio. Finally got around to working through it, and with inspiration from Joel Grimes and Aaron Nace on Phlearn recently, got something I kinda liked. If you're interested -- 23 layers, mostly lighting and color effects, lots of masks and opacity work. No plug-ins. Fun stuff. The only thing that bothers me is the orange color in the soccer ball. I may end up color shifting those to a pink or purple ... 24 layers.
Doing some tests with the new Nikon 85mm AFS, f/1.8 -- a fine lens at a reasonable price. Selective focus seems to permeate most of my work these days, whether it is portraits or macro. So this lens will fit in nicely in many applications. This image was taken in my back yard with afternoon sun hitting the wrought iron fence. 1/1000 sec at f/1.8, ISO 200.
Another photo of Cate from several weeks ago. Most of the lighting we did that day was pretty traditional front light, but for a short time I experimented with turning the back light from hitting the black muslin to shooting straight over Cate's shoulder. Seems like after every photo shoot the back lit stuff is always my favorite, either by natural sun or artificial. Took this one a few steps further by adding some light streaks in post and converting to monochrome. 1/80 sec at f/8, ISO 200, 85mm; light from a Nikon SB800 in a Westcott Rapid Box from camera left, another SB800 bare shooting back into camera.
This is from the studio shoot with Cate several weeks ago. Bob and I were experimenting with background light placement, and at one point he lifted the light and stand above Cate and bounced it off the black background. Cate was working with a piece of lace at the time. I thought the combination worked pretty well together here. 1/80 sec at f/8, ISO200, 38mm.
We did a portrait shoot a few weeks ago in the studio, and it gave Bob Dempsey and I a chance to try out a few new techniques and play with light. One added prop on this one was a great mask given to us by fellow shooter Doug Haass, who was nice enough to let us borrow the mask even though he wasn't there to take photos. This is Cate, who we met on the Galveston photo walk in October. Seeing as it will be Mardi Gras in a couple of weeks, consider this my Mardi Gras photo of the year. I think we all had a good time with the mask. It was a challenge for Cate to bring personality to an image without being able to use her facial expressions, and it was definitely a challenge for Bob and I to light and capture this theatrical-styled pose. 1/80 sec at f/8, 85mm, ISO 200; light from a Nikon SB800 in a Westcott 26" Rapid Box from camera right, back light was an SB800 shot into a black muslin background. Interesting, the background seemed to go a little cool -- I figure from the light spilling through the feathers. Nice accident.