Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bridget

Beauty Shot

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Nikon D300s + Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR at 112mm f/11, ISO100 1/125 Second

Interesting story behind this image that I just finished post processing minute before posting this: I was studying studio lighting last night and came across information on using beauty dishes. I thought to myself “I sure wish I had one of these!” Well, just out of curiosity I went down to my garage to see if just maybe there was a beauty dish somewhere among the boxes of lighting equipment my father gave me recently (he used to have a studio set up in his garage when he shot professionally).  I actually found one! I was stoked. I had Bridget put some makeup on and we did a photo session.

Out of about 40 or so images I took last night, this one was my favorite. There are others that I love as well, but I haven’t had a chance to touch them up yet. Since I was going for a very bright, “beauty” style image here, I wanted to pull out all the stops and really go at this in both Lightroom 3 Beta as well as Photoshop CS4. White balance, black levels, and contrast were handled in LR3 Beta after the shoot, followed by a retouch in CS4 that included using the heal brush, clone stamp tool, patch tool, liquify, levels, unsharp mask, dodge, burn, screen layers, multiply layers, you name it (I can’t even remember everything I used!). It was all quite exhausting, so I’ll have to post the rest of the images later.

This shot was taken in our living room with a beauty dish set high above her with a large soft box behind her aiming toward the camera, creating a great wrap of light around her face. Even before the retouch, I thought this was just gorgeous image of Bridget. She looks absolutely positively stunning.

Written by Jonathan

December 15, 2009 at 9:52 pm

My First Photoshop CS4 Experience

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Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 50mm f/5.6 ISO200 1/30 Second, Post in LR3 Beta and Photoshop CS4

Until today (literally), I’ve tried my hardest to stay away from using Photoshop to edit my photographs. I’d open up the program and think “Oh man, what in the world do I do with all these tools….what’s this layer thingo? Agh, forget it,” and that’s as far as I’d get.

Today I had a lot of time on my hands. I’ve got a fever and sore throat that kept me away from work, so between naps and copious amounts of tea, I’ve begun studying how to use Photoshop CS4. The result is the image you see above. This one of Bridget’s favorite close-ups from our little impromptu shoot on Saturday evening (being out in the cold that evening is probably what made me sick!).  Most of the editing and retouch was actually done in Lightroom 3 Beta, including brightening the eyes and spot removing blemishes, as well as minor adjustments to color.

In Photoshop CS4, I quickly fell in love with the stamp tool, which allowed me to very easily remove lines on her face, particularly under her eyes, and bring out a little more detail in her hair. Here’s the shot straight out of the camera for reference:

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC, same settings as above, SOOC

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC, same settings as above, SOOC

Huge difference here! (Bridget still looks very lovely of course). This image was a great catalyst for my beginnings in the world of Photoshop. In all, the entire process took only about 10-15 minutes from start to finish, showing how a little touch-up work can go a long way in portraiture. What really impressed me is how seamlessly Lightroom works with Photoshop. Once I was done with initial editing in Lightroom 3 Beta, a Command + E keystroke (Mac) opened the image in CS4. When I finished with CS4, I simply saved the image and closed the window, which brought me right back to Lightroom 3 Beta with the CS4 edits applied. Doesn’t get any easier than that!

Her nose is a little red from the cold, but I’m sure that’ll be fixed as WordPress seems to desaturate my photos! What gives, WordPress?! They look how I want them too while I’m editing the HTML, but as soon as I publish the post, the colors look off. Different browsers seem to render the colors differently as well, so I’m really not sure what you’re seeing if you’re reading this! Oh well….

And so, with my fear of Photoshop gone, I’m going to hit the books and see if I can’t really see what this program can do. I’m excited!

*Cough Cough*

Written by Jonathan

November 24, 2009 at 6:55 am

Sunset Portraits

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Nikon D300s + SB-900 (Camera Left) + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 14mm f/5.6 ISO100 1/200 Second

Bridget and I attended a wedding today that was right across the street from the beach. I didn’t take any photos at the wedding, but I seeing as I always have my camera with me, I decided to take some photographs of my lovely wife after the event with a beautiful sky and ocean as a backdrop.

Nikon D300s + SB-900 (Camera Left) + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 16mm f/9.0 ISO100 1/250 Second

The above shot reminded Bridget of a CD album cover. I really like the warmth in this photo, which gives it a very “golden sunset” appearance.

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 17mm f/5.6 ISO200 1/20 Second

There’s a reason why Bridget is so bundled up here. It was really cold, no more than around 50 degrees. There were also lots of cold and annoying gusts of wind that kept threatening to topple over my lighting rig. I used a smaller shoot-through umbrella to prevent this, but as you can see, there were times when Bridget had to step in and save my SB-900 from falling into the dirt. I’d post all the pictures of Bridget making miserable faces due to the cold, but I’d rather spare her the embarrassment (more like spare my myself a butt kicking!).

Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 50mm f/5.6 ISO500 1/13 Second

This shot (above) was the last one for the evening, and I was running out of light fast at this point. I started having to nudge my ISO up to avoid shutter speeds I couldn’t hand hold. Plus, at this point, we were freezing! I love the coat Bridget is wearing here too. I actually picked it out and bought it for her at a store in Ginza, a large and beautiful shopping district in Tokyo.

Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 11mm f/5.6 ISO200 1/30 Second

Can you tell I’ve been experimenting with hot shoe flashes? I thought I’d finish this post with this goofy shot I took of Bridget in our home last night. She has this great umbrella that we got at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. It has a blue sky with white cloud design on the inside. I lit Bridget with an SB-900 on camera left and kicked some light into the umbrella from behind her with my SB-800, both fired wirelessly using the built in flash on my D300s as a commander. Please excuse the mess in our living room! (it was a very impromptu shoot)

Written by Jonathan

November 22, 2009 at 5:14 am

Cocktail Party + Lightroom 3 Beta Noise Reduction

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Nikon D300s + SB-900 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 17mm f/4 ISO1600 1/15 Second

This past Saturday evening, we were invited to a friend’s house in North Beach for some cocktails. We met lots of new people and had a great time. The hosts asked Bridget to sing a couple jazz tunes with Chris on the trumpet, and set up a spot on the roof for the performance. Ambient light was provided by…nothing…except for some hanging, incandescent, decorative lighting. Photographic yikes!!! I had one SB-900 to work with, so I set up my camera in manual, cranked up the ISO, set the flash to fire at rear curtain, and draaaaagged the shutter to get as much ambiance as possible, trying to make sure the little event looked like it happened on some sort of rooftop and not in outer space. As I uploaded these images to Lightroom 3 Beta, I was amazed at how well the new noise reduction tool worked on these photos. More on that in a bit.

Bridget and Chris

Nikon D300s + SB-900 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 26mm f/3.5 ISO1600 1/15 Second


Nikon D300s + SB-900 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 28mm f/2.8 ISO1600 1/15 Second

Bridget and Chris (above) entertaining the many guests (below) crowding the small San Francisco apartment. Those small hanging lamps you see on the wall there were the only lights helping me expose the scene. Gaaah…

And then….there was Alex:


Nikon D300s + SB-900 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 50mm f/4 ISO1600 1/15 Second

Alex Sings

Nikon D300s + SB-900 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 38mm f/3.5 ISO1600 1/15 Second

Alex sang something interesting. Yes, very interesting. And Chris did his best to keep up with him on the trumpet. Here was their audience:

The Crowd

Nikon D300s + SB-900 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 17mm f/2.5 ISO1600 1/15 Second

We headed back downstairs after the performance and enjoyed some drinks. Bridget and I brought a bottle of Absinthe, a spirit that was banned in the US for nearly 100 years. It’s some potent stuff for sure, and cannot be enjoyed without a good amount of dilution in water. Bridget made me a great mix by pouring ice water through sugar cubes on top of a specially made spoon into an ounce of Absinthe. The green alcohol turns a milky white as you pour the water in, which I believe is the result of releasing the herbs that the spirit is distilled in.


Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 31mm f/4 ISO1100 1/15 Second


Adobe Lightroom 3 Beta: Noise Reduction

For a few days now, I’ve been using Lightroom 3 Beta to handle my processing needs, and so far I’m really impressed by the new features they’ve added. One of the highlight features for me is the new and improved noise reduction tool in the develope module. The noise reduction tools available in Lightroom 2 are just sorta-kinda ok. It looks like Adobe really worked at improving noise reduction this time around. As of now, luminance reduction is not available in Lightroom 3 Beta, so I’ve only had a chance to work with the improved color noise reduction slider. But boy does it work! Check out a couple of 1:2 crops from the first image I posted above that demonstrate the new color noise reduction’s effectiveness in Lightroom 3 Beta:

Comparison Noise Reduction

Left: LR3 Beta Noise Reduction Applied / Right: No Noise Reduction Applied

You can see a drastic difference in color noise between the two crops above (cropped from the upper left part of the frame from the top image in this post). The color noise reduction algorithm employed by Lighroom 3 Beta is extremely effective. In the image on the left, color noise was virtually gone at a mere 19% reduction setting.

That’s all for now!

For the Crowd

Ah, good times…..

Written by Jonathan

November 16, 2009 at 7:10 am