Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘portrait

The DIY Spider Lightish Thingo

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Olympus OMD E-M5 +  Pana-Leica 25mm f1.4  | 320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200

I took the portrait above of a colleague of mine, who rolled into work today with a DIY lighting rig he threw together over the weekend. Made of six under-counter fluorescent lights rigged to a speedring, the light creates some pretty unique catchlights in your subject’s eyes, and the relatively low output means you can shoot comfortably at large apertures. Very cool:

Setting this contraption on top of a light stand drew a lot of attention, so there were plenty of subjects to test the rig on:

We’re trying to come up for a name for this thing, and are at totally at a loss. Hmmm….I guess Spider Lightish Thingo will have to do for now.

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All shots taken using the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with either the 25mm f/1.4 Pana-Leica or the M. Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 lens.

Written by Jonathan

July 2, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Shooting The 5D Mark III

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 50mm f/1.2L | 1/160 sec, f/1.2, ISO 200 

I was honored to have been invited by my cousin and best buddy, Josh Liba, who flew all the way to San Francisco from Medellin Colombia, to help shoot a fantastically beautiful wedding yesterday as his second shooter. I helped cover the event using Canon’s new 5D Mark III, a very impressive camera. The new auto focus system in particular is a significant feature for the series. If you’re a Mark II owner, you’ll really notice the vast improvement in auto-focus performance with Mark III. Vast. Improvement.

Here are just a few frames I grabbed as I went throughout the day, trying to point my camera at whatever Josh wasn’t shooting:


Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 135mm f/2L | 1/2,000 sec, f/2, ISO 200


Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 135mm f/2L | 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200


Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 135mm f/2L | 1/2,000 sec, f/2, ISO 200


Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 135mm f/2L | 1/600 sec, f/2, ISO 200


Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 35mm f/1.4L | 1/30 sec, f/4, ISO 100

The shot above was taken using  a couple of Canon’s new Speedlite 600 EX-RTs, one on camera, and one behind the couple on the other side of the dance floor providing some rim light on my subjects. The cool thing about this new flash unit is that it has the ability to radio trigger other off-camera units. Very, very cool.

You can see Josh in the background at the edge of the frame to the right taking a shot from the other side. His on-camera flash is actually pointed at that wood-panelled wall right next to him. He fired his camera at the same exact time I did, washing light off that wall and providing my shot with some very welcome background detail. Yeah, uh, we totally meant to do that ;)


Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 50mm f/1.2L | 1/8,000 sec, f/1.2, ISO 100 


Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 50mm f/1.2L | 1/6,400 sec, f/1.2, ISO 100 


Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 50mm f/1.2L | 1/3,200 sec, f/2, ISO 100 

Such unique experience, shooting a wedding alongside your best bud. It was probably the most fun either of us have had on a gig.

Written by Jonathan

May 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Another Tintype Portrait

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This is the second tintype portrait Bridget had done at Photobooth, and it’s a stunner. I love how it brought out her beautiful freckles. Look at how razor-sharp the eyes are with everything in the frame immediately behind them just melting out of focus.

This little production shot I took with my iPhone 4s shows photographer Michael Schindler getting all his light modifiers in place before firing off that beautiful 4×5 camera. Now you can see what was responsible for those crazy cool catch lights in Bridget’s eyes!

If you live in or around San Francisco, you’ve got to pay this studio a visit and get yourself immortalized on a steel plate, or at least get some help firing up that old Polaroid camera of yours ;)

Written by Jonathan

March 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VR: The “Street Sweeper”

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Last week I spent a very busy few days in New York, shooting a wedding for a friend and hanging out with friends in Manhattan. Because of the wedding, I had a bag full of gear and lenses, including my new go-to utility zoom for travel and event photography: the Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII. I wrote a small post on my first impressions of the lens a little while back, but last week I really got a chance to leisurely shoot with it mounted on my D700 and get a better impression of how it performs in various circumstances. After taking it everywhere with me during the trip, I can say for sure that I love the 24-120. In short, it’s sharp, focuses fast, and has a focal range that keeps you ready for just about anything. While I did use many of my other lenses during the trip, I’ll keep a small sampling of images in this particular post focused on the 24-120 f/4.

At 24mm, you’re pretty wide on an FX camera. Great for shooting cityscapes:


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/9, 1/320 second ISO200


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/8, 1/640 second ISO200


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/7.1, 1/200 second ISO200


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/10, 1/250 second ISO200


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/4, 1/60 second ISO1600


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/10, 1/60 second ISO400


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/6.3, 1/160 second ISO200

Images from the 24-120 have great contrast and depth.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/9, 1/320 second ISO200

Added vignetting in the image above. The lens does vignette at 24mm, but it’s easily correctable in post. I tend to add it anyway, so it doesn’t bug me a bit.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/5.6, 1/25 second ISO800


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/4, 1/160 second ISO800


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/4, 1/1250 second ISO1600


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/4.5, 1/100 second ISO800


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/5.6, 1/40 second ISO800

Can you tell I love that 24mm on the wide end? Probably why I keep begging the wife to let me pick up at 24mm f/1.4. In due time…. =)

Of course, it’s also nice to have that range all the way through 120mm in one constant aperture lens:


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 55mm f/4, 1/25 second ISO2000

Shooting static subjects at 1/25 or even lower throughout the range is no problem at all with VRII on board.

Taken blocks away from where I used to live in Brooklyn Heights. Wouldn’t you love to live on Love Lane?

Now for a few shots of people taken with the 24-120mm to further demonstrate its versatility as a mid-range zoom:


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 40mm f/4, 1/1000 second ISO1600


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 85mm f/4, 1/160 second ISO6400

The maximum aperture of f/4 is plenty fast for most instances, especially with the ridiculous ISO capability of the D700.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 120mm f/4, 1/500 second ISO1600

Racking the lens out to 120mm gives you a good focal length for tighter portraits. Took the image above in our hotel room while the wife applied some makeup by the window.

The longer end also helps in catching fun expressions and moments at an event. Here’s an example from the wedding reception last weekend:


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 92mm f/4, 1/200 second ISO2000

I already wrote a post on the wedding, so head here if you want to check out a few more, or see some hi res images on my website.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/4, 1/40 second ISO2500

My cousin Josh, on the right, is out of focus here, but I wanted to use this shot to show how much environment you can show around your subjects with that 24mm wide end of the lens. Here are a couple more:


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/4, 1/500 second ISO6400


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 24mm f/4.5, 1/80 second ISO1600

At f/4 your depth of field is still pretty shallow. Check out this shot my wife took of me in my favorite store ever, the B&H super store. I never go to NY without paying a visit there! Here I am playing with the incredible Nikon D3s (below). Not too randomize this post too much, but you can see that at f/4, the front element of that fat 24-70 is the only thing in the frame that’s in focus. Could be because the 24-70 is so stinking long =D


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 62mm f/4, 1/50 second ISO1600


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII at 110mm f/4, 1/80 second ISO800

Back out into the street. Again, the focal range is very flexible for dynamic environments like the streets of New York.

Alright, I only posted this image because if you go to New York, you MUST have a burger at Shake Shack. You MUST!!!

That’s all for now. Still rummaging through images I’ve taken with this lens and others, as well as all the wedding photos I took last week. Stay tuned for more!

Wedding: Dennis and Anna

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I’m posting this from my seat on a flight from New York back to San Francisco right now. In-flight wifi is a beautiful thing! It was a short, crazy, whirlwind of a trip, and the first order of business was to head from the big city to Patterson, New York to photograph the wedding of a very good friend of mine and his new bride.

I haven’t started processing these photos just yet, but I wanted to post a few that I really liked from that day since I pretty much have 5 hours to kill here on the plane. Here goes!

Met with Dennis (top) and his lovely bride Anna in a small country home in upstate NY this past Saturday. The quiet, humble couple preferred to keep the “getting ready” shots to a bare minimum, so we instead focused on covering other moments in the house as they happened.

Just a quick plug for my second shooter. I worked this wedding with my cousin and best buddy, Josh Libatique. He’s a portrait and wedding photographer from New York, and his experience and skills were very welcome that day. Here he is, getting ready to go at the bride’s house:

Josh and I grew up together, and have always shared the same hobbies and interests, so go figure here. We had a blast shooting the wedding as a team!

Here’s Anna meeting Dennis for the first time in her wedding dress. Such a happy looking couple!

Anna’s parents are very sweet people. Took this shot as the couple exited the house on their way to take a few images before the early morning ceremony got started. There was so much emotion on the parents’ faces as we departed.

We only had around 20 minutes or so to get some formals of the couple at a nearby park, but I was able to get some fun images anyway:

Rush rush rush! After a very brief shoot in the park, off to the ceremony (which was also very brief), then the reception at a small but pretty italian restaurant. (Haven’t processed any of the ceremony images yet)

The reception was brief but fun. Great tasting food, and friends I haven’t seen in forever. It was like a big happy reunion!

It was never difficult getting an amazing smile from the bride!

Of course, watching image slideshows of the couple when they were dating always makes for fun expressions from the observers:

The bride and groom did a meet and greet with every table, of course:

Did the whole take-a-picture-of-each-table thing, but of course I’m not posting all of them! Dennis and Anna also paid a visit to our table:

Though our work ethic reflected otherwise, we were actually guests of the bride and groom, not just photographers. Since Dennis is such a close friend to me, my wife, and Josh, we shot the wedding as our gift to him. Here we are at the “photographer’s table,” Josh’s parents seated to the left, and mine to the right. Handed my main camera to Josh to get this one. Half the time, the table had more camera gear on it than food and decor. =)

Handed off my second body to Josh while I took the table meet-and-greet photos. Apparently he took a moment to catch me and Bridget in action!

Then, the dancing started:

Got some really fun images of friends really getting into it!

At the very end of the wedding, a bunch of us old friends got together for a final group shot. We’ve all been really close since childhood, and [almost] all of us are married now! I set up the shot and handed the camera to my uncle, whose sense of humor easily got us into a goofy mood for the shot.  =)

That’s all I got for now! It’s going to be a very busy week as I process the gazillions of other images I took from the day. Just wanted to get a few highlights out there.

Also, on my last post, I wrote about my first impressions of the new Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR lens I just acquired. I used it extensively for this wedding as well as in the streets of New York in the days that followed, and I continue to be impressed by it. It certainly made an excellent wedding lens! Sharp and quick focusing. Love it.

www.jonathanflemingphotography.com

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Camera Specs:

Nikon D700, Nikon D300s // Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 FE // Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VR // Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR
Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR // Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G // Lots of other stuff

Jonathan Fleming Photography

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One camera and one 50mm lens is all I had this past weekend. I always bring something that takes pictures with me at all times, because hey, you never know.  Drove three hours out of town on Saturday to attend the wedding of a young couple. Both the bride and groom are beautiful people, inside and out.

The bride is a very close friend of Bridget that she hasn’t seen in years. Many in attendance were old friends that the wife used to know back in her years of living in LA, so this wedding was a really big reunion for her. It’s actually been a while since I’ve been to a wedding that’s so full of energy and excitement. The event helped me reflect an awful lot about how special my own wife is to me. So I followed her around and started taking pictures of her instead of the bride and groom. Hey, wasn’t my gig!

The reception was held on a farm. Literally, a farm. Driving out to the location, I thought we’d gotten lost. But in amongst the miles of farmland was a small, magical place set up for a perfect wedding reception. Stole the wife away during sunset and we walked together down a lonely road, surrounded by acres of farmland in every direction.

Another thing I that weighed on my mind after the wedding… It’s been a long time coming for me, but for a photographer, it’s inevitable that at some point people who know you start asking if they can make use of your skills.  A portrait session, class photos, a wedding etc. I often get asked “do you shoot weddings? Can you shoot some photos of my toddler?”

Yes.

Why not? Time for this camera here to start paying for itself, right? So, with the goal of working with others to capture life’s memories, I’ve set up a new photography page on Facebook. Check it out! And don’t forget to click “like.” =)

I’ve also made updates to my website at www.jonathanflemingphotography.com to include a pricing and contact page. A typical photo session with me will set you back $129. What?! You can’t afford NOT to hire me!

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Images: Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G

Written by Jonathan

September 7, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Does Flash Have to Look Like…Flash?

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Suki and I headed out to the beach for a stroll along the water this evening after I got off work. The weather has been totally gloomy in San Francisco lately, however, so there wasn’t any dramatic light to make use of when arrived on sight. The test shot I took of her above gives you an indication of what kind of light was out there tonight. Blegh…Suki knows it too.

There was simply too much wind to use any sort of large light modifier, so I had to add some light in with my bare strobes. What to do? Thought I’d create a sunset-like effect with a single SB-900 placed maybe 20 or 30 feet from our position. Here’s how it turned out:

Placed a full cut of orange gel (CTO) over the bare SB-900 to give it the orange glow you’d expect from the sun when it’s low on the horizon. See? Flash doesn’t have to look like “flash,” right?

Now Suki is getting into it!

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Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8

Written by Jonathan

August 20, 2010 at 10:57 pm