Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘sample

The Interrupting Shiba

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I often set up impromptu portrait sessions with the wife so she can record the funky outfits she puts together. This is a very simple  set up, with a single Canon 600EX on a light stand shooting through an umbrella.

We’re triggering the flash with Pocket Wizards, and the transmitting unit is hotshoe’d to a brand new Panasonic GX7 I’m testing. This camera’s mechanical shutter has a native sync speed of 1/320th. Pretty handy for shooting flash portraits outdoors with your aperture wide open, in this case at f/0.95.

It wasn’t long, however, until Suki decided to walk in on our little shoot:

So as not to offend the Suki, I made sure she got a solo portrait of her own :)

All Images: Panasonic Lumix GX7 | Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95

Written by Jonathan

November 18, 2013 at 12:02 am

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

Suki…Unleashed!

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Fuji X100 | 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

Such a historic day for Suki, and as you can see, she’s quite happy about it. Today we granted her the most off-leash freedom she has ever had. There’s no better place in the city to do this than at Fort Funston, an old military outpost located at the south end of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. The area is full of wide open space, sand dunes, trails, and of course, there’s the beach.

When Suki was younger we let her off leash at this same park, and quickly regretted the decision as she bolted off into the horizon with no regard for her pack (her comparatively slow-moving human parents). Most Shiba owners have at least one Shiba-bolting horror story to tell….I have like…20. In fact, I took my opening photo of my 52 weeks project at this location. Check out the image here. See the leash? Yeah, I totally didn’t trust her back then.

But while I’d still never ever let her off leash on a city street (it’s not legal anyway in SF), I’ve come to trust the bond Suki and I have built over the years. She definitely knows we belong to each other, and while Bridget was feeling a little hesitant today, I knew that Suki wouldn’t ditch us this time.

So, at peace with the entire concept, we stepped out onto the ice plant and set her free:


Fuji X100 | 1/80 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200

The image above represents a very memorable moment for me. She actually bolted ahead of us, turned the corner and disappeared. Before I could even call out to her, she reappeared just as you see her above. That’s right. A Shiba Inu waiting up and making sure her humans are following….for reals?!?!

From that point forward, it was all smooth sailing:


Fuji X100 | 1/280 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800


Fuji X100 | 1/280 sec, f/5, ISO 800

Suki is definitely the recon member of our family, scouting ahead from time to time but never forgetting to pull back and let us catch up, even stopping when we stop:


Fuji X100 | 1/340 sec, f/5, ISO 800


Fuji X100 | 1/850 sec, f/2, ISO 400

Thrilled with the entire situation, we continued onto a trail from the dunes down to the beach. At this point Suki had burned off a significant amount of energy, and now more relaxed, stuck even closer to us:


Fuji X100 | 1/950 sec, f/2, ISO 400

Unlike the puppy Suki of old, today’s Suki won’t chase absolutely anything that runs (above).


Fuji X100 | 1/340 sec, f/5, ISO 400

A simple “let’s go, Suki,” and she snaps away from what ever she’s doing and follows. If I didn’t have these photos I’d swear none of this was real, just an awesome dream.

The following are a few of the images I took at the beach, processed into black and white in post:

When we were done at the beach, it was a long climb back up the cliff. We took the stairs, and Suki…well, eventually got on the stairs, but not before breaking a few rules. In the image below, she’s looking at me as I yell out “hey silly, you do NOT qualify as wild life! Get back on the stairs!”


Fuji X100 | 1/320 sec, f/5, ISO 800 (flash on)

Such a beautiful area to bring the dog, and such an exciting day for Team Suki!

One side note: I’m getting a lot of questions and emails about what picture settings I use when I shoot with my Fuji X100. I’ll go ahead and answer that question here once and for all. I’ve mentioned this before, but for most of my recent blog posts that involve shooting simple snaps and documenting life etc, I find it easier to work with the JPEG files from the camera than to shoot everything in RAW. So when I’m not shooting RAW, I use these picture settings:

Film Sim: Astia
Dynamic Range: Auto
Color: High
Sharpness: Hard
Highlight Tone: M-Hard
Shadow Tone: M-Hard
Noise Reduction: M-Low
White Balance: Auto
WB Shift: +2 Red, -2 Yellow

I make slight curve adjustments in post to my taste, and that’s it. Depending on the situation, I sometimes use the Provia film simulation as well. The other question I get a lot is “does the X100 produce great JPEGs?”

YES.


Fuji X100 | 1/420 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

I’m proud of you Suki. Today you have proven yourself off leash. =)

Review: Think Tank Retrospective 5 Camera Bag

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Fuji X100 | 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 2000

The Think Tank Retrospective 5 bag: Photographer tested, Shiba approved.  Ever since I started regularly heading out with smaller, lighter gear like my EPL2, X100, and even Nikon FM, I’ve been yearning for an appropriate bag. I have a “carry everything bag” already,  so what I need here is a bag that will carry just what I need for a particular outing. The requirements were pretty simple: durable, comfortable, portable yet efficient, and most importantly, inconspicuous.

I realized something about the design of this bag while eating dinner at a restaurant over the weekend. A family with baby in tow sat down at the table next to us, and I noticed that the father had a bag that looked just like mine, only a bit bigger and with cartoon designs all over it…and it was filled with diapers. But hey, that’s nothing to be ashamed about! Like a good diaper bag, the Retrospective 5 has a very minimalist but efficient design.

Made of highly durable cotton canvas and available in Pinestone (mine) or Black, you certainly wouldn’t confuse it for a diaper bag, but you wouldn’t necessarily think it was a camera bag either, and that’s what I love most about the Retrospective 5. I carry it around with me everywhere, so the last thing I want is for it to scream “I have thousands of dollars of camera gear in me!” According to Think Tank, the minimalist design was intentional in order to help photographers inconspicuously blend into different environments.


Fuji X100 | 1/480 sec, f/2, ISO 200

Under the main flap there’s a clear pocket for your business card along with a really cool hook-and-loop strip system equipped with what Think Tank calls “sound silencers.” Again, the design of the bag is purposefully minimal and inconspicuous, so how inconspicuous is opening a hook-and-loop strip sealed bag in a quiet environment? Not very.

The image on the left shows one of the hook-and-loop strips in “silent mode.” In this configuration, the flap just falls over the bag instead of attaching at the strip, and hence makes no noise. This is how I leave the bag most of the time. On the far right the strip is active, and noisy. =)


Olympus E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | 1/50 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400

The strap is awesome. The strips of highly grippy rubber (feels like silicone) along the strap’s padding are extremely effective at keeping the  strap from sliding, allowing me to  hang the bag on the edge of my shoulder and move around with confidence while the bag stays put. Thoughtful little details like this add up to make this bag great.

On the left is an included, seam-sealed rain cover. It covers the entire bag with the exception of the straps to protect your gear in the rain. You can see it deployed here.


Fuji X100 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 1000

Even though the Retrospective 5 was designed with rangefinder or micro 4/3 systems in mind, it will still happily carry a big DSLR (though your shoulder may not be quite as happy).  In the bag above is a D700 with Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G mounted (that’s a big chunk of glass), and in the side pocket a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, stacked on top of a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens. There’s still plenty of room to the left of the 50mm, so a bigger lens could definitely take its place. I could mount my 24-120mm f/4 VRII and put it in the bag with my 70-300 VR and have a really wide range in a very small bag.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 35mm f1.4G | 1/30 sec, f/2, ISO 400

This is my most common setup when I head out onto the street, walk the dog, or for travel. In one compartment is my Fuji X100, and in the other, my Olympus EPL2 with Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 mounted, effectively giving me a wide and a telephoto in two cameras. This setup is extremely light. The bag also comes with plenty of removable compartments that allow you to customize the interior any way you like. Think Tank says it can easily take a Micro 4/3 system with 3-6 lenses plus accessories. I believe it!


Olympus E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 |  1/20 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400

See that front pocket in the image above? It’s expandable, so much so in fact that it can swallow my D700 body with ease:


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 35mm f1.4G | 1/30 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400

Of course, it has no problem carrying my X100 all by itself. If I want to travel as light as possible, I just slip the one camera in the bag, and the rest of the bag easily holds chargers, batteries, and other accessories.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 35mm f1.4G | 1/50 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400

Finally, a removable carry handle. Sounds simple, but it’s extremely convenient in practice.

This post doesn’t even cover every single feature, just my favorite ones. There are many little purpose-made pockets and compartments in the bag that I didn’t mention here, but the bottom line is that if you’re a micro 4/3 or rangefinder system user, or even a DSLR user who wants a more compact and inconspicuous solution for carrying a camera and one or two lenses, the Retrospective 5 is a great choice.

Fuji X100 : Intelligent Flash

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Fuji X100 | 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800

You know those tiny and often useless flash units built into many smaller cameras or that pop out of the top of many DSLRs? The ones that many people totally avoid using because they seem to hurt more than help? The X100 has one of those. Here’s the thing though: I actually find it useful.

Sometimes you’re dealing with pretty crummy lighting and you need a small amount of fill, a kiss of light to hit your subject to keep them from being all shadowed up. Muah:

A few more examples of how well the fill flash works on this camera.

In these three image there was so much harsh sunlight (the sun was directly above us at this particular time of the day) that a straight shot without flash would have looked terrible. So I had my subjects look down, essentially shadowing their faces, and I popped some on camera light at them. Worked great for preserving detail in the background without completely silhouetting my subjects.

There is one problem you can run into however. You can see it in the image of the wifie above: Notice how her eyes and nose are lit by the flash, but there seems to be a loss of light from her nose down? That’s the accessory hood getting in the way:

I kind of light the spot light sort of look it gave to the image, but in most cases you’ll want to remove the X100′s lens hood (if you have one) before you use the flash.


Fuji X100 |  1/950 sec, f/2, ISO 400

I wrote a post a while back that covered the X100′s ability to sync with my SB-900 flashgun at crazy high shutter speeds. That high speed sync helps the camera’s tiny, relatively low-powered built-in flash as well, allowing you to shoot wide open and still light a heavily backlit subject with it, as seen in the example above.


Left: Fuji X100 | 1/30 sec, f/2, ISO 3200 || Right: Fuji X100 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t go out of my way to use that tiny little on-camera flash. Sometimes however, using it becomes the difference between getting a shot and not getting a shot. In that sort of situation, I’m pretty surprised at how easy it is to get natural results with the built-in flash. Low light portraits are a good example (above).

Ever use flash to take someone’s photo in a dark room or outside at night and get a super bright or even blown-out subject with a black hole for a background? Yuck. You can usually compensate by manually using a slower shutter speed to burn in some ambient while you mix your flash in to get a better image, or in the X100′s case, just turn the flash on and shoot.  Both of the low light shots above were taken in Aperture Priority Auto. All I did was turn the flash on and the camera did the rest, properly exposing my subject and balancing in the ambient (whatever little amount of ambient there was anyway).

Of course, human beings are not the only subjects the little flash can help you out with:


Fuji X100 | 1/750 sec, f/10, ISO 400

A little on-axis fill to lessen the harsh shadows on Bo Bear here. Also comes in handy for bringing a little more detail out of heavily shadowed areas of your frame. Check out the difference in detail, especially inside the shadowed area of the gas pump on the right, between the first image shot without flash, and the second with flash activated:


Fuji X100 | 1/340 sec, f/5, ISO 800 (flash off)


Fuji X100 | 1/300 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800 (flash on)

I like that the results are subtle. They don’t scream “taken with flash!!!!”


Fuji X100 | 1/220 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200

These leaves were pretty heavily shadowed. Use the flash to lighten them up against the background.

I must say, when I first saw the little built-in flash on the X100 I just chuckled. But hey, it comes in handy. Fuji calls it an “intelligent flash.” Seems like an appropriate name considering how easy it is to get natural results with it.  Good job, Fuji!

Written by Jonathan

July 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Dinner at Broken Record

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Broken Record – San Francisco, CA | Images: Fuji X100

I’ve been coming to Broken Record for some time now and am never ever ever ever disappointed with the dining experience. I heard some good things about the food not long after they opened, but when we first visited the place, I was a little skeptical. From the outside it just looks like your typical bar, nestled in the middle of a neighborhood where you wouldn’t really expect to find fantastic food…uhhh…


Fuji X100 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 1600

Cross through the bar, where they have whiskey on tap (yes, on tap), and you’re met with a cozy little dining area. Behind the counter, a tiny kitchen where two people crank out dish after dish. Trust me, when your crawfish grits, pulled pork sandwich, beef and bacon burger, or roasted beet salad hits the table, you’ll know this place is special.


Fuji X100 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 2000

Above: cold asparagus with warm prawns and crab meat over a white truffle aioli. Below it a warm chocolate brownie with ice cream. Incredibly good stuff.


Fuji X1001/20 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

The “Nachos Gringos,” pulled pork over waffle fries with a cheese sauce. We get this every time without fail. Oh, and on a photographic note, the Fuji X100′s image quality at high ISO blows me away!

Not bad for a little bar in the Crocker-Amazon area of SF! Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Yelp reviews. Yummmm…

The Broken Record
1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco
www.brokenrecordsanfrancisco.com

Written by Jonathan

July 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Making the Sky Purple

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Fuji X100 | 1/240 sec, f/8, ISO 800

Recently I posted a photo of Suki on Flickr that made some wonder, “hey, how’d you get the sky so purple in that shot!?”

Some sort of post-processing trick perhaps? Or maybe the sky really WAS a surreal, deep purple that night? The answer is neither actually. It started with a simple white-balance adjustment in my camera.

Shooting RAW does allow you to make color corrections in post, but depending on your camera, you already have a ton of control over the color of your images while you’re actually shooting. Besides providing the typical white balance presets that can be selected at the camera depending on the situation (daylight, cloudy, shade, tungsten, flourescent etc), many cameras allow you to further customize white balance by shifting it along blue/amber, green/magenta axes. Below is an example of the white balance shift menus from Nikon (left) and Canon (right).


Want your selected white balance to be a bit warmer? Add some amber in this menu. Cooler? Add some blue. Greener or magentaer more magenta? You get the picture.

My Fuji X100 presents the white balance shift menu differently, along the red/cyan, blue/yellow axes.  So, to add amber warmth to a white balance setting in the x100′s menu, you have to add some +Red and -Yellow steps, instead of just simply adding amber like you can in Nikon and Canon DSLRs. Me no like.


See how purple the image at the top of the post appears? I achieved that look by shifting my auto-white balance as magenta as possible, which on my X100 was +9 Red and +9 Blue (or on Canon and Nikon, just shift on the magenta axis…come on, Fuji!!!)

Ok, so now daylight is thrown into magenta, but there’s a problem that comes with doing this. If you take a picture of someone with this white balance trim, they’re also going to come out purple! What to do?


Fuji X100 | 1/1,000 sec, f/2, ISO 200

Take a look at the two images above. It’s actually the same RAW file from my X100, converted in Lightroom 3. The one on the left is the output from my camera with the magenta bias and the one on the right is corrected. How? Simply by moving the hue slider in Lightroom towards green until the colors look more natural.  The green corrects the magenta cast, and vice versa.

So if green corrects magenta and you’re in a magenta-biased white balance, couldn’t you light your subject with a green light source to preserve a more natural skin tone? Yup:


Fuji X100 | 1/1,000 sec, f/4, ISO 200 (sb-900 bare camera left)

Notice that my happy volunteer here is lit with what appears to be much more natural looking color compared to the purple daylight you see behind her. This is the same magenta biased white balance set at the camera that I described above, with a bare strobe on camera left lighting my subject.  But here’s the important part: I stacked two green gels on the strobe to compensate for the magenta cast. It’s like correcting the white balance on JUST my subject. Without the green gels, I’d just be hitting my subject with more magenta light.

So now I have a surreal, magenta background with a color corrected subject. This was the method behind the shot I took of Suki at the dog park:


Fuji X100 | 1/1,000 sec, f/2, ISO 200

I started at sunset with an underexposed background, magenta biased white balance…


Fuji X100 | 1/250 sec, f/2, ISO 200

Add Suki in the mix, light her with the green gelled strobe…


Fuji X100 |  1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

…Wait for her to give me a better pose…


Fuji X100 | 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

…Almost there…


Fuji X100 |  1/500 sec, f/2, ISO 200

Perfect! Now get out there and experiment with your color controls. Don’t forget to break rules while you’re at it!

Also, just an update on Suki’s health. She had a horrible day yesterday with her allergies but is doing much better today, She’s becoming more playful again which is a very good sign. Thanks for all your well wishes for Suki!

Written by Jonathan

June 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm