Wardrobe: Outdoor Voices & Adidas
@ Egg Studios
I always wondered if the studio's pocket wizard attached to my film camera's hotshoe would trigger the studio flash. I was surprised to find that it did! Unfortunately my shutter speed was too fast and it caused about half of each image to be underexposed. Still, it's not a bad effect and most of Kseniya's face was still visible and in focus. Lesson learnt for next time!
I had heard so much about Yosemite that I had such high expectations going into the trip. I'd seen photos of Half Dome and El Capitan everywhere on the internet and wondered how just a slab of rock could look that good. Well, it can. Not just good, but awe-inspiring and sublime. On the many occasions when I went to the edge of the various cliffs of the surrounding mountains, I would feel my lets shaking and breath quivering. People talk about the grandeur of mountains and I experienced that firsthand.
My photography at Yosemite was split 50/50 digital and film. I'd initially planned to use film only on portraits of friends that I was traveling with. But over time, switching between my Canon 5DM4 and my film camera proved too much so I decided to focus on film for the majority of my later shoots. Digital images of nature are all too pervasive so I decided to mix it up and shoot more on my film. Here are the results:
Had an awesome time shooting with Layson!
One thing I realized was just how much I love shooting on film. Shooting on film is so much more enjoyable, not just because of the aesthetic of the end product but because the shooting process feels more relaxed and less like work. Shooting digital feels like work - mechanized, high-pressure, moving quickly to the sound of shutter clicks, the machine-gun barrage of go, go, go. I think the implication of shooting digital is that the relationship between photographer and subject feels more professional and clinical, like there's a clear boundary.
On the other hand, shooting on film feels more intimate, like getting to know someone and not feeling rushed. You're more in tune with the slight movements of the subject because you have to focus and make sure the subject is posing in the most appropriate way. The collaboration feels less hurried and more natural. Knowing that you have a limited number of exposures forces you to slow down and frame each shot with purpose. I believe this slowing down puts the subject at ease and allows them to be more unforced in their poses and expressions.
FILM (KODAK PORTRA 400)
I'd been meaning to shoot in a studio for the longest time so when my friend Tom asked me if I wanted to shoot at Egg Studios in Bushwick, I jumped at the chance. (BTW - Egg Studios is a fantastic studio, if you're looking for a space to shoot in, look no further!)
To make the best of the space, I decided to turn the shoot into a mini-production. I'd been inspired by simple portraits that strongly feature complementary colors and put together a moodboard to drive production decisions. I was also fortunate enough to have a model (Kristin Ratcliffe), HMU artist (Lexi Doto) and assistant/friend/DJ (Anna Bouma) helping me in making this production a reality.
The first phase of photos were shot with 2 Profotos Acute 2 D4s attached to a battery pack - the key light was shot though a 36-inch Profoto Octabox while the fill light was shot against a white V-flat. I got bored after awhile with the too-even lighting and so killed the fill light Profoto and instead just used the V-flat to provide some fill. In hindsight, this wasn't the best idea because it muddied the shadows too much and it was difficult during the editing process to get the colors and shadows to be exactly what I wanted. Nonetheless, there were some shots in which the new lighting worked.
The final phase of photos were shot of film utilizing light coming in through the windows as the key light and the V-flats as fill light. I used a combination of Ektar 100 and Kodak Portra 400 film on my Canon A-1. While I usually love the cool tones of Ektar 100, I definitely pushed the ISO beyond its limit (I think I was shooting at ISO 400) and that created some dirty greenish shadows, which I could only correct to a certain degree in post. For one of my rolls, there was light leak, which initially concerned me but after I saw that it created a pretty interesting effect of creating a nice color combination of blue yellow and red. Now I'm wondering if I can load up film and shoot in a way to create intentional light leaks... haha we shall see.
I wanted to use film more actively on portrait shoots. Last week, I had Kamola sit for me in my makeshift studio at home and took photos with a mixture of digital + film. For film, I used the Canon A-1 with Kodak Portra 400 and Ektar 100. I absolutely loved how the cool tones of Ektar complemented the dark blue background I selected. I styled Kamola in colors that complemented the aquamarine background - mustard yellow, grey and white.