What’s wrong with this picture, er, I mean, this video…

www.whattheduck.net

In the midst of the packing and last minute details for an assignment I’m leaving on tomorrow (note to self: no more blog posts about Photoshop or plug-ins…whoa…you guys are tough, tough, tough), I took stock of my upcoming shopping list for gear, gadgets, and software.

And none of it was for still photo stuff.

I should be upgrading to CS5, but all my cameras are covered by the version of Adobe Camera Raw in CS4 so what I’m really getting ready to plunk down near four figures to upgrade is to Final Cut Studio from Final Cut Express, and not from CS4 to CS5.

And yes, I’d like that tiny new 85mm Nikkor DX  VR macro lens, but what I’m actually buying next is a fairly pricey little Sennheiser wireless mic setup. And I’ve been hitting the videography blogs with alarming regularity.

What the hell is going on? Hit the jump to find out just who, or what, has hijacked my brain.

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Bokeh in a Box

Photo © Bob Krist
Photo © Bob Krist

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Ordinarily, my clients don’t let me mess with reality, but I had a shoot last weekend for the Arthritis Foundation‘s annual report cover that was clearly considered to be a “photo illustration,” and as such, I had more than the normal leeway.

The AD wanted a shot of a remarkable guy named David who cycled across country to raise money for the foundation, despite the fact that he’s pretty heavily laden with arthritis. And the concept was to get him moving along on his bike—trying to keep him sharp but getting a sense of movement to the rest of the shot.

So we popped open the trunk of my car and I got in, rigged up an SB800 on the lid, put my trusty 20-year-old KenLab KS 6 gyro stabilizer under the D300s and 24-70mmf/2.8, and had David trail the car (which was piloted by my good buddy, photographer Jerry Millevoi) at upwards of 20 miles an hour down a country road near New Hope. I tried a variety of shutter speeds, some resulting in very dramatic blurs, but for the cover purposes, just the hint of movement seemed to do the trick.

The 1/30th of second shutter speed picked up a nice bit of blur, the flash froze David (an excellent and fearless cyclist who tracked the car without breaking a sweat!), and the shot worked nicely. But the trees and the road behind him didn’t fall off a lot because we were down at f/11 or thereabouts. So if you wanted to run a cover headline and cutlines, the foliage would be pretty defined and distracting. But how to soften that background after the fact?

Cue the software cavalry…

Aaand bingo! A program called Bokeh, from Alien Skin, comes riding to the rescue.  Hit the jump to find out how. (more…)

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Jumping through Hoops

[quicktime]https://bobkrist.com/movies/Rachelle6FPS.mov[/quicktime]

I’m just in the process of ordering the big (up to 30″x45″) prints for my community portrait project, called New Hope: In Character.  I’m working with the great folks at Aspen Creek Photo and West Coast Imaging to do the printing, and I’ll be writing about them soon.

Our exhibit will be up for the last two weeks in August at the New Hope Arts Center, and it’s going to culminate in a big street party outside the center where we bring the prints outside (more on that as the time approaches).

Of the fifty-plus of my neighbors that I photographed, only two pictures will run in color. One of them is of Rachelle, a young lady who went to school with my sons and is currently a professional dancer. One of her specialties is the hoop dance, with a hoop that has built in LED lighting.

It’s just too cool to see her do her thing, and to capture the movement of the lighted hoop, plus Rachelle, we did some slow synch flash, using the same basic broad light I’ve discussed before (see the jump for a picture of the studio setup).

But we turned off the overhead lights and blackened out the windows and went for a long (1/2 second) exposure in the dark, and then the strobe fired to provide the light on her.

It’s a dynamic look, and when I was cycling quickly through the shots in Photo Mechanic to pick the one frame to print, it had a kind of flipbook effect.  So I grabbed all the jpegs from the session and made the timelapse in Quicktime that you see above.

For a look at the studio setup (one 4×6 softbox at a 45 degree angle, basically), hit the jump. (more…)

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Friends in High Places

Photo © Bob Krist

I’m just putting together a stock submission of images from Buenos Aires  for a European magazine client when I came across the above pic of the Capitolio dome in Buenos Aires. It’s the seat of the government and notice how it’s nicely etched with light.

There’s a story behind that, and it’s another tale of who you know, not necessarily what you know.

My excellent friend and fixer, Bernardo Galmarini, knew the building manager of the Palacio Barolo building, an unbelievably beautiful art deco masterpiece from which we shot this view. It’s a work of art, and topped with a real working lighthouse complete with giant bulb and fresnel lens. That’s Bernando, below, checking his settings by the glow of the lighthouse.

Photo © Bob Krist

For the story of how we lit the dome of the Argentinian parliament without bringing the country’s Air Force or the Secret Service down on our heads, hit the jump.

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