Thursday, May 17, 2012

I'm up, so I might as well shoot something

So lately I've been getting up at 4am for no apparent reason. Something just wakes me up. The other day I woke up and noticed how foggy it was outside...nothing out of the ordinary for us here on the coast of Maine. But this particular morning I woke up itching to take pictures of something or someone. The rest of the house was still asleep, but I knew that I could get out and explore downtown for photo opportunities, and there would be no traffic to speak of...I'd have the place to myself!

Heading out the door, I made sure to grab the essentials; camera, tripod, portable speedlights, wireless triggers, coffee. Downtown was a ghost town, nothing to see or do, but the fog over the harbor was beautiful in it's own way. With nothing to see here, I decided to look for photo opportunities in a more unusual place.  

The Belfast Graveyard is not exactly your photo mecca, but with a nice mixture of old old tombstones and statues, the shapes and textures do make for some interesting subjects. This morning I choose to shoot one of the older statues, a beautiful work of marble that must be at least 100 years old.

Setting up the shot, I places two strobe lights, one on each side of the statue. The first light was raised up as high as the statues head and softened with a shoot thru umbrella, the second strobe was a bare bulb strobe, and it was low and pointed upward to fill in the shadows of the face.

I figured because the statue was so close to the road, surely the police would show up to ask what I was doing. With each shot I took, I considered myself fortunate that had yet bothered me. Turns out, my worries were for not; nobody came over to investigate all the flashing lights coming from the cemetery.

The resulting images were satisfying, and provided me with some practice so that the next time I photograph living people I will have an extra bit of confidence.


Every photo shoot brings with it challenges and opportunities. I always learn something new, and I'm getting better at not repeating past mistakes.Today's pictures were no different.

I only brought the one shoot-thru umbrella, hindsight says I should have brought both. This would afforded me the chance to soft the light coming from the second strobe, and while the lighting worked out this time, it's always nice to be able to soften things up when needed.  Sandbags...even though there was very little or no wind to speak of, my shoot-thru umbrella was at least 8-9 feet off the ground when fully extended. A very - and I mean very slight breeze came up and blew it over. It didn't go far, it came to rest on the statues head. I dodged a bullet this time. A simple sandbag would have prevented this and I left it home out of sheer laziness.

My tripod...I should have used it. Even though my subject matter was perfectly still, I, on the other hand, was not. Even a little bit of camera shake can degrade the image, and I was so nervous that the cops were going to come by that I decided to forgo the tripod. I should have just chanced it. The worse they could say was I would have to leave. I'm working on that aspect oh my photography...taking chances!

Overall, I am pleased with the outcome of the images. The grass was wet and my sneakers got soaked, but other than that, I had a great time. It was time for my second cup of coffee, so I left the cemetery with a sense of peace. The photos I had just taken were not rushed, it was peaceful in the cemetery, and my subject matter was perfect. I am going back for more someday soon.

Now it's your turn, get out there and take some pictures!

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