Past Their Prime

I do occasionally make photographs in color. In fact I've been doing so quite a bit lately, mainly thanks to the Classic Chrome emulation built into the Fuji X100T, so I'm planning to post quite a few more here in the near future. As noted in the caption, though, I shot this photo with my X-E1, which doesn't include a Classic Chrome emulation, so I shot in raw mode for a change.

Fuji X-E1; Fujinon XF50-140mm f/2.8 @ 50mm; 2x LumoPro 160 flashes; 1/125 sec @ f/9, ISO 400; Adobe Lightroom 5.7, Adobe Photoshop CS5, and Nik Color Efex Pro 4

Fuji X-E1; Fujinon XF50-140mm f/2.8 @ 50mm; 2x LumoPro 160 flashes; 1/125 sec @ f/9, ISO 400; Adobe Lightroom 5.7, Adobe Photoshop CS5, and Nik Color Efex Pro 4

My goals for this photograph, other than capturing the subject, were threefold: (1) to use my 60" bounce umbrella as a soft box as described by Zach Arias in his One Light videos, (2) to test my LumoPro 160 flashes in slave mode, and (3) to continue experimenting with lighting glass objects from below. My efforts toward all three of these goals seemed to have worked well, and I'm very happy with the photo.

As I'm sure you can tell, the umbrella is above and to the left of the subject and provides the main light. It's flash is set to slave mode. The vase is sitting on a transparent plastic cube, about three feet long on each side. The top is covered with parchment paper, for diffusion, and then a length of dark blue velvet was wrapped around the vase and allowed to cover the sides down to the floor. Inside the cube, pointed straight up, is another flash. This one is connected to a radio popper, and is the master. There's also a large white bounce card to the right and a black card in the background, as far back as I could get it.

I processed the photo in Lightroom to do some straightening (I guess the floor isn't quite level, as my camera was), cropping, and initial white and black levels. I then sent it to Photoshop, created a mask, and replaced the background with pure black (the background card didn't quite fill the entire cropped frame). I also added a bit of glamour glow using Nik Color Efex Pro 4. Finally I sent it back to Lightroom and added a vignette (which only affected the foreground velvet) and to set final levels.

2014 Columbus International Festival

This past weekend I participated in the Columbus International Festival. My primary role was as a musician for the English Country Dancers performance, but I decided to bring along my Fuji X-E1 and 23mm lens. I thought there might be a good opportunity to get some street-type photos. It turned out that I was right. There were many interesting people doing interesting things.

When I first arrived I saw that there was some kind ceremony in progress. As I was preparing to go to a pre-performance rehearsal, I watched and listened to the goings on. It took me a couple minutes to realize that it was a naturalization ceremony. I'd never seen one, and I really wanted to get some photos. So I put down my instruments and made a beeline to a good spot amongst the other photographers.

After just a couple minutes the speeches were done, and it was time for the candidates to take the oath and become official citizens of the United States of America. During the oath I was able to shoot a couple quick frames including the one included with this post. Since I didn't know anyone in the ceremony, I wanted to be very polite to those who did, so I made just a couple shots and then got out of the way.

It was interesting and a bit humbling to see these people who must have dreamed of this moment and who had definitely worked hard to reach it. To me this was one of the most important scenes that I've photographed, and I hope I've represented it well.


Civil War Encampment

Last Saturday the 1st Ohio Light Artillery Battery A, a group of American Civil War reenactors, held an encampment at the Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus. The weather was rainy, which kept the turnout of spectators low and gave Andi and me a chance to make photographs without too much distraction in the backgrounds.

I mainly used my Fuji X-E1 and Fujinon XF60mm f/2.4 macro lens. I kept the aperture pretty wide to further reduce background distractions by blurring them out as much as possible. Even though I shot the photos as black and white JPEG files, I processed them in Silver Efex Pro 2. I used one of its Antique Plate presets as a starting point to try to get a more authentic Civil War era look. From there I took down the blacks to be more to my liking and added a rough border. As usual I set the final black and white points in Lightroom.

Here's one of a couple dozen keepers. The rest will become available in my Flickr feed over the next month or so.

Civil War Encampment 1