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Shot in the Dark with a Fire Fighter

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  • Shot in the Dark with a Fire Fighter

    Wanting to take Portraits of our members in our Volunteer Fire Department I gave it a try. I am new to this so I wasn't to sure how to go about it so I thought I should think about what we wanted first. We as most Fire Departments do have the same old boring pictures of our members hanging on the wall. The same as always, sit there with your uniform on look at the camera and say cheese or in our case Fire...lol

    What I had to work with is my D5000 and 3 lenses which are 50mm 1.8g , 18-55mm . 55-200mm which are two kit lenses. I have no flash or studio lights so how can I get a shot that we would like. Well I decided to set the camera into the scary manual setting and use a flash light. I tried it the first time and the light was just to bright. We look at each other and he said how can you dim a flash light. I looked around and there was a very cheap diffuser in a garbage can, it was a plastic whit grocery bag. I put the flash light in the bag and away we went for the second try at it.

    This picture is the second one I took and I don't know if it is the best it can be but the Fire Fighter in the picture wants it the way it is for his wall and every member has sent me an email asking when it's their turn. I know this could be better and yes I shot in Raw and have the file if anyone wants to do some PP with it.

    Let me know what you think and yes I am a big boy and nothing hurts but it is the best way to learn when people are honest with you.

    The only PP as the watermark because some said I should mark it.

    Thank you
    Art

    Exposure: 10sec
    Focal Length: 50mm
    ISO: 200
    Flash: Did not fire
    Lens: 50mm 1.8g

    Equipment used: Nikon D5000, 50MM 1.8G, Tripod, DD Battery Flash light, 1 Plastic grocery bag.

  • #2
    That is a really nice portrait. I love the way he is posed and lit, as well as the composition of the shot. Using the truck was brilliant and really helps set the mood and scene. The colors are very rich and masculine which is perfect for this sort of shot and while some people may be anti-vignette, I think the heavy vignette works well here. What PP did you do?

    The only thing I would have done differently is have him look at the lens for the shot, to create more of a connection with the viewer, but that is nitpicking. This is a shot that both you and he should be proud of.

    Excellent job. Shoot the whole squad like this and I don't think you will hear any complaints.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Roshenk View Post
      That is a really nice portrait. I love the way he is posed and lit, as well as the composition of the shot. Using the truck was brilliant and really helps set the mood and scene. The colors are very rich and masculine which is perfect for this sort of shot and while some people may be anti-vignette, I think the heavy vignette works well here. What PP did you do?

      The only thing I would have done differently is have him look at the lens for the shot, to create more of a connection with the viewer, but that is nitpicking. This is a shot that both you and he should be proud of.

      Excellent job. Shoot the whole squad like this and I don't think you will hear any complaints.
      This shot is straight of the camera because when we looked at it and loved I wasn't going to touch it. As I said the only thing I did in PS was add the watermark. We were trying to get that not look at the camera thing I don't know why but we both just didn't wan the same thing. The next one because we want each one different is the Fire Fighter will be sitting down on the floor by the truck with the air pack beside him and mask like he was just fighting a fire and taking a break from it all.

      Thank you for your kind words I was waiting to be hammered with the first one...lol

      Art

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      • #4
        I have to agree with Roshenk as I do like this image as is. The focus is just a bit soft. You did not include your apeture setting. I would suggest getting into the "sweet spot" of the lens. If you were shooting wide open, your 50mm might be like my Canon 50mm and be a bit soft. It could also be movement by the subject as the engine is in acceptable focus. Ten seconds is a long time for someone to sit still.

        Could you try "painting" with your diffused flashlight to try to minimize the harsh shadow on the subject's left side of the face caused by the nose?

        Overall a very nice image and as stated earlier, if you can repeat this with the others, you will not have any complaints.
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        • #5
          Sorry I thought I added the Fstop

          It was at 4 which the nest time it should be different. That show as I said to the Fire Fighter his nose was to big lol, I understand what you mean. I hope by doing more that they will get better with each one. I keep trying this at home to see if I can get in down before the next one. Test shot next time look at the light and see what it looks like.

          thanks
          art

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          • #6
            I actually love the hard shadows on his face. I like the drama that it brings. I do agree that it's just a touch soft in the eyes, so I would probably do a little sharpening in PP.
            Really, excellent shot. Way to be resourceful, too!
            Nikon D7100, Nikon D7000, 50mm f/1.4, 28-75mm f/2.8, 90mm f/2.8 macro, 80-200mm f/2.8, 85mm f/1.8 (2) SB600
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            • #7
              I too like the shadows and the drama in the photo. I think it's awesome that you got this result with the "equipment" you had. There are photographers that run out and buy lights, lenses, and other equipment thinking it's the answer and it's just not.

              Something else you can try (other than painting with light), is using something white to reflect light onto the other side of the face. Like I said, I like the shadows in this shot, but maybe for some of your others you would like to light them more evenly.
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              • #8
                I understand the shadow part everyone is saying, but...

                The reason we like the way the light is no matter how the shadows fell is because it looked to us like he was sitting there and the light of a fire was lighting his face. As we said if we were at a house fire at night or with the dark smoke hiding the sun light this is how the light from the fire lights us up. Even the tone of it just fit so right to us and I just hope that when I do others that the light and tone is like this.

                I would like a little more light on the dark side of the face but very little because it would take away from us and what we see at fires. I also think maybe a different FSTOP other than 4 would of been better for focus as the 10 seconds to be lower. It would be hard to stay still for the total of 10sec...........

                I am going to try one of these with a member cutting a car with the Jaws of light but I might have to take more then one picture and add them together.

                I love this so called cheap light thing.

                I thank everyone of you for your comments and ideas for the up and coming pictures. Every word you guy say is very important to me and I save it all in a file to look back on.

                Thank you
                Art

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                • #9
                  cool shot!
                  Avangard Photography | Toronto Wedding Photographer

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                  • #10
                    Bravo! Like the back story to the shot too.
                    Canon 60D, G12, Leica V-LUX 20, Canon 10-22mm EF-S, 18-135mm EF-S IS, 100mm EF Macro, 15-85mm EF-S IS, 50mm EF f1.4, 70-200mm EF f2.8L IS II, Satechi WR-C100, Gitzo, Sunpak, Manfrotto, Sunbounce, Colormunki,
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                    • #11
                      I really like it. My first thought with the lighting was that it looked like he was at a fire. I hope your othe firefighter photos turn out as well.

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                      • #12
                        I seem to remember for long exposures one can have subject sit, paint light, subject leaves the frame all while the shutter is open. I tried google DPS search without results. Maybe others will remember that thread.

                        Or if you had a bounce or off camera flash one could rear curtain flash. That would freeze any movement made by the subject during the exposure.
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                        • #13
                          I would love to see that thread....

                          If anyone finds it please add a link here it would be great information to read.

                          After yesterday when we were at a fire that had a barn, two sheds, car, truck, tractor and the forest on fire at the same time this picture even looks more real to us when the flames were everywhere.

                          Thanks for the comments they really help a person want to keep going in this direction with this type of picture.

                          Art

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                          • #14
                            very interesting picture... i would like to see other shots you'll come up next as well... just an opinion...

                            i dont fully agree with weird girl about equipment is not the answer... here you are using 10second shutter speed to shoot a person... just imagine how hard it is to stay still for 10 second each shot... and for each 10 second, you have to estimate and guess the amount of flash light to output to the person... if you are wrong, or he moved just a little during the 10 seconds, you have to redo it again... this is just one example where a cheap strobe can help... you'll get more consistent result... and it'll take you 1/200 sec each time you fire it...

                            i do applaud your creativity to use what you have to get such a good result... but i dont know how long the interest will last if every shot have to be so hard to take... just my 2c...

                            thank you for sharing the pic... count me in for another one that likes the shadow... it gives more drama and fireman and drama goes together very well..
                            Tony
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