And a new start with some new gear
So My last Blog was around the new year and talk about resolutions and parental leave. It feels like a lot have happened since then, both in the world ( Obviously!) but also in my own life and also when it comes to my photography.
The world when it comes to the strange reality we find ourselves in at this time, with the virus and the quarantine and all the problems that have come with them.
If i would have thought something like this would happen before Christmas or someone would have told me id have laughed it off thinking it was a trip of some sort. But here it is and we all try and adjust the best way we can both with life in general but also with our work( for those lucky to still have one). You really get perspective and like in similar situations in life where you are put through difficulties you think about what’s important and revaluate things around you, for good and for bad.
Before this mess i just got back from a great time with my son Julius, and had not been working for 3 months. I followed him and his development and loved every second of it.
I wanted to document as much as i could along the way and managed to get a lot of nice memories for the future. Especially now with everything going on, having those images and memories feels extra special. Whatever happens he and i will have those to share in better times ahead. I was also at some sort of new stage in my life when it came to my Photography where i had hit a wall( in good way) and realized what i loved to shoot and with what gear i wanted to shoot with.
A lot of Nikon Photographers were ”upgrading” to the mirrorless Z -system with the Z6 or Z7, but i never felt any allure when it came to those cameras. Not only do i think they are ugly( yes its true!) but i did not like the idea of an adapter to use all my great lenses with the Z cameras. Also i love the 2 camera bodies i have now, and the only ”upgrade” for me would be to get something similar to what i have or i will just keep shooting with them until they break down. I currently use a D4 and a Df body with all the lenses i really need. As a day to day camera i use my Leica Q-P and it goes with me everywhere i go.
So finally arriving at a point where i felt absolutely no GAS any longer ( i won’t go as far as to say its totally cured….but for now), and being very happy with what i had i started to spend more time planning what to actually shoot rather than gear to use for what i wanted to shoot. Felt great.
My focus started to shift towards my lighting equipment. I had used my Nikon Speedlights on location for years, and always felt somewhat limited but at the same time scared of taking the plunge into something more serious. For what i did the stuff i had was mostly sufficient. But i now felt to take my lighting to a higher level i needed to get something more powerful but still portable. I had heard so many great things about Godox and their system and i finally got around to starting to build my kit in that Ecosystem.
I think i might 2/3 on the way on that new journey but so far i am very happy i decided to make the change. I still have some of my Nikon Flashes as a backup, but my main flashes include the Ad400 and Ad200 and another smaller speed light in the V860ii. For those i have found the Aputure Lightdome mark 2 soft boxes which are great in every regard, great soft light and so very quick and easy to setup! Love them. I will try and make some reviews in the future as i sometimes do when i have used something for a long while and still think its great.
I have only used the Godox kit for about a month or so now and have not really got to test it out properly. I have taken some test shots together with my son and daughter in my small home studio and outside at one point.
I have found some new inspiration to learn new setup with lights and being more creative and will try and do some new projects ahead. if its something this quarantine brings its time to experiment with that among other things around the house. So not all bad!
Im lucky to have a full-time job besides my Photography and that makes me able to choose what i really like and not be stressed out when i miss out on assignments. A few of my booked weddings and other work has been canceled but at same time i have had requests of other more fun projects as well. So will try and post some of that in my blogg in the near future.
Also Spring is here soon, the light is better and the times ahead if health allows will hopefully be full of great fun photography outside.
Stay safe and keep shooting.
/Over and out..
So time to add a new entry to the blog. It is soon New years after all and a good time to think about what have transpired this year and maybe dream and look forward to the next year and what that will hold.
I am writing this just a few days before NY and it should be cold here now, at least if i compare to a time i always seem to go back to when i compare. Namely my childhood. Not sure why i do that, but i really enjoyed the white winters we had back then here north of Stockholm. I guess something has changed and maybe it has to do with climate change or just that ”cycle” those ”shady” people keep referring to …
I remember we had snow up to our windows and that we could use our sleds and our skies every day, we even took the skies to school or sleds as well some days.
This winter we had like 7 or 8 of these beautiful wintery days, so every time i tried going out to try and capture some of its beauty. Being on parental leave still i usually take a small walk with my son when he is asleep, and sometimes that is enough to take a few photos and hope for the best.
As always nowadays i bring my Leica Q-P everywhere, so that is always the weapon of choice especially when it comes to capturing these spontaneous ”nature snapshots” that i think the Q-P is great at doing. I think it renders the colors beautifully, and its usually sharp and crisp.
Thinking back now to the year that has been and trying to summarize it and get a grasp of everything that has happened is not always easy.
When it comes to my personal life, getting a son has of course affected everything and changed it for the second time in that regard. My other child being my daughter that is 10 now, making it a long time since i changed diapers and took care of a small person needing me and demanding all of my time and love. But that also means my passion for photography has got some new fuel to its fire as documenting everything from a birth to his first year has been amazing in every way.
When my son came i owned my first Q and i used that to document his birth and the months afterwards. For me it was perfect. But during the year i also changed gear a lot and i went back to Fuji as i have written in other blog entries in the past. And i have captured some great memories with that system as well. The X-T3 was great for filming as well and for stills i loved using the 16mm, the 56mm and the 90mm. All magnificent Fuji lenses.
As i also stated in an earlier entry i think that path was necessary to walk down to finally decide to go back to the Q again as my day to day documenting camera body.
I thought that the speed of the X-T3 would be a great addition especially when you would have a small boy running around at full speed, and it was a great idea, but the reason i got the Q the first time was to simplify things and not having two overlapping systems( as i also shoot Nikon) and adding more stress with having to choose between several systems and lenses every time heading out to take pictures.
So while the Fuji was one of the better camera bodies i have owned when it came to the technical aspects, i really missed the simplicity and inspiration the Q gave me and during the year i sold all my Fuji gear and bought the Q-P. That actually cured the most of the GAS i had i the past and i am very happy i made that choice in the end.
So the year has been a year of change on many levels, and i know from experience that those times are usually when you also develop the most. So while that is hard to see when you are in the middle of it and in that phase, i think and hope that is something i can look back on and take pleasure in that it changed and made me ”better” in some ways. Both as a photographer and a human being somehow.
It certainly made me think about the importance and meaning of things, also as a photographer and human being.
And when it comes to photography especially the importance of creating memories for our kids and creating a legacy that can be left behind. And photographs of our family is something that we can point to and be proud of in ways we might not be able to with our ”work” as a photographer in the same way.
Speaking of work i don’t work as often as i wish as a photographer, and being employed at a school as my full-time job and being a father of two makes the time to be able to put in the extra work almost impossible sometimes. But it also makes me able to choose between different work and only do what i like and say no to what does not inspire me or for some other reason does not make me want that assignment.
I managed to squeeze a few weddings in and also got some pictures publicized which was nice.
Even so i think now when my thoughts go to the time ahead and after NY, i think my own resolution for next year will be to get things in print and try to make books from my photography. Too many images lies on our hard drives and never see the ink on print in our lifetime. And that is a shame and a waste in my opinion. We live our life on social media and seem be ”satisfied” with that and to upload our work there.
So that will be one ( maybe that is enough, since we have such a hard time keeping those promises anyhow) resolution i am really going to try and keep next year. For me and my legacy and my children.
So back to present time, X-mas just passed by in a flash. and i managed to get some photography done and test some lighting in my small apartment which was great. I also added a new lens that i owned in the past ( the 85mm f1,4G) which i sometimes have felt i missed and especially inside the the 105 i usually take 70% of my portraiture with feels to long.
So now before making this the longest blogpost in the history of blogs i will just wish you a Merry Xmas and post a few X-mas pictures to get that holiday spirit up a notch.
/Over and out…
So, Autumn is here. Less light and more rain, a fact that makes for a worse platform for photography in general.
Here in Sweden less light is an understatement as the hours you can actually shoot in daylight disappears quite quickly and gets worse by every day closer to winter.
I love this first part of the season though, there is still some sunny days and the leaves are just starting to fall off or get that beautiful golden color. Also the air changes and just being out on those days that are still nice are just a treat. Beautiful.
I just wanted to start that off somehow and get into it right away before the moment is lost.
So i took the Nikon df and only the 105 f1,4 with me to town and brought my daughter to get some portraits on her but also get some feeling of that Autumn is here. I also included some shots i took from last week when she also accompanied me into town and i had the same setup ( Df, 105mm ).
We were quite lucky to get beautiful light and decent weather all day up until the last but where it actually started to rain a bit near the evening.
I quite recently bought the Nikon 105mm and must say its becoming my most used lens for serious portraits.
Just renders beautifully. Also being f1,4 you do not need much light to shoot and the 105mm focal length makes for some very creative shots in my opinion.
I will continue and post more on the blogg during Autumn for sure, so will be back with some more colorful images using different gear in the near future.
/Over and out..
This month i wanted to do something for my hero and lifetime idol( yes I’m old, but i am trying to keep young so i have idols! ) David Bowie.
My first Vinyl was Ziggy Stardust, so incorporating the ”Flash” from those years and those characters seemed like something i would want in a tribute photo.
My wife also wanted a few new pictures for her websites so we played with a few ideas and locations before and what equipment to use.
I wanted 2 indoors locations and one outdoor location and decided on shooting the first pictures in our bedroom where we have a big window to let some background light inside.
I wanted all shots to look classic in style and the first one was going to have a blowup background and use one or two light modifiers from the front to light the face up so as not to get just a darker siluette of my wife.
This was one of the shots i was most pleased with, but my wife kept the ones where you could see more of her.
In the beginning i shot with my DF using the Noct to get a really shallow depth of field. Those shots became really light and beautiful and the blur started almost after her temples. The only light modifier i used in the ”airy” light shots here are a Rapidbox Octa from Westcott with a speed light and the natural light from the back, and in some shots i used a reflector from my right to get some extra catchlights in her eyes.
Since i do not have a proper studio i usually use the bedroom or my hallway which are the bigger rooms and space to put up the light stands and backgrounds if needed.
Also it tends to get very messy and chaotic with our kids running around at the same time, and sometimes we get them in for a quick picture as well since we got all that equipment set up which is a pain to take down again, so might as well be effective and take some pictures of them while it is up.
Here is a quick picture of my daughter who liked playing with one of my wife hats:
After that it was time for the Tribute picture which i wanted against a dark background. I also incorporated a Hat i liked for the shot.
It was quite hard to create a dark atmosphere in the room though as a lot of spill light was coming in through the windows, i tried shutting it out using the curtains and use the bigger background to block it while shooting.
After i had done the shoot and looked through the pictures i actually took the actual Ziggy flash and worked it into the picture( yes i cheated!) to get the feel i wanted, i realized we would not have time to take the makeup off to continue with the rest of the shoot, so that worked out better for us.
For this shot i also added another flash from the back as a hair light and gelled it with a darker blur gel which in the end added another level to the picture in my opinion and a little more drama.
All in all i was very happy with the pictures from the bedroom.
After that it was time to go outside. I had chosen a location not far from our house in a forest where i had shot my wife earlier a few times. It is a little secluded so you get the privacy you would like when shooting and putting up your gear.
It turned out to be a pretty difficult shoot outdoors though due to the cold damp weather and the race against the sun going down!
Also i wanted to try out a few new triggers from Phottix i had bought since the SU-800 was difficult to use outside as a transmitter due to the infrared getting blocked easier there.
As it turned out the Odin trigger was a little bit too big to fit under the flash when it was mounted against the Rapid octa softbox…Now there is the problem you run into when you have not tried your new stuff out in beforehand. It is always a treat finding it out the hard way during a shoot with a cold wife and the patience running out fast..
I improvised and got the trigger working and used my Noct and my 70-200 VR 2 for these pictures since it was so dark.
Really, shooting in the dark like we did was not something i would recommend. I had to crank the ISO way up but with the cameras nowadays it is still possible to get decent results.
I wanted something a little more creative in these shots so i decided to play a bit with some gels and the white balance to create some different effects.
This is how it turned out…
The softbox was gelled with a full cut of orange so the contrast became quite big with the white balance put to fluorescent . I kind of liked the effect i got.
So this was my Tribute shot for David Bowie. Now i am looking forward to spring to be honest, but i might do another shoot or two before the winter is out here in Sweden.
/Over and out…
Just a quick post about traveling and gear, as a follow up to my last post about reviews and gear.
It is summer here in Sweden, and a few new trips are scheduled this semester . I will obviously bring a camera to these trips, but one of the constant dilemmas are what to bring and how much you should carry with you to maximize your photographic experience and get those money shots with you back home.
The last 2 trips i skipped all my heavy gear after a trip i made to Rome a year back. It was a great trip, but i had backspins and shoulder pains a while after because of bringing too much stuff. Also before that i only had my D700 and brought that with lenses for all my trips.
It was after that i got my X-T1 and lenses and bringing that to Paris for 2 trips was just a joy. So light in comparison! And still got great pictures and had fun shooting with it.
Now i also have the pleasure of choosing between that and my Nikon DF also. So now the X-T1 have a serious competitor for me since it is also lighter than the D810 i will most likely leave back home for the more serious assignments.
So, what do i bring for my Berlin trip this Summer? Any suggestions?
I have sort of made up my mind about what house i will bring actually, and it will most likely be my DF, and i am still contemplating what lenses i will bring. They will have to fit my new Lowpro Flipside sport 10L bag. So about 3 lenses. No zooms. So will be 1 wide lens, one normal, and also some sort of tele.
it is a nice dilemma to have though. Summer, photography , choosing what to bring for my trip. Life is good right now 🙂
Do not burn yourself!
/Over and out..