Saturday, October 30, 2010

Movie Night - October 30th, 2010

Movies and pumpkin carving, and much fun on Halloween Eve.

Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster
   Pretty cute live action Scooby-Doo movie with lots of nice call backs to the old cartoon, and funny moments. Also, when did Velma become such a cutie? Kind of makes sense though, as now nerdy girls are cute and appreciated, so it does make sense.

The Boy Who Cried Werewolf
   First off, wow to Brooke Shields, she was funny, kind of sexy in a creepy way, and a total shout out to Young Frankenstein. Like the last one, not Citizen Kane by any stretch of the imagination, but good fun, and lots of hidden references to classic horror.

   I still love this movie so much, but it's been so long since i've seen it whole, that i forgot how many parts it had to it. I remembered three stories, but wow, so not three. Also probably the origin of my love for Trick r Treat, my favorite Halloween movie now. Side note, why aren't there more Halloween movies tied to the holiday like Trick r Treat is? Besides being a good anthology halloween movie, it actually takes place on halloween. Ah well. Creepshow is still awesome, can be funny, but also chilling if you let it be. Nice to see it's on bluray, but why no extras?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Part two thoughts on shoot

Even though no one asked for it, here is part two of my thoughts on the shoot.

Here is one of the shots of the flapper i was mentioning that just clicked for me, lighting and everything.
Used the Alienbees ABR800 ringlight with the 30 inch moon unit, here and nothing else. The couch was a good deal from the wall, and i was around ten feet away, using my 70-200 lens. From what i've seen online, most people use ringflashes in a way i don't really care for, and besides looking very samey, i feel it all looks too washed out to me. What they do is stick the model right up against the backdrop, and shoot close up, usually against a white backdrop. Even my shots where i was using a white background, i still kept the model a bit away. I want to say i love how all this looks, but especially her dress and leggings. The light seemed to really grab it well. I also like how the background isn't all lit even, it kind of forms a circle around her, obviously due to the ringlight, but i was thinking i would need to grid for that, but that would have probably unlit her more. I also want to point out, virtually nothing was done to this image out of camera, only a little balancing in Aperture.

Which is something else i want to talk about. I see so many images where they are post processed more, and i just feel "wrong" doing it. It's not a dig at them at all, more i've been in the mode of feeling i have to capture it and show it the way it was. Not sure if it's a thing i've gotten used to from most of the other shots i've done, nature, events, etc. Just every time i do somethings that aren't just subtle, i look at it and think "have i overdone it?" and then just revert it to before. Others i do it to, and i love it, but think "What if they hate it?" and then revert it. Maybe it's also because i did a lot that playing around in Photoshop when i first got it in the mid 90s, using filters on everything and going overboard. Not sure if this is something i need to work on, or embrace my current way of working. Definitely something i need to think about.

One thing i do need to work on is narrowing down shots more. If you've seen the shots i've posted on my flickr of this shoot, you can tell i do "Oh this one is cool, and this one, and... and... and..." too much. It's just some have so many neat poses that look good to me, and i have a hard time saying it doesn't. Maybe i'm not looking close enough at faults, or i'm too close to the images and don't want to reject them. I'm not sure. I do see other shooters settling on only a couple shots out of tons.

Quick thing before i move on, i want a fainting couch now, heh. I'd probably end up using it in too many shoots, and would have to keep the bunnies away from it, but after shooting on one, i want to shoot more on one. Probably doesn't help that i've wanted a sofa or other from Funky Sofa for a while now. Okay, moving on.

Here is the bed in the hotel i was talking about. That sure is a lot of pillows, but they were all comfy and so was the bed. Thrilling eh? Just happy it was probably the first hotel bed i actually found comfy, most are way too hard or way too soft. So there was that.

Here is the main shooting space, a very big warehouse style space, with various backdrops and walls all over. This made me wish i lived in a warehouse or similar space, and even made me wish i lived on a farm with a barn that was even half finished or heated. I've wanted a finished barn ever since going to Circle Sanctuary and seeing their neat set up in their barn, and the house in LaCrosse (Onalaska actually i think)  that had a barn that was finished with an official sized basketball court in it. Not that i wanted to play basketball, but the ground floor was all nice hardwood with a tough sealant, so yeah. I also thought that it would great for parties, heh. I also always thought a converted church would be neat, but those are really rare and expensive. Not like this is going to happen, but it's nice to dream, you know?

So that's about it really, still got a few to get up to flickr, but getting close. I would also like to say i'm glad this weather waited, i would have hated to drive in this down to Racine, that's for sure.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What a weekend.

This last weekend i went to the latest Halloween Bash group photo-shoot down in Racine. While i'll get to the actual shoot in a bit, lets just say some things i found "funny" about the trip.

I saw a car with the plates "I Carly", and this sooo confused me. Isn't it a young kids show? Appealing to very young (younger than teen?) kids? So... if the owner could drive and get a car, they must really, really love that show. Oh...kay.

Got a visual aura migraine at the exact moment of check in at the Marriott hotel. Like at the exact moment i asked for a room, i started to lose sight. Timing, win, even though it did suck, much better than getting one while driving. Speaking of getting there, my trip odometer was at exactly, 333.3 miles from my garage, and i got placed in room 123. (which amused me a bit, seeing as the whole place was deserted, two other guests or so?) Speaking of which, again, it's creepy being the only one at a breakfast buffet, and in the evening for food. There seemed to be a wedding party saturday at some point, but probably after i left. Nice hotel, probably the first hotel bed that was actually comfortable. I got some pictures of it, but not handy, so you will probably see them later. Also, when did hotels stop accepting cash? Seriously, it's good. I do want to complain that the vending machines were empty though, so you had to go get overpriced stuff from the desk, five bucks for two bottles. Funny thing, while at the breakfast buffet, two workers (there were five workers i could see, and me, in the whole place) asked me "Why would anyone come to Racine??" It was amusing. They really didn't have a high opinion of the place. I haven't seen much of it honestly, kind of reminds me of LaCrosse, but close to Milwaukee, and about an hour and half from Chicago or so, not far from everything like LaCrosse.

Both times i have gone down, i have brought precipitation down with me.

On the way back, near Eau Claire, in the fog, four cop cars had a car surrounded and lit up. It was beautiful, with blue, red and white lights all in the fog. Whatever he did, sure pissed them off, that seems sure.

There are some things i am sure i'm missing, but can't seem to think of them off hand, if i think of them i'll talk more about them i'm sure.

On to the shoot. It was similar to the Painted Muse shoot i went to, same place, some of the same people. Less people, models, photographers, make up artists, etc. though. Seems less than half the models showed up, which is always a let down, but seemed to flow okay, with most photographers shooting steady. I wasn't feeling so hot, not sure if i was coming down with something or just left over from the migraine, but i kept having to take breaks and sit down for a while. Kept getting light headed and weak feeling. Probably didn't help that i was shooting with a new setup, ring flash and portable power. Gets heavy and doesn't have the best handle, so my hands started hurting and was afraid i was going to drop it. Got about nine different looks shot, pretty good all of them. Missed a couple models/looks, partly because of not feeling hot and partly some had arrangements with other shooters. I did feel bad for the two make up artists though, they seemed bored, with so much free time and not much to do. There was a third, but she kept pretty active. I do have to say i loved her hoodie with the cat ears and her apparently new blue and purple color in her hair.

Sadly one of the models who as listed as coming didn't come, and i loved her look and was curious what she was going to wear and looked forward to shooting with her. I hear a lot of complaints about what they call "flakes" on Model Mayhem. Models who don't show up, and usually because of "dead grandmother syndrome". That would be depressing, have a team ready to shoot, and the model not showing up for whatever reason.

One of the shoots i did was hands down my favorite, her look, the lighting, the set just clicked. Flapper on a fainting couch, it was awesome. Seems too she came farther than i did for this, north of the cities too. She was at Painted Muse, but lived down there i think then. I did get down though when she mentioned "my camera taking good photos". I know she probably didn't mean it bad, or as an insult, but it's one of the things i don't like people saying. It's like all you have to do is point the camera and it does all the work. It's worth noting that if you give several photographers the same model, you get all different shots, it's more the person behind the camera. Oh well. I did love the shots just looking at the back of the camera after i shot them, and love them even more on the 'puter. Very little "needs" to be done, minor touch up really if that. The funny thing worth noting here, i used a ring light on these, just like "uncle Terry" does, but got a very different look. It does make me laugh though that one of the models and shots i did looks like something out of American Apparel. heh. The awesome shoot though made me want a fainting couch, although it would probably be in all my shots after that, heh.

While the shoot was going on, several guys with studded leather and tall boots came in. I kept thinking they looked familiar, but i guess not. They are in a band called LockJaw. Funny things again, i kept looking at them funny, trying to place them, and one of the friends came up and told me not to be afraid of them, heh. Seeing as i was dressed pretty plain that day, i can understand them not knowing i was more scary looking than them at a point, heh. I didn't get any shots of them, but it looked like they had some good shots, they had a ton of props and great photographers shooting them. One had a paintball gun that looked like a huge sniper rifle, and kept telling me "not to worry", because i kept looking at it, but it was more i was trying to figure out where the paintballs went. I know some people who would have loved it. They also had swords and other guns, some with bayonets too. Talked to a couple of them, asked them if they ever played the Warehouse in LaCrosse, one did and said only about 30 people showed up for a sunday show. Sadly that's kind of how people in LaCrosse are with shows, kind of in the middle of  nowhere, so your best bet is getting as many from even from the Twin Cities to get more people, especially if you have a more niche sound.

The shoot was interesting and fun, but i do need to learn to communicate with models better and be more willing to shoot longer. I tend to let them go nuts, and shoot away, and when i see i have a handful of good shots i let them go. I think this is from doing more event, nature and macro photography, it's a different mind set where things happen and you have to capture it and can't ask them to repeat it or tell them what to do. I also have a hard time thinking up poses for the models to do or describing to them what i'm thinking even. Then i get nervous, and that never helps.

One of the organizers mentioned how there are so many events down there that it's not seeming to be worth it anymore. Sad as i'm only now getting into it, and there rarely seems to be anything like that up here. There are plenty of meetups, but most are like photo walks, and things like that. Not model shoots, with awesome body painters and such. Oh well, now that i'm getting better, i just have to focus and come up with ideas and build my own team and shoots.

Side note of interest to me, it seemed every photographer there had an iPad, with their portfolios and an awesome app that has model and other releases on it. Peer pressure finally won out, and now i have my own iPad. Now to stick all my photos on it and all that jazz. I'm such a techno-whore (only techno? lol).

So that's the thrilling story of my weekend. Try to contain your excitement. The pictures will be up on my flickr as soon as i go through them and do all the stuff needed. I do think i am getting better, and really like a lot of them. Hopefully so will others.