Walking with Light

Walking with Light

WALKING WITH LIGHT

By the start of the summer of 2020 I had concluded that equine photography was not going to happen which frustrated me greatly, but looking at the bigger picture and how the pandemic has affected people across the globe, it quickly refocused my mind.

Despite the impact of the pandemic in relation to my equine photography, I decided to to use this year to try out some new lighting ideas using minimum equipment. So, every time Fran and I went walking, I would take the kit below, it’s been a personal project really, I just wanted to see what I could do I with limited kit, in relation to location lighting.

Godox AD200

Godox AD-S2

Godox EC200

Godox H200R

Manfrotto Nano Pole Stand

Manfrotto Tilt Flash Shoe

MagMod Creative Gels Set

Sometimes I leave Godox H200R and the Godox EC200 at home, but the images displayed in this blog are all taken using the kit listed above.

Most weekends we go walking in either the Peak district or in Nidderdale although with some of the lockdown restrictions we have had some mini local adventures too.

In September we decided to drive up into Cumbria for a few days break in the camper can to visit Eden Valley, I had heard about two places that interested me called Lacy’s Cave and Coombs Wood.

Lacy’s Caves are a series of 5 chambers in the red sandstone cliff of River Eden, just north of Little Salkeld, Cumbria, England, near Nunnery, at grid reference NY564383. They are named after Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Lacy of Salkeld Hall, who commissioned their carving in the 18th century. The true purpose as to why the caves were carved remains unknown. However, the caves were used by Lacy for entertaining guests and the area was originally planted with ornamental gardens.

The length of the walk is 7km (4.5 miles) and the loop takes in Little Salkeld, Lacy’s Caves, St Michael’s Church, Long Meg stone circle, Little Salkeld a water mill and takes about 3 hours. You can download a PDF of the walk Here

We also went to Coombs Wood to look for the rock carvings and the carved poem, but were unable to locate them, although the river level was probably too high to gain access to the area where they are. So, we will have to return again sometime.

Closer to home there is a place we often visit on the outskirts of Sheffield called Warncliffe Crags. From Finkle Street you can walk along part of the old railway track through mixed woodland or take one of the tracks or paths along the edge of the crags and heath land, the area is very diverse and despite being close to Sheffield, it can feel like you are miles away.

 Practicing outdoor portrait ideas with Fran, using just one very portable lighting setup, mixing hard and ambient light

In October Fran & I were lucky to get away to the Breckon Beacons, we spent a week on the Brec and Mon Canal, I took the same lighting kit with me and created these images.

This year I have purchased a Godox AD300 pro to replace my old Godox 360, so in 2021 I plan on testing the AD300 pro together with some Godox mount modifiers I have purchased during 2020. I think the Godox AD300 pro is going to be a really versatile location lighting setup as it had more power than just one AD200, but the form factor of the AD300 is like a lens, so easily transportable

Online Learning Platforms for Photography & Lighting Are They Worth Paying For?

Online Learning Platforms for Photography & Lighting Are They Worth Paying For?

Copyright of the above image belongs to Michael Clark. I have posted this image on this blog to make people aware of his class “Michael Clark Location Lighting For The Outdoor Photographer” which is availble on CreativeLive. A linkdirect is available at the bottom of this blog. I receive no payment or benefit in kind in promoting this class, I just thought others may find it informative.

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to learn photography and lighting, there were three main options, read a book, sign up at night school / college, or attend a workshop. The internet has enabled numerous online learning platforms the ability to deliver learning to any digital device where ever you might be and at whatever time you choose, which I think is great.

The online photography training market has boomed in recent years and almost everyone is wanting you to subscribe, receive special bonus material, or take advantage of their once in a lifetime limited offer, the problem is separating the great from the average.  Over the past eight years, I have accessed CreativeLive, Linda (now Linkedin) KelbyOne and a host of other online videos, some have delivered very good learning opportunities and others not so good, which is why I decided to right this blog.

Visit any online learning platform in relation to photography and type in lighting and virtually everything will be either, portrait, wedding or family related, but if you want something specific in relation to lighting, you will probably find that the choices quickly diminish rapidly.  I have been looking to improve my lighting knowledge and skills, especially for location lighting in relation to outdoor pursuits and leisure activities, so when I came across Michael Clark’s “Location Lighting For The Outdoor Photographer” on CreativeLive, my initial thoughts were, that might be worth buying. I decided to look through some of Michael Clark’s work and managed to find a few YouTube clips and as a result decided to pay for the class on CreativeLive.  

 

The full set of classes cost me $10, so that works out at roughly £8,  you can also download each of the classes, which is another reason why I thought, I would take a punt.When you pay for the class you will also find some PDF’s that come with the class. Personally, I think the class is worth $10, just to listen to Michael Clark talk about what equipment he uses and why. The course is not designed for people with no lighting knowledge at all and it won’t make you a lighting Jedi Knight either, but it is certainly one of the more unique classes on CreativeLive, or any online learning platform, but you will have to watch it for yourself.

Like everythingg in life, you pays your moneny and you make your choices, so only you can determine if online learning platforms are worth paying for.

 

Michael Clark Location Lighting For The Outdoor Photographer Link

The Godox AD300 Pro & Why I Think It’s The Ideal Portable Light

The Godox AD300 Pro & Why I Think It’s The Ideal Portable Light

The Godox AD300 Pro & Why I Think It’s The Ideal Portable Flash.

In 2014 I purchased a Godox 180 flash as I was really becoming interested in Off Camera flash and it’s potential. From 2014 onwards, every flash I have purchased has been Godox. I cannot remember when I purchased the AD360ll with TTL, but it opened a new door in relation to using flash and when the AD200 arrived I was hooked, no wires, no battery packs and being able to combine two AD200’s via the AD-B2 head, I could have 400ws of power by paring two AD200’s.

As I have a Paul C Buff Einstein 640, The Godox AD600 or the pro version never really appealed to me, yes, the Einstein cannot do HSS or TTL, but if I ever need 600ws I can make do using a manual flash, but when the Godox AD300 Pro was announced earlier this year, it caught my attention for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s size in relation to power ratio without any leads or external battery packs and the Godox mount, more on that later.

For my uses the Godox AD300 is an ideal light for location work as that extra half a stop of light is a big deal to me, yes, I know I can move the light in closer, but what if you can’t or don’t wont to?

 As my lighting experience and knowledge have grown, I have become particularly interested in hard light and up until now most of the long throw reflectors I have used have a Bowens mount, which means using the Godox S Bracket.

Back to the Godox mount on the AD300 pro, this is where I think the form factor of the AD300 pro and the extra half stop are really useful. For me personally if I can reduce the amount of kit I have to carry, I can also reduce the weight, I am also less liable to forget something. Previously if I choose to walk into a location off the beaten track, I would really notice the extra weight of the kit I carried.

I have just received the Godox AD-R12 Long Focus Reflector for the Godox mount on the AD300 pro and from the initial tests I have conducted with it, it’s ideal for my needs. No longer do I need to carry the S bracket or the newer S2 bracket in order to mount a reflector to throw light further and the extra half a stop of light can make a real difference. Moreover, the AD-12 is smaller and lighter too.        

Just like many of the other Wistro flashes you can see the T.1 flash durations that can be turned on via the custom functions on the AD300 Pro, which are then displayed on the back the LCD which is useful for determining how well the flash can freeze motion at a given power setting listed below.

1/256 : 1/12,000
1/128: 1/9460
1/64: 1/7660
1/32: 1/5850
1/16: 1/4400
⅛: 1/2810
¼: 1/1670
½: 1/805
1/1: 1/280

Currently there is little info on the web in relation to the Godox AD300 pro and the Godox AD-R12 Long Focus Reflector, so I will be adding a blog, some video and images very soon.

 

MagBounce & Green Lanes

MagBounce & Green Lanes

The Coronavirus is having an effect on everyone and everything so lots of people are finding themselves with more time on their hands, which could be a good or bad thing depending on one’s financial circumstances. Before the Covid19 crisis, distance and travel were not an issue, it is perhaps only now that we are missing the ability to where and when we desire. I personally am trying to keep my photographic brain active even if we are confined to our local area, although this has led to Fran & I discovering some beautiful local Green Lanes and making the most of our one form of exercise a day. I don’t always take a camera with me on these little escapes from the house, but I decided to revisit one of Green Lane we have discovered and take a flash, a Magbounce and a very small and portable light stand on the walk and take a few images whilst out walking keeping kit lighting kit as portable and light as possible. As my main focus of photography work is equestrian and lifestyle photography, I mainly use C Stands for my lighting, so keeping kit light and ultra-portable is not so important. I think the last wedding we photographed was about three years ago and used to bounce flash and or use a reflector. We had a wedding booked for July, but since the lockdown, this has now been cancelled. However, I had planned on using some very portable lighting kit during the wedding (Magbounce & Magsphere) as wedding are fast paced small and light becomes a priority. I have had some Magmod kit for a few years now and to be honest it rarely gets used, but I have never owned or used the Magbounce, so decided to give it a try prior to the wedding we did have booked before it was cancelled. I purchased the Magbounce just before the Coronavirus pandemic, as my intention was to spend the spring and early summer playing around with it and see what was possible with it, yes you can bounce light off of walls and ceilings, but I was curious as to what the Magbounce could do where there were no wall or ceilings, it was the portability that really appealed to me. As far a testing out the Magbounce out fully, it’s still early days, but for a really small portable lighting mod, so far, it’s growing on me. Will the Magbounce replace the lighting mods I use for equine and lifestyle off camera flash? No, it won’t, but I do intend on trying out some new ideas and for locations where there are no walls or ceilings and I want ultra-portability, this little lighting mod does have a lot of potential.
Embracing Hard Light

Embracing Hard Light

Soft, shadowless light has become the general direction that a lot of portrait photographers take, attaching fast lenses to their cameras, opening up the aperture as wide as their lenses will go, in order to blur everything behind the subject and I have been just as guilty of this technique myself.

I recently I watched Damien Lovegrove’s Lumen video that makes use of Godox Equipment and in particular, hard light. What really grabbed my attention apart from his images, was the limited amount of gear he used to produce images with so much impact, which got me thinking about embracing hard light, rather than steering clear of it.

I have been using Godox equipment with various softboxes and umbrellas for location shoots for just over three years now and although I am far from being a master of lighting, I am always looking to develop new skills and ideas in relation to lighting.

This weekend I decided to experiment with the Godox kit that I have and see what I could produce using hard light instead of using the light modifiers I normally use, so kindly Fran agreed to leaving her camera in her bag, so that I could experiment with hard light on her and stand around whilst I moved a light stand from one location to the next.


Godox AD200 with 5″ reflector

For much of the Lumen video, Damien uses 2 lights and two light stands, he does use a few lighting modifiers, but for the majority of the shoots that he walks through, he is using either 5” or 7” reflectors, so his kit is minimal. Apart from uniqueness of the hard-light images Damien produces, what really appeals to me is the simplicity and the reduction of the amount equipment he uses. Lighting modifier’s all have to be packed and carried to locations, so the idea of creating more edgy images with limited kit, is really appealing for numerous reasons. I also thought that learning to make use of hard light will also enable me to offer something different from my current equine work.

I am used to scouting out interesting backgrounds for horse portraits where I can make use of a shallow depth of field, but I decided to set myself a challenge, not to blur out backgrounds, so from the outset I would doing something different.
Damien takes no longer than 10 minuets for the placement of his lights to create dramatic location portraits, which is down to a combination of his experience, knowledge and skills, but also his creativeness as a very talented photographer. However, it took me a little longer, “but hey, we all have to start somewhere in terms of learning”.

I think the first thing I experienced and learned is that the placement of your lighting with hard light is more critical than when I have used larger modifier’s and made use softer light.
As I was not intending to blur the backgrounds, I thought I would try using different focal lengths and apertures to my normal 135mm to 200mm at f/2 to f/2.8, so the next thing I started noticing were textures and shadows, which I had up until experimenting with hard light overlooked.

There are numerous resources on the web that talk about soft and hard light, but when you start exploring and playing with soft and hard light, you start noticing many differences that you may have overlooked or even be aware of. By exploring and embracing the differences of hard and soft light, it is enabling me to further develop a better understanding of light and how it can be applied to create different types and styles of images. Playing with hard-light is rewarding and enjoyable no matter how many mistakes I make and I intend to keep practicing and learning.

Personally I think the Lumen video by Damien Lovegrove and his team provides more than just a look at how he creates images using hard light, it gets you to think about trying and doing things differently with light, and that’s what good education should do, inspire you to learn and try new things.

You can find out more about Damien Lovegrove and his training videos via the link below.

https://lovegroveadventures.com/training-videos/

Unique Flash Workshop Opportunities

Unique Flash Workshop Opportunities

Despite the advances in technology you cannot learn everything online. We think we have a unique  way to develop new skills in relation to off camera flash, so If you feel that your photography skills or creative expression have hit a wall, why not join us on a Get Out & Learn Workshop and try photographing Red Squirrels with flash?

Due to the location and uniqueness of photographing Red Squirrels with flash, I only facilitate this workshop with a maximum of two people. I have two meet up locations: Hawes & Ribble Head. The duration of the workshop is a maximum of three hours and the cost is £40 per person.

Want to learn more https://k2photographic.com/get-out-learn/?et_fb=1&PageSpeed=off

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