Archive for the Inspirations Category

Inspirations – Olga and Boris

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , on November 27, 2011 by sabrina

© Olga and Boris

Everything that is created on the Earth–fine, unique and surprising–is created by nature. Or God. It seems to us that when the potter molds an amphora from clay, he sees before himself such image. We have tried to “mold” an amphora by means of a photo. And it seems to us that it has turned out. ~ Olga and Boris


Inspirations – Quavondo

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , on November 23, 2011 by sabrina

© Quavondo

This image was taken during a photo shoot for Grove last year.  They specialize in making bamboo cases for iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and bamboo art. When they approached me, they said that they wanted to mix fashion with their products. They didn’t want the stereotypical image of a person using the product like a lifestyle ad. They very laid back and put their full trust in me and told me that it was at my discretion. This shot was taken towards the end of the shoot. What I envisioned for this shot was the attraction between these two, the dark case and the light case. She’s got a hold of his tie and pulling him towards her. Her energy is so great that his whole body is drawn to hers. (He didn’t have a jacket, so I let him borrow the one I was wearing.)

If you’re interested in how I lit this photo, I’m finishing a book that I’m writing on photography lighting techniques and this photo is one of the photos featured in it. When I started out my career, I searched high and low for a lighting book that would teach me how to light in different situations. I would pick up a book and be all excited, only to find that the sample images inside are crappy and sometimes outdated. Knowing and understanding lighting is one thing, but to actually apply it and creating a pretty image is a whole different beast. So I’m at a point in my career where I feel I can write the book that I’ve always wanted and am excited to share it with you all. The book should be available around Christmas time. You can follow me on my blog where I’ll announce it. Or send me an email to add you to an email notification. Thanks for the support and happy shooting! ~ Quavondo

Inspirations – Bluebell Sunrise by Antony Spencer

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , on November 20, 2011 by sabrina

© Antony Spencer

The image was made in a Beech woodland in the U.K in an area it has taken me a few years to locate. I would walk through these vast woodlands each spring trying desperately to locate a section where the forest floor was uncluttered, the bluebells were dense providing a decent colourful display and also where the early morning light would break through the trees and illuminate sections whilst leaving others in shadow.

When I finally worked out the location it took another year to to get a subtle mist just to help with the highlights a little also and add to the atmosphere I wanted to create.

The image was made on a canon 1dsmkiii using an old Contax/Yashica mount Zeiss 35-70 lens. The micro contrast of this particular lens is phenomenal, perfect for a detailed image like this.

I absolutely love our British woodlands in the spring when these beautiful colourful bluebells transform the forest floor into a sea of purple and blue. One of the most amazing natural events to capture and one I will continue to work at for many years to come. ~ Antony Spencer

Inspirations – Stefano Ronchi

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , on November 16, 2011 by sabrina

© Stefano Ronchi

I had never managed to photograph a fox.  I have always been fascinated by his being cunning and reserved. I had met her sometimes, a look, a noise, an escape. Just enough time to take up the camera and the fox was already gone to safer places. So I decided to start a photographic safari, I only wanted to take her a picture with her “winter coat” in order to capture the wonderful figure with her most beautiful colors, when the harsh winter weather increases her hair and makes her look like a teddy bear. Early in the morning I put on her trail in the park of the Gran Paradiso. Finally, after six hours of walking, I can see her in the valley that goes back at her lair. I followed her, trying not to scare her. She sees me, but It seems not to have fears and she let me go with her. It was really exciting to share with her two hours, standing three meters away in complete harmony and with deep respect. As a used model lent herself to the objective of the camera and I could photograph her in all possible ways. Unfortunately the light was too direct, with the sun that drew her silhouette, making silver her features.  This is why I chose to underexpose the photograph so that the features were the only visible part. When I returned home I only exacerbated the part in “black” in post-production getting this result. ~ Stefano Ronchi

Inspirations – The Victorian Printer by Phil Morgan

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , on November 13, 2011 by sabrina

© Phil Morgan

Canon 5D II with a 17-40 L lens @ 26mm.  1/50 sec @ f/4. ISO 400

This image was taken at Blists Hill Victorian village, in Ironbridge (Shropshire UK) It’s an amazing place, recreated exactly as it would have been in the Victorian Era. I chose a slightly unconventional lens for portraiture here, due to the tight confines of the shop. I do however like the effect the wide angle lens has had on the foreground printing plate, and his hands in particular. Shot wide open at F4, in attempt to make the printer ‘pop’ from the background. The shot was composed to have the printer fairly dominant in the scene, while still allowing the viewer to see the ‘tools of the trade’ in the background. I am fairly pleased with the way that the final image turned out. The image was initially processed from the raw file in Adobe camera raw, and finished off in Photoshop. The mono conversion was carried out with Nik Silver Efex, which I find a superb piece of software. ~ Phil Morgan

Inspirations – New Forest by David Baker

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , on November 9, 2011 by sabrina

© David Baker

Canon 5D II with a 24mm TS-E II 0.6 secs @ f/11 with a 0.3 Lee ND grad

I wanted to capture a typical New Forest scene at around dawn. The weather forecast was for mist/fog and I knew that if it appeared, it would linger at a favourite location in the Forest due primarily to the depression of the land.

It’s a typical forest scene because of the New Forest pony (there are usually at least two or three Forest ponies here at around sunrise), the singular tree and the heathland. I was fortunate that this pony stopped where s/he did. The autumn colour in the heath was just about to show but I like the muted palette due to the mist. At this time of day it’s a peaceful place. ~ David Baker

Inspirations – Budding 2 by Katarina Fagerstrom Levring

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , on November 2, 2011 by sabrina

© Katarina Fagerstrom Levring

1/100 sec., f/0.0, ISO 160, shutter prio, spot metering mode
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Lensbaby Composer (50 mm) with  double glass optics and macro filters

Using flowers as my main motif and creating abstractions of them has made me realize that I had totally missed out on how sensual they could be. That is before I used the camera as my first creative tool of choice. During the time I have worked this way it has shown that I seem to have a natural talent to make the most out of this special trait in their personalities. I do see each flower as a personality, most often a female and as I spend sometimes several months with each species (the Iris for example) I’ve also learned that there is so much more to discover than what first meets the eye, with each flower. A budding tulip reminded me of how vulnerable one can be in the beginning of say a relationship, with a partner, emotionally and sexually or for that matter, the vulnerability in a beginning artist, hoping to flourish in her medium. ~ Katarina Fagerstrom Levring

Inspirations – Art Lionse

Posted in Inspirations with tags , on October 30, 2011 by sabrina

© Art Lionse

5DII + EF24-105mm f/4L @ 82mm; hand held 1/1000 – f/4  –  ISO800

This picture taken during a short walk in the hills next to Nice, France. I wanted to hike light so I only took my walk-around lens (24-105mm) and did not pick my tripod. This was a time (June) when umbellifers were blooming. Many delightful varieties and shapes where visible; this partly bloomed one showed wonderful geometry typical of umbellifers. The goal of the shot was to highlight the geometry/symmetry and 3D structure, trying to make it more abstract than vegetal. Since I did not have my tripod and the day was windy, I selected settings to allow for high shutter speed to avoid motion blurr. I also wanted to show the 3D of the flower so selected the max aperture of the lens to make a graded bokeh. Metering on the bright top flowers allowed for a dark background and better separation of the flower umbel (the flower was sitting on a long stem which also helped darkening the background).

While taking the picture I thought I was missing my macro lens, but was quite happy with the result given by the zoom lens at max aperture.

Post-processing : increased the blacks with curves in LR3 (for darker background); sharpening in PS CS5 using low pass filter. ~ Art Lionse

Inspirations – Cantus Arcticus by Jared Lim

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , on October 26, 2011 by sabrina

© Jared Lim

I came across by chance “Concerto for Birds” also known as Cantus Arcticus, Op. 61 (an orchestral composition by the Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara written in 1972) in youtube and fell in love with the music. It gave me inspiration to create something of the same title or concept. I like to create something fun, not a too serious image.

I was in Moscow last month, the day when I arrived, it was a beautiful day with the perfect “poofy” clouds all over the sky! I spotted two buildings outside my window with lines connecting them. However, there weren’t many birds, just 2 or 3. I took a couple of shots because the sky was too great to give it a miss. The next day early morning, I was awakened by the birds chirping! Lots of black birds on the lines! I took a couple of shots at different focal length. The final image is a composite of the several shots, the whimsical clouds, the lines and the birds. I spent a lot of time layering and arranging  the lines and birds since I wanted it to look chaotically organised like a music sheet yet with identifiable musical ” notes”. ~ Jared Lim

Inspirations – Gary Mitchell

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , , on October 23, 2011 by sabrina

© Gary Mitchell

This image of Adrina among the roots was made with my Canon 50D and 16-35 2.8 back in June of 2009. It was f8 at 1/100. Sounds great, right? Well, it’s also shot at 1600 ISO, because just prior to arriving at this location, the model and I had been trying to shoot in an abandoned space that was very dark. So I’d cranked up the ISO to try to get a workable shutter speed under those conditions — then forgot to adjust it back to my usual 160 or 320 before resuming outdoor shooting. For various reasons, a tripod was not practical for this location, so the high ISO actually worked out well. It did allow me to shoot at a an optimal aperture for sharpness and depth of field, plus a high enough shutter speed to get very good sharpness hand-held, so a little noise is a trade-off I can live with. I’ve exhibited a 16×20 inch print of this image and the noise does not detract in my opinion — being properly exposed and not having heavy shadow or solid areas makes noise less of an issue. Converting to monochrome in Lightroom, adding a little vignette, and some secret herbs and spices completed the picture. I frequently shoot RAW with monochrome picture style because it gives me a good preview of what the image will look like in B&W, which is pretty much my “native language” when it comes to photography. Of course, the RAW file gives me the option to use color when an image calls for it.

About the image, we were in pursuit of a purported waterfall in an area south of Dayton, Ohio, but I’d not had a chance to scout this location ahead of time. So it wasn’t until we were on the scene after a 20 minute walk into the woods that we saw the stream was nearly dry, and nothing even resembling falls in sight. But the roots of these two trees on the shore of the stream bed provided a lot of visual interest and possibilities. Adrina tried some poses in the little cubby hole on the right side of the trees — I like those shots, but finding the spot where she could stretch out among the roots was a clear winner. As serene as this image looks, she was contending with the usual spiders and insects, while still managing to look graceful. We worked the scene a bit more, as well as some other spots near there before we headed back to the car, but I was confident that this frame would be the standout from that location. ~ Gary Mitchell