Tuesday, May 07, 2013

ANNOUNCEMENT - Studio lighting photographic workshop in June

20 May 2013 - ONLY 3 spaces left!!!

I will be leading a three day workshop at WICE, Paris, France in June, 2013

Here are the details:

SU051 Dramatic Studio Photography (3 Sessions)

  • WICE Office, 75015
  • 6


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:
  • €120.00 special through May 26th

    Full registration fee starts May 27th €125.00

June 5, 12, 19
1pm - 4pm
Photographers often use live subjects posed in a studio where light can be carefully controlled to create wonderful images.

In this three day workshop we will learn about studio lighting and how we can use strobes to create the kinds of images that Old Masters used to paint.  We will take examples of Old Masters art, reverse engineer them to understand the kinds of light they used, and then, using a live model, make classically lit photographic images.

Instructor: Christopher Mark Perez is an internationally published photographer (LensWork, PhotoLife, Gimp, and SilverShotz Magazines, as well as several books of Steampunk creations) and competition winner (including The Strobist, and The Center for Fine Art Photography). He is a retired software engineering manager who recently moved with his wife to Paris to connect with creative people in the pursuit of making a few more fine images.

Requirements: Camera with either a "hot shoe" to hold a strobe radio transmitter or a PC connection for a flash sync cord, and a lens capable of a 50mm focal length (full frame equivalent).

Monday, May 06, 2013

Tale of Two Lenses...

I was ready to take two Sony NEX5 cameras with two different lenses with me on a trip my wife and I recently made to Spain.

All was going well until I remembered I needed to pack my wife's notebook computer in my bag.  I needed to jettison one of the cameras.  The question was, which one went and which one stayed home?

I was intrigued by David Hobby's recent work in Cuba.  In an age of ultra-flexible camera systems, including having the ability to change lenses and zoom lenses that provide outstanding resolution, I thought David's choice of camera to be a rather brave move on his part.  He took a new Fuji X100S.  That's it.  It's fixed lens camera with a focal length full frame equivalent of 35mm's.

Some of us Old Dogs remember a time when some of the finest images ever made came from a single camera and single lens kit.  Henri Cartier-Bresson is an iconic example of how powerful the approach can be.  His work has, to my mind, easily stood the test of time and is a benchmark against which other should be measured.

My choice of cameras was between a very flexible Sony NEX5/18-200SEL combination or a one camera/one lens setup with a Nikon 28mm f/3.5 PC (perspective control) lens mounted on an NEX.  The two extreme approaches might seem strange, but here was my thinking.  The superzoom camera system would provide great flexibility.  Whatever happened, I should be able to work with it.  In contrast, the 28mm PC system would give me the opportunity to keep vertical lines in a building parallel.  I don't like "keystone" effects that come from pointing a camera lens up and Girona, Spain has a lot of old buildings and hill climbing pathways.

One of the things I know after testing camera systems and optics for many years is that the current crop of camera sensors are the limiting factor to image resolution.  Said another way, a properly designed and manufactured lens will easily out resolve the sensor.  In the vast majority of cases, image sharpness is not determined by the lens.  Even when using cheap built to cost "kit" lenses.

I read an article yesterday that illustrated this point quite clearly.  Ever since I started making photographs, Leica has been the ne plus ultra of 35mm photography.  The lenses and cameras were supposedly the best to be had.  They certainly cost a fortune and, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.  Right?  And the difference in quality could be seen in the final result.  Right?  Wrong.  And I've known this for a long time.  This understanding, again, stemmed from my camera/lens testing.

In terms of absolute image quality, I was comfortable taking either Sony.  It remained a simple matter of deciding which image making approach to take.  I made my choice and finished packing the bag just before leaving the appartement.

After making the journey south, I realized I'd made a mistake.  I should have packed the camera with the perspective control optic.  The old city was quite vertical and very very interesting.  I knew I could make some good images with the superzoom kit, but, it wouldn't have been the best approach.

I must be getting old.  My brain must be "elsewhere."  Memory loss is... um... where was I?

As I unpacked my bag I reached for the camera and instantly realized I had brought the right setup.  The 28mm Nikkor had come with me after all.

When we returned home I had to laugh.  There sat the NEX5/18-200SEL on the shelf.  It was right where I'd left it when I decided I needed to be brave, just like David Hobby, and to take the one camera/one lens combination.