OK, please don't panic if you see blank pictures on some pages. Some of my links accidentally got broken while I was adjusting my Lightroom Flickr export settings. It's going to take me a little while to fix them all again, so thanks for your patience while I get that sorted.
Meanwhile, as well as working on mastering that new Macro lens, I've been doing more commercial work thanks to some referrals by my good friend and bandmate Lindsay Somerville of The Big Picture. Last week involved a fun and cowpat-filled day at Inchclutha near Balclutha.
I'd got a call from Janet Wright at Ravensdown about popping down there to get some shots of Paul and Joanne Barton in a paddock they'd been testing a new fertiliser in. The forecast was for grey skies, so I thought I might be doing some cross lighting from the rear for the group shots of them and Ravensdown rep Mark Crawford, just to give things a little lighting effect to match the scientific element of the subject. As it was, the sun was shining, so I used that and my Canon 580EXII on half power to cross light.
Morning milking done, we had a little time to relax and try a few different angles. Paul, Joanne and Mark were very good sports, and I think we all had some fun.
Posing in the grass done, the rest of the brief called for some general farm shots - with a welcome 'feel free to get creative' into the bargain, so I began with the farm labourers and their office. I made sure to get down nice and low to get plenty of grass in and make the most of that blue sky.
The DoF my new 24-70mm 2.8 L delivered was really cool. I had my circular polariser and UV filters stacked on it at times to give me the natural vignette effect.
I used the 70-200mm 2.8 L for the longer shots. The two lenses make a great working combo for most commercial jobs and having the 7D and 5DII means I don't even need to stop and swap lenses.
Sometimes it's hard to believe, but once you get as far south as Balclutha and into Southland, the grass really does become this intense green. It's got to be a combination of the climate, the soil and the light down there.
As usual, there were many lessons learned that I can share. The cross lighting worked on the whole, but composing the trio the way I wanted gave me some shadow issues I'd resolve next time with some on-axis flash. The time of day and position of the livestock meant I couldn't quite get the rim-looking cross light I wanted, but that would have been doable on a duller day. Tempting to add a contrasting gel to one strobe to see how that works. I didn't want to scare the cows with my flash, but next time I'd try adding a little fill once I got some good unlit shots.
All in all, not a bad day at the office. Best of all, Janet's happy with the pictures she got. Young Miss C is now begging me to take her back and show her some of Paul and Joanne's calves. I might just have to arrange that.