Monday, May 31, 2010

High Water

High WaterII

We have been struck by a prolonged bout of rain here in NZ. The whole country has copped it, but there has been a lot of flooding in Eastern and Northern Otago. Not great conditions to go out in, but there are still pictures to be made, so I forced myself off the couch to go and get some just to prove I could.

I found a bunch of contractors dealing with a little bit of surface flooding in the city and staked them out for a while, hoping for a little drama but to be honest, there was just a lot of talking and pointing going on. In wet weather, patterns and reflections in the water are always a good standby, so I got something from the raindrops on the water and the reflection of their truck lights before heading home to the fire. The light was poor, and the rain was miserable (light rather than torrential and exciting) so I found the challenge of making a decent shot quite instructive.

Subsequently, I have ordered a new Matin rain jacket for my camera, and a good waterproof hat.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Collaborative efforts

I just love this internet thing.  It lets us collaborate around the globe, almost instantly.  I want to draw your attention to one of my other collaborators, a man from Chicago (one of my favourite cities) who goes by the title Professor Kliq.  I've used his music for slide shows of my pictures before.  Now I'm happy to say that we're going to be collaborating on a TV series I'll be writing.  Right now I'm digging his "Scientific Method II" album. 

The Professor releases much of his stuff via a creative commons licence, free to download from his website.  Do yourself a favour and get some before he's really huge and only Peter Jackson can afford him.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Sweeney

I want to welcome a great new talent to the blogosphere: Nik Sweeney.  When I say new, that's only to blogospace.  Nik and I have played music together, and not only is he a subtle, dynamic and thoughtful drummer, he's a true visual branding talent.  Now that he's started The Deep End blog, I expect him to achieve guru status within a couple of posts.  If you're interested in the magic, science and power of visual communication, I commend his wit and wisdom to you.  There'll be a permanent link on my blogroll to the right.

Jules Lund on Tourism New Zealand

OK, here's the link to the finished TNZ promotion.  You can see all the clips of our photour of the lower South Island, and some of the pictures we all took along the way.  Enjoy!

Tourism New Zealand

I'm considering signing up for a new TV project that could keep me pretty busy for a few months.  Much as I love photography and am pretty much over TV employment, it's about a subject close to my heart and a way to earn money for more camera equipment.  I'll know more after a meeting this week but am going to do my best not to let it impact on what I'm doing here.  Stay tuned.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Otago Peninsula to Stewart Island

Here's the second leg of the Jules Lund Photour.  Directed by the fabulous Anna Thomas, music from   Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Keeping Dry On The Cheap

I'll admit it, I'm parsimonious.  Canny.  Tight-fisted.  Cheap.  So while I was helping Mrs C. pack about two hundred bags for a confernce recently, I saw an opportunity.  Each bag came individually wrapped in plastic which I was already feeling guilty about having to bin.  But inside the packaging was something I could recycle: three or four small packets of silica gel.  Not much in itself, but when you collect about 700 of the things, you've got a decent pile.

Unfortunately the sugar-sachet sized packets are just made of paper and rupture easily, so it's impractical to just dump a handful in my camera bag.  To the rescue comes Mrs C with an uwanted pair of pantyhose.  I cut them up, filled 'em with silica packets and hot glued em closed.  Now I've got a bunch of large silica gel sachets to keep my gear nice and arid.  I just have to microwave them now and then to drive the moisture out. 

Saving the planet, one exposure at a time.

The Final Cut

Heather from Tourism Dunedin informed me today that the final cuts of the Jules Lund Photour videos are up at last. Here's number two. Mrs C. says I don't look like a complete geek. I know she's just being nice.

Things are going well for the photography, and I'm about to start a coffee table book on Otago business soon. But just when it looks like I'm out of making science TV, it threatens to pull me back in. Flying to Auckland next week to talk about writing and maybe directing a series. We shall see.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Not a Bad Hair Day


Once upon a time I wouldn't have thought it possible that a bloke like me would write something like this, but I can't believe it's already been a year since the Wella Trend competition.  Happily, the gang at Sliver asked me to shoot their models again, and I was more than happy to do it after learning so much on the job last year.  This time we went for some slightly more elaborate lighting setups, so I was grateful for the help of my mate Mike Thorsen, Mrs C, and young Miss C.  To protect their privacy and  my skin, the C's do not feature in any of my pictures.

Mike T Mike, Alice and model Jacs and model

Since we were shooting in Wall St Mall after hours, we couldn't really set up until just before the models were ready. Our first setup took a lot of tweaking. The plan was to key from high left with a shoot-thru umbrella, fill with an Orbis ring light flash adapter, backlight for rim, and have a flash overhead to create a spot on the floor for a kind of rock star look. Unfortunately, the walkway above was so high we couldn't get the floor spot working in the limited time we had. I also wanted to shoot long with my 70-200mm lens, so the Orbis ring light had to be off camera and out of shot to the left.


We did a couple of pictures with this setup, but I wasn't in love with what it was doing. The dark hair tones were being lost against the black background, and the rimlight tended to either enhance scruffy flyaway hair or make blonde highlights look like reflected light rather than hair colour, so we changed to a plain wall for a backdrop.

The subject lighting was similar, umbrella'd key with the soft light from the Orbis for fill, with a little rim light and a snooted light on the white background. Keeping the key light away from the white background meant it was underexposed to a dark grey and the snoot gave me a nice soft spotlight behind the model.


After the rear spot, I decided to change to a gobo - some material to 'go between' the flash and wall and create a more complex shadow. I was thinking maybe a crystal jug of water to refract the light, or a potted plant, but all we had on hand was some stools and mic cables. They kind of worked in a pinch, but with a little more care we could have got something better working.

Model, hair designer and VAL The Gobo revealed

Being so focused on creating the lighting meant I didn't get to build the rapport I'd have liked with our models, and I'm not 100% satisfied with the job I actually did of lighting the hair. For the close ups I should have shot with my 50mm and got that ringlight on the camera or got a gridded flash onto the unlit portion, but faffing around with that first setup made me feel the time pressure.  Next time I'll take a good look at each style beforehand and think about the lighting scheme that best suits it. But I'm sure Kylie, Jaqs, Clay and Alice will be pretty happy with what we got here. As usual, I learned a lot and made another step forward.

Feather lashes

Monday, May 3, 2010

Is Bigger Better?

You tell me.  I've played around with my blog template to allow larger images to display. 

Little Shag

I've also been playing with my new Canon 2x extender II.  On the end of my 70-200mm 2.8 L IS lens, it gets me to 400mm, which is really the minimum focal length you need for wild birds, unless you plan to spend a lot of time stalking and sitting in hides.  I popped down to the harbour the other day and took some shots of the shags that hang out at the Sea Scout boatshed.  I used to dislike shags.  I thought they were reptilian with those snake-like necks, but now I think they're rather handsome birds.  There's no denying they're characters.

The extender is a little soft wide open, but gives nice results from f/8 to f/16.  The day I shot this was pretty dark, so I had the ISO cranked up to 1600 creating a bit of grain but I'm fairly happy and looking forward to what else I can get with my lens and extender combo.