Posts Tagged ‘70-200’

Generally you can make portraits it two destinations. One is studio and the second one is everywhere else. In studio you have total control. You can change type of light, direction, power, aperture, ISO and other stuff. Images can be ruined just by you. I enjoy more shooting outside. Not everywhere, I don’t like shooting in pubs and houses, but I love shooting in nature.

With this type of portraits you can have huge trouble with light. We can divide light to 4 groups. The most important are hard light and soft light. Soft light is easy to use and you can have soft light, when there are a lot of clouds outside. They are like a huge softbox and give you great light. Just point your model’s face a bit up to fill shadows under eyes so you won’t get the racoon eyes.

But what about hard light? Well you can use diffusers to softer your light. But when you don’t have anybody who could help you? Shoot into the light. Position your model between the sun and you. This will have two effects. First will be beautiful soft light on model’s face and second will be something we call rim light. But be aware, there will be huge differences in exposures on model’s face and sky.

And here is another example, this time with sky behind models. As you can see, the sky is a lot brighter than faces and I had to use flash to compensate or just shoot for their faces. But it is also a nice portrait 🙂

Double Portrait

Hi, some time ago I was shooting some portraits as I mentioned in my article. Since that time I processed some photos, one of my favorite and another 5 or 6 for my cousins, they posed me as models. The first portrait is really cool and I was looking forward to process it, here you can check out the final result.

Today I processed mostly in Photoshop portrait of my second cousin. I won’t tell you how I processed it because I might do another post about it … or video might be better 🙂 But anyway, here is the final image of Pavla 🙂


Pavla - Photo taken with Canon EOS 450D/Rebel XSi, Canon EF 28-70mm @53mm, ISO100, f/8, 1/200s

OK, so after some time processing in Lightroom and Photoshop and few episodes of Gilmore Girls I finally finished the first favorite portrait. In this post I’ll tell you all the settings I used in the camera and lighting. Of course I’ll show you a small drawing with light to know where it was, in what position was model and where I was shooting from.


Portrait Setup

Here you can see the basic setup. I bought for this event a 32″ shoot-thru umbrella. Why that small size umbrella? Well to be honest I with this type of umbrella you can get it very close to your subject and my 430 EX II isn’t powerfull enought to light the whole umbrella, it has a bit problems even with my 32″. Yeah and BTW, this umbrella is made by Lastolite, I wanted some quality product. Flash was setuped manually at 1/8 power and this all was mounted on my second tripod, the Hama Star 62.

I was shooting with my Canon 28-70. Great lens for portraits because you can get wide shot and than zoom in for head shot. My favorite 70-200 lens had not been used so much as I wanted to but 28-70 is also great lens, a bit old but very, very sharp. My 450D was setuped at ISO 200, 1/200s and f/5.6. Lens was zoomed in @53mm. Here is the final shot, hope you like it!




The Infinite Road Uncorrected

Hi to all. During my exam period at the university I didn’t pass throught one exam and I’m waiting for second term. This term is planned on February 1st and my last exam was taken on January 17th. So this whole time I’m at home having nothing to do, because most of my friends are in Prague or spread around whole republic and, Slovakia, Russia, USA, UK, Austria, Australia and more countries around the world. So the only way how to keep in touch with them is using Social Network. Also because the bad weather I didn’t go out and make some pictures but today everything changed! 🙂

HDR from the Walk, Unprocessed

The temperature was quite good, about 0°C (32°F), no rain, no snow but just the sky wasn’t anything interesting. To be honest the sky was just one huge plane of grey color mixed sometimes with darker and lighter grey. And I wanted to go out in these conditions and shoot landscapes? Yes, not nature but landscapes!? I really had to be crazy ….

But really, the tip for today, and not just for today is simple. If the sky doesn’t look good, don’t put it into the scene. It is simple and effective. At least you won’t have that boring plane of grey color on the top of your images. Also sometimes this can help and you can use it to your advantage. With this plane made by clouds you get a free extra super large softbox and that is cool for portraits. This can be the plan B when weather isn’t so great outside.

In the begining of the post I put two images, both weren’t finished. The Infinite Road isn’t bad at all, but the white balance is absolutely somewhere else than it should be and with the HDR you can see a really bad blue tint. Here are the final images. For the road I used only Lightroom 3 to process it, for the HDR I had to jump into Photoshop, set black, white and grey point using curves and than I used a plug-in. The secret ingredience … Nik Software Color Efex and it’s Brillance/Warmth preset. Hope you’ll enjoy them.

The Infinite Road Processed

HDR from the Walk Processed

OK so after some time I’ve decided to make my own first “pro looking” self-portrait. Those who know me a bit know I’m interested in contrasts and drama. These are things I love in photography and I wanted to have a portrait with these elements included. My little dream finally gone true!

What I used?

For the entire shoot I got away only with my great love – Canon 70-200 f/4, of course mounted on my Rebel XSi/450D from Canon. As a support was used my new Manfrotto tripod and thanks to cable release I didn’t have to use self timer. And the most important element – light? Only my desktop lamp. That was all. Here is the setup on a quick sketch I made for your info.

According the sketch I could expect some dramatic lighting because I moved the light quite close and didn’t have any fill light on the other side. And camera settings? Because I wasn’t using flash I had to push the camera’s ISO up to 400, shoot wide open at f/4 and with 1/60s. This speed is quite OK. I was shooting @70mm and without mine big movement I was able to get really sharp shot.

The trickiest part of this whole thing is focus. Where to focus, how to focus etc. Because I’m using my back AF-ON focus button to focus the camera, I didn’t have to be worried about refocusing between the shots and picking up bad focus point. I didn’t have to switch the lens to manual focus also. But where to focus?

You have to pick your spot where you’ll be or your subject. Then arrange something on that exact spot in vertical and horizontal guideline. You will focus on subject and then lock your focus. Then just get into the same exact spot and using cable release fire the camera 😉 If you want, you can check a video about this done by Mark Wallace and Adorama TV.



Posted: December 14, 2010 in Blog
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You might read on my blog a small article about backing up files and how I trashed my one shoots 😦 The model posed for me for free, well just for photos. When I came from the location I put all the photos into a flash gallery, posted it online a send just her the link. She choice few of them and I processed them for free. And to be honest that quite saved me. I sent her the files before my mistake with photos so I could save few shots. But she picked 2 of 3 photos I didn’t like so I’ll post just the one shot.

You can see this image also on my flickr.

Portrait of my friend Jane taken with my 70-200 @126mm with 1/60s, f/4 and ISO 400. It was shot in Prague, Strelecky ostrov.

As you might read in my previous post I bought a new tripod. But I this weekend I had the first chance to try it out. I bought this tripod especially to support my 70-200 f/4 lens from Canon so it was my first choice and first testing shots. I didn’t use the mirror lock-up feature with this lens so pictures that came out with this setup weren’t as sharp as they will be with this feature. BTW every image in this post can be seen in 1:1 size by clicking on the image itself.


The first test picture of new tripod Manfrotto 190XPROB with MA 496RC2 ballhead. For this shot I used my 70-200 at my biggest aperture f/4. Focused on the eye. For 1:1 preview click on the image.

This is the first shot I made with the tripod. Some EXIF is in the caption. Even with f/4 the glass is quite sharp and I’d like to know how it will perform in the field. To be honest I hope to find it out this weekend or during winter holiday.

I also didn’t have anything better to focus on so I used my “Lion” and focused on the eye. Quite good result.


This time I used f/11 setting on my lens and got really nice sharp shot. The tripod was really worth the money.

OK, same setup. Except this time I used f/11 so I got really nice sharp shot and again I focused on the eye of “Lion”.


The final test image this time with my 28-70 and f/11. Very sharp lens on very stable tripod. Great combination and I’m really looking forward to try it out in the field this weekend. Click for 1:1 preview.

Third and final image from this “quick test” of stability. Just changed lens to my trusty 28-70 and shot at very sharp aperture f/11. With it I got a supersharp image. I also used Mirror Lock-Up setting and fired the camera using my cable release.


As you  might know, tripod is an essential thing for photographers. You should buy a really good and sturdy one for the best support. Now, when Christmas are coming, I’m thinking about buying myself a new one. Suddenly, many questions came to my mind about what type, what should be the supported weight, what material, how much it should cost etc.

If I wasn’t a full-time student but a politician or someone really wealthy, I’d go with Gitzo tripods. That Carbon fiber technology gives you huge stability, light weight, big height and of course huge cost 😦

The tripod I have

At this time I have the Hama Star 62, a really cheap tripod (cost me about $40), but at that time I used only my Rebel XSi (450D) from Canon with 18-55 IS lens. Now, when I have much more equipment, I need more support. Especially for my 70-200 f/4 non IS with my XSi+Battery Grip. That is “heavy” combo and the tripod isn’t as good as it should be in support. When will you realize that is true?

Why I need to change my tripod?

DSLRs are taking images by flipping the mirror up (and than much electric operations happen etc.). But that is the thing I’m going to change my tripod. When the mirror flips up, it makes some camera shake. With my 70-200 tripod isn’t sturdy enough and the mirror will cause movement. For long exposures and using shorter lens my 28-70 it’s OK, I can take 20s exposure and have it tight sharp. That is because the mirror flip movement isn’t as powerful as with my 70-200. But how many times I’m shooting so long exposures? Of course, everything is possible and I’m not saying I’m not shooting those.

But mostly I’m somewhere about 1/60s or less. With better tripod I’m able to use the lens with these exposures and be sure I’ll get sharp shot. That is the most important thing. If your photos have noise, that is a bit problem. But if your photos aren’t sharp, than you cannot do anything about it! You can throw them away, delete, erase and your whole trip could be a disaster! Just because the tripod.

What I’ll buy?

In short, Manfrotto 190XPROB and Manfrotto 496RC2 ballhead. The height of the combination is same as my tripod and I’m used to it so it’s ok. I’m sure it will be more sturdy and stable. A good way to check? As someone who has it. Google it, go to B&H Photo Video website and check the reviews. Everything was fantastic. I was just thinking about getting a higher model, the 055XPROB, but after some time and a lot of calculations I decided for 190XPROB.

What was the most valuable thing for my decision?

You wouldn’t believe it, but the most valuable thing for me was …  hold on …. a meter! With it I was able to compare everything not just by using some numbers but also visually. Very important thing. Yeah, you might read that the tripod is 122cm high but is it big enough? 122 isn’t so big, but when you’ll attach ball head and camera, it will grow. Then you just have to take the meter and see where the final number is.

I’m sure I’ll have a blast with this tripod 🙂

Last weekend I visited these great mountains to make some great shots. I took off at 11 am and returned back home about 9 pm. Have to say it was stunning, but unfortunately I’ve missed the golden hour 😦 (the bests shots are included in the gallery at the end of post).