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Photo a Day Challenge: Day 6

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 6 - Girl in Hallway on Ilford Delta 100 FilmWoman Walking in Hallway - Palm Springs, CA
Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 9:13pm
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Oh man. Day 6 of my photo a day challenge was a frustrating one. My lovely lady and I had driven out to Palm Springs for a short getaway in the desert, and on this first day I'd made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to find my photo. First I drove around town desperately trying to get a better view of the nearby mountains and the dramatic clouds rising above. Buildings, buildings, power lines, buildings...I couldn't get a clear shot. So that was a wasted 30 minutes that I could have spent with my girlfriend instead. I came back to the hotel room frustrated.

But I wasn't ready to give up yet.

So a little bit later, I grabbed my camera again and started walking around the hotel. I was looking for reflections in the water feature surrounding the building, pattens in the building itself, interesting sparkles in a sprinkler. But nothing was working. I was trying to force a photo in an area and at a time when nothing was working. I was determined to not return to the hotel room until I could check that box on my agenda for "take a photo." But after another wasted half hour, I returned to the room in shame.

My brain was telling me to call it quits. "It's really not that big of a deal if you miss one day," my brain said. "It's not like you're getting paid to do this photo a day challenge anyway."

"Nay!" I protested. I wasn't about to fail at this challenge only 6 days in! I would make this work!

Then an idea hit me. My lady and I were getting ready to walk down to the bar for some drinks. I imagined walking behind her down the narrow hallways. I thought about the doors and carpet streaking past all around her. This was it. This was the composition I'd been looking for.

I knew it'd be a little tricky because I'd have to use a slow shutter to get the streak in the foreword motion. I'd have to walk behind her at just the right pace, taking light steps so as to avoid up-and-down vibrations. Plus, I wasn't sure exactly what shutter speed would be just right. Too slow and my subject would blur too much. Too fast and the motion wouldn't be obvious enough. Luckily, the design of my camera made this job a little easier than it would be with a DSLR or some other eye-level viewfinder camera. See, my medium format camera has a waist-level viewfinder. That means I look down into my camera held at or around waist level to compose my shots, rather than pulling it up to my eye like a DSLR. With my camera held down low coupled with its heft, I was able to keep the camera pretty steady as I walked.

I used a shutter speed of 1/8 of a second at f/4.5. I also opted for my wide angle lens to help exaggerate the motion. No filters were used.

Read the backstory on this Photo A Day Challenge here. See previous days here.

And Now for Something Different: Portraits

For those of you relatively new to my blog and/or website, you probably know me as a landscape photographer. Most of my posts here and the bulk of my portfolio is all nature stuff. But it may be news to you that I not only shot portraits professionally in a previous life, but I also currently coach dozens of private students on portraiture technique. I've photographed just about everything in my years as a photographer and although the majority of my energy is currently devoted to landscape photography (and always will be), I still enjoying taking pictures of people on occasion.

Portrait by Nick Carver

As you'll read in this previous post of my portraiture work, I'm part of a group called GroupShoot. It's based out of LA and consists of amateur and aspiring photographers and models who get together to take pictures - just for fun. We meet in cool locations, go with a theme and just photograph the crap out of each other for the day. It's open to all who are interested, so click the link above to get more information.

We had a shoot this weekend in Chatsworth at a park called "Stoney Point." It was hot, dry and tons of fun. I worked with 3 models for the day: Jessica Baus-Paget, Jeffrey Riemer and Akane Denise. They were all fantastic and I had a blasty photographing them. None of these pictures have received any air-brushing, touch-up, dodging or burning. With the exception of the black and white versions which were done in Aperture, all of these pictures are pretty much straight out of the camera.

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

These next two are my personal favorites from the entire day. The breeze came by at just the right time...

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

Portrait by Nick Carver

In the Orange County area and interested in learning how to take portraits? Check out my private lessons.

Models:
Jeffrey Riemer
Jessica Baus-Paget
Akane Denise

I Got Good Portraiture Chops

Most of you know me as a landscape photographer. It's where I devote the majority of my photographic energy, I'm very skilled and experienced at it and it's where my passion lies. But you might not know that I used to shoots portraits professionally. You also might not know that I've coached dozens of students on portraiture photography - including several that now do it professionally. And what you probably don't know is...

...I still got it, baby.

There's an awesome group based out of LA called GroupShoot that organizes fun photo shoots between photographers and models. Basically, a bunch of photographers get together with a bunch of models in a cool location, shoot all day, then share the results. There's no pressure, no fees and no stress. It's organized by some friends of mine and is open to all who are interested. Click the GroupShoot link above to learn more about it.

I attended the most recent GroupShoot meet this past Saturday at Orcutt Ranch in the San Fernando Valley and got some great portraits to share with you. Keep in mind none of these have ever set foot in Photoshop. I tweaked the levels and added a vignette to a lot of these using Aperture, but that's it. No airbrushing, no dodging or burning, no plugins or filters and, oh yeah, no artificial lighting. This is all natural light with just good technique and a sharp eye.

The following set of pictures are my personal favorites from the day. I really had a lot of fun playing with the backlight and letting the sun peek through just a bit between the models. It created a gorgeous glow around and behind them. This type of extreme back lighting is difficult to shoot without proper training in photography and without the full knowledge of how to use your camera. And these bad boys are practically straight out of the camera. All I did was boost contrast a smidge' in post.

That sunburst coming through the female model's hair on the left (Shannon) was achieved very carefully and all-naturally without filters. Gotta love that star shape.

If you want to learn how to take great portraits, too, check out my private lessons.

Models:
Jacqueline Corcos
Kelan Liparoto
Suzie Riemer
Katya Prinsterr
Stephanie Schafer
Jerome Garot
Shannon Rogers