Light…

Light…

Light is… Complicated.

As a photographer it’s considered our art to be able to manipulate, mold, and capture light. Whether it’s film or digital, sunlight of studio it’s all just light in the end. I am a bit different from most photographer’s I’ve personally had the chance to work with in the way that I prefer my light. I like to use studio lights for inanimate objects (flowers, still life, macro etc.) I am a total control freak when we start to work close, and the unreliable sun just doesn’t cut it for me. On the other hand, when it comes to live models there’s nothing better to me than the evening sun peaking over the horizon to cast it’s unique play on lights. Being in Kansas, this poses some unique constraints. Most places I’ve had the pleasure to shoot you have the “Magic hour” about an hour after sunrise, and an hour before sunset. This time provides deep warm and rich colors with which to shoot. In Kansas however there’s about a one in four chance that you’ll get a morning magic hour. The sky seems to somehow jump from darkest of nights to mid day bright with very little sunrise and even less glow to shoot by. The evening is more reliable, providing a suitable shooting light most nights it’s not raining or cloudy. With this in mind, we were also blessed this past weekend with rather unseasonably warm weather (it was 72 today and about the same yesterday) so it proved a good time to get out and put the gear through some more… interesting paces.

My shooting partner and his family own a springy little Rat Terrier, and I’ve always been interested to see if my old D100 could handle action shots or not. So i slapped on the Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro that’s been living in my pack for a while and decided to give it a try. I hadn’t used AF in so long (Most of the shooting I’ve done of late has been macro, and MF is just more accurate there) so it felt a little odd to suddenly be all in on the Continual focus setting. Despite a rough start, and a lot of trial and error, I returned quite happy with what I had captured.

Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro Shot at ISO250 F4.8 1/500s
Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro
Shot at ISO250 F4.8 1/500s

This is Loki, he was our “subject” for the most part yesterday.

Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro Shot at ISO 250 F4.5 1/640s
Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro
Shot at ISO 250 F4.5 1/640s

One of the first attempts to be properly framed, and almost tack on focus. This little dog could clear three plus feet in a jump so staying with him and keeping him properly in frame were both somewhat ambitious tasks.

Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro Shot at ISO 400 F4.2 1/1250s
Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro
Shot at ISO 400 F4.2 1/1250s

Once we had the basic movements down the rest was fine tuning. Getting him to always jump for the ball was a bit of an issue (There’s plenty an image of him staring at the ball just waiting for it to fall to him) but majority were caught mid-air.

Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro Shot at ISO 250 F4.0 1/500s
Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro
Shot at ISO 250 F4.0 1/500s
Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro Shot at ISO 400 F4.2 1/1250s
Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro
Shot at ISO 400 F4.2 1/1250s

By the end of the day he was pretty tuckered out, so we let him rest and took a few shots of his larger and more relaxed companion.

Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro Shot at ISO 400 F4 1/1250s
Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro
Shot at ISO 400 F4 1/1250s

Chief is a bit more laid back than Loki, so he was willing to pose for the more “Regal” of images.

Today being even brighter and warmer than yesterday, I decided it would be a fun time to try some reverse macro in the mid day sun. I first explored reversing with the rose studio shoot, and it seemed to me that it truly needed to be paired with an incredibly bright fixed light source… The sun seems to fit that fine.

Nikon D100: Reversed Tokina 28mm F1.8 Shot at ISO 400 F5.6 1/500s
Nikon D100: Reversed Tokina 28mm F1.8
Shot at ISO 400 F5.6 1/500s

It was almost startling how close the reversed lens could get, and yet how fine the focal plane was! This round berry has very little in focus, and was quite a challenge to get a good image of.

Nikon D100: Reversed Tokina 28mm F1.8 Shot at ISO 640 F8 1/250s
Nikon D100: Reversed Tokina 28mm F1.8
Shot at ISO 640 F8 1/250s

On the other hand, this playground sand was much easier to photograph due to it’s flat plane. Again, the image magnification is almost startling.

This mid day light provided a good opportunity to capture some local birds as well, and thankfully there was an interesting duck nearby that was happy to pose.

Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro Shot at ISO 250 F5.6 1/1600s
Nikon D100: Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6DG Macro
Shot at ISO 250 F5.6 1/1600s

All in all, a successful day of shooting. We decided to close it out with my wife and I going out and shooting some modeling pictures in the magic hour right before sunset, but that’s a whole other post for another day. I hope you enjoyed.

~Wes

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