Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010: New Year and New Chapters

Finally the Christmas season is past and I can get back to working on my course.  December was a tough month for getting anything done, I was pretty ill for 2 weeks (suspect it might have been swine flue), compounded this with a lot of work related travel, and then had guests staying over the holidays.  The result was only 4 posts in my blog, but, most importantly completion of Assignment 2, so some progress.

The remaining  time was not all lost:

  • I still managed to get to a couple of museums and will write them up in due course.  
  • One of my work tasks was to provide portrait photography at an evening event.we recently held a party to celebrate 20 years of HP and SAP (a German software company) working in partnership.  I was asked to take photos of people and print them in real time as gifts for the guests.  As HP is well know for our printers the images needed to be good and so this was quite a challenging assignment. I hope to get time to blog this - my first professional photo gig.
  • I read a couple of books - John Szarkowski's "Looking at Photographs and most of the course textbook - again I plan to add these to my blog
  • I asked for and received many photo books as Christmas and Birthday gifts, also bought a bunch - I have a pile of great books to work through - including work by: Annie Liebowitz, Don McCullin, Henri-Cartier Bresson, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton (Huge and hugely impressive). Best of all was a large compendium of photo's by Weegee, love his style and subject matter.
  • I augmented my kit with a few great accessories, thanks to my wife, a battery grip and mains power supply for my 5D2.  

I also had a lot of time to think about the next components of the course and get prepared to start the new year energized and enthused! The weather in Munich has now set for what is looking like a long and cold winter, so options for outdoor shooting will start to diminish, especially anything requiring the Sun.  We can get 6-8 weeks of more or less constant cloud cover with temperatures dropping as low as -20C.  Anticipating this I have done some of the work for Chapter 5 in advance, particularly those elements requiring sunlight throughout the day.  I also expect that Chapter 6 will be easier to work on during the next few weeks, as artificial light becomes my main source of illumination.

As a result I plan to work on Chapter 5 and 6 in parallel, essentially using the light as it becomes available for Ch5 and working on Ch6 if the light is not good.  As I write on the 2nd January, I have 9 days that I plan to dedicate to the course (I return to work on the 11th) and so hope to make significant progress in a relatively short time.  I will, however, blog the projects as I complete them and so sequencing may become a little tricky to follow!

For the natural light projects I am at the mercy of the January weather, there might be a break in the clouds!

For the articificial light projects I am in better shape, I have my own home-office room in the house that doubles as a small photo studio.  I have always been fascinated by still life macro photography and have invested in a variety of different tools for this:
  • 2 x Tungsten lights - at a 1000W each these are not easy to use in a small location and so are now viewed as a mistake
  • 3 x Canon Speedlites - 2 580's and a 430 - originally bought for use at weddings, but handy as small portable lights, especially coupled with a ST-E2 Speedlite transmitter allowing them to be used remotely
  • 2 x Studio Flash - with softboxes, umbrellas, and Pocket Wizard remote triggers
  • Finally a Sekonic Flash Meter.  
OK, overkill, this is what happens when you have no kids so spend money on....

However, it does give me some options for the projects and I hope to exploit them in the upcoming projects.

1 comment:

  1. It will be great to watch Bayern Munich, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.