December is the month that I set aside for creative time. Time to write, shoot and think. This shoot has been planned for several weeks. I won’t discuss the original concepts but it’s fair to say they were dark. I have a new friend in the wedding and fashion industry Lisa Keating who partnered us on this shoot. Lisa custom made the corsets, the head pieces and accessories. Luke, my graphic and web designer is currently building a new website for Lisa and it will be ready for launch very soon. I first met Helen and Lisa on a shoot in the summer that I volunteered to assist on. I suggested we got together for some creative fusion at some point soon and I love the way that effort is rewarded.
The dream team are…
Model: Helen Diaz
Make up and hair: Vicki Waghorn
Styling: Lisa Keating
Photography: Damien Lovegrove
Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro1, 18-55mm OIS zoom lens mostly shot at the 55mm end wide open at f/4
Lights: Lupolux Quadlight 1500, Lupolux DayLED 1000 x2, Lupolux 800, Lupolux DayLED 650
Post production: Straight from Lightroom without Photoshop intervention
The new lens arrived via Special Delivery from UKDigital at 9, Helen and Vicki arrived at 10 and we shot from 12 until 3. I was determined to keep the shoot short and intense as I needed to inject some pressure on myself. Without a client or a strict timetable it is all to easy to let the day drift without really achieving anything significant.
The Fuji X-Pro1 works like a dream in a continuous light studio. The clean bright electronic viewfinder and the rear display are great to compose with and although I chose to use manual settings it is quite okay to shoot aperture priority too. I used a Gitzo monopod with a Really Right Stuff ball head to support the camera. Not to avoid camera shake but to enable small changes in composition to occur while I directed Helen. Working hand held is sometimes too fluid for me.
My shooting system is in the air right now because I’m wearing close up glasses for the first time. What a pain! I’ve got myself a +1 diopter for the Fuji eyepiece that is perfect for me so that I can shoot and playback in the EVF without glasses. I have +1.25 reading glasses but I use +2.25 glasses for reviewing the pictures on the rear screen of the camera. These super strength glasses are like big magnifiers allowing me to see absolute sharpness when used in conjunction with the 100% zoomed in playback function. So my glasses are on a string around my neck. Just to complicate things further I am also trying out a new (to me) focussing system that uses manual focus mode combined with the rear AF button for momentary AF. This is keeping my shutter timing more responsive. I’ve spent 15 years working with autofocus systems using the half press to focus, reframe then capture method. It takes me time and practice to adapt to new working methods, I’m obviously getting old, Haha. I use the peripheral focus zones with the X-Pro1 as well as the centre ones as each zone on the Fuji is equally sensitive. There has to be some positives with the Fuji AF system after all it is not the most responsive out there.
The new zoom lens is very fast to focus and silent too. I am particularly impressed with the optical image stabiliser. It is so lovely to be viewing rock steady images while composing a shot. I find it great at wide angle too. Wide angle OIS is going to become a big thing driven partly by the need of the video market extensively using stills cameras.
Why not join me on a lavishly styled Film Noir workshop on location at the fabulous Pipewell Hall 19th February 2013.
Stay creative and inspired. Please feel free to comment on these pictures below.