Portraits on the streets of Hamburg with Rosalinde Kikstra

01. Reminds me of a Mondrian. Natural light, 56mm lens

01. Under the canopy of a bank. This reminds me of Mondrian. Natural light, 56mm lens

26 portraits of Rosalinde Kikstra shot on my recent workshops in Hamburg. Enjoy…

Model: Rosalinde Kikstra
Photographer: Damien Lovegrove
Camera: Fuji X-T1 with 14mm, 23mm, 35mm, 56mm lenses and ND filters as required
Lights: Cactus RF60 Speedlights, Cactus V6 trigger, Gemini bracket, 30cm Silver umbrella, Jupiter stand

No stylist, no makeup artist, no Photoshop. We just turned up and shot.

Location: HafenCity in Hamburg all shots were taken within a 400m radius of the start point

02. Under the walkway among the warfs of the old town

02. Under the walkway among the old port warehouses. Natural light, 56mm and 14mm lenses.

In set 2 above I concentrated on the design, lines, tone and subject separation. I used contrast, differential focus and tone to separate my subject from the background. Then I found the classic two point lighting that I love so much to sculpt Rosalinde. Cheek bones, jaw lines and neck muscles all get enhanced.

03. In the least likely of places we find a perfect place to shoot. Top Speedlight with umbrella, bottom natural light.

03. Top shots: Speedlight and umbrella, 14mm lens. Bottom shots: Natural light with 56mm lens

In the least likely of places we find a perfect place to shoot. The shots at the top of set 3 are in a hidden away courtyard with the most aggressive of top light. It was time to demonstrate a fashion lighting technique with directional soft light from a 30cm silver umbrella and a pair of Speedlights.

04. Dickensian London. Natural light

04. This looks like Dickensian London. Natural light, 14mm lens

06. Louvers lit with bare faced Speedlights in a classic 2 point set up

05. A classic two point lighting set up with Speedlights. 35mm lens

I lit the louvers on the corner this building with a pair of bare faced Cactus RF60 Speedlights and then brought Rosalinde into the shot. Nothing excites me more than working with crisp hard lighting. Look how healthy Rosalinde looks with her clean skin and beautiful cheek bone shadows. Managing the shadow details, especially in black clothing and then exposing the highlights correctly needs a system and a bit of care.

07. This wonderful hard light was free and natural. I love to work in the sun.

06. This wonderful hard light was free and natural. 56mm lens at f/1.2

I love to work in the sun. I am careful to place Rosalinde so that her cheek bones and crisp jaw line are championed by shadows. It’s often the case that it’s not where the light falls that makes photographs interesting it’s where it doesn’t go.

08. Cities are diverse locations. Natural light

07. Cities are diverse locations. Natural light. 35mm, 14mm and 56mm lenses

Hamburg is in the middle of a building boom. One current theme in the architecture of new Hamburg is the lack of plumb in the buildings. Every wall that is not vertical is hip or so it seems. This trend will date the buildings and that’s never a bad thing. I’m a fan of the 1930s Art Deco. However in an isolated case this could be considered a novel departure from the rules but when repeated often it becomes a bit tedious. It’s a classic case of the law of diminishing returns. My interpretation of the law is the second Mars bar never tastes quite as good as the first and the third less so and so on. Having said this, Hamburg architecture is a wonderful mix of the restored, rebuilt, bold and new commissions. Some of them famously over budget.

09.

08. High key, low key, reflections and bold design background options are in abundance in Hamburg. 56mm and 35mm lenses

10.

09. You never quite know what’s vertical or horizontal in some parts of Hamburg. Twin Speedlights and the 56mm lens

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10. On the left: Cactus RF60 Speedlight, 56mm lens at f/1.2. On the right: Cactus RF60 Speedlight 56mm lens at f/8

For the last shot of the day I taught the group how to shoot with mirrorless cameras wide open on a telephoto lens with flash. This technique is now my standard method and I use it everywhere. After the workshop I met up with fellow Origami Collective and official Fujifilm X photographer Marco Larousse for a beer and a natter. He is one photographer I’d love to spend some time with. What a fab guy. We’ll make it happen.

Feel free to comment on these pictures below. Oh, and how much ND did I use for the shot in set 10 on the left?

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  1. Wonderful images from your workshop in Hamburg, Damien! You are truly the master of light!

    And accurate observation of the building “strategy” in the HafenCity area in Hamburg. We’ll have to see how this area feels to look at in 20 years. It’s always tough when a new built area does not grow generically but is risen in a short time…

    Thank you for the mention. I’m looking forward to our next meeting and chance to photograph together :-)

  2. Looks like you had a successful outing in my home city Damien. Wonderful images as always; I enjoyed viewing them.

  3. Dear Damien,
    I have read with interest your comments on the Cactus V6 flash triggers which I believe you also sell.
    When using them on a Fuji XT body do you set the flash mode to Forced Flash or to Commander mode
    if you are NOT using a flash on the camera, only remotes on Cactus triggers

    Thanks
    Michael

  4. Brilliant Images Damien. You never cease to amaze and inspire…great work !!! Thanks Damien

  5. Thank you Marco,

    I’m well and truly back from Asia now and I’m looking forward to a few European trips in the next 6 months or so. We will shoot together soon, I’m sure. Enjoy Photokina.

    Kind regards,

    Damien.

  6. Hi Michael,

    With the Cactus on the X-T1 set the camera to forced flash. That way it will send the trigger signal to the hot shoe centre pin whatever the settings.

    I hope this helps,

    Damien.

  7. Thanks Robert,

    I keep trying to improve. Sometimes the best shots are the simplest. I’m loving the journey of decoding light and making portraits.

    Kind regards,

    Damien.

  8. Such an inspiring set of images, Damien. I particulary love the control of tone – there is a lot a deep, rich black but never a loss of detail. The two-point lighting created by shooting under a bridge is something I like to do too – and now you’ve inspired me to try some of the other techniques in this shoot! Thanks for sharing.