Passion on the Streets of Amsterdam ~ Pictures and Techniques Part 1

May 18, 2010 | Flash, Location | 17 comments

This shot was given a warm treatment in camera by selecting an 8000k setting for the white balance.

1. We started in Cuba or so it seemed. One delegate spotted this shop window and we were off. This shot was given a warm treatment in camera by selecting an 8000 K setting for the white balance. It was overcast and threatening to rain all morning so I resorted to creating Speedlight sun for nearly every shot. All the Speedlights were triggered with a Pocket Wizard for the whole day although an ST-E2 would have done the trick. We just happened to have more PW triggers with us than infra red triggers. I chose to keep the lighting ratio calm, although I encouraged the delegates to go as punchy as they wished by changing their aperture to taste.

Day one in Amsterdam was a cold shoot for our models Bas and Samantha. There was also a one day public holiday so the dynamic of the area we were shooting in was very different to my recce the day before. All our shots were taken within a 500m radius so there was no major walking required. Here is a mini selection of 23 of the pictures taken on workshop 1.

This simple natural light shot continued the Cuban theme.

2. This simple natural light shot continued the Cuban theme.

The same pose as above but from a different angle. Throughout the day we were shooting from different angles and with different lenses so that we all ended up with interesting variations on a theme. This is one workshop where each photographer is encouraged to e

3. The same pose as above but from a different angle gives bias to Samantha instead. This is one workshop where I encourage each photographer to really experiment. Throughout the day we were shooting from different angles and with different lenses so that we all ended up with interesting variations on each set up.

We were soon out of Cuba and on the streets of Amsterdam. You can see the tel tale shadow of my Speedlight sun on Samanthas face and shopping bag.

4. We were soon out of Cuba and on the streets of Amsterdam. You can see the tel tale shadow of my Speedlight sun on Samantha's face and shopping bag.

Here is a wider shot taken from further back.

5. Here is a wider shot taken from further back. Notice the different editing style. Marko and I jointly edited these pictures and it is interesting for me to see what we came up with.

I then set up 2 Speedlights on stands and chose a punchy look for this 2 shot.

6. I then set up 2 Speedlights on stands and chose a punchy look for this 2 shot. My new 100mm lens barely came off my camera for the whole shoot. All bar 3 of the shots in this set were taken with it.

The same set up as in the picture above. I really like how I can just move in to take close shots without running out of close focus ability.

7. The same set up as in the picture above. I really like how I can just move in to take close shots without running out of close focus ability.

There's nothing like a splash of on camera flash to liven up a shoot session. Careful camera positioning and flash exposure compensation was required for this shot of Bas.

8. There's nothing like a splash of on camera flash to liven up a shoot session. Careful camera positioning and flash exposure compensation was required for this shot of Bas.

Samantha had her shot too.

9. Samantha had her shot too. The blue in the background is a lie created in Photoshop.

Next it was drama lighting with a classic 2 point set up of bare faced Speedlights.

10. Next it was time for drama lighting with a classic 2 point set up of bare faced Speedlights.

Bas and Samantha were getting used to each other now. They met for the first time just an hour before.

11. Bas and Samantha were getting used to each other now. They met for the first time just an hour before. 1 Speedlight high on a stand brought this shot to life. I pinched the framing idea from one of my delegates after spotting it on his camera.

my Passion On The Streets workshops are known for the tighter more intimate pictures

12. My 'Passion On The Streets' workshops are known for the tighter more intimate pictures and by lunchtime these were on the cards.

A variation of crops and expressions seem endless with my 100mm lens.

13. A variation of crops and expressions seem endless with my 100mm lens.

Again I used the 100mm prime lens at f/2.8 to tell the story of our location in the Bokeh.

14. Again I used the 100mm prime lens at f/2.8 to tell the story of our location in the Bokeh. There is just a hint of rim light on Samantha's face created by a Speedlight behind the tree.

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15. That 100mm f/2.8 L lens is now officially my favourite lens. I could shoot on it exclusively. It's super sharp wide open and the out of focus areas are like Monets.

I next found a set of steps to show how I create vertically staggered poses.

16. I next found a set of steps to show how I create vertically staggered poses. Note that all 4 eyes are in the same focal plane of my 100mm lens (by design not chance)

A straight shot with my 100mm lens

17. A straight shot taken by the steps with my 100mm lens.

Marko chose this treatment that could be used to sell a big canvas for the couples home.

18. Marko chose this treatment that could be used to sell a big canvas for the couples home (probably a bedroom or snooker room).

I chose to put Samantha above Bas for this shot.

19. I chose to put Samantha above Bas for this shot on the steps.

Never under estimate the power of a good close up.

20. Never under estimate the power of a good close up. Macro lenses are great for adults too not just for babies hands.

My afternoon sun was created with a single Speedlight on manual 1/2 power.

21. My afternoon sun was created with a single Speedlight on manual 1/2 power.

Overcast and dull light was transformed with a speedlight with a blue gel. We set our white balances to 10000 K - the limit provided by Canon.

22. Overcast and dull light was transformed with a speedlight with a blue gel. We set our white balances to 10000 K - the limit provided by Canon.

The last frame of the day was a bit of fun with my Orbis.

23. The last frame of the day was a bit of fun with my Orbis. Marko used a bit of HDR treatment to give an edgy feel to Bas.

The pictures from workshop two will follow soon. Please feel free to leave comments.

17 Comments

  1. Mark Betts

    Hi Damien

    Just noticed your reply, the 100mm has arrived and its a dream,

    Thank You

    Mark

    Reply
  2. Ian Hamilton

    Great shots as usual – you keep upping the game!

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Ian and Mark. My 100mm has gone for focus repair :(

      Reply
  3. damien

    Hi Daniel,

    I was in Switzerland in February, skiing :)

    I’d love to do a shoot session in an alpine village in the summer or a hotel based workshop in a city, but I’m not sure on the demand etc.

    Can you fix it for me?

    Cheers, Damien.

    Reply
  4. damien

    Hi Johannes,

    The blue filter was a full CTB Lee 201 (one I cut from a larger sheet and added some super strength Velcro)

    I set the white balance at 10,000K (the maximum setting) and hey presto the ambient goes a golden orange.

    I hope to come to Ireland again soon.

    Cheers, Damien.

    Reply
  5. damien

    Hi Tim,

    Don’t sell your Elinchrom stuff on Ebay just yet. Get out there and use it. Speedlights are good but bigger flash kits offer softer light at the same power. Soft light is a dreamed of luxury to Speedlight shooters working in the sun.

    Damien.

    Reply
  6. Daniel

    hi Damien, when are you coming to Switzerland?, it’ll be nice to have you here and to have the chance to be at one of your workshops.

    Reply
  7. Johannes

    Hi Damien,

    fab stuff as per usual.. (“,) Would you mind sharing some more info on the blue filter strength..? I would love to make more use of this 10000K WB tip.. Will work fab with my pre wedding shoots on gloomy days here in Ireland.. (“,)

    Talk soon D

    Johannes.

    Reply
  8. John Curgenven

    Thanks Martin,

    Looks as though I need to go from 7 to 8 then.

    BTW – Have you seen Part 2 of Passion on the Streets of Amsterdam? So much of Damien’s terrific DVD “Speedlight Mastery” put into practice.

    Best wishes,

    John

    Reply
  9. martin

    John

    Works fine using IE8 as an RSS reader under XP this end.

    Martin

    Reply
  10. Tim Hind

    Another interesting and informative post. Great work with the speedlights, I can see my Elinchrom stuff being put on ebay soon!

    Reply
  11. John Curgenven

    Hi Damien,

    More gems – THANKS – as you know I’m an avid fan who reads all of your blogs. To comment each time would be superfluous, they all inspire.

    Am I the only one whose PC locks up when attempting to view your blogs in IE (when using it as an RSS Reader) but not when viewing them on the prophotonut website?

    Best wishes,

    John

    Reply
  12. Mark Betts

    Gorgeous as always,,,,,,,,,

    I cant wait for my 100mm 2.8 to arrive, alas its on backorder , but will sure put it through its paces when it arrives

    Mark

    Reply
  13. George

    Nice pics, but I think in pic2 cropping the elbow make the hand look like a 3rd person is reaching in :)

    Anyway, I knew you would love this lens like me. I just picked up the new 70-200 IS Mk2 and you know what – it is a LOT better than the first build, canon’s new lenses are fantastic.
    Try one out – the focus is faster, the contrast is better, so is the IS, and there is better flare control and better focus tracking. The bokeh is not as nice as the 100 IS but the sharpness now is close to a prime. Amazing – but you pay for it.

    Reply
  14. Niall Pagdin

    Very interesting effects and thought-provoking images. Thanks for sharing both the images and the stories that go with them. Excellent tips as well

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Guys.

      George, I’ll stick with my primes now thanks :)
      Mark, You will love the 100mm – nothing not to like!
      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply

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