Spain 2011 ~ The Lovegrove workshop ~ part 2

Oct 31, 2011 | Flash, Location | 9 comments

Day two of the workshop started with us all recalling the stories of the night before where a little Gecko had made an impact on some of the party. We met in the hotel lobby at 9am and journeyed to our first quarry location about 20 minutes drive away. Martin and I had identified the first location on our recce trip back in February and the second location was found by Mickie Imrie, a local photographer who acted as our contact throughout the planning stages and accompanied us on the shoot.

Martin’s shots will get blogged when he returns from shooting a wedding in India.

01C. The day started at the head of a disused mine. I photographed Katy into the sun with my 100mm lens.

Our kit list for day 2:

3 Canon Speedlights rigged on Gemini brackets connected to Pocket Wizard Flexs via cable
8 Pocket Wizard transmitters of various types used in classic non TTL mode so that Nikon, Canon and Fuji shooters can all trigger all the flashes
3 Lighting stands
1 Lovegrove Avenger boom arm
1 White umbrella

Damien’s camera kit: Fuji X100 fixed lens compact, Canon 5D mk2 SLR with 21mm Zeiss f/2.8, 50mm Canon f/1.2 and 100mm Canon f/2.8L macro lenses

[For the purposes of this post an ‘F’ after the picture number indicates that it was taken on my Fuji X100 camera and a ‘C’ after the picture number indicates that it was taken with my Canon 5D mk2.]

02C. Katy on top of the world lit with natural light and the mine buildings below her.

03C. I lit Katy with a Speedlight set to 1/64th power in manual mode. We used manual power settings on the Speedlights throughout the workshop so that Canon, Nikon and Fuji X100 shooters could trigger them.

04C. The sun came through the cloud base and I captured this close up of Katy as well as shot 01C.

05F. Shot on my Fuji X100 using just a ray of sunlight on Maca.

06F. The sun created a fabulous back light to work with. Martin and his group were shooting with Katy in the distant buildings.

07F. The 35mm equivalent focal length of the Fuji make it ideal for moderate wide angle shots like this. It pulls in much more environment than a 50mm and yet retains a natural perspective.

08C. The 50mm lens by comparison to the Fuji shot above has a considerably tighter perspective.

09F. I used a Canon Pocket Wizard Mini on my Fuji X100 to trigger a Canon 580EX2 Speedlight in manual mode for this shot.

10C. I shot this frame of Maca standing in the same spot as in the shot above but this time I used my Canon 50mm lens and natural light.

11F. The sun was out for almost every shot on day 2. The occasional fluffy cumulus cloud created a momentary shade. I had to clear a space in the thorny brush for Maca to get this shot. The wind was into the sun and lifted Maca's hair off her face.

12C. We journeyed down into the valley below the buildings and found this scree to work with. I lit Katy with a Speedlight zoomed in and set to 1/4 power. The sun provided my backlight.

13C. I love a big wide shot to set the scene. Martin was assigned the big wide shots but I sneaked this one in for good measure.

14C. The same lighting as above but shot with my 21mm Zeiss lens on my 5Dmk2

15F. There was an underground stream providing water for a bit of vegetation in this otherwise arid desert. It hadn't rained here since May.

16F. A momentary lapse of sunlight and I managed to capture this intrepid shot of Katy.

17C. Dappled light works when it's handled carefully.

18C. Hats suit Katy.

19C. A rare behind the scenes shot shows my group shooting Katy lurking in the bamboo.

20F. After a fab lunch in the shade of some pine trees we went onto location 2. Another set of buildings, a scorched hillside and a tunnel through the rock. The colours in the rock in this picture are true to the original. Some strange minerals are mined in this region of Spain. Maca is in role play mode.

21F. Maca at the front door.

22F. I'm trying out Silver FX Pro plug in software at the moment and the jury is still out on it for my long term work flow. The temptation is to use too much 'structure'.

23C. I used my 100mm lens to capture this sneaky close up of Maca. I say sneaky because I saw it on the back of one of my delegates cameras and I wanted to shoot it too. These workshops create an environment where we can all share ideas and learn new skills.

24C. I love my 100mm f/2.8L macro lens.

25F. A simple natural light shot.

26C. This version taken on the Canon was processed in Silver FX pro.

27F. The wider view of the Fuji creates a more intimate 'mid shot' portrait as I'm physically closer to Maca for the shot.

As on Day 1 I’ve kept all my shots in straight colour or monochrome. The colour harmonies in Spain are amazing without the need for Photoshop to shift them around. I shot the Fuji in monochrome but because it was recording in RAW I accessed the colour image in Lightroom.

28C. Working intimately with my 100mm lens gives me a much tighter frame.


30C. The sun lifted the ambient and the contrast in the shade. With a rise in contrast comes a boost of colour saturation.

31C. A slash of flash picked this shot up a bit.

32C. The sun can be so stripey at times.

33C. Another SFX conversion.

34C.I never tire of shooting portraits.

35C. I used a pool of light through a bit of natural dingle to create this shot. I found it hard to get just the right exposure. I put it down to heat stroke and not the Gecko from the night before. I got there in the end though.

36F. This hillside had burned only a month or so before this shoot. Just the new green shoots and charred thorny bushes remain.



39C. Katy in the tunnel lit with a Speedlight on a Gemini bracket with a white umbrella from the left balanced with natural light from the right. Martin and I have a little challenge on for the best tunnel shot so I'm keen to see his images now.

40C. Lighting as above.

Please feel free to join Martin and I on our next Spanish adventure next October. Details are here. You have to get yourself there and sort accommodation but we can always recommend hotels etc. We had planned this event well and I think we got the detail about right. A trip like this goes way beyond a usual two day workshop scenario. The evening starts with tapas and the laughter flows along with wine and fine food late into the night. Dates have yet to be confirmed but we will act to meet the demand from you. I’m sure some of the deligates will share their experiences below.

Please feel free to leave comments below.



  1. Fabio

    I love this shots. But I also really really love the location. Is it a secret where exactly this is? Probably I will also be once in spain.

    Best regards…

    • damien

      Hi Fabio,

      Thank you for the compliments. I was told of the aproximate location by another photographer who asked that I did not divulge it. Since then I have kept my word. You could join us in October :) The info is here. Expect to be blindfolded in the mini bus from the hotel to the location though (only joking)

      Kindest regards,


  2. Derek

    Thanks Damien, thought as much but always good to get confirmation.

  3. david cooke

    Two very good models make this shoot special both Katy and Macca have such a rapport with the camera.

    • damien

      Thank you David,

      I expect I’ll be shooting with both girls again soon. Kind regards, Damien.

  4. Steve

    Hi Damien

    Noticing a lot more manual settings on the flash these days, it seems you used to be more of a TTL guy? Care to shed any light (pardon the pun) on the thinking? As always love the work too.

    • damien

      Hi Steve,

      I am a manual flash guy at heart but I’ve been teaching and delivering systems to meet a demand for quite some time. Martin an I decided to force the manual aproach with the Speedlights so that Canon, Nikon and Fuji X100 users could trigger the flashes and get identical results irrespective of the Speedlight that we rigged. We used just Canon units as it happens and triggered them with Plus 2s, Nikon TT1s and Canon TT1s as required. I hope this helps, Damien.

  5. Derek

    Hi Damien

    13c, was it lit with a flash off to the right? If so was it in the frame and cloned out in post, or was its Light thrown from further out of frame thus eliminating the need to clone out the light stand etc?

    • damien

      Hi Derek,

      Yes the Speedlight on a stand was cloned out of the shot. It didn’t need to be on full power from close range and that makes the rig great for workshops where there are several delegates. Well spotted.

      Kind regards, Damien.



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