1. This shot of Inda was lit using a single Canon 580 EX2 Speedlight on a Lovegrove Gemini bracket with a 30cm silver umbrella rigged on the Lovegrove Avenger Boom Arm. It’s an incredibly simple set up to use once you know how. My job was to demystify the process of using Speedlights on location and to leave my delegates with powerful new lighting and shooting techniques they can deliver to their clients.
The textures in Jakarta are fabulous and real! This is no theme park, it’s the real thing.
An adventure is what I wanted and an adventure is what I had. Gary Jorgensen of Jorgensen Albums called me up and said “Do you fancy coming to Jakarta to do a talk for me?” “Yes!” I said. “Where is that?” I’ve done talks for the Jorgensen Albums team in the past and we all get on famously. As I found out, Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia. It has 25 million inhabitants and is a rapidly growing global marketplace. I read on Trip Advisor that ‘the only parks in Jakarta are car parks’ and although that is not exactly true, cars do dominate the city usually stationary or near stationary in gridlock.
My talk was hosted by Susan Albums and was their launch event to supply Jorgensen Albums in Indonesia. The smart Grand Kemang Hotel was the venue and 60+ of the finest Indonesian photographers were my audience. Joining me on this trip was my friend Nick Mifsud from SWPM. Nick has a habit of being led astray by Gary and I and I’m sure he quite likes it.
Inda modelled for me while I was in Jakarta. In the afternoon of my seminar day I did a simple continuous lighting demonstration. I lit Inda with a pair of the new Arri L7-C LED Fresnel lights supplied by the team at Oktagon. Lupolux LED lamps have yet to reach Indonesia but I’m sure a distributor will be assigned very soon. The Arris are fabulous but better suited to the budgets of film and TV companies. Here are a few of the pictures I shot during my demonstration…
These pictures were edited live by me using Adobe Lightroom with the output of my computer on the big screen and they were then printed on the latest HP wide format machine set up in the seminar room.
The day after my seminar with Susan Albums I was once again shooting Inda but this time we were in the streets and abandoned colonial buildings of old town Batavia. This Urban Portraits’ workshop is my foundation level training event. We use just natural light or the light from up to two Speedlights. No softboxes, no fancy high speed sync just simple beautiful light under our control. Here are some pictures along with some lighting ideas…
02. We started the morning session with a simple natural light shot on the street. This helped me iron out any technical problems with the delegates camera settings. Colour space, LCD display brightness, ‘Active D lighting,’ picture styles and dynamic range all get normalised. Once we are all achieving similar shots we progress to using flash.
03. This shot was lit with one Speedlight and a silver umbrella as described in shot 01 above. I gave out one transmitter to each of the photographers and once we were all triggering the flash I got under way with teaching the creative task of achieving the best flash/ ambient balance.
I had the Nikon, Canon and Fuji photographers all triggering the Canon Speedlight.
04. Low light window light provided another challenge but also the opportunity to get creative with prime lens composition. There’s no one way to frame a subject like this and it gave me an opportunity to get to know the photographic styles of the delegates who had flown into Jakarta from all over Asia for the workshop.
05. A shaft of sunlight came alive with a bit of smoke from a delegate’s cigarette. I love the wall texture here. I kept Inda just out of the sunlight.
06. I then placed Inda into the sunlight and we all had a go at shooting into the light.
07. I used the silver umbrella and a single Speedlight for this shot. I placed the flash in an adjoining room and the radio triggers worked through the walls. W set the exposure for the sunlit leaves and adjusted the flash to taste.
08. This shot in the same location was lit with bounced flash to achieve an even softer look.
09. Another window and another technique. This time we used diffused flash. By now the delegates had the hang of positioning and adjusting the Speedlight plus setting basic exposures.
10. This shot foxed a few at first but with an unexpectedly tiny amount of direct flash from a bare faced Speedlight we achieved harmony inside and out.
11. What I’ve not told you about this workshop is that we had two bodyguards. These serving Marines were never far from us and kept the kidnappers away. They came in handy later too as you will find out.
12. By mid morning the heat was building. It was about 36 degrees and near maximum humidity when we ventured onto the roof area of the building. I needed to show how to shoot in full sun in the middle of the day and control contrast.
13. It was time to unleash the fabulous Fujifilm 55-200mm lens. I used it wide open for this simple head shot. I love the bokeh and sharpness of this lens. It makes beautiful painterly portraits.
14. After a slow lunch at Cafe Batavia we entered another property. I pushed the door open and rats scurried around our feet. We politely asked the Marines to get rid of the rats which they did using a variety of implements and techniques. This shot of Inda was lit with one bare faced Speedlight.
15. A pool of sunlight bathed the floor of the town house through the place where the roof structure had collapsed.
16. The bike was a bonus. I transported it here from where it’s owner had left it. The arch harmonised perfectly with the wheels. I lit Inda with two Speedlights on stands. The group was ready to step up a notch and so we did.
17. Lighting as above. I was lying in rat urine to get this shot but it was worth it :)
19. By mid afternoon it was one again time to brave the streets. Two Speedlights in a trademark Lovegrove set up.
20. A simple two point lighting set up. This time I used the sun from the right and a Speedlight from the left.
21. This doorway caught my eye. In a matter of seconds I had the flash rigged and the delegated told me what the exposure should be. They were learning fast.
22. I had spotted Inda’s hat at the beginning of the day and when I spotted this patch of sunlight on the yellow shutters I knew it was a match made in heaven. Inda’s rucksack was the cherry on the top.
23. This head shot is sunlit and it’s probably a coincidence that sunlight has a similar look to that produced by a Speedlight at 2m. It’s what makes the humble Speedlight such a fabulous bit of kit on overcast days.
It was soon time for a beer at Cafe Batavia to end the day. After a day of rest and relaxation with my friends Gary Jorgensen and Nick Mifsud from SWPM in the bar of our hotel I flew to Singapore for yet more adventures in the Fullerton and Raffles Hotels among other great venues. I’ll be blogging the four shoots from my Singapore trip very soon, but for now please feel free to comment on your experience if you were with me in Jakarta or the pictures and techniques used if not.
If you would like to attend a workshop in your part of the world drop Laura an Email and you never know what will happen.