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Con and Maria’s Wedding

February 8th, 2009 by admin

Late last year Carol and I photographed Con and Maria in a pre-wedding session and last Saturday was their wedding. It was predicted to be one of the hottest days in memory, but luckily we stayed close to the coast and it wasn’t too bad. Here is a small selection of images which stood out for me.

Opera Bar

February 5th, 2009 by admin

Opera House

Met up with a bunch of uni mates for a drink with Franky before he flies back to the UK, so what better place than the Opera Bar. Sure it wasn’t a clear day, but it still is a pretty spectacular place to have a drink or three. Took this quick snap with the N95 and I thought it looked better in B&W.

Happy or sad?

January 22nd, 2009 by admin

I have a few more posts from my experiences in Japan recently, here’s a pic Charles Kha took while at a shoot location.

roadsters

I didn’t know if I should feel happy or sad, happy that I saw my favourite cars, but sad in that one of them looked like it was crying with its blinkers hanging out. These Mazda Roadsters were at an auto college outside Tokyo, I hope some students get good use out of them.

Back to…

January 17th, 2009 by admin

not Babylon, but home. I spotted this at Shibuya’s famous main crossing, and thought it was appropriate for my last night in Japan, for a while at least.

Harajuku

January 13th, 2009 by admin

This looks like a store for kids clothes right?

Look again.

It’s all for small dogs.

Japan Day 3

January 12th, 2009 by admin

With the rest of the week completely booked with shoots, today was our only ‘free’ day. Walking, seeing the sights, and a bit of shopping (not much cus of our Aussie peso) was the plan.

We started with breakfast at First Kitchen. There are so many burger places in Tokyo now, apart from the usual U.S. based McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s etc, there are better Japanese alternatives such as MOS Burger, Freshness Burger and what we tried this morning, First Kitchen. I ordered a pork burger, which was decent, but not quite to the MOS standard. What was good was the side salad; super fresh lettuce, nice bacon, sauce, cheese and cute tiny little croutons. The highlight was however, the soft boiled egg. Perfectly cooked and individually wrapped, you crack it open, and allow it to slide out of the shell and onto your salad. This was a much better alternative then the same old french fries.

Walking towards the shops the cold set in, nothing beats a bottle of Royal Milk Tea in this case. It warms your hands, tastes great, and is cheap at ¥120.

Next up we trained it over to Harajuku, and walked to the Meiji JingÅ«. I’m not sure what the occasion was, but there amount to people was mind blowing.

Lining the route to the shrine were Ice Sculptures, some of them were very intricate. With the morning sun filtering through the trees to the ice, we were impressed and if it wasn’t for the crowds around us, it would have been a very peaceful place.

The small shop complex near the shrine had a few stalls setup, so we picked up some fresh hot bean paste dumplings, giving us some much needed energy to attack Omotesando.

This looked like potpurri but was tea.

We finally got to Omotesando and the streets were crawling with shoppers.

We walked through a few shops, but with the conversion rate, bought next to nothing. After we walked back to Shibuya, we spotted this R35 just cruising, no one really looking at it.

Not this monkey…

December 22nd, 2008 by admin

madagascar2

Photo by Carol Pakula.
Recently the photographer’s blogsphere has been going wild at a post written by The Strobist. I’m not going to go into the reasons for and against it, that has already been covered by more experienced photographers than I. I will instead share two relevant situations I have recently experienced. The first involves a totally new client (potential client to be accurate). The deal was, a friend of mine saw a post on a forum, where the poster was asking for a photographer to shoot some exotic cars in some excellent locations. I read the post and was interested so I asked the poster to contact me, which they promptly did. The brief was very appealing to me, over a million dollars worth of brand new exotic luxury rides, to be driven by the editorial guys on some of the state’s most scenic roads. Sounds like a dream assignment for me. However, their staff photographer was sick and pulled out last second, so the best they could offer me was to have the expenses paid, i.e. food (most likely fast or truck stop) and accommodation (again most likely of the budget variety). I did offer my standard day rate, even a slightly discounted one as it was going to be two consecutive days. The reply was that their budget did not allow for it, as they already have a staff photographer. Hmm.

I thought about taking the gig anyway and using it for two things; one to build my portfolio with some exotic cars. The local distributors would also see the photos, since they were the ones offering their cars for review, which could also open some opportunities with them. And secondly, to form a relationship with this new potential client. The first point was what made me thing about taking it. The second is what sealed the deal for me not to. Reason being, if I did one assignment for them for free, why would they pay the second one. Every single client I have ever had, always paid for my first gig. Even when I was working in another industry (Finance and IT), and was asked to shoot a car for a national magazine for the first time in my life, one of the first things they mentioned to me was the rate of pay. I would have done it for free back then, as it would have been an opportunity to get published and I knew little about how the industry worked, but since they did offer pay, I gladly accepted. So I guess I have the blogs of inspirational photographers like Vincent Laforet and John Harrington’s awesome Photo Business News blog, to thank for that.

The second situation involves a well established client for me, one whom I have worked with for a number of years. This situation might be more about the fact that there were too many management levels involved, but, the gist is, I was asked to shoot for two days, and I offered my discounted rate. The person I was speaking to said that should be fine, and will call tomorrow to confirm. The next day someone else calls, and said it has all been approved. So during the shoot, one of the more senior members of this company hinted at doing this job as a freebie, I brushed it off without giving an answer, as I was quite shocked to hear this coming out of his mouth. When it came time to deliver the photos, I basically said that I was not going to provide the images until I was paid. I have usually provided the photos the day or two after the shoot for almost all of my clients, but this situation led me to change my tact a little. I was promptly paid and delivered all photos.

Razor

December 15th, 2008 by admin

After recovering today from Auto Salon’s last event for 2008, Final Battle at Sydney Olympic Park, I began sorting and processing the 2500 odd images I shot over the two day event. They will be going into a future issue of Auto Salon Magazine, so I can’t post many, but I will post this one.
I used my new 85mm f1.2 L lens for some shots of the contestants in the Lonsdale Miss Auto Salon competition, and it really blew me away. This is a completely unedited 100% crop pic from the 85, ISO400 f2.2. Click the image for a larger version, still a 100% unedited crop. Is there such a thing as too sharp? Naaa.

85mm f1.2L at f2.2

Covers

December 12th, 2008 by admin

I have been employed with Auto Salon for over 4 years now, in that time I have shot, at a guess, around 100 cars for Auto Salon Magazine and I have lost count of the number of shows/events/races I have attended and photographed. I do however, always remember my covers.

ASM Covers

This is 12 of the last covers I have shot for ASM. We quite often do not specifically know which car will end up on a cover, so if I think it has a chance, then I will usually try to get a few more shots suitable for a cover. See if you can guess which cars were shot specifically knowing they are “covers cars” and which cars weren’t.

Review: LumiQuest Softbox III

December 10th, 2008 by admin

I have used a few flash modifiers in my time, and haven’t been really happy with any of them. I thought I would give LumiQuest‘s new Softbox III a go, as it looks like one of the biggest portable flash softboxes you can get.


LumiQuesti Softbox III

The all plastic device attaches to you flash (in my case a 580EX) using Velcro, so fitting and removing it is quick and easy. Notice the central oval in the output side? That is designed to further diffuse the direct output of the flash, and make use of the entire area of the softbox.

LQ III

One reason why I went for a unit such as this, is its portability. Folded down its completely flat and smaller than an A4 sheet of paper, making it light and very easy to carry in most camera bags.

SQIII folded

Here are my test images, using a 1:18 scale R34 GT-R.

No flash:
no flash

Raw direct flash (mounted on camera):
raw

Softbox III fitted (flash mounted on camera):
soft direct

Softbox III fitted (flash off camera above car):
off camera

naked flash (flash off camera above car):
raw flash above car

And finally here’s what it looks like hand held:
example

As you can see, the difference is subtle when the flash is still on the camera but becomes more noticeable when the flash is off the camera. It is an improvement in the softness of the light, and perhaps this is not best illustrated using a shiny, sharp edged model. I have used the softbox on a stand and photographing a car’s interior and engine bay and I was happy with the results. Once those images are published I will post more examples. This is the first flash modifier I have decided to keep.

Pros:
Affordable, portable, easy to use, well made.
Cons:
Subtle difference, not as soft as a large, twin layer softbox, can block flash IR sensor.

LumiQuest

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