Tuesday 10 September 2013

The Deer

I had long wanted to shoot one of my forest pictures in a bluebell wood.

This year was particularly difficult though as the unseasonably cold spring made the bluebells late, and somewhat stunted.

I was still determined to press on as I knew it would be my one and only chance to shoot the image before the Pingyao International photography festival in September.


The forecast was a little iffy to say the very least, and for this shot I needed the sun, something you cannot count on in the UK, so I bought something along which would give the sun ‘look’ for the back light.

Lighting out put is not the problem but height and angle of the light is, I needed a tall light stand, an exceptionally tall light stand.

I ended up using a stand which is not actually a light stand but a camera stand.

The Manfrotto 269HDB-3U a truly spectacular stand which extends to over 7.3metres(24 ft) in height which with a small amount of tweaking(using a brass spigot which screws on top) will take a Elinchrom Ranger flash head. I used the light stand at its full extension and held my breath(It actually does ship with guy ropes but I had a small crew for the shoot so be didn’t get round to using them)

The key light, camera left, was an Elinchrom Ranger too with a Chimera medium soft box.

I originally was going to do the shot on a longer lens, a Phase One Schneider 240mm LS on a Phase One IQ180, to get some degree of compression on the bluebells but the way the trees and the blue bells were it did not work out and I ended up shooting it on a Phase One Schneider 55mm LS.

I never cease to marvel at the quality from a Phase One back.

Here is a 100percent crop.

I mentioned the unseasonably cold weather and that on the day was the very biggest challenge. Katie really was an exceptional model but she struggled with the bitterly cold weather as you might see in the video, all very well for the rest of the crew who were warmly bundled up in many a layer.

To get every element working together, the deer, the light, the smoke and the model was particularly challenging this time and in the end it came down to one frame where everything worked out.

In the frame I chose the deer is spot on with just a a little wind in the models hair.

The shoot was over in a relatively short period of time, well under an hour, there are limits when working with live animals and cold weather conditions.

Stay tuned for the grand finale which will be posted just before I depart for China to hang my work at the Pingyao International photography festival.


cinghialino said...

I'm not sure but I'm seeing a lot of noise in her shadows and something extra weird on hair too..

it may be quality for you, but really I wouldn't have posted that 100% crop.

Unknown said...

Smoke is always a tricky one and you will see more noise in smoke.

Remember too this a compressed jpg.



cinghialino said...

I understand that is a compressed jpg, but those artifacts are quite bad and from the shape of it they don't even look related to jpg compression, but more to oversharpening..
What about the hair solarization? shouldn't phase one provide extra channel depth to play with?

Sorry I'm genuinely not trying to be a troll, but I need to see better examples of what the camera can do for me to decide the upgrade or not.
As per now, the incredible difference in price makes me not go for a phase one.
You see, technically on paper it should be the best camera in the world, and probably is, but outside the studio -with real world examples- it's just simply unjustified.

Justin Sutcliffe said...

It's an interesting point about the noise but really it is so technically and aesthetically inaccurate that I'm not sure where to begin.

So let's begin with the shape of the artefacts. I cannot agree with your analysis. To me they look much more like compression or resizing artefacts than capture.

If they are, as you suggest, due to over-sharpening then that is AT BEST an easily solvable user parameter and in no way a reflection of the camera's capabilities or shortcomings.

To deny that he detail is remarkable is frankly obtuse and the kind of "craft over art" camera club nonsense that we should all strive to avoid.

we have lens flare from the sunlight, smoke, high dynamic transient and, a focal point that is comparatively distant from the camera... all at once.

Any single one of these factors would knock almost every other camera flat on its arse. Any two would have it waving the white flag, yet the Phase has dealt with all of them and delivered detail in the shadows mid-tones and highlight, really only losing control in a very small section of the brightest highlights around her hair.

All of this comes before we even mention the fact that monitors vary, colour space is not constant on the web and the fact that noise is not always unwelcome in any case.

Really, I think Drew's only mistake was to trust that his readers would be able to take all these factors into account when objectively assessing this enlargement.

I respectfully disagree with every tenet of your argument and I suspect that you might be missing the point of the picture and the post.

DSLRPundit said...

I love that shot. I do photography too and share what I have learned on my own dslr photography blog.

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