Posts Tagged ‘flash’

The Tea Cup

September 1st, 2010

This is a shot from my archives, taken on the plane on the way to Bangalore, India for a wedding in October of last year.

I was setting up to make the portrait of an elderly gentleman and realised that I had packed my speedlights in my suitcase, which was *cough* conveniently in the plane’s hold.

So, I had to work with available light. Must say, not much light on a plane. I ended up switching on every reading light I could find and directing it, so far as possible, in the direction of my subject (which is why there are so many spots of light reflecting in the kind old man’s eyes).

I made a number of test shots, with the kind assistance of my frs. This was one of them. I loved how it turned out.

More coming soon!


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The White Feather

August 30th, 2010

I came across this single white feather in a forest in Normandy, France when out hunting for mushrooms earlier this year.

It seemed to shine with it’s own light, a small sliver of virgin white emerging from the damp, dark forest floor. I lit it with my SB900 speedlight.

I had wondered about the feeling my choice of image for this post conveyed. It felt like I was looking for an idea and words that were only just out of reach.

This morning though, I have no doubts about the picture. I find it surprisingly fitting.

I was woken in the night to learn that a friend and colleague, who has served 19 years with my firm, had passed away suddenly from a heart attack. He was only 46, and leaves behind a wife and five young children. And a lot of dumbstruck family, friends and co-workers.

Another light has gone out. And the world looks that little bit darker.

And that feather seems to be gathering greater, and certainly a very different, meaning in the circumstances. Though I don’t know if I can tell you why or what that is…

He will be missed. But not forgotten. And in that way, never truly lost.

More coming soon.


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Colour & Lights

July 20th, 2010

I’d had this idea for a photo project for some time now where I wanted to shoot portraits of someone wrapped up in Christmas lights.  But I had only this vague notion of the type of shots I would like to see. The idea appealed to me though.

At one point, I resolved to try it.

I bought a roll of party lights and twisted a friend of mine’s rubber arm until I convinced him to be my subject. So that day, I pulled out my SB900 flash unit, set up and wrapped all 180 lights around him. And that’s where things got a little complicated. All because I didn’t know what type of image I wanted.

I love that I always end up learning something new through photography. I think I was initially thinking to get a shot or two of my friend lit only by the party lights, and maybe with only his face lit by a warm light. It quickly became clear that that wasn’t the look that “spoke” to me creatively.

Experimentation time!

So I moved towards a shallower depth of field and different lighting, and got shots that fit in exactly with what I had been hoping to achieve from a creative and learning standpoint.

Below are some of the results.

For the above shot, I set the camera to tungsten white balance and backlit my friend with the SB900 flash bouncing off the wall in the background. I also used a hand-held torch which I aimed at my friend’s eye. I near blinded the poor guy.

Hope you enjoyed the results of this photo shoot as much I did.

More coming soon!


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The Chalet

July 12th, 2010

These are two shots I took of the inside of a good friend of mine’s chalet in the mountains of Lebanon at the beginning  of the year.

I initially tried to light the scene with two flash guns, but I was unfortunately unable to get the look I was hoping for, so eventually I opted to shoot with the express purpose of creating HDR images.

More coming soon!


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Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (3)

The Cross

June 25th, 2010

I had gone for a walk with my cousin in Normandy. The path we took brought us past an old church, in the small grassy space next to which stood this beautiful cross.

I decided to make a picture. With my cousin’s assistance (he held the flashgun for me), I set up and took the shot. I exposed for the rapidly darkening sky and used the flash (to camera left) to light the cross itself. I thought I could bring out quite the mood that way.

The moment after I heard the click-clack of the shutter opening and closing, the skies opened. A wall of rain and hail descended upon us. We were each soaked to the bone within minutes (despite our rain gear which proved not to be quite as water proof as advertised). Thankfully, I was able to save my camera gear. I protected it with my body as I rapidly packed it away into my backpack. Then began the long walk back the way we came. Luckily, I managed to keep most of the wet out of the backpack by covering it with my jacket and hunching over it.

More coming soon!


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The Kids

June 23rd, 2010

I have a newfound respect for photographers who specialise in portraits of children.

A while back I set up to make portraits of my little cousins (10, 7 and 4), who are shining stars each. We turned the photography project into a game and made an afternoon of it. But my, was it challenging. They seemed to always manage to sit still for just long enough for me to compose a shot, but would then move at the precise moment I’d press the shutter. Gah.

That wouldn’t have been so bad except I was also experimenting with light. I had them backlit by a harsh flash (set on any of floor, a table, or sofa) while another flash (mostly hand-held to camera left) provided a softer light to illuminate their features and bring out a catch-light in their eyes.

Here are some of the results.

More pictures coming soon!


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The Salamander

June 7th, 2010

I caught this salamander when I was visiting my uncle at his farm in Normandy, France (it had snuck into the house).

I figured it’d make interesting shooting material. So before releasing that beautiful amphibian into the wild again, I grabbed some white paper, placed the salamander delicately upon it, fitted my macro lens to my camera, setup my SB900 flash and, well, here are some of the results.

It was remarkably difficult to shoot as the salamander l decided it would be a particularly petulant model and refused to sit still for a moment.

It was constantly shifting this way and that, occasionally making a dash for the edge of the paper and freedom from the apparently terrifying glare of my lens.

More coming soon!


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Posted in Animals, Portraits | Comments (1)

Experiments in Light

January 29th, 2010

I was at a house party a while back when one of my friends walked into the path of an overhead spotlight. The play of light sparked an idea. I whipped out the camera and gear, and ended up roping most everybody into a somewhat mad photo shoot. Here are two of the results.

The first image was taken with the available light from a small overhead spotlight.

More pictures coming soon!


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Double Exposure

December 14th, 2009

A few days ago I decided to experiment with multiple exposures.

I’d been meaning to try it for a while now and kept forgetting, until something reminded me of it recently.

A multiple exposure is a photographic technique in which a single image is created by making two or more exposures (photographs) on a single piece of film (or digital equivalent). A typical DSLR, like my Nikon D700, allows you to make such pictures manually.

There are also software programs out there (can anyone say Photoshop?) which can allow you to superimpose two or more pictures.

However, I wanted to try it in-camera. Besides, I don’t own or use Photoshop, so…

I decided to test it out by taking portraits of my father. I can never spend enough time with him, and I can never have enough pictures of him.

Below is one of the resulting pictures. The photograph is unaltered except to convert it to greyscale (black & white).

Seeing Double (D700, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, f16, ISO 200, 1/320secs)

It came out pretty much as I envisaged it, though is not perfect by any count. I’ll be trying more double exposures in the future and hopefully you’ll see the difference of lessons learnt…

I shot at an aperture of f16 (a very small opening) as I didn’t want available light to affect the picture. I wanted only to have my lighting affect the picture.

I used a single flash to light, and just moved it to the other side when I changed position to take the other shot. The light in each case was directed at the far (i.e.: non-visible) side of my father’s face as I wanted both to have outline shots and to limit the light that hit the near side of his face. If I’d lit the camera-side profile I would have added detail to the side of his face and head for each shot – and meshed together things would just get messy and horrible.

I tried to have two different types of image and expression combined. And I managed to get him smiling in one, and asked him to turn his head very slightly towards me in the other.

I must say, my dad is so patient… He sat through the whole thing with a wry smile, watching me variously fiddle with the position of the flash, find the right angle to shoot from, or curse at my camera or at myself – the multiple exposure setting expires after each image made or if any other settings are touched. Which could be frustrating, and frequently was, as my fingers aren’t the most dexterous.

I always end up pressing some button I shouldn’t when trying to cradle camera, lightstand and flash and rearranging them on the other side after an exposure was made. I should have just used two pre-programmed flashes. But I was lazy and so ended up circling the armchair my father sat in more than I should have. (That said, that expiry thing is perfect – imaging forgetting to unselect multiple exposure once you’re done. You could end up shooting through a whole memory card’s worth before you realised…)

Hokay. So that wraps it up for today.

Yep. Just one picture.


Oh alright. Here’s another. Also of my father. Taken a while back now. Also in black & white. I used a single flash to light him, and to get the light soft and lighting as I wanted I ended up putting the diffusion dome on the flash head and piling on layers of tissue paper (I was shooting TTL and hadn’t thought of shifting to manual mode…)

Da Profile

More pictures coming soon!


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Photography Books

September 19th, 2009

People often ask me what good photography books there are out there.

So I decided to put together a little list of good books I own, or have come across, and have found particularly useful.

Here they are in no particular order. Click the links below to finds out more about the books:

General How-Tos, Why-Tos, Tips & Techniques

  1. The Digital Photography Book
  2. The Digital Photography Book V2
  3. The Digital Photography Book V3
  4. Michael Freeman’s Top Digital Photography Tips
  5. The Moment it Clicks: Photography Secrets from One of the World’s Top Shooters
  6. Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera
  7. Understanding Shutter Speed: Creative Action and Low-Light Photography Beyond 1/125 Second
  8. How to Photograph Absolutely Everything: Successful Pictures from Your Digital Camera
  9. Waiting for the Light
  10. The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos
  11. Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision
  12. The Digital SLR Handbook
  13. National Geographic Photography Field Guide: Secrets to Making Great Pictures
  14. National Geographic Photography Field Guide: People and Portraits
  15. The Complete Guide to Night and Low-Light Photography


  1. The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light From Small Flashes
  2. Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Location Photography
  3. Master lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers
  4. The Nikon Creative Lighting System: Using the SB-600, SB-800, SB-900 and R1C1 Flashes


  1. Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography

Lightroom 2 Guides

  1. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers
  2. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers

Macro Guides

  1. Closeup Shooting: A Guide to Closeup, Tabletop and Macro Photography
  2. Macro Photography Workshop
  3. Understanding Close-up Photography: Creative Close Encounters with or without a Macro Lens

Guide to Filters

  1. Digital Photographers Guide to Filters: The Complete Guide to Hardware and Software Filtration


  1. Wisdom: 50 Unique and Original Portraits
  2. A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005
  3. Annie Leibovitz at Work
  4. Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs
  5. Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Celebrity and Editorial Photography
  6. Ocean: The World’s Last Wilderness Revealed
  7. Portraits
  8. Earth from Above
  9. The World’s Top Photographers: Portraits: And the Stories Behind Their Greatest Images
  10. National Geographic: The Photographs
  11. 100 Photographs That Changed the World


  1. Photographer’s Legal Guide
  2. New Epson Complete Guide to Digital Printing *Note: This book may be useful to you even if not using Epson equipment. It’s that kind of book.

The above is by no means a complete list.

FI haven’t put up any Photoshop books as I don’t use the software and am not familiar with it. Another notable absence from the list are books tackling aspects specific to film photography.

If you think there’s a great or essential photography book that’s missing from the above, by all means do share. See also here, for a top 10 list that mentions a few titles that aren’t listed in the above.


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Posted in Books/Resources | Comments (2)

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Ziad Salloum Photography & The Desert Jerboa by Ziad Salloum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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