Friday, October 30, 2015

OCF in the harshest high noon lighting situation :: rooftop photoshoot with Advisor Fox cofounder and CEO Ajay Rewari

I know what you're thinking. Sure, it's one hell of a title but there's a plethora of awesome content herein today's post.

As you know, digressions, rants and random rhetoric are my modus operandi. Confusing at times, yes, but it's surely what gives this blog much more flavor than the vast sea of noise out there that's clogging up our bandwidth.

Today, I'm gonna try to keep my insanity at bay and attempt some sort of order as that looooong title may frighten some of you. Having said that, don't be a pussy and secondly, note keywords, try and attempt.

Let's dig in.


WTF you say?

OCF is simply the monogram coined by the legendary David "Strobist" Hobby. Oh. duh. I suppose you want to know what it stands for.

Off Camera Flash.

It's a religion for many of us camera geeks, the Strobist / OCF camp that is. Hearing things like Pocketwizard  and softbox really make us hot and bothered. FYI, neither of those things are sexual in nature. Not to most of us anyway. What other photographers are doing with their Pocketwizards and/or Softboxes behind closed doors is their own business. I got nuthin' against the freaky deaky.

Fuck me. Already I'm getting off track. Pull me back people.

The Situation

And I'm not talking about the douche bag from Jersey Shore. What a fucking tool bag.

Had a recent shoot with co founder and CEO of media startup, Advisor Fox, Ajay Rewari.

First things first, had to nail the in-studio headshot.


Can you say Catchlight King? What's my name bitches!?

On the real quick, this was lit on an Arctic White background but I turned it a shade of gray with quick calculations, the Inverse Square Law and pure wattage.

Moving on.

After I dropped the mic in the studio, I had take the shoot to the next level.

Do you see a slick segue coming?

Yup. Corny but I couldn't help myself.

Next level? Besides wanting to bang out a pimp headshot for Ajay, I wanted to expand the creative realm, vertically.

Here Comes The Pain!

I've only shot on the roof of my building, hmmm, lemme think, maybe two times. The first was on The Fourth of July. Obviously, the view of the fireworks at The Art Museum is pretty bad ass but viewing those simultaneously with the countless small neighborhood displays that seemed to encompass my very being made the experience and the shooting . . . . UNFUCKINGBELIEVABLE.

The other shoot? Memorable but from a different perspective. It was another headshot session. Seconds into the roof shoot, thick and ominous, black clouds rolled in as heavy winds accompanied the spooky skies. With strobes perched atop a few 10 footer (metal) light stands, the lightning, needless to say, encouraged us to wrap up before my own experiences in learning what voltage is, first hand.

That brings us to the Ajay Rewari session.

Besides the 90 plus degree heat that was reflecting off of the horrific silver colored tar, it was about high noon, the sun high in the, sadly, mostly cloudless sky.

A photographer's dream, right? Fuck no!

At least trying to light OCF style in the storm helped me to create some rad work. This situation? It would be a challenge to say the least.

Easily, I could have put Ajay's back to the light, exposed for his face and had blown out the background but that was not the style I was going for. I wanted to get a deep DOF and a slightly underexposed and more dramatic sky/cityscape. This would require taxing the exposure to the max.

ISO? 50. As low as she goes.

Aperture? f/22.0, I think.

Shutter? Doing the communicating between Betsy (my Nikon D4) and the OCF with Plus ii Pocketwizard transceivers. Having said that, I couldn't relay any HSS information since these Wizards only communicate basic manual functions. No worries. That's how I usually work. So with at 50 and f/22.0, syncing at 1/250 would get about a -1 or -2 EV.

[Note :: A neutral density filter would have been a solution to make life a lot easier on the uber bright rooftop.]

The OCF? I was working with the Yongnuo 568EX. By the way, Stay tuned for that review coming very soon. Love that fucker. I swear it's built better than some proprietary brands. #JustSaying.


The strobe was bare and believe it or not, I was only cranking at 1/4 power ratio to get a nice evenly exposed face and body.

Here. I'll post it again so all you lazies don't have to scroll up to see the awesomeness that I'm talking about.

Some would think that bringing a light into this scenario is ludacris and rightfully so. If you don't have your skill set locked down tight, your ass will get roof raped by the gods of proton.

Funny. Ajay even questioned why I had a strobe up there.


See the cross-lightened effect that's happening here? The sun is evenly lighting his back side, his sides then go into the shadows and then his front is again, evenly exposed. So cool.

How About Post?

Ok, ok. So I did have to tweak a few things in the ole' ACR editor. But for shit's sake people, RAW files require developing. RAW files are, in essence, true digital negs. And as we all know, film negs need loving just as RAW files do. Actually, if you go deep into Betsy's brain, you'll see that she's programed to crank out the flattest of flat RAW files. Just as I expose manually, I develop manually. All creativity comes from scratch. No presets. No filters. Just gray matter.

First, the Kelvin was cranked to about 6500 degrees. It felt too "happy" at 5500. With that, I cranked the Vibrance whilst taking back the Saturation. A sneaky little trick for a pretty bad ass look. Finally, I cut the sky's luminance down to bring up the drama.


Easy. And damn how I sound like a broken record.


You may fall flat on your face and trust me. I have. Many times. It's all part of growth and the road to success. So fall. Fall a lot. Just get the fuck back up would ya!?

Until next time...