http://www.randelljohnphotography.com Creating beautiful photographs, that you'll cherish for a lifetime. Mon, 16 Oct 2017 02:07:24 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 29735091 Experimenting With Rodinal and Stand Development http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/experimenting-rodinal-stand-development/ http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/experimenting-rodinal-stand-development/#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 01:33:10 +0000 http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/?p=7411

Developing Ilford HP5 ASA 400 in Rodinal  It’s been a while since my last post so I thought I’d write one about Experimenting With Rodinal and Stand Development. It took me a long time to let go of film when digital camera’s become an affordable option, and I must admit I begrudging realised that analogue
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http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/experimenting-rodinal-stand-development/ Developing Ilford HP5 ASA 400 in Rodinal 
Canon AE-1 Canon AE-1

It’s been a while since my last post so I thought I’d write one about Experimenting With Rodinal and Stand Development.
It took me a long time to let go of film when digital camera’s become an affordable option, and I must admit I begrudging realised that analogue photography would eventually be pushed aside by the amazing images modern camera sensors can produce. 
There aren’t many professional photographers who prefer using film for their everyday work due to the convenience of the digital workflow and quick feed back that can be gained simply by ‘chimping’ the LCD screens that modern cameras are fitted with.
Although I really like using a digital camera, I have found something lacking in the process of using them.
The images are superb, crisp, sharp, with as much contrast and colour control you can point a stick at, but photography is much more than just an end result, for me at least anyway.
I have always missed the process of creating a photograph from celluloid, and the connection between the photographer and the finished print has somehow been lost.
With this un-scratchable itch I’ve been feeling since moving to digital, a couple of years ago I decided it was time to reconnect to my past, and really start to get a real ‘feel’ for my photography again.
I started out buying a rather beautiful Canon EOS 1N, at one time the company’s top of the line professional 35mm SLR Film cameras.
I wasn’t disappointed, not only does it accept all my modern EOS EF lenses, but it’s the closest film camera I own that is similar in operation to my modern DSLR’s.
It has full auto focus, auto rewind, lens stabilisation functions as normal, and all the controls are very familiar to me.
Although this camera soothed my itch for a while, I still felt that something was missing.
I needed to go retro.
With several more purchases and a few camera’s given to me by friends, I eventually felt complete again.
Next I decided to build a new darkroom and buy all the equipment I would need to develop and print from my own ‘real’ negatives.

I bought a lot of used gear to try to minimise costs, and again through the generosity of friends, it wasn’t long before I had more equipment than I actually needed.
I was soon spending many happy hours mixing chemicals, enlarging negatives and splashing around photo sensitive papers in a variety of chemical soups, and loving every minute of it. 
My itch to reconnect with photography had finally been soothed – permanently.

For a long while I stuck rigidly to the chemical manufacturer’s development times and instructions, taking great care with my precious negatives, but I soon realised that the tried and trusted method of following the graphs and tables produced by great companies like Kodak and Ilford left a lot to be desired in the processing of film.
After all photography is an art, right? I knew of a method of developing film that would give me more scope to push the boundaries of possibility when developing film. 
So with a little push from a couple of fellow film lovers, I ordered some Rodinal from Germany and set about researching ‘Stand Development Techniques’.

Rodinal Developer Rodinal originally manufactured by Agfa

Rodinal was originally produced by the Agfa film company, but they stopped producing it several years ago, luckily for the likes of me and other Rodinal fans the German company ADOX now make it to the original specifications, and this wonderful elixir is now available again, pretty much world-wide.
After chatting to a couple of friends I decided that the best way forward was to dilute the developer to a ratio of 1:100 with water and allow my film to ‘Stand Develop’ for an hour with just 10 agitations of the chemical at the very beginning of the development period.

I’m a huge fan of the Massive Development App, from Digital Truth, and used their timings for the stop bath, fix and final film wash.
In total my roll of Ilford HP5 ASA 400 would take a total of 1 Hour and 18 minutes to complete. 
So I set my timers, filled the Paterson developing tank loaded with my film and sat back and waited for the film to develop.

iPhone Timer set to one hour iPhone Timer counting down a long hour

When the development process had completed, I poured out the soup, poured in the stop bath and agitated for a full minute, before fixing the film in Ilford Fixer for a further 5 minutes and finally washed the film before hanging to dry.

Film drying in a shower cubicle. I’ve got to be considerate when I develop film, as my wife lives in the shower. I married a mermaid.

On first inspection the exposed film looked pretty good, and although I had fluffed a couple of shots on the roll (One can be seen at the very bottom of the roll. I accidentally fully tripped the shutter when I zoomed in to take a meter reading of my wife’s face), the negs seemed nice and ‘thick’ or dense as I prefer (This gives me more time to manipulate the negative during the print stage under the enlarger), I noticed the shadows weren’t quite as dark as I normally produce using standard development processes. (Remember that that this is a negative, so the shadows actually appear as highlights on the roll of film).
I realised this was a pretty normal thing to happen though, and is mainly brought about by lack of agitation during the stand development process. (Simply put, the developer just isn’t being refreshed over the surface of the film as the development tank is inverted during a more conventional development process).

This lack of contrast, was really obvious once the film had dried and I put the roll under inspection on my light table.
And although the image below was shot with my iPhone that lack of ‘punch’ can clearly be seen in this frame.

Miners Statue at Parc Slip Miners Statue at Parc Slip commemorating the mine disaster.

Now this is not a terrible first result using the stand development method, in fact it’s made me realise just what a versatile method of developing film this really is. It gives me a whole load of time to make changes to the process.
Simply by adding more agitation at the beginning of the development process and or inverting the development tank at say the 30 and or 40 minute point, would increase the contrast of my film.
Flushing fresh developer over the surface later on in the process would increase the density of my shadows, and due to fact that the highlights will have developed in the initial stages of the process the whole contrast of my film will increase.
So this is the first stage of that artistic process – Experimentation! I’m no longer stuck within the boxed restraints of a development graph, and can now fully control the whole photographic process from choosing my film stock to developing my own wet prints.
Eventually after a few more attempts at this method, I should hopefully be able to produce consistent negatives, that have not only the density I want, but have the contrasty punch I love too.
I haven’t noticed any increased grain size in these negatives but I didn’t push this roll of Ilford HP5 above its base ASA 400.
That will be another more advanced experiment to try once I’ve nailed down my agitations and can produce the underlying look of the negatives I desire, but I must admit that I really enjoyed myself today.
I’ll post some more images when I’ve finished Experimenting With Rodinal and Stand Development

 

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Ironman Tenby 2017 http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/ironman-tenby-2017/ http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/ironman-tenby-2017/#respond Wed, 13 Sep 2017 17:01:20 +0000 http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/?p=7292

Ironman Tenby 2017   We had an exhausting weekend watching Ironman Tenby 2017 one of the toughest athletic events in the world. We originally wanted a long weekend away, and booked a hotel in the picturesque seaside town of Tenby, not realising it was the weekend when thousands of athletes and spectators descend on the
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Ironman Tenby 2017

 

We had an exhausting weekend watching Ironman Tenby 2017 one of the toughest athletic events in the world.
We originally wanted a long weekend away, and booked a hotel in the picturesque seaside town of Tenby, not realising it was the weekend when thousands of athletes and spectators descend on the seaside town for Ironman Tenby 2017.
The race starts early at 6.30 am and commences with a 2.4 mile swim around the South Beach Bay, followed by a 112 mile bike ride and culminating in a full marathon.
If that sounds exhausting enough, all stages of the race must be completed by midnight and the three stages of the race have final cut off times or contenders are at risk of being swept up by ‘The Broom Wagon’ and being disqualified.
This year athletes were subjected to a fairly choppy sea in the morning and torrential rain and high winds hitting cyclists in the afternoon, although the weather did calm down a little for late finishers, the majority of the triathlete’s, were battered by the most awful weather throughout the day.
One of the athletes I talked to rather unceremoniously described his day as ‘A tough day in the office’. I should says so.
The atmosphere in the town is palpable with the excitement/trepidation building slowly throughout Saturday.
Ironman Tenby 2017 was run on Sunday September 10th, and we had a few contenders staying at the same hotel as us.
When we arrived at Myrtle House Hotel lunch time Saturday, they were all busy making final adjustments to their bikes, oiling chains and checking the adjustment of gears and brakes.
There were some very impressive and expensive bikes on display, and one of the guests told us that unless he was sponsored there was no way he would have been able to afford his travel costs from Germany, never mind the £10,000 for his top of the range bike.
He finished an impressive 20th in his age category in Ironman Tenby 2017, but the day before he said he’d ‘Not been feeling it’, and was slowly recovering from a virus.
I have never seen so many people in Tenby, with spectators lining the streets three deep.
Not even the rain kept people indoors, and their enthusiasm was fantastic to watch.
Many of the contenders thanked them as they wound their way around the course, and speaking to them on Monday, they all said what a difference the support makes to them as they battle fatigue as the race progresses.
I was once a fit and athletic young man, or at least I considered my self to be so, but after watching Ironman Tenby 2017 I was a rank amateur. 
These athletes take fitness to a totally new dimension.
Ironman Tenby 2017 was the most impressive race I’ve ever witnessed, a battle of not just sinew and muscle, but a battle of sheer will to finish the event.
Congratulations to all competitors in Ironman Tenby 2017, it was fantastic – See you next year.

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Winter Wedding at The Great House Laleston http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/winter-wedding-great-house-laleston/ http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/winter-wedding-great-house-laleston/#comments Sun, 27 Nov 2016 09:14:28 +0000 http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/?p=7202

I had a wonderful afternoon photographing Helen and Phil’s Winter Wedding at The Great House Laleston. ” slug=”Winter-Wedding-The-Great-House-Laleston” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]Every Autumn and Winter Wedding I’ve ever photographed this year, has been blessed with spectacular weather, with unusual amounts of sunshine and very comfortable temperatures for this time of the year. Helen and Phil
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I had a wonderful afternoon photographing Helen and Phil’s Winter Wedding at The Great House Laleston.

Every Autumn and Winter Wedding I’ve ever photographed this year, has been blessed with spectacular weather, with unusual amounts of sunshine and very comfortable temperatures for this time of the year.

Helen and Phil chose The Great House in Laleston, Nr Bridgend to host their intimate ceremony and reception, and it’s an ideal location for such a wedding.
The hotel is sumptuously decorated with large fireplaces and beamed ceilings, creating a warm and sensual environment, which wraps around visitors, exuding warmth and comfort.

The furniture is wonderfully traditional, deep buttoned leather Chesterfield sofas, and high back Queen Ann chairs are dotted around the cozy lounge.
I wish I’d had time to sit in a sofa next to the open fireplace and relax with a drink, but photographing weddings don’t usually allow time for such luxury.

The gardens are immaculately kept, and there’s even a gazebo permanently erected on a large wooden decking area at the bottom of the garden, ideal for shade on hot summer days, or somewhere to quickly shelter should rain fall suddenly during your wedding.

The staff at the hotel are fantastic, nothing is too much trouble for them. I always find that the best hotels go out of their way to help me when I arrive before the wedding begins. 
Yesterday was no exception, I was given a guided tour of the hotel by the manager, and she was more than happy to open the gazebo and move some furniture for me, to make a little extra room, should I need to use the facility later in the day.

Helen and Phil’s wedding was a short working day for me, and thanks to them and their guests for being so co-operative. I managed to cram in a lot of photography in the three hours I was with them.
In fact I was a little bit sad leaving them, as they were going into their wedding breakfast;
The food smelled delicious.

If you were a guest at Helen and Phil’s Winter Wedding at The Great House Laleston then you can find an online gallery of all the images I shot at the link below. The happy couple have the password, so give them a call if you’d like access to view and download the photos.
If you’d like to buy high quality prints from Loxley Colour, then you can purchase prints directly from the website.

Helen and Phil’s Wedding

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Remembrance Sunday 2016 http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/remembrance-sunday-2016/ http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/remembrance-sunday-2016/#respond Mon, 14 Nov 2016 02:30:45 +0000 http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/?p=7162

Remembrance Sunday 2016 Photographs from Bridgend Cenotaph commemorating Remembrance Sunday 2016. Full size images can be viewed and purchased at the link below. View and Buy Photographs ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]

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Remembrance Sunday 2016

Photographs from Bridgend Cenotaph commemorating Remembrance Sunday 2016.

Full size images can be viewed and purchased at the link below.
View and Buy Photographs

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Lauren and Greg at Manor House, Castle Coombe http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/lauren-greg-manor-house-castle-coombe/ http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/lauren-greg-manor-house-castle-coombe/#comments Mon, 01 Aug 2016 10:03:39 +0000 http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/?p=7039

Lauren and Greg at Manor House, Castle Coombe I couldn’t have hoped for better weather or a more wonderful couple for this weekends pre-wedding shoot with Lauren and Greg at Manor House, Castle Coombe. As usual I’d been watching the weather reports all week, especially as the promised ‘heat wave’ didn’t seem in any hurry to
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Lauren and Greg at Manor House, Castle Coombe

I couldn’t have hoped for better weather or a more wonderful couple for this weekends pre-wedding shoot with Lauren and Greg at Manor House, Castle Coombe.


As usual I’d been watching the weather reports all week, especially as the promised ‘heat wave’ didn’t seem in any hurry to appear.
I’d already made sure that we had enough time to schedule another date for a pre-wedding shoot, if the weather let us down this weekend, but I need not have worried. We were blessed with blue skies and fluffy clouds all afternoon.

I’d arranged to meet Lauren and Greg at Manor House, Castle Coombe, at four p.m and set off from home in South Wales in plenty of time to set up my equipment, and give my self enough time to take a quick walk around the grounds of this fantastic venue.

If you’ve never visited the area, then I can highly recommend it. Castle Coombe is a historic village nestled in the Cotswolds.
It has narrow streets lined with quaint cottages, all topped with olde-world shingle tiles.

As soon as you arrive it has an air familiarity, probably because so many television programmes and films have been made here.

Lauren and Greg are getting married in the Hotel, in October, and although we probably won’t have the wonderful weather we were blessed with this weekend, the sheer splendour and sumptuous decor of the hotel will give us so many photo opportunities. It’s a photographer’s dream venue and I’m really excited and looking forward to their big day.

Lauren and Greg were fantastic to photograph. They’re a really photogenic couple, who are so well humoured and easy to get along with. They listened intently to my direction, and I explained why being posed for photographs is so important.
My intention on pre-wedding shoots, isn’t to turn anyone into a professional model, but to simply guide my clients through some of the simple changes we can all make to improve how we look in a photograph.
Little things like weight distribution, and positioning the hands and head correctly can turn a nice photograph into an image worth printing and hanging on the wall.

I also got the chance to use my new Godox AD600B strobe again. This powerful and reliable flash, has got more than enough power to overpower direct sunlight and gave me the ability to shoot Lauren and Greg with very high shutter speeds, whilst maintaining a very shallow depth of field.
The Neutral Density Filters, I’ve had to carry in my camera bag are now pretty much redundant items, and the Godox 600W/s flash allows me to work much more quickly and easily create an almost three-dimensional quality in my photographs with relative ease.
I’m very impressed with this strobe.

I still haven’t finished editing all the images from the shoot with Lauren and Greg at Manor House, Castle Coombe, but should be finished by this afternoon, when I’ll be e-mailing Lauren and Greg with their Smugmug, password protected on-line gallery.
I hope I’ll give them a tough job of choosing one of the images for their ‘Signature Mounted Print’.

These mounted prints are always really popular with my clients, and their guests love being able to pass on a personalised message to the happy couple, knowing that it will be a treasured display in their new home.
This service is part of my higher end Wedding Collections, but I’m alway happy to include as a reasonably priced addition to any of my Smaller Wedding Packages.

Did I mention that – I’m really looking forward to photographing Lauren and Greg at Manor House, Castle Coombe come their wedding day in October?

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Free trial of Adobe Fuse for Creative Cloud http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/adobe-fuse-cc/ http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/adobe-fuse-cc/#respond Fri, 22 Jul 2016 14:58:52 +0000 http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/?p=6998

Free trial of Adobe Fuse for Creative Cloud I’m not what anyone would consider an animator, and my skills using 3D modelling are rather limited to say the least, but I just downloaded the Free trial of Adobe Fuse for Creative Cloud. I find Adobe Photoshop 3D Layers a nightmare to navigate through, and just haven’t
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Free trial of Adobe Fuse for Creative Cloud

I’m not what anyone would consider an animator, and my skills using 3D modelling are rather limited to say the least, but I just downloaded the Free trial of Adobe Fuse for Creative Cloud.

I find Adobe Photoshop 3D Layers a nightmare to navigate through, and just haven’t had the time to practice, so I’ll apologise now for my lack of finesse and skill with this software.

Free Trial of Adobe Fuse for Creative Cloud Still taken from my 3D Animation using a Free Trial of Adobe Fuse for Creative Cloud.

You can view my attempt at 3D animation by following this link to my Facebook Page.

Even so when I read about Adobe offering a free trial of their Fuse software, I was rather intrigued and decided to have a look and a maybe consider buying the full version at a later date, if I could possibly see some use for it in my work.

Combining Adobe’s software with the well-known 3D On-line service from Maximo, I was able to create, animate and upload a file that was fully supported in Photoshop.
You can see a selection of some of my Composite Photographs here.
Why not give it a go, even if you’re like me and just want a little fun, it’s really absorbing.
Especially as this is a Free trial of Adobe Fuse for Creative Cloud.

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Remembrance Sunday in Bridgend http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/remembrance-sunday-in-bridgend/ http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/remembrance-sunday-in-bridgend/#respond Sat, 21 Nov 2015 06:46:30 +0000 http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/?p=6824

Remembrance Sunday in Bridgend I must apologise for not posting the photographs from Remembrance Sunday in Bridgend, last week. I’ve been unusually busy for this time of year, and just haven’t had any time free to write a post. It was a real pleasure to photograph the veterans and spectators at this years ceremony at
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Remembrance Sunday in Bridgend

I must apologise for not posting the photographs from Remembrance Sunday in Bridgend, last week.


I’ve been unusually busy for this time of year, and just haven’t had any time free to write a post.
It was a real pleasure to photograph the veterans and spectators at this years ceremony at the cenotaph.
The parade formed up as usual in Angel Street at 10:30a.m and with military precision, and was led by The Swansea Drum and Pipe Band, over the Ogmore River, into Bridgend town centre.

 

I’ve photographed the parade for several years now, and each year it always leaves me a little sad when I notice the dwindling numbers of our older veterans, but I’m always happy to see old faces and meet up with some of my friends from the forces.
Aaron Honeyfield was in attendance again this year, and was accompanied by his lovely family, and I was pleased that I managed to get his photograph in last weeks edition of The Gem Newspaper, along with twenty other images I took at the ceremony.

Rememberance Sunday in Bridgend, family at the cenotaph i Bridgend My old RAF mate Aaron H Honeyfield pictured with his lovely family.

If you’d like to buy a print of your photograph that appeared in The Gem Newspaper, then please visit my on-line gallery Remembrance Sunday in Bridgend 2015 and add your image to the shopping cart. Photo sizes can be tailored to your requirements, and will delivered directly to your home address.

Remembrance Sunday in Bridgend is actually turning into a bit of a social event, and once the more sombre aspects of the day are over, I enjoy going over to the ‘United Services Club’ and having a pint and a chat with a few lads I know from school who joined the forces at the same time as me.
I actually made a bit of an effort this year and joined the club, so I’m waiting for my orders to be summoned before the committee for an interview.
As long as they don’t ask me to roll up my left trouser leg or wear an apron, I think it will be fine. I’m not normally one for joining clubs, but I’ll make an exception in this case.

This must have been the fifth or sixth year in succession that I’ve photographed Remembrance Sunday in Bridgend (2014), and I found it a little more difficult to get a great view-point this year, as The Rhiw Multi Storey Car Park is in the process of being torn down to make way for a new development.
The top deck of the old car park made for a great viewing platform to watch the massed veterans march across the bridge on their way to the cenotaph.
I’ll have to do some scouting and find another high perch for next years Armed Forces Day Parade (2013).
I think an upstairs room in The Wyndham Hotel may be suitable. Of course having a bar downstairs will be a distinct advantage.
If you didn’t manage to make the parade this year, I hope this post finds you fit and well and hopefully I’ll see some of you older vets at next years Remembrance Sunday in Bridgend or on Armed Forces Day.

 

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Rhiannon and Simon’s Wedding at The Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/rhiannon-and-simons-wedding-at-the-coed-y-mwstwr-hotel/ http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/rhiannon-and-simons-wedding-at-the-coed-y-mwstwr-hotel/#comments Mon, 16 Nov 2015 05:51:14 +0000 http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/?p=6801

Rhiannon and Simon’s Wedding at The Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel I had a great day on Saturday November 14th, photographing Rhiannon and Simon’s Wedding at The Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel, in Coychurch, Nr Bridgend. We probably had the worst weather I’ve ever photographed during a wedding, with torrential rain which hardly gave up all day long. Although we did
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Rhiannon and Simon’s Wedding at The Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel

I had a great day on Saturday November 14th, photographing Rhiannon and Simon’s Wedding at The Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel, in Coychurch, Nr Bridgend.

We probably had the worst weather I’ve ever photographed during a wedding, with torrential rain which hardly gave up all day long. Although we did have a short respite from the wet stuff just after the ceremony, and managed to grab a few shots outside the hotel with the Rhiannon and Simon’s wedding car.

Sure the weather was awful, but it didn’t put the dampers on a beautiful wedding, and everyone really enjoyed themselves.

I also had the pleasure of watching MUA, Janet White-Ashby work. Rhiannon’s make looked absolutely superb and lasted all day long.
Janet really understands the correct density of make up required for wedding photography,  but manages to maintain a very natural and fresh look with her work. Rhiannon looked stunning throughout the day, and her hair was simply beautiful. A complex creation of plaits and curls, simply pulled together with a delicate tiara.
In combination with a stunning dress and natural smile, Rhiannon made for a beautiful bride, and she carried herself with total grace all day long. She was an absolute pleasure to photograph.
I’d like to thank Simon’s best men, Adrian and Scott, who rounded everyone up for the formal group shots so efficiently, I don’t think I’ve ever got through so many formal photographs so quickly at a wedding before.

Another big thank you to Nathan Browning, who assisted me during the day’s shooting. Nathan was a huge help, especially as we had to take so much lighting gear with us to combat the gloomy weather and low light levels in the hotel.

I’ll be starting the editing work on Rhiannon and Simon’s Graphistudio wedding album  within a day or so, but in the meantime here are a few sneak peeks of Rhiannon and Simon’s wedding at The Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel.

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Using The Calumet Speedlight Adapter For Portraits http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/using-the-calumet-speedlight-adapter-for-portraits/ http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/using-the-calumet-speedlight-adapter-for-portraits/#respond Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:36:59 +0000 http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/?p=6732

Using The Calumet Speedlight Adapter For Portraits One of the things I really love about using Speedlites is their portability, and Using The Calumet Speedlite Adapter For Portraits opens up a whole new world of opportunities for creating beautiful light on location with ease, and very little financial outlay. The real advantage of Speedlites for location
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Using The Calumet Speedlight Adapter For Portraits

One of the things I really love about using Speedlites is their portability, and Using The Calumet Speedlite Adapter For Portraits opens up a whole new world of opportunities for creating beautiful light on location with ease, and very little financial outlay.

The real advantage of Speedlites for location photography, is their low weight. Dragging a heavy lighting bag filled with studio heads, up and down flights of stairs can be a real pain, and take away from some of the enjoyment of a shoot. So why not lighten the load and save the physical strain. After all none of us are any younger. 🙂

Using the Calumet Speedlite Adapter is a pretty straight forward process, but I should point out a couple of things that I you may need to do if you’re using wireless flash TX/RX units such as the Yongnuo 622 units or Pocket Wizard Flex system.

The physical size of these units won’t allow you to fit your Speedlite into the adapter without turning both the flash and the wireless unit full backwards.
The bracket has two mushroom headed machine screws that attach the upper vertical arm of the bracket to the fitting that sits on the head of your light stand.
Although if you use Pocket Wizard from the ‘Plus’ series of models this shouldn’t be a problem, but you will be limited to manual control of your flash only.

Bridgend Wedding Photographer - Turn the TX/RX unit and Speedlite 180 degrees to allow the flash tube to mount into the adapter. Turn the TX/RX unit and Speedlite 180 degrees to allow the flash tube to mount into the adapter.

Changing the mushroom headed bolts for countersunk screws wouldn’t really help here, and I had thought about doing this, but the knurled adjustment screw forward of the flash, would have to be modified aswell. This simple re-jigging of the flash works just fine and besides switching the Speedlite on and off in situ, doesn’t cause any real problems as all adjustments to the flash can be made from my camera either using my Yongnuo 622C TX unit or from the Speedlite controls within my camera’s menu.

The Speedlites head just about engages enough with the bracket to stop any rearwards spill from the Speedlite, and zooming the head of the flash tube to its widest setting, gives a really even and very usable spread of light inside the softbox.

Photography Training by Randell John Photography It would be nice if some more thought had gone into the design of the Calumet bracket, but it still works very well and produces a very even spread of light within the softbox.

For all the images in this post, I used an Elemental 120cm square softbox, which has a Bowens ‘S’ type mount. I really like this softbox, it’s large enough to produce a very soft light and is ideal if you’re shooting half-length portraits or headshots.
The softbox has an internal removable baffle, and although this reduces flash output by a stop or so, it really helps to disperse any specula highlights,which can be a problem when using Speedlites. I think its worth the penalty of reduced output, and the improved quality of the light. Although if you’re going to use less powerful Speedlites then you may have to make some compromises, but saying that, you’ll still be able to create a very flattering light without the internal baffle fitted to the softbox.
(I use Canon 580EXII which have a Guide Number (GN) of 58).

Photography Training by Randell John Photography The Elemental 120cm Square Softbox has a removable internal baffle, which can be removed if necessary. Expect a penalty of around 1.3 stops if you leave it fitted.

So what sort of light spread can you expect using a Speedlite in a softbox this size?

I’m always surprised by the quality of light that available using this method, and the photograph below really shows how even the front of the softbox is illuminated.
There really is no discernible light fall off from corner to corner or edge to edge. If there were I think you’d still get a very usable diffused light from the softbox and personally I wouldn’t be discouraged from using such a large modifier.
It would take a little experimentation I suppose, but I’m sure I’d prefer the results to using a shoot through umbrella.

Photography Training by Randell John Photography The Speedlite is more than capable of producing a very even, well-distributed light in such a large modifier.

I know the question some of you will be asking – ‘How much light is available to me’?
Well lets just say it’s not going to be anywhere near to a Broncolor 1000 Joule head, but  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
I measured the output from the softbox at a distance of four feet. If you’re trying to maintain a lovely soft light on your subject, then this distance is ideal for a softbox of this size, any further away from your model, and all modifiers of the same dimension will start to become a harder light source. It’s also the distance I usually work at, and often my softbox is much closer and just outside of the frame of my composition.
So it’s a very usable light source.
The quality of the light is everything in photography and something I covered in-depth on a recent course I taught. Follow this link to read my post on ‘Photography Training In Porthcawl‘.

Photography Training by Randell John Photography f9 at ISO100, 4 feet from the softbox with the Speedlite set to full power and zoomed to 24mm is a very usable flash exposure.

I love using my Canon 70 – 200mm f2.8L USMII lens for portraits and where I’ve got room, I’ll shoot at a focal length of 135mm or longer.
The sharpness of this lens is superb, but I love the way it looks at f5.6 to f8.0 for studio work, so I’ll more often than not use one of these apertures for my prefered depth of field.
As you can see using the Speedlite with a Calumet Softbox Adapter suits my needs exactly.
Adding a power pack to my Speedlight and reducing the flash output to 1/2 power also considerably speeds up the recycle times, but still gives me a very workable f5.6 or in this case f6.3 aperture.
With an external power pack plugged in and the Speedlite at half power, I get an average recycle time of around two seconds.
So what do you think? Would you consider using an adapter bracket to create beautiful soft lighting with your Speedlites, or do you think that they just don’t have the power to be of any real use?
Remember though, the above apertures were achieved at ISO 100.
Just taking your sensitivity up two stops opens up a whole new ball game, and although you may not be able to overpower strong ambient light at ISO 400, outdoor location portraits in open shade is totally possible, and a very editorial fashion lighting look would easily be achievable.

Photography Training by Randell John Photography Increasing the ISO to 400, opens up a whole new ball game when it comes to the flash exposure available to us.

Have look at the images I took with my last outing with my Speedlites and my 120cm softbox.

I think the results are really pleasing. I even lit the white backdrop using a further two bare Speedlites

Lit with a Canon Speedlite in a 120cm Softbox. The white background was lit with 2 further Speelites set to +1.75 above the Keylight. Lit with a Canon Speedlite in a 120cm Softbox. The white background was lit with 2 further Speedlites set to +1.75 above the Keylight.

Lit with a Canon Speedlite in a 120cm Softbox. The white background was lit with 2 further Speelites set to +1.75 above the Keylight. Lee Byrne, Welsh Rugby International. Shot at 120mm 1/160th/sec @ f8 ISO100

Photogrpahy training by Randell John Photogrpahy. Ava wanted me to take her photograph. The background lights were a little two low for this shot, but it illustrates the light fall off on the backdrop very well. Ava wanted me to take her photograph. The background lights were a little two high for her, but it illustrates the light fall off on the backdrop very well, and fixing this in post is very easy.

Trust me, this is a very cheap and easy way to light, give it go, I’m sure you’ll become a fan of Speedlites just as I have.
I’d love to know how you get along if you try Using The Calumet Speedlight Adapter For Portraits, let me know by posting a comment in the box below.
I’d especially be interested to hear from you if you’ve modified the Calumet Bracket and found a workaround for having to fit the Speedlite and radio triggers backwards.

If you’ve got any questions you’d like to ask me about lighting or photography in general, don’t be shy, I’ll try my best to help you if I can.
Cheers for now. 🙂

 

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Photography Training In Porthcawl http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/photography-training-in-porthcawl/ http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/photography-training-in-porthcawl/#respond Wed, 02 Sep 2015 03:33:49 +0000 http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/?p=6714

Photography Training In Porthcawl I had a great time last Friday evening with members of Bridgend Photographers Facebook Group, and led some more Photography Training In Porthcawl. This was the seventh course I’ve taught to this group, and we’ve covered a lot of ground over the last eighteen months or so. The members, many of whom
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Photography Training In Porthcawl

I had a great time last Friday evening with members of Bridgend Photographers Facebook Group, and led some more Photography Training In Porthcawl.

This was the seventh course I’ve taught to this group, and we’ve covered a lot of ground over the last eighteen months or so.

The members, many of whom are fairly new to photography have really improved since I taught my first flash photography course to them – ‘The Lowdown On Speedlites‘.
Some of the members have really got their teeth into flash photography, and seem to have caught the bug, and every few days I see them proudly post photographs of new lighting equipment they’ve bought. This is fantastic, and they really seem to be enjoying their photography more.

The Facebook group has recently had a lot of new members join, and so it was decided to run another introduction course on flash photography, this one was simply called ‘Back To Basics With Flash’, and was meant to be a grass-roots introduction into lighting.

The course contained a lot of information on the principles of light direction, relative size and colour. Lumping all these terms under a generic heading of ‘Light Quality’, I walked everyone through what the main considerations were when we choose to light a subject, how we do this, and more importantly why we light.

Once we’d moved on to the technicalities of using strobes, it became apparent that many of the attendees, wanted to know more about using Speedlites and especially the use and control of Evaluative Through The Lens Metering (ETTL), and this part of the course took up most of the time we had available to us.

Personally I don’t use ETTL very much, I’ve found over the years that manual control of Speedlites gives me very consistent results and using the ‘Guide Number’ of my Speedlite and the simple equation GN=Aperture x Distance, works very well.
Of course a little bit of experience is required to do this, as different zoom settings of the flash head, will change the relative amount of flash illuminating our subject, but it doesn’t take long to pick this technique up and refine it.

One thing I really drove home on the course is the unnecessary use of translucent plastic light modifiers – Stofens and The Gary Fong Light Sphere are two of my pet hates.
I explained the correct principles of using on-camera fill flash and demonstrated why these bits of expensive ‘Tupperware’, not only waste battery power, but can actually create a lower quality of light.
I have no idea whatsoever why Nikon include such a device with their Speedlites.
The only thing I can think of is that they are trying to placate the novice photographer, who thinks that direct fill flash needs to diffused by a tacky piece of plastic, even though the major camera manufacturers would have spent small fortunes, developing a near perfect portable flash system in the first place.
Everyone who has ever attended one of my Photography Training In Porthcawl courses will have been given a demonstration on how to use fill flash correctly.

Take a look at this review of different Speedlite modifiers by Neil Van Niekerk on his Tangents blog. Review-comparing-light-modifiers-on-camera-flash

Most of the rest of the evening was spent demonstrating classical lighting patterns. There’s a very logical reason to me teaching this.
What’s the point in knowing how to expose a subject properly with flash, if the photographer places the light incorrectly and creates an unflattering portrait of their subject?

So I walked everyone through five classical lighting patterns, Split lighting, Rembrandt, Clamshell, Open and Closed Loop.

In the past I’ve used flash during this part of the course, but I decided to use a video light on this occasion.
It gave everyone the opportunity to see the lighting patterns in real-time, and also directly see how subtle changes in the positioning of the light changes the shadows on the models face.

I also discussed two important lighting styles, namely short and broad lighting. I explained that these were styles of lighting not lighting patterns as such. More importantly I demonstrated how the position of the light and the subject’s head position to the light can change the style of the lighting along with camera position.

As usual it was Rob Jones who kindly volunteered to be our primary model, and I’d like to thank Rob for kindly hosting the course in his new studio in Porthcawl.
I’d like to wish Rob every success in his new studio and hope his business grows from strength to strength.
Rob can be contacted through his website and is available for Weddings, Christenings and Bar Mitzvah’s.  🙂
Rob Jones Photography

If you’d like some one to one photography tuition, don’t be shy just get in touch using the contact form below or come along to the next group Photography Training In Porthcawl meet. You don’t have to be a member of the Facebook group to take part, it’s always great to see new faces  – Well lit new faces. 🙂

Photography Training by Randell John Photography Rob Jones kindly modelled for me during the lighting demonstration and hosted the course in his new studio in Porthcawl. Split Lighting using the Lowel iD Video Light.

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