Ring Lights

So I have taken ownership of a used Alien Bees 800 ring light.  I decided to give it go.  I first asked the wife to be my test model which went over as it normally does.  “WHAT I have been cleaning all day. ”  In the end she went ahead and agreed to throw on some makeup and sit for me.

Here is a sample of setup before the sun went down.

IMG_1266You can see in this image that I am using a black background and then two side panels also blacked out.  I used another one under her chin to block out even more light.  The reason we did this is that we are trying to remove any outside light sources from corrupting the image.

The biggest problem I found with the AB 800 Ring Flash was the amount of power.  Even in the dark settings we were in at 1/32 of power it was still too much light to shoot at wide open apertures.


I do have the softbox for the ring flash and will have to try that another time to see what kind of catchlights it creates.  In the images I created tonight the catchlights were less then impressive.




LA Cosplay Con Holly S#!T



LA Cosplay Con 2015

So I should make something very clear.  I have been a photographer for a while.  I have been a cosplay photographer for a very short time.  The first time I took pictures of Cosplayers was WonderCon 2014.  I shot the entire show with no additional light using a Nikon P7800.  This is a step above a Coolpix but not by much.  I could have shot it with a Nikon D300 off camera strobes and a nice f/2.8 or prime lens.  I didn’t know I was going to enjoy taking pictures of people who generally like getting their pictures taken.  See I have been a sports photographer for several years.  I have shot some of the most amazing athletes you can think of and none of them really want to sit down and do a portrait session.  Their goal is to get in and out as fast as possible.  This means you have to see the shot in your head before the talent arrives and you have to be ready to go as soon as they do.  Cosplay photography has reminded me why I like to take pictures and generally brought out my more creative side.

LA Cosplay Con was on another level for me.  I shot WonderCon this year and I did it for the first time with a SLR.  I got some good shots but I had no idea of where we could go and didn’t know who I could or could not ask to step away from the crowd and get shots.  I have to thank Kit Quinn for kind of giving me a kick in the ass to get good pictures.  LA Cosplay was a smaller event with a smaller venue yet in the one day event I shot over 150 different cosplayers yeah you read that right.  This means I nearly got everyone there which sucks because I do know a few I missed and DANG IT I wanted to get everyone.  LOL   I shot a lot of people on the floor which means I needed a way to get them out from the crowd and make them look good.  Remembering that a lot of the cosplayers have reflective surfaces I was going to have to minimize the glare.  This means I need to get the light source soft and above their heads.  So I brought my trusty assistant aka my wife and we put a FJ WestCott Rapid Octobox on a monopod to act as a boom.  I used a SB-910 Nikon strobe and triggered it with what is called Nikon’s CLS (Creative Light System.)  This worked great on a lot of shots but it did make a lot of them look the same.  I got some of my favorite cosplayers who I met at WonderCon to step outside and do some work which really helped breakup the continuos same style.  When the day was finished I had a lot of files.


Yes when the day was complete I shot over 643 images this is actually with some of them transferred the real total was 672.  The storage number is correct 18.4 GB of content.  After I got them all downloaded then came the moment of truth it was time to begin the intense process of editing down what is known in the PJ business as the ‘take’.  Could I have edited the shots down further certainly but I wasn’t doing this for a magazine or for anyone else but me so I can afford to be more open and accept more images.

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.12.19 PM

My insane view of Lightroom CC.  After I finished the editing I had to start putting them up on my IG account.  I love Instagram it’s like it was made specifically for photographers.  I like the ability to share pictures and follow people it just makes me smile when I see someone I took a photo of doing something plain and normal.  I feel like I know your secret identities.  Below is the final results enjoy.

Prison City Derby Dames

Hello and thank you for coming back to my photo blog for more.  Last night I had the great privilege and fun to shoot two of the tough ladies from the Prison City Derby Dames.  For the people not local to Southern California this is a roller derby team.  In fact I should point out that the Dames have a up coming match.




Roller Derby is an exciting event and most importantly the players have more personality and character then almost any sport I have ever had the pleasure of photographing.

For this shoot we need to to be quick and we need to have some spark.  Which means I needed gels and something to professional wrap the light around each player.  For this we used a FJ Westcott rapid box for the wrap around soft light.  For the color or spark we used Rogue Flash Gels.  I love these they come in a easy to use folder and the holder on the flash is the best in the business.


In the photo above the flash is hanging on a Justin Clamp with a green gel and behind her.  The softbox is on a stand to the right and we flagged it with a Neewer Triangle reflector with the black side.


I have a color version of a similar shot in this group but this one the gel light was off.  So I decided to just use the softbox and in post adjust to black and white.  I like the effect it had on making her almost pop off the background.  As always I shoot RAW and make post adjustments using LightRoom.  Enjoy the images below and pleas sure both the page here and my Facebook Photography Page.


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