Friday, 28 December 2012

Movies from stills

Last year I was asked by a friend to take some pictures showing her house that she wanted to sell. After taking the pictures I used the rather wonderful Windows "Photo Story" programme to produce a slide-show like movie.

The great thing about this programme is that is it free and if it isn't on your PC, you can download it from the Microsoft website.

Using it, is simplicity itself. Simply drag the images that you want to use into the programme, select the effects that you want to use, apply any transitions (fades, dissolves etc.), add some music and decide how you want to save it and the programme does everything for you.

Here's the one I made to sell the house. I uploaded it to Youtube and my friend simply supplied the URL to any potential client. (One minute 56 seconds)

I've also found it useful to show a selection of images that I've made on location in Switzerland. This video is also on my website for any potential client to watch (three and a half minutes long).

Another idea that I'm working on at the moment is to make photo stories of different subject matter that I photograph and using them also to show clients on a tablet computer.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Extasia 2012 - Switzerland shows its naughty side

It's that time of year again. The annual Extasia erotic fair (Erotikmesse) was held in Basel at the end of November.

The event is held inside the ice 
hockey arena in Basel

This time I was taking pictures for a website that must (at the moment) remain nameless. 

I photographed the same event last year

The only difference between this year and last year, apart from some of the acts of course was the fact that I was able to "field test" my new 24 - 105 lens.

I attended on the Friday opening night which, in my opinion is best for photography as it's less well attended meaning more space to move around and photograph.

On my EOS 5d MKII I mounted the flash and the 17 - 40. This lens is ideal for close up action and when you can't move amongst a throng of photographers*. On my 7d I mounted a Speedlite and the 24 - 105 which, due to the crop factor gave the equivalent of a 38 - 168.

I was really impressed with the autofocus speed of this lens. It focussed quick and silently. The image stabilisation also worked like a charm for the few occasions when I wanted to shoot without flash.

Here are a few impressions of the acts from the evening. I've kept them sfw (safe for work).

Get knotted. Japanese rope tying

This is German pornstar Lena Nitro who later 
produced a flag from seemingly nowhere.

 Marcello Bravo and his real life
 partner Hally Thomas

 The Annex fashion show team

 Hally Thomas with her solo act

For these images showing  two of the pole dancers from the FKK club in Basel, I switched the Speedlites off. The image on the left was taken with ISO 400 at an exposure of 1/400sec @f9 on my EOS 5d MKII. The image on the right is a happy accident. I used 1/2 sec @f4 on the 7d. I  personally like the blurring.

I saw this table on the way out full of flyers. Anyone want to buy a swingerclub?

Thanks for reading.

* what exactly is the collective noun for a group of photographers? Answers in the comments please.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas lights

My friend , lighting designer Renato De Toffol was awarded the contract to design and set up the Christmas lights for the city of Olten near where I live.

The lights are beautifully designed and consist of "curtains" of fairy lights and large translucent balls which project stars onto nearby surfaces.

It was bitterly cold when I was photographing the lights and once or twice my 5D MkII wouldn't respond. This was solved by removing the battery from the camera and keeping it in my jacket for a while to warm up.

My son Thomas accompanied me and I learnt that he has a great eye for potential pictures. He would go off and scout a new location while I photographed the current one.

This is a photo that Thomas took of me standing on a dumpster after he suggested that the image would be better if I had a higher viewpoint.

This is the image that resulted. he was right  :)

Overnight after shooting the images it snowed quite heavily and I thought that it would be a good idea to retake some of the better viewpoints with snow in them.

Unfortunately most of the snow had gone and some of it had turned to slush by the time darkness came, so I was only able to retake a few images using the wet streets for reflections.

One of my favourite images from the night is of a water fountain. I decided to play around with it in photoshop. I took two images with all the same settings. One image was sharp and the other deliberately out of focus.

Both images 2.5 sec @ f11

In Photoshop, I overlaid the blurred image on top of the sharp one. Then I used the standard ersaer tool to "wipe away" the unsharpness on the figure of the lady. I quite like the effect.

The result 

You can see a few more from this shoot over on Renato's website here.

What do you think?

As ever. Thanks for reading and please leave a comment.