Saturday, December 26, 2009

Getting used to some new gear

New gear? get used to it!

24mm is really wide when you're switching form APS-C sized sensors to this Fx format (as it was in the "good old days"), location i choose for my "tests" is "Domein Hofstade" near Mechelen, there's an old abandoned swimming pool loved by some urBEx colleges, but i left that for what it was and choose to explore a new area.
Due to some winterly fog in the lower layers the sky wasn't as blue as it should have been but what the heck, get on with it and take some pictures!

testing the 24mm "wideness"

(This is not a pano, but a creative crop as my college Bart would say)

Testing lens flare as i pointed the 24mm AF-D f:2.8 directly at the sun f:22 ISO 200 1/500th, yes it's there and that's normal I guess! (top left and bottom right)

I have to say that i really like this "wideness", so much in fact, I'm thinking about the 14-24 f:2.8 ... LBA strikes again (LBA : Lens Buying addiction)

After some time it was time to test the shallow DOF from the 50mm f:1.4, I once read nobody shoots f:1.4 outside in the sun? why not, i like the shallow DOF!

Friday, December 25, 2009

New toy...

In august i decided to switch over from Pentax to Nikon, My Pentax is a great camera but i needed a better AF in low-light and also a sensor that produced less noise in the pictures. Nikon seemed to offer what i wanted (except for the price of their zooms ... ) and also had an attractive model which offerd a full size sensor, my choice quickly set on the D700!

My spouse decided that Christmas was the perfect timing for this new toy so here it is...

Nikon D700 with 2 primes as a start, the 24 f:2.8 & 50 f:1.4

Picture made with the pentax K10D - 50 f2 MF , ISO 200 @ f:4

First tests at ISO 6400 look very impressive!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SNOOOOW, and no model this time!

Almost Christmas... and Snow, seems to me it was a long time since we got a white Christmas over here, not sure it'll last till the 25th though!

Went out with my MF prime 50mm f:2.0 for some landscape photos in "domein 3 fonteinen".

A classic winter's shot:

Suddenly the sun came shining trough the treetops, time to enjoy the light show ;-)

You can see in the previous image I'm trying to add some mystery to the photos by using very shallow depth-of-field (DOF), i really love the look that medium format can produce and so i pushed it even further going from f:4 tot f:2

Monday, December 21, 2009

Girls and cars

Girls and cars, something that seems to go well together, not a young blond girl with a tiny bikini lying on the hood of a Ferrari but a nice Brunette with decent clothing and a very fine German car.

My strobistworkshop partner, Peter Nackaerts, came by to check out the car lighting, we quickly realized that this was not going to be an easy job (that's how i like 'em).

Outside it was freezing -10°C, i did not like the setting to do the shoot outside because of the background and we had no time to seek another outdoor location, this is just a quick shot of Femke's brand new Audi A5 S-line when she arrived...

Luckily we also had in indoor location but there was no ambient light, Peter decided that we should first try to light the car without the model, so here we go, 1octabox, 1 softbox and a speedlight with white shoot trough umbrella:

So now the tricky part, adding a model and make her "stand-out", nothings easy when dealing with a white car, a dark indoor location and a model with a nice black dress.

And a more James Bond like approach ;-)

This shot is 100% strobist as my batteries for the studio strobes went flat after more than 200 discharges (2x Tronix Explorer 2400Ws)

Oh yeah, almost forgot, this is me ready to kick some ass (in fact a was just a "stand in" so we could check the produced shadows while Femke was testing the car's heating system)

My first snow shoot

After the first shoot with Cindy this summer she told me that she wanted to do a "snow shoot" so when the first snow came down a few days ago, i send her a message "it's snowing, do you have time?" she answered yes and 1,5 hour later we started shooting in heavy snowfall !

I chose a minimal strobist setup, white umbrella and 1 speedlight, sky was heavily overcast and snow was falling down...

Some things I've learned when going for a snow shoot:

- bring transparent plastic bags to protect the speedlights and the triggers (also the one ON the camera)

- Do not put your camera under you warm coat because it will cause condensation on your lens (and other parts)

- Keep an umbrella over your head to prevent you front lens element to acquire too much snow too fast (bring something to clean your frontal lens when necessary ), the lens hood is good for sunlight not for snow!

- Watch out for accumulated snow on your shoot-trough umbrella, it'll cost you some stops of light!

-You really need flashlight, ambient is too low and too "gray" to create vibrant skintones ;-)

practice / practice / practice and expose for the snow! (not 18% Grey but you want it White!)

Versale - Bodygraphy

1 model, 1 calligrapher, 1 MUA and 2 photographers...

Model Versale contacted me with a very special idea, something I've not seen before, combining the female body, dramatic lighting and calligraphy to make some very fine photos.

First began the quest for a calligrapher, quickly Yves Leterme seemed to be the perfect choice as he had some experience with "bodygraphy", there 's no room for errors in his job!

Then i decided to ask Bart Henseler to be the co-photographer for this series, and he accepted with a smile :-)

Some pictures may contain nudity so this is a 18+ series!

Railway station 2 ...

The first idea was to have this shoot in an underground parking but it was too crowded that day, instead i asked for a permit to shoot at Leuven railway station. Model for the day was Annelien Hacha, she has a lot of experience and it makes my job as a photographer a lot simplier because i have to worry less about the model an can concentrate on my lighting and photography

First part of the shoot was between very thick glass windows, i wanted to incorporate the "green" light feeling into the final picture, mixing strobe light with ambient at a 1/1 ratio. No need to gel the strobes, just pushed the green saturation a bit in post :-)

After the series between the glass we moved a bit, changed the lighting style, working with flashlight as main light source and overpowering the ambient following the sunny f:16 rule ;-)

600Ws, 60x80 softbox (1/1 power) silver reflector | ISO100-1/125th-f22

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hotelshoot 2

My second shoot in a hotel room, Space is only one of the challenges, before we begun we removed every disturbing item, tv screens, brochures,... . Ambient light coming trough the window is not really an option to make some really modern glamour pictures so i brought my strobes, all of them.

Used my softbox / umbrella / octa and some snooted hair light from time to time, all is shot with the Pentax K10D & Tamron 28-75 f:2.8


Many beginning photographers seem to struggle with light and mostly with flash-light, i have to admit that it is not something to take "lightly".

Frequently people ask me questions about (flash) light and how i use it.
Peter Nackaerts, who is a friend and co-photographer had the same, together we decided to start some workshops so we could spread what we learned so far

We're doing workshops about strobist techniques, basic studio lighting and the other aim is to learn people how to approach and work with models

Strobist is nothing new but it really is not known very widely among amateur photographers, high-end photographers use it a lot, in the Dean Collins DVD series you can see him using strobist material all the time and also Melissa Rodwell is a strobist from time to time.

So if you'd like to learn more about strobist techniques you can off course check out David Hobby's site and blog @ but if you prefer the more hands-on approach workshop with very personal guiding and small groups check out :

Tempus fugit

I felt the need for a new website, my old one was too dark and too much of a blog, too complicated..

So i made a new one ( ), it will be more static, adding content from time-to-time as i evolve, this gives me a good reason and more time to keep a trace of my work over here!

Much has happened since April so I'll try to give you a little update about some new stuff i bought

First, the long awaited Photoflex Litepanels (180x90cm) 1 in softgold zebra and 1 with the silver reflector, I took fotosg about 14 weeks to see they could not deliver me the softgold screen so i bought it from Katrien at fotoVDH, haven't had much time to try them out with some sun, but for now, it looks promissing and the Litepanels are very easy to work with!

Second, I'm adding a nikon camera to my setup, the D700 starting with 2 primes the 85 f:1.8 and the more standard 50mm f:1.4d , for the future i'm thinking of the 14-24 f:2.8 zoom and the versatile 70-200 f:2.8

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Glamour Girl?

So what do you think? is this glamour or not?

Shooting against the sun at about 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon adds some nice rim lights, just a little bit of fill with a reflector and you are done, to add some sparkle you could use a small strobe at low power to put some nice catch lights in the models eyes.

Model Ineke, Mua by Sandra Peeters

Shoot in the flowers

An idea I had for a long time in my head, a nice girl in a field of flowers...

When driving up to pick up my model (yes sometimes I do that) a saw a superb field of Colsa shining bright yellow in the sunlight, i immediately knew this was the place where we would come to do a part of the shoot for that day.

Model Iris is very inspiring and nice to work with, she always seems to know just what to do to make the picture look a special...

Autofocus was a bit disturbed with all those nice bubbles flying around but i managed to lock it on the iris of Iris, lighting info: sun in the back, shadow fill with strobe on the left side (shoot trough white umbrella), again the idea was to cut ambient light at about 2 stops below flash light as you can see on the background.
You could not guess but this picture was taken at high noon in direct sunlight ;-)

At some time we decided we had seen enough of this yellow little flowers and drove on to another spot where i decided to work with natural light + diffusers and reflectors (i should really get me one of those nice California sunbounce things, anyone care to sponsor me on my quest for perfect lighting?)

Put Iris down in the grass , arrange her hair and add some flowers, take a photo and that's it...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Castle of Ingelmunster

Few weeks ago some guys from "" organized a nice meeting between photographers and models in the beautiful environment of the Ingelmunster Castle. (All was very nicely organized!)

2 models for that day, Annelies and MysteriousMaemi.

In a corridor filled with "stuff" (not stuff i like) I had an idea of putting one of my strobes in a room and using the door opening as some kind of huge Gobo to "shine" some light on Annelies, we added some dust from old curtains but it doesn't really shows up on the photo
(have to work on a system to make smoke on location and trust me, mixing amonia with HCl is not an option)

A nice shot we took outside of the castle and I wanted the romantic bridge to show trough in the background.
some info on the lighting:
High left the sun, and a white umbrella to block the direct sun rays from falling onto MysteriousMaemi's beautiful face, a bit lower was Alain with an extra diffuser to do the same for the skirt, on the right side we have Marina with a huge silver reflector to add some "rim" lights, extra fill provided with a strobe at 1/8th power shooting trough a white umbrella (in front at about 20° of the camera angle) Sigma 50-500 to take the shot
(yes you can do model shoots with the "Bigma")

What I work with?

Most people think I use one of those high-end camera's to make my photos.
Yeah, sure with a big and expensive camera nothing can go wrong, only lovely pics can come out...

Well in fact that's not what I believe, you can make stunning photos and you don't need a €7.000 camera, and you know why? Well because photography is all about light, no light = no photography and that is much more important than your camera. (i bougth my back-up body in second hand for €450 last year...)

As i do not think it is important i will not tell you what I work with, but i can tell you that Pentax is comming to the market with something new which will probably be called the K7 (stupid name btw), it has something to do with a mountain near the more famous K2 and the 60th anniversary of Pentax.
Depending in Specs this will be my new toy within a few months... the new DA*60-250 f4 seems pretty interesting too :-)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Strobist Practicum :-p

First you have to read, then read it once again and than try to understand what you are doing.

then you need some "stuff" (yes i like "stuff")

- strobe/speedlight (at least one) in my case the Pentax AF540FGZ
- stand with "hotshoe"
- radio trigger (I've chosen the Elinchrom Skyport system)
- a nice camera (I still use my "old" Pentax K10D)

-sunlight and place to move (in fact you don't need a lot of space because this photo was made with a wide angle 18mm)

-motivate Yanina to jump really high and make her look like she is enjoying life (thank you Yanina :-) )

What you don't need is luck, just put it all in "M" and experiment!

As you see there are still some parts of Yanina's body that are not frozen, this is something i want to work on to get it all tack sharp!


It seems this blogspot "thing" is a nice way to spread my experiences about "stuff" I do, so from time to time i'll try to post some new things over here, i got inspired by the guys form (nice blog btw, check them out @ )

As i am not much of a writer, I'll end with one of my onliners:

"I'm really serious about not being to serious"