Friday, December 23, 2011

A Ride Along For the New Year

Greetings and welcome to Hohenfels Volks, THE place for our place. Aside from the cold and wet, it was a wonderful day here in Hohenfels. 2 days until Christmas and things are looking bright!

Today we’re going to stay in the living room for another ride along. This time we’re shooting my annual New Year’s Toast shot. Every year around this time, I like to shoot a wine and lights shot that I’ll use to greet friends and family for the New Year. So break out your flash, some wine, and let’s get working.

Hohenfels Volks  Almost
ISO 100, f/32, 30 seconds, 49mm
Here's the image.

As you can see in the photo below, I’ve included my set up. Out of the frame, camera left about 3 feet is a flash on a tripod, shooting through a 42” umbrella at 1/32nd power, at about chest height. The flash provides light for the tree and to capture some detail in the scene. By placing everything on some black card stock, we can minimize glare and reflections, or at least control them to an extent.

Hohenfels Volks setting it up
Here is the setup I used for the above image. A few more feet between the tree and the subject would have rendered some magnificent starbursts.

Having the white card to the right provides some bounce from the flash and provides a little bit of detail and edge enhancement for the wine bottle. On a side note, LBV Port is great for a toast, and while sweet, is perfect to ring in the New Year. Port wine developed a series of traditions around it, especially in naval circles, which is part of the joy of it.

I didn’t want too much detail and lighting, as the bottle has no paper label. The label is painted on, increasing the chance of huge glare and direct reflections. I knew that I would have some glare from the candlelight, as well as some reflection of the candle itself. It actually looks a lot better than I thought, as the candle looks like a thin taper, not a ball.

Shooting at f/32 allowed some great starbursts on the lighting. I thought it was a little much, and the bottle looked a little off being set apart so much. I re-did the shot with the bottle closer and shot at f/22. This allowed a small amount of starburst, but nothing overly intrusive, while keeping a long exposure. It also took out the reflection of the candle. Another nice effect is the diminishing of the bounce to a level that retains the edge of the bottle while adding just enough fall-off to create a mystery about the wine.

Here’s the final version. I think this is the one I’ll go with, even though I’ll try several more versions.

Hohenfels Volks  Happy New Year, Hohenfels
ISO 100, f/22, 30 seconds, 45mm
I think this one better captures the message and adds a bit of the old world to the image. Overall the depth of field provides detail that enhances the shot, and the composition just seems to welcome you into the scene.

I have my shot for this week’s theme in the can. How about you, have you done yours? This week’s theme and the tree allowed for several days of playing around with lighting and thought patterns. What is my reward? How do I enjoy it? I toil and work to enjoy something, but what? How do I light it? The list is endless, but I think I have something that is rewarding for me and may even interest you! It follows a pattern similar to today’s shot, if you like spoilers. How’s your shot coming along?

Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas. May this weekend be blessed with joy, love, family, peace, and true rewards! Remember, there is so much to life, that we haven’t even begun to measure our gifts.

Remember to cast your vote for next week’s theme. Don’t forget to get your pics posted at the Hohenfels Volks Facebook page. Of course, commenting on both Facebook and here is always appreciated, too!

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