Monday, August 31, 2009

Crombie McNeill Workshop at Balderson -- Part 1 -- Fuji F70EXR Documents the Site

I attended another workshop before I have even posted the last few models from the previous one (Mill of Kintail.) This one was limited to invitations only for shooters (we ended up with 10) and models (we ended up with four.)

This one was intended to deliver edgy shots in an abandoned building with models either dressed high fashion or lingerie ... we ended up shooting both.

The lingerie shots will not appear in this blog at the request of the models.

Meanwhile, this opening post has no shots from the main shoot at all ... it is a description of the location and another set of sample images from my new Fuji F70EXR. I failed to charge the battery the night before and thus I ran out ofter only 20 images or so. But they describe the location adequately ... and note, I took an artsy tack for many simply because the building was incredibly dark and dusty ... this will play quite a bit into what you see in the next few Balderson posts.

While I was driving up in the rain, I thought I would shoot the highway while it was clear so I pulled the cam from my shirt pocket, opened it up and focused and shot while driving. I was driving at highway speeds, so the edges of the frame are blurred ... *this is not the lens* ... :-)

First thing to note is that again the camera is failing to protect the highlights in simple EXR mode. It should have opted for DR priority but it opted for HR (hi res) priority. Still pretty good, and very open tone curve.

Now, how sharp is it and how much resolution does it have? Well ... try this:

Remember to double click on the image to have a peek at the 800px version. That's not half bad from a moving vehicle ...

The shooting site itself is mainly contained in one building. When I first went in, I thought the front room was the only room and was wondering how in the world we would fit 16 people in there .... but I need not have worried ... the front room was less than a third of the available shooting locations, so it worked out great.

Across the highway were people's houses. I shot this image to show the detail in the leaves. Pretty decent, despite the blown out cloudy sky. And surprisingly little CA. It does not always hit ... (but when it does) ...

And there is a church down the street perhaps 100 feet ... this is the full 270mm shot of the facade ... it appears to be pretty much edge to edge sharp. Once I have a full battery, I will try to do a more formal test. But this turned out fine for hand held from 100 feet on a dull day.

Next door, there is a nice little cafe that was out base of operations, and where some of the guys and models had lunch. Nice little spot, smelled great in there. The sun suddenly peeked out and I caught this image of Kyle get himself organized ... the cam again blew out the fence, but saved the sky. That, I think, is because it exposed for the buildings behind and the sky was about the same level.

Interestingly, though, the white fence was rescued in ACR, so the image is actually ok, if a little hot.

A moment later, there was a little ceremony for Blythe, who is moving to the big city. This will probably be our last workshop with her for a bit.

One of the fellows presented her with a lovely portrait of herself. Very nice thought.

Turning back to face the shooting building, we have a rather dull tin roof and wood siding. I spiced that up with Topaz Adjust, which I used for the majority of the remainder of the images.

To the right of this scene, but still on this building, is an opening to the attic that shows the crap that has accumulated in there. Some would later try to shoot in here, but without much excitement for the surroundings. (Or so I am told.)

Coming back around the front of the building, we find a lovely old stove ... but not something you want to shoot fashion on since it is maybe 10 feet from the highway.

Kyle pointed out these silly looking steps, where the wooden steps were build directly onto the cement ones, with the cement ones still peeking out form underneath ... looks kind of goofy, yet adds some sort of weird character as well ...

So I stepped inside the front room ... it was fricken dark! The typical exposure here was ISO 800 at 1/4s (faster when there was a window in frame) and f3.3. This is pretty dark, but not as dark as yesterday's test shots that all came out to 1/4s at 1600 ISO. People complain a lot on the FTF (Fuji Talk Forum) about the results of my tests ... but they fail to note how truly dakr it was in there.

Here, it was still very dark, but the starting point of the images was a higher quality ... which by the way answers the question "does the cam always choose the most appropriate ISO?" ... I would say yes, as it used 800 when it could in these dark shots and 100 in all cases outdoors. On cloudy days, most Fujis would spend a lot of time at 200 ISO in the old days.

I started out shooting this cool corner with lots of chairs in it. I processed this normal ... one of the few I did that way, so enjoy. This one gave me f3.3, 1/5s and 800 ISO ... a dark corner.

The hanging Christmas ornaments are blown beyond the ability of ACR to pull them back. This shot should have been redone as a Topaz image, but I didn't bother. Plenty coming up ...

Other shots of these chairs work pretty well because of the Topaz treatment ... let's face it, this would otherwise be a really dull and dirty building.

I actually did a normal treatment of this shot too ... and it is not half bad.

But the Topaz version adds so much more interest in my opinion. Yours may differ ...

At the edge of this group, against the back wall, is a nice little scene with a lone chair and some old windows stacked up.

There are old barber / dentist chairs still bolted to the floor in the middle of the room, and they make a wonderful still life ... almost Normal Mailer style. This is a shot of the same back wall from near one of these chairs.

Kiddy corner to the corner with all the chairs, is a corner with some old umbrellas leaning up against the wall. I shot this corner again from one of these strange chairs bolted in the middle of the room.

And a coloful shot of the umbrellas themselves ...

Note the unbelievable CA on the top ... it really looked like that. Flare can do that of course, and it does not bother me, but if this shot were processed "normal" ... you'd need to remove it.

A shot of the same corner, along the front wall standing at the door (which is closed.)

Turning around and facing the other wall, we see one of two windows in the room. This front window is used in the first Blythe series I'll post in the next few days.

Kiddy corner to that corner is another window that openes to the little restaurant's parking lot. From that window, I shoot the corner with the chairs yet again. The open space you see around the sign on the wall is where we shot the lingerie series, which of course you will not see except the images form there that are not risque in any way.

Here again is the detail of that far corner but above the chairs.

Here is a miscellaneous crap shot that I cannot place within the room. But I am sure it is there somewhere ...

For the final images of this post, I looked up at one point and noticed that each lamp had hanging Christmas ornaments that looked at times like one of those little planetary thingies ... whatever they are called. Anyway, I deliberately shot macros that would give you that feel ... and they turned out nicely. And very sharp ...

And then the battery died .... (actually, it was outside shooting the pipes when it died ... but I chose to present these images in some logical order.)

The next posts will be the completion of the Kintail shoot (still need to post Mallery and Rebecca) and the Balderson shoot's actual output ... Blythe, Charlotte, Rachelle and Andriana (that's not a misspelling as far as I know.)

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