Sunday, July 25, 2010

Crombie McNeill Photo Op – Smiths Falls Part 2 – The Knights

In part 1, I showed you the images I shot on that day in Smith’s Falls with the Fuji F80EXR. In this post (part 2 of 3) I will go over the rest of the shoot with what I call the swordsmen or the knights, the latter being shorter to type :-)

As mentioned in the last post on this topic, we drove from the meeting spot to a large park where the knights like to gather on weekends to enjoy camaraderie and to relive some of these historical warrior periods. Because we had a pack of photographers there, they changed outfits several times, from Vikings to full-fledged Knights in Armor. The equipment itself was interesting, and considering how difficult yet rewarding it can be to shoot something as reflective as they were wearing, I was looking forward to it.

I shot a few with the D300 with the Tamron 28-75 2.8 and the rest with the D700 and the 70-300VR, which I much preferred. The flaw, of course, with that lens is its speed. And since we were in the woods a bit and were shooting on a really dreary day, I was at 3200 ISO pretty much all day long, which made the processing a bit more of a chore.

Note: I like shooting with the 70-300VR because I find it more consistently sharp, but I figured out that the Tamron and the D300 don;t get along as well as the Tamron and the D700 do. I adjusted the Tamron in the AF fine tune menu of the D300 and it seems very sharp now. I'll know after the next shoot.

Note that I never got names for any of these people, so I will do my best to avoid awkward writing. Be warned, though, as it will probably gat a little ugly. :-)

One shot before we get to it … the water tower in Smith’s Falls proclaims them the chocolate capital of Ontario … however the Hershey factory is closed now. Sad …

DSC_3290_chocolate_capital[1]The following images are all D300 images until I say otherwise.

Mike is extremely photogenic. He simply looks the part. You should imagine him preparing in the early morning for a battle later in the day. If you wonder how I got this rustic look, it is from Topaz Adjust 4. A mixture of HDR and Dragan style processing.

Remember to click on any image to see the larger version.



A little later in the day …


The following is a shot of the tip of a sword, fading out as we get closer to knight holding it … this effect can easily be overused, so I am only including one such image in this set.


When we arrived, this fellow (Adam) has a scar on his cheek. It was made of the kind of makeup that is used by professional actors. It looked alright as scar tissue, but Crombie asked him to remove it. This is shot after that point.


This fellow (still no name, sorry) has some really antique pipes and horns … useful stuff for this sort of gathering.


That ends the D300 images. The rest are all from the D700.

Here is a shot of Adam before the scar same off.


And afterwards again. Some of these guys can look really mean. Works well in these costumes.


Here’s George, the group leader, with some serious hardware.


Ok, I lied. I have another one of those tip of the sword images with Mike, although this one is not as emphasized … sometimes the shot has tones that I deem to look better in black and white. Sometimes the colors just plain suck in the image (to me) …


Here we have George performing the requisite axe throw. Not easy to capture, this was one of the better ones.


A shot of one of the daughters (still no name, sorry) … she looks like a young princess. Here is the shot as a soft portrait. It is followed by a shot more in the period style I adopted for this shoot.

DSC_3092_princess[1] DSC_3092_princess2[1]

Although that processing can be tough on skin, I still think I prefer the latter look.

Swordplay is always interesting … every once in a while you get a composition that you really like. In this one, Mike crowds the bottom of the frame, but is otherwise pleasing to me.


I caught a good angle on George with an impending strike …


Rhella, the princess’s mother, waits patiently …


Here she is in a group while her husband smokes the pipe … this creates a look that I associate with the period because of the likely prevalence of wood smoke on cold days like this.


Here they stand together.


A young fellow (still no name, sorry) was dressed in garb that looked vaguely Roman to me … hence I dubbed him the centurion.



Here’s George dressed in what looks like Scottish garb to me. I won’t pretend any expertise, just going by instincts when I look at these.


And the princess freezes along with the rest of us.


Adam avoiding a strike …


I asked the centurion to pose with his sword to try for yet another of those tip shots … this came out ok …


The chain mail is on and the battle draws hear. It’s heavy stuff and they gave us a lot of time and effort, so kudos to Mike and the rest for that.


But wait … a fair maiden (Joanne) walks into view and poses for a few images. A high key interpretation followed by a period interpretation.

DSC_3151_highkey[1] DSC_3151_xx[1]

Mike makes a few test swings with the helmet on.


Helmet off to cool off (and because the photographers asked him to.)


And a few screams to psyche himself up. This is one of my favorite images of the day.


Would you mess with this?


Sword held high.


Quick peek over at Joanne, or would one call her “wench” in this outfit?


Again, the princess, looking a fair bit warmer from wearing the cloak for a while.


Detail shot of one of the shields.


A shot of the princess again, this done only as a soft portrait.


George is now dressed in chain mail himself.


Adam too.



Mike completes the trio.


The three knights together … left to right we have Mike, George and Adam.


One imagines the horn blowing for the start of battle …


A protective look behind the scenes …


And the final shot … battle is done and the equipment is shed …


We broke around lunch time and went downtown to grab a bite before driving to the abandoned water treatment plant to shoot the models. That will follow in part 3.


bluenoser said...

Hi Kim. Well what a thoroughly enjoyable series. I took a good amount of time looking at and then going back to many of the photos. Some very impressive stuff here. That one of the fellow caught in mid-scream was super! (although I did find myself lingering over the wench photos. :-)) The PP treatment was very complimentary to the images and didn't overpower them. Thanks for posting these.

Why did you "much" prefer the D700/70-300VR combo over the D300/28-75? Did it have more to do with the D700's high ISO capability or the reach of the 70-300? I understand that the Tamron 28-75 is a great alternative to Nikon's 24-70. What are your thoughts on the quality of the Tamron lens?

Kim Letkeman said...

James: Thanks very much for the kind words. I am pretty pleased with this series as well. Some of these would look pretty nice framed. And thanks for pointing out the comment regarding preference of the D700 over the D300 ... I went back and added some extra info. Basically I did not like what I was seeing in the LCD on the D300, and I found out later that this lens needed fine tuning with the D300 whereas it was spot on with the D700. I quite like the Tamron as it is very sharp edge to edge in wide angle (on the D700 no less) and makes terrific portraits at 75mm and f/2.8 ... a very nice lens for a couple hundred bucks.