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April 24, 2014

Nikon Coolpix A - a compact wonder


Nikon Coolpix A is my traveller companion. I don't bring my D800 anymore. Beside the tack sharp files straight out of the camera I'm impressed with its ability to hit the correct white balance each time and the color reproduction. The colors are just spot on - not too saturated our pale. Especially skin colors are realistic.

The photo my beautiful wife Vivi is a good example of a "snap shot" I took at a train station. Exposure = 1/125 sec f/4.5, 0 EV, ISO 100. Bang - no sharpening or other correction (except Lens Correction) in Lightroom.

If you are shooting D700, D600, D610, D800, D3 or D4. Buy a Nikon Coolpix A as your traveling companion. It is worth every dollar.

April 21, 2014

Miller Mobley


On the growing list of portrait photographer that I admire - the young an very talented Miller Mobley has just been added. The enclosed portrait og late Philip Seymour Hoffman is a good example of a composition and perfect light technique that emphasizes a unique personality and personal situation.

February 15, 2014

Mia Blichfeldt


Sometimes you get lucky. I shot this natural portrait of Mia Blichfeldt - a very gifted and up-coming badminton player at a private party - just a month before she became the youngest Danish Champion in Badminton in the senior league - and she is only 16!

Of course you can find many photos of Mia "in action", but only very few where she is being just herself - outside the badminton arena.

January 12, 2014

Analog Efex Pro - a new addition to the Nik Collection


It's no secret - I'm a big fan of the Nik Collection from Google. And recently a new addition to this collection has been made - Analog Efex Pro
The GUI of all programs in the Nik Collection is simple and very intuitive to use - but once you start playing around with the controls and see just how subtle the small tweaks can be, you realize the true power of this collection. 


The GUI of the Analog Efex Pro is no exception. It's fun to select an analog camera preset from the list (Classic Camera, Wet Plate, Toy Camera, Vintage Camera) or select the "Camera Kit" and design your own preset. Create professionally stylized images by picking a preset, then diving in to fine-tune your approach. Adjust bokeh, textures, frames and other elements, then pinpoint the location of your effects with precise on-image controls.

And additional cameras, films, bells, and whistles will be added.

Below is another example:

December 29, 2013

Business Portraits for a Lawyer Firm



I love shooting portraits - both the kind where I have creative freedom and those where I have to stick to a certain look and feel. The two photos I will show here today belong to the latter category.

Both photos are for online usage - company website, Linkedin profile etc. They needed to radiate seriousness and professionalism.

The lighting set-up need to be simple and fast to mount. I was only given 1 hour to set-up, take the photos and dismantle, before they needed the meeting room. My lighting source was a single Elinchrom D-Lite 4 (400W) studio flash with an Elinchrom Portalite Square Soft Box (40 cm) controlled with the EL-Skyport Transmitter mounted in the hot shoe on my D800. Even though I only needed an upper body a head shot I chose to bounce the light into a nearby white wall to soften the light even more. The model was place so, that some natural window light lit them on their right side (left on the photo) and my single light source lit them on the left side. To separate the model from the back wall I used the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lens as the room was long enough to give me the needed working space.

I really didn't have to do too much post editing and only made some lens correction, small exposure adjustment and cropping in Lightroom. Finally a Color Efex pro 4 was used to add some skin softening (female model) and fine contrast (male model).

December 21, 2013

Product Photography - a New Discipline


Product photography is a new endeavor that I have chosen to explore. A Danish manufacturer of kitchen and food equipment asked me to photograph their full product line for a new e-store soon to be launched. The task also included some stop-motion video's.

The lighting set-up was two Nikon SB-910 Speedlights mounted on Manfrotto Nano 5001B light stands. The light modifiers was a standard white umbrella and a Lastolite soft box.  A couple of PocketWizards FlexTT5 was attached to the Speedlights and a PocketWizard MiniTT1 and AC3 was attacked to a Nikon D800. 

The items was placed on a white dining table with a non reflective surface. From here on the task was to avoid deep and dark shadows, but still keep a hint of a shadow to preserve a dimensional aspect.

The item surface was rubber and metal. You can't imagine how hard it is to keep such surfaces free of dust particles. This becomes very clear when you look at the photos in Lightroom while doing the post processing. No matter how hard we tried to blow of dust and wipe the metal surface, hundreds of dust particle stubbornly resisted all attempts to get rid of them. 



This is the photo straight from the camera. In post I first made a selection of the five components (combined they will form a pepper dispenser) and then applied a level adjustment to both the items and  the invert selection (on two layers). Then the hard work removing all the dust particles started with the help of the clone stamp tool. Then some dodge, burn and blur was selectively added. The big light source reflection was removed with the patch tool, and the smudge tool was used to smooth the metal surface. Finally a surface blur was added. The whole post processing took 30 minutes. 

November 6, 2013

Two Silly Fishermen


I'm not a full time professional photographer but take on 2-3 paid jobs per month. It keeps me sharp and I find it rewarding to work with other professionals on a specific task.

My latest assignment was to shoot a video for a 20 second commercial, that will run on regional TV in January 2014 (my 2nd TV-commercial). Some stills where also required for printed adds. I won't be doing the final retouching of the raw files, but the photo above is my post processing.

The two aspiring models (Philip Stangebye to the left & Alexander Behrang Keshtkar to the right) where really nice to work with. They required nearly no instructions and fell quite naturally into the role as "silly fishermen". Thanks guys!

On the technical side I faced a small set-back when setting up the Speedlights.  The PocketWizard Mini TT1 had run out of battery power. So without my trusted PocketWizards for light control, I had to revert back to standard Nikon Commander mode and IR-control the two Speedlight SB-900/910 I was using. The Speedlight got extra power from Nikon SD-9 battery packs, which I recommend for longer shoots, where you need fast recycling time.  We worked in a square living room with white walls and ceiling, so there was really no need for the PocketWizards. But they are part of my workflow, so....
The room was lit with natural light from a large window behind me. We drew the curtains to dampen the sunlight and get an even spread of the ambient light. A Speedlight SB-900 on the left and a Speedlight SB-910 on the right - both with diffusion dome - pointed to the ceiling facing backwards (to avoid shadows on the wall behind the two models).
The Speedlights was set to full power and I still had to bump up the ISO to 320 to be able to use a f/5.6-6.0 aperture.
For the video I used a LED light rig built of three Metz MecaLight - LED 480, LED 320 and LED 160. Video was shot in 1080p/24 fps at a shutter speed of 1/60 second. No sound was recorded as music and speak will be added in post.