When a friend of mine posted on Facebook, "Does anyone have any use for a TON of expired coffee beans?," I quickly replied, "I'll take 'em."
As others expressed interest in the coffee beans for gardening purposes, and I didn't need much for the macro shots I thought I might use them for, I only ended up getting a couple of bags out of the seventeen pounds she was offering (though I'm sure I could have found an interesting use for that many coffee beans).
As I was picking up the graciously free props I asked my friend if there was anything specific she wanted me to shoot with them. Much to my surprise she had a very quick answer. "Amanda. Something with her hair, maybe?"
While it certainly wasn't what I had in mind, it sounded right down my alley. I nodded my head and replied, "Okie dokie. I'll see what I can do."
With a vague idea in my head, Amanda and I took the opportunity of some free time yesterday afternoon to bring it to fruition. I laid a standard sized (32x40") white foam-core white poster board on my living room floor. I then extended the legs of my Induro CT314 to their fullest extent, reversed the center column, attached my 5D Mark III + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art and positioned the tripod directly above the board. After that, I set up one light stand with a Canon 580EX and an 24" Glow softbox and another light stand with a 580EX and a Westcott RapidBox Octa (both triggered via radio slaves).
I asked Amanda to lay on the white board so that her head was basically centered in the board. We then spread out her hair so that it filled a majority of the space after which I began taking test exposures while fiddling with the position of the lights. I settled on f/6.3, 1/160 second at ISO 160 for the exposure with the lights set to between 1/8 and 1/4 power.
Getting the light just right proved a little challenging because of the orientation of the subject and the background and the fact that both were on the ground. I positioned the RapidBox Octa toward the top of Amanda's head, camera left, feathered a little downward. I positioned the 24" softbox camera right but feathered slightly toward the top of the frame. This lighting position and close power ratio provided a relatively flat lighting from a highlight to shadow perspective, yet there was still a direction to the light which helped to sculpt and highlight Amanda's features.
Then the coffee beans. If I had thought through this setup a little more, I would have laid down a garbage bag or two beneath the white board in order to catch stray coffee beans before they hit the carpet – but I didn't. When I opened the bag and started pouring the beans onto the background, the beans bounced much more than I had imagined. While most of the coffee beans stayed within the confines of the white board, more than a few landed on the carpet. Tip: If a coffee bean lands on your carpet, be careful not to step on it. It can make the mess infinitely more difficult to clean up.
We tried several different poses throughout the session including several with Amanda holding a coffee mug. But in the end, this was the keeper from the shoot. And while I typically see the world in a 2x3 (and increasingly, 16x9) frame, I ended up liking the square crop best and knew it would work well as a profile picture.
Since updating her Facebook profile picture yesterday afternoon, the picture has amassed 95 likes with several nice comments as well. It's amazing what you can do with a little space on your floor, a white board, a tripod, a couple of lights, a pretty girl and a bag of magic [coffee] beans. ;-)
Click on the image atop this post to see a larger sized version on Flickr.
Pebble support from day one; Apple Watch coming very soon!
Triggertrap - creators of the world’s most versatile camera triggering solution - have today unveiled a brand new “Wearables” mode for their popular iOS app, Triggertrap Mobile. The new Wearables mode enables photographers to use a smartwatch to trigger a DSLR camera via an iOS app for the very first time.
Photographers everywhere now have the ability to trigger their camera remotely from their wrist. This can be incredibly useful for simple applications, such as taking self-portraits, to more advanced techniques like triggering long exposures for light painting or starting a timelapse sequence. All these possibilities lie within the photographer’s smartwatch.
This latest update supports the current range of Pebble smartwatches, as well as the upcoming Pebble Time. Meanwhile, Triggertrap’s development team are working hard to bring Apple Watch support to the app in the coming weeks.
As well as being a handy tool, using a smartwatch to take photos is great fun. An early user of the Pebble Smartwatch alongside Triggertrap’s Android app explained that using the watch to trigger the camera “makes me feel a bit like James Bond”.
Last year, Elena Shumilova took photos of her sons by the Russian countryside and put them online. Those photos struck magic and went viral with over 60 million views. She invited SmugMug onto her farm in Russia, where we got a behind-the-scenes look at how she captures these beautifully nostalgic photos.
Three Lucky Fans Will Win a Trip To The Little League World Series in August
MELVILLE, N.Y., MAY 6, 2015 - Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the continuation of their multi-year partnership as the official camera and printer sponsor of Little League Baseball and Softball, the world's largest youth sports organization. As part of the partnership, Canon and Little League are teaming up to present the "Picture Perfect Season," a initiative kicking off this month with the Canon Little League Photo Contest powered by PIXMA Printers. By submitting their photos based on three monthly themes, fans will have the chance to win one of three trips to the Little League Baseball World Series in South Williamsport, PA and see their photos on display in the World of Little League Museum in the Richard "Hank" Bauer, Jr. Little League Photography Exhibit in the World Series Gallery presented by Easton Foundations.
"Canon is thrilled to support the Little League World Series, capturing special moments of fans, families and players," said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc. "This year, through the use of our input-to-output solutions, we're taking the Great Wall of Fandom on the road and inviting fans at the regional tournaments to show their support on the ground through Regional Walls of Fandom. Culminating at Williamsport and displayed during the tournament, we're excited to share the power of the printed image with fans across the country and deepen our relationship with Little League."
The Canon Little League Photo Contest powered by PIXMA Printers kicks off with "Stepping Up to the Plate," a theme focusing on shots of game play. Whether it's a Little Leaguer sliding into home base or catching a fly ball, these images should capture the essence of what it means to be on the field. Entries will be judged on the use of theme and on the quality of the image and overall impression.
Last year, Canon built "The Great Wall of Fandom," a real-time installation showcasing photos and messages from fans around the world, in support of the teams at the Little League Baseball World Series. This year, Canon and the Little League community will be using the Canon PIXMA MG7520 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-In-One printer to bring the photos to life throughout the entire journey, capturing and preserving moments from Opening Day to the Regional Tournaments, both nationally and internationally, and culminating at the Little League Baseball World Series. Canon will also be hosting the PIXMA Play and Print Experience loaded with baseball-themed activities for kids, giving fans in Williamsport another way to make their fandom real during every moment of the action.
Beginning in late July and running through the end of the tournament on August 30th, baseball fans around the world can share photos and words of encouragement via thegreatwalloffandom.com. Fans at regional tournaments will also be encouraged to print and show their support on their region's very own Great Wall of Fandom. In both instances, Canon will print high-quality versions of the photos and messages on a Canon PIXMA MG7520 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-In-One printer, made possible via cloud connectivity, and add them to "The Great Wall of Fandom."
This year marks the 76th Anniversary of Little League, and part of its longtime success in providing healthy youth sports opportunities for 2.4 million children in more than 80 countries can be attributed to the assistance provided by sponsorships. Canon continues its partnership with Little League as one of 16 national sponsors, which helps Little League maintain low-team affiliation fees and provide valuable training and educational resources to coaches, parents, umpires, and volunteers. Many of Little League's national sponsors also participate in enhancing the fan experience at the Little League Baseball World Series Family Fun Zone.
"We are excited to continue our partnership with Canon as a national sponsor of Little League and the Little League Baseball World Series," said Liz DiLullo Brown, Little League vice president of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships. "Little League is more than a youth sports organization, it is a youth leadership organization, and thanks to the support of our national sponsors, Little League is able to provide parents a healthy, affordable recreational outlet for their children. Canon's involvement with Little League reminds us to capture and preserve the precious moments that children make on Little League fields around the world."
United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, 6th May 2015 – Today Canon announces the launch of a series of downloadable and app based city guides that offer fresh and unique perspectives of six cities across Europe - London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Milan and Amsterdam. The curated guides invite consumers to explore the world around, look deeper and seek out the fascinating and beautiful stories that unfold everyday.
The introduction of the city guides is part of Canon’s continuing ‘Come and See’ brand campaign, the latest iteration of which features two freeclimbers who explore cities around the world from unique perspectives and breathtaking vantage points. The city guide series offer a more everyday look at cities, inviting people to take a fresh look at familiar landscapes and encouraging the discovery of hidden locations from unexpected angles.
To curate each exclusive guide, Canon has collaborated with six sets of influencers, local to each selected city. Each personality brings their passion, creative flair and area of expertise to offer their unique perspective on the tour stops mapped out:
UK: London - Professional parkour athlete and photographer, Scott Bass
Spain: Madrid - Fashion and street style blogging duo, Mike & Gabriel of Cup of Couple
Netherlands: Amsterdam - Professional photography duo, Andres & Joyce of On a Hazy Morning
Germany: Berlin - Graphic desiger and blogger, Nina of Smaracuja
Italy: Milan – Visual street artist, Alice Pasquini
France: Paris – Photographer, Saúl Aguilar
Nigel Taylor, Consumer Imaging Marketing Communications Director, Canon Europe, commented, “In a world full of fascinating stories, breath-taking views and hidden gems, it’s natural that in the hustle and bustle of life we overlook and at times take our surroundings for granted. At Canon, we want to help consumers enjoy cities across Europe in all their unique glory. We hope that people will relish the opportunity to seek out new perspectives and in turn capture that beauty on camera or video to cherish forever”.
Downloadable City Guides All six city guides will be available for download via Canon’s dedicated 'Come and See' website from May 1st 2015, inviting consumers to discover European cities as they’ve never experienced them before. In addition, the website provides consumers with insight into the ‘Come and See’ campaign, including videos featuring the influencers, as well as technology stories and product information.
City Guides via Canon Companion Apps Each city guide will also be featured as part of Canon’s new EOS 760D & EOS 750D, and EOS M3 Companion apps, compatible with iOS and Android, consumers can download and use the app regardless of whether they own the product or not. Users will be able to navigate their way through guides and city maps and gain handy photography tips and advice to inspire and support them in their journey of exploration around each city*.
Share your travel story with us! City guide users are encouraged to share their favourite travel photos and experiences with the hashtag #comeandsee.
* The Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Berlin and Milan guides are available within the app from today, with Paris to follow in June.
May 5, 2015, Commack, New York – Tamron USA Inc. announces its 2015 eBook series, with the first installation in the series already available for free download at http://www.tamron-usa.com/lenses/ebooks.php. Expansive, breathtaking photographs serve as the visual backdrop for each 12-page-plus eBook, accompanied by descriptive commentary and hands-on techniques and tips for each book's specific photographic theme, genre, or location.
First in the 2015 series is "Road Trip Across the Southwest," a gorgeous pictorial journey with photographer Ken Hubbard through the mountains, tufa towers, and slot canyons of the American Southwest. In this edition, Hubbard and fellow Tech Team colleague André Costantini take the Tamron Tailgate Tour van on a side trip to test-drive the new Tamron SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC lens, the world's first F/2.8 ultra-wide-angle zoom lens with image stabilization. The second eBook, "Sports Photography: A Guide to Camera Setup and Exposure" with Tamron Pro Photographer, Jillian Bell, was also posted last week. Four more eBooks are in the works and will be posted in May, June, July/August and September.
Featured eBook authors are members of Tamron's exclusive Tech Team, a highly skilled group of photographers, educators, and experts in Tamron lenses and lens technology. Tamron's eBook authors hone their craft behind the lens every day, then share that photography expertise with beginners, serious amateurs, and professionals across the country through visits to dealers, schools, camera clubs, and photography shows.
The 2015 eBooks will be companion pieces to the eBooks already available at http://www.tamron-usa.com/lenses/ebooks.php, including Close-Up Photography by Jillian Bell; Nighttime Photography by Jeff Allen; Sunrise/Sunset Photography by Rob Moody; Travel & Landscape Photography by Ken Hubbard; and Natural-Light Photography by André Costantini.