Pure Magic

Self portrait of my good self reading Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows

A few days ago I got an email newsletter from an online book retailer that I use and the thing that caught my eye was a photo competition for a new camera. Now I need a new camera like I need a hole in the head, it was the brief that captured my imagination and that was to produce a self-portrait while reading your favourite book in a favourite location. The above photo was my entry.

Now a little while ago I wrote a blog entry about becoming a retrogrouch using older film cameras again and enjoying the stripped back experience. Well this shot was all about technology.I used a Canon EOS5d, with a Canon EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. The camera was tethered to my MacBook and I was shooting to Adobe Lightroom. The lighting was to provide the real story here and a Canon 550EX with CTO fired into the book and bouncing back to my face was the key light. I wanted it to look like a warm magic light pouring out of the Harry Potter book. A Canon 430EX with blue filter bounced off the opposite wall at – 2 stops provided the fill light. The on camera WB was set for tungsten as I wanted this to provide a cold foreboding atmosphere. The camera was triggered by a wireless controller so I did not have to keep getting up and I was able to watch the images on my screen and this enabled me to play around with my positioning and facial expressions. Once I was happy I then processed the RAW file in Lightroom and then exported to Photoshop where I used AlienSkin’s Exposure to enhance the look and then added the stars and lightning bolts. It all sounds very complicated but in a little over an hour I had shot the image, processed it and uploaded to the competition site on Flickr. I took up photography in the early 1980’s with an old Praktika SLR and would have regarded all the above as magic … pure magic.

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