Make Do

I’ve not had access to a proper studio since I left TAFE (college) where I abused, I mean used the excellent facilities. Now working from home I have to make do with whatever is around the house and a few well-chosen bits of photo kit. In the above pic I’m doing a product shot of back pack in the sitting room. I don’t have a white infinity curve on a product table so I use a small Ikea coffee table covered in a white shower curtain and a white double sheet as the background. I want the backpack on a white fore ground and against a white background. Experience has taught me that if a light the background with a flash gun (speed light to our American readers) and over expose by 1 stop it will show as pure white. The subject is lit by two flash guns in brolly boxes arranged at 45º to each other. The camera sits on a tripod and the flashes are triggered wirelessly using a Phottix Odin transmitter. Unlike a lot of photographers I shoot using TTL control and use flash exposure compensation on each flash to control the lighting ratio which in this case is 2:1 or the key light (the black brolly) is set to be twice as powerful as the fill light. All very simple really.

The Sky Is Crying*…

…and boy did it pour down. It rained so hard that the drops actually bounced.

I was in a rebellious frame of mind this week. I had downed tools on my latest book project as it turned out I’d received no royalty payments for two years. Not unusual I’m afraid, publishers are notoriously tight at best and blatant rip off merchants at worst. My father was not a politically correct man and one of his favourite jokes was:

“How do get a drink out of a Scotsman?

Stick two fingers down his throat!”

Well it wouldn’t work with my publisher. They are just impervious. The accountant usually has a number of excuses as to why he has not made any payments. The usual one is that his father had just died. Not a word of bullshit he had his father die four times over a six month period. Well the statements have been coming in, but no payments had hit my bank account for two years. So as William Shakespeare had King Lear say “Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle” .

I was right royally hacked off and emailed them to say I’m not finishing the current book until I’ve been paid and then I felt the need to go out and do something for me instead of working. So I went to Wireless Hill to photograph orchids in the pouring rain. Make that torrential rain. I’d have stayed drier if I’d have jumped fully clothed into a swimming pool. Anyway despite all that I got four photos I was happy with.

 

Pansy Orchid by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Pansy orchid, Diuris magnifica. Wireless Hill, Western Australia. Canon EOS6d with Canon EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, Phottix Mitros+ speedlite triggered by a Phottix Odin TCU. Exposure: manual mode, 1/160 s at f/8.0 at ISO 100.

 

Dancing Spider Orchid by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Dancing spider orchid (Caladenia discoidea) aka antelope orchid or bee orchid. Wireless Hill, Western Australia. Canon EOS6d with Canon EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens. Exposure: aperture priority, 1/125 s at f/8.0 at ISO 1600.

 

Pansy Orchid by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Pansy orchids, Diuris magnifica, Wireless Hill, Western Australia. Canon EOS 6d with Canon EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM. Exposure: aperture priority,1/800 s at f/8.0 at ISO 1600.

 

Carousel Spider Orchid by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Carousel Spider Orchid, Carousel, Wireless Hill, Western Australia. Canon EOS6d with Canon EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens. Exposure: aperture priority, 1/1000 s at f/4.0 at ISO 1600.

The old Canon EOS6d with 100mm f2.8L Macro IS lens performed admirably in the wet and I’m always astounded by the quality of the files it produces, Many would argue that it is not a professional camera due to it having a very basic AF system, poor dynamic range, not properly weather sealed and only having one card slot, but man alive if you can’t produce professional quality work with it then you really need to get some help.

* Today’s musical reference is the song “The Sky Is Crying” written and originally performed by Elmore James in 1959. It was an impromptu song inspired by a downpour of rain. Since then it has become a blues staple with a plethora of artists recording it over the years. My favourite version is still the Elmore James one, but I also like the version by Stevie Ray Vaughan. The video I’ve embedded below features and all star line up of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King and BB King.