Hudson Valley Click

review: Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT

Summary: Right off the bat, let me say it – this speedlite, the Canon 600EX-RT (B&H), is going to change the industry. Nothing is going to be the same again.

A speedlite that has radio transmitters built in, has been anticipated for quite some time now. It just makes sense.  So it was just a matter of time before one of the big camera manufacturers did this … and Canon is the first. And they didn’t drop the ball on the rest of the speedlite’s features, or with the functionality of this piece of gear. It’s easy to use, with an obvious menu – even for a complex flashgun like this.

Before the Canon 600EX-RT, we had various options how we could trigger our Canon Speedlites, but right now our option is clear – it’s the the Canon 600EX-RT  (B&H)

I’ve also now added the review of the Canon ST-E3-RT and Canon 600EX-RT speedlites.

About the photo at the top …

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The Hudson Valley Click is a group of photographers in New York who arrange photo shoots for photographers who are interested in learning more or who would like to build their portfolios. I’ve mentioned them a few times in the past - photo shoot / haunted fashion / pin-up photography. With these photo sessions, they arrange for models and hair stylists and make-up artists, and for a small entry fee, you get to play. They are also pretty cool bunch of people to hang out with.

At the most recent shoot-out, the one organizer, Nuby DeLeon, showed me an image that he had set up, and my jaw dropped. With great pre-visualization of the intended shot, Nuby had set this dramatic scene up. Even the color image on the back of his camera looked perfect! Nuby was gracious enough to allow me to share this with everyone, including the lighting diagram …

Film Noir Fight Scene
by Nuby DeLeon
portrait, wedding & commercial photographer – New York

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to explore dramatic lighting when Hudson Valley Click did their monthly themed shoot at Mountain View Manor in Glen Spey, NY. The theme for the month was Film Noir so having a beautiful Victorian mansion to shoot in was a treat. There were a number of models, all dressed in period costume.

My inspiration for the shot is Frank Miller. I wanted to match the dramatic lighting with some dramatic, almost over the top action.

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Canon wireless e-TTL flash triggers / radio transmitters

A bridal portrait (taken during one of the photo sessions arranged by the Hudson Valley Click), where it is easy to see the advantage of using off-camera lighting.

The strong back-lighting is used as a way to highlight the background and have the rim-lighting etch our model against the background. Of course, having her turn her back to the sun also helps with not having our model squinting in the bright light. We immediately avoid unflattering hard light on her face. But we then do need to add off-camera lighting of some kind to cross-light her.

I used TTL flash here, since I often find this is the fastest and easiest way to get good flash exposure. The flash was diffused with a white shoot-through umbrella, and I used wireless TTL triggers to control my flash.

Let’s have a look at our current options that we have to trigger the off-camera TTL flash …

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shooting in bright sunlight with flash

One of the most challenging lighting scenarios we’ll most likely encounter, is bright harsh sunlight. There are a couple of steps we can take to make things a lot easier for ourselves …

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Hudson Valley Click – report-back on recent Shoot Out

I’ve mentioned the Hudson Valley Click before – a group of photographers in New York state who arranges monthly shoots for members, and any visitor who’d like to attend. They are all good opportunities to network and more importantly, to shoot some and play with the photography toys a bit. I just came back from the latest shootout – The Totally Kick Ass Wedding Shoot Out. It was pretty cool again to get to attend and photograph various models and come up with ideas.

This time I decided to whip out the Canon 5D mk II and lenses, and also the PocketWizard TT5 transceivers for Canon, and give it all a spin. The photo above is of one of the models, Jill, where I tried something with a slightly more Gothic feel to it as dusk fell.

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photo shoot: haunted fashion (using video lights)

The previous time I photographed Anna was at a pin-up photo session. I had the opportunity again to photograph her and other models again last night … but in a completely different style and setting this time. The Valley Hudson Click group arranged a Haunted Fashion theme for this photo session.

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pin-up photography

September 23, 2010

pin-up photography – white on white

I had the great pleasure last night of attending a meeting by the Hudson Valley Click – a lighting and photography group in the Hudson Valley area of NY. The motive behind their meetings and photo shoots is to bring photographers, models, makeup artists, hairstylists and fashion designers together on monthly themed events. All designed for learning and portfolio building.

My friend Peter Salo invited me to the 50′s style pin-up photography session that was held last night in Sandy O’Shea’s studio.  (Sandy, thanks for allowing us to create havoc.)  There were four models, and there were make-up artists and hair stylists.

Along with the photos of two of the models shown here, there is also this pull-back shot of how I set up the lighting for these images …

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