Monday, January 14, 2013

MPG starting the new year with a bang

A new year is upon us and our photo group is entering its third year. We have seen a great and steady growth in membership throughout this past year and we have also seen a shift in meet ups. We are stepping away from "let's go to such-and-such and take pictures" to "let's get together and learn something". As it was mentioned to me on several occasions, there are plenty of groups that get together to take pictures of activities. There are not a lot of people doing what I do--that's teach photography.

We started this year on a great foot. Three workshops were posted and all have booked up. Our first one has just finished with a 100% turnout rate (always a good sign) and the following workshops look to follow suit. If you were interested in one of the posted workshops but were unable to get in, don't worry, we'll be doing them again throughout the year.

Our first meet up of the year was a workshop on studio lighting. Rather, it was a combination of DIY lighting for studio and a lesson in using found lighting to create striking images. Here are some of the highlights;

The workshop began with a single bare incandescent bulb. A rather innocuous little item we can all find in just about every home we enter. Think about it; how often do you bring your camera to a family event wanting to take some nice portrait shots of relatives but don't want (or don't have) to lug around a bunch of photo gear? Because of that how many times have you settled for available light only to be disappointed with the results? The great thing about a bare bulb is that it can provide the right kind of light for a variety of photographic results or 'looks'.

With a little creativity, a diffuser and a small reflector attendees were able to get really amazing results from that one single bare bulb. As some members found out, it only takes a little courage to manipulate the subject into getting close to the light source to let them do what they have to do to get the shot.

Because the meet up was more technical than creative we used my handy, non-complaining model, Diane II. A mannequin who's seen some travel and a fair share of abuse. Interestingly enough, before long participants were modeling for each other. This gave everyone an opportunity to direct as well as take pictures.

For some fun we tried some creative shots done with colored light bulbs and utility clip lights (seen at left). After a brief break for some cake and coffee provided by Diane (number one) we moved on to some real DIY lighting.

First up was a standard two by two recessed fluorescent light fixture set up to be mounted on a light stand (shown in top photo). Again we played around with using the light by itself and in conjunction with a diffuser and reflector for different looks.

The great thing everyone learned about that setup was that anyone, regardless of skill level, can create and use this light in their own home studio. I'll be posting a write up about that light setup soon, so stay tuned.

At this point we had covered everything that was originally planned for the meet up. However, because of some interest in three point lighting and DIY fluorescent lighting I brought out the big lights. I had just finished putting them together a few days prior so this was my first opportunity to use them. The results were very promising and I'm looking forward to doing more with them.

In all we had a lot of fun, shared some great tips and info and learned a lot. I thank our wonderful members and I look forward to all our future meet ups.

Happy shooting.

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