Last Sunday the Seattle Flickrites gathered in a parking garage at the University of Washington for our 12th Garage Shoot. I can’t believe we’ve done 12 of these already! I haven’t attended all of them, but I do remember the first few that started way back in 2007. Most of us shooting back then had just started learning off-camera lighting thanks to the Strobist blog. We had a very basic mishmash of cheap lighting gear (cheap umbrellas, cheap flashes, cheap stands, cheap triggers). We weren’t really that organized. We got together to share gear, teach each other tricks we learned, and photographed each other for practice.
Three years later, we’re still doing all of that, but we now have fancier gear, bigger lighting setups, and actual models to work with. We have someone organizing wireless trigger channels. We have actual Lighting 101 sessions at the beginning of the shoot. Some of the original attendees of the very first Garage Shoot are still going, but there are so many new faces. I actually didn’t know most of the people there (probably doesn’t help that I haven’t attended a meetup in quite some time). It’s great to see that after three years there is still a huge interest in having these types of shoots for people to learn and practice with a community of like-minded photographers.
Anyway, on to the photos!
First up is Alisha, an international business major at Seattle Pacific University. This was her first time modeling, and I think she did an awesome job. I especially loved the hair and makeup done by Vera Mikhaylik.
For the first photo, I used a Nikon SB-600 with a full CTO gel in a Honl Traveller8 Softbox for the main light. It’s positioned up high and just to camera left. Another SB-600 with a -3 stop neutral density filter in a shoot-through umbrella was positioned below the camera for fill light. The second photo used the same lights in different positions; the main light with softbox was at far camera left, the fill light was at far camera right. Both images were photographed with my Nikon D300 and Nikkor 50/1.4 at ƒ/1.8 for super shallow depth of field and fast flash recycle times.
I’m really digging the beauty dish-like lighting coming from the Traveller8. The small-ish light source is giving me some nice hard shadows without them being overly harsh light what I would get with a bare speedlight. I haven’t used it a whole lot, but I’m thinking I might use it more.
Next up is Rai, a local cosplayer who showed up in full costume with props. As soon as I saw her costume, I knew that colored lights were the way to go. I asked Margaret to pick out two gels for me to use. She chose blue and purple. The blue light was placed at far camera left and zoomed in to 85mm to provide a tight main light. The purple light was placed in a shoot-through umbrella at far camera right providing fill for the entire scene. Both images were photographed on my D300 and Sigma 30/1.4; the first image was at ƒ/2 and the second at ƒ/4.
I really like how the gelled lights work in Rai’s images. There isn’t much beyond that. I just like them!
Next up is The Harley Bunny.
This one is a mixture of several components. The rabbit mask is part of our animal mask collection which we brought to the meetup for people to use. The blue tutu is also part of our prop collection. The motorcycle belongs to Paul, one of the meetup organizers. And the model is Dawn, a fellow Flickrite.
The lighting on this was pretty haphazard. I had never lit a vehicle before, so I really wasn’t quite sure how I was going to get the lighting to look right. I just started lighting one section at a time and chimped my way to the final shot. It was also very hard for Dawn to breathe in the rabbit mask, and I had to work very quickly so that she wouldn’t suffocate. There were also a lot of people watching me work, so that added to the pressure.
The main light is a SB-600 in a white shoot-through umbrella at camera right. There’s another flagged SB-600 at camera right to illuminate the wall. And then there’s a Canon 430EXII held by Margaret at camera left to provide some illumination on the chrome. I didn’t quite get everything perfect (not a lot of definition on the mask), but I think it works. Shooting at 10mm on my Sigma 10-20mm adds to the coolness of the image. 🙂
Finally, what shoot is complete without at least one portrait of Margaret?
This one was fairly straightforward. SB-600 in a shoot-through umbrella at camera left. Flagged SB-600 with a red gel at camera right, aimed at a black tarp in the background. D300 + Sigma 30/1.4 at ƒ/2.8 for shallow depth of field and quick flash recycle times. Margaret makes the best faces and really knows how to pose for photos.
The garage shoot was such a blast, and I can’t wait until the next one. It’s a great environment for learning and sharing, and I met a bunch of new people, many of whom I had known on Flickr but never met in real life.
Much thanks to Kate for organizing the event; Alisha, Rai, Dawn, and Margaret for modeling; Paul for lending us his Harley; and Margaret for assisting me in all of the shots.