Drawing on Richard Avedon

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orangeradish
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Drawing on Richard Avedon

Post by orangeradish » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:41 pm

Avedon is by far my favorite photographer. He took photos of who people were, not what they looked like. I don't like taking landscape photos, (funny that Galen Rowel is still another fav of mine...landscape=meh---utter mastery of what light really means=awesome) so while thinking about shooting more while fishing, I had some thoughts. One of the best parts of the fishing thing for me is the friends I've made. I'd like to shoot them more on the river. There are a billion river/fish/sunset/waterfall type shots. Very little environmental portraiture using off camera flash. That's what I enjoy the most. In the spirit of what Avedon was so fucking good at, I'm going to work on capturing the personalities of the motley band of fishy fools that I spend time on the water with.

My only issue is that my gear only covers the extremes. I have a shitty p&s, and a D300. The p&s can't do manual, and the D300 is an asspain to bring along. Until I can scrape together the dough for a Canon G12, (IMHO, best camera on the market for 90% of what I want to do) I'm stuck with the big boy. I have remote triggers, and some manual flashes that I use. I'm going to start dragging that shit out with me.

Pics to follow when the weather clears a bit.

See you in front of the lens,

Jason

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vaku
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Re: Drawing on Richard Avedon

Post by vaku » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:16 am

Jason, I know you didn't ask for any advice, but I'm going to give you some anyway.

Avedon is one of my main influences, along with Penn and Weston. One of the main reasons that many of avedons portraits work so well, is his use of neutral backdrops and/or no backdrops,meaning he isolates his subjects. He lets them 'be' before his lens with no pretense, just raw 'being'. Another thing that works is his use of large format, essentially an 8x10 camera. the detail and very shallow depth of field help to isolate the subject also. He also shot many/most of his portraits in a natural light setting , using open shad for a flat even pleasing light.

So if you wish to emulate or be inspired by Avedon, let's think about what you can do here. You need to isolate your subjects. On the river, you probably won't have a backdrop and backdrop stands. bringing a set of lights along while fishing is cumbersome. I know know, cause I have done it and will again in Jan. SO to isolate your subjects in this setting using the gear you have and the gear you wish to have, let's try this. With the d300, you will need a long ish, medium telephoto lens. A zoom would work, but I prefer a 100mm lens or a 135mm lens. get as close to your subject as you want to with your framing, ie: head, waist up, full body, whatever. Use an apeture that is larger than f5.6, meaning f4, f3.5, f2.8, f2.0, etc, this will give you a shallow dof and help to pop your subject. the lower your fstop the more blur you'll have in the background. using a wider lens won't do it as it increase the dof the wider you angle of view is. that is why the medium telephoto isolates, it has a narrow angle of view. That is the best thing you can do with that camera. Also look for clean monotone backgrounds, avoid dappled light, try to keep your subject in even light. or look for shafts of light in dark areas. use manual settings on your camera, learn them. use spot metering to expose correctly for the face.
with your point and shoots, you are a bit more limited. try zooming all the way out to the edge of optical zoom, do not use digital zoom. try to find a setting for lowlight, no flash. or set it to apeture priority and set the largest you have, it will usually be like f4 or f5.6. you will be limited with this and probably have camera shake as you don't have as much control.

g12. meh. look for a g10. they are proving to be the best of the series. sure there are good reason to go g12 and good ones to get a g10, do some internet research and see what your needs are. We have a g10 as our family camera and went to upgrade and decided to stay g10, not a money thing, but a gear thing.

does this help or do you want to tell to foad?

pt
"It is only the inexperienced and thoughtless who find pleasure in killing fish for the mere sake of killing them. No sportsman does this." - W.C. Prime, 1888

"if it floats, flys, or fucks, it's bound to be a pain in the ass..." - BigTimber

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orangeradish
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Re: Drawing on Richard Avedon

Post by orangeradish » Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:59 pm

Thanks for taking the time to reply, man.

I read a great book on the making of "In The American West". It described his setup being a seamless white background, set up in the shade on a sunny day. Pretty telling that photos that powerful were that technically simple.

All I have right now is the 18-200 3.5-5.6. It's good, but not great. When I can, I'll get a 24-70 2.8, a 135 portrait lens, and a 1.8 50 prime. And a pony. And a firetruck. Fuck that stuff is pricey. I'm on the fence as to whether I go with Nikor, or other. Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, whatever. As far as isolation, I don't have the glass for super shallow DOF, so if I can, I shoot above the ambient and light with flash. It is a PITA, but it's what I have to work with right now.

I learned with film and a digital spot meter using the zone system, either placing the shadows where I wanted them, or just going off a gray card. Now, I usually make exposure decisions with the histogram. I use it in spot, and expose for the highlights. I should break out the old meter, and use it with the d300. Just for chuckles, mind.

My p&s doesn't do anything manual. I got it because it's waterproof. A g10would be cheaper...hmmmm.

Here's a few from this weekend. Not great, I know. I was shooting a few times a week, but it's been a year or so since I shot with any regularity, and I'm rusty. Fishing is a cruel mistress.

The up the nose angle ain't the best, but I didn't want the treeline growing out of his head. His hands are brighter than his face, but I was shooting with one hand, and aiming a speedlite with the other. It has a small diffuser on it, but I need to get one of the small softboxes that mount on speedlites. At least I know what's fucked up, and a rough idea how to fix it.

Image

I couldn't get the specular highlights in the glasses dialed. Again, one hand on the cam, the other on the light. I was using the sun from cam right as a fill, and a flash cam left for key. I don't like the nose shadow. I could've turned him into the sun a bit more, or used a reflector I suppose.

Image

Again, thanks for the reply.

Jason

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JackDaDog
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Re: Drawing on Richard Avedon

Post by JackDaDog » Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:33 pm

IMHO one of the best G series features was and is again the flip view screen. For that one feature alone I would go with the 12 over the 10. But I'm also told the noise mngmnt over iso400 is now better too I don't really know about though. There have been some nice sales on the 12 the past month at frys

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/sho ... t=G12+sale

One issue for portraits though is how tough it is to get shallow DOF with the G.
Bite Me, Jack

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orangeradish
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Re: Drawing on Richard Avedon

Post by orangeradish » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:38 pm

JackDaDog wrote:IMHO one of the best G series features was and is again the flip view screen. For that one feature alone I would go with the 12 over the 10. But I'm also told the noise mngmnt over iso400 is now better too I don't really know about though. There have been some nice sales on the 12 the past month at frys

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/sho ... t=G12+sale

One issue for portraits though is how tough it is to get shallow DOF with the G.

I came sooooooo close to getting one of those tonight. I had to get a lens for my DSLR but man, I was tempted.

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JackDaDog
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Re: Drawing on Richard Avedon

Post by JackDaDog » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:55 am

I get it.

for well over 20 years I carried around a lot of camera gear, 35, 2.25 and 4x5, lights etc. then when I stopped earning a living with the stuff I pretty much jettisoned it over several more years. Sometimes I miss it but overall I think I'm happier with my little G series bag of toys. I recently upgraded to the 12 and bought an underwater housing for it too. We'll see what fun I can have when it warms up a little.

Rather than frustrate myself with what the camera can't do I figure there's years of entertainment producing images in genres it works well for (which is pretty extensive)

you might also consider a canon s95 for your fishing vest camera, a lot of folks seem to be turning to it as well.
Bite Me, Jack

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JackDaDog
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Re: Drawing on Richard Avedon

Post by JackDaDog » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:59 am

I know you said you didn't care for scenics but I've been playing around this winter with what's available


Image



Image
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orangeradish
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Re: Drawing on Richard Avedon

Post by orangeradish » Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:32 pm

Shit. I didn't see that you posted a reply here. Nice sky in those shots.

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Sakonnet
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Re: Drawing on Richard Avedon

Post by Sakonnet » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:16 am

Damn, those are fantastic!
Send me my fucking flies. Now. Overnight fucking Saturday Priority fucking delivery. Please? - Mr. Don

You know what they say about revenge? Dig three graves. - Porno Mike

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