Sunset shot of my wife on a catamaran boat near Odessa, Ukraine during a summer sunset.

Sunset shot of my wife on a catamaran boat near Odessa, Ukraine during a summer sunset.
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3 Comments | Report
michaeltillman PRO+
michaeltillman March 19, 2018
Lovely is all I can think of. A lovely woman in a lovely pose; lovely shot. Well done.
marcbaechtold May 13, 2018
cool photograph with nice details and good contrasts, keep shooting!
thegaybob September 09, 2019
good picture and nice scen

Behind The Lens

I'm self-taught freelance photographer from Ukraine, Odessa. I've got a message from an owner of a catamaran yacht, who saw my photographs online and wanted to provide his boat for a shoot for free, so that he can later use this photos to promote his services. I've decided not to waste an opportunity. I've called a friend of mine, who was supposed to be filming the whole process and he also told me that he's going to come with another friend of his, who's a model from a local agency. Well, the camera guy actually forgot to take his camera to a shoot (imagine this!) and the model was 2 hours late because she had to take part in Ice Bucket Challenge.... The makeup artist was doing makeup in a car, while we were driving to a place. Because of this we came to a boat 30 minutes before the sunset. I've started shooting my wife (the beautiful lady you see in a photo ;), while the mua finished the other girl. I was actually really surprised I've managed to pull the whole shoot, while having so little time and by having all this stress on me, since the owner of the boat was really pissed off and was calling me every 15 minutes, while we were waiting for the second model to be "IceBucketed"!
As I've mentioned, it was 30 minutes before the sunset. We were supposed to start shooting a lot earlier, but life is life, you have to be prepared to improvise on the go.
The main lighting here was a Chinese Falcon Eyes MK400-H generator lights. It's powerful enough to give a strong beam of light and is easy to move around, which was very crucial, since the boat was constantly swinging side to side. Since the guy who was supposed to film everything forgot his equipment, I made him my assistant and he was holding the light for the whole shoot. The sun was where the shore was and shooting directly into the sunlight with a bare flash with no filters will give you a very artificial picture, where the background is bright orange and the model is blue, but I've still wanted to capture that golden light and I didn't have any filters with me (again, I was supposed to shoot in the middle of the day). So we've decided to place my wife on these nets and shoot into the reflection of the sun, which was not as bright as the sky, but was still orange enough to capture the time and beauty of the sunset. Oh, there were no modifiers like softboxes on the flash, just a bulb with a standard reflector dish.
I've used my Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm, 2.8 lens, which I use like 99% of the time, when I'm shooting. I've shot this couple of years ago, so I don't remember exactly, but I'm pretty sure I've also used Lee filters (Graduated Neutral Density filter 0.9 and Circular Polarizing filter). The flash was Falcon Eyes 400MK-H with radio triggers (just the Chinese ones, nothing fancy). I haven't used a tripod, since it would have taken a lot of time to set it up, plus when the boat is constantly moving it was almost impossible to compose a shot while using a tripod. I've brought a reflector with me, but again, for this particular shot there I've just used the flash.
It wasn't my usual creative shoot, when I prepare beforehand, look through hundreds of photos to come up with ideas or just to test a certain concept or technique. This shoot was planned but everything went NOT according to initial plan, which happens in real life quite a lot :) So honestly I didn't have time to be inspired by anything there, I just had to shoot and I've tried to shoot as many different locations I could in that short period of time.
Well, I've done basic cleanup work, some body dodge/burn and I've also color corrected the body to also have an orange tint to fit the whole mood better, since the front of the picture, where the flash fired, was blue comparing to the background. Some might like it, I didn't, so I've color corrected for that. And to finish I've added a slight vignette to help lead the eye. Nothing fancy here, especially when you look at my other photographs, where I might rework like half of the frame :)
In my camera bag
Nikon D700 as my camera. Lenses: Nikkor 24-70mm, 2.8 and Nikkor 50mm 1.8. Nikon SB910 flash with remote radio triggers and a couple of sets of spare batteries. A set of Lee filters with a holder system (circular polarizing filter, soft edge graduated filter 3 stops, hard edge graduated filter 2 stops), B+W Neutral Density (10 stops), which I use for really long exposure seascapes shots. Cleaning kit for the camera and lenses. Induro tripod with a ball head. Aluminum foil, clamps and duct tape - I never leave without those :) I cannot even remember how many times these things have saved the shoot for me. Aluminum foil can be used as a small reflector, snoot and other light modifiers. I've even used it once to make a Canon trigger work on my camera, by short circuiting it's contacts, so that it thinks it's being used on a Canon :) And clamps and duct tape can be used to basically anything - you can build a small studio anywhere if you're creative enough. Plus, you can clamp the clothing on people to make look their best. These are the things that are always in my bag, but occasionally I take with me additional flashes, that are more powerful that my SB910, softboxes, umbrellas, reflector and other stuff you'd use on a big shoot. But if I have I'd be able to pull almost any shoot with just my bag.
There are a couple of tips that I've saved for myself from this shoot: 1) Build a reliable team as soon as possible and make sure you can trust them at all times! I couldn't even imagine a situation where I've forgotten to take my camera with me (I have forgotten cards, but not a camera! :D). Plus, you have to communicate with all the people involved in the shoot directly! Do not trust the communication to someone else, unless it's your agent. 2) Only if you're the only one that is shooting, then it's ok to shoot for yourself. Otherwise, think of other people involved and try to make them happy as well. Either shoot something they might need and or like (it's good if it's the same thing you need, but it's not always like that). For this particular shoot, the owner of the yacht was really pissed because we were like 3 hours late. To keep him happy I've suggested to shoot his wife. Actually, half of all the shots that I've made was of her. She was insanely happy and you can guess that it was hard for him to be pissed after that :) 3) Mind your security! When on a boat you can always slip and fall in the water. It's good if you know how to swim, but your equipment might not. And no shoot is worth your health! 4) When you're shooting in a sun, try to block the sun with something in the frame. It can either be a tree, a building, a sail or anything. It will dim the light and you will get really nice sun streaks (close your aperture to get more of those!). Graduated neutral density filter can also help, since it will darken the top of the frame, making a nice soft vignette, which will also highlight the main subject for you. 5) Don't be afraid to improvise! Even if everything is falling apart, just adapt - you might end up with way better shots that you have expected!

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