Accentuated by translucency

Accentuated by translucency

Geena - IG: @geena_serra, and I moved to the Nix Nature Center, our next location. I had been wanting to create this gi...
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Accentuated by translucency

Geena - IG: @geena_serra, and I moved to the Nix Nature Center, our next location. I had been wanting to create this girl-in-an-airy-dress-in-an-open-field vibe for a while, and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park's new headquarters was just a perfect spot to do that. With the sun slightly in the back, I was able to capture shots of her slim bodyline accentuated by the translucency. Loved how gentle breeze was mischievously covering one of her eyes.

Nix Nature Center, CA
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5 Comments | Report
alfredshabalala December 29, 2017
KristianCyr January 02, 2018
pietnel January 12, 2018
Wow she is gorgeous amazing shot
marcbaechtold PRO+
marcbaechtold May 14, 2018
CONTENT=great composition with nice colors and good contrast, keep shooting!
harmeetsingh Jan 19

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Behind The Lens

The photo was taken at the Nix Nature Center in Laguna Beach, Orange County, California. My model Geena and I had a pretty ambitious all-day photo shoot plan for the day, starting a little bit after eight am in the morning till sunset. And this particular location had been scouted for the sort of midday shoot while moving from our first location to the next. I had never been there prior to the shoot, but I knew it would be a great place for an open field kind of vibe that I wanted to create.
It was shot shortly after 1 pm (1:16 pm to be exact), but since it was December (December 3, 2017), so it was quite pleasant. For Sunday it wasn't crowded although the parking lot was close to full when we got there. It was probably around noon when we actually arrived there, and we had shot at a couple of other spots with different outfits prior to this shoot.
The nature center was a very much desert like environment, such as Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, so it would've not been so fun shooting at midday in summer, but in early December, it is quite nice. In fact, it was quite pleasant throughout the entire time (probably just over 2 hours) while there. Obviously, the sun never rises above our heads in winter, so it was more like shooting in late afternoon in spring or fall, which means I can shoot my subject backlit, utilizing the contour that is nicely defined by light. And that's exactly what I was aiming for in this particular photo. While her blonde hair and fair skin would reflect the sun and shine quite a bit in direct sunlight, by having her face opposite of the sun, I could concentrate on the outline of her body in this translucent material that she was wearing. Of course, high dynamic range that my camera offers certainly is part of my calculation that I can recover details in the shaded areas, such as her face, in the post.
This was shot on my Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS lens on. It is my go-to portrait lens, which allows me to play with different focal length, depending on what I see in the background. It was shot handheld, and it was shot at f/10 with ISO 200. The focal length was 85 mm for this particular shot because I didn't necessarily want to compress the background too much. I liked the slope of the hill with the bushes and shrubs clearly seen, although out of focus, and I knew that I'd get very clean separation due to the glow cast around her body, so I didn't go for a longer focal length.
I had seen many of these similar photos where a female subject dressed in an airy outfit was casually strolling in an open filed. And I had always wanted to shoot one of my own. Knowing that they were mostly shot at golden hour or sunset, I dreaded a tad bit to shoot at midday, but since it was early December, I knew it would not be a problem. Also, since this translucent garment was the key to success in order to create the vibe that I had in mind, I made sure that translucency was the focal point and that the accentuated contour was palpable.
I do my post-processing or retouching in Adobe Lightroom, and it was a fairly simple task to complete this photo. However, there were two key elements that one may take away from what I did. First, from the start I knew what kind of tone I wanted. This particular tone - slight de-saturation combined with warm tone - is sort of in trend right now, and I knew it would fit my photo perfectly. But also, I wanted to maintain her skin tone, so I made sure that I didn't push it too far. The second key element was translucency. I really made sure that the translucency came through. That was the whole point of shooting with a subject 1. wearing white garment, 2. standing in the field and 3. standing backlit. And then I concentrated on bringing out that almost touchable shape in the post.
In my camera bag
At the moment, Canon EOS 5D Mark III is my camera. Along with that, I have 3 Canon lenses and 1 Rokinon lens. For portraits I use the 70-200mm lens and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM. The latter is a great lens in terms of bokeh and shallow depth of field that it helps create, but I usually deploy the lens mostly when there's little light to work with. It is a fantastic lens in terms of the amount of light that it lets in particularly when it's getting dark or indoors, and I use it at the weddings a lot - getting ready shots, wedding ceremony itself and receptions. Of course, I end up using the flash (Orlit RoveLight RT 610 Speedlight for Canon) a lot indoors, but till I absolutely have to, I do my best to take advantage of its f/1.4 aperture. For landscapes I use my Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM, and it is a great lens for all of my landscape photography needs. Of course, I'd like to get one with f/2.8, but it isn't necessary for landscape photography in mind opinion, or for me anyway, because I do bracketing when I need details in the shadows and such. And for astrophotography I use my Roknon 14mm f/2.8 lens. It is a great lens for night photography overall in my opinion. However, I watched some review YouTube videos on Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art lens not too long ago, and I am very much interested in getting one of those. Looks like it will be a great addition to my lens collection for astrophotogrpahy. For tripod, I have a MeFoto tripod. On a slightly different note though, I have been considering getting myself a lighter mirrorless camera for outdoorsy landscape photography adventures. I carried my camera gear, up to 16 lb, on my straight 9-day backpacking trip (without resupply stops) on the High Sierra Trail as well as the 5-day Rae Lakes Loop backpacking trip through Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park for the last couple of years, and I am seriously considering lighter options.
It is paramount as a photographer to understand that light is key. Since it is a portrait, a subject matters, but one must acknowledge that how differently the same subject is lit makes a night and day difference. So, as a photographer, he/she must seek the best light for his/her subjects, and if a subject in the open field, it is definitely something that he/she must consider from the start. Pick a time when subjects are going to be lit in most flattering light. There's a reason, a very simple reason that is, why beautiful shots are taken at golden hour and/or sunset. And then have subjects face against the sun so that those harsh shadows can be avoided. As a photographer, unless it is an artistic endeavor, it is his/her job to make sure that subjects look as best as it can. Also, play with different focal lengths and shutter speeds to maximize the separation of subjects from the background. Bottom line is that basic understanding of light and knowing how to take full advantage of light will result in great photos.

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