Blue Bandit





Peer Award
Absolute Masterpiece
Superb Composition




Behind The Lens

This photo of my daughter was taken in our backyard while she was playing with her brother. She's sitting on a 2-person swing, leaning back at the apex of a swing. There was no pre-planning and the mask was already a part of her outfit and entirely her idea.
This was taken around 1 or 2 o'clock in the afternoon on a bright warm summer day.
I've found that it's difficult to take interesting or engaging portraits in direct sunlight owing in part to the limited dynamic range that sunlight allows. The picture was taken with an off-camera, handheld, minimally diffused, fill-in flash as part of a series of experiments intended to learn better ways to supplement the lighting for portraits taken outdoors on bright days. The relative speed of the shutter helped in freezing the action and limiting too much flaring from the overhead sunlight.
This shot was handheld, on a Nikon D610 (the first in their series with a full-frame sensor). Off-camera I used a Yongnuo YN560 m3 Speedlight, minimally diffused at ~1/4 power.
I was looking for a way to shoot more interesting portraits in harsh sunlight. By bringing the Speedlight close I was able to overpower the overhead sunlight and use it to highlight the complementary aspects of the sky, the mask's details, and the eyes of the subject.
In this instance, I don't believe I did much beyond reducing contrast a little in the shadows. This image was exposed for the highlights which allowed for minimal editing.
In my camera bag
This wasn't an instance in which a "bag" was necessary. I had my DSLR and an off-camera flash. Sometimes, the best equipment is the things you have on hand.
This image was as much a chance for me to play and experiment, as the afternoon was for my children running around the backyard. As long as you're willing to make a mistake, miss the shot, or simply put the camera down and play with your kids instead, there's really no way to lose and you may end up with a fun picture and new knowledge for your efforts.

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