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thedesigner

California dreamin



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Contest Finalist in Image Of The Month Photo Contest Vol 82
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Monthly Pro Photo Contest Volume36Top 10 rank
Image Of The Month Photo Contest Vol 82Top 10 rank
Monthly Pro Photo Contest Volume36Top 10 rank week 2
Image Of The Month Photo Contest Vol 82Top 10 rank week 2
Monthly Pro Photo Contest Volume36Top 10 rank week 1
Image Of The Month Photo Contest Vol 82Top 10 rank week 1

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1 Comment | Report
alisonbomber Platinum
 
alisonbomber Jul 04
BEAutiful
thedesigner PRO+
thedesigner Jul 04
Thank you. This is one of my favourites.

Behind The Lens

Location
Although this photo is called "California dreamin" it was actually "London reality" taken in sunny London. Yes! sunny London. To be specific it was taken on the South Bank Walk that follows the Thames.
Time
This shot was taken after a late Wagamama lunch, so about 14.40. We had just set off so it was near the beggining of the shoot.
Lighting
Naturally we all know that you shouldn't try shooting portraits in the English mid day sun. Squinting eyes, frowned looks and that nasty butterfly shadow under the nose. Luckily my beautiful model had some sunglasses which helped with the squinting. A bench with a overhanging tree branches helped with the nasty shadows. The rest was down to me to sort out.
Equipment
This was a test shoot on a newly purchased Canon 85mm 1.2f L series lens. Having read numourous articles, watched many videos I finally had this monster piece of Canon glass with a huge reputation behind it. What better way to test it but on one of the brightest days at mid dayish sun and testing this lens at that magical f1.2. I managed to get the ISO down to 125. The aperture was 1.2f and the shutter speed was a healthy 1/1250 sec. This stunning lens was mounted onto a Canon 1DX III,. That shutter speed came in handy with this combo of camera and lens.
Inspiration
As mentioned before this was a lens test shoot with the help of a model. Naturally I set out only to shoot at that great 1.2f, full open, why bother with anything else? With that weight of camera and lens, combined with a paper thin depth of field I knew a steady hand and fast shutter was order of the day. The stories of the 85mm slow autofocus weren't too bad knowing the framing of the subject was clearly important. 1.2f is very shallow and when shooting a portrait careful consideration must be taken as if the model would slightly move it would change what would end up in focus. I framed the model in the viewfinder and chased the focus to the where I wanted it. I don't usually look on the back of the screen but on this occassion I decided to and the image was stunning.
Editing
Once this image was downloaded onto the big screen I understood why this was a mythical lens. I hardly had any photoshopping to do. I corrected a slight red cast of the image and edited the far sunglasses lens to show the eye detail, cutting through their coating is easily done on a digital file. I then removed the yellow and red saturation to produce blonde hair. And yes when zooming into the image the depth of field was stunning. The out of focus blur (bokah) was everything I'd read about. One can easily produce blur in photoshop but not on a scale like this.
In my camera bag
Depending what and who I'm shooting for, I usually have a Canon 1DX mk III, Canon 35mm 2f, Canon 85mm 1.2f and Canon 70-200mm 2.8f II lens. Various lights and a tripod. On this occassion it was just the Canon 1DX mk III and the 85mm 1.2f.
Feedback
As I wasn't going for a specific shot I would say always have a 'go to' portrait pose that you know works. In this case I knew this model very well and knew her good angles. Don't be afraid of getting close to your subject but warn them before getting too close if using anything shorter than a 50mm. Shoot with the aperture wide open but make sure you have a focus point that makes sense and try to keep it central.

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