Roblogs

February 28, 2009

High School Musical

Photos below include a few of my favorites from the pix I took of the recent performance of “High School Musical” by the theater department of San Jacinto College. You can click on any of the smaller pix to view an enlargement, and then press delete or backspace to return to the post. (Tech Specs: Nikon D700 + Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8; available light [no flash]; most pix shot at 2000 ISO and above).

Grand finale: "We're All in this Together"

Grand finale: "We're All in this Together"

Grand Finale 2

Grand Finale 2

Troy & Gabriella falling in love

Troy & Gabriella falling in love

Thespians in action

Thespians in action

Ryan - a ham who loves the spotlight

Ryan - a ham who loves the spotlight

Troy & Gabriella, a cute couple

Troy & Gabriella, a cute couple

A Jock gets a call from a Brainiac

A Jock gets a call from a Brainiac

Gabriella declares her love

Gabriella declares her love

February 25, 2009

Favorite Recent Pix

This post will include some photos I’ve taken recently, along with some comments and/or technical info.

Tiny Dancer

Tiny Dancer

I intentionally slowed the shutter speed and set the flash to “rear sync” for the photo above in order to accentuate the movement of the little girl, who was dancing all by herself on the dance floor.

Rocking Out

Rocking Out

I really like the special effects look of the photo above, which features 3 musicians rocking out at an event I covered on a freelance job. Problem is, I achieved this special effect strictly by accident and I have no idea how to duplicate it. I was firing off pix in rapid succession, and the camera actually malfunctioned on this photo, producing an image that was underexposed, with a very surreal looking white balance, and with the barrel of the lens showing (which is not natural). If I could ever figure out how to duplicate this effect, then I would set it up on my camera in such a way so that I could repeat it as desired.

Belting it Out

Belting it Out

Belting it Out 2

Belting it Out 2

Belting it Out 3

Belting it Out 3

The next three photos were taken at the same freelance job in Marco Island, Florida, when the band was performing at a banquet following a seminar presented by Wealth Masters International.

The band was playing some very upbeat, vintage rock and roll, and they were ON FIRE! So, to give the pix of the lead singer a dramatic, fiery effect, I slowed the shutter speed way down (to nearly 1 second), and set the flash on rear sync, and also intentionally shook the camera as I snapped the pix. The idea was to make the flash freeze the action of the subject, while allowing the theatrical lighting to blur around the subject. The third photo of the series in particular looks as though the singer is enveloped in flames. (Click on smaller pix for enlargement).

Water Boys

Water Boys

The next photo series features Joshua and Zac, who like to swim just as naturally as a duck takes to water. Can you believe, I snapped these pix using my very inexpensive, so-called “consumer” Phoenix 100mm lens ($120). These pix are every bit as sharp as pix taken with lenses that cost 10 times as much. (Click on smaller pix for enlargement). Here’s a link to more swimming photos —

Water Boys

Water Boys 2

Water Boys 2

Water Boys 3

Water Boys 3

Water Boys 4

Water Boys 4

Take a Hike

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Here’s a tapestry of nature and landscape photography I’ve taken during recent years. Turn up the volume and enjoy a virtual nature hike. You never know what waits along the next trail.

February 22, 2009

Lost Maples, a Texas Hidden Treasure

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Here’s a slideshow of photos I took in the autumn of 2008 while tramping around in Lost Maples State Park. Very remote, with no shopping malls, no cellphone service, no crowded freeways; yet it’s a wonderful place to “get away from it all” and enjoy the peace and quiet and rugged beauty of the Central Texas Hill Country. Here’s a link to a gallery that contains more Lost Maples photos —

Lost Maples

February 21, 2009

Downtown Houston

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Hope you enjoy these photos I took while roaming around Downtown Houston. Buildings showcased in this slideshow include One Shell Plaza, The Bank of America Plaza, The Texaco Tower, Houston City Hall, and others. Here’s link to a gallery that includes more pix of the dynamic Houston skyline.

Skyline

Natural Beauty

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If you are stressed out, then perhaps these colorful floral and nature photos, along with the soothing background music, will help you unwind. All pix by Rob Vanya (Nikon D70, D80, and D700 camera bodies; lenses: Nikon 18-200mm DX VR; Sigma 24-60mm f/2.8; Phoenix 100mm f/3.5 Macro; and Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8). Background music — “Romance Dance” by Govi. Here’s a link to a gallery that includes more floral photos not included in this slideshow —

Mercer Blooms

February 19, 2009

Studio lighting experiment

Students who will appear on the magazine cover

Students who will appear on the magazine cover

Devera, the Modeling Diva

Devera, the Modeling Diva

At work, I had an assignment to produce some pix of students who will transfer from San Jacinto College to 4-year colleges. The photo will appear on the cover of Career Focus, a magazine that is distributed to every home in the College District.

The only requirement was that the students needed to wear clothing that prominently displayed logos of the 4-year college.

So, my co-worker aAron and I decided to experiment with some studio lighting ideas we had been tossing around. To begin with, we set up a dove gray seamless paper backdrop. aAron suggested we roll the paper out so that it extended on the carpet so we could position the subjects on the paper. I had seen some pix done with that sort of a setup, but I’d never tried it myself. Turned out to be a very good idea that helped to give the pix a lot of depth and a 3 dimensional look.

For our lighting setup, we decided on a four-light combination (all Nikon gear). The main light (key light) was one SB-800 Speedlight shooting through a 15” x 15” Alzo softbox. The key light was placed at about a 45-degree angle to the left of the camera, firing about directly at the subjects, at about eye level, and placed at a distance of about 5 feet from the subjects. The secondary (fill) light was provided by one SB-800 Speedlight shooting into a reflective umbrella (facing away from the subjects) to provide indirect lighting. The fill light was placed a little to the right of the camera and about 2 feet behind the photographer. The backlight (hairlight) was provided by one SB-600 Speedlight shooting through a Honl gridspot. The backlight was suspended from an Alzo boom and lightstand, behind the backdrop and in such a position as to be directly above and slightly behind the subjects, aiming a pool of light at the backs of their heads and at their shoulders. To complete the setup, we placed one SB-600 Speedlight close to the ground on a tripod to act as a background light. The light was raked across the backdrop at an angle. The blue effect was provided by one of Rob’s Do-it-Yourself ideas — a small piece cut from a thin blue plastic chopping mat. The piece was cut to fit snugly over the front of an SB-600 Speedlight, to act as a color gel. aAron achieved the tight blue ray of light by wrapping a Honel flexible snoot around the background light.

aAron held the camera, while I patrolled around the setup, making adjustments to lights as needed, straightening out the subjects’ shirts, trying to get them to produce natural-looking smiles, etc.

I think the photo that turned out to be the “keeper” has a nice, eye-catching effect and ought to look really great on the magazine cover.

The other subject in this post is a photo of Devera, who works as an administrative assistant in office next to our Marketing office. She just happened to walk by as aAron and I were setting up our portable studio, so we “recruited” her to stand in as a model while we ran some light tests.