This Blog is currently being transferred to work in conjunction with my new website! WWW.STENBERGPHOTOGRAPHY.COM will now direct you to my new "proper" website and blog. If you stumbled across this blog, please feel free to browse but know that updates will take place from my new website and this blog will no longer be used. Thanks ;)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The BABE's Photoshoot

click on the photo's to view them (a bit) larger...
I apologize for the compression rate.  They photos are not as crisp and you can tell they have been compressed for the web.  I will work on this in the future and perhaps upload larger photos.

I spent an evening with the Babe's taking a few photos near dusk.  I had just received some new wireless equipment and couldn't wait to test it out.  Specifically I received some Alien bee wireless transmitters and receivers for off camera flash work.  I was using some ebay triggers prior to then and they worked OK but were not as reliable as the Alien bee's, nor did they have the range or durability.

We literally walked across the street from their residence and toughed out the cold for about an hour.  Post production, I knocked down the photoshoot to about 30 solid photos.  Here I have posted my favorites along with a selective colored photo that Mrs. Babe requested.  Basically I had them goof around and try and keep warm.  Luckily everything worked out and nobody's toes went black.  They were such good sports, they even gave it their best shot (pun) at being "fashion models" for me in the stairs haha!  Interesting photo, although I don't expect Vanity Fair to be knocking on my door any time soon.  Too bad though, that would have been a good gig.

TECH INFO:  for the selective coloring photo, I simply imported into PS CS3 and created an b/w layer and then erased the upper layer where I wanted the original color to come back into the photo.  This is a quick and dirty method I thought I would try.  I am sure it's far from the best or most accurate but hey, it worked in this case for what I needed it for.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Laura and Darcy Engagement Shoot

It was a cold and stormy night.....

Actually it was!  We kinda froze our butts off in the wind but Darcy and Laura were not lying when they said they were troopers.  My sidekick, helper, and beautiful wife Christal, also toughed the weather and had a great time with me.  I am glad we stuck it out because we got some great shots!  

I posted the full album online in case you would like to take a look.  I apologize if they are not in chronological order.  The photosharing program gives me grief and doesn't want to load them properly.  I hope to fix this problem in the future.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy the photos.  If you have any questions or would like to book your session with me, please contact me through email :) 

TECH INFO: I took most of these photos using off camera flash on a lighstand.  They were all done with one light and mostly used it as a fill flash.  I usually used a CTO gel to warm up the flash color.  You can really notice the warming gel in the later photos in the park.  I was unable to use an umbrella because of the high winds so we had to go with good ol bare flash!  But notice how once you get if off camera it makes such a huge difference.

Friday, April 24, 2009

STREET SHOOT april 19 Whyte Ave Edmonton

The photos are finally all edited and have been uploaded to photo shares.  In case you are wondering what is going on, Alex and I hit the streets as I described in the post below and captured a lot of great portraits.  We were out to have some fun and meet some locals on Whyte Ave.  We thought it may be difficult to find models but once we got going, it was hard to stop and it eventually got too late and tooooo dark!  We did find a group of kids out 'having fun' who were more than willing to help us out.  After that Alex and I hit the ave and found a bunch of guys who were happy to have their portraits taken with their motorbikes.  These turned out to be some pretty cool shots.  Finally as we were about to pack it in, we saw Doug the pushup guy!  I was able to catch a few stellar candid portraits of our Edmonton icon and world record holder ;)  Anyways, all of these photos were only taken with one light STROBIST style.  If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me.

To view my (Kurt Stenberg's) photos CLICK HERE

To view the photos Alex Campell took please CLICK HERE

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stenberg Photography STREET SHOOT coming soon...

On April 19th, a fellow photographer and friend of mine, Alex, hit the streets with our cameras and lighting gear in hopes to capture some 'off the cuff' RAW street portraiture.  We were armed with everything from cameras with multiple lenses, to light stands and umbrellas with wireless flash.  We were successful in the end after not knowing what to expect or how people would respond.  We even found a local celebrity who played along;)  We came home with a good assortment of images and experience.  And best of all.... every photo was taken with only one light!  I will be posting a photo share soon with both of our sets of photos.  Come back soon and check it out!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Stenberg Photography photo post April 20 2009

I took this picture a few nights ago when the snow had finally cleared off our streets.  I was playing around with some lighting and caught my subject 'holding on' in the stone wall frame for his next picture.  Like most pictures, my favorites are the in-between moments that portray a  more candid style.  I like the fact you can't see his face and he becomes a shape along with his environment.  This environmental portrait looks best in monochrome since there was not much color in the photo anyways, and it brings out the contrast and textures of the stone against the subject.  The lighting in this picture also plays an important part.  I have a bare flash camera left firing up at my subject.  There is a light in behind on the far wall that you cannot see because of my subject in the frame.  The light from the back wall bleeds out and provides some separation between my subject and the background.  Without that light, this picture would not work very well since he would just blend into the foreground and there would be no dimension.  TIP: try finding and using lights you find in your environment.  Whether you use the ambient light as your main or only light or use it along with your flash, you can have more control of your photo and create what you want.  And if your lucky, you can capture some candid moments that initially you didn't think would turn out.  

TECH INFO: 1/40th sec shutter speed, F 5.6 , ISO 640 30mm (on a 24-70 lens).  Minor crop and straighten on LR.  Added some slight vignette, and a small boost to the blacks to help with the contrast.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Stenberg Photography Self Portrait 300

A little self portrait I am quite proud of.  It is rendered in the '300' (the movie) style.  I shot this with a steady hand at really low shutter speeds while holding my breath inside the Hudson Bay Co in Banff Ab.  You can see my wife Christal in the background shopping it up.  The slight camera tilt is on purpose and adds to the artistic effect.  The pattern of the ceiling and its lights really help with a bold background and provide contrast to me, the subject.  My wife keeps things interesting and keeps your eye in the photo continually looking around for more to see.  It almost tells a story of how much fun I was having shopping! haha just kidding Christal ;)

TECH INFO: edited in LR, shot at a very slow 1/20th of a second at F5.6.  I held my ISO at 800 to keep quality and avoid any unwanted noise.  Shot at 10mm on my 10-22 canon a mirror...obviously.  I find mirrors help with self portraits :)  No kidding hey?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

One light Test photo - How to do it

I took this photo as a test shot before I did some photos for a family that had a bunch of kids in the group.  It is always good to do some test shots, such as this one, to make sure your lighting and exposures are as correct as you can get them before your subject(s) arrive.  

Now I can walk you through the reverse engineering of this shot.  In the above photo, I had Tyler stand and slightly turn his right shoulder and face into the light from the umbrella which is off to camera right.  The umbrella was a white shoot-through umbrella about 8 feet away or so... from what I can remember.  It was placed as in the diagram shown above at a 45 degree angle.  The sun was at about the same angle and was very low to the horizen.  I matched the light of the setting sun with a CTO color gel on my flash as well.  In this photo, the strength of the flash almost matched the sun's light.  You can see shadows from his colar on both sides of his neck but it does look like the sun's light shows the best shadow.  You can always tell in photo's where the light is coming from by the shadows.  Try this next time you see a cool picture and you wonder if it is natural or artificial light and where is it coming from.

The color in this photo is somewhat unusual to some people.  I was able to keep the subject warm by shooting near sunset and using a CTO gel.  The white balance in this photo is close to a daylight or shade setting.  The background is also slightly underexposed which helps the color saturation and blue tones to come through.  

This photo is a successful example of how you can produce a nice even lit shot with only one light and the use of natural lighting.  Next time I should get Tyler to give me a better expression! Haha.... kidding Tyler.

TECH INFO: ISO 200, 1/320 sec F5.0 - simple crop and sharpen in LR... almost no editing.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Stenberg Photography "Clownfish"

Hey All!

I was down in the mountains last week and my wife Christal and I visited the Banff Springs Hotel.  Inside they had an amazing fish tank.  While waiting for Christal to use the bathroom, armed with my camera, I took the opportunity to try and shoot some tropical fish.  I had never tried shooting fish in a tank before or ever tried shooting through glass.  The camera has no troubles with auto focus through the glass although I am sure it still does take away from some clarity in the final image.  Following the fish wasn't too difficult since they were moving slow but would get scared easily by the lens.  I shot 10 or so photos before I moved on but thought this one was nice and vibrant and I was able to keep the clownfishes eye in focus.  TIP: It is always important when taking pictures of anything with eyes, that you always focus the picture on the eye and then re-compose before pressing your shutter all the way.  It was especially important for me to capture a sharp eye since I was very close to the subject and was shooting with an aperture of 2.8.  2.8 means the Iris of the lens opens very wide when taking the picture which does two things.  1. It allows more light to enter the lens so you can use faster shutter speeds which helps in low light.  It is also very nice for portraits or any time you want a very short depth of field.  This means that only what you focus on will be sharp and the rest will begin to blur very quickly.  Take a look at the background coral in this photo.  It is very blurry and has almost no detail.  This helps the subject, in this case the fish, to pop out and attract the viewers eye to what you want them to see.  When you shoot something like a landscape, it may be important to use an opposite aperture such as F22.  This will make what is right in front of you and the landscape in the background all in focus.  Of course this is the basic idea and there is some other technical tricks behind these effects but perhaps I will visit these on a different post :)

TECH INFO:  Shot with Canon 40D 24-70 L series lens at 48mm, ISO 1600, 1/100th sec, F2.8.  Cleaned up in LR and border added in PS.  This pic is not by any means 'sharp' or what I would call great quality but I like to push the limits of my camera in low light.  It is more challenging and a test to see how steady I can hold the camera and gently press my shutter button.  But on the other hand, at 1600 the quality is superb and has acceptable levels of grain.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Trippy wide workspace - unedited

This is my workspace at home... my office, where I edited, upload, download, delete, and develop a sore back from sitting in a chair for so long.  I snapped this shot with my new wide angle lens (10-22mm) on my 40D.  This sucker goes WIDE and has some obvious distortion in the edges.  It is a pretty fun lens to use but should be avoided with any close portraits because of its distortional abilities.  I have noticed since I got the lens I have a new desire to shoot land and city scapes.  I look at my surroundings a bit differently knowing what I can do with leading lines and the space in front of me.

I currently have this picture on my desktop right now which adds a third dimension of weird.  I am already sitting at my desk, looking at my desk on the computer which shows my computer with my room on it.  I still haven't wrapped my head around it. ha-ha.  Anyways, just thought I would post so you could see how wide it really goes.   Now you know how those amazing landscape pictures you see are taken :)

TECH INFO:  shot taken freehand at about 1/60 sec at ISO 1600 - hence the grain.  F3.5  no post edit just uploaded.  No mystery here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My First Magazine Cover!

Well, kinda not really...  Ha ha..  let me explain!  Outside of photography I am part of the Edmonton Homebrewers Guild.  A club that is based on brewing beer from scratch and even judging beer!  I know it sounds silly but a lot of us take it very seriously.  In fact, there are a lot of local professional brewers part of our Guild as well.  Anyways, enough of that.  If you are interested in the EHG just check out the website or contact me since I am the VP and competition chairperson this year :)

Usually every month we publish an online newsletter called the Worthouse News.  (wort is unfermented beer kinda like must is to wine).  In some upcoming issues I was asked to provide some interesting cover shots.  I fired a few off and this one is my favorite.

TECH INFO:  Shot at 1/200th sec at F5.6 ISO 320 in my kitchen on a white table under the tungsten light.  I used a CTO gel to correct my flash light to match the tungsten.  I set my ex 580 flash to 1/16 power and used a shoot through umbrella from about 2 feet away on camera left.  White board reflectors were also used in behind to fill shadows.  Edited as per usual in LR and set some heavy blacks and contrast to create the edgy effect.

PS: the beer was one that I made from scratch called a Kolsch.  A german hybrid beer found only in Cologne.  I won Best of Show with that beer and the recipe is supposed to be brewed professionally by Bushwakker brewpub in Regina SK.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A new look at an old favorite

I took this photo last year while visiting some family out in B.C. near Nanaimo.  There was a small coastal resort called Yellow Point lodge that was right on the rocky beach.  I took this photo of these chairs and umbrella and knew I liked it right away.  Some people may wonder why this photo is successful.  Well, for one it immediately captures emotion from most viewers.  Especially viewers that love the ocean.  It may remind them of home or holidays.  If you are not familiar with the ocean then perhaps two waiting chairs on a beach can take you back to holiday time.  Empty chairs give the sense of invitation, pulling you into the photo.  The two chairs are there waiting for you to relax.  Do you like sun or shade?

Speaking of shade, the technical aspects of this photo really keep me interested.  The biggest thing is SHAPE for me (in this picture).  Can you spot the obvious shape?  I don't know what you would call it but the shade from the umbrella surrounds the one chair in a perfect shape.  The other art form in this pic is the vibrant color.  Lots of blue green yellow etc.  Almost unnatural.  Well definitely not natural for Edmonton Alberta in spring time!

Take a look at this photo some more and see if you can find other things that attract you to it.  Does it keep your eye?  What would you do to improve it?  Leave me a comment if you wish:)

Kurt - stenberg photography Edmonton Alberta

TECH INFO:  Shot with my old Olympus E-500 SLR with a 14-45 lens @ 14mm.  ISO 100 F 3.5 (don't know why at 3.5? would rather have been F11 or so for a sharper picture and more depth of field) and at 1/1250th sec.  Shot in Raw, edited in PS Lightroom 1.  Added some minor saturation, contrast, vignette, and sharpening.  Border and watermark added in Photoshop.  Exported at 72 dpi with long edge at 1000 pix. as Jpeg  (72 dpi and SRGB color are best for web display)