amagi (liberty) [blog]

This is the archive for Strobist.

  • Diving

    At the beginning of the semester, I got to spend some time down at the pool shooting some fun photos for the Hillsdale Collegian. The sports editor wanted to run a profile on the swim team’s new diver, Gretchen. She is the first diver Hillsdale has had since the 2008 season.

    Whenever the Collegian runs profiles on people, we almost always have some sort of portrait and an action shot. Sometimes portraits can be pretty bland, such as a regular mugshot against a white background, so I decided to go the extra step on this one. I used the pool and diving board as the backdrop and used two strobes to light Gretchen. I used a shoot through umbrella from camera left as my main light, then set up another strobe with a spot grid behind Gretchen on camera right to open up the shadows on that side of her face.

    This timelapse was the main art for the story. It ran pretty large in full color and I got a lot of compliments on it. The photo was pretty easy to do: I set up three strobes on 1/2 power across the pool from the diving board and fired my camera in burst mode to get Gretchen in 10 different frames as she dove into the water. I then chose 6 of the frames and masked them together in Photoshop.

    Hesitation and Anticipation
    When we were finished with the portraits and the diving shots, I asked Gretchen if she wanted to do one more shot, a fun one this time. She enthusiastically said, “Sure!”, so I came up with this. I had her carry an umbrella up the diving board and clamp it on to one of the rails. I then had her go to the edge of the board and act like the was afraid to jump off. It didn’t run in the paper, but it was still fun.

  • Lighting Smoke Trails

    I shot this for a story at my college paper about the city deferring the medical marijuana decision ruling four consecutive times. We needed a catchy jump from A1, so I came up with this. This was a fun shoot. We got some strange looks, but good results.
    Disclaimer: These are hand-rolled tobacco cigarettes. No illegal drugs were used in these photos. While I am in favor of drug legalization, I am most certainly not in favor of using drugs. They destroy our most valuable asset, our mind.

    Strobist info: Gridded LP160 to fill the face in and a bare LP160 at a higher power as a rim/smoke light, shot from behind the subject’s right side. I also used a snooted 430EX to light the hand with the cigarette in it. Cactus V5 triggers.

    Strobist info: Gridded LP160 to fill the face in and a bare LP160 at a higher power as a rim light, shot from behind the subject’s right side. Cactus V5 triggers.

  • Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

    Strobist info: I tried the Strobist method of using the ceiling as a light mod in this shot. Canon 430EX at 1/2 power bounced off of the ceiling. Fired via a Cactus V5 trigger.

    I’ve been doing quite a bit on diet and nutrition this summer and last Sunday I decided to take the 30 Day Primal Challenge. (Learn about the primal lifestyle at Mark’s Daily Apple.) For those of you unfamiliar with this, at the most basic level, I am not consuming any grains or refined sugar for the next thirty days. I am tracking my weight and measurements, as well as writing down everything I eat, how much I exercise, and my sleep patterns, so I will post about my experience with the challenge and the results at the end of the 30 days.

    I love to cook, so here is the primal-compatible (also gluten-free!) dinner I made tonight:

    Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
    Serving size: 3 stuffed mushrooms

    • 3 medium portobello mushrooms
    • 1 chicken breast, butterflied, grilled, and diced up into small pieces
    • ¼-⅓ lb cooked spinach
    • ¼ medium onion
    • 1 14.5oz can of plain diced tomatoes
    • 1 egg
    • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
    • Olive oil
    • Salt
    • Dried Basil
    • Dried Oregano
    • Dried Parsley
    • Pepper

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
    Butterfly and grill the chicken breast, then dice it up into small pieces. (Spice it however you like. I prefer salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.)

    While the chicken is cooking, prepare the portobello mushrooms by washing them and scooping out the gills and discarding them along with the stem. Brush the outsides of the portobellos with olive oil and put some of the chopped garlic on the inside of each one, but leave some to saute the spinach with. Then line a casserole dish with aluminum foil, put the mushrooms in it, and roast them for 10-15 minutes on each side.

    While the mushrooms are roasting, open the can of tomatoes and cook them in a small saucepan on high until 4/5 of the original liquid is gone. Be sure to add the parsley, oregano, basil, and a little bit of garlic to the sauce while it is cooking. I like spicy sauces, so I also added crushed red pepper. Once 4/5 of the liquid is gone, put the tomato mixture into a blender or food processor and puree it to your desired consistency. I suppose you could go out and buy your favorite marinara sauce, but what fun is that? This is a cheap, easy way to make your own. I hesitate to call this a real marinara sauce…my wonderful Italian girlfriend Amanda might object. Regardless, this was delicious, so I suggest you give it a try.

    Next, the spinach mixture. If you have frozen spinach, heat it up in a pan and saute the diced onions with it. Or, if you have fresh spinach like I did, put 1/4-1/2 cup of water into a pan and add the fresh spinach and diced onions, turn the heat on medium, cover the pan, and wait until it looks like something Popeye would eat. (Or, in other words, it looks done.)

    Digression: Notice I have been putting ranges for the measurements and cooking times. I eyeball measurements and estimate the cooking times. Meticulously measuring and setting timers is a waste of my time. If I cut into it and it looks done, I call it done.

    (Go check on the chicken! You don’t want it to burn!)

    When your chicken and spinach are done and your mushrooms have been sufficiently roasted, pull the mushrooms out of the oven. Mix the chicken with the spinach and onions, then crack the egg over top. Mix everything thoroughly. Divide the mixture into thirds, then mound it on top of the portobellos. I found my hands worked best for this (though I am a little biased because I like to do the least amount of dishes possible.) Turn on the broiler and put the stuffed mushrooms back in the oven for 5 minutes, or until evenly browned. The industrial stove I was using does not have a broiler, so I just turned the oven up as high as it would go, left the mushrooms in for 10 minutes, and called it good.

    After the stuffed mushrooms are done, pull them out of the oven, plate them, and spoon some of the “marinara sauce” on top. This is where the aluminum foil will help quite a bit. You can pull the foil out of the pan with the mushrooms still on it, making them much easier to move onto a plate with a spatula. They don’t stick to aluminum foil as well as they would stick to the pan. Furthermore, it makes for easy clean up!

    I suggest enjoying this dish with friends and a good red wine of your choice. (It is primal!) I had a Malbec on hand, so that is what I enjoyed it with.

    Other suggestions: You can try this recipe with a variety of other things, depending on your preferences and dietary requirements. Other combinations I recommend trying are sausage and spinach, sausage and broccoli, chicken and cheese, steak and blue cheese or goat cheese, or chicken, red peppers, and spinach.

    Here is a shot of the stuffed portobellos without the sauce on top:

    Strobist info: Same as above

    If you try this recipe, leave a comment with your results! I am always open to recommendations. Also, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. I love hearing from people!

  • Trevor Freudenburg

    As I edit the photos from the wedding I photographed this weekend, I will continue to post photos I took last semester.

    I shot these portraits of Trevor Freudenburg for his acting portfolio shortly after I shot Ryan’s. Trevor didn’t want his photos taken in a studio like everyone else’s, so we went up on the cat walk above the auditorium where all of Trevor’s theatre performances take place. This fun challenge forced me to think outside the box in terms of light placement. I used clamps, boom-arms, weights, and ball bungees to get my flashes where I wanted them. Most of the time that meant the ground was 40 feet below them.

    Strobist info: shoot through umbrella on a boom arm camera right (430EX), a bare flash clamped to a pipe camera left (SB-24), and a bare flash behind Trevor lighting up some of the background (235 HV). All three flashes fired via Cactus V5 triggers.

    Strobist info: shoot-through umbrella on a boom arm with a 430EX camera right and a bare SB-24 right over his shoulder. Both fired via Cactus V5 triggers.

  • Ryan Black, Actor

    In the spring I shot some portraits of Ryan Black for his acting portfolio. I included strobist info underneath each photo. Thank you to Alex Cothran for assisting me on this shoot.

    Strobist info: Two studio strobes in umbrella softboxes at 45 degrees from Ryan’s nose on both sides. Both on 1/8 power. There is also a Canon 430EX behind Ryan on camera left giving an accent to his face on that side.

    Strobist info: Studio strobe in an umbrella softbox camera right right about 3ft away from Ryan at a 30 degree angle from his nose for a key light and another studio strobe in an umbrella softbox camera left for fill. Fired via pc port on my camera.

    Strobist info: Key: Studio strobe in umbrella softbox on camera right about 50-60 degrees up and 45 degrees to the right. approximately 3ft away. Fill light is from another studio strobe in an umbrella softbox about 6ft away on camera left.

  • Meghan Haines, Rocker Chic

    I shot these photos of Meghan Haines last semester for a fashion section of the Hillsdale Collegian. See a few more photos and some commentary over at the Hillsdale Arts Blog. A special thank you to Marieke van der Vaart and Rachel Hoffer for helping me with this shoot.

    Strobist info (above): Softbox camera left with a Canon 430EX fired through it and a SB24 camera right lighting up her zebra-striped umbrella from behind.

    Strobist info (above): Softbox camera left with a Canon 430EX fired via a Cactus V5.

    Strobist info (above): Softbox above camera left with a Canon 430EX and a SB24 directly behind Meghan lighting up her purple highlights. Fired via Cactus V5 triggers.

    Coming up next: Portraits of Actor Ryan Black. Check back!

  • Josh Taccolini

    Josh Taccolini is a very talented musician with a passion for helping others. I shot these photos for an article on Josh’s fundraiser for his Detroit missions work last semester for the Collegian. Check out the article to see what he is doing for Youthworks Detroit this summer.

    Strobist info for above: SB-24 in a white shoot through umbrella camera right (behind the piano) to light Josh’s right side and a bare Canon 430EX camera left to light the strings and Josh’s left side. Fired via Cactus V5 triggers. (H/T: The idea for this shot comes from William Clayton.)

    Strobist info: Canon 430EX in a white shoot through umbrella camera left fired via Cactus V5 trigger.

    Strobist info: Canon 430EX in a silver bounce umbrella camera left 6ft away to get Josh’s left side and the piano and SB-24 in a white shoot through umbrella camera right. (Left side is +1 stop from right side.) Fired via Cactus V5 triggers.

    Coming up next: Photos of the Hillsdale Tower Dancers performance. Check back soon!

  • Jenifer at W@tercooler

    For the next few weeks, I am participating in the Strobist Boot Camp III in order to have some fun and hone my skills.

    Here is my entry for the first assignment.

    Strobist info: Canon 430EX fired through a softbox camera right about 3 feet away on 1/32. Vivitar 285HV gobo’d and fired at 1/4 into the ceiling behind Jenifer on camera left to light up the background. Both flashes fired via Cactus V5 triggers.

    I chose Jenifer for the first assignment of Strobist Boot Camp III because she is a pillar of Tarrytown, NY, a small Hudson river community north of NYC. She started a community event, Third Friday, a few years ago and it grew into a large event which locals all look forward to each month. She is also involved in just about every aspect of the community, from hosting art shows and organizing library programs to helping preserve local architecture. Jenifer can hardly walk down the street without someone recognizing her friendly smile.

    Here is one of the test shots I took. I ended up not being as satisfied with the logo in the background as I thought I would be, so I moved to she shot above. I still like this one, though.

    I took both photos at W@tercooler, Jenifer’s new business venture in Tarrytown.

    Strobist info: softbox camera right with Canon 430EX on 1/8 power. Vivitar 285HV on 1/4 snooted to light up the background. Both flashes fired via Cactus V5 triggers.

    I am currently working on the next assignment. I will post all five here over the next few weeks. Check back!