All posts filed under: Digital Discovery

F.A.Q.s – Lighting Setups

I’ve had several people asking if I can explain how I took the latest set of studio portraits. Here is the answer with the help of  the Lighting Setup generator by Kevin Kertz. The mainlight, a 150cm gridded octobox, was powered by a Profoto Pro-7a 1200W generator. The two hair lights, 30x120cm gridded softboxes, were powered by Profoto ComPact monolights. The generator was triggered with a PocketWizard which then triggered the two hair lights via their optical slaves. I used the Pentax 645D with a Pentax 67 105mm lens and a 67 to 645 adapter.

Suzanne Somersall Jewelry – Studio

Continuing on from the location shoot with the E-type Jaguar, we moved into the studio. We worked our way through the various pieces in Suzanne’s LUXE collection so that she will have a wide range of images to work with when producing catalogs, websites or posters. The large files produced by the 645D camera mean that the client (Suzanne) will have more options with how the images can be used and the detail in the pieces was fantastic. A big thanks to Amanda for modeling, and Ursula (Ursula Styles) for hair and makeup. Check out more of Suzanne’s jewelry at

High Speed Apple

Just made a clever little upgrade to my computer which I thought I’d share. In previous blogs I talked about the joys and pains of my Apple desktop behemoth. These Mac Pro computers are big and powerful, but also surprisingly easy to upgrade. The procedures to install new memory or hard disk drives are pretty much plug and play. I’d upgraded the memory (Photoshop runs faster) and hard  disk drives (big photos need lots of room) and things were running fine. My friend Steve (not Jobs) advised me about the next step – a solid-state drive. A solid-state drive (SSD) has several advantages over a standard hard disk drive (HDD). As they have no moving parts, they are more reliable and can access data faster. They’re also silent and run cooler than HDDs. The main drawback is that they are far more expensive per GB of capacity. For those people who are still using desktops that can hold multiple drives there is a fantastic opportunity. You use cheaper, much larger HDDs for storing the data …

Studio Shoot – Bianca – Variations

I had a few misconceptions about using digital in the studio. One of them is how useful it would be to check the exposure using the camera histogram or the LCD screen.  If you are using a light meter  then you should be getting the reading correct anyway. The extra checks you can do with digital are reassuring, but not really necessary. One huge advantage, however, is with regards to film costs or the lack of them. When shooting with the Pentax 67, it works out at about a dollar fifty each time I press the shutter. If I shoot a  street portrait, I will usually have a chat with the person then take two or three images.  I am pretty sure that one of those images should be a keeper. It’s costs a few dollars, but it’s manageable. When shooting portraits in the studio you tend to shoot  a lot more. Although professional models may be able to flash the perfect smile at a moments notice, for most people the first dozen (or several dozen) shots …

Macro testing

I thought I would test just how close I could focus when using the 100mm macro lens from my Pentax 67 camera on the 645D. I first took some photographs of a steel ruler (as shown above) then moved on to the lego man (naval officer?). First 645D body, 67 to 645 adapter, and 100mm macro lens. Then add the 1:1 adapter to the front of the lens (This comes with the 100mm macro lens) And then add extension tubes 1+2+3 It should be noted that these are the full size images and not crops. If you use the macro lens with the 1:1 adapter, and extension tubes you can focus so that an object 19mm in width will fill the frame. Of course you could then crop the image further. This is a crop at 100% from the above shot. This leads me to ask the assorted creepy crawlies on Okinawa… “Are you ready for your close-up?”

Beeping Cameras

Digtial Discovery #10 Modern cameras beep a lot. The beeps may be useful for some photographers, but I imagine they cause more than a few raised eyebrows if you’re shooting in a temple, shrine, monastery, library or secret laboratory. Help make the world a quieter place. Find the beep menu in your camera’s settings and deselect the various options. Enjoy the crack of the shutter, and leave beeping to The Road Runner.

F.A.Q. How big are the files from the Pentax 645D?

The file sizes produced by the Pentax 645D are around 15 MB  for JPEG files, 50 MB for DNG files, and a massive 225 MB for a 16bit TIFF image. As I said in a previous post this means you will fill up memory cards and hard disk space quickly. Also it means that you need a computer capable of some heavy lifting if you are going to start processing those files in Photoshop. A 225 MB TIFF image is huge, but if you start working with layers, you could easily be dealing with a file over 1GB . Digital Discovery #11 I had never really used Adobe Bridge until I started shooting with the 645D. With film the process of selecting images is done on the light table. Only the best images are scanned, catalogued, filed, and stored. Once scanned I would open the images in Photoshop. With digital it’s quite easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of images, but Adobe Bridge seems to be a good way of organizing things. I …