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Just When You Think You Know a Guy
Posted By: Mike Cash, 11-11-2007, 02:10 AM

After the fun of the dance recital, I made up my mind to check the local paper on weekends to look for events to shoot. I found that some local band I had never heard of before was going to be putting on a folk music concert at a restaurant, entrance price FREE, so I decided I would go take a few pictures and maybe have a beer or two.

I walked into the venue about an hour beforehand to make sure I could shoot there and set up lights before customers started arriving. Much to my surprise a man I have known in connection with work for about the last seven years came out of the back room and expressed great dismay at my appearance. Turns out he's on bass. And all this time I only knew him as a forklift driver. People here very often like to keep their personal lives and hobbies a total secret from their coworkers. It wasn't that he minded me being there as an individual so much as that he is concerned that word will get around and some of his coworkers may show up to see him play.

I must admit that musically and vocally I wasn't expecting much before I went, but I was pleasantly surprised as the band really played well together and the vocals were great. The atmosphere in the tiny cafe/restaurant contributed a lot and everyone had a good time.

Done with a variety of Takumar lenses. Lighting was two off-camera strobes, one direct and one ceiling bounced.
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11-11-2007, 05:47 AM   #2
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I liked this series, like the other one (dance) also.

I really think the fact that you set up the flashes is pretty doggon' neat too.

My only comment on this series is that the images are much too blue and cyan and that (to me) iimpacts on the potential visual power of the image.

I don't know whether or not the coloration was a post production creative thingy but I found I had to add roughly 40 red and 14 yellow to make a quick neutralization of the image (on my laptop monitor).

The images are great and appear to be quite sharp at this mag. i will continue to look forward to more of these presentations.

11-11-2007, 06:18 AM   #3
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Thanks very much, Stephen.

I held post processing on these to a bare minimum and applied the same procedure to each image, first converting RAW to TIFF with ufraw.exe and then going into The GIMP for:

1. Contrast adjustment layer (desaturate, invert, 5 pixel gaussian blur) merged in Overlay at 50%
2. Colors curve from a saved profile of a mild S-curve.
3. Duplicate layer, blend in "Soft Light" at 60%
4. Unsharp Mask.

I think the colors (at least as they appear on my screen) came out pretty close to what I remember them being. I was dealing with a mixed light situation with the flash and house lights competing, and I'm new at this sort of thing so it wouldn't surprise me to learn that things are off a bit. Come to think of it, the place has a huge garden just outside the windows behind the performers and there were some floodlights out there that may have been adding a blue cast to the scene. You can easily see it in the third and fourth pictures.

I've really enjoyed going out and hunting up events to photograph like this. There's a heck of a lot that goes on in the community that is free and provides photo opportunities. I never realized just how much there was until I decided to check the local rag, which I had previously considered worthless.

I got sort of peeved during the show, as my el cheapo eBay triggers, which had worked almost flawlessly the week before, suddenly developed a fail-to-fire rate of about 75%. Yes, they only worked correctly about one shot out of four. I don't know if it was electronic interference from all the amps in the room or what it was, but it was irritating as hell. I know it wasn't the batteries in the receiver because I came home and put them on the meter and they're at 1.48v (AAA batteries). The rig works flawlessly every time when using the test button, but often will fail to trigger the flash when shooting, even though the transmit confirmation light on the transmitter lights up.

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