Every Tuesday, savor Catherine’s evocative joie de vivre and mysterious lightness of being through subjects as diverse as Appalachian inhabitants, Tasmanian farmers, tribal people and celebrities.
Photo of the Week
Wolfie, a teenage basketball buff and the son of famed NYC-based interior architects Cortney and Robert Novogratz, of Sixx Design and popular reality show Home By Novogratz on HGTV. Last year, I did a 3-day East Coast residency with the family, documenting behind-the-scenes images of this very-cosmopolitan, 10-person clan.
With Wolfie, as with any athlete, the linchpin of capturing a striking, catch-you-off-guard image is the use of dramatic lighting. It accentuates the musculature of the human form, with light wrapping around the limbs to create eye-riveting shadow. Photographer Rick Sammon puts it best: “Light illuminates and shadows define.” For this particular portrait, I began the shoot with lots of complicated light rigging, and then completely cast-off the set-up as ultimately needless. In the end, the simplest set-up – in this case, a Profoto head with medium Chimera softbox was placed at a 45-degree angle on the right side and a white reflector on his left side –produced the Rembrandt-like effect you see here.
After years of snubbing the iPhoneography explosion, my perspective has changed – thanks to my TWiT Photo co-host Leo. I explained to him that I felt the restrictions and limitations of an iPhone limited its use as a creative tool. I am a tech geek and obsessed with gear, and the fluid ease with which I can snap on a wide-angle lens or create a shallow field are at the core of my photography. Leo responded by saying something interesting: “Catherine, don’t limitations prompt growth and a novel approach to a known situation? Think about it,” he said.
His words challenged and inspired me to shrug off my former prejudices about iPhoneography and to figure out how to use their inherently limited capabilities to approach my craft from a fresh angle. This weekend, at a concert with DJ Morgan Page in San Francisco, I took a series of images with Leo’s words in mind. I guess the “Great Resistance” is finally over.
We’ve all been there – you cook a delicious meal at home and whip out your camera, and the resulting colors in the image are not as gorgeous as the design on your plate. Although I’m constantly learning how to vary and perfect my detail shots, one of the most important lessons I’ve picked up over the years is that the color of light influences the aesthetic quality of your food photography. As different types of light sources create different color shifts, my tip is to use daylight-balanced light wherever possible. This could be in the form of window light, strobe, or a speedlight.
Watch out for more excellent tips on creative and awe-inspiring food shots today on TWiT Photo at 1 p.m. PST from award-winning food and culture photojournalist, and contributor to Saveur magazine, Penny de los Santos!
After stepping into Viansa‘s wine cellar, I spotted Rachel. A stunning Hollywood-style beauty, she readily embraced the extravagant photo shoot experience of dreams. Unusual in a wedding environment, a photographer couldn’t ask for more. What did we do with this freedom? Three Profoto D-1000s made the scene, a medium chimera with control grid as the key light, and a small chimera for the fill – and finally, the ever so inspiring rim light. Precariously placed down a corridor of wine barrels, with a blue gel, the rim light had two purposes: kissing Rachel with that soft blue sheen on her shoulder and skipping off the barrel sides illuminating the aisle.
See more from Rachel + Jeff’s Viansa Winery Wedding.
I remember the way she looked up at me – her large almond-shaped eyes were filled with a conflicting fear of the unknown shrouded by a sense of wonder. My travels in India took me to a secluded village somewhere along the Ganges River – if I thought being in India was a culture shock, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the villagers who have never seen a Caucasian person in their lives. They were so honored at having a visitor that they prepared a huge feast to warmly welcome my arrival. Unfortunately, in trying to be a respectful guest, I indulged – albeit with much hesitation – and got terribly sick in less than an hour after the welcome party and stayed ill for six months after my trip.
In retrospect, I definitely saw the warning signs – the Ganges River isn’t exactly well-known for its clean waters. Still, what should you do when you’re faced with such a situation? Honestly, my advice is to do what you can to protect yourself. You don’t want to be disrespectful – however, experiencing a moment of awkwardness and guilt is significantly much better than risking your health.