Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Cuba Model Photo Shoot Havana and Varadero

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Stephanie and Amelie were the two models on last years’ photography workshop to Cuba. We spent the week in Varadero and in mid-week our group headed into Havana where we rented a couple of classic American cars. We are going back again this year on November 26th for a week, want to join us. There are four coming with us this year!!!  Once again we will be travelling with Transat Holidays. They were fantastic on last year’s trip, everything was perfect! Contact me at Algonquin TravelPlus Gloucester Centre if you are interested in coming along.

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Cuba Model Photo Workshop

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Varadero, Cuba, which has one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, attracts tourists from around the world.  We will be using the white sand beach, clear blue waters and resort greenery as the backdrop for our images on this week-long workshop.

This is a hands-on instructional workshop using natural light, flash and reflectors/diffusers to create outdoor portraits. The goal is to help you learn both the technical and creative techniques that will help you with the process of creating remarkable images outdoors on a location photo shoot.

Topics that we will cover:

• Lighting :  Natural Light, Flash and Reflector/Diffuser

• What to look for when making an image.

• Posing Techniques

• Lens Selection for Portraits

• Controlling Depth of Field – How to deal with backgrounds

• Selecting a location and background choice

• Post Processing Techniques during non-shooting times

We will be photographing in a number of different shooting locations at the beach and around the resort, using a variety of lighting set ups, such as: hard, soft, bounced, reflected, diffused light and flash fill.  During the week, there will also be an optional day trip to Havana for photography. Photographing in Havana is something that everyone really seems to want to do, so we might go there a couple times during the week.

Each participant will have ample shooting time with each model.

Class size limited to 6 photographers

Want to know what to expect? Here’s a short video shot by Sue A. Lefebvre, one of the photographers on last year’s photo shoot, this will give you sense of what we will be doing.

 

 

Booked through

Algonquin Travel Gloucester Centre

1980 Ogilvie Rd., Ottawa

613-748-3600

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Review of Indra 500 TTL Battery Powered Flash

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Using flash outdoors and on location can be challenging. For most photographers the two main challenges are either the size/weight/bulk of the equipment, or the general technicalities of using flash. Balancing ambient light with flash can be daunting. Many find that using only available light is so much easier because you can “see the light” compared to using flash which you can’t see until the picture has been taken. However once you understand camera flash and how to use the light you’ll be able to shoot in any possible lighting condition and come away with amazing photos.

Many photographers start off trying to use speedlights for outdoor shoots, but unfortunately these small flashes do not have anywhere near the strength to overpower the sunlight. If you are using any light modifiers with them, the light output is even further reduced.

Recently I started using and working with the Phottix Indra 500, which is a 500 Watt TTL portable Studio Light featuring High Speed Sync. This flash is able to overpower the sunlight and when using High Speed Sync (HSS) or Hyper-Sync I can control the lighting completely and achieve amazing results I can set my camera’s exposure mode to manual, aperture or shutter speed priority and the flash to either manual or TTL and have complete technical and creative control I cannot believe how much this has changed location lighting for me, opening up a whole new door of creative possibilities.

 

BTS - Indra 500 TTL Flash

BTS – Indra 500 TTL Flash

Indra 500 TTL using HSS Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 24-105 ART Lens Lens (mm): 51 ISO: 500 Aperture: 6.3 Shutter: 1/320

Indra 500 TTL using HSS
Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-105 ART Lens
Lens (mm): 51
ISO: 500
Aperture: 6.3
Shutter: 1/320

Amelie - Pool - Varadero

Indra 500 TTL using HSS
Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-105 ART Lens
Lens (mm): 51
ISO: 250
Aperture: 5.0
Shutter: 1/320

The features and tech specs for the Phottix Indra 500 TTL flash are:

*500Ws Studio Light with LED Modelling Light
*TTL Auto, Manual and Stroboscopic (1-100Hz) Modes
*High Speed Sync – 1/8000s shutter speeds, Second Curtain Sync
*Hyper-Sync – 1/8000s shutter speeds – higher power output than using HSS
*Manual Power 1/128 to Full Power in 1/3 Stop increments
*4-Channel Wireless Radio Control with Phottix Odin and Mitros+ systems
*Phottix Odin for Canon and Nikon Receivers Built in, Phottix Strato II Receiver Built in
*Large TFT LCD display, 3.5mm Sync Port and USB Port for Firmware Upgrades
*Battery Powered (400 full-power shots using 5Ah Indra Battery Pack, 0.1s to 2s recycle times)
*Weight: 2.1kg, Dimensions: 267mm L x 140mm Dia x 190mm H

These are powerful flashes. They are around nine times stronger than my Canon 580 EXII flash, which is Enough to overpower the harsh mid-day sun. They also come with a built in LED modeling light, not overly bright, but it definitely works. We used this modelling light with an 80cm Octobox for a night time, totally dark, outdoor shoot, and the modeling light gave enough light to see and also focus with.

Night time shoot in Varadero, Cuba with the Indra 500 TTL

Indra 500 TTL
Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-105 ART Lens
Lens (mm): 62
ISO: 400
Aperture: 5.6
Shutter: 1/100

The Indra 500 can be used in either TTL (which uses Through The Lens metering) or in complete manual mode. It has 8 stops of power adjustments, ranging from full power to 1/128, which gives you the ability to overcome the midday sun or add just a hint of light. You can also shoot wide-open with large apertures and fast shutter speeds up to 1/8000s with HSS and Hyper-Sync. The Odin receivers for Nikon and Canon are built into the flash, however you will need a Phottix Odin TCU (transmitter). Using the Odin I have full control of the flash from the camera position, with the ability to adjust the output and switch from manual to full TTL. The range for the Odin is rated at 100 metres, great for sports and action photographers. While I don’t require such a huge distance from the flash what I do need is the reliability of the trigger/flash. It hasn’t disappointed me.

Setting up the Hyper-Sync is very simple. Everything is done right from the camera using the Odin TCU. Basically all you have to do is take a picture. If a black band appears you just change the timing setting on the TCU. It took me less than one minute to get the settings for each of my cameras to sync up to 8000th sec. Hyper-Sync is different than High Speed Sync (HSS). Hyper-Sync is a calibrated time delay that ensures the camera shutter is open during the moment when the flash pulse fires. This gives you an extra stop or two more than HSS.

Using the indra as fill flash @ 1/2000 sec

Indra 500 TTL using HSS
Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-105 ART Lens
Lens (mm): 74
ISO: 250
Aperture: 4.5
Shutter: 1/2000

The Odin TCU has four wireless channels and three flash control groups. The Indra can be controlled in TTL ratio modes A:B with EV +/- adjustments of three stops. You can also adjust the flash EV from the camera’s built in flash exposure compensation dial. A fantastic and unique feature of the Odin is the ability to designate groups in different modes TTL/Manual. The individual groups, A, B, C, can also be controlled in TTL mode with EV +/- adjustments that can be adjusted in +/- 3 EV levels. Groups can also be set to Manual mode, adjusting power levels remotely, or turned off. The Phottix Odin system will also trigger compatible non-TTL flashes and studio strobes. The Indra can also be used with any wireless Transmitter and receiver  (Pocket Wizard, Cactus, Yongnuo) however the flash is in complete manual mode.

Indra 500 TTL using HSS Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 24-105 ART Lens Lens (mm): 62 ISO: 160 Aperture: 6.3 Shutter: 1/400

Indra 500 TTL using HSS
Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-105 ART Lens
Lens (mm): 62
ISO: 160
Aperture: 6.3
Shutter: 1/400

The Indra 500 is quite compact. Part of the reason for that is because it has a separate battery pack. The Profoto B1 which is a similar unit has a built in battery, which some people like. Personally, I prefer a lighter weight head with a separate battery pack, that distributes the weight so it’s not all on top of the light stand. While working outside I have found out, the hard way, light stands that are top-heavy blow over a lot easier. Using a lighter weighted head and the battery to weigh down the bottom of the light stand helps a lot, having sand bags is a good idea as well. The battery pack has 2 outlets for strobes or a flash each which can be connected and powered at the same time. The recycle times for the flash are very quick, I never find that I have to wait for the flash to recycle to take the next picture. It has a LED display to show the remaining power. I haven’t gauged it but the charging time to recharge the battery is fast, my guess would be somewhere around 3 hours when it’s completely drained. The battery is permitted as carry-on baggage for airlines, which is a big plus me as a travel and location photographer.

Indra 500 TTL using HSS Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 24-105 ART Lens Lens (mm): 57 ISO: 200 Aperture: 5.0 Shutter: 1/1600

Indra 500 TTL using HSS
Fill in Flash in late afternoon.
Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-105 ART Lens
Lens (mm): 57
ISO: 200
Aperture: 5.0
Shutter: 1/1600

Indra 500 TTL using HSS Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 24-105 ART Lens Lens (mm): 68 ISO: 320 Aperture: 5.6 Shutter: 1/1000

Indra 500 TTL using HSS The flash was set to -1.3 EV for slight fill using a shoot through umbrella
Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-105 ART Lens
Lens (mm): 68
ISO: 320
Aperture: 5.6
Shutter: 1/1000

The flash is well constructed and has a solid feel to it. The size and weight makes it easy to carry and set up. The head uses the Bowens “S” mount quick release. This mount is very easy to attach and remove light modifiers, it is also the most readily available mount for accessories.

 

As a studio shooter I use manual settings for my camera and flash. I can still do this with the Indra 500 but I also have the option of setting the camera on manual exposure and setting the flash on TTL. I can also use aperture priority and TTL, this would be great for shooting events and weddings where you don’t have a lot of time to set up and take exposure readings. I have to confess since I have been using the Indra 500 I have been using the TTL setting on practically all of my outdoor shoots, it is amazingly accurate. When shooting in harsh sunlight I can use shutter speeds that are higher than the sync speed (usually 1/200 or 1/250 sec) by using HSS or Hyper-Sync, it is so easy. When the Odin is set to HSS the flash seamlessly switches into HSS when needed or uses slower speeds depending on my aperture settings and ambient lighting – I no longer have to think about what shutter speed I’m using. This is pretty amazing for me, because I am one of those photographers whose main objective is the photo, not the technology. When I don’t have to worry or think about any of the technical settings I am free to concentrate on creativity.

Indra 500 TTL  and a Phottix Mitro+ behind model on camera left Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 24-105 ART Lens

Indra 500 TTL and a Phottix Mitro+ behind model on camera left
Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-105 ART Lens

At nearly half the price and with more features and almost double the battery capacity of the Profoto B1, the Indra500 is an exceptional value. It makes using flash simple, it has lots of power, it’s reliable, well built, very portable and easy to set-up on location shoots. This light is just amazing!!! It definitely is a great choice and tops my list of recommendations for flash lighting gear.

 

Indra 500 TTL   Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 24-105 ART Lens

Indra 500 TTL
Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-105 ART Lens

PROS:

* Exceptional value – half the price of the competition with more features and almost double the battery capacity
* Opens up a whole new door of possibilities to be creative on location
* 500w/s = 9 times more powerful than my most powerful speedlight, allows me to do full length body shots while overpowering the sun
* Seamlessly switches into HSS when needed – I no longer have to think about my settings or limit my creativity
* Full control of the flash from the camera position using the Odin, from manual to full TTL
* Hyper Sync gives me more light to freeze the action at super-fast shutter speeds
* Can fully trust the TTL system to give me exactly what I need
* Consistent light output even at high shutter speeds
* Very portable and easy to set up
* Very well made, solid construction, not a cheap “plastic” feel
* Uses the Bowens “S” mount – the most universal mount available
* Very fast recycle times and battery charging time
* I found that it was more than fast enough in the studio, it never slowed me down
* Can be used with existing Phottix flashes and receivers

CONS:

* I only have one, I’m going to have to purchase a second.

Indra 500 TTL  -  20" Silver Phottix Pro Beauty Dish MK II Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma 24-105 ART Lens

Indra 500 TTL – 20″ Silver Phottix Pro Beauty Dish MK II
Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-105 ART Lens

 

Available at the following dealers:

L.L. Lozeau https://www.lozeau.com/
Henry’s http://www.henrys.com/
Don’s Photo http://donsphoto.com/
The Camera Store http://www.thecamerastore.com/
Lord Photo http://www.lordphoto.ca/

 

 

Varadero Cuba Model Photo Workshop

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015
Cuba 2015 Model Photo Shoot

Cuba 2015 Model Photo Shoot

Varadero, Cuba, which has one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, attracts tourists from around the world.  We will be using the white sand beach, clear blue waters and resort greenery as the backdrop for our images on this week-long workshop.

This is a hands-on instructional workshop using natural light, flash and reflectors/diffusers to create outdoor portraits. The goal is to help you learn both the technical and creative techniques that will help you with the process of creating remarkable images outdoors on a location photo shoot.

Topics that we will cover:

• Lighting :  Natural Light, Flash and Reflector/Diffuser

• What to look for when making an image.

• Posing Techniques

• Lens Selection for Portraits

• Controlling Depth of Field – How to deal with backgrounds

• Selecting a location and background choice

• Post Processing Techniques during non-shooting times

We will be photographing in a number of different shooting locations at the beach and around the resort, using a variety of lighting set ups, such as: hard, soft, bounced, reflected, diffused light and flash fill.  During the week, there will also be an optional day trip to Havana for photography. Photographing in Havana is something that everyone really seems to want to do, so we might go there a couple times during the week.

I have four models booked for this workshop.  Each participant will have ample shooting time with each model.

If you have any questions, please send an email or call Garry at 613-824-1564.

Class size limited to 6 photographers

Namibia Photo Workshop

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Last September I returned to Namibia, leading another photography tour to this amazing country. I first travelled there in 1988 while I was on a four month trip to Southern Africa, on that trip I brought 400 rolls of slide film with me. That was a lot film!  Since that trip I have returned many times conducting workshops and tours in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia. I will be returning to Namibia again in September 2015 and conducting a photography tour with Safari Wise, send me an e-mail if you are interested.

 

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Sigma Photo Contest

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Sigma Photo Contest

 

Sigma Canada Photo Contest – Each photo entered gives you a chance to win a monthly Sigma Canada credit of $500 and to be considered for the Grand Prize — a trip for two to Japan.

ENTER NOW!

 

 

It’s Been Awhile

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

In fact it’s been a LONG time since I have posted anything here.  I have been extremely busy with work – photo shoots, workshops and editing/processing photos. So unfortunately I haven’t had a spare minute to post anything here. I do however do post many of my pictures on my Facebook Page and Garry Black Photography Facebook Page, please add me or “Like” my page if you haven’t already.

Here are two images from recent shoots, one in Ottawa and the other in Namibia, Africa. Somehow they seem rather similar to me.

Virginie in the grass

Virginie in the grass

 

 

Lion in the grass

Lion in the grass

 

For the Africa trip I used the new SIGMA Sport 120-300 mm F2.8 DG HSM OS lens. I used it with a Canon 7D which has a 1.6x cropped sensor, which made the lens effectively a 192-480 mm which was incredible. I had bought the 7D especially for this trip and to use with this lens. Once I have the opportunity to process some more of the images from this trip (and some time) I will post more images taken with the lens and a review of it.  But I can tell you right now – I loved using this lens!

 

Nova Scotia Workshop

Friday, April 12th, 2013

NOVA SCOTIA PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

 June 9 -16,  2013

There are still a couple of spaces available for the week long workshop based in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. We will be concentrating our photography on this very photogenic and appealing small town, but we will also be visiting and photographing Peggy’s Cove, Halifax and some of the small fishing villages and rocky shorelines along Nova Scotia’s Lighthouse Route.

Three Churches at Twilight,Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada

 

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada

 

Fishing Boats at Sunrise, Northwest Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada

 

Ferns in Woods

 

 

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

When you think about the landscape of Colorado, sand dunes isn’t one of the first things that comes to mind. I have photographed many deserts and sand dunes around the world but what makes this one unique is spectacular mountain scenery surrounding the dunes, they are the tallest sand dunes in North America.

 

 

Great Sand Dunes National Park

 

Great Sand Dunes National Park

 

Great Sand Dunes National Park

 

Great Sand Dunes National Park

 

Scotland Photos

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Here are a few of the photos that I took/created from our recent workshop in Scotland. It was a fantastic trip in every aspect, the only negative thing that happened was one of the participant’s tripod head was broken in transit in the flight from North America. She had placed her tripod in as checked luggage, it was in a padded ballistic nylon tripod bag and when it arrived in Edinburgh the head was completely smashed and bent to the point where it was unusable. How do you travel with your tripod????   The way I pack mine is, the tripod legs go in the suitcase which is checked-in luggage and the head goes in my camera bag which is my carry-on….so far I haven’t had any problems.

We had a real mixed bag of weather during our two weeks in Scotland and while we did have a sunny day here and there, probably the best description for most of the trip is “pockets of sunlight”. Which were unbelievably dramatic and created fantastic photo opportunities when they occurred. And yes, there was rain. One of the participants said that I should have called the trip “Fotos and Food of Scotland”, as everyone commented that the food on the entire tour was incredibly delicious and good. Which was to everyone’s (happy) surprise.  It was a far cry from the bland food that they had expected.

 

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX

 

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 APO

 

Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX DG

 

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX

 

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX

 

Canon 5D MKIII - Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX DG

 

Canon 5D MKIII – Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 IF EX