Hello! I missed my last weekly post and lack of material was definitely NOT the reason! It's been a crazy few weeks. First, the big news: The studio is open! I was held up by lighting, but have finally found what I wanted... I bought Lastolite 400s. Lastolight is a Manfrotto company and although I did buy them for lack of huge choice here in the UAE, I have to say, I have been very happy with them! Purchasing the studio equipment was your typical Abu Dhabi experience (for those readers without first hand knowledge, take everything that is convenient and well grouped back home, and forget it! Abu is the land of three supermarkets to *possibly* complete one shopping list!). After searching for over a month and nearly admitting defeat with a purchase from a UK online retailer (which means loads of customs fees!), I happened to stumble across a note on the Bowens website that indicated that Salam, a department store in the Middle East, carried their equipment. After multiple phone calls, I confirmed that, in fact, I could buy Bowens here! John and I trekked down to Abu Dhabi Mall only to learn that the Bowens were marked up something like 500GBPs... I couldn't do it! But they also carried Lastolites and so the rest is history. We also found seamless backdrops in a plethora of colors and lots of other hard to find equipment. It was easy to outfit the entire studio from this department store, which from the front, looks as though it only carries clothing and perfume! Bizarre. Another pleasant surprise in Salam was Paul Thomas, the sales associate. He was by far the most knowledgeable sales person I have met here in the UAE. A few weeks ago, I popped into a Canon store to look at their lighting options and the employee was asking ME questions about the equipment. From here to Dubai, I've gotten a lot of blank stares when I've asked any questions, so this Paul fellow was an absolute breath of fresh air! I highly recommend him if you're in the area... Salam carries Nikon, Canon and Leica.
Yesterday, Abby popped in to the newly opened studio, and we took some test shots. Two things to keep in mind when you look at the photos of the session: 1. This is what my daughter was wearing when I asked her to come in. Apparently this is what a lazy Saturday outfit for lounging around the house looks like to Abigail... mesh gloves and all. 2. She also outfitted the dog. I walked into my kitchen the other day to find Sam sporting the rainbow scarf. I have to admit, he looks pretty cute in plaid, so we thought we would use it again for the shoot. I did not direct her for posing because I was more interested in working out the background lighting, so left that all to her. I think I may hire her for future shoots to pose my subjects! All she wanted was a jumping photo so we got a few of those in at the end! It was really fun to work with Abby together in the studio-slash-ex-guestroom!! I like to imagine what other studios look like behind the scenes when looking at the finished product. I love how photography takes things out of context to create a story. To see some other photos from our session, click here: http://bit.ly/IHgtPu
The other big project I have started on is taking PR photos of the International Tower in Capital Centre. International Tower is a new building just finishing the final touches of construction. The job has been a stretch for me, as I have not done architectural photography before. I've photographed the building at the crack of dawn, mid morning, afternoon and evening. I've learned so much about the sun doing this project, and how to use it to my advantage, rather than cringing at the thought of the Middle Eastern glare! I've been using a polarizer on my smaller lens but have just bought a new B&W polarizing filter for my 24-70 lens, thanks to a suggestion from my friend Lisie. I can not wait for it to arrive! My f/2.8, 24-70mm is by far my most used lens, and it's come in very handy, especially for the interior shots of the building. If you don't have a lens in this range, I strongly suggest one! You know when you buy a new pair of shoes, and you love them so much that you wear them every day and start to wonder what you wore before you had these shoes??? That's my 24-70mm =). I use it for portraits, action and now architectural work as well. (Dear Husband, if you are reading this, this does not mean that I don't still **NEED** that EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens that I've been drooling over for the last year).
International Tower with an exposure of 15sec @ f/22 pictured below.
Over the weekend, my new friend Robert, from the Steve Simon workshop at GPP12, and I went to the Abu Dhabi Fish Market and the surrounding area. When I started processing, I was a pleasantly surprised to realize that of the 100 or so photos that I took, only about 3 of them were of fish! Once again, I go back to the professionals that I had the chance to learn from that week at GPP, and know that I came away with so much. I am sure in the past, I would just see fish, but now I am beginning to instinctively look beyond the obvious. I am looking forward to photo weekend later this year! Click here to see some other photos from our fish market outing: http://bit.ly/IxNGzh
Lastly, tonight I am off to shoot an event. I am really excited for that as well! Even though I am sometimes as nervous as could possibly be, that nervous energy is pushing me towards bigger and better things. I am taking on more and more jobs and the website has now gotten over 300 unique visitors and 1000s of page views. For this and for everyone who has taken a chance on a very new photographer, I am extremely grateful. Until next time!