Old School Film Hack

Saturday Night Sundowners


Some of our friends further down the dock — Jason and Kelly (above) — had us over for sundowners on their new-to-them Mason 44 this past Saturday night.  Wow — what a gorgeous boat!  No pix of it this time because the ambient light was pretty well gone before we arrived, but I hope to take photos of it sometime in the near future.

For bloggers curious about how these portraits were shot, I knew a few things up front:

  • The angle-of-view from my 50mm prime lens is too narrow for the confined space of a cockpit — even aboard a boat as large as a Mason 44 — so I needed to bring a wider lens, like my 18-55mm zoom.  It’s also a much slower lens (f/3.5-5.6), which I’ll address in the next bullet.
  • Since we were going over for sundowners (the sun was going down, hence the term) and my wide-angle lens is so slow, I needed supplemental light — which I brought in the form of a tiny flash strobe.  But I didn’t want the standard deer-in-the-headlights look from normal strobe use; I wanted the light to look a lot more natural and to model the faces better.  So I turned the face of the strobe up to bounce the light off the bottom of their Bimini canvas.  In this case, their Bimini material was a nice brown color, so the resulting image wasn’t a garish blue from the bounce off the fabric; the only correction I had to do in Lightroom was simply to set the color temperature to “Flash” and it was done.
  • Another aspect to consider with the strobe was to dial back the exposure compensation; the further it’s dialed back, the less obvious the strobe use is in the final image.  In this case the strobe was dialed back to -2.0 stops.
  • For the shot of Jason and Kelly (above), it was one take.  No other exposures were needed.  For the shot of Boris and Mikalah (below), it was the last of three; the exposure was fine each time, but the other two shots weren’t right due to eye blinks or image composition — the third one was the charm.

Boris and Mikalah (above).

Cindy and Jason (above), by the light of the citronella flame.  This was simply shot by placing the camera on top of the winch to steady it, using ambient light and a long exposure.

And the actual sundown shot is below…

2 thoughts on “Saturday Night Sundowners

  1. O Docker

    Funny how photographers look at photos differently than normal people.

    My very first thought on seeing the first photo was, “Does he carry an umbrella around with him wherever he goes?”


Join the conversation!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: