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Icy Blue Moods
White Balance Photos For Moods
Originally posted as Icy Blue Nudes yesterday on EditorialNudes.com, I wanted to share this here, though Lens Diaries is a more non-nude photoblog, I”m reposting this article with limited, more conservative photos. Not to mention, with the work on new photography books and the launch of Editorial Nudes, I”ve not posted here in Lens Diaries for sometime, however, that will soon change, but for now, enjoy the post below.
Photographer Joshua M. photographs Jolene during our recent Las Vegas photography workshop.
Well I just returned from conducting another set of Editorial Nude and Glamour, Beauty and the Nude photography workshops in wonderful Las Vegas—and again, our models and assistants outdid themselves as always—busting their butts to ensure the attending photographers captured some great images in a learning, but fun environment.
Normally I don’t do much shooting at these workshops, as I’m usually too busy providing hands-on photography instruction along with ensuring the models are on time and on set with the make-up and hair all ready to go. While workshops are fun and educational for everyone, they don’t call them “work” shops for nothing, but this time, I squeezed a few shots in, especially since I’m working on two new books, including my sixth photography book, Photographing Women, in addition to my seventh book, Photographing Nude Women, that I’ll co-illustrate with up and coming photographer Stephanie Gomez, yes, my daughter.
A book sure to draw attention, as it’s on (father/daughter) editorial nude photography of women—to make sure no one misinterprets this, my beautiful daughter is the co-photographer contributing to the book, not one of the subjects. Even though we plan on doing some photography shoots of models together, we’ll also do shoots on our own, at different locations—so I decided to get a head start at the Las Vegas photography workshop location and I hope you enjoy these images.
In the case of all the photos on this photoblog post, all images were created with my Canon 5D Mark II with the white balance manually set between 3200K and 3400K and for the best bokeh effect a lens can deliver, I used the Canon 85mm F/1.2L USM lens, set between F/1.2 to F/4.0, depending on my camera angle. Shutter speeds varied from 1/250th to 1/1250th, ISO was set at 160 for all photos. All photos captured on HoodmanUSA”s “RAW” compact professional flash cards, 16GB with 675X UDMA 6 ratings.
The process is simple, I simply set my digital camera white balance to manual mode, then enter the exact Kelvin degree of color temperature. If your camera doesn”t allow you to manually set the white balance to an exact number, simply set it in the incandescent or tungsten mode. All settings should provide you with a blue or cool color cast when working with natural daylight during the middle of the day. Try and keep your ISO to the lowest possible, as in most photography.
British model Mary poses during my photography workshop in Las Vegas.
While I have no idea if any of these photos used in this photoblog post, or others from this shooting set will make either photography book, I wanted to share some of my photographic passion with you as I took a “digital creative” turn. A turn made available with my Canon 5D Mark II and its digital white balance abilities. While this technique is unique to digital cameras and not film cameras when it comes to still photography, it’s really a “digital deviation” of something easily done in film by merely exposing tungsten light-balanced film with daylight-balanced light sources.
So this photography concept is not new, though the method on achieving these results simply went from analog to digital. While there are digital filters and Adobe Photoshop plugins out there to achieve similar results in postproduction, what postproduction can’t give you is the instant feedback from the model during the shoot. Postproduction only gives gratification after the final results. The problem with the latter gratification is that both you the photographer and the model can’t get into the true concept of a “blue” icy shoot, besides, instant gratification and feedback provide momentum in a shoot for other creative possibilities.
It’s a known fact that color creates or can set the tone of mood in people. In photography it’s no different, color, as does black and white, will help set the tone of the images created during the actual photo shoot itself. While everyone’s interpretation will vary when it comes to photos with a dominating colorcast or hue, blue is a “cool color” and so we naturally associate it with a colder or icy meaning.
Blue is moody like blue Mondays but blue is often associated with happiness of new life too, thanks to the fact that normally newborn babies all have blue eyes. Red is an ironic color too, as it’s often associated with romance and warmth, along with anger or fire. But for this creative temporary turn in my photography, I chose blue by simply making my DSLR think the light source was tungsten, when it fact it was the natural, ambient daylight.
I also had Mary pose in the curtains for a more silhouette effect.
The colors we choose also helps us identify with our own moods—and in the case of these photos, my concept related more to the recent sleuth of record breaking snow, ice and coldness throughout the United States—after all, when I left San Antonio on Thursday to head to the Palms Casino in Las Vegas where we conducted the photography workshop, it was an unusually cold 20-degrees Fahrenheit. Though Vegas was only about 20-degrees warmer, the recent chilly weather, even on a sunny day, seemed the main topic in conversations about as much as the Super Bowl this past weekend.
Since I’m not a Pittsburg Steelers or Green Bay Packers fan and the Super Bowl was just a glitch on my radar screen, this made it easier for me to frame my mind into a “cold” shoot style without the real outdoor icy conditions, as I hate the cold. The ironic part of the shoot was that I’d listened to my models complain about how cold it was, but after spending a few minutes, indoors, with the swath of sun cutting through the window glass, my models were sweating and asking to turn on the air condition.
The best part when creating these photos was watching the models’ reaction to the images they saw on my Canon 5D Mark II’s LCD preview screen. Their enthusiasm (chimping), along with mine, encouraged some of the photography workshop attendees to change their white balance and try the same concept. Some liked it, some didn’t, as this style of work is based on personal style and taste. Personally I liked it at this location, though I wouldn’t do this at every location, as we do not look at the world through deep blue glasses.
Sure, we can argue that shooting in the camera’s RAW format will allow you to play with white balance all day long in postproduction, the problem, I don’t have all day to play around—so I get it done in the camera correctly. And again, both the model and I respond to the instant creative effect of the mood and style of the image I’m trying to create, right there on the spot—at the shoot! This marriage of the minds usually results in fantastic images and a prolonged shoot, as you both are now really into the shoot psychologically.
This is when the passion flows, you both feel it, you both connect—a shared feeling, a shared vision, a shared result, a shared sweat to get there—yes it’s work, but so are photography workshops. Well that”s it for a “blue” Monday, but please do me a favor, don”t forget the men and women of our military forces that help ensure our freedoms are protected, including the freedom to write about and shoot photography, as ultimately, these hardworking service members, along with their families and friends, sacrifice the most for us. God Bless them all! Thanks, Rolando.