Midnight Project.

Hey folks, it’s been a while, I know, sorry about that!

Recently my work for the Charlatan has been mostly shooting hockey and Basketball, and nothing really impressive came out in the past few days, so I got lazy and didn’t post for a while.

The only significant thing that happened and I’m not sure I told you guys was that I bought a 24-70mm f/2.8, which is the most sweet lens I’ve ever had. I never leaves my camera, the 2.8 aperture gives me enough light to go about in almost any situation, and it’s a very fast and sharp lens. The files straight out of camera just look beautiful, I’ve rather use the 24-70mm and a higher ISO than put my 50mm 1.8 on…

Today, out of a moment of boredom, I decided to put my new photo acquisitions to use and create a mini studio in my room. I bought two oldSB-80dx flashes for cheap online. The flashes are just great and they have a built in slave, so I just put them on manual and fire away!

So I had this idea for a while now to take photos of some miniatures I have laying around my room, and decided it was the time. got the 2 flashes, a white piece of paper, and started shooting tiny portraits, with a tiny setup. Since I do not own a macro lens, I just used my 24-70mm that focus at a really close range (and since I use a DX camera, it acts like a 105mm at the telephoto end).

Coke Miniature of brazilian soccer player Juninho

The main challenge was to get a shallow depth of field because with so tiny subjects, the flashes acted like huge strobe lights, and still at 1/128th of power and f/11 it was still bright.

I won't confirm or deny that I painted a Hitler like moustache in Dunga's face after the world cup...

It’s amazing to work with miniatures though, because well, they are not real! They don’t get impatient, they keep the same facial expression, they can stand there literally forever, and they can be posed and move around at your will!

Although they look pretty much the same, it was a valid experiment, and kept the photo juices flowing.

A random medieval miniature

And if you’re wondering, here’s the setup I used:

The main light on the miniature’s face was quite harsh, so I just threw my umbrella over it to difuse a little, it worked wonders!

And that’s it folks, next weekend the newspaper will be sending me to CIS in halifax, so I’ll probably get back to you with all sorts of cool shots.

Pedro, out!

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Balloons and Portraits

Hello everybody! I know it’s been over a month, and I’m sorry. School finally started to press on, and only now I had a less packed week to relax and post.

But let’s get to the point, the reason why you keep coming here, I hope, the photographs.

The most fun I had this month was whilst shooting a Carleton Student that flies hot air balloons, the guy is funny and easygoing, and to shoot this assignment was a blast. In fact, I got cover of the paper with the shot below.

Shawn Glover inside his hot air balloon.

The balloon in the skies

Other than that I’ve been putting the umbrella to good use, taking several portraits, both for the Charlatan, and for myself. One of those was the portrait of Ottawa’s Mayor Jim Watson!

Benjamin is a doctorate student at Carleton

Ottawa's Mayor Jim Watson in his office.

Melanie Moller, modelling for a portrait

My brother, Luis, in his safari outfit.

And that’s it. I also took several sports photos on the past month, but those will have a stand alone post.

New Job = New Gear!!

As some of you might know, I got a job at the Charlatan, the Carleton University’s newspaper, as a Staff Photographer. Now that I’m getting paid to take photos (which stills strikes me as a bit unreal, I must confess), I decided to reinvest the money I’m making.

I was getting annoyed with my results while taking portraits, I was bouncing my flash on walls and the ceiling, but It would not give me the exact look I wanted, mostly because I couldn’t put my flash exactly where I wanted. So last week I went out and bought a light stand and a umbrella.

My cat, champaign, shot with of camera flash through the umbrella

It costed me about $100, but the ability of setting my flash on the exact spot I want with minimal trouble (and to be able to shoot directly without needing to bounce it around), already made my portraits improve immensely .

Shoot-through umbrella on a light stand.

Other than that, I had borrowed a 55-200mm f4-5.6 from a friend a few months ago, in order to cover my telephoto needs, but I don’t want to rely too much on a lens that I do not own. When I was shooting an assignment two weeks ago, another photographer gave me a tip on a 70-210mm f4 he found really cheap on Ebay, and I decided to take a look.

The ebay photo of the lens.

It seemed like a solid lens. It’s old, it’s true, but it looks in great shape, and all the reviews I read make it sound like a very solid piece of glass. So now I’m waiting on that, it should be here in next week. (fingers crossed!).

I’ll post some samples as soon as I get it.

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The photo opportunity

It’s amazing how photo opportunities sneak up on you. A photographer needs to be on his toes every moment, otherwise he can miss awesome shots.

Last evening I was sweating in bed and decided to turn on the fan. Surprisingly I found out that several LadyBugs decided to warm themselves by resting on the chain I have to pull to turn the fan on.

At first I was shocked that 6 or 7 ladybugs would all chose my room to be (my window was closed), and then I started to pick them up, one by one, and put them inside a negative roll tube, to let them free outside.

Only when 2 were left, I realized the opportunity I missed, to get several ladybugs on the chain right by the lamp. I decided to try anyway with the last 2 bugs, and after 30m of shooting at the closes my lens would focus, I took a shot that really made it all worth it:

Mr. Ladybug

I can’t stop imagining how more awesome it would be if instead of only one, there were 7 ladybugs on this shot, however I’m glad I caught up on time and managed to take at least this shot.

So keep your eyes open, and your camera near, always!

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A long time, and a lot of photos.

Yes, I know it’s been a long time since I last posted here, and I am sorry.

A few days after my roadtrip to kingston I left to spend half the summer in Brazil, my home country, and while I was over there my editing capacity was very limited (my laptop broke a few months back and so I had to rely on my ol’ gramma’s desktop).

I spent two awesome months there, and of course, took several photos. On the following weeks I’ll post all the different moments of my trip, starting with something very special:

Botafogo Bay and Sugar Loaf

This is where I was born, the Botafogo neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro.

I was lucky to get as a gift from a family member a helicopter tour over the entire city, and it was amazing to be able to see, and photograph, all those views I grew up with, from a different angle.

A different view of the Sugar Loaf, famous mountain in Rio.

The famous Copacabana Beach seen from the helicopter

The two brothers mountain, beside Ipanema beach.

The Lagoon, in the middle of the city.

Kingston, a road-trip (in HDR)

A couple weeks ago I went to Kingston with four good friends and decided to go around taking photos, specifically, taking three bracketed photos (unfortunately the D90 only brackets three, and not five as it would be ideal) under and over exposing by 2 stops.

All the HDR tonemapping was made on Photomatix Pro.

Baby Ducks on the Kingston bay.

I started taking photos as we walked on the shore, and those baby ducks were sitting there with their mom.

Canadian Boat-Home?

Boat on the harbor

After photographing the two boats that were worth it, we decided to walk through downtown Kingston, and see what could we shoot. Luckily after the big train stationed near the harbor, there was this nice looking Harley Davidson, asking to be shot.

Everybody Loves Trains. (HDR)

Harley B&W HDR close up

Full Harley (HDR)

Passing the Harley, there was a nice classic capitol on a church, and across the street a very interesting abandoned church.

Classic capitol (B&W HDR)

Abandoned Church (HDR)

And before calling it a day for photography, this very nice car was parked a couple clocks down.

HDR old car

It was a fun day, with plenty of good photo-opportunities, and I definitelly will be shooting more HDR. Some other random photos taken that day:

Church 
Runner
Train

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Party Time? Camera Time!

I love to take my camera to parties. My friends learned to accept it, if there’s a party, I’ll be there with my D90in one hand and a beer bottle in the other. Parties are usually great (if yours is not, there is something wrong), but parties for a photographer are even more great, is like a photographic buffet, salad included.

Parties are a great opportunity for photographers because I’m a better photographer when I’m drunk of two main factors, alcohol and the large number of things going on at the same time.

 

1 – Alcohol.

The only thing better than alcohol is colorful alcohol

Alcohol may get you numb, make you do stupid things, but above all what most insecure teenagers learn at age 14, alcohol creates extroversion where before stood shyness. Everyone knows the story, the shy quiet girl that after two margaritas start dancing salsa on the table, or the quiet guy that after three beers doesn’t stop talking for nothing on the world.

And that almost magic feature of alcohol is what makes it great for party photography, for there’s way less camera shyness and awkwardness on your subject if he’s at least tipsy. For beginners like me who doesn’t know exactly what to say or do to relax a subject, this is an amazing asset (and no, I’m not suggesting that you get every model drunk before a shoot, although I’ve seen better photographers recommend to offer a drink to non-professional models before shoots).

Alcohol, in my experience, leads to more natural portraits.

 

2 – Stuff happening everywhere, all the time.

So much stuff going on!

Loud, messy, people going back and forth, this characteristic of parties is amazingly helpful for the photographer who wants to take candid shots. People tend to ignore or simply not notice when you take a photo, they are way do busy doing other stuff like talking or drinking. Also, interesting stuff happens in parties all the time, either the guy passed out on the floor in the middle of the kitchen, or the group of people singing songs with a guitar on the basement.

 

On the top of those two main factors, there is the fact that people are generally loose on parties, even without alcohol. They are there to have a good time, and socialize, so the photos you take on parties usually reflect a joyful aspect of people’s lives that they are not used to, and they enjoy it.

So next time you’re invited to a party, take your camera with you, and wait for the right moment, sometimes you’ll get that perfect shot, out of a friend’s reunion.

You can almost feel the good time they're having.

Sacred Art – On Assignment

Hey folks, how’ve you all been?

I’ve been pretty busy with finals, essays, etc. and of course, lot’s of assignments to get better and better at photography.

Saturday I got an assignment I was pretty excited about, to shoot a Christian Tattooist in Orleans. Reverend Dave has his own place called Sacred Art, and I thought it would be a nice place to shoot.

I was going with the writer Oliver Sachgau to shoot stills and video, we had an interview schedule with the guy at 5pm.

Like the good journalists we are, we met at 4:45 at Place d’Orleans, and were at Dave’s studio at 4:55, ready to do our interview, take the shots and head home to enjoy our Saturday evening. Of course it could not be that easy and as we went inside, the guy came out, greeted us and said:

“Yeah, about the interview, I was going to call you because I’m running late…”

We said that there was no problem, we could wait, for which he replied:

“You might want to come back later, I will only be done in one hour, at 6. And after that I need to go home to let my dog out, so I’ll only be available at 6:30.

Oh snap. I live downtown and Oliver in Nepean, no way we could come back later… So we did a tour of the place by ourselves, took some photos of him doing his job, and went to the shopping centre decided to come back at 6, just to get a comment from the guy being tattooed, before doing the actual interview.

Here’s the shots I took then:

We came back at 5:55, perfectly on time, to find out that Dave was still late. He only finished the tattoo at 6:30. We grab a quick comment from Luke about the place and Dave left to let his dog out, saying he would be back by 7:05.

Me and Oliver were tired and did not want to walk to the mall, so we decided to go around the neighborhood, where I found this beautiful church to photograph, it was worth the time:

Church in Orleans, near the Tattoo Parlor

Same church with a dead tree in front of it

After walking for half an hour we went back to the place, and as you can predict, at 7:05 he was not there, only arriving at 7:15.

Finally after two hours and fifteen minutes of (almost) wasted time, we finally could sit the man on the studio to do the interview, and take some portraits. I admit, I was tired, grumpy and did not put all the possible effort into it, I just wanted to go home. We were done around 7:50, because Reverend Dave insisted on redoing several takes that he did not like…

As a final balance, it wasn’t bad, I got the shots of the church that I really like, and some of the minister/tattooist. He has a good spirit, but thinks way too much about himself, and he thinks he’s very funny, which he is most definitely not. I just hope to do not have to wait 2h15m ever again for a photo, luckily Oliver was there and at least we could chat.

To wrap it up, here are the two staged shots of him:

Rev. Dave and his piercings.

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Photography

My name is Pedro Vasconcellos, and I’m a first year journalism student at Carleton University, in Ottawa Canada. I’m actually Brazilian and came to Canada in order to finish university.

Only recently I have discovered the pleasures of Photography, and I am decided to go as deep as I can get on the subject, hopefully to work with it in 4/5 years.

In this blog I’ll post anything related to photography, tutorials, discussions, comments… Also it will serve as the base of my portfolio for now, the public display of my work.

If you got here by accident or not, take some time to see my photos, see what I do. And feel free to comment and drop me an email, anytime.

And since this is a photography blog, one of my first images that I deemed good enough for my portfolio:

Oh Canadian Autumn...

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