CIS Finals 8 – A Business Trip

I planned on posting something last week, however the Charlatan kindly sent me away for the weekend to cover the Canadian Interuniversity Sport basketball finals, where the Carleton Ravens won their 8th national title.

Carleton Ravens' Willy Manigat take on the Alberta Golden Bears in the 2012 CIS Finals

The championship was in Halifax, only 2h away from Ottawa if you’re lucky enough to be flying there. The newspaper sent two photographers and two writers to cover the event, so the workload wasn’t so bad.

We would wake up, and either go straight to the Metro Centre, where the games were happening, or go take a walk on the beautiful coastal city before the day’s games.

Raven's Phillip Scrubb was chosen the CIS player of the year for his performance.

The Ravens walking in for their first game on the tournament.

It was great experience, I met some great photographers, like Andrew Von (who has worked for the Canadian Press in the maritime’s for over 25 years, and is an all around awesome guy!), had time to just walk around the city taking photos, etc.

It was a good break, and well worth it. The photographs were great, and some of them will definitely make it to my portfolio (like Willy’s one on the top.).

Here are some more shots, including the one with the trophy. By the way, never get in front of photographers when they’re trying to get celebration shots, really, you’ll regret it.

Ravens vs. Bears

Ravens' coach Dave Smart after the team's first victory.

The Ravens celebrating their 8th national title.

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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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Flash – SB 600

I finally got a flash!! I found this too-good-to-be-true deal on  Kijiji for an SB 600 (retail $270), for $200. You might say that this is actually expensive, but the info said the flash was bought on december of last year for a trip and forgotten,  so it was “new”

I say the add 2h after the guy posted it, and send an email just in case. less than 6hours after I got a response, and we set to meet yesterday at a cafe. I went with the mentality that if it was any less than perfect, I would not buy it. I brought my camera and batteries.

As I got there, the guy was ultra nice, bought me coffee, and showed me the flash. It was even better than in the add. Completely in the box, almost untouched, not even a scratch. The guy turned out to be moving to Brazil in September, so he even gave me a battery set and charger. It was perfect.

So If I was going to settle for a SB-28, I got an amazing SB 600, cheap, in perfect condition, and through the internet. I’ll put up a series of posts when I have more time to play with it.

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