A Moving Photoshoot

When I was asked whether I would shoot some video for a singer/songwriter/guitarist I initially replied that I didn’t really have the kit. But then I realised that my humble Nikon D7100 had a supposedly pretty good video function that I’d never even used! As this was a “straightforward” add-on to a planned promo stills shoot, I decided to give it a go.

Behind-the-scenes phone shot of Andrew Morton's video shoot.

Behind-the-scenes phone shot of Andrew Morton’s video shoot.

I’ve photographed Andrew before when he was in a band but this was the first time I’d seen/heard his solo work. He gives Jacques Brel and Scott Walker amongst his influences and that was certainly apparent in his excellent original material.

I shot the video on my 50mm f1.4 lens at f2 using a single spotlight provided by the modelling light on one of my Bowens flash heads. The background was grey, lit to be almost (but not quite) black.

Andy sang live to a prepared backing track and this mixed audio was fed straight to my Nikon. This meant that Andy was creating the music as we filmed but this proved to be no problem at all with very little need for re-takes.

And the result? I was AMAZED at the quality of the video and sound. This has definitely given me the taste for further exploiting the video function on my D7100 and I’m now dreaming up some video projects (I did a fair bit of moving image as part of my MA Fine Art but the quality was never as good as those delivered by my Nikon).

I’ll share some edited video as soon as Andy publishes it.

In Pursuit Of The Knockout Shot (part 1)

Lighting and position are always critical considerations when photographing but never more so than when shooting boxing. On Saturday evening I covered another amateur boxing event for Neil Perkins at Fighting Fit City Gym. In this case it was for the Bill Meddings Memorial Cup and although I don’t profess to be an expert (just someone who photographs a lot of boxing), I thought this was one of the best boxing events I’ve ever covered.

Copyright David Rann 2013

Copyright David Rann 2013

More images from other bouts to follow in later posts.

Copyright David Rann 2013

Copyright David Rann 2013

Now then, as I was saying, lighting is always critical but when you need shutter speeds of at least 1/500s to capture action like this, high ISO’s are inevitable. However, the venue for Saturday’s event was Gatecrasher nightclub in Birmingham and so lighting is usually pretty good. As usual though, the area at the “back” of the ring (furthest away from the crowd) wasn’t very well covered by the spotlights. This meant that any action taking place in that part of the ring would be nigh on impossible to photograph.

Copyright David Rann 2013

Copyright David Rann 2013

However, as my weapon of choice lens-wise for these events is my (fixed focal length) 50mm f1.4, I know from experience that when the action is right on top of me ie, against the ropes on the side I’m shooting from, it’s unlikely I’m going to get many successful shots of that action anyway. And so I decided to pitch myself in a corner on the dark side of the ring, knowing that I’d then be able to cover the action everywhere else in the ring (the other 80%).

Copyright David Rann 2013

Copyright David Rann 2013

As luck would have it, this also meant i was out of the way of the judges, time-keepers and audience too, plus the background from that angle included some great coloured screens.

Copyright David Rann 2013

Copyright David Rann 2013

And one more…

Copyright David Rann 2013

Copyright David Rann 2013

Thanks to the reasonable light levels in 80% of the ring, I was able to shoot at 1600ISO or less all evening which meant better quality images and fewer worries about battling the noise during post-production.

Find out more about Fighting Fit City Gym at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fighting-Fit-City-Gym/37835833657?fref=ts

More soon.

 

Jacket Required

Just 2 days after photographing Jon Snow in a Warwickshire field, I photographed author Paul Dowswell in my studio. I’ve known Paul for quite a few years since we used to play in a band together and I’ve photographed him a couple of times before but with a new novel finished and scheduled for publishing, it was time to update Paul’s promotional photograph to be used by the publishers (possibly even on the jacket of the new book).

I think Paul’s main concern was that I wouldn’t make him look too much “like a sociology teacher”. I began with some one-light shots on an unlit white (and therefore grey) background and tried to capture as wide a range of expression as possible, some with glasses on and some without.

Paul has an impish sense of humour and that’s also something that I wanted to capture if possible but we knew that the publishers might prefer slightly more “buttoned up” poses. This is Paul’s preferred shot…

Paul Dowswell. Copyright David Rann 2013

Paul Dowswell. Copyright David Rann 2013

Then, with a change of shirt (for Paul, that is, not me), I added a second light from behind fitted with a honeycomb to add a little highlight to the right hand side. Again a mixture of casual and more formal poses.

Paul Dowswell. Copyright David Rann 2013

Paul Dowswell. Copyright David Rann 2013

Finally, for something a little different, we moved into the studio’s other room which has walls that were stripped for new paper (I’ll get around to it at some point). It’s a setting I’ve used quite a few times for more grungy shots.

Paul Dowswell. Copyright David Rann 2013.

Paul Dowswell. Copyright David Rann 2013.

Paul’s books have included “Powder Monkey”, “Auslander”, “Sektion 20” and “Cabinet of Curiosities”. He mostly writes historical fiction for 10+ to teenage readers but also non-fiction for adults. “Auslander” was published in 8 languages and was shortlisted for 20 book awards. His UK non-fiction publisher is Bloomsbury.

Look out for the new novel (title yet unknown) and maybe you’ll see one of my pictures on the jacket.