Hi and welcome to this edition of my instructional blog; Workshop at the Ranch (WATR.) It’s time again to feature my favorite WATR article of the year … the Year in Review 2016 … here are some highlights over the past 12 months.
January for me began at the CES Show in Las Vegas where I was presenting my images and commentary for Nikon featuring the NEW Nikon D5 camera with industry superior high/clean ISO and the fastest Auto Focus system on the planet … and also the NEW Nikon SB-5000 Speedlights with Radio Control … AWESOME !!!.
The CES Show is huge and the Nikon School Theater was packed each time one of the Nikon photographers stepped onto the stage. This kind of presentation is half technical instruction and half entertainment … perfect for the international crowd that gathers annually in VEGAS and a fun way for me to start off the year 2016.
NOTE: Trade Shows, especially WPPI and Photo Plus EXPO in NYC are great places for photographers to come learn from industry pros and product reps/technicians about new gear, new technology, and how to make great pictures.
Image #2 February – Lightpainting Under the Milky Way with KelbyOne … Nikon D750, ISO4000, 20 seconds at f10, Nikon 14-24mm lens (a 14mm) with, WB 3030K, Brinkmann 2 million Candle Power Spotlight, SanDisk 32G SD Card.
February placed me in California at Mono Lake and Bodie Ghost town to make a video for my buddy Scott Kelby / KelbyOne. This was a video I had wanted to make for about 3 years but could never match calendars with the KelbyOne video department … crazy how those KelbyOne folks are busy 24/7 making videos.
This video has been VERY well received with over 2,000 viewers as of this writing … and as a result I have received tons of emails from excited photographers telling me that this Lightpainting video is the BEST EVER !!!
NOTE: My Pre-Conference Workshop “Lightpainting Classic Cars” at PSW this April in Orlando is already open for Registration … sign up now!.
Here are links to KelbyOne and also to Photoshop World Orlando in SPRING 2017:
Photoshop World Orlando: April 18-22, 2017: http://photoshopworld.com/
Instagram @daveblackphoto continued to be a big part of my daily routine in 2016. Posting 5-7 days each week I try to write something instructional like the technical aspects of lighting with the Nikon SB-5000 Speedlights. My hope is to help photographers learn more about their craft.
With 24,000 FOLOWERS at the end of 2016 I love to post images with camera data and backstory included and really look forward to seeing the daily posts from friends-colleagues, and also see the new talent emerging world-wide. Get on Instagram and Come FOLLOW me @daveblackphoto.
I have had a dream for several years to strobe the sport of Polo, and in 2016 that dream became a reality. As this was a commercial shoot it is not photographed during a competition. Athletes and location were hired and of course this was an orchestrated scenario with me controlling the action.
For this project I used 2 Profoto B1 strobes from a long distance away from the polo ponies in order to give them plenty of freedom and safety. I simply set the 2 strobes across from each other to create a “zone of light”. Then I requested that the athletes charge up the field actively playing Polo through that “zone of light”
As they entered the “zone of light” I made a single FLASH picture. I believe I had them charge through about 15 times. The incredible pastel sky is curtesy of God.
Image #5 May – Dave Black Lightpainting Workshop SPRING, SUMMER, FALL … Nikon D5, ISO2000, 20 seconds at f16, Nikon 24-70mm lens (at 32mm), WB 4000K, subject was Lightpainted with Stylus ProTac 2AA LED Flashlight by Streamlight … interior of garage was Lightpainted with the 5 million candlepower RL-85 rechargeable spotlight by Larson Electronics Manfrotto Tripod and 410 Geared Head, XQD Card.
My daughter Haley and I conducted 3 Lightpainting workshops in 2016 … SPRING, SUMMER, and FALL. We had a great time teaching everyone how to Lightpaint and want to give a big shout out to Nikon for being our main sponsor.
For this example image that I made for the class my subject was Lightpainted with Stylus ProTac 2AA LED flashlight by Streamlight … the interior of garage was Lightpainted for only 2 seconds with the 5 million candlepower RL-85 rechargeable spotlight by Larson Electronics … and I also placed a head lamp with a blue gel on the front seat to illuminate the interior of the car.
NOTE: The most often asked question of the year was, “What flashlights do I use to make my Lightpaintings?” Here is a link to my website: Dave’s Gear page … All my cameras, lenses, Speedlights, strobes, and Lightpainting flashlights-spotlights plus accessories can be found on this page of my website:
The month of June brings warm weather to the Colorado Rocky Mountains and also a Robin family that nested above the backdoor of our house. I made images each day starting with just unhatched 3 Robin eggs in the nest, then the hatching, and finally the feeding.
I used 1 Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight with Radio Control to bounce the light off the underside of the roof eave to illuminate the interior of the nest, and because the nest was only 13 inches from the roof eave I used a Nikon 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 zoom lens (at 300mm) and shot into a mirror positioned above the nest so as to obtain a perfect view of the nest interior.
This image is a reminder to me that pictures can be found right in your own back yard and also that you might need to get creative to get the picture that you want.
NOTE: During June I posted daily images of the 3 Robins daily progress on my Instagram to which I garnished more “Likes” than any other IG post of the 2016.
The Summit LIGHTING Workshop in April and then Summit SPORTS Workshop in July were both fantastic as always with an incredible collection of faculty including: Joey Terrill (Commercial Portrait Lighting) and Matt Hernandez (King of HS Senior Portraits) at Summit LIGHTING … and then Lucas Gilman (Commercial Lighting/Adventure), Mark Terrill (Associated Press), Andrew Hancock (Sports Illustrated), and Brad Smith at Summit SPORTS.
My Location Lighting Classes at both workshops involved action scenarios using High Speed Sync and taught attendees how to set-up and use the NEW Nikon SB-5000 Radio Control Speedlights and also the Profoto B1 strobe system.
Everyone made their own images and learned the benefits of using light on location to capture amazing action.
Checkout my 2017 workshops Calendar page to see when and where I’ll be teaching: http://www.daveblackphotography.com/upcoming-workshops/
Summit LIGHTING: April 26-30, 2017
Summit SPORTS: July 12-17, 2017.
Come join us at the Summit LIGHTING and Smmit SPORTS Workshops in Denver, Colorado: http://www.photographyatthesummit.com/workshops/
Image #8 August – EPIC photo shoot with SB-5000 Speedlights … Nikon D500, ISO2500, 1/2500 at f8, 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 zoom lens, 4 Nikon SB-5000 Radio Control Speedlights mounted in FourSquare bracket- softbox, SanDisk 32G SD Card.
There are always some favorite photo shoots that rise to the top of a photographer’s personal list … this is one of them.
World Championship athlete and good friend Troy Armstrong and I scheduled a project to capture dramatic action images for the Jet Ski Company that sponsors him. What I didn’t count on were the high winds that evening and the most EPIC sunset in Colorado history!
With my 4 NEW Nikon SB-5000 Speedlights positioned about 90 feet away from me and Radio Control triggered by the Nikon D500 with WR-R10 … and thus located about 85 feet from Troy carving a hair-pin turns at 65mph in high seas, …my assistant, Andrew, used all of his 6ft. 6in. build to steady the FourSquare of Speedlights against the 35mph winds.
The winds were so strong that the spray would carry 85 feet to the dock, to which would turn away and protect the Speedlights immediately after the FLASH went off. Here is the Behind the Scenes PANO image showing the FourSquare (4 Nikon SB-5000 Speedlights) distance to subject and the outrageous sunset that made this one of my favorite photo shoots of 2016 … Thanks Troy, Thanks Andrew and Thanks Nikon.
September had me driving through fall colors to the Summit ADVENTURE and Summit NATURE Workshops in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. My all-time favorite place to photograph Autumn I primarily work with attendees who want to learn about lighting with Nikon Speedlights on location, but also Lightpainting in the studio and large outdoor Landscapes like the Mormon Row Barns.
I began using my NEW Nikon D500 with Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 zoom lens for wildlife while photographing with workshop attendees in Teton National Park … and Love it. The D500 is extremely lightweight, has super clean High ISO capabilities, 10 fps, and the industry leader in FAST- ACCURATE Auto Focus, plus, as with this image, the cropped sensor of the Nikon 200-500mm gives me the up-close and personal look at Mr. Great Gray Owl.
These two workshops feature a faculty of Who’s Who … ADVENTURE: Cory Rich (Patagonia), Lucas Gilman (Red Bull), and Brad Smith (NY Times and Sports Illustrated) … NATURE: Tom Mangelsen (Images of Nature Galleries), William Allard (National Geographic), Jim Richardson (National Geographic), Michael Forsberg (North America’s Great Plains), Melissa Groo (Outdoor Photographer and Audubon) and more.
Come join us this Fall in Jackson Hole, Wyoming …
Summit ADVENTURE: September 16-21, 2017
Summit NATURE: September 24-29, 2017: http://www.photographyatthesummit.com/workshops/
Image #10 October – Galaxy Peaks … Nikon D5, ISO8000, 15 seconds at f3.2, Nikon 24-70mm lens (at 30mm), WB 3030K … Lightpainted using 3 Larson Electronics RL-85 rechargeable 5 million candle powered spotlights.
Every year I devote myself to making pictures that I like, pictures that I want to make just because I love photography. I wanted to Lightpaint Mt. Teewinot in the Teton Mountain Range of Wyoming … (elevation: 12,326 ft. elevation gain: 5,580 ft.)
I posted a very similar image on Instagram and also in my November WATR article, and I have received a lot of emails and comments via both Medias … so, here is another Lightpainting from that shoot and how it was made.
Let me say that images that capture star fields and the Milky Way became a publishable reality only a few years ago beginning with the Nikon D3s camera era. The NEW Nikon D5 is exquisite with regards to handling super high ISO needed to capture night photography and the heavens above. The Nikon D5 is my primary Lightpainting camera for my large scale landscapes.
For this image I used a Nikon D5 camera and ISO8000 which made it possible to:
1. Capture a clean quality edge detailed star field image.
2. Allowed me to illuminate the mountain peaks from 1.5 miles away.
How this image was made …
First: position my Nikon D5 camera with NPS legend Ron Taniwaki is 1.5 miles from the summit of Mt. Teewinot
Second: position myself and my assistant Julio Aguilar 1.2 miles west of my D5 camera (with Ron). I will Lightpaint Mt. Teewinot which is 1.5 miles away from me.
With the Milky Way above Mt. Teewinot I radioed Ron to “OPEN” the D5 shutter to begin the 15 seconds exposure (no star movement), ISO8000, at f3.2
With the shutter open for 15 seconds my assistant Julio helps me aim my 3 RL-85 Spotlights at Mt. Teewinot from a distance of 1.5 miles away. We Lightpainted as much of the mountain peak region as possible during the 15 seconds exposure time.
NOTE: This image is made about 15 minutes after our first attempt that was posted in WATR and Instagram last month. Thanks to a significant temperature drop shortly after midnight there now is less humidity in the air making my 3 Larson Electronics RL-85 Five Million Candlepower Spotlights more efficient. It is now easier to Lightpaint not only the Mt. Teewinot multiple peaks, but also some of the trees and mountain side.
NOTE: Why only 15 seconds exposure? … At a focal length of 30mm an exposure time longer than 15 seconds would show star movement.
The reaction over the walkie-talkie from Ron is the same excitement each time a new picture appears on the D5 LED screen “IT’S UNBELIEVABLE” … Make another one !!!”
BIG NOTE: the RL-85 spotlight by Larson Electronics is 5 million candle powered and has replaced my Brinkmann Max Million II and III spotlights that I have used for years. The Brinkmann spotlights are no longer available but I am loving the RL-85 by Larson Electronics even more.
Larson Electronics RL-85 … 5 million candlepower rechargeable spotlight with 7 inch lens: http://www.larsonelectronics.com/p-1919-5-million-candlepower-handheld-rechargeable-spotlight-100w-halogen-spot-flood-57-lens.aspx
See Dave’s Gear page on my website for all my Cameras, lenses, Speedlights, Strobes, and Lightpainting gear can be found on this page of my website:
The BIG EVENT of the year came on November 12 when my wife Susan and I attended the wedding of Keith Ladzinski and Dana Richardson at BIG SUR.
It was a beautiful wedding as the Ladzinski’s tied the knot in the spectacular area of Northern California … which of course also offered amazing visuals for a number of high profile photographers who were in attendance.
Did you know that there is purple sand on the Pheiffer Beach at BIG SUR.
Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Ladzinski !
Image #12 December – Death Star Rising: Rogue One Lightpainting … Nikon D810, ISO200, 3 minute exposure at f22, Nikon 16-35mm lens (at 20mm), WB 10,000K, Manfrotto Tripod with 410 Geared Head, Lightpainted with Stylus penlight by Streamlight, SanDisk 32G Flash Card.
Last December I ended the year 2015 with my STAR WARS Lightpainting collection of images to kick off the release of The Force Awakens. This December the debut of Rogue One has inspired me to once again “stretch my boundaries” and “experiment” with some Lightpainting and “post processing self-educating”
My Son-in-Law Andrew is a huge STAR WARS fan … as am I. This is a Lightpainting of Andrew’s X-Wing Fighter model from his childhood days. With my Nikon D810 on a tripod I used a small “Stylus” penlight to Lightpaint the X-Wing Fighter during a 3 minute exposure time so as to highlight as much detail as possible.
I then LAYERED the X-Wing Lightpainting over a pastel cloud cover at sunset that I photographed a few years ago while flying from Philadelphia to Denver … somewhere over Ohio I think.
Careful study of the new film’s trailer shows the massive Death Star with its dish weaponry assembly rising above the horizon of the planets clouds at twilight. The combined image of the X-Wing and Pastel Clouds image is then LAYERED onto an image of the Death Star to make the final image.
Scott Kelby is the Jedi Master of Photoshop … I am merely a humbled novice when it comes to post editing … honestly, this entire layering process took 2 days complete, but the result is a really fun image for my STAR WARS Lightpainting collection and Andrew.
Enjoy Rogue One … “May the Force be with You”
Well, there you have it … the Year in Review 2016. I have enjoyed this year of photography and especially enjoyed teaching all of you here on Workshop at the Ranch, at Seminars and Workshops around the country, online with KelbyOne and at Photoshop World.
Please check out my Workshops Calendar page to see if there is a workshop that interests you. http://www.daveblackphotography.com/upcoming-workshops/
Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New year … May God Bless all of you. See you next year, here on WATR. Dave