Paris Strobist Seminar - 27Oct.2007

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What can be said... I'm a FAN!!

I decided again to go to the Strobist Seminar. This time instead London David head down to Paris.

Instead of plane this time I drove by car since it's not far from Luxembourg and trip that takes about 3 hours.
So Friday afternoon I gather all my gear together and march to Paris like a soldier searching for the hidden light.

Plans were to have a quick meet and dinner on Friday with a couple of fellow photographers that were also attending on Saturday.

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At arrival noticed that the room was full, yeah!! 60 photographers from almost every corner in Europe.

Morning was more of an hello to everyone and a chance to see David talking about gear and experiences. The theory was like if you were reading the blog but better you had David there always getting enthusiastic about every part that wouldn't let you fall asleep for a moment.

People were drinking his words and movements and getting notes for everything it was being sad.

This is such a good opportunity to be learning light with the guy that almost invented it :)...

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David started talking about the use of the white umbrellas. He explained that it's better for you to first learn a technique and make use of it and then when you have managed it completely you now are ready to get another technique and start to learn it. Start slowly and make the things go by it self almost like driving a car one trick at a time.

You can see him above showing that the distance of the light relative to subject is something you should never leave behind and has closer to the source it gets the bigger and softer it will be even with such small umbrella.

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David mentioned that he always carries with him a white and a silver umbrella just in case he needs more power (see what I meant with a trick in the bag?).

And if you care to have two white umbrellas you can produce such a huge light almost even bigger than a soft box. David illustrate the use of 2 umbrellas to create a clamshell that I'm very fond off.

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David explained the use of Gobos, Snoots and Grids and what you can accomplish with them. You can make your own just check how in here.

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I took my DIY panel and BANG!!! David talked about it.
People didn't realize how big the panel is until they saw it. It's also good to take it with you when you do not have a place for the models to change clothes.

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Some relaxing time... David is a one man show, he talks, photographs, makes jokes and even tears a place apart with his lighting techniques. I'm so glad I have met him already in London and appreciated so much the way he conduct the seminars.

The clock did not stop ticking and we arrive at lunch time in a glitch.

Hey it's lunch time already???

Before we go here are a few hints:

Basic Lighting Gear - Flashes, Stands, Umbrella Swivel, syncing Techniques, Light Mods (umbrella, snoots, grids, gobos), Gels and Lots of batteries.

Basic Lighting Controls - Position, Softness (Apparent Light Size), Balance, Restriction, Reflection/Refraction, Color Shifting and Time-Based Controls.

We went out for a quick snatch and return to the room for the ACTION!!!!

On the first setup David showed us how you can use your hand to preview the exposure even without having your subject (Michael) with you. This is a great trick and I also have used it a lot.

With this on your sleeve you can almost predict the shot of your subject for those 5 minute corporate shots.

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David explains that he uses the CTO gel on the background to create that effect and turns the flash to the walls like a bare bulb also how the position of the umbrella helps the enhance the subject on this particular shot.

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We move now to the second Setup.

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David used his hand to help him calculate the first exposure before the fellow photographer Jason sits on the chair.

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Again a simple setup, just an umbrella at cameras right side creating a specular highlight on the background.

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David shows and explains on his laptop the images acquired.

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Next setup David wanted to try the nice signed wooden background, that probably costs more than we could ever imagine, to create a pattern of light.

His "visions" are incredible, He can turn a wooden background into something incredible that after you have seen it you would not believe it.

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Another fellow photographer (Eke) was called upon duty. I think David choose the right one's while he swaps the room :)

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This one is a more sculpted one.
4 strobes to get this AMAZING shot and on location and in almost 5 minutes setup... and all this was happening while he was answering everybody's Q&A... man this guy is faster than the Flash. BANG and you have a setup!

Correct me if I'm wrong but on this one David used a 2 sided strobes to get the rim light, one front light for the face and another one to get that nice background and all of them snooted.

While we were still chewing that out he came up with the idea that the red cloth on those tables could make a nice and good background for the last setup shot.

And after saying this... you just see him moving the tables out doing all his mechanical stuff.

David you ROCK Man!!!!!!!!!!!

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On his blog you can even think "Hey this guy is all bla, bla, bla, no way he could be moving furniture at the clients place..."

So my friend you wanted proof so here it is the proof, now SHUT UP and go learn something!

Let's not loose focus in here... and then again at a blink of an eye he setup this lighting composition.

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This is one of my favorite's setup from David's bag of tricks. Unfortunately I do not have a second white umbrella to try it. Here in Europe they are hard to find...

David ,if you are listening, we would need a little help getting them out here maybe a little string pulling at Midwest Photo Exchange guys would be more than appreciated.

The setup of Sara is a shot through 2 white umbrellas creating a clam shell and one silver umbrella for the background.

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This creates such a wonderful light and you can get different light ratios on each of the umbrellas,in my opinion this system is even better than a BIG soft box where you will only have one light to control. Here you can also position yourself right in the middle to shoot while with a big soft box you will alway get in the way.

David is again showing his humorous side with Sara for a moment he looked like Dean Collins... (left, left, left, now a little right, right, right, down down, gorgeous, looking great).

Well and the time went by so quickly that was already time to pack.

Let there be Light... and there was Light!!

At last minute I just catch David on is 1/1500th of a second trick... for a moment I almost missed it.

As some friends call me I'm the clicking guy :)

Time to head for the bar for another long time chat with all fellow photographers.

If David ever come to your town be sure not to miss him for nothing in this world.

Next day we get organized and made a 2 setup shooting with one model that Jon Senior had arranged for some of us that were available.

I manage to get some videos here are the links for the:

First Setup
Second Setup

This weekend (3rd November 2007) I'm organizing a Strobist meeting group in Brussels with 10 fellow photographers where we would be playing with 3 models and will be sharing this shortly with all of you.

If this turns out to be a successful meeting as I'm expecting then I will have to make some more maybe Germany, Holland or Italy... I'm up for suggestions people.

I'll keep you posted with some shots and videos from the setups.


Unknown said...

Hey man, your blog rocks! Even as the Stobist blog, this is fun to read. Love your style of writing.

I think there are a lot more strobisters here in the Benelux.

Keep on going, I've added this blog to my rss-reader!

Grtz, Peter

Anonymous said...

White umbrellas can be found via for a reasonable amount of money. I got mine from a Norwegian company in Oslo. The elinchrome umbrellas were the cheapest. Transparent NOK 154.

It is probably least painful to buy these sort of items through eBay.

Mariano said...

Regarding Germany, Frankfurt sounds like a nice and central place.

Mariano (from Frankfurt ;-)

Anonymous said...

What a great summary of the seminar. Very inspiring writing and photos. Wish I was there.

Anonymous said...

Frankfurt would be nice. I'm about 40km away from FFM.
Looking forward to see David :-)


Nicholaus Haskins said...

Way to go man! Glad you started meetups over there!

Nicholaus Haskins said...

Way to go man! Glad you started meetups over there!

Anonymous said...

Try for cheap umbrellas to Europe. Free shipping and they're cheap to start with. They also have ebay type flash triggers, brolly brackets etc. Hope this helps.