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Monday, February 23, 2009

Rotten Paradise ?

I have just come back from one fishing trip at the Maldives and once again, since I started visiting the small inhabited islands to take photos, I have been disgusted by what I have seen. Every one of those little gems is covered with litter and garbage of all kinds. Cans, bottles, shoes, ropes, nets, chairs, plastic, buckets you name it. Most of this stuff obviously comes from the sea, a place that many people still consider as a gigantic trash bin, but more often that not you see small amounts of this rubbish been dropped there by unconsidered people, who probably don't know any better.
Talking with a Maldivian guys, and one who actually gets 100% of his income from tourism, he said that nobody lives in those islands. The way he was saying it meant that nobody takes care about them or even cares for that matter, which would be more appropriate thing to do. The government does nothing to keep their treasures clean and tidy and to educate or control the people, and the Maldives are slowly turning into a very pretty garbage bin.

Not to forget the amount of litter you see in the current near the islands, floating close to the coast together with patches of oil, ropes, and debris of all kind.

I have been travelling to the Maldives since 2004 and things, so far, have only got worst. The islands where the resorts are located are well kept, but this unfortunately doesn't happen in the islands where the locals stay, and Male is the living example for this, and those where nobody lives, which supposedly are inhabited by the local birds and visited by the tourists who sail around the Maldives with a mother vessel, and lands to those patches of sand and palms, to breath the purest essence of this, supposed-to-be, paradise in the Indian ocean.

Keeping the islands clean would be a source of income for some people and finding the better way to treat the litter is a major problem that the Maldives have to face in the nearest future. Not an easy task, yet not an impossible one.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Maldives, new trip ready to start

Back to the Maldives, departing on Thursday, good news for me such is the love I have for this specific fishing Safari. Fishing is usually good, lodging perfect, food great and most of the time the costumers are top notch. In this trip I travel with a bunch of Spaniards, one Italian, one Austrian and one Portuguese guy. It is quite a blend, and I'm sure we will have a great time together. We have one stop in Dubai for a day visit, hopefully I'll manage to grab a couple of shots. You will see images of the whole trip here when I come back, stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Location Photography

My 2 humble cents. Check out this book by Kirk Tuck. Is an understandable, useful, simple and yet terrific book about the use of small location lights. He not only explains all the technical requirements, tricks and useful tips to get the best out from even the cheapest goods, but he also gives practical examples with images and drawings that explain how to practically build a successful lighting set up for many different situation

I think this is the right book for those who, like myself, love to use the small portable flash and want to get the best out of its potential

This is Tuck's website if you care to read more about him and his work

There's also a #2 coming dedicated to studio lighting techinque, will be out in April, check this

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The light, the jaws and the studio photography addiction

What follows is all about being hooked by those small portable lights, that give you enormous creative possibilities.

We had some boring days in Madrid. Outside is snowing and inside (my chest to be precise), is cold. Darn cold. I mean, I have a cold that could slam a horse to the floor. Yeah right, for once that I have the chance to go out and photograph some beautiful white snow, I'm jailed into my own hose.

Well, to get the best out of the situation, after swallowing a couple of Ibuprofen pills, just to get back to life for a couple of hours, I start putting together the circus to start the light(n)ing session. One flash here, another one here below, one behind ... no, let me change that ... a tad higher and a tad closer and so on. The options and countless, the results can be numbered in thousands, but eventually, even for a complete dork like me something comes out.

Here, the main light (SB600 at 1/8 through umbrella) is on camera right, a tad higher than the jaw. This is placed on top of a translucent sheet with another SB600 lighting from below: this flash is set at 1/32.

For this take I didn't use anything else rather than the above mentioned lights. This is basically the outcome from the RAW image with just a bit of sharpening

In this second image we used a reflector on camera left to fill a bit the shadows. Still the outcome of the RAW image with a bit of sharpening

Eventually here we have an edited version of the second image, with a B&W conversion and a more menacing look.

Setting up the "studio" takes time and it can be a bit of a drag, especially if wife and daughter arrive home a tad too early than expected. Yet, once you start working is tough to quit. This is quite an addictive thing, and even more for somebody like me, totally new to the game. When I did this session I could only count on 2 SB600, now I have a third one and a Metz 54 and I think I'm getting closer to the proper minimalistic lighting bag.