Rifqi's photo

My photographic journey

As some of you might have noticed, it’s been a bit quiet around here lately. There’s no special reason for that really, I’ve simply lacked the inspiration to do any blogging. It was starting to feel like a chore and when that happens it’s better to just stop. To remedy this feeling I’ve decided to stop posting on this blog. I’m not going to remove it since it does have some nostalgic value for me, but you’re unlikely to see any new content here. Instead I’m going to post on the blog at my portfolio site, rifqisphoto.com, albeit a lot less frequently. It’s a much nicer design and it’s the place I feel my photos deserve to call their home online. I’ve just posted the first article in a very long time and you can find it here. Like I said, I won’t post very often but hopefully the writing will be a bit more thoughtful and the content a bit more interesting as a result.

/Rifqi

 

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Eira

Quick post today, as most of the time. Very simple setup, two LP160s in an octabox to camera right. The biggest challenge of this shoot was, of course, to handle my little subject. She’s sitting on a small table with my wife just out of frame. The problem is that it’s difficult to keep her entertained in this state, since she prefers to roam free and stuff her mouth with whatever she can find, kitchen utensils and the like. A lot of the time she was facing the wrong direction (away from the light) and being generally uncooperative. However, for the above shot I got lucky and caught her at just the right time as she was doing her thing – her thing being to put her hands in the air, stick her tongue out and go lulululu. She probably only does it because we do it first to make her do it…half the job of being a parent with small kids is to act like an asylum patient.

Eira

If there’s someone out there with some photoshop skills and too much time on their hands I would love to see this next photo made into a Game of Thrones poster. The slogan ‘Winter is coming’ at the top and then photoshop in the forest beyond the wall behind her. The best thing is that her name is Eira, which means snow in Welsh. Just have to change her last name to Stark as well. So, make it happen Internet.

This will be the last you hear from me for a while now. When I get back I’ll hopefully have some new material to write about.

/Rifqi

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Alyzza

I’ve been quiet for a long time now but I’m still alive and shooting, though never as much as I would like. Today we’ll take a quick look at a couple of portraits with hats…hats are important. I was planning to have a setup shot for you guys but unfortunately I was too quick with taking everything down after the shoot was done. It was only afterwards that I remembered my plan, as always. So, instead you’ll just have to use your imagination.

The light was two LP160s in an octabox, boomed above and just in front of the subject. Just below the edge of the frame was a white reflector to give me some fill for the shadows. I choose white because that produces a creamier light than something like silver, thus not drawing as much attention to itself. The background was a piece of white foamcore that was lit by another LP160 behind the subject. I didn’t go for a completely blown out background because, well, I didn’t feel like it, though it would have been easy to accomplish.

Alyzza

The rest of the shoot was very simple, I just made some silly comments and told the little muppet not to smile, which is always a great way to get her to smile. The shot at the top turned out to be my favourite but it was the only shot I did with the white hat. The reason for that was that it looked like the white of the hat blew out too much, since it was closest to the light. However, in post I was still able to recover plenty of detail, so I guess I could have shot more with it after all.

We have some more hats incoming from an even simpler (technically speaking) shoot as well. I’ll try to post that later this week because after that we’ll be travelling to Indonesia for two months. Hopefully I’ll have some material for another couple of posts when we get back from that. I’m certainly bringing enough gear for it at least…

/Rifqi

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Alyzza

This ought to be a short post, there really isn’t much to say about it. My mom’s place is full of old stuff and after trying a pair of glasses on my daughter I just had to shoot her with them. Said and done, my mom managed to find a dress, which of course was way too big but fit the look we were going for, and a feathery hat completed the transformation. My five-year old had now become an old lady.

Lighting was my standard two LP160s in an octabox to camera right. I did a test frame with the polaroid back for my Hasselblad and it looked awesome. Then I switched to Kodak Portra 400 and did two more frames. In the first one my subject blinked but the next one was good. You can see that the focus isn’t perfect but I don’t think it detracts too much from the final result.

This is an extremely simple portrait that anyone with a camera can pull off. You don’t even need flash if you have a window in the right place. What makes it work is that all the pieces that makes up the photo matches in a rather nice way. The wardrobe fits with the location – I’m lucky to be able to shoot in a house where every room is photogenic – the model is rockin’ her outfit and the medium of choice (film) contributes to the old style of the whole thing.

That last point is a bit interesting. You always hear that it’s not about the camera but the photographer. I agree, but you also have to remember that the look and feel of your photos are hugely impacted by the medium you choose for capturing them. Even someone who doesn’t know anything about photography will instantly spot the difference between a photo coming from an iphone and one coming from a large format camera. Especially if the photos are viewed in a proper way (hint: it’s not on your phone’s screen). For me it also comes down to what’s fun to shoot with, and I’m having a lot of fun in the analog world.

/Rifqi

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Alyzza

Those few of you who are regular readers will recognize the bedroom in which the above photo was taken. It’s at my mom’s place and it’s a bedroom that just begs to be used as a studio. These photos were taken just a day apart from the ones in this post.

The light source this time around was the same as in that post: two LP160s in an octabox to camera left. However, you’ll notice that the character of the light is quite different. That’s because the light is actually farther from the camera than the subject and angled towards the camera instead of away from it. This means that we’re not getting as much light on the background and that only the edge of the light is hitting the subject, making the whole scene a bit darker and moodier.

You’ll notice a lot of ghost images in the shot above. Those are present because I had trouble triggering the flash and had to expose the same frame 4 or 5 times before it fired properly. I think it’s because the sync cable doesn’t sit as tight on this lens (150mm) as it should. If I hold the cable while I’m shooting it seems to work most of the time, it just makes it a bit awkward to hold. Despite the repeated failures, I really like her expression and the way she’s looking at the camera, so I decided to use the shot anyway.

Alyzza

Here’s the second and final shot, with the flash firing right away. I’m not sure what the bright part to the right is, might be some kind of light leak. This was another of my all analog shoots, so besides these two frames I also took a polaroid to check the light. It’s kind of nice to only take three photos during a shoot and not worry too much about the results. Of course it can also be frustrating if you worry that you might end up with only failures. It helps to think that even the failures can turn out to be something that you really like in end, just like it did here.

I have one more shoot like this, three frames including polaroid, that I’ll probably do a quick post on next week. I also have a couple of analog photos from shoots where I shot digital as well, so I’m thinking about doing another comparison between the two. Until that time, keep shooting.

/Rifqi

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Alyzza

I know it’s been a bit quiet here lately but I just got scans back from four rolls of film, so I’m going to do a couple of posts about that. It seems like I’m shooting more film than digital these days. If I do a shoot with my digital camera I usually take a couple of frames with my analog one as well, and sometimes I do a shoot entirely analog, like this one.

I’m shooting for myself, I don’t have any clients or deadlines. So the most important thing to me when it comes to photography is that I enjoy both the process and the results. If I was a working photographer I would probably stick to digital most of the time. It’s safer since you can see the results immediately, so you’ll know if you’ve messed up. It’s also faster, cheaper (in the long run) and a lot more convenient. So what is it with analog? It has a soul to it, a life, an honesty, magic. I don’t really care that you can edit digital photos to look almost indistinguishable from film, it’s still not the same as the finality of pressing the shutter, hearing the mechanical click and knowing that that’s that, the frame is exposed and you won’t know the results until much later.

When I shoot film, each frame holds so much more meaning to me.

Alyzza

I think we got a bit off track there. Lights, camera and…no action please, sit very still. That’s what I told my model in the shot at the top. It was shot with my Hasselblad, 150mm lens at f4 and an 11mm extension tube to allow closer focusing. What that means, for those of you who doesn’t speak camera nerd, is that we have a very shallow depth of field that requires quite some care with the manual focusing. I only shot a single frame this close and luckily the focus is almost perfect. I love the soft and subtle look you get from shooting like this.

Alyzza

Lighting was two LP160s in an octabox from camera right. There’s also a reflector to camera left for some passive fill, though I don’t think that was in place for the bottom shot. Here she’s holding a huge balloon that was part of her birthday celebration, and the light is coming through it. Just a little experiment that was kind of fun but could have worked better. Maybe I’ll try it again and put a flash actually inside the balloon, that could be interesting.

That’s all for this time. Very simple portraits, captured on Kodak Portra 400.

/Rifqi

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Alyzza

The weather this summer was more or less abysmal, so I didn’t get as much shooting done as I had hoped. The shots in this post were taken on one of the very few days where the sun was out and just before the air started getting chillier again. Personally I’m not entirely happy with them but part of that displeasure probably stems from the fact that everything went wrong during the shoot.

Light was provided by my regular octabox with two LP160s. It’s a great light modifier and one of the things that makes it great is that it gives you a big, soft light source. unfortunately that also means it’s a big target on a windy day, a day not unlike the one for this shoot. I placed my lightstand on the other side of the fence to camera left, so when it inadvertently fell down I had to climb over the fence to get it back up. Now, that’s not something I would normally complain too much about, however, I know my subject and I know she has about the same patience and attention span as a squirrel high on caffeine. In other words: every second wasted is a shot missed.

Second problem: my subject was in her posing mood. How is that bad? I hear you ask. Well, if you have to ask then you’ve obviously never seen a five-year old pose before. She’ll make a contortion artist jealous. Her grandmother was standing behind me and trying to make her smile but that didn’t really help either, it just meant that I didn’t get any shots of the subject looking in the camera.

Third problem: The lightstand fell again and this time I heard something crack. Turned out it was the radio trigger that broke the fall and got broken in the fall. Fortunately it was only the part that you twist to secure the trigger to a hotsoe that got damaged, so everything was still functioning as it should.

Alyzza

Fourth problem: we had to move to let a car pass. Take a look at the place we’re standing, does that look like a heavily trafficked road to you? That question was rhetorical; it isn’t. In fact, most days there won’t be a single car driving there. On this day however, a car just had to come just as we were shooting and just as I was getting ready to throw all my gear in the lake (which is located around 50 meters to camera right). So I had to move the subject and camera bag with bits of pieces hanging out from it as I hastily collected everything.

At this point I was more than ready to throw in the towel, so that’s what I did. I may be remembering this wrong but I seem to recall that either a flash or radio trigger also ran out of battery at some point. I always carry spares but I lose more of that precious time when I have to switch.

What can we learn from this little story? Beats me, I’ll probably be just as annoyed next time it happens. Maybe my youngest daughter will turn out to be more patient and make things easier for me, though I’m not holding my breath for that one.

I’m hoping to finnish a couple rolls of film pretty soon, so stay tuned and I might have some analog posts in a few weeks.

/Rifqi

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