Morning Light + VIP Bonus Video and Huge Gallery!

It was a great morning in the desert for photography! 🙂

VIP’s – your video is 4:24 with the “Behind the Scenes” sections… see VIP section way down below! 🙂



It was a fun shoot, but very cold!!!

As promised, I took the D3100 with the 18-200 out in the field. It performed extremely well. I shot Auto ISO with confidence. Here are some sample images… all were shot with Matrix Metering (typically -1.0 exposure compensation), Vivid setting on Picture Controls, and Auto WB.

Promo shot 1: f8 1/60sec, ISO 220, 18mm focal length



Promo shot 2: f4.8 1/200sec, ISO 100, 52mm focal length. Fired SB-800 in TTL



Promo shot 3: f4.2 1/60sec, ISO 140, 35mm. Fired SB-800 in TTL



Promo shot 4: f8 1/60sec, ISO 100, 44mm



And, also as promised, here are three high ISO samples from the D3100. The first is ISO 800, the second and third are ISO 3200. These are the files straight from the camera, so when you click the images below, it will load the entire original file!



VIP’s get the extended “BEHIND THE SCENES” video and an extensive 60+ image gallery from this morning!!! 🙂

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It’s Fun to go Green!



If you have been following my latest YouTube videos, you know that I have been experimenting with some really awesome green-screen equipment furnished by http://www.backdropexpress.com

This video is all about the Chroma Green/Blue Collapsible Backdrop that they offer. If you saw the my earlier unboxing video, you saw how compact and truly portable this item is. Also, it was very easy to set up and shoot with. It comes with its own stand, which I did not expect! It comes with a very nice bag, too, which keeps it safe on the go. If you have seen many of my past videos, you know that I LOVE when gear comes with a proper bag. This backdrop DEFINITELY falls in that category!

The first time that I tried the backdrop and imported the results into iMovie, the green-removal process did not go perfectly. Some quick research told me that I did not have the backdrop illuminated well enough for the effect to work at its best. In fact, I did not have the backdrop illuminated at all! I took a trip to the hardware store to buy some 1,000 watt halogen work lights. This helped me greatly in achieving even illumination across the backdrop when doing video. For still photography, my SB-800’s in SU-4 mode with some homemade reflectors work terrific in illuminating this backdrop.

I actually used the Help feature in iMovie ’09 to learn how to use the built-in green-screen function and it worked on the first try. There are also several great YouTube videos on this topic. With still images, the magic wand tool in Photoshop had me “knocking out” the green background in no time! I still have much to learn, but in the first few days, I have been producing far better results than I expected this early on!

Now, I can’t claim to be the premier authority on green-screen, since I am just getting my feet wet – and many of you have sent GREAT suggestions. BUT, if you do have questions, please let me know and I will either give you an answer or get you an answer! So far, I have been talking in my videos and blog posts about gear and techniques that I have a lot of experience with… this is my first venture into something completely new in quite awhile.

Thanks again to the folks at Backdrop Express for helping to make this possible.

I still have much ground to cover and I’ll make new videos every step of the way!

SnapChick & Nikon D3100 play teacher…

Hi! I’m back in the studio working with my Alien Bees strobes and D3100. I have also been working on some green screen material… more on chroma green tomorrow!

For this shoot, I grabbed my D3100 and SB-800. I had left the camera on Vivid, since I was outside this morning, but the skin tones definitely look better than I expected! Lately, I have been indecisive as to whether I prefer shots without a fill strobe with just one softened light or more classic lighting with two strobes – one primary and one fill. The promo shots below are one of each and the VIP’s get a variety from the 34 shots from today’s shoot!

Here I talk a bit about the shoot and the setup…



I continue to be impressed by the D3100. I added the SB-800 with diffuser, set to low manual power so that the Alien Bees would “see” the optical flash a little better. Since the pop-up flash points straight at the subject, my strobes have been missing the flash – the SB-800 with diffuser does a bit better at getting the flash to spread around the room, more readily triggering the strobes.

I also love the 18-55 kit lens. I shot at f5.6 today, so the 18-55 was able to give me the aperture that I wanted. I enjoyed the flexibility of the zoom in the studio.

Of course, a shoot isn’t a shoot without a little fun, so the “Sexy Teacher” theme seemed like it might be something fun to try – and who doesn’t like to try on big geeky glasses?

Here are the promo shots…





VIP’s – you get all 34 images. Be kind… I only used Photoshop for cropping!!! No filters, blurring or anything.. I am officially BRAVE!!! 🙂 Especially for the last shot in the second to last row of the gallery. I’m almost scared to post it!!! 😉

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SnapChick Works Out



When you’re in front of the camera a lot, you gotta keep in shape! Why not bring a friend and your D300s then?

This shoot was with my D300s and the 70-200 f2.8 VR. We set the camera up for action – continuous focus, focus tracking, aperture set to f4, which afforded very fast shutter speeds… enough to freeze motion.

Frankly, the photos came out a little bland. The weather was overcast and the summer grass was its wintery yellow. I tried some cross processing to bring some life and an edge to the photos. I think the effect definitely made it better. There is a side by side example above. VIP’s get all 20 images. There are 3 bonus images from the studio after the shoot! Take a peek and let me know what you think! Questions about sports / fitness photography technique? Just let me know 🙂

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SnapChick goes back to the 60’s + VIP Bonus

Hi! 🙂 I hope that everyone is having a great day. I celebrated the completion of two albums today with a shoot of my own. I turned back the clock, found some inspiration, and the camera started snapping! This shoot was with the D300s and the 17-55mm f2.8 DX. I talk more about the lighting, etc… in the video.

VIP’s… you get the entire shoot and a longer video, talking about the inspiration behind the shoot (gratuitous iPad appearance!), some of my prep, and an “outtake” 🙂

Here’s the promo stuff!







OK, VIP’s see below for the bonus video and all of the photos! 🙂 Thanks always!!! XOXOXOXO
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How I set up my D3100 + VIP Bonus video

Today I talk about my Nikon D3100 and exactly how I have configured the shooting menu and the setup menu. I spend a little more time talking about the critical features and go quickly through some of the others. You can let me know if you need me to elaborate on why I have selected some of the settings that I have. The key for me and the D3100 is having it set up for anything that comes my way! This means that there are particular situations that would require different settings – but the settings that I leave the camera on are going to “get the shot” in most circumstances

VIP’s can jump ahead to the bottom of this post – you get a longer “behind the scenes video” that includes all of the content of the main video, plus a few bonus minutes before and after where I talk about the shoot I did today (D300s) and how I very quickly change my D3100 settings in the field.

Here’s the public video (5:29 total)


VIP’s get the entire video PLUS BONUS FOOTAGE (9:05 total) 🙂

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Faking the Studio look… D3100, SC-29, SB-400




Hi! I don’t always like to move my studio gear all around… so tonight I challenged myself to use a VERY simple setup with an attempt to achieve studio-quality results! You can be the judge!


The setup? My totally cool Nikon D3100, a flash cable, and the “bottom of the barrell” SB-400 flash. Oh, and a large background sheet to act as a giant softbox. Rather than have the flash pointing directly at me, we pointed it toward the backdrop (and through the backdrop for some shots.) This softened and spread the light considerably.


One of the best aspects of this setup is that it lets the camera do the metering, since the speedlight is technically hooked to the camera. No “commander mode” or manual metering needed. All of this shooting was done in Aperture priority with exposure compensation set to +1.0 to allow the sheets to show whiter.


Check out these promo images…











VIP’s… you’re in for a treat! 24 images for you tonight. Take a peek and let me know what you think? Studio quality? Or ghetto? You tell me!


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