What the hell happened to the weather? It was warm and pleasant in Austin yesterday, now looking for anti-freeze for my camera!

Studio Portrait. Wholly unrelated to this post other than 
as a continuing example of my work....

Just before I went to bed last night I took Studio Dog out into the backyard and we smelled the air and luxuriated in the warm, quiet feel of the night. When I crawled out of bed this morning there were wind gusts of 25-30 miles per hour and the temperature was a soggy, cold 43 degrees. There is still condensation on the glass panes of the front door. 

I dragged myself out of the house and over to the pool where it was still 43 degrees and, after standing on the deck marveling at our collective insanity, I plunged into the water with the rest of my aquatic crew. The water temperature was a balmy 80 degrees and we had our usual Saturday morning fun; getting in 4300 yards of good swimming. I must tell you though that getting out of the pool, with the wind and cold, was a bracing experience which motivated a fast walk to the locker rooms some hundred yards away.

When I got back home I turned on the heater, something I thought we were finished with until the Fall. 

back to photography. I was feeling a bit unmotivated to re-engage with my own photography lately. I'm sure it's a result of what has been my very divided attention. I knew that the best medicine was to shoot something I would really enjoy, with someone I would really enjoy photographing. I sent out a text to my friend, Michelle, in hopes that she would have time to come by for a portrait session. She was happy to oblige and we hit the studio on Thurs. afternoon. 

We did what we usually do when shooting for me or for Michelle; we sat in the living room of the house with Belinda and caught up. We've known Michelle for decades. She was talent for dozens of our ads and TV commercials back in the days when I was working as a creative director at an ad agency and she's been an enthusiastic fan of my portrait work since our first sitting. 

After our long conversation we headed out to the studio and got to work. I'd set up a flash with a 47 inch, deep Octabox on it and it was positioned about six to eight inches behind a 4x4 foot Chimera panel frame that was covered with a 3/4 stop silk. The silk was there just to add one more layer of diffusion to the already soft light from the box. My studio is pretty "live" when it comes to light bouncing around so I placed a 4x4 foot black panel to the opposite side to lower the shadow values. 

The main light was about 45 degrees to one side of Michelle and up high enough so that the bottom of the Chimera frame was about six inches above her chin. This ensures that the neck just under the chin falls into shadow; it's a flattering look for just about everyone. I moved Michelle in as close to the light as I could get her without the light appearing in the frame. 

I also had a gridded light aimed at the Thunder Gray background directly behind Michelle. It served as a separation light. Both lights were triggered by a radio trigger in the hot shoe of the camera(s). 

I started out photographing with the Nikon D800e and the ancient Nikon 105mm f2.5, mostly nestled in at about f4 and worked with that combination for a while. Then, because I wanted to compare files, I switched out camera bodies and started using the 105mm with the D700. Then I switched lenses and tested the waters with both the 85mm f1.8 and the 24-120mm f4.0 zoom. 

I'll post some images when I get back to work on Monday. Right now I'm too excited to sit in front of the computer to post process. I'm anxious to get out and see how the Sigma 50mm Art lens comports itself. 


  1. Agree on the weather; in Houston it feels like it could easily be snowing if this were February. Interested to see that comparison betwix the 800e and 700. I am forever on the verge of getting a FF body for my Nikkors and MF lenses. Just absurd to be using MF legacy glass on a m4/3 body, though it does work, esp. the teles.

    Curious whether you have had any back (or front) focusing errors using the old manual focus lenses with the DSLRs. Of course, not a problem if using live view, but it’s something I have encountered with some adapted lenses on an old Nikon (and Canon) DSLR. The green “in focus” light is lit, but focus is a shade off.

    Keep warm and enjoy the testing.

  2. Hi Ed, I spent some time with the files this evening. They are ready on the latest post. Comments most welcome! No focus issues encountered.

  3. Don't whine. It's -26C with windchill up here in Calgary. AND FRIGGEN SNOWING!

  4. Unusual weather down under in Sydney too. Averaged 29 degrees (Celsius) last week and forecasting 31 degrees this week. Should be 10 degrees less. So much for autumn.
    Re EdPledger & focus issues with MF Nikkors. Just a thought, AF fine tune (where the body has it) can still be used to set the green dot. Set the focus just as the green dot transitions into focus, either when focusing in or focusing out, what ever works for you.
    Not THAT Ross Cameron

  5. Yeah, the weather is just not right. But the photos from the old cameras are amazing. Glad you got in a fun portrait session. Fun for you to do, and for us to see.

  6. Woke up to 24 here in the Panhandle. Two hours later when I got to our outdoor shooting location it was still 24. The weather dude had promised 30 to 31. Forecast for tomorrow calls for 80 to 85. No sympathy from here on the weather.

    Your portraits, however, are lovely -- I saw the other post.

  7. Don't get too excited about the cool spell. Our local HS Baseball team had its games cancelled because the temperature was 21 degrees, still snow on the field and the ground is still frozen. Wind chills approaching 0. North Dakota. We are having a cool spring with below normal temperatures. Then again, the ice fishing is still going strong.

  8. Re Not That Ross Cameron. As usual a few minutes snooping on google turned up the solution. A fairly common problem with the D200 (and hence Fuji S5). It is the shim under the focus screen. Distances to focus screen and sensor unequal by a few thousandths. Probably not gonna fool with it myself, nor replace with a split image screen, on a $125 camera body. AF is fine, it’s just MF that’s affected. Kind of a luck of the draw on those bodies.


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