Randy Plett Photographs

Travel Lighting Technique Used in Tokyo

March 2nd, 2011

I’m just getting around to processing some of my images from our trip to Japan with iStockphoto.com. As a ‘social member’ we were really there to hang out in the evenings drinking sake and waking up as late as 4:00 pm. But we did some shooting. I thought I would share this shot, along with some technical details.

Two young Japanese women drinking coffee and hanging out at night in Tokyo.

It’s certainly not a groundbreaking image, but the lighting was a bit of a challenge. The camera was metered for the background to get a nice bright exposure. We’re talkin’ f:2, 1/60 sec, ISO 1600. Pretty nasty as far as some photographers are concerned. I must say that I love the slop. I was shooting with my workhorse Canon 50mm f:1.4, and triggering a Canon Speedlight wirelessly. The strobe was shot through a translucent umbrella that I picked up from a 100¬• store (worth about a US dollar). I wish I could consistently find light modifiers that cheap. The handle on the umbrella was broken off with ease, and we wrapped a band-aid around the broken shaft it so no one would lose an eye if the umbrella were to act as a sail once the wind picked up.

What makes this image different? I placed an orange, tungsten balanced gel over the strobe, and set the white balance to… yes, tungsten. So the camera ‘sees’ the strobe light, and the background lights as neutral, but allows the buildings in the far background appear blue. It’s pretty fun to experiment with this stuff.

I’ve been using small Canon Speedlights with wireless transmitters for a while now, and have used them to get studio quality lighting in incredibly remote areas, like Lake Eyasi in Tanzania. It is my preferred travel lighting gear. I urge every photographer to try it out, and once you get used to them, and their limitations, you can get awesome results. Just to be clear, this is ideal for lightwieght travel lighting.

Photographers on a lower budget that already own a Speedlight, or any other type of battery operated off-camera flash can also get great results when shooting outdoors, or bouncing the light off a white ceiling. Because of the size and weight of these things and the minimal cords needed, they are extremely versatile.

Apart from Speedlight strobes and wireless transmitters, these umbrella light stand adapters are very useful for adjusting the angle of your strobe and holding umbrellas. Or if you want more power from your strobes, use something like this sick looking triple flash bracket. Lastly, you’ll probably need at least one light stand, so grab the smallest, lightest one that fits in your baggage and also reaches eight feet tall when unfolded. Your tripod can do the same thing, but most tripods only reach six feet in maximum height.

Help Keep a Smile on this Face

February 2nd, 2011

Cute Child Playing Outdoors

A non-profit organization in Florida wanted to use a photo that they found on my website. Generally I’ve got no problem with this, as long as it’s for a good cause, and they agree to some standard terms and conditions. From their website: Quantum House is a caring and supportive home that lessens the burden for families whose children are receiving treatment in Palm Beach County for a serious medical¬†condition.

I <3 this photo – probably because it’s of my daughter, and it captures her personality quite well. It’s not often she doesn’t have a huge smile on her face, contrary to the caption “Help keep a smile on her face.” Just thinking about her brings a tear to my eyes. I love my little girl!

Your Flatulence is not Toxic Enough

January 21st, 2011

Your flatulence is not toxic enough to remove cockroach and bedbug infestations… until now. Introducing Fartox! Imported from Istanbul, Turkey.

Fartox - Farts that kill.

I’ve been going through my archives trying to get caught up and came across this gem from Istanbul, 2009 (to give you an idea of how backed up I am). My goal is to be completely caught up by Fenruary 1st, 2011… Meaning every shoot and every photo worth working on has been processed and edited.

Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

December 22nd, 2010

Cat. From Homesense. $12.99.

Last minute holiday gift ideas

Photoshoot with InspirationALL

December 13th, 2010

Vancouver Lifestyle Models

I just finished a 6 hour shoot with some incredibly awesome models from InspirationALL Talent Agency here in Vancouver. We had a total of 18 models, and all but four were not from the agency. Other helpers included my producer Niki, Nadia Albano (makeup) and a few friends, totalling 24 people all crammed in a small studio. The goal was to shoot several large group shots for three hours, and individual portraits for the next three, with a lunch break in between. Mission accomplished.

Going through the 30 Gb’s of images, I’d say there is some rad portraits. More coming soon.