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This crazy fire-and-water wedding portrait was shot in a single exposure

by on Aug.06, 2017, under Reviews


Photographer Markus Hofstaetter doesn’t shy away from challenging projects. Inspired by a previous fire-background hot-rod photo shoot he did, Hofstaetter had the idea to try this same technique with a portrait. There would just be one key difference: this one would be a single exposure.

A photo shoot like this is all about safety, and Hofstaetter did everything he could to ensure his subjects, assistants, and the backyard stayed nice and unburnt.

He got himself a heat-proof suit from the Muckendorf-Wipfing fire department, moistened the entire backyard, cut away stray branches to ensure he had enough room, had damp sheets at the ready, and actually built a little pond in his backyard. That last part did keep the couple a bit safer, but it was actually all about getting a killer reflection in the final photograph.

You can see how the photo shoot came together in the behind the scenes photos and video below:

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Once it came time to shoot the actual photo, he used a Canon 5D Mark IV and 35mm lens set to F22. The full exposure was 4.4 seconds long. The fire background was made by dipping a 6-foot-long Kevlar wick into one liter of lamp oil, hanging it on an aluminum stick, and setting it ablaze.

The exposure lasted as long as it took for the fire to cross the frame, with a nice burst from two Hensel strobes to light the couple.

The final photograph took 4 or 5 tries, as you can see from the BTS video above, but in the end Hofstaetter managed to capture the memorable portrait he was after:

The photo has made its way around the Internet over the past week, but something people don’t know is that Hofstaetter’s initial plan was to capture the shot on both digital and large format film (his specialty).

“You see there also a large format camera (Linhof Master Technika) in one photo,” he tells DPReview. “I wanted to shoot film too, but it was too stressful to handle both cameras, because I had to light the fire too. Plus, I couldn’t get the analog camera in a good position with the lenses I had available… next time I’ll try to shoot it on film too, and maybe get a wider angle lens for the Linhof.”

To see more of Hofstaetter’s work, head over to his website, follow him on Instagram, or follow along on his blog as he continues to experiment with all sorts of crazy ideas.


All photos © Markus Hofstaetter and used with permission.



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Composition tips: simplification and negative space

by on Aug.05, 2017, under Reviews


Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Composition is about a whole lot more than the ‘rule of thirds’ or the ‘golden spiral.’ If you really want to understand what makes a photograph stand out, you need to dive deeper into the art of photography and photo composition… which is exactly what Ted Forbes did in this old episode of his aptly-titled YouTube channel The Art of Photography.

The episode was dug out of the archives by Fstoppers, and it was part of a larger series on composition, which is elaborated on in a blog Forbes was maintaining at the time called Composition Study.

But this episode in particular stands out, because it’s one of the deeper video dives out there on the subject of simplicity, minimalism, and negative space. Forbes starts with figure/ground relationships, and expands from that to explain how you create dynamism in a photograph, let your subject/figure breathe while drawing your viewers eye to that subject, and much much more.

Check out the full episode below, and then share your favorite minimalist composition in the comments down below:



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Yongnuo unveils its first Li-ion powered speedlight for the Canon RT system

by on Aug.04, 2017, under Reviews


Hong Kong camera company Yongnuo, known for its affordable lighting gear and knockoff Canon lenses, has launched its first Li-ion powered speedlite: the YN686EX-RT flash for the Canon RT system.

The Speedlite—which was quietly released a couple of months ago—is available through eBay and Amazon and features an integrated 2.4GHz transceiver and a 2,000mAh Li-ion battery able to power 750 full-power flashes. This model can be used as either a master or a slave, and it offers optical slave triggering, according to the Speedlite’s product page.

In addition, the Speedlite YN686EX-RT features a dot-matrix LCD display that shows the battery charge level, a USB port for firmware updates, and an electric zoom lamp head with a 20 – 200mm range. Other features include high-speed sync with shutter speeds up to 1/8000s, a stroboscopic mode, and support for both Custom Functions Setting and Auto-Save Setting.

Yongnuo’s Speedlite YN686EX-RT is available online starting at $150 USD.



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