Bethlehem AD 2017 - Rooftop Angels

One of the first sights you will see when standing in line to get into Bethlehem AD are the angels on the rooftop.  It's a great intro to what awaits inside!

Fuji X-T2   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 51.6mm   f/2.8   1/80sec

The above photo is a scene that you'll see while waiting in line to get in.  In the dark, it's a magnificent scene, especially as the angels on the rooftop begin to move and the Archangel Gabriel appears at the side of the church to announce the birth of the Messiah.

From a photographer's perspective though, it's a very very difficult shot to capture.  Look at the right side of the photo and you see power lines covering the angels on that side.

And as you move towards the front of the line, which would be further to the right of the photo, the power lines become more prominent.

Fuji X-T1   ISO 800   50-140mm f/2.8 lens at 140mm   f/2.8   1/60sec

Although the glow from the lights masks the power lines, at least to the human eye.  The camera's eye though, combined with the sensor, picks up on things just like that of an animal, so the camera sees more of the above image than the one below, which is a view from within the town and how most people will see the angels.  

Fuji X-T2   ISO 1600   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/125sec

From having seen Bethlehem AD previous years, and also just from having experienced a little theater in high school and college, it's the folks in the background who don't really get their time in the spotlight, and yet also work just as hard as everyone else.  And I wanted to give them their own spotlight.  So what's a guy like me to do?

Join them on the roof, of course!

Fuji X-T2   ISO800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 55mm   f/2.8   1/60sec

I'm notorious for being a little haphazard when trying to get a shot and this was no exception.

Fuji X-T2   ISO 400   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 20.6mm   f/2.8   1/60sec

I'll leave you with three of my favorite rooftop angel shots.  When I see these, I'm reminded of how dedicated these folks are, dancing on the rooftop at night, in the cold, and sometimes in the rain and wind.

Hopefully these shots captured the spirit of what they did that night.

Fuji X-T1   ISO 800   50-140mm f/2.8 lens at 140mm   f/2.8   1/60sec

Fuji X-T2   ISO 500   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/125sec

Fuji X-T2   ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 45.5mm   f/2.8   1/60sec

Bethlehem AD 2017 - Testing the Fuji X-T2's Dynamic Range

If you play around with your camera often, shooting in crazy conditions, you might be surprised what it's capable of.  I knew the Fuji X-T1 and X-T2 cameras had decent dynamic range, but didn't know how good until I started using them in really high contrast and dark shooting conditions.  What the X-T2 in particular is able to capture in its RAW file is just nuts!

Have a look at this original photo.

ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 55mm   f/2.8   1/30sec

Even at 1/30sec, the above shot is dark.  I also had to stabilize the camera by holding it steady on a railing to avoid any type of camera shake.  Once done, I just hoped that my guess was right that the photo would look decent once I played with it in Lightroom.

Here you can see the final product.

The image Exposure was increased by 3.7 and the Shadows by 67.

Isn't that amazing?  The level of detail and the colors?  The color of the costumes was pretty well preserved.

Let's take a look at one more.

ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 28.3mm   f/2.8   1/30sec

This was a completely handheld shot.  I had nothing to brace the camera against, so I held my arms as steady as possible and then held my breath and snapped the photo.

In Lightroom, the Exposure adjustment was +5 and the Vibrancy was -56.  That produced the following image.

The Vibrancy had to be taken down because the entire image was awash in an ugly orange hue, and taking it down produced a somewhat more natural look.  Completely removing the color and going either sepia or black & white ended up showing too much grain, which I couldn't get rid of by taking the Clarity down, so the above image was a good compromise.

Now I know why the X-T2's RAW file is 50MB.  Perhaps it's also uncompressed, but either way, there's a lot of data preserved in that RAW file.

Not bad for an itty bitty mirrorless camera, eh?

Bethlehem AD 2017

25 years of Bethlehem AD; isn't it amazing?  And just like that, its three performance nights have come and gone.  But the heart of what it is remains.

I'll leave you with my key image for the event.  It's the image that -- for me -- took some work to get right with all of my jockeying for position to get just the right framing.  Clicking on the image will take you to the Flickr album with my highlights of the event.

ISO 800   56mm lens   f/1.2   1/125sec

ISO 800   56mm lens   f/1.2   1/125sec

I used my always reliable 56mm f/1.2 lens.  It's one of the best options for sharpness in low light.  I had to shift the perspective just a little bit because there's a spotlight directly in front of the angel on the right side of the frame.  But overall, I think it worked!  I wanted the perspective to be a heavenly one, that of the angels above rejoicing at the birth of the one the prophet Isaiah spoke of in Isaiah 9:6:

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


I'll write more about this event next week, to include specific photos, camera settings, and the challenges and workarounds.  But for now, Merry Christmas!

Of Things to Come: Angels

Last year around this time, I found myself getting ready to take some photos of Bethlehem AD, mostly because I wanted to get some practice in and also because I wanted to capture the event and show family and friends.  As it turns out, the coordinator for Bethlehem AD liked my photos a lot and asked if I could volunteer my time as a photographer this year.  Of course, it will be in a challenging environment with areas of high contrast, a lot of shadows, and lack of sufficient lighting.  I never turn down a chance to practice, especially in an environment that will push the limits of my camera.

This past Saturday was set aside for set-building, rehearsals, and costume-fittings.  What I've included for this post are shots of the angels practicing in the worship hall at Rise City Church in Redwood City, which is the church that has been organizing Bethlehem AD for the past 19 years.

Enjoy the photos!  And check back on Christmas day for highlights of this year's Bethlehem AD!

ISO 800   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/80sec

ISO 800   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/60sec

ISO 800   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/80sec

On the Run: Lost Lagoon

I usually run around Stanley Park whenever I'm in the Vancouver area, but this time around it was rainy and wet and I was cold and so I took a detour through Stanley Park and somehow found myself on the other side of Lost Lagoon.  Normally, I'm on the south side, but this time around I ended up on the north side.  

Now, being as cold as it was, all I wanted to do was get back to the car and head for the nearest Starbuck's for a cup of warm java.  But as I was running, I saw the buildings in the distance, and then the trees came into view.

And what a perfect frame the trees made!

I took the above photo with the Lightroom Mobile App.  There was some minor tweaking of the shadows because I didn't want it to look ominous, and I took the vibrancy up just a little bit to bring out the colors of the trees in the distance.

Doesn't it look like Christmas?

Trains in Japan

I took a trip to Japan recently, and while there were so so many things that stood out, the first thing I was struck with was just how many train stations, train lines, train tracks ... everywhere!  I mean, the trains are all over the place!  At least in the greater Tokyo metro area.  And being someone who used to be fascinated the model electric trains -- especially around Christmastime -- just being around them got me thinking about electric trains ... again!

This first shot was taken in one of the stations with my Fuji X-T2.  I made sure to get a little close to the moving train so that I could get it in motion.  I thought that the black and white conversion helped with the feel of the image.

These next two shots were taken while I was out on a run in the greater Tokyo area, and were shot with my iPhone using the Lightroom Mobile App.  It really really took a steady hand to get that motion blur while still keeping the other elements from blurring.  

From my archery days and learning to shoot a rifle, I remembered to hold my breath before pushing the shutter button on the iPhone and it seems to have worked!

Sunrise with the Fuji X-T2 and the Lightroom Mobile App

This past weekend, I ran the second half of Brazen Racing's Thanksgiving Runs. The second race was held at Quarry Lakes in Fremont, CA.  As is always the case, I usually show up early and sometimes help with setup, or just start taking pictures of people showing up and the volunteers setting things up.  I've gotten in a lot of good practice at these events, learning to anticipate a shot, what makes good framing, and sometimes learning what tells a story.  Each time is different, and with its own complications, but I never turn down an opportunity to take pictures and learn.

This first shot was taken with the Fuji X-T2 with the 16-55mm f/2.8 lens.

The color rendition is amazing!  I did tweak the above photo in post, taking up the shadows and the exposure, plus warming it up just a little bit.

This next photo was taken with the Lightroom Mobile App on my iPhone SE.

The results with the latest version of the app are quite impressive!  The adjustments made to this photo were roughly the same as the finished X-T2 photo.

Though if you look closely, you'll notice that there is a slight bit of grain to the iPhone photo, but that's only because the X-T2 has more megapixels and a superior dynamic range compared to the iPhone.  And yet, in a pinch, the iPhone comes through yet again!  I don't see myself having to turn either of those photos into a huge poster print -- I'm just documenting events -- so am confident in having the iPhone with me on the run!

MGWalk San Francisco 2017

Sometimes you need to do something familiar in order to get over grief.

It was this time last year that my mother had been diagnosed with an incurable cancer and my world changed, went into a tailspin that I didn't think I'd recover from.  Despite her diagnosis, I'd gone to the MGWalk 2016 to photograph that event because I'd made a promise.  It was a stormy day and I ended up with a damaged camera due to the rain.  You can see the photos in this Flickr Album.

This year, I went back with a fully repaired camera, though still irked that Fuji made me pay for the repair, and I photographed this year's event.  It was good seeing familiar faces and also being recognized by some of them too.

Most of all, it's a reminder that we all have our struggles.  Just like I lost my mother to cancer, many people at the MGWalk have lost a family member to myasthenia gravis, a debilitating neurological disease that still has no cure, nor is the cause known.  There's strength when we come together for a common cause, and this unity is even stronger when many are gathered, not for themselves, but for the sake of others who are suffering.

Click on the photo below to view the highlights of the event.  And remember too, that we all have our struggles.  You are not alone.

Of Things to Come - More Dirty Cello!

It's always a pleasure to meet up with the band Dirty Cello, and that happened this past Friday.  I previously photographed them giving a free concert, and then had the honor of taking band photos for them at the end of spring, just prior to their UK tour.  Here's a little teaser of a free concert they gave, and despite the rainy weather outside, their music chased away the gray skies and had people clapping their hands and stomping their feet.

I also tested out a new lens, the Fuji XF 60mm 2.4.  More on that and on this photo shoot in the next few weeks!

The Silent Film Star

Here's another photo from the Old Hollywood Glamour set at the Blast From The Past Meetup I attended.  It was set up by Rudy D. Vila, who was also responsible for the set of the "Siren of the Silver Screen" blog entry from a few weeks ago.  Except...

Well, there's something different about this one.  Yes, it matches many of the photos I studied regarding silent film stars, but...

This was shot with all natural light!

ISO 200   56mm lens   f/1.2   1/80sec

At the time, someone else was using Rudy's remote triggers and so our model, Meg, was there by herself, waiting for a photographer to photograph her, hopefully with the lighting setup.  But I trust my Fuji camera, and so when I saw exactly how the natural light was falling across Meg and the rest of the set, I knew I had a decent shot.  So I went for it, trusting what the camera would be able to capture and what I might be able to do in post processing.

It turned out better than I expected!

The Vintage Travelers

Next up is a set called the Vintage Traveler, basically a 1940s theme.  The styling was once again the idea of Marebeth Gromer and the lighting design for this theme was set up by Dirk Dreyer of Dreyer Pictures.  I’d met Dirk about two years ago at my first Meetup group session, which was also organized by Marebeth.

Our models this time around were Sophia, who I’d worked with before, and Miguel. 

The lighting set up by Dirk was a little complicated, but it needed to be because not only did we have to photograph our models, but also the plane itself.  It was a three light setup and Dirk took the time to explain the purpose of each light.  First off though, here’s the final image:

ISO 200   23mm lens    f/9   1/250sec

Dirk recommended f/7-ish for the shot, but it seemed that my camera liked f/9. 

The first light was located directly to the left.  It’s primary purpose was to provide lighting for the entire scene.  The second light was directly to the right, and served as a fill light because both of our models needed to be completely lit without any shadows.  The final light was located directly to the right, but a little further back, and its sole purpose was to light up the plane itself.  This was the first time I’d ever used that type of lighting.  I really learned a lot from this one! 

Side note: the dress that Sophia is wearing was made by her grandmother circa 1946! 

Pinup Girls

There are times when we’re totally outside our comfort zone that we almost don’t know how to function.  This particular part of the Blast From The Past photo shoot was definitely mine.  I’d never even tried to photograph pinup models before.  I’d previously photographed a model at the beach in a bathing suit, but trying to do something in an indoor lighted set really stretched me a bit thin. 

In order to get that pinup 1950s feel, instructor Jim Feldman set up a yellow background which he then lit with a light in the upper right of the shot.  Now, perhaps it was my Fuji X-T2 set at the Pro-Neg Standard film simulation, but try as I might, I couldn’t get the yellow color of the background to appear properly, at least in the live view of my camera. 

That aside, here’s what the finished shot looked like after some manipulation in Lightroom. 

ISO 200   56mm lens   f/8   1/60sec

As you can see from my camera settings, I used the base ISO, shot with a smaller aperture and kept the shutter speed at 1/60 sec.  The results weren’t reallly what I expected, at least in camera.  In order to achieve that pinup look, I had to take the temperature up in Lightroom and that at least got it to the point that closely resembled the look I was looking for.  Increasing the temperature more would have resulted in unnaturally yellow skin tones for the models. 

Overall, I think it worked!  Jim really did a good job setting up the shot for us, and models automatically launched into their poses.  All I really had to do was shoot! 

A Siren of the Silver Screen

Over the next few weeks I'll be blogging about some photos I took at a workshop hosted by Marebeth Gromer, who manages a Meetup Group I'm a part of.  Most recently, Marebeth organized a one day "Blast from the Past" workshop at Sonoma Valley Airport, which had five themes.  Each theme had a set instructor who coached us on both indoor and outdoor light.  Outdoor lighting is something familiar to me, especially the natural light.  Indoor lighting is really alien to me, so I really wanted to learn how to do that.

First up is a photo from the Hollywood Glamour set and our instructor was Rudy D. Vila, and the model was Sarah.

ISO 200   56mm lens   f/5.6   1/250sec

Rudy had a three light setup.  The main light was high and off to the left.  There was another to the right with a snoot which would illuminate the backside of her head, and one final light again to the left, but further back to create a sort of backlight on the far side of her face.

The first thing I had to learn at this particular set was that I couldn't shoot wide open like I was normally used to.  Because of the way lights behave, the aperture size would determine the brightness of the scene.  So Rudy recommended f/5.6.   The X-T2's shutter sync speed is 1/250sec so I kept it right at that.  Base ISO for the X-T2 is 200.

Once Sarah was position the way I wanted her, I started shooting.  Of note in the above, I asked her to take her high heels off.  I learned from studying the work of Damien Lovegrove, that bare feet for women makes the overall image a bit softer.  And Sarah was happy to ditch the uncomfortable heels.

I also wanted to have her face totally lit up.  Initially her head was to the left and that kind of kept her face in darkness while lighting up her legs, but from what I remembered from looking at some old Hollywood photos, the face is completely lit up while leaving the rest of the body is diminished light.

Everything just came together for the above shot!

Of Fog and Angels

I took this shot yesterday on Angel Island while awaiting the ferry to take me back to the mainland.  A mysterious smoke or fog.  Not a fire, but something else.

Thankfully not a fire or something out of Stephen King's nightmares; it was the Blue Angels!  Here they are doing coordinated loops over the SF Bay.

I was taking REI's Oru Kayaking class on Angel Island and before our ferry arrived, the Blue Angels buzzed the island on their way to their airshow over San Francisco for Fleet Week.

The above image shows just how low they were and how the smoke trail could have possibly settled down onto the island.

Since I was taking a class and out on the water, I had to travel light, so all I had was my Fuji X-T2 and 35mm f/2 compact prime lens.  This thing is sharp!  Have a look at the regular image, and below it the cropped image.

Pretty sharp, eh?

All of the above images were shot at f/4.5 because I need to be able to capture the entire plane in focus.  I also widened my focus area so that as long as I aimed in the general direction of one of the planes, that plane would be in focus.

Here's one more image just for fun.

Perhaps Captain Jack Sparrow is on that boat?


I was going to use this space to write a blog about a musician, but some things just happen.  In this case, it was Gigi.  And I'm smitten.

Gigi appeared out of the blue as I had wrapped up a morning of shooting, and she just captured my heart.  If cancer hadn't taken my mom away recently, I'm sure mom would have been excited to hear the name, "Gigi".  My mom probably would have thought, "Wow, finally!  A nice young lady has taken my son's mind off of his running obsession, and martial art sword-slinging obsession, and photography obsession, and sci-fi/fantasy obsession. Don't let her get away! You need to start your own litter of puppies!"

Well, I am smitten; I must admit.  But mom would have been a wee bit disappointed.  Because while Gigi might like to run, I don't think she'd want to run very far.  And her petite stature would make it difficult for her to wield any of my martial arts swords.  I've a feeling Gigi would probably only increase my photography obsession.  And I really don't think Gigi has any concept of lightsabers and hobbits and TARDISs.

Meet Gigi!

ISO 200   56mm lens   f/1.2   1/950sec

Isn't she adorable?

I just happened to have my Fuji 56mm prime lens on my X-T2 when Gigi came through the door of Pilates ProWorks in Burlingame with her owner.  The 56mm is my favorite portrait lens because at wide open, the depth of field is amazing, and its sharpness -- and the sharpness in general of all Fuji glass -- is stunning.

She has the look of love, don't you think?

A Mermaid in Little Yosemite, with Honey Baby88

Model Honey Baby88 and I had talked earlier this year about doing a waterfall shoot with her mermaid outfit, but circumstances dictated that we really couldn't get together until summer.  While we were planning this shoot, we worked on trying to find a suitable waterfall that didn't involve a long hike.  After doing some research, we settled on a tiny waterfall in Little Yosemite, which is located in Sunol, CA.  It was about a 1.5 mile hike from where we parked to the actual shoot location.

One of the things I set out to do with this project was to shoot from the perspective of someone watching the mermaid.  So as much as possible, I shot from angles that an observer would take, and also made sure to have type of foreground interest, as if the observer were spying on the mermaid from above, or from behind a boulder or stone facade.

Thankfully the spots we wanted to shoot at had shading from the rocks, but the lighting conditions were very very challenging because as you can see from the first photo, the rocks are white, and this made the entire scene very very bright.  Thankfully, my X-T2 has a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/8000sec so I would have had no worries had we shot out in the open, although the first shot necessitated the need for a neutral density filter.  Read on to find out why.

ISO 250   56mm lens with ND8 B+W filter  f/1.2   1/60sec

One funny side note about the above photo is that it took Honey about 10 minutes to position herself on the rock because she had to climb over to it, and then balance herself in such a way that she didn't actually fall into the water!  Her mermaid costume was tight and restricted the movement of her legs above the knee.  She made it safely though!

You're probably wondering why the shutter speed is so low and why I used an ND8 filter.  I needed to get the shutter speed low enough that the water from the small waterfall looked milky and smooth.  A high shutter speed would have frozen the beads of water like the image below.

ISO 200  56mm lens   f/1.2   1/240sec

What I like most about the above shot is again, that sense of looking in on the mermaid while she's unaware.  Perhaps she's distracted by something else or just feels safe enough to let her guard down.

The next shot is my favorite, mostly because the black and white conversion brings out a lot of details in the image that might otherwise be lost in a splash of color.  Her fin and her mermaid body really stand out in this shot.

ISO 250   56mm lens   f/1.2   1/280sec

Of course, the final shot shows our mermaid taking full notice of who's watching her.  What happens next (to the watcher) is anyone's guess!

ISO 400   56mm lens   f/1.4   1/140sec

The above shot was actually the most difficult to achieve.  The water wasn't that deep, maybe about 1.5 feet at the most, so Honey not only had to get her eyes within an inch of the water's surface, but she also had to tilt her head up enough so that it looked like she was coming straight up out of the water.  It's not too noticeable, but the blue line just to the left of her head is actually her mermaid fin.

I used the 56mm f/1.2 prime lens exclusively for this shoot because it's just the perfect portrait lens.  Fuji glass is extremely sharp, though you can see that the shot with the ND8 filter isn't as sharp as it could be.  Not exactly sure why.  Perhaps the ND8 filter might need a thorough cleaning.

Gear used:  Fuji X-T2 with 56mm f/1.2 lens and B+W ND8 filter.

Dirty Cello - Bluegrass and Blues at Old Mill Park

If you've not heard of Dirty Cello, check out their website.  Their music is amazing!  I hadn't been exposed to much bluegrass music until I listened to some of their work.  They're a lot of fun!  And this past summer they wrapped up a summer tour of Europe!

I photographed cellist Rebecca Roudman when she performed a free concert with pianist Noel Benkman at the Cadillac Hotel in early 2017.  Classically trained, Rebecca started Dirty Cello to play the other side -- so to speak -- of the cello.  After talking for a bit, I asked if she wanted to do a trade shoot and she agreed.

Rebecca chose Old Mill Park in Mill Valley as our shoot location, and what a wonderful location it is!  I'm very familiar with the bridge at Old Mill Park because it's the turnaround point for the Double Dipsea, and I've run that insane race three times.  We met on Labor Day afternoon and the results were stunning!

Enjoy the photos!  As always, I've included the camera settings for reference.  I also had to use a speedlight for all of the below shots because it was a bright, sunny day with a lot of dark shadows.  I had the ISO set to auto for the entire shoot.

First up is Rebecca.  I chose to shoot at a slight upward angle as if she were on a stage and you're looking up at her.

ISO 200   23mm lens   f/1.4   1/25sec

The wood of the Old Mill Bridge is absolutely amazing.  It has great reflective properties, although it did also present a challenge because it was bouncing a slight yellow tint into the camera.

Next is Jason.

ISO 320   23mm lens   f/2.0   1/125sec

You can see by the shadows where the speedlight is located.  My shutter speed was a little too low here so as Jason moved his head, his face went slightly out of focus.

This next shot is one of two that Rebecca chose for the Dirty Cello website.

ISO 200   16mm lens   f/1.4   1/250sec

The speedlight was located in the upper right hand corner of the frame, being held by a young lady who happened to be walking through the park with her mom.  (An interesting side note is that her mom just happened to be a fan of Dirty Cello!)  I was balancing on one of the thick wooden beams, and because it was so close to where Rebecca was, I had to use my 16mm prime lens to get all of the band members and the bridge's structure in the shot.  I later converted the image to sepia because ... hey, it's bluegrass so it needs kinda that older country feel to it!

Next was a nice solo photo of Hannah and her mandolin.

ISO 200   56mm lens  f/1.2   1/250sec

I didn't notice it until I started taking her photo that the frame of her glasses also matched the color of her mandolin.  I used the 56mm prime lens for her shot because I needed the background greens to fade out a bit.

Next we have Colin, the bass player.

ISO 200   56mm lens   f/1.2   1/250sec

I stuck with the 56mm lens again for Colin so that I could get a little subject isolation and make sure he was separated from the bright background.  The speedlight also helped with the added contrast.

Next is the second photo Rebecca chose for the Dirty Cello website.

ISO 800   35mm lens   f/4.0   1/125sec

Again, the sepia conversion to give it that bluegrass feel.  I also shot at f/4 just to keep everyone and their instruments in focus.

Here's a bit of a light-hearted moment with the band.  Not sure who was telling a joke, either Jason or Colin.

ISO 800   35mm lens   f/2.8   1/125sec

After Colin and Hannah left, I took some additional shots of Rebecca and Jason.  Here's a sweet moment between husband and wife.

ISO 640   90mm lens   f/2.0   1/125sec

Since I was using the 90mm prime lens, I had to stand pretty far back in order to get this shot.  And since I wanted to shoot wide open at f/2, I had to line them up just right to get Rebecca, Jason, and their instruments in focus.  I took the temperature up just a wee bit in Lightroom in order to achieve that warm feeling.

This is the first time I've ever had the honor of photographing a band, and it was a fun experience!  Rebecca provided some lovely classical pieces for my website in trade for these photos, and I'm still trying to figure how to get them on the site so that they can play automatically, but below is one of the classical pieces she recorded.  Hit PLAY and have a listen!

Gear used:  Fuji X-T2, 90mm f/2 prime lense, 56mm f/1.2 prime lens, 35mm f/1.4 prime lens, 23mm f/1.4 prime lens, 16mm f/1.4 prime lens, Yongnuo flashes and remote triggers.

Pilates ProWorks Burlingame - A View from the Outside

When I found out that a fitness studio was looking for photos for trade, that piqued my interest.  As you can tell, 99% of what I've done has been for trade or volunteer work.  Still dripping wet from an REI Advanced Standup Paddle Board class, I visited Pilates ProWorks Burlingame and its owner, Annabelle Jones.  Annabelle wanted some shots of her establishment and I rarely turn down an opportunity to get in some practice with the camera.  After chatting about her fitness studio and her classes, I showed up the following day to take some photos.

Below is one of the first photos of the day.  

ISO 200   16mm lens   f/1.4   1/4700sec

How was this achieved?

Initially, I didn't think much of the lettering on the window, though I did take photos of it.  But then I saw one of the customers walk right through the letters's shadow and the idea hit me.

It was 9am and the sun was shining right through the front window, so I knew I didn't have much time before the sun rose higher, thus moving the shadows from mid-level to the floor.  I asked one of Annabelle's employees who was working at the front desk to "model" for me.  I placed her in the best spot so that I could get as much of the lettering on her back, while also making sure the letters were in focus.  I slapped on my 16mm prime lens, made sure the aperture was wide open and ... voila!

ISO and shutter speed were set to auto.  I needed f/1.4 in order to isolate just the letters on her back.

I did the black and white conversion because the lettering on the window were both blue and reddish-orange, and the latter was really bright and would have drawn attention away from my model and the letters projected on her back.

More photos from Pilates ProWorks Burlingame in the next few weeks!

Gear used:  Fuji X-T2 and 16mm f/1.4 prime lens.