Laura at the Spreckles Temple of Music

It's time for a set of flashback blog posts.  You can't really gauge where you've been until you look back to where you first started.

I first met Laura during a group photo shoot in the Napa Valley in Fall 2015 and we had gotten along quite well, so I asked her if she had any interest in doing a one-one-one photo shoot.  I'd never done a one-on-one shoot before with a model, so I was freaking out the night before, thinking of how to direct her and how to get the shots I wanted.  I had only had my Fuji X-T1 for about seven months or so and was still getting used to it.  To make things even more complicated, I had a brand new lens at the time, the Fuji Film XF 56mm f/1.2, and I had never used it before in this type of setting.  I also brought along an ND8 filter (3 stop) because I had planned to do a lot of shooting wide open at f/1.2.

We decided to meet at the Spreckles Temple of Music in Golden Gate Park on a Saturday morning before the typical weekend crowds were expected to show up.  Of course, I got to the park and realized that I'd left both my reflector and tripod at home.  I was planning on triggering a speed light in order to eliminate the harsh shadows that I knew to expect that morning because it was late autumn and the sun would be pretty low in the sky.

But sometimes things take you by surprise and you get unexpected results.

In this case, the sun angle had little effect on the harsh shadows, thanks to the bright flooring of the structure.  In fact, the floor itself served as a natural reflector, as you can see in the first image, so there was no need for a reflector at all.

ISO 400   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/2200sec

I pushed the ISO up to 400 in the above image because I wanted everything to look bright.  Of course, that also pushed the shutter speed up to 1/2200sec.  Thankfully, the X-T1's max mechanical shutter speed is 1/4000sec.

Coming in for a close-up, here you can see the nice natural hair light from the sun.  And again, no need for a reflector thanks to the sunlight bouncing off the ground.

ISO 400   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/2400sec

Her clothing choice was awesome as well because it provided a nice contrast to the bright surroundings.

For the next shot, the wind started to pick up a bit and so we took advantage of it.  It wasn't strong enough to move a lot of her clothing and hair, and yet it was just enough to have the desired effect.

ISO 400   56mm f/1.2 lens f/1.2   1/3800sec

One neat detail about Laura is not only is she a model, but a stage actor and theatre instructor as well.

We left the Spreckles Temple of Music and walked across a concourse for some more shots.  I did a test shot and the light was so bright that my shutter speed was maxing out at 1/4000sec with the 56mm lens at f/1.2.  Everything was way too bright, so I slapped on my ND8 filter, and wow, what a difference that made!

ISO 400   56mm f/1.2 lens with ND8 filter   f/1.2   1/1800sec

Bringing the shutter speed down brought out the blues of the sky and the greens of the grass and trees behind her.

And next, moving in for a close-up.

ISO 400   56mm f/1.2 lens with ND8 filter   f/1.2   1/2200sec

I think if I had taken the shutter speed up a little higher, and taken the ISO lower (which I forget to do), it would have brought out the colors behind her even more.

So that was my first solo shoot with a model and it went quite well.  We both did a little bit of directing and had a lot of fun.  If I were to do things differently, it would bee just checking my camera settings after setting up the shot.

Gear used:  Fuji X-T1 with 56mm f/1.2 prime lens, and the B+W ND8 filter.