sony a7s

Impromptu boxing shoot with Arri Fresnel Lights

So last week, I got some Arri Fresnel lights in... 750's and 300's... these lights let off some beautiful light and is used commonly by videographers. However I was intrigued to use them for photography because some years ago at a wedding reception, a videographer left it running during the whole reception and it produced such great colors. 

Just to test the power of the 750's, I plugged it and shot it towards the opposite wall. Super bright but more than I needed so I changed it out for the 300's. The 300's were perfect for bringing in some of the ambient light we had. I needed a test model so I told Leonard to stand in front of the light. I tried a few different positions with the light beaming as a rim light and a kicker light for flare. Below is a gallery of the various angles and such. 

The very last shot in the gallery we used a reflector to bounce some light back on to the right of his face. You can see there is a huge difference from the previous photo right? There is no right or wrong. If you wanted to go with a darker/mysterious shot, then the one on the left would have been ideal otherwise the last shot produces some good detail with the fill light. 

Leonard had his Canon 5d Mark III already out with the new Sigma 24-35mm 2.0 Art series attached to it. It was a great time to put the lens to the test. From what I can tell, when it hits its the focus, the lens is pretty sharp at 2.0 but my keeper rate was not high. I will have to spend some more time with it to see if it was just too dark to focus properly. 

I ended up directing Leonard and he was playing the role pretty well so I told him to take his shirt off and pose like a Street Fighter. He was a bit self conscious since his hair wasn't done and he felt like he needed to do some push ups to tense up his chest and arms... lol. However I think all of it ended up working since this shot is more raw and grungy versus the other final shot below. We had a Lastolite difflector to the right of his face to bounce that light and pick up that beautiful fill. 

Since I was already feeling where the shoot was going, I had Leonard setup both the 750 and 300 in a larger space. Then we had him oil his arms and chest with Pro's vegan coconut oil... lol. He smelled like a Hawaiian dessert... must be nice. We then proceeded to wrap up his hands and wrist with black elastic. 

I am usually an anal bastard when it comes to backgrounds. Although I was a fan of how the previous shot came out, there were lots of distracting elements apart of the background. For this one, I wanted to use the lines of the garage to give it a symmetric texture. 

I ended up placing the light in the final shot... to some its a bit distracting but I wanted to spice it up just a bit. Perhaps the flares were too much but I'm just having fun for now. 

Let me know which one you liked better. The first or the second portrait.

I hope you guys liked this one and learned something.

Til the next one,
Andrew Manley

Star gazing at Leo Carillo Beach, CA with the Sony A7s & A7r II

Leonard Holland, one of our guys at IE Photo Rentals loves doing landscapes and he has been talking about shooting with the group for some time. He came into the shop one day to show me a photo of his last trip to Leo Carillo Beach, CA. I was blown away with the ideal of laying out at the beach and looking at the stars. He told me that he wanted to go again to try and get a better shot since he wasn't happy with his last encounter.

I figured it was a great time to take a short trip out with the team and take photographs as a group. We agreed to meet there at 10pm but we actually met closer to 10:30pm or so. Our group ran late cause we got caught up in the Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade traffic, Pro was coming from the "hood" and Leonard's group was about 5 mins behind my group. Hector and Nancy made it there 20 mins before anyone but Hector started to get a bit of anxiety cause it was so dark. Our group originally planned to eat a nice meal in Santa Monica but cause we were running late, we ended up eating Jack in the Box. Felt like I was in high school again... in a car packed with people eating Jumbo Jacks with their famous buttermilk sauce. Good times. Below is a map of where Leo Carillo Beach is.

As soon as we arrived, I could already see the stars shinning brighter than they have ever in my entire life. I could even see traces of the Milky Way Galaxy... that was all a big trip for me. Part of why the stars were so bright, no ambient light pollution. I am guessing light pollution is about 3 stops of light brighter than the stars way above. When our eyes adjust for street lamps and such, the weaker light of the stars recede. 

It was pitch black out there so in an effort to keep the photos representing the feel out there, I left the images mainly untouched. We ended up shooting for 2.5 hours or so but people started to get cold and sleepy as we were getting closer to 3am. I felt like I could shoot another 2 hours. 


I didn't like the composition of the shot where the Milky Way was so instead, I probably did a big no-no and ended up making my own composition. I stacked a shot of the Milky way into a landscape that I liked better. I know a lot of you Purist would probably scoff at me but hey, it's what I do. It took me about 40 mins to properly blend it in but I got it to where I was happy.

Definitely worth a trip out there.

©2015 Copyright Andrew Manley

©2015 Copyright Andrew Manley