Behind the Scenes

A quick Vegan photoshoot

Yesterday after I got home from the shop, the fambam went to the Chino Hills Farmer's Market located at The Shoppes. I haven't been here in months and it has gotten much smaller from the last time I was here but the good news is... they had everything I needed. Bread, veggies, fruits, nuts, etc... small but enough. Sorry I didn't take any photos... didn't think I was going to be blogging about this but now look at me :(

Got home and put together a quick meal... although not vegan, it was a delicious vegetarian meal. My good friend Shelly (@artistshelleybruce) dropped off a beautiful loaf of jalapeno cheese bread all the way from Bishop, CA. Fried up some portobello mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes and spread with jalapeno and cilantro hummus. Did a side of organic carrots and potato sprinkled with kosher salt and Ms. Dash. 

The photo got a lot of likes in a short period of time (with all things being relative of course). 

 Shot on Canon 1dx, Canon 50mm 2.5 macro lens

Shot on Canon 1dx, Canon 50mm 2.5 macro lens

On my way out to the shop today, I grabbed two carrots, packaged roasted seaweed and a white apricot. I asked Pro if he could cook my carrots with whatever he was cooking today but it ended up being a whole journey to make a vegan burger. I wish I took some more BTS photos but we just got caught up in the moment and I ended up faking one BTS shot for you guys. lol

Here are the other shots I took. I really wish I documented the cooking and building process but there is always next time. 

Thank you Pro for making this bomb ass food!
Til the next time,

Andrew Manley
Food Photographer

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

Playing with the White Lightning X1600 and photographing Calvin the Cowboy

So the other day, I found some old gear and brought it out to do some test shots. Since my boy was around, he was the perfect test subject to test some different lighting setups. Went with a simple White Lightning X1600 with a PCB Large Octobox. 

It's been awhile since I shot strobes outside and I wanted to try a few with the sun as a rim and kicker light. I didn't have my trusty Sekonic L358 light meter on me so I had to eye ball the exposure and the light separation from the strobe to the sun. I set the ISO to 200, shutter speed to 1/200th, f/8 and shot the strobe at full power. I did have a 82mm Marumi Circular Polarizer on the Canon 24-70mm 2.8 Mark II I was using. Typically polarizers stop down the exposure about 3 stops. I will explain my setup below. 

Started off by setting the strobe just left of camera and the sun was behind and high over my son's right shoulder. I didn't want to overpower the sun too much.... If anything, I was going for ambient to be half stop under the strobe. 

The light had a hardware malfunction as the clamping mechanism broke off so the light kept drooping downward. Good thing my model is only 3 feet tall... lol

The shot on the left is a BTS photo of me directing Cal to commit to the shot. I need a nice stern face and that is what he gave me. You can see examples by scrolling down. The other two shots I did with the sun actually behind my left shoulder. You can see in the portrait of him looking straight into the camera that he has apart of his cheek overexposed by direct light. Although this was not an ideal setup for me, I am glad I was able to give it a try. I think it created more shadows by shooting with the sun that high up

This is one of the first shots that I took and I could barely tell if the shot was good or not cause the 1Ds Mark II has such a tiny screen and it has a terrible viewing angle but I like how the light looks in conjunction with the ambient light. 

Since this is just for practice, I used a few different editing methods. If it were client work, I would have made all the edits consistent with each other so there would of been a nice flow from image to image. All of these had the sun directly over Cal's right shoulder. When I was outside, I wasn't really feeling the shots but when I got to the computer, they turned out pretty good. 

It was burning hot and I wanted the angle of the sun to be lower than it was earlier in the day. So we let 2 hours burn by and got the sun directly behind Calvin. Of the 4 images, can you tell which three were shot with a strobe and which one was ambient only? Go ahead, take a gander 

If you guessed the top right, you are right. You can tell that the light on his face is flat (no contrast) and doesn't have a gradient of light running left to right. The light was on the left side of the frame at full power. It was about 1.5 stops brighter than the ambient so that is why the background is darker than the one without the strobe. 

Although most portrait photographers don't like to shoot mid day cause it creates the harshest shadows, I think shooting high noon adds a certain character and mood that you don't see in late afternoon shots. 

I hope to utilize a few strobes on an outdoor shoot with a Fiat 500e electric sometime in the next few weeks. Should be a good one. 

Thanks for checking out the blog and make sure to read a few of the other posts I have.

Andrew Manley

Porsche 911 Carrera 4 (964) with the Pixelstick

So I didn't have too much lined up this week and in keeping up with the blog, I decided to do a shoot with my 964 and The PixelStick and try to create something fun and different at the same time. 

So this is what I used this time around. All items can be found at IE Photo Rentals website:
1. Sony A7RII
2. Metabones Adapter EF to E Mount
3. Pixelstick
4. Canon 24-70mm 2.8 Mark II
5. Westcott Ice Light
6. Marumi 82mm Circular Polarizer
7. Gitzo Tripod with RRS BH-55 (my personal tripod)

BTS and Assistant:
Assistant: Phil Awad @handsomeandphilthy - Website: http://www.handsomeandphilthy.com
BTS Photo: Zach Patino @zack_p14 - Website: http://www.imaginationvisions.net
BTS Video: @parchen_iv - Website: http://www.imaginationvisions.net

So above is the final shot that I picked and edited. I am pretty happy with the outcome but here is everything else that happened that night.

Storytime:
Earlier in the day, I spoke with Zack about doing the BTS for the shoot tonight. He also brought along Matt who does a lot of video work. They both do quite a bit of drone work at major music festivals so make sure to check out their work. 

About 90 mins before meet up time, I call Phil and invite him over to shoot tonight... since he has gotten back from Lebanon, he's need a good 'pick me up' so I told him to grab his gear and shot over. Of course, this guy comes late as he usually does. 

Zach and Matt show up on time (thank you guys for doing that) and since he had some time to kill, I asked them if they knew how to drive stick. Sadly they both answered 'no' and that didn't sit right with me. So I ordered them into the driver seat and taught another two people how to work the art of driving manual transmissions. lol

The location I picked was perfect for the Pixelstick because it is extremely dark and would of been perfect for light painting... only thing was, the moon was out and it was oh so dark but no worries, we got it covered.

I'm pretty sure we probably had over $40,000 worth of gear out there that night. This game is too expensive not to make some money, you feel me?

Even with the moon out, it was pretty dark. I know it is hard to tell from the finished photo cause it looks like it was taken late afternoon but trust us, hard to see what was in front of you... and to give you an example, Phil tripped over his own tripod and broke his Rokinon 85mm with a BW 77mm Circular Polarizer worth $200... that's how dark lol
 

On my out from the pad, I saw my trusty old aluminium ladder and brought her with us. I set my tripod on it's highest setting and shot down on the Carrera but this angle was not ideal. I ended up scrapping it. 

Finally brought the tripod down to a knee level. I think the Carrera looks best at this level. Easy does it.

Started to edit on the spot but was not happy with it so we changed it up.

So we tried a few different lines to get the light paint right but it ended up being a waste of time cause the ambient light with the moon is ultimately what I stuck with. I should have light painted my final composition but I guess I was delirious from being hungry. Phil just kept talking about McDonald's... lol jk Phil, I love you.

Finally pulled out the Pixelstick once we got the angle that worked for us. 

Below you can see all the various designs we tried out.

We also did a roller video but at the time of this blog's release, it wasn't done yet so keep an eye out for that.

Thanks to Phil, Zack and Matt for coming out. It was fun.
Below are some shots from the 3 of them as well.
 

 

Check out The Pixelstick's website for more information on their product and you can check out IE Photo Rental's website to rent the pixelstick

A quick California Lifestyle shoot with two teens in a vintage VW Bug

Some time in 2012, I stopped contributing to an agency I was with due to a lot of corporate bullshit that was going on. Sometimes you have to know when to collect your chips and walk away from the game. This was one of the last shoots I did at that time back in Sept of 2012. I accidentally ran across the folder with these images so I wanted to put a little BTS post since people love to see what goes on behind the scenes. 

My original goal for this shoot was to express the young California spirit of these teen girls. I thought an old school VW Bug would fit the bill right so that's what I went with. I asked a buddy of mine who collects vintage Vdubs and found some girls that my old assistant Lloyd knew from High School. 

Due to time restraints I had at the time, my goal was to shoot by the shop but try to pass it off as if we were somewhere that was not Pomona... lol. So shooting tight was mandatory. The girls at the time didn't have much modeling experience which many times is a double edged sword. Double edged because they have little experience and they need a lot of direction but at the same time they have genuine emotions so it feels more "real". 

Normally I didn't have people shooting behind the scenes but that day we had Paul (owner of the VW) out with his camera so that is the only BTS we have. We had the car parked right along the building so that we could utilize the shade as much as possible. The light outside the window were blown out but it ended up working for me since I was trying to make it seem we were closer to a "beachy" area. Is beachy even a word? IDK. Only other piece of gear we used was a large fan to replicate the car moving. Some of the shots are not as consistent with the wind but it worked for the most part. 

Shot with a Canon 5d Mark III, Canon 35L and shot mainly these settings: f/2.8, 1/200th and ISO 400. Easy breezy. This was a short shoot as I had a few other looks I needed to get. 

The images turned out well... this was quite some time ago and I will be bringing some new shoots up in the future that work on the Cali Lifestyle... so stay tuned with that.

Thanks for reading. Share and comment if you liked this post. Appreciate it!

Andrew Manley
Lifestyle Photographer

Creaminz RWB Widebody 993 in Downtown Los Angeles

 My halo shot of the night. Profile shot of the Creaminz 993 RWB. ©2015 Andrew Manley

My halo shot of the night. Profile shot of the Creaminz 993 RWB. ©2015 Andrew Manley

Southern California is the epicenter of so many sub-cultures and trends, it's no wonder why people keeping flocking to this state. Cool weather, warm beaches, gorgeous mountains, barren deserts... we got it all.

In California car culture, Nakai-san of RWB has gotten a lot of attention and no wonder, if you have ever seen a wide body air-cooled Porsche from behind, you will get feelings in your body you may normally not get when you look at cars. Those wide hips, low stance, beautiful exhaust tips... (sorry I just had a moment) mixed with the unique sounds of ITB's (individual throttle body), you get the same dunzo face from every car enthusiast. Pure sex.... 

So Darren aka Creaminz got his 993 built by Nakai earlier in 2015 and has been seen all over car meets/shows in Socal. I met Darren last year thru Dionne Mascunana when Darren would come to IE Photo Rentals to grab gear for Dionne. Back then, he had a gorgeous Turquoise 997.1 GT3 with a Vollkkomen Kit on it. Recently when he came to grab something for Dionne, I asked him if I could shoot his car as I felt like I could use it for my portfolio. Darren is always down for the ride so we set a date and met up in Downtown Los Angeles.

In a better effort to give you guys better behind the scenes (BTS) footage, I asked fellow car enthusiast and photographer Danny from JDMzipties if he would help out with the candids. He gladly accepted along with fellow car super mechanic, Kristian Wong aka @studytuned who has a great eye for photography. Both BTS are below and will be noted in the description. 

 

Our evening started out with us meeting at 10:30pm. Kristian, Alec and I got to the location a bit early so I could location scout a bit. Every spot I wanted to shoot at had cars coming every 30 secs or so, so that was a bust. Bit by bit, people started to show up which put more pressure on me to perform. So we got back in the CR-V had drove around to see what we could find. 

I didn't want to shoot at a spot that was pretty well known for shooting cars. Why beat a dead horse right? I had a great idea of Darren to be exiting a parking garage but they were either all closed or had security. I like to call them cock blockers smh. So we kept driving until I found this garage that we used to ride our bikes thru years ago. No security, check. Little to no cars, check. Was a win in my book so we headed back and let everyone know about it. 

For the most part, the shoot was almost a straight shooter. Took my Gitzo and RRS BH55 Ballhead out and placed the Sony A7RII and Canon 24-70mm 2.8 Mark II on top of the ballhead. Took a few ambient shots at different exposures and then had Alec hold the PCB B800 monolight with the PCB Vagabond VLX Lithium battery to power the light. Just to have what I needed, we did two types of light paint. First off, we had Alec stand around different parts of the car while I fired the strobe off thru the stripbox. The second round, we ran the hot light of 150watt and light painted with a long shutter speed. The garage bulbs were really bright so Kristian being the gentlemen he is took his sweater of to put it over the light to stomp out the ambient. It was perfect. 

Dionne noticed a nice long perspective between two garages so that is what we used for location #2. Darren told me his favorite part of the car was the front but I had a hard time getting away from her butt. It's just so awesome. So went with what my heart told me to do. Never let me down lol. This location was perfect cause it had nice long lines, had a staircase if we wanted to get higher up and had sky scrappers in the background. Did light painting with the Westcott Ice Light for this shot. 

Last shot was for Dionne mainly. We were going to get freeway rollers. Good thing they brought a minivan cause it was so much easier to get low shots hanging out a sliding door. Dionne had some mad skills poking his body out at high speeds. Life is so fun! Dionne wanted to nail the LA skyline in the background so we made a few different passes on the 110 fwy. Money!

 I had others with dominant skylines but I think Socal freeway signs say CA so well, don't you think? ©2015 Andrew Manley

I had others with dominant skylines but I think Socal freeway signs say CA so well, don't you think? ©2015 Andrew Manley

 A pearl

A pearl

I want to thank Darren aka Creaminz for trusting me to photograph his car even though he didn't know my skill sets. Thanks for trusting. Thanks to Danny @jdmzipties for being primary BTS shooter, Kristian @studytuned for your captures, Alec for being my very hard working assistant and lastly Jasper for helping out Dionne drive the car. Dionne thanks for putting it all together. 

I hope you guys enjoyed this round up. See you on the next.

Andrew Manley
Los Angeles Automotive Photographer