Sunday, April 30, 2017

Portraits with the Cherry Blossoms

This year I did a two portrait shoots using the cherry blossoms as a backdrop.  I did one shoot in the morning at the tidal basin and the other in the afternoon at a local park.  There were not as many cherry blossoms overall this year due to frost and cold temperatures near the peak bloom period.  

I went down to the tidal basin early in the morning to meet LaReine Rousse Cosplay who was cosplaying Mikumo.  I did her shoot using my Canon 70D an 18 -200mm lens, a 430 EX-RT III flash mounted on my camera, and a bounce attachment for the flash.   It was a densely clouded early in the morning however; the clouds did break up later in the morning resulting in a sunny day.   We started near the Jefferson Memorial, worked our way around the tidal basin, and ended across the street in the offshoot of the main tidal basin area.  The challenge of shooting portraits at the tidal basin is being able to get clean pictures (limited to no distractions) with all the people looking at the blossoms.  Most people were nice and waited until I took the photo before moving between my model and me.  Even though the blossoms were not as full as usual, I got a nice overall nice set of images. While there was a bunch of people walking along the basin that day, I was able to capture this image without showing the crowds.  This is my favorite image from the shoot because it shows the peace and serenity the blossoms can bring, as well as gives the impression she is the only one there.  This image was shot at ISO 100 with a focal length of 18mm, at an aperture of 4.5, a shutter speed of 1/800s, and fill flash to compensate for the backlighting the sun was providing.  I did edit the photo in Lightroom to adjust the highlights and shadows to bring out the details in the tree and blossoms.  I also increased the clarity and added a slight pink cast to the image.   You can see all the images from the shoot here.


The second cherry blossom shoot, was in a local park with Michelle as Cersei from Game of Thrones.  She chose the Cersei’s blue dress, which complemented the pink in the blossoms and the character itself worked for the setting.  Usually, the blossoms from this tree hang over the rocks more like a veil, but due to the cold snap there were not as many blooms to weigh down the branch.   This resulted in many of the photos not having a lot blossoms in the shot.  For this shoot, I used my Canon 70D an 18 -200mm lens, a 430 EX-RT III flash mounted on a light stand with an umbrella.  I have two favorite photos from the shoot. The first one shows the inner strength of the character, and was tinted blue to make it feel as though it was shot during the twilight hours. The original image was shot at ISO 100 with a focal length of 50mm, at an aperture of 4.5, a shutter speed of 1/160, and fill flash.  I also did a more modern take on the character by placing my model on the edge of the modern sculpture located in the park.  I told to give me her best intimidating Cersei’s look, and the second image pictured was the result.  The image was shot at ISO 100 with a focal length of 20mm, at an aperture of 4.5, a shutter speed of 1/400, and fill flash.  I did clean the image up slightly in Lightroom by intensifying the color and clarity slightly and adding a bit of vignetting to the image to bring attention to her face. You can see all the images from the shoot here.

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