July 2012 Temples

I got to go on a lovely summer vacation with my family in July.  While we were jaunting about we were able to stop at three separate temples.  We meant to try for four but LA traffic was heinous so we missed that one.

Sidenote:  I don’t want to be disloyal to my lovely Utah temples but the San Diego temple is the most beautiful temple that I have ever been in, it’s breath-taking.

I love how different the Newport Beach Temple is. It’s landscaping is stunning!

The sky was fantastic the night that we were at the Mesa Arizona Temple.  There was a storm brewing and it made for some fantastic clouds.

Here are the links to more images of these temples on my online boutique.  I also am offering 25% off of my temple images through August 7th, 2012.  Enter the code Temple (it’s case-sensitive) at check out.  This will be the largest and possibly last discount I offer this year.

San Diego Temple http://www.illuminephotography.com/sandiegotemple

Newport Beach Temple http://www.illuminephotography.com/newportbeach

Mesa Arizona Temple http://www.illuminephotography.com/mesatemple


July’s Lighting Project {extended family pictures}

I love, love, love thinking up concepts for family pictures {I already have the next two planned} and luckily my family is awesome and pretty much game for anything.  I am not the greatest Photoshop guru on earth, I often tell people that I am not George Lucas and his band of merry men so I wasn’t sure I could pull this idea off at all.  I kind of sprang this on my family during a family Sunday dinner.  Oh, I had mentioned the idea but I didn’t know if it would work so I didn’t give them notice for outfits but it adds to the spontaneous feel don’t’cha think?

This is my originals concept a.k.a. the picture I saw in my head and therefore my favorite.  I like how everyone has more of their own space but it’s kind of a ridiculous size to print so I made the one below.

This one I made for my facebook timeline cover photo.  Of course I had to smush people over so my profile pic won’t cover my sister-in-law and nephew but you don’t want to see that one, it looks silly.  This is still an odd size for printing but I am looking into having a custom-sized metallic print made which should give me some lee-way.  My mom has a party room painted bright yellow and full of all sorts of random and she wants this big over the doorway.  I checked it out and it’s going to look fantastic.  To be honest, I probably won’t print this for my home, the colors don’t go with my decor at all but it will be perfect for my Mom and that’s kinda the point of these big family pictures anyway.

I did this one mainly for my sister Leah.  She says she has some Panoramic frames that she has purchased though as they are in Australia and she happens to be here visiting she doesn’t know what size she needs.  I designed it as a 1:2 ratio which is a pretty standard pano size.  I also saved everything as PSD’s so I can move people around without too much of a hassle.

For those who care about the behind-the-scenes info we used a trampoline, or for the babies their dads threw them into the air.  I had everyone do their best to only get sky behind them so I could use the magic wand tool in photoshop to select the sky and delete it easily.  I then erased the trees and mountains along the edges of the images.  I saved every person as a PSD with a transparent background so that I could drag and drop each person into the final image.  I took a picture of the sky by itself and then because I wanted a darker sky (which I did in photoshop)  I had to mask every person and go painstakingly around the edges painting out the tiny edge of lighter sky.  I’m sure there are easier ways but I am working with CS3 and just did my best.  Some of the hair is a little crazy but oh well.

I used my Nikon SB800 speedlight set at about a 45 degree angle to the camera aimed upwards and triggered by the pop-up flash on my camera, a Nikon D700.  My settings are ISO 400, shutter speed 1/250, and f/13.  I pre-focused on people and then had them do their best to jump straight up hoping the at f/13 I would have enough depth of field to keep everything reasonably sharp.  I did get a little motion blur but as people are jumping I can live with that.  I’ve been trying to play with my speedlight more this year because it is so much easier to bring on location so that is why I used it instead of my bigger studio light.  It worked well though sometimes it didn’t fire quite right, I’m not sure why.  I waited until the sun was behind some trees so that my flash would be the main light.  It was able to overpower any dappling.  I originally wanted to use the sun as a rim light but that direction there would have been all sorts of stuff in the background that I just didn’t want to deal with.

It’s not a perfect image but I love it.  It took three separate shooting days and a ton of post-processing but I’m over-the-moon pleased with it…though now I don’t know which image I like best.

Any thoughts?

2011 LDS Temples Album

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One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2011 was to photograph a different LDS temple every month for the entire year.  It was definitely a challenge!  After I finished I decided I wanted to do something more with the images than just let them sit on my computer so I designed an album.  I used a lovely scripture from Isaiah to go with the images and I chose the Ogden Temple for the cover.  Technically the Ogden temple wasn’t part of the 2011 year because it was placed under construction shortly before the year began. But I love that temple and wanted to include it as I definitely would have had they not already begun it’s reconstruction.  That image was taken November of 2010.

I’m also trying to make myself learn how to use the slideshow feature for my blog which I have never played with before.  I’m not sure if I like it or not.  Thoughts?

Here is the link to the album on my boutique.  It’s easier to see the images there I think.


Brigham City LDS Temple

Brigham City LDS TempleI’m a little premature in posting images of this temple as it hasn’t been opened…or dedicated…or completed.  My Grandfather passed away a few weeks ago and the interment was at the Brigham City Cemetery.  On the way we stopped for just a few minutes to look at this temple.  I’ve heard so much about it but never seen it for myself other than from a distance, the freeway to be precise.  I had heard that it has been modeled after the Salt Lake Temple and you can see that influence in the architecture.  When I took this the landscaping was only partially done and there were workmen working on the front just barely below where I have cut off the image.  Considering the construction chaos that was going on and the quick stop in the smack dab middle of the day (i.e. hideous light) I am rather pleased with what I was able to get.  I am very much looking forward to visiting this temple when it opens and taking more images especially with our beloved Ogden Temple being under construction.

May Lightplay

For May’s lighting project I did a completely goofy/for fun image.  I saw in a photography magazine I subscribe to how the photographer lit the subject to look like she was watching T.V.  I decided to sort of recreate it my own way, in others words…completely different.

I enlisted my kids and provided them with a bowl of popcorn. I needed the room to be dark which meant they got to stay up a little latre and so of course my boys were game.  We tried pretending we were watching a scary movie but Seth said that pretending would give him nightmares so it we did a  funny look instead which I have decided I like better anyway.  They are actually watching T.V. though that light alone wasn’t strong enough to light the image without a slow shutter speed and hence motion blur.  I have my Nikon SB800 speedlight on this little adapter thingy so it will stay upright and I am firing it using the pop up flash on my camera (a Nikon D700) as a commander.  It’s zoomed as far as it will go, (105 I believe) and my flash exposure compensation is set to -2 to attempt to keep the room dark.  I also set the white balance to cool white fluorescent to mimic the blue light that T.V.’s give off.

This was just a goofing off shot that I saw in  my head and wanted to see what I could do.  I’ll probably never do anything with it but…who knows?

April 2012 Lighting Project

This project was a two birds with one stone sort of thing.  Ages ago I had thought of doing images of my children making faces and showing their personalities.  I’m trying to decide what to put over my bed and I thought four large black and white images of my kids would be fun.  Then I had the idea of making these nine-up composites when we had too many ideas for just one image.  I put the idea in the back of my mind to simmer for awhile but I didn’t forget about it.  Then, when I decided to do a headshot special for my friends I was trying to decide how to make the lighting work the way I wanted it to.  I am VERY picky and I have struggled with making strobe fit into my style because I really love the softness of natural light.  When I am doing headshots I don’t want to shoot with a small aperture and have everything sharp.  I want to focus straight to the eyes and have everything else fade into softness.  It’s just what I like.  I spent days upon days moving lights around and my children were so awesome and patient and ready to help, so when I got things where I wanted {and I am SO excited about that}  I pulled this idea back to the front of my brain and we took all of their favorite things and created these images.  We had a blast and from a strictly Mom perspective I love them SO SO much.  These are MY KIDS!!!  This is who these goofy little angel/heathen darlings are right now and these images are treasures to me!

April Photo Challenge

I like to do monthly photo challenges and the theme for April was mixed light.  The example given was a guy in a bar and while I thought that was cool I wanted to go a completely different route just to make it more challenging for myself.  I couldn’t think of anything.  Finally one day I was actually catching up on twitter and a profile pic caught my eye. It was of a, well, an eye, and I was intrigued.  Then I remembered that the geniuses behind the Lord of the Rings films had decided to place white twinkle lights in front of the Lady Galadriel so that the reflection in her eye would look like stars and lend a feeling of otherworldliness.  I know this because I am a huge geek and watched every. single. second. of the behind the scenes extended edition footage.  Yes I did, I even looked at every single concept image.  Anyway, I had my concept.  Twinkle lights with window backlight to create edging and I was off.  This one was really fun!