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Inspirational Leadership… “Shine on you Crazy Diamond”

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

Hi, Erik again….

I used to Blog every single day for almost three years! Crazy! I have been a Slacker as of late…must get back on the horse that bucked me off!

Anyway, at my other work , I found a book that was discarded like a piece of used snot rag …. I grabbed it! (Wiped off the snot)

It was written by Richard Oliver and it is all about Henry the 5th and interpretations of Shakespeare. It is called “Inspirational Leadership””

“Henry V is Shakespeare’s greatest leader – inspired and inspiring, visionary yet pragmatic, powerful yet responsible. In this fascinating book, acclaimed director and creative consultant Richard Oliver draws on his intimate knowledge of the play, and its absorbing central character, to unmask the secrets of Inspirational Leadership and reveal the timeless lessons it holds for Managers and Leaders today.”

….from the back cover…I am not so eloquent…..such a good find!    Here is but a tiny  snippet….

“O for a muse of fire, that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention…

         But pardon gentles all

The flat unraised spirits that hath dared

On this unworthily scaffold to bring forth

So great an object….

And let us, ciphers to this great account,

On your imaginary forces work.”

………………………………………………………………………

Thank you so much for visiting my Humble Blog

http://www.kerstenbeck.com

@ErikKerstenbeck


In the blink of an eye

In a blink of an eye, a lot can happen. A lot of astonishing things happen in a split second, but they are moving too quickly for us to see. High speed photography is the art of recording  just such events.

Depending on the event to be photographed, methods range from use of ultra-short time flash exposures to producing lots of exposures in a split-second, using for example, a strobe light, or a more exotic sound triggered system (useful for popping balloons, gunshot punctures and the like).  A typical camera flash lasts around a few thousandth of a second which is easily quick enough to freeze most anything.  The speed of the camera’s shutter is not really that important provided it is open when the flashes fire – synchronizing the camera shutter opening with the flash firing is the key…as well as deciding when to trip the shutter itself.

In this series of pictures, I constructed a setup in my studio which consisted of an aquarium, two inexpensive speed light flashes, wireless flash triggers, black muslin backdrop, DSLR on a sturdy tripod and various veggies and fruits. I filled the tank brimming with water and set one flash above the surface pointing down and the other below the surface pointing in. The tripod mounted camera (Nikon D7000, 17-70mm lens, ISO100, f18, 1/250sec) was in front of the tank and equipped with a wireless transmitter that would trigger the flashes when the shutter was tripped. The veggies and fruit were dropped from various heights depending on their size and density – I found that limes descend much faster than bell peppers, eggs and coconuts being the speediest.

The lighting angles and intensities of the flashes were adjusted periodically. One should also use a plastic zip-lock bag over the flash units, have plenty of paper towels at hand and check the camera lens after every drop – this technique can be a trifle wet! I also discovered that eggs are super fast and tend to crack upon impact on the bottom of the tank and other materials, such as yogurt just make an awful mess and cloud the water. I was contemplating dropping my small dog in the tank, but he quickly caught wind of my thoughts and beat it out of the studio!


A Glass Menagerie

Here is a photographic take on this famous play The Glass Menagerie: a four-character memory play by Tennessee Williams which originally went under the name of ‘The Gentleman Caller’. A Glass Menagerie is fragile and delicate. This fragility is manifested physically in the glass; “If you breathe, it breaks!”.  It’s also really beautiful –  of the translucent, other-worldly, delicate kind. Here is a snippet from the play…

“Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.”

This is somewhat like the craft of Photography.  Photography, as we know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which the Photographer creates his own private world. Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces. Illusions are art, for the feeling person, and it is by art that we live.

This image was executed during an event which we covered in Northern California. During an After-Party, we arrived a bit early to scope the scene and were drawn to the stacks of wine glasses being readied for the oncoming, thirsty hordes. Being Photographers, we tend to gravitate to glass (for some reason), and gazing through the stacks we were captured by the (seemingly) endless lines and rows.


Three Generations

While were preparing some of our gear for a Photoshoot, we broke out some our old Medium Format Film Cameras, blew off some dust and admired the quality of the construction and how great they feel in the hand. Lurking in the background is our trusty digital Nikon D7000 and in the front we have a Mamiya C3 and Mamiya 645. The C3 was from my Father’s early years as a Photographer in the 50s and 60s. He showed up one day with this baby and proudly showed it to my Mom. Even at this time, the C3 was not cheap and likely cost several weeks wages. Mom was not pleased and instituted a “Zone of Silence” which according to rumors lasted several weeks! Same thing when he brought home a 12 gauge shotgun, but that is a different story!

The Mamiya 645 is not the most expensive of their line, but a sturdy workhorse. There is nothing fancy about this camera, it does have an internal light meter, but there are no “Presets” or Automatic Settings. These types of cameras really teach you Manual Operation, and being film, you really have to think about what it is you are trying to achieve, have confidence in your mastery of light and perform a “first time right” shot. There is no instant preview which we are now used to with digital cameras. We almost always shoot digital in Manual Mode, just because of our training with gear such as this – take the plunge and put your camera on Manual and experiment. At least you won’t need to wait a week for the proofs to come back from The Lab!

If you have any questions, just drop us an email contact@kerstenbeck.com

Happy Shooting, Kathleen and Erik


Red White and Blue Shoe

Jimmy Choo - Next Stop!

This was shot during a Studio Session with our Model, Dinah Wolf. We experimented with High Key Lighting. The idea is to use a white backdrop, light it up with strobes from behind the Model to wash out the scene and then light the Model from the front using strobes from left and right. You can reverse Engineer the front lighting from the reflections in the shoe. This is a great tip for Photographers for Studio work. It is often very easy to tell how the lighting was set up by looking at reflections, especially with Portraits. Look for “Catch Lights” in the eyes of the Model. Often you will see one, or several. If the Catch Light is circular, they used a Beauty Light which is quite popular.

Now a bit about Catch Lights!

Catch Light is a photographic term used to describe either the Specular highlights in a subject’s eye from a light source, or the light source itself. They are also referred to as eye lights or Obies, the latter a reference to Merle Oberon, who was frequently lit using this technique. A catch light may be an artifact of the lighting method, or have been purposely engineered to add a glint or “spark” to a subject’s eye. This technique is useful in both still and motion picture photography. Adding a catch light can help draw attention to the subject’s eyes, which may otherwise get lost among other elements in the scene.

We experimented with Catch Lights during this shoot, not with eyes but with the shoes – fun!

Thanks for visiting our humble Photoblog! If you have any questions, just leave a comment and we always answer!

Kathleen and Erik


Closing Time

This is another shot from our Studio in California – not a complicated lighting set up at all. We used one Alien Bee strobe (you can see the rectangular reflection), the Martini Glass was lit with some LED Lights from Stage Ape. The multi-color reflections came from a Wallace Ting piece we own. Glass empty – time to go Home.

Now a bit about “Closing Time”

Closing Time is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Tom Waits, released in March 1973 and was produced and arranged by former Lovin Spoonful member Jerry Yester.  Closing Time was the first of seven of Waits’s major releases through Asylum, the final being Heartattack and Vine (one of our favourites!). The songs on Closing Time are often noted for their lyrical content, which like the music, vary in form. “Ol’ 55” narrates the story of a man riding “lickety split” in a car and is often seen as a song about escapism.

Closing Time features an eclectic mix of musical styles. While tracks such as “Ol ’55”, with its “gentle slipnote piano chords”, and “Old Shoes”, “a country-rock waltz that picked up the feel of ‘Ol’ 55′”, are usually considered folk-like numbers, other songs such as “Virginia Avenue”, “Midnight Lullaby”, whose intro features an instrumental segment of the nursery rhyme “Hush Little baby”, and “Grapefruit Moon” reveal a quieter, more jazz-like temperament. “Ice Cream Man” is often noted as being the most “up-tempo” song of the album, whereas “Lonely” is toned-down and slow-paced. The sophisticated piano melodies are often accompanied by trumpets, typical of the jazz sound that Waits originally designated for the album. Noticeable string arrangements are also featured on the album, on “Martha” and the final “Closing Time”, the latter being purely instrumental.

Thanks for visiting our Humble Photoblog! If you have any questions, just drop an email to contact@kerstenbeck.com


Breaking News: Huge Blob Consuming Jupiter

Jupiter, yummy!

OK, so this is not Astronomical History in the making but rather a Science Fiction Scene created in our Studio. The concept was executed with some selective studio lighting, a picture of Jupiter, a glass pane suspended above the picture and selective placement of Dishwashing Soap. We used a Nikon D90 with a Nikkor 105mm f2.8 Macro lens mounted on a steady tripod and waited until the bubbles had burst and the soap began to flow – consuming this wonderful gaseous giant! Somewhat abstract, kinda cool! Now a bit about this planet before it gets eaten by the Blob!

Jupiter is perpetually covered with clouds composed of ammonia crystals and possibly  ammonium hydrosulfide. The clouds are located in the tropopause and are arranged into bands of different latitudes, known as tropical regions. These are sub-divided into lighter-hued zones and darker belts. The interactions of these conflicting circulation patterns cause storms and turbulence. Wind speeds of 100 m/s (360 km/h) are common in zonal jets…perfect for extreme Sailboarding!

The orange and brown coloration in the clouds of Jupiter are caused by upwelling compounds that change color when they are exposed to ultraviolet light from the Sun. The exact makeup remains uncertain, but the substances are believed to be phosphorus, sulfur or possibly hydrocarbons.

The best known feature of Jupiter is the Great Red Spot, a persistent anticyclonic storm that is larger than Earth, located 22° south of the equator. It is known to have been in existence since at least 1831, and possibly since 1665. Mathematical Models suggest that the storm is stable and may be a permanent feature of the planet. The storm is large enough to be visible through Earth-based telescopes! Check it out before it The Blob has it for Dinner!