Boudoir Shoot With the Amazing Diandra Godiva!

I have been a fan of Diandra Godiva for over a year.  I would describe her as a 50's style or vintage glamour model.  According to Diandra she grew up in Northern California and had an interest in dressing up and taking photos since a young age.  She prefers a vintage esthetic and lifestyle.  She sings Karaoke and performs burlesque for special events. I discovered her on Instagram and hoped some day i'd get the chance to work with her.  This last week I was able to do just that.  

Fuju XT1, 56mm f1.2 lens, natural light.

I have had nothing but positive experiences working with models and this shoot was no exception.  Diandra was amazing to work with.  Her carefree nature and love for her craft shows in every image.  I like to think I have a relaxed style of shooting.  I want the model as comfortable as possible, knowing that this demeanor fosters a return through the lens.  In other words, you get what you give.  For me this was one of the most fun photo shoots I've done.

Fuju XT1, 56mm f1.2 lens, natural light.

I love natural light.  There is something to be said for keeping it simple.  I am very comfortable with using off camera flash and have used it for many shoots.  When it comes to Boudoir shoots I prefer the look of natural light.  I shot with the Fuji XT1 and for this shoot I used the Fuji 56mm f1.2 R lens.  Shot mostly wide open, there is a slightly soft nature to these images that works for me.  

Fuju XT1, 56mm f1.2 lens, natural light.

Diandra takes me back to my youth, watching old Marilyn Monroe films like "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "Some Like It Hot".  I am already working on plans for my next shoot with this amazing model.  I hope you enjoy these images as much as I did creating them.

Fuju XT1, 56mm f1.2 lens, natural light.

Fuju XT1, 56mm f1.2 lens, natural light.

Fuju XT1, 56mm f1.2 lens, natural light.

Fuju XT1, 56mm f1.2 lens, natural light.

Fuju XT1, 56mm f1.2 lens, natural light.

Fuju XT1, 56mm f1.2 lens, natural light.

I had to throw in at least one black and white!

You can find Diandra on Instagram or Tumblr

 

Chasing the Sun

On the first day of summer I decided, late in the day, that I would attempt to chase the sun in order to get some sunset images.  Not wanting to leave my Wife fending for herself with two boys 4 and 6, I decided to stay and help with the evening tasks.  Sunset being at 8:39pm I had a tight window of opportunity.  The location I chose was Bodega Head on the Sonoma Coast here in California.  Located approximately 45 minutes from my house, it would be a challenge.  I left the house at 7:10 and arrived at the coast a little after 8pm.  A short hike and I found my spot.  The light was wonderful.

Sonoma, California Coast.  Bodega Head on 6-20-16, first day of summer.

I always take some time to look around for spontaneous images.  The light on the coastline was fantastic.  

Sonoma, California Coast.  Bodega Head on 6-20-16, first day of summer.

I had to wait for the light to be just right for the sunset images.  When the sun finally set the show began.

Sonoma, California Coast.  Bodega Head on 6-20-16, first day of summer.

After that I just went with it and just kept hitting the shutter release.  The images jumped out at me one by one.  The light getting better and better as time went on.

Sonoma, California Coast.  Bodega Head on 6-20-16, first day of summer.

Sonoma, California Coast.  Bodega Head on 6-20-16, first day of summer.

Sonoma, California Coast.  Bodega Head on 6-20-16, first day of summer.

Sonoma, California Coast.  Bodega Head on 6-20-16, first day of summer.

As i've said in the past, I love spur of the moment photo adventures.  I don't like to over plan a shoot like this.  I had brought my tripod but when I arrived the wind was howling at 30 mph.  I wasn't going to be able to switch lenses so I took the only zoom I had, the 18-55.  Curious what the 16-55 2.8 would have been able to do but that's $1000 away, maybe next year.  I'm incredibly happy with the images I made and i'm looking forward to the next adventure.

Model Mayhem Has Been Good To Me!

I broke down and paid for a model and I couldn't be happier with the results.  Don't get me wrong, i've been lucky to have worked with some amazing models over the last couple of years.  There is something about the change in dynamic when it's a paid shoot.

 I worried less about how much time I was taking and took the opportunity to work different angles and lighting positions.  I'm fairly new to off camera flash and wanted to spend some time playing with the light that a one light setup provided.  I was shooting with a Fuji XT1, a 56mm 1.2 lens and a Yungnuo 560 Mark III Speelight and the Yungnuo 560TX radio transmitter mounted atop the camera.  The flash was used in conjunction with a small, square, softbox.  

I worked with an amazing model from modelmayhem.com Marie Jean .  She arrived on time and ready to work and I believe we achieved some beautiful results.  

I'm a fly by the seat of your pants kind of photographer.  I try not to have too much of a preconcieved notion of what i'm going to achieve.  I have a general ideal but I am flexible with where that takes me.  I wait to see how the model works with me and the situation and try to capture what happens without too much direction.  

Most of my photography has centered around landscapes, still life and the occasional portrait.  Lately I have been excited by what I have been able to accomplish with portraits using both natural and off camera flash.  Light can be tough to master.  It's always changing and can either help or hurt you depending on how you use it.  The goal is to remember what worked and add that to your tool kit.  

For this shoot I had an idea that I had never tried and had no idea how it would turn out.  I've traveled some in Italy and Greece and have always been taken with how widows show their respects to their partners when they are gone.  In Greece there is a tradition that a widow dresses in black for the rest of their life.  I wanted to add some beauty to this idea in the form of the subject and some flowers.  The idea was great, but carrying it out took patience for me and the model.  Marie was fantastic and worked with me until I got the results I wanted.

The hardest part of the above image was getting the focus right.  I am still learning the capabilities of my Fuji XT1.  The light was very low in the studio and it was impossible to see well enough to use manual focus.  I set the focus to area mode and was able to capture this shot.  I couldn't be happier with this image.  I actually used the out of camera jpegs and worked them a little in LIghtroom.  

It was a pleasure working with Marie and I hope we get to collaborate again in the near future.  Here are a couple more images from this shoot.

Copyright Wineberg Images 2016

Full Frame DSLR? Mirrorless? Hmmm.....

I want to take my photography to the next level, but which system do I want to invest in?  There are so many debates out there, some saying the DSLR is dead and that Mirrorless has taken over or Mirrorless cameras are nice for casual photographers but not for a pro.  You can Google "DSLR vs. Mirrorless" and the flood of opinions will appear before you.  What it comes down to for me are quality of the image and affordability of the gear.  I know this is a simplistic view but for me it is this basic.  I have no problem switching to a new system and deal with the learning curve for the right camera.

As a pro photographer quality images are the basic expectation.  So I started to do some visual research.  I headed to a few photo sharing sites to look at images taken with different systems.  Because I'm a Nikon shooter I stuck with the Nikon D610 and the D750 for DSLR images and for Mirrorless I chose the Fuji XT1.  The reason I chose the XT1 is that first off I love the styling.  Yes I said it, the styling.  It reminds me of my Nikon FE2.  It's what I hoped the Nikon DF was going to be.  I have rented the XT1 and love the feel of it and the small form factor.  I like the EVF (Electronic View Finder) and the other features of this camera.  I looked at about 100 images from each camera and to tell you the truth there wasn't much difference.  The one difference I did notice was that the Fuji images had a more real to life look.       In my opinion Nikon images, JPG or RAW have a distinctive look to them.  I love this loook and it's been the reason I have stayed with Nikon for as long as I have.  The XT1 allows you to apply film simulations such as their "Classic Chrome", which I believe was intended to emulate Kodak's Kodachrome as well as several other simulations.  That paired with filters also available with the XT1 and the creative possibilities are endless.  I like tech as much as the next guy but I am no expert on image sensors or lens elements so you won't get any long drawn out discussion on specs.  What I do know is what looks good and all of these cameras can create spectacular images in the right hands.  

I can't imagine anyone wants to throw away money on equipment.  It can be easy to jump in with both feet quickly after hearing positive review after positive review.  The newest shiny camera that promises to make your photos look as if pooped out by a unicorn mixed with pixy dust!  The inevitable feeling of dissapointment, regret and depression that you spent a month's worth of hard earned cash on something that just doesn't work for you.  For an entry level full frame Nikon system you are going to spend close to $3400.  The Nikon D610 is listed on B&H for $1496 and one decent lens, such as the Nikon 24-70 f2.8 will set you back close to $1900.  The Fuji XT1 sells for $1300 and the Fuji 16-55 f2.8 Weather Resistant lens(equivalent 24-82.5 full frame equivalent) will cost you $1200.  While the bodies cost close to the same amount, the fuji lenses are less expensive than the Nikon equivalents.  So going with the Mirrorless you would save close to $1000.  I know this is for just one camera and lens and most are going to be buying multiple lenses and a backup body.  The price just grows from there with a major savings by going mirrorless.  

I have shot Nikon for years.  I have a standard DX system that I have used for weddings, portraits and events.  I love Nikon gear and it has served me well from my FE2, purchased in 1983 to my D70 and then my D7000.  I do have to admit that when I see a system that is half the size and much cheaper with amazing quality images I am tempted. I'd love to hear what you think.  Are you shooting full frame or mirrorless?  Have you switched?  I'd love to hear your story.