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Critic's CornerMan w/Harp

Portraits and head shots. Learn the finer points of lighting and posing.
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Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
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Man w/Harp

Postby Ernst-Ulrich Schafer » Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:05 pm

Here is a portrait from my "Yank them of the Sidewalk" project. Your comments and critique are quite welcomed.

Best regards, Ernst
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Charles Haacker
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Re: Man w/Harp

Postby Charles Haacker » Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:05 pm

So there was this random harpist in his tux with an 80-pound concert harp just strolling by and you asked if he'd like to come in and rest a spell since carrying that awkward heavy thingy had to be painful and he acquiesced and you just snapped off a quick Yousuf Karsh-y thing? Riiiiiggghhttttt. :lol:

But seriously (!!) that is not only a wonderful picture, it's a jaw dropper. I admire and envy you, Ernst. I almost reflexively look at pictures and wonder, Could I have done that? Not the technical part (for me that would be relatively easy and I was a full-time studio photographer for 16 years); I mean the vision, the imagination, the creativity and creative mind and eye that actually SEES that picture before even composing it. The exquisite recurve leading to his head, lit Rembrandt short, with what looks like a pin spot coming from camera left to just barely separate him from the instrument... That would be just fine as was except then the camera is non-intuitively raised UP to fearlessly make the arresting (!!) composition that yeah, I keep looking at over and over. Could I have done that? No.

I do not mean to gush (I have often said that there are some people I should never meet in person because I would embarrass myself and them; Neil deGrasse Tyson for example), but you keep posting awesome stuff. Part of it is your technique, no doubt; you impart an X or G surface selenium toned look that takes me right back. I was a highly competent photographer and printer, but the stuff I turned out was the same stuff my predecessor turned out, and it was all pretty mechanical. I was sought after and reasonably successful (not the business part), but I lack imagination, still do. That I suspect is the difference between a mechanic and a master. Gushy, yeah, but I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it. :thanks:
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

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Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
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Re: Man w/Harp

Postby Ernst-Ulrich Schafer » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:02 pm

Charles, Thanks again for your kind comments and your time.

Yep, Just "Yanked him off my Sidewalk" ;-) At my old studio location I had a restaurant right next to me and this gentlemen would drag his harp into the restaurant on a
regular basis. I tried to catch him on several occasions but just missed him. Finally as he was leaving I asked him to come into the studio for a short session and I actually
gave him more of my time as I knew (hopefully) I could create a fine image of him. When I saw this image arrive all I could think about is Arnold Newman and I was so
frick'n excited!!!! Here I actually only had 3 studio lights working, the main, camera right & two kickers in the background.

Here is a funny story for you. When I was studying with Monte Zucker I noticed alot of the students studying with him only wanted to become a Monte clone. Well
I knew this wasn't the direction I wanted to travel in. I actually told Monte, I love you dearly man, however I'm not interested in being a clone and he understood that
very well.

Best to ya, Ernst
Today is the Day, a New Day.

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Re: Man w/Harp

Postby Duck » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:13 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:...I almost reflexively look at pictures and wonder, Could I have done that? Not the technical part (for me that would be relatively easy and I was a full-time studio photographer for 16 years); I mean the vision, the imagination, the creativity and creative mind and eye that actually SEES that picture before even composing it...

For the most part I do not care to pursue portraiture. I am happy doing my product stuff, but then I see jaw dropping work such as this and Chuck's sentiments echo through my own brain and a small voice whispers, "go ahead, give it a try, see what you can do."
---
The sad reality is that I could never aspire to achieve even a tenth of this quality so why even try. So I will continue to appreciate these images as an admirer of your work, Ernst, with the added level of technical appreciation the photographer part of me allows.

That said, even though I do not aspire to be a portraitist, I do find myself being influenced by what you post here, Ernst. I find myself pushing my lighting further because I am no longer relying on what I know but what I see can be done. Now, if I could only harness the same with your creativity and compositional style I'll get ahead a bit further.

Yeah, like Chuck, I know I'm gushing too. But then, we all gush over our influences, whether they are past photographers or some random celebrity photographer we'd never get to meet. I am fortunate enough to be able to chat with one of mine and that is a boon.

Fanboy out!
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Charles Haacker
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Re: Man w/Harp

Postby Charles Haacker » Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:03 pm

Well, me and the Duck man are fanboys and not ashamed of it! :D Thanks, Ernst, for the back story on this portrait. I never imagined that you really did yank him, well, out of a restaurant. That's delightful!

I told you I never studied with Monte Zucker, although I did see him at several wedding photographer conventions so I always tended to think of Monte as more of a wedding guy, but then I was a portrait and a wedding guy, and so was Donald Jack, whom I did study with. And the fact is that I did become something of a Donald Jack clone. The man I bought my studio from had been in business, gosh, I think since the late '40's. His style was solidly period. He said he was no artist and he was proud of it. He was a craftsman, knew exactly what he needed to do to get the picture, got it, printed it, sold it, and moved on. He was something of a legend and we had a rough time trying to follow his act, and follow it we did to a T. I used his cameras, his lights, and most of all his style because I lacked one of my own, which was why I attended seminars and conventions and eventually spent a week with Donald Jack. But all I could manage was copying a style. I don't think I ever developed my own.

We bought the place in 1978. I did this selfie (really, a selfie) with some of the toys. I look relaxed and happy because I had NO idea what we'd gotten ourselves into.
ImageThe Studio Ca. 1978 by Charles Haacker, on Flickr (If you click on it you can see it bigger)
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

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Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
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Re: Man w/Harp

Postby Ernst-Ulrich Schafer » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:18 pm

Thanks Charles. Love that portrait of you. I use to have a few of those Mamiya cameras myself and loved using them. Move up to the Mamiya Rangefinder and
should have never sold it.
Today is the Day, a New Day.

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Re: Man w/Harp

Postby pop511 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:31 am

Sorry Ernst More tech Q's;
Your exposure always has that same look and feel, so;
Looking at the exposure on forehead
Do you expose to the right or about 1/3 to 2/3 under?

As a personal preference I always set up 1/3 under

Kickers and main light:
Main light;
Size, distance?
Kickers;
It seems that you have a kicker into the right side of his face. As viewed from camera.
Separation light on backdrop?

ed
ed davis

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Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
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Re: Man w/Harp

Postby Ernst-Ulrich Schafer » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:57 am

Ed, Before I start photographing my subject I generally use an Exposure Disk to check the exposure and at the same time I set my white balance using the white side of that exposure disk.
Usually my setting are f8 @ 100sec, ISO 100. I then adjust as need to taste.

Main light 4X6, 3 to 4 ft away from the head at a 45 degree angle to the back shoulder. This is where that light is coming from that is hitting the right side of the face. Some folks consider
this wrap around light.

Kickers in the back pointed at the subject and also spills on the backdrop.
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Re: Man w/Harp

Postby pop511 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:19 am

Gotcha Ernst. I was looking at the extreme edge on his left side of forehead.
" Usually my setting are f8 @ 100sec, ISO 100 "
Yep, that's my starting point.
Thx for the info.
ed
ed davis

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Re: Man w/Harp

Postby Duck » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:48 pm

I feel like Dorothy peeking behind the curtain. :S
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
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