Meetup 4-2012
The photos in this set were shot at the April 2012 monthly meeting of the Creative Photography group hosted by Meetup.com. The meeting was held at the Madison Grill in SE Portland, Oregon. We usually have a photo oriented group discussion or a presentation by a member, but this month we were treated to an equipment demo by the local camera lens manufacturer Lensbaby. They offer a line of special effects tilt-shift lenses that mount on several brands of DSLR and Micro Four-Thirds camera bodies. Their lens system is made up of two primary components: a lens mount that attaches to the camera body which has a pivoting lens housing, and several types of lenses that fit into the housing. These are all manual focus lenses, where some of the lens elements are made of glass and a few of plastic.

We have had several meetings at the Madison Grill, so I was familiar with the lighting at this location. Because there was still some sunlight coming through the windows, and the interior was lit by tungsten lights I had to deal with this mixed light source situation. Although it isn't readily apparent I was using an off-camera flash as a fill light in all of the shots to augment the tungsten lighting. To make sure that I would have a fast recycle times I attached a Nikon SD-9 Battery Pack to my Nikon SB-900 speedlight - 4 Sanyo Eneloop AA in the flash and 8 in the battery pack. The flash was attached to the camera via a Nikon Remote Coil Cord SC-29 which gives you full TTL auto exposure. The bottom of the SC-29 (on the end that's attached to the flash) has a 1/4-20 female threaded mount. I attached a custom made handgrip to this threaded mounting point which made it easy to handle the flash.

To make the handgrip I went to a motorcycle shop and bought a replacement handlebar rubber handgrip. I cut a length of wooden dowel that was the diameter of the inside of the handgrip and drilled a 1/4” hole through the length of the dowel. I inserted a long 1/4-20 carriage bolt through the dowel and trimmed it’s length so that about 1/2” of the threaded bolt protruded from one end of the dowel. The next step was to put the rubber handgrip on the dowel, which can be easily done by wetting down the dowel and the inside of the rubber handgrip and then force it onto the dowel.

To color correct the flash so that it’s light color would match the existing light I put a Honl Speed Strap on the SB-900, which allowed me to attach a Honl 3/4-CTO gel to the flash. To soften this fill light source I attached a LumiQuest LTP flash modifier (10X14”) to the flash head. To maintain the appearance of natural lighting I set my Nikon D-700’s ISO to 4000 (four thousand) in Aperture Priority Mode with White Balance set to Auto. I was shooting with a NIKKOR 18-35mm lens which was set to f5.6. In most of the shots the flashes output power was reduced so that it would not overpower the ambient lighting. Because the D-700 produces very little image noise at high ISOs I was able to eliminate the small amount of noise in Lightroom4.
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