Fête de la Musique

Since moving to Australia, there have been some aspects of living in Atlanta, GA that I missed and haven’t quite found something to fill that void. I try to stay active on social media and follow promoters and events around my new neck of the woods. I woke up this morning to a Facebook post that brought to my attention what I had been hoping for.

Fête de la Musique as described on their website:

Fête de la Musique is the largest international live music event in the world! Developed by the French Government in 1982, Fête is held in 450 cities across the globe on the very same day each year – 21 June. The aim of the event is to make music everywhere, to celebrate music and to expose as many people to music as possible.

Fête de la Musique Instagramed

What I found was what I didn’t even know I was looking for. In Atlanta, we had Music Midtown for several years, concerts on the green in Piedmont Park and a long list of other music festivals all throughout the year. What makes Fête de la Musique Brisbane different is that the festival is all over the city, all day long. Again from their website:

Fête de la Musique is as often as possible an outdoor event taking place in streets, squares, public parks, playgrounds etc. Indoor venues may also be used as long as they respect the rule of free entry to the public. Fête de la Musique is the opportunity to access and open places which are not traditionally concert venues to the public: museums, hospitals, public buildings…

Loop de Loop
Bec Laughton

Fill the street with music, that’s the only objective. I had the pleasure of enjoying the early morning events on Queen Street Mall. Listening to several talented musicians and taking many photos to capture the event.

The Captains Daughters
The Captain’s Daughters

I’m not a music critic, so I won’t go into detail about the artists today. I will say that the talent pool around town is deep. From all different genres and walks of life, all of the music I heard today gave me the lift I so badly needed. Now get out there and support your local artists.

Sarah Collyer
Sarah Collyer

Dan Acfield - Fête de la Musique Brisbane
Dan Acfield

Bec Laughton - Fête de la Musique Brisbane

The Captains Daughters' fans - Fête de la Musique Brisbane

Air Drums

Given the size of the event its difficult to capture all of the performers as the day went on. I did grab this one image that summed up the event for me pretty well. While this musician can be found busking on Queen Street Mall practically daily, his audience is all that really mattered.


Too see more of the photos from the Fête de la Musique Brisbane 2012, visit my Flickr page and don’t forget to visit my website Evan Tantum Photography to keep up on my latest work and Subscribe to my newsletter

Shooting Guns

So I’ve talked about my good friend Richard King a couple of times, but haven’t really given him credit where credit is due. You see, Kinger has a niche in the photography world. Yes, he shoots fantastic portraits of his beautiful children and does some work for his church, but what he’s best at is shooting guns. Richard has been featured on websites and publications in the United States. Today I’m going to break down some of his shoots and show you how he does it.

Let’s start out with this particular set up

Pretty straight forward, white seamless paper shoot. The magazine publishers that contract Kinger request the white seamless in order to place the rifle as they need it in their publications. For example:

Getting back to the rifle pictured above, it’s a four light set up using a full roll of seamless paper and four Paul C Buff Alien Bees.

There are two strobes dedicated to the seamless paper to ensure its pure white or 255 white with no gradient. The other two for this shoot, are positioned just off center at 3 and 9 o’clock. The soft box to the rear of the rifle is feathered off the back, allow the light to wrap around the front of the weapon. The background strobes are at least full stop brighter than the strobes positioned on the rifle.

Again, brilliantly simple to produce a high quality image.

Sometimes he’s asked to shoot just the accessories, most of which won’t stand on your own. So let’s look at how this bipod was shot.

So the bipod mounts to the rifle to enhance its stability, except that it can’t stand up on its own. So in order to create an image without a shadow and minimal post processing, you have to get creative. Enter the fishing line. Depending on the subject you’re suspending, you can also use a nylon thread from a fabric store. The fishing line offers a bit more support considering the weight of the bipod compared to lighter subjects.

Unlike the previous post, a gradient was purposefully placed behind the suspended subject. A simple blue gel was used to give the image a bit of personality. The only real post processing work left to do was to clone stamp out the thin fishing line and straighten the bipod as desired.

Be sure to keep up on Richard’s work on his website, www.RichardKing.Pro and look for his work in InterMedia Outdoors, Harris Publications, and a host of local Georgia gunsmiths.

Don’t forget to visit my website Evan Tantum Photography to keep up on my latest work and Subscribe to my newsletter

Our Neighbors Down Under

No, this isn’t a post about the Clampets, sorry to disappoint. Since moving to Australia I’ve come to realize that it has some of the most beautiful wildlife. As I talked about in a previous post, you can get up close and personal with the inhabitants down here.

I grew up as a small child in a Ft Lauderdale, FL, USA suburb and thought I had seen some lizards. We used to take the small, baby lizards and have them bite our earlobes and wear them as earrings. Not here, not trying that one. Our neighbor, who we’ve named Fred, is a huge lizard that hangs out on our awning almost daily. Back in the States, people would pay top dollar to have Fred as a pet.

Another one of our lovely neighbors keeps building his home in the shrubs out in front of our home. I’m happy for him to stay there as long as he likes, just as long as he doesn’t decide that he’d rather be our roommate. Forgive my ignorance, but I’m not sure what kind he is, but he’s a giant spider that protects the building. I’ve ran like a school girl, shrieks and all past him.

Australian domesticated eight legged house guest

Lastly, my favorite visitor comes along during the day and perches up on our fence. A Kookaburra or Laughing Kookaburra who has a very distinct call. The tourist in me loves hearing the Kookaburra in the neighborhood. You can visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and see a Kookaburra or you might find one hanging out in your back yard.

Be sure to visit my website Evan Tantum Photography for my latest work and Subscribe to my newsletter.

Working with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

One of my first experiences here in Australia was having the pleasure of working for one of the countries most iconic organizations, the Royal Flying Doctor Service. On one such occasion I was asked to take the board of directors’ head shots to be used in internal publications. On another, I photographed the handover of a newly sponsored vehicle for the RFDS to use. You can see these images on my website, but I’ll give you a little insight on how I lit them.

I work with a mobile studio, including a half roll seamless and Paul C Buff Alien Bees.

I used an Alien Bee 800 in a Fotodiox Pro 60″ Octagon Softbox as the key light, camera right and at an angle to the subject. The large soft light gave the clean light I was looking for. A second Alien Bee 800 was gridded and used as a hair light from behind the subject. The third light was set below and behind the subject, set about a stop up from the key in order to make the background go white. The pure white or 255 white background will allow the RFDS the ability to drop in the head shots in newsletters and other publications of their choice.

The real fun however was shooting a dozen board members in about 20 minutes. When it came time for volunteers to go first, it was a bit like pulling teeth. Between the “I take an awful picture” and the “You’re going to airbrush this for me, right?”, time was ticking away. Once the first volunteer sat on the chair I had borrowed from the cafe outside the office, the rest came together like a well oiled machine. I was shooting tethered to my Apple MacBook Pro which allowed everyone involved to have both a good laugh and build their own confidence see how well the first images were turning out.

I’ve really enjoyed working with the RFDS and hope to again in the near future. Be sure to visit my website Evan Tantum Photography for my latest work and Subscribe to my newsletter

Afternoon at Mt Coot-tha

It was a lovely afternoon and we decided that we should take a drive to make the most of it. We headed south and made our way to Mt Coot-tha. After a short drive, we arrived at the Mt Coot-tha lookout.

Anna's Instagram

Joining us was a few bus loads of tourists, but I found my vantage point amongst them.

Anna's Instagram

Using my iPhone and the Pano app I took this five shot panorama and uploaded it straight to my Flickr.

Brisbane from Mt Coot-tha

There was a bite in the air, but the view was worth the chill.

Anna's Instagram

Brisbane from My Coot-tha

Thanks again, be sure to visit my website Evan Tantum Photography for my latest work and Subscribe to my newsletter

Brand recognition, a second attempt

In a previous post I designed a custom logo for Richard King. During the recent work I did with Jose of Iron Fitness we discussed the idea of creating a new logo for his business. We discussed the kind of font types and colors he’d like to incorporate, before cutting me loose to crete something for him.

The name is strong, so the imagery should reflect that. I started out with a image of some bolts that could be altered to convey our message.

Texture Library: Steel Rivets

I wanted to frame the text with the bolts, to give it that strong feel at first glance. So I rotated the image, duplicated it and mirrored it in order to give me the frame I was looking for. Adding in a rounded rectangle mask gives it a more defined shaped.

The idea for the text was to use a “Transformers-esque” typeface to give it a bold branding. I customized the blending modes to give it a bit of an industrial feel and centered it on the steel plate.

To add a bit of flair to it, I added a lens flare coming reflecting off of the stamped text.

Adding a bit of depth to the final image was the last order of business.

Thanks again, be sure to visit my website Evan Tantum Photography for my latest work and Subscribe to my newsletter

Iron Fitness

Since relocating to Australia, I’ve had to find a new gym to keep all those donuts from taking their toll on me. After visiting several, I came across Phoenix Elite MMA & Conditioning. I’ve since made it my new home in Brisbane for getting punched in the face. One of the personal trainers at Phoenix Elite is the amazing Jose Solis who runs Iron Fitness. Jose, a light hearted giant wanted to do a photo shoot for some new marketing materials.

We did some brainstorming and wanted to get a few seamless white shots and of course, a little working out.

Thanks again, be sure to visit my website Evan Tantum Photography for my latest work and Subscribe to my newsletter.

My new Bokeh brush in Photoshop

Picking up new techniques is always good, but using them is so much more fun. I started out with a photo of a lovely model, but the image could use a little help. So lets start out with the Straight out of camera (SOOC) image.

My first order of business is to run my custom set of actions consisting of duplicating the background layer, adding a desaturation layer, a dodge and burn layer and a levels adjustment layer. I always duplicate the background layer and reposition it to the top as a “before and after” layer as well as leaving one at the bottom just because.

Next I wanted to get rid of the harsh shadow on her face. It looked more of a blemish than a shadow and was visually detracting from the rest of the image.

A nice simple, but not a complete retouching of the skin. Now that the canvas is ready, I began to work on the background. I masked out my model and simply layered a solid white fill over the background.

Still a work in progress, but we’re headed in the right direction. I wanted to try something new, putting a newly learned technique to work for me. I added a custom brush to my arsenal, a custom “bokeh” brush. Here’s the custom brush setting I used to create the effect.

By sampling a color already in the image, I added some personality to the background.

Moving right along, let’s look at her eyes. Her eyes are beautiful as it is, but I still want to enhance them slightly. I’ve mentioned before, but I’m begun using a Wacom tablet in my workflow. Using the tablet, I lightly filled in her makeup around her eyes. Next I added a gradient on an overlay layer to brighten her natural eye color. And just because, we added some detail to her eye lashes. All of these adjustments were made on their own blank layers to keep the non-destructive workflow intact.

I use a solid 50% grey layer with an overlay blend mode for dodging and burning. Which leads us to the next adjustment, dodging and burning.

On the home stretch now. Finally, I use a combination of cross processing, high pass filter and a little skin smoothing to polish up the image.

Great, I feel really good about this image… except for one thing. Her nail polish? Do you see it? Not a big deal, but I felt like fixing it up. Just find the right color and brush combination, then stay within the lines.

And that’s it, my final image. If you have any questions about any particular technique, I’ll be happy to share it with you.

Thanks again, be sure to visit my website Evan Tantum Photography for my latest work and Subscribe to my newsletter

The Deep Depths of Deepness

A quick video blog from Zack Arias that he produced in lieu of writing a post on Scott Kelby’s Guest Blog from 2009. Having lived in Atlanta for 10 years, knowing Zack was just up the road was always motivating. I’ve personally never met Zack, but have only myself to blame for that. I feel like relate to what he says and how he approaches his work. I really enjoy this vlog, I watch it whenever I see someone else’s work that I look at and say “What am I doing? I can’t compete with that. I suck at this.” Enjoy.

The time when I reviewed Elinchrom strobes with Alex Koloskov

I owe an immense amount of gratitude to the very talented Alex Koloskov. I met Alex on his way up, I mean right at lift off. He’s earned every bit of his celebrity and I see no end in sight to his influence in the world of photography. He’s recently been featured on Scott Kelby’s Blog for it’s Guest Blog Wednesday Feature. Not to mention he’s been featured in Scott Kelby’s “Light It” magazine. To top it all off, he’s speaking at the Google+ Photographers Conference Google+ Photographers Conference. Needless to say that there’s no sign of things slowing down for Alex, living proof that hard work and dedication pays off.

I was an avid reader of Alex’s previous blog and a post caught my eye last April. Here’s an excerpt from the blog that day:

2. Photographer’s assistant/video operator.

We are looking for a creative growth-oriented individual, flexible enough to work on a short notice (possibility of late night/weekend photo-shots). The one who will help us on the shoot as an assistant and will be able to take a qualified video from the assignments and master-classes (no equipment required).

We do a lot of self-promotional and educational work and for such work we can offer a barter: experience in exchange of assistance. You can also call it educational partnership. However, assistance on a commercial assignments may be compensated accordingly. Also, this is not an every day 9 to 6 type of work: we just need help from time to time. Few times per week at maximum what we may need.

I hope to find highly motivated, smart and passionate about studio photography guy. This is not a work that will pay your bills (at least for now), but it will be a great opportunity for you to learn things that can’t be found anywhere else: we work our own way, discovering unique techniques and solutions, we build a clearly distinguishable style.
One more thing to consider: we are planning to move to a larger studio soon (and have other much more ambitious plans), and it will be necessary to have a second photographer on our team. Ideally we’d like to raise “our own” photographer from not experienced, but highly motivated assistant rather than to hire already “pre-cooked” one.

Please send us: Your story. Why do you want to work with us.

I didn’t hesitate for a minute, I sent him the most honest email I could piece together. Then I waited. I waited about a week and then it came, Alex had emailed me back. We played a little bit of email tag, before meeting for lunch at Panera. I showed up early, way early and just sat in the lobby like an anxious kid waiting for the school bus. When Alex arrived, we enjoyed a brief lunch and I talked too much. At the end of it all, we decided to see how we would work together. For the short time I had to spend with Alex, I learned a lifetime of lessons. Below I’ve added the video on one such occasion.

What’s missing from the video was the funny part where his softbox went together in a matter of moments and I had way too many extra parts. Alex and I are still good friends and I’m still his biggest fan. Be sure to visit his new blog, Photigy and follow him in all your social media circles

Be sure to visit my website Evan Tantum Photography for my latest work and Subscribe to my newsletter