Melissa Sweeney is one of my favorite muses. So when we finally found a date that worked, I jumped on it. Our first shoot was a night session during a full moon in Berkeley. I used Canon Speedlites that evening but found the resulting images to be a bit grainy. So this time we decided to celebrate autumn and head out to Napa Valley with my studio gear.
We met at 6am to find that the park we chose was affected by the state’s budgetary crisis. It was not open at dawn as stated on the sign, nor an hour after. While I watched my precious early morning light go to waste the gods shone upon me and kept a dense fog above. This extended our magic hour and with the fill light provided by a Creative Light soft box over a Profoto Acute head we were off. The shoot is a mix of this setup along with natural light that was captured with my favorite lens… the Canon 85mm 1.2.
Once in Lightroom, I post processed about 5 images that I used as the highlights and only made modest color corrections to the others. I used to require major surgery on all my images but have learned that there is no substitute for getting the image right on site. Running a photography business is hard enough without spending hours editing because you did not get the lighting, composition or exposure right at the time the image was shot. GET IT RIGHT IN-CAMERA.
Lightroom adjustments made… I started building the fusion video in iMovie and realized that I did not have any autumn themed b-roll to fill the transitions. I searched the web and could not find any free video. A search on the stock sites revealed pricing of $75 and up for short scenes…WTH. So I grabbed my Manfrotto tripod, 5D Mark II, Canon 85mm and headed to my backyard right before sunset. 30 minutes later… autumn b-roll.
I hope this short video gives you a feel for the serenity and beauty of this morning… ENJOY!
The autumn shoot with Melissa in Northern California’s wine country.