The Invisible Black Backdrop Technique - Part #2

Published August 29th, 2012

The exploration of low key photography techniques continue! If you haven't read Part #1 yet make sure to do so here

With the same three metering techniques of an ISO of 100/200, a sync speed of 1/200 and finally an aperture of f/5.6 all kept constant throughout my trials and experimentation of low key photography. This time however instead of playing around with poor lighting substitutions such as lamps and torches that I used previously in Part #1 I used an external light source - a flash gun.

The flash gun I bought (seen in the first picture below this post) was a YONGNUO speedlite YN560 which was purchased for around £49.99 at the time, so not as expensive as official speedlites by Canon or Sigma which would cost me over £100, hence being extremely suitable for me.

The first step when using the flash gun was of course to set it up, this involved inserting it into the hot-shoe and turning it on so it would wirelessly connect to the camera itself. It was just then a process of tria ...

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The Invisible Black Backdrop Technique - Part #1

Published August 20th, 2012

So since I started doing A level photography, my current subject title involves having to take portraiture. This includes a varied amount of styles and techniques ranging from a broad time spectrum. One noticeable and impacting technique I would have to learn and replicate during the course is low key photography or in more simple laymen terms the invisible black backdrop technique.

This technique I am currently trying to get to grips with and master involves various points of metering on the camera in order to achieve the effect of a pure black background yet also a correctly lit subject with enough detail, some examples include : [1], [2] and [3].

This simple technique is known to bring about instant drama and impact to a photo yet is also challenging for both novices and the experienced, with the key elements involving elimination and illumination. This type of photography allows the photographer to bring about striking contrasts through reduced lighting and making the dark shadow ...

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Annie Smith - 25.07.12

Published July 25th, 2012

So my friend and fellow photographer/fashion enthusiast Annie Smith recently came up to me to ask whether I wanted to do a test photoshoot, involving a few shots of her in which she will then show to her manager at tweet vintage, a local vintage clothing store in Earlsdon to see whether I'd be up to scratch to shoot some further shots for the website!

I happily obliged and went to the local woods in Memorial Park with her, taking a multitude of shots in the process and coming out with the shots you see below.

As I have never actually done proper portraiture or any shots of the type, this came about to me as instinctive and in most cases out of pure luck, taking note of the light shining through certain patches of the woods and using that to our advantage.

During the shoot I went about with an Canon EOS 600D, using an auto ISO which ranged from around on average 100/200 and in some cases 400 at max. This minimal ISO was due to shooting in midday and looking for pockets of sun rays i ...

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Spontaneous Portraits

Published May 30th, 2012

30th May, a somewhat glorious summers day in our little city of Coventry, walking through the heat and meeting to few friends to spend the day out and more importantly to get some shots off whilst roaming the streets and enjoying the sun that we don't often get in England. (Later today it did rain)

These were some of my first portraits I've taken which I hope to learn and develop from, with my overall analysis and thoughts on the shot discussed below.

The first shot that I got was 'Annie & The Butteflies', this was taken in the Herbert Art Gallery which we were visiting, with this particular shot was taken in the elements exhibition, involving all manners of geology and animals, with the image showing Annie looking at preserved butterflies.

I felt that the lighting that eminated from the display/light box was great for such a spontaneous portraits, as well as coupled Annie casually observing the specimens. However I was ignorant to manually change the ISO with it being set to auto. ...

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Icarus & Athena

Published May 13th, 2012

I often passed these lights to and from outings, sometimes during the day and sometimes the night. Passing by I was always allured by the way such simple modern technology such as the light was so gorgeously contrasted simply by natures flora; her trees.

I loved the way the branches seemingly encroached the light itself, creating an amazing fusion between the two worlds - hence why these shots are my proudest moments when taking stills whilst pointing and shooting spontaneously. Which led me to name many of the images after legends/mythos or the old beautiful language of Latin.

With such examples below, I hope to take more shots similar to these, improving my composition, cropping and technique as time goes by in order to create beautiful snap shots of these two simple things that stand side by side yet look so elegantly complex.

Apologies for such the short "blog" post but I felt it necessary to post this story.

..oh and the title - its messy but I couldn't think of anything else ...

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Little boxes

Published May 11th, 2012

Arrived home today after a long day studying,having this sort of idea of mine being in a long time running.. and after some lengthy procrastination I decided I would use the time to practise my use of aperture and manual focusing with the dinky S90.

Heading upstairs I decided to rummage through my Dad's old photography messenger bag that he had only aqquired back a few months ago when one of our relatives discovered it.

The bag consisted of various Pentax, Tamron, Hoya and film boxes. Despite being mainly a holder for cardboard rather than photography tools I did however I come across a lone Vivitar lens and I bunch of empty film rolls.

I decided to improvise and create some unusual fusion lens out of an old Vivitar and various other bits and pieces that I found in the bag, however I found that it didn't quite work to the norm.

Using the "frankenstein" lens and the rest of the bits and pieces in the bag, specifically the old boxes and films rolls containers, I went on to use the ...

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Published April 9th, 2012

Over the course of these past few weeks I have increasingly spent more time focusing on photography. Going onto researching functions of cameras including ISO, aperture, depth of field and image formats such as RAW on-line as well as purchasing magazines and books to for a more in-depth look.

I have also spent some time speaking with fellow friends and budding photographers who have similar aspirations or are simply hobbyists, this has given me a larger perspective and also aided me in my own personal skills and what to look for in a photo and a camera.

Having such an increase in such interest/activity and conversations with friends and teachers I have also decided to take up photography in school, taking both an AS and A2 level in the course of one year in order to acquire the grades and a fully fleshed portfolio if I want to pursue a course in University and career associated with media or directly the photography industry itself.

This will allow me to gain more knowledge in the p ...

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4.02.12 - A Winter World

Published February 4th, 2012

Usually after work, in the twilight hours when the sun has set and darkness has settled its the perfect conditions for a few long exposure shots. This takes place on the way back from the workplace, cycling along and taking pictures of whatever comes to mind or interest, occurring on the main roads that you may of noticed in some pictures on my profile. However what made it more special this time was the presence of..snow!

A white wonderland full of opportunities, however I was poorly equipped at the time during the "ride" back home, I call it a "ride" because the snow rendered my bike immobile and I had to slowly drudge back home in the freezing cold. But of course when it comes to photography I persevered.

This perseverance involved some improvisation and some weather to grit my teeth through unfortunately. Having to take my gloves off in order to work the camera was the first step, with long exposure shots as you know taking a seconds to complete and as usual I had the usual 15 s ...

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25.01.12 An Introduction

Published January 25th, 2012

I offer a warm welcome to those reading this blog, or who have already read the previous post. I would like to apologize for the lack of an introductory post, so here it is, an introduction about myself and how I came about the aspiration to take photos/be a photographer.

If you want specific information on my images and specifically photography,this can be found within my biography in my portfolio

So lets get started shall we?

Born in 1995 and now still quite young in this large world, I was always a person who enjoyed creativity, as many children do when they're young. Beginning in my lower years of education simply drawing what came to mind often being cartoons or purely through the use of my imagination as well as writing stories being a past time of mine.

Over time going through the education system I spent much of my time prior to 2010 mostly drawing, often sketches of whatever I was interested at the time as well as taking on subjects that was needed ...

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Updates 23.01.12

Published January 23rd, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year - here is a few updates to feast your eyes on.

Portfolio Updates:

Updated my portfolio to be more informative and geared to the general public and fellow photographers, let me know if I need to correct anything or improve the bio - it can be found here: www.martinfu.500px/about

Site Updates:

Recently bolstered my posts on my three sites here:




Would appreciate it if you guys check them out.

Photography Updates:

Aim to take more photos in this new year, currently saving up for a new DSLR and already organized a trip to Italy this summer, so expect some new and exciting images from me. Will have to try and fit this in around exams and studies as well as our ultimate aid and enemy as photographers - the weather.

Thats all from me for today!

Yours sincerely

Martin Fu

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