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La Souris Perdue: A Photo Gallery Of Night Owls

  1. Apr 11, 2009 #1
    Here are some of the denizens of a 24 hour cafe I frequent called, fictionally (to shield the guilty from justice), La Souris Perdue. I've been playing with a new SLR for a a few months, and there are always people there willing to sit for me (handcuffs help sometimes).
    Lighting is very dim there at night. Lighting in these shots is all improvised with a small lamp I bring for drawing. Shutter speeds from 1/10 to 1/15. Tricky conditions.

    A Starry Night


    My Dinner With Adrian

    Where There's Smoke

    The General Misunderstanding About Cowboy

    Starfleet On Call

    Waiting For Dan

    "I'm Ready For My Closeup, Mr. DeMille."
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 11, 2009 #2
    Cards For Sorrow, Cards For Pain



    The Great Randali

    The Tarot Reader

    Seized By Pan
  4. Apr 11, 2009 #3


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    Incredible pictures zoob!
  5. Apr 11, 2009 #4


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    Good results, especially at those shutter-speeds. Very artsy.
  6. Apr 11, 2009 #5
    Thanks, Evo! Free introduction to the starfleet officer for you!
  7. Apr 11, 2009 #6
    Thanks much, turbo. They're all lightened up considerably in photoshop, and even my one small light disturbs enough customers that the owner has growled at me once or twice.
  8. Apr 11, 2009 #7


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    Fantastic shots, Zooby. Looks like the kind of place I used to hang out in, back in the day.
  9. Apr 11, 2009 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    Excellent work, Zooby!

    Tell Cowboy to get a new shirt. :biggrin:
  10. Apr 11, 2009 #9
    I wouldn't have been caught dead in a place like this back in the day.

    Thanks much, Lisab!
    I appreciate it, Ivan.

    If Cowboy got a new shirt I'd have to change the title.
  11. Apr 11, 2009 #10


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    Great composition, great tone palette, great light fall!

    Since you've recognized the difficulties inherent of your current strategy, have you considered buying a single off-camera flash, and maybe a reflector panel or some sort of diffuser? You don't have to trot in ProFoto light guns and softboxes -- you can do amazing things with a small hot-shoe flash and a piece of an old bed sheet. For just a fraction of the cost of your SLR, you can suddenly have an enormous number of lighting options.

    My bag of tricks includes three wireless hot-shoe flashes, two light stands, and two double-fold umbrellas. All of my gear, including several lenses, fits comfortably in an ordinary grade-school backpack, yet has a greater range of capabilities than the gear most photojournalists carry.

    - Warren
  12. Apr 11, 2009 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    Okay, keep the shirt and rename the photo: Cowboy the chicken rancher.
  13. Apr 11, 2009 #12
    I love Seized By Pan, he really looks quite the Pan.
  14. Apr 11, 2009 #13
    Simply wonderful, Zooby. Composition, choice of subjects, the decision to go with black and white, everything is just lush with texture. I'd frame them and dedicate a whole wall to them so I could stare at them and get lost.
  15. Apr 11, 2009 #14
    I very much appreciate your good review, thanks much!

    As I explained to turbo my main limit is how much collateral damage the cafe owner will put up with before he boots me. Since the ambient lighting is dim any light or flash I use becomes an event that distracts the other customers. He told me he's gotten complaints about my little light. It's not always possible to position the subject such that the light isn't also in some third party's eyes.

    Your advise would be the solution indeed if you can figure out a way around the fact it's a small, nearly always packed, place.
  16. Apr 11, 2009 #15


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    Hmm... interesting problem! I apologize for not understanding it before... of course you can't just barge into a dim coffee shop with a 200 W-s flash...

    I have one "light tool" that might work for you, though. I have a small, very bright LED bicycle headlight, a Light & Motion Stella. http://www.bikelights.com/info.asp?uid=227&p=13

    It serves another purpose in my photography arsenal. I put a paper towel over it to smooth out its pattern and dim it a bit, and it turns into a wonderful little pool of surprisingly soft light. If I put a length of paper-towel tube on it as a snoot, it can be tamed into a spot no bigger than a person's face. Use a white or gray reference to get it balanced to white, and it's a perfect little "light brush" that probably won't bother anyone who's not sitting directly in front it.

    Just an idea. :) You're doing amazing things with such simple light!

    - Warren
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009
  17. Apr 11, 2009 #16


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    By the way, zoob, how are you doing your B&W conversions? Are you doing it in-camera, using one of the 'digital color filters,' or a real color filter, or are you doing it in Photoshop later? Are all these pics converted using the same color axis?

    - Warren
  18. Apr 11, 2009 #17
    I think what I hear you saying is that you want the shirt.

    He does. When I saw that shot after I'd downloaded the pics onto my computer I was instantly taken with it. It's from a group of about 35 shots of those two playing around. The way he's looking off into the distance while holding onto her so possessively suggested a possessed satyr or possession by a satyr, that pan had "mounted" him, in the manner of the voodoo gods: taken over his body: the title refers to both of them, boy and girl.
    What an incredibly nice thing to say. You're too kind. Much appreciated!
  19. Apr 11, 2009 #18
    I am really happy you like the lighting!
    The bike light looks excellent, and I'm sure it would fit the bill. However, I am not sure if I am hallucinating or not: does that say $259.00 for a bicycle light?!

    I just set the camera to black and white mode, then I can get a better idea of how things are going on the screen.

    These are all subject to a huge amount of picky post processing in photoshop. They come out of the camera way dimmer than you see them here and there's all sorts of tweaking to be done of the general shadow-midtone-highlight ranges.
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