Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Damian McGillicuddy visits Stroud Camera Club

Wow! What an evening! Last Thursday, 23 February 2012, Damian McGillicudy visited Stroud Camera Club to talk about his photographic journey and to share some lighting techniques with club members. Stroud Camera club invited guest from neighbouring camera clubs to join them on this evening and we raised £310 for Damian's chosen charity, Marie Curie. Camera Club members were very generous with their donations and I saw several make more donations at the close of the evening, that's how much everyone enjoyed Damian's visit.

Liz, Stroud Camera Club Chairman, welcomes Damian
If you ever get the chance to hear Damian talk or get the chance to attend one of his workshops I highly recommend you don't miss it! Worth every penny!  He's a great speaker, kept us laughing, entertained and interested. He knows his stuff and he knows how to talk about it in plain simple terms which everyone can understand.

Damian with his Olympus E5
Damian talked about equipment and his current favourite cameras, one of which is his Olympus E5 which he's holding above. I've still got my Oly E3, great tough camera. Well technically I guess you could say my husband has it, he claims the E3 as his camera these days. :-p

The camera Damian shot with this evening was his Olympus E-P2. He's been blogging a lot about the micro four thirds system lately and has even had a play in Italy with the new Olympus OM-D. I'm so jealous! I remember when the first Oly Pen came out and I went to London to get a hands on look at it just before it was officially launched by David Bailey to the public. What a day that was! Don't tell anyone but I saw David Bailey drop the Oly Pen camera which they presented him with at the launch. He just casually picked it up and carried on like nothing happened. I wonder if it still worked.

Damian talking about lighting equipment
Damian talking about equipment
After Damian talked about lighting and equipment he brought out some local models for some practical demonstrations. We got to see his images on the back of his Oly E-P2 and the results in camera were amazing. The key to his success is knowing his equipment and knowing how to light his subjects. He told us that he likes to get it right in camera because he's lazy and doesn't like to spend a lot of time post processing his images. I love his way of thinking. Less processing time equals more time shooting. :-D

Model James Artaius with photographer Damian McGillicuddy
Shooting is the fun bit! Most of the images I take I never even processes or do anything with. Capturing the image or that moment in time is the best part of photography for me.

James Artaius
I was given special permission to take photographs during Mr McGillicuddy's photography lesson for my blog. I wanted to try and capture the evening and of course I wanted to have a play as well. There's nothing photographically special about my images from the night as I was shooting with available room light and wasn't able to really control any light....except with my camera settings. I had fun trying though. I took the above photo and cropped it, see below.
Amazing what a little cropping can do to an image. :-D OK OK, I did a bit more than just cropping. I burned the edges for a vignetting effect. I also put a thin black line around it then gave it a large white border.  It'll pass, but sadly the quality really isn't there. Small web quality it looks OK, but I've seen it large. This is where lighting really pays off.

Damian talked about the importance of lighting your subject correctly for the conditions and what you want to achieve, taking into account the ambient light. He also talked about the importance of using a light meter to correctly measure the light.

I use a light meter in my studio but not often anywhere else. I think I'll start keeping my light meter in my camera bag and using it more often. He does make a good point about using one.

Damian McGillicuddy with model Nicki Pixie
Damian briefly touched on posing your model and decluttering your background. I had a bit of fun with post processing decluttering in my next photo. Can you spot what I did? :-D

It was a real treat to see Damian McGillicuddy in action and working with models. It was also great having a makeup artist and a hair stylist on hand as well and seeing them all work together. It was quite an experience for most of us who'd never worked with a crew like this before. Well I have to a certain extent but not very much.

Damian McGillicuddy has designed and created his own line of lighting modifiers and sells them from his website. They are easy to set up and easily collapsible to make traveling with them a breeze. A lot of my work is on location so this is of particular interest to me.

Damian talking about the collapsible beauty disk he designed. 
It was really great to watch the master at work and I'm looking forward to looking him up at FOCUS on Imaging next week. I hope he has some of his light modifiers on display as I'd like a closer look at them. I might even buy a few. :-)

At the end of the evening Damian gave away a couple of his Down and Dirty Lighting Lessons CDs which you can purchase on his website. He also gave a copy to me as a kind of apology for picking on me throughout the evening. I've had a quick look at it and I'm very impressed. I'm looking forward to taking a much longer look as soon as I get the chance.

Tonight 'Team McGillicuddy' consisted of:
Damian McGillicuddy - Lead Photographer & Photography Instructor (Link to website)
Marcus Green - Assistant & Photographer (Link to website)
Rob Golding - Assistant (Link to website)
Nicki Pixie - Model (Link to website)
James Artaius - Model (Link to website)
Ash Williams - Hairsylist (Link to website)
Marina Harbs Firth-Bernard - Make up Artist

If you'd like to see more of my images from this night you can see them in this web gallery:
Damian McGillicuddy visits Stroud Camera Club (Thursday 23/02/12)

As promised, link to Damian McGillicuddy's blog post about his visit  with a couple of photos taken on the night: 
Just before FOCUS on Imaging 2012

Camera I used tonight was my Canon 5D II. Lens used was Canon 85mm f1.8. 

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