A flatcoated retriever silhouetted

I photograhped the above photo of Topi (Miss Mallorys Third Time Lucky) based on an idea that I had that Anna then refined. Alas, my idea still needs to be shot but I now have to wait for the snow to melt before it can be attempted.

After taking the picture, I then noticed Glyn Dewis’ tutorial on creating a Bond-style gun barrel effect and thought to combine the two. As a walk-through of the tutorial the attempt worked fine, but honestly Topi’s picture isn’t quite good enough to easily get a clean separation of the silhouette and I don’t have a good metal texture to apply to the gun barrel part. So you will not get to see the end result. But it did get me to start thinking of setting up a rig for shooting on white seamless to get a good silhouette of a dog. And not just posing stacked…

Book review: Making Light 1 & 2

As one of my goals for this year I decided to read at least one photo book per month. I started out light since a significant portion of my reading time this month has been taken up by the Fire & Ice series. And in fact in this review I’m cheating just a bit ;). My first selection was Making Light 2 by Piet Van den Eynde but I’ll be covering Making Light 1 as well which I read in December.

My page turning assistant while reading Making Light 2 this morning in bed

A post shared by Ramin Miraftabi (@rmiraftabi) on

Both books cover the use of small flashes – mainly speedlights – off-camera to assist or fully light the photograph you are making. I’ll admit to not being a stranger to the Strobist movement since I’ve been following it from sometime during the early ages of the blog and the initial Lighting 101. Admittedly though, although I’ve dabbled here and there and tried to understand what has been written I’ve spent too little time actually practicing my strobist skills.

I’ve liked the Craft & Vision books I’ve read so far so I grabbed both as they came out and finally started reading them now. Admittedly since I’ve been following a lot of the gear discussions on the Internet for so long, the general parts of the books didn’t really offer me anything new. But they were written extremely well and concisely enough to not bore a reader. What I liked most about both books were the case studies of individual photographs and how they were lit. The text and final image were also – in places – supported by photographs taken without the addition of light giving the reader an even better picture on what the effect of the lighting was.

As a bonus the second book has interviews of several Belgian photographers who use strobes in their work. The interviews offer an even deeper insight on how strobes can be utilized in personal and commercial work. And of course the pictures shown are absolutely beautiful and wonderfully simple gear-wise in their execution. It is so refreshing to see so many photographs that have only been lit with a few lights instead of the often convoluted lighting setups seen in many commercial situations.

After reading both books I feel like I have an even better understanding of what and how to achieve what I want. Now I just have to start really practicing my skills before submitting some poor souls to sit in front of my camera. If you haven’t already, I strongly recommend picking both e-books up. The total price of $10 most likely won’t break your bank.

Day 15 – Heavy Metal Rose

I decided to use the little studio setup that I’d put up for yesterday’s shot for today as well. The metal rose is made by local blacksmiths. Their craftsmanship is wonderful and I just hope we could afford more of their work. Adding some dried roses just seemed like a good touch.

Day 14 – A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Sorry, I’m a day late. I got the idea yesterday, but was just too tired to shoot it.

I’d noticed these new chocolates in the store and decided to take one of each for us to sample. While the other two were interesting and even quite good, the combination of milk chocolate, pistachios, and salt is a perfect match. Salty chocolate was the original idea for the shots title.

The title is from a Hanoi Rocks rocks. Watch it on YouTube.


Yes, I know I’m a few days late. My excuse is that I just got the pumpkin yesterday. And compared to the pumpkins I’ve seen in the States this one was dismally small – SB-800 barely fit in it.