02/10/2017: Raincouver Lighting

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first edition of Following June! Read the “About” section to find out more about us.

For our first outing, June decided she wanted to do a Vancouver themed photo shoot, where she could play with the lighting and whatnot – hence, the blue jeans and the rain shell that I chose for this shoot. Since she wanted to do a night-time shoot, I decided to wear a red corduroy shirt, so that it would contrast nicely with the blue jeans, and a deep red lip colour to match. I had my hair in a bun all day so that it would look disheveled enough to match the “rainy-city” mood.

Location No. 1: Main St. – Chinatown Station

I was waiting for June on the Main St. – Chinatown Skytrain station platform. When she arrived, I was pretty shocked to see all the equipment she brought. Out of the photography equipment, she brought a stand-up flash, a tripod, a ring-light, and of course, her digital camera. It was kind of funny seeing her walking out of the Skytrain with all that, considering she’s a pretty small girl. She carried two heavy-looking bags in her hand, and in her armpit, was the one thing you’d need for any Vancouver shoot – an umbrella, which you will be seeing more of later. Surprisingly, it wasn’t raining that night, although the forecast had foretold of it.

Our first location was at the little courtyard between the plaza where T&T is located, and the Main St. – Chinatown station exit/entrance (depending on where you’re heading). It’s a cool little spot decorated with rectangular columns (if one could call it such) and square fountains, and surrounded by apartment buildings. But before going there, we dropped by the local Rexall to grab some much needed supplies: batteries for her flash, and a bunch of chocolate bars.

This area inevitably gets a lot of traffic, being next to a Skytrain station and all. To be honest, I was a little nervous to be stared at by the passing eyes. The flash was not at all subtle, while my facial expressions had to remain as such while I frolicked between the columns.

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(Flash Canon 600EX II-RT) 90 Degrees angle, Height-1m,distant- 1m at 90 Degrees angle, (Camera Canon T5) 1/160,F2.8
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(Flash) 60 degrees angle; Height – 2m; Distance-1.5m at 30 degrees angle on her left; (Camera) F2.8, 1/125

I really love how June took the next couple. I didn’t have my glasses on, so I couldn’t really tell what was the purpose of the building behind me, but it sure made a pretty backdrop. Can anyone who’s more familiar with the area let me know? June said it looked like a restaurant inside, considering how the people were laid out.

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(Flash) 45 degree angle; Height-2m; Distance-0.5m at 10 degrees on her left; (Camera) F2.8, 1/60

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(Flash) 60 Degrees angle, Height-2m, Distance-1m at 30 Degrees angles on her left (Camera) F2.8, 1/200

Location No. 2: Burrard Station

By the time we got to our second location, just two stops away, I had already finished my first Kit Kat bar. It was freezing for my already cold-blooded body, and I had just gotten off of work before meeting up with June, so I hadn’t eaten yet. The sweet caloric touch of the candy bar kept me from whining… for a little while.

The second location that we went to was the building beside the Christ Church for Spiritual Direction (or at least that’s what Google Maps tells me it’s called, now that I’ve looked it up). I do not, however, know the name of the building we shot at, though I remember the address to be 900 Burrard. We saw the man-made waterfall-esque fountain from across the street, and thought it would be perfect for the theme. Not to mention, it was a seclude area, which was more comfortable for me anyhow.

We made use of the umbrella this time, since there was water “falling” behind me. Part-way through the shoot, June dipped the umbrella into the fountain to give the impression that it was actually raining. Although the droplets on the umbrella may not really be from the rain, the stone steps I was sitting on was still moist from the precipitation that preceded our outing, earlier that day.

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(Flash) 60 degrees angle; Height – 2m; Distance – 0.5m at 20 degrees angle on the right; (Camera) F2.8, 1/160
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(Flash) 60 degrees angle; Height – 2m; Distance – 0.5m at 20 degrees angle on the right; (Camera) F2.8, 1/160
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(Flash) 100 degrees angle; Height – 0.5m; Distance – 0.5m at 90 degrees angle; (Camera) F2.8, 1/160

Before heading off to our final location, we went to Tim Horton’s for a bite and a drink. I was convinced that my fingers were going to fall off from being so cold. I had June order for my at Tim Horton’s because sometimes, even as an adult, I still chicken out of ordering food at the till. She got a coffee, and an “Italian Bagel Sandwich”, while I got a steeped tea and a¬†garlic mozzarella bagel, with cream cheese.

Location No. 3: Robson Square

Could we really do a Vancouver-themed, night-time photography shot without hitting up Robson Square? Probably not. But Robson Square is difficult in terms of finding a location suitable for shooting photos. Why? Because the way we were doing out photos right now, June had been playing with angles, and had just been generally very mobile. We settled for a spot on the stairs leading down from the Vancouver Art Gallery to the outdoor skating rink. The rink was still alive with families, friends, and lovers, and colourful lights. Not wanting to disturb their ice dancing with paparazzi-level flashes, we took some photos with our new friend, the loon. I tried to climb on it a couple of times before June had finished setting up, but I was never very good at climbing.

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(Flash) 60 degrees angle; Height – 2m; Distance – 0.5m at 45 degrees angle on the right; (Camera) F2.8, 1/60
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(Flash) 60 degrees angle; Height – 1.8m; Distance – 1.5m at 45 degrees angle on her left; (Camera) F2.8, 1/60

To end off our Vancouver themed lighting shots, we took a few photos in front of the skating rink, just for the heck of it. The lighting was pretty, and the ice was a good metaphor for how my body was freezing over (just kidding – but seriously, a shell is not warm enough for 2 degrees weather!) We caught a bit of a break, as the people cleared to allow the zamboni to do its thing. But as we scrolled through the camera roll, we both found it funny looking for me to be standing in front of such a cheerful scenery, considering my vampire-styled colour scheme.

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(Flash) 70 degrees angle; Height – 2m; Distance – 2m at 90 degrees; (Camera) F2.8, 1/125

And that’s it for our first shoot! As I am writing this, I recall that I forgot to roll up the rim of my cup, so I’m still kind of sad about that. Maybe I could have won a car, and June and I would be able to go on our photography adventures in the warmth of a car. But then again, we wouldn’t have the real Vancouverite experience of hopping on and off Skytrains and shivering while stumbling into Tim Horton’s.

Until next time,

– Helen

June’s notes:

This is my first time using strobe lighting. I have a bad habit of not recording details of my photo shoots, so I missed my ISO¬†readings on my camera and the time for my flash. I tried to take an educated guess on the distance and height of my flash and grabbed some info off the metadata. I didn’t use light metering or a slave flash, only a master flash. Focusing was extremely difficult, so next time, I will need to remind myself and recommend it to anyone wanting to do night time photography to bring a flashlight to shine on the subject in order to focus.

-June