Day: May 10, 2012

20 Important Points Learned from a Vincent Versace Interview on The Candid Frame

This blog entry is about what I feel are 20 VERY important points that Vincent Versace discussed during an interview on the photo podcast, The Candid Frame.

Some of these points are things you should just ponder for awhile:  You can come up with your own interpretation.

  1. You don’t take photos; photos are supposed to take you.
  2. D MAX:  Do you know what it is?  You can learn about it here.
  3. Do not pre-visualize a shot before you see it:  Be there and be open to the ideas that present themselves to you, when you are there.
  4. All problems should be worked out at time of the capture:  Why?  Because “Photoshop” is not a verb!
  5. Technique should be automatic and this is reached with practice:  Lots and lots of practice.
  6. “Everything happens at the speed-of-life.”  (Vincent Versace).
  7. Photography is experiencing – and there is always more to experience.
  8. The more creative things you do – the more creative you will be, no matter what creative things you do.
  9. Don’t get stuck playing a single note, it will lead you into a rut (i.e. Into a photographic grave).
  10. Don’t assist other people into beating you up – there are already enough people out there who want to beat you up, so don’t help them with this.
  11. Don’t compare yourself and your work to anyone else – you have something to say with your photography and you can only be as good as you are.
  12. Where there is light – there needs to be dark:  Dark is as important as light in a photograph.
  13. Look at “White’s Illusion.”
  14. Strobe light has hard edges, whereas natural continuous light (sunlight) is soft.  Work outside with ambient light with a big diffuser.
  15. Low intensity light is prettier than high intensity light.
  16. Why mimic sunlight?  Just go outside:  Diffused sunlight is prettier than strobe light.
  17. “I photograph portraits like landscapes, and I photograph landscapes like portraits.”  (Vincent Versace).
  18. “If you want to take better photographs, then stand in front of better stuff.”  (This is my favorite point.  Vincent said that Joe McNally said that.)
  19. You must know the concept of what works compositionally.
  20. Everything Matters!  Every small detail dovetails into everything else, even the smallest detail matters in photography, as it does in anything you want to do excellently.

Those were the 20 most important things I learned while listening to Vincent Versace’s interview on The Candid Frame.

How Do You Photograph Rain

“How do you photograph rain,” (alternatively – “How to photograph rain,”) is a question that people are searching for answers for when coming to my blog, and I thought I would run my own simulation to show you how I photograph rain.

I would use the same basic method and equipment if I were outside in the rain:  However, today was sunny for a change…what I mean is, that it appears to be monsoon season here and it typically rains daily.  I got lucky with the sunshine, but not lucky to show how to create rain photographs outside, today.

I created a waterproof light enhancer specifically for wet situations:  Patent Pending…Hahaha…Hummmmm Could be….

Keeping equipment dry when shooting in the rain, or water, is very important.  Yes, that seems almost too logical and obvious; but who knows, maybe someone gets too excited and runs outside in a down-pour and ruins equipment, then, OOPS!


This is the water-tight “Tupperware” light enhancer that I came up with:  I know, it isn’t so pretty, but that does not matter, keeping my light dry is the important thing, plus it creates a really nice, soft diffused light that can be placed close to the subject.

The shot above shows the enhancer without lid, and the photo below shows the inside:  I’m using a METZ 32 Z-2 strobe with a wireless receiver attached.

I have covered half of the inside with tinfoil; therefore, I can angle the METZ head toward the tinfoil, and bounce the light off the tinfoil and out through the front-frosted area of the container, and through the top (lid).  If you need more light, then simply point your flash in the other direction!  You can also drop some colored gels in there and create or filter light as you desire.

METZ 32-Z-2_DSC5496, NJN

Actually, it isn’t Tupperware, but any watertight plastic-ware would do the trick as long as it is easy to get into, and your flash with remote receiver can fit inside.  My flash unit with remote receiver fits perfectly!


A bolt and nut are super-glued and epoxy glued to the bottom of the container.  The nut is glued half-way (ONLY) to the bolt:  The other half of the nut thread is left open, and this is how you attach the light enhancer to a tripod or light stand.  Make sure you get the right sized bolt and nut combo to fit the threads of your tripod head.  Take the head with you to the hardware store if you need to, to try it out.


USE A LOT OF EPOXY (WATER-PROOF TYPE) TO ENSURE THAT THE WEIGHT OF THE ENHANCER + STROBE does not cause it to simply break off where the bolt head connects to the bottom side of the plastic container.  IF the light enhancer takes a tumble, then, well…obviously it could damage the strobe.  Therefore, you may want to put a strobe on the inside that you would not be terribly upset about, if the unforeseeable happens, and it were to fall to the ground.  A dive-bombing flash unit is not a good thing to have happen, but it is possible.


Once you have the enhancer put together the way you want, you need to test it out under water – WITHOUT ANY STROBE!  Run a lot of water all over it and then open it up and see if it stayed dry on the inside.  If yes, then you are good to go.


My device is meant to be placed close to the subject:  Thus, expect your tripod or light stand to get wet.  After I use this enhancer for water shots, I take the tripod out into the hot Malaysian sunshine to dry quickly, and then I lube up all the joints and metal moving parts of the tripod with WD-40 (or any equivalent lubricant product).

This is a Rain Simulation…At Nighttime.

The shower in my bathroom seemed like a good monsoon-style rain simulator.  I also wanted to throw in another point of difficulty – I pretended as if it were raining at nighttime.  Therefore, I had to create an atmosphere like a nighttime rain.

To create a nighttime scene, I taped black material over the bathroom window, and I planned to turn the lights off when making the shot.  MANUAL Focusing had to be done with the lights on.

The photo below shows the position of my light source with respect to the umbrella that was getting rained on.


Now, the main point you need to keep in mind regarding your camera is:  KEEP – IT – DRY!

No matter if you are shooting simulated rain or real rain, you need to keep your camera dry.  For me, with the main shot (below), that meant using a zoom lens and standing back out of the “splash-zone”.

If you are taking real rain photographs, then perhaps you will need your own umbrella (a big one) to stand under while photographing.  Or, you can stand under a porch, or an awning, or in a doorway opening, or anywhere where rain will not get on your camera and lens.

Photographing Rain, No2_DSC5500-C, NJN (2)

Here is my simulated, nighttime rain photograph.

I used my NIKON D3100, with a NIKKOR 35 – 70mm f/3.3 Lens.  My shutter speed was 1/160th second, and the aperture was set at f/11.0.  You can do your own experimentation with shutter speed and aperture combinations.

That is how I create rain photographs, sometimes.

I hope this has provided you with at least one option and answer to the question:  “How to  Photograph Rain?”