Saturday Evening Post #48 Studio Werkz: The Moment

I usually reserve “Studio Werkz” for bird portraits.  Photos where I’ve been able to spend some time with the bird, try a few different backdrops, and have a few options on lighting, and also find ways to bring out the character of the subject.

Sometimes it might mean several trips back to the area, and spending the time to allow the bird to accept my presence.

Long term readers will recall the “Studio Werkz” story  of a couple of years, ago, and I associate it with making the very best environmental portraits that I can achieve.

Little backstory to bring everyone else up-to-date.

One of my first pro photo opportunities was with a long established studio. Wedding groups were very much ‘traditional’, as befits the market, and always done in a long studio, suitably decored, or interior decorated, or setup to enable full length portraits, bride by a mirror, and seated formals.
Actually if you looked at the deb photos, the business shots and the kiddie shots, and the prize-winning dog shots, you’d probably have noted a similarity in both decor and ‘style’.

Till, the new studio on the block opened up, and were doing, ‘gasp’ environmental wedding groups in the local park. -Hope it rains on them!!! 😦

Slick of marketing, and low on photoskills, they did, it seem, dominate the business very quickly.

Which is what led me to a lifetime study of outdoor environmental portraits. A trip or two through the workshops of people like Dean Collins, and Don Nibblink, set a style that I’ve always honed to improve.

Which is where Studio Werkz was born. Several young hungry photographers with great ideas and little cash. I don’t think we got beyond the first planning session. And went our seperate ways. One to work for a multi-national, another to do band photography before it was popular, another to free-lance for local magazines, and yet another to roam around the world and never be seen or heard of again. And me.

Which is why, if you are still reading—And well done if you are—Studio Werkz is my nod to those bygone days of outdoor portraits. Nuff said.

I was just this week, working on the various AF settings on the D500 camera, trying to work out the best one to ‘instantly’ grab Snipe in flight.

Sitting in the backyard, trying out each setting and seeing which were fast, slow, or unpredictable.
When on a sudden, a New Holland Honeyeater landed on the fence metres from me.
Good chance to try my technique eh?

So  point camera near bird, press shutter, hope that I pick up focus… and when mirror flopped back down, the fence was empty.

Oh, well, missed a chance thought I.

Tai Chi pigeon came down and was much more co-operative, and I discovered the subtleties of the AF system.

When I later downloaded the images, I was taken aback, by the one and only New Holland Honeyeater shot of the day.

Good enough for Studio Werkz, I declared.
Portraits need to bring out not only the best expression, but also allow us to explore the character. And there in one frozen frame, with 3/4 side light on the whirring bits, was a New Holland Honeyeater.


11 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #48 Studio Werkz: The Moment

  1. So I do enjoy both: the story of Studio Werkz (fascinating) and the excellent shot of the New Holland Honeyeater. These birds are very photogenic and whenever I’m frustrated with my very local bunch of birds not showing (or worse: hiding) on a sunny day, I jump in the car and drive further to Cranbourne Botanical Gardens. The NH Honeyeaters are always there. I wish I could test some AF settings with my D500 – just one component is still missing: 500 PF lens. Nobody knows when it arrives. Wish me luck, please.
    Thanks for this Saturday evening entertainment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good evening Adam,
      And some nice weather too please!!!
      It is nesting time for most of the small birds I guess, we spent a morning at WTP the other sunny day, and have to say, had we been beginners looking for exciting birds, we’d have probably taken up golf or some other hobby. It was very quiet.
      After a couple of weeks, I’m still no wiser on the D500 AF settings. Hey, I understand what they do, but still can’t figure out the best one(s) for those fast moving Snipe.

      You join a long, long cue on the 500mm PF. The wait, I promise is worth it. Took me from October to April to get my hands on mine.
      Mr A is also on a list somewheres, for about 3 months, so it just depends on the dealer and Nikon distribution.
      Good luck


  2. A fabulous capture of one of my mate Nev’s cousins!
    As to working out settings for capturing the erratic, fast moving Snipe, good luck. I am not convinced there is a perfect setting!
    Certainly not the setting I had earlier in the week, yes – I did get a shot of a Snipe, and it is almost identifiable as such! The frustrating thing is that had I chosen to look to my left earlier I would have got a fine image of it on the ground! Interestingly it was just outside the fence on the south east corner at Glen Orden.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. G,day,
      Like your bird, this one is a resident in the bushes next door and hunts from the fence line.

      I think we have identified that Sniping is a two person job. One to find them one out of range to photograph them as they go by. 🙂
      Plus some decent weather wouldn’t go astray.


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