Vespa Girl

Lately most of my posts have been about equipment, the gear I use and test. I’ve realised I should actually post more of the results.
Here are a few layouts I shot and designed for a client.

Gear used? Some times that really doesn’t matter. Does it?

The lovely Lavina with a couple of her dad’s Vespas in the last of the evening sun.

Going Loopy

The Rosco LitePad Loop isn’t quite as first impressions might lead you to believe. It isn’t Just.another.ring.flash. It is in fact an LED ring light based on the technology that Rosco already use in their established products, LitePads.

Looking like a ring flash is about as far as the similarity in use goes though. Rosco make it very clear that the Loop is a different kind of light and should be used accordingly. Don’t expect people at any distance to be illuminated by the Loop. Even though the light seems very bright when switched on in a dark room, the falloff is considerable and is best used in close proximity to the subject.

I had the Loop for a day and wanted to try it out on some simple portraits to see where it could fit in to the photographers arsenal. The light to subject distance is pretty critical, you really have to find the ‘sweet spot’ to use the Loop for the right effect. Too close and the effect is very similar to an on camera flash, too far from the subject and the light fades too quickly to have any effect.

The loop and its 8 x AA cell battery pack fits onto a standard 15mm rail setup system so quick and easy to use with any rig system. Strong magnets hold the Loop onto it’s mounting block which helps for  quick break-down and lens changing.  The Loop isn’t a light you will use every day but is a good effect light for stills and video.

Below are a few fun tests with colleagues as victims of… The Loop…

Filip Bunkens
Ioannis TsouloulisJef Janssens

Konrad Dwojak

MickMay 17, 2012 - 18:41

Today I Learned:
How they achieve that “freaky white ring in the pupil” look in portraits and advertising.


Saturday was a busy day for a slightly eccentric and off-the-wall friend and colleague Filip Bunkens. The 21st April was Filip’s birthday. He could have just invited a pile of friends over but instead he decided to take his party to them. On his 30th birthday he decided to use 30 cameras for 30 minutes each, photographing 30 people. A pretty daunting task if you ask me.. Project 30-30-30-30 was born.

From 9am till 11.45pm, Bar Buro in the heart of Ghent was the base for the event. I dropped by in the late morning to offer some support and shot some behind the scenes images. Filip was full of enthusiasm, briskly walking around the vicinity of the bar to make photos of his chosen subjects. Some pretty ancient cameras were being pulled out for the shoots too.. Great to see them working and not just stuck on a shelf somewhere. Mixing analogue with digital cameras was a nice touch, it could have been so easy to just be ‘purist’ and stick to just analogue but no, Filip clearly enjoys photography for the right reasons, the creativity.

I’d been following events throughout the day via Twitter and the #30303030 tag. The buzz of the social media brought in a press interview and a stream of happy messages from people who had taken part or simply passed by to offer support. I was in town later than night so dropped in for the closing moments of his marathon day.  He was still out shooting with the vigour and enthusiasm that he started with. A great idea, well executed. I don’t envy the image and film processing that has to come though!

Anyway, here’s a gallery of behind the scenes snaps.


BTS by Rob MitchellApril 23, 2012 - 14:31

[...] A friend and fellow photographer Rob Mitchell took some amazing behind the scenes shots during project #30303030, go check out his photos over at his blog. [...]

Elke De VilderApril 23, 2012 - 19:03

Rob! Nice pics of me and my minime! Can I have them?! Pleaaasssseee ;)

Many thanks!


Filip - PitslampApril 23, 2012 - 21:38

Great photos Rob and even better to read such a moving post about my project. I’m really touched to read that you really like it and even maybe got inspired with it. ;-)

Rob MitchellApril 23, 2012 - 21:46

It was a great idea and well done with it. Sadly I’ve missed my 30303030 and even my 40404040 so 50505050 might be pushing it a bit too far ;) Looking forward to seeing your final presentation.

SofieApril 24, 2012 - 00:44

Very nice Rob…

[...] You can head on over to the project-30303030 site for more information. Oh, and be sure the check out the BTS shots Rob “Stillmation” Mitchell made here. [...]

D800 & D4 out in the wild.

As in intermission to the main feature of the D800 in NY, I took the D800 and it’s big brother, the D4 out for a test shoot in Ghent. The goal was Zero favourtism for either camera. Put some lenses on and shoot with the camera that had the right lens at the right time. I literally grabbed the camera that I needed for that shot and used it.
Once home, I loaded all the shots into Lightroom4 to select and process. Again, I just made a blind selection from the set of shots made, paying no attention to which camera the shots came from.  Processing is very basic indeed, I pretty much dropped a VSCO preset onto one file and copy/pasted it to all the rest. Still paying no attention to file info I quickly tweaked each image if I felt it was needed. We’re talking minutes of work here, very low minutes too.
Export and done.

Now, this was a real quick test. To simulate my personal shooting workflow. To know which file came from which camera I would now have to look at the EXIF for each file. I can remember a few shots that were made with a specific camera but the majority I really don’t know.

The pixel peepers are going to want low light direct comparisons, I didn’t do those. There are some low light shots is the set but ISO? In this type of shoot it doesn’t matter. This is real, this is how they work in this situation. Yes, they’re scaled for web, no there are no 1 to 1 crops. Isn’t this how we see the majority of images nowadays though? Larger samples, crops and more details to follow soon in my upcoming Blog posts and an extensive article in the Belgian photography magazine. SHOOT.
Below are a random selection, please take the time to check out the rest on my FB page. 

Thanks to  Noémie & Simon for the time.

greg thurtleApril 9, 2012 - 21:31

Lovely shots and Lovely processing – gonna get me some of those VSCO studio set.
Looks like Nikon have a perfect duo of action and studio cameras that can be used interchangably.

AaronApril 10, 2012 - 06:57

Awesome set of images. Which VSCO preset did you use?

Rob MitchellApril 12, 2012 - 19:16

Thnaks, A tweaked Fuji800

NYC48 – Part 1 – The Streets of NY

I’ve just had a seriously intense 48hours in New York. It was a challenge set by Nikon Europe to test their new D800 as much as we could in 48hours. We, as in representatives from just about all of the European nations. Photographers, Videographers and Writers made up the bulk of the group and were challenged to explore and discover the D800 in New York City, come back and report our findings.

I’ve decided to split the blog report into a few sections. This one is more of a visual post to set the setting, the “street” photography aspect of the City, another post will cover the events we took part in and one more will focus mainly on the camera itself.
My next challenge is to provide you, the reader with an honest and personal opinion of how the D800 feels and performs for me.

There are a number of questions I have been asked before, during and after the trip:
36mp! who needs that? – How is the image quality? – What are the file sizes like? –  What are the high ISO’s like? – How do the lenses perform in such a high resolution sensor?

36mp – well, yes and no. I was very, very skeptical to start with. around 77mb for a 14bit uncompressed NEF = about 200 shots on a 16gb card. Ouchie..  But you know what? I think it’ll only really hit the spray&pray people. Personally, as the time goes by I’ve found myself making less and less photos during a shoot. Not because I’m bored or lazy but because I’m paying more attention to the photos I make. I don’t need 10 photos to be sure, when I make sure for 1 or 2. Yes, it’s a huge pixel count but that does also mean the ‘cropability’ of shot is there. You can easily crop a fraction of the photo and still have a huge pixel count. YES, I know this isn’t the practice that most experienced photographers like, I like to frame a shot in the viewfinder as I see it and want it. Coming home and looking at my shots, there are very very few where I have shot with the forethought of cropping in post. Old habits die hard? Where you will feel the 36mp is in processing. Any processing tool is going to take a lot longer to munch one of these files, logically. It is already affecting my workflow.
Image quality is superb. As you’d expect from any modern day DSLR, the D800 delivers images that are just bang on. Yes, technonuts can split hairs and spot things I would never see in an image. My main concern is that I’m pleased with what comes out the camera and that my customer is pleased. I saw nothing that worried me in the IQ department of the D800. What I do feel though, there is a lot of dynamic range available, plenty of details in both highlights and shadows. High ISO’s? That is totally dependent on the situation of course. I shot plenty at 4000+ and had no nasty surprises. I’m willing to bet that the D800 is on-par or even slightly better than my D3. Again, there are plenty of charts and graphics online to prove the details. I’m going on my feeling here. Lens performance on the D800. It is critical. It will show up poor lenses. No doubt there. I used a variety of lenses during the trip and by far the most critical in my bag was the 14-24. But then again, I do tend to shoot into the light a lot.. The 70-200VRII does perform a lot better on the D800 than the VRI but the 24-70 feels right at home. My favourite lens of the trip was the 35mm 1.4G. It was made for this camera. Just a lovely harmony of image quality, rich colours, low distortion and that huge opening of 1.4 just performed so well.

Right. Most people are waiting to see samples. Image samples of the camera working in the real world.

I’ve included a few samples that show 1to1 crops of details for the pixel peepers. The full sizes JPG’s are there to download too.
Then a few samples shot on the streets and from our bus. I’d have liked to do more walking but the schedule was packed solid.
Finally… A link to a gallery on my Photography Facebook page that contains 124 of the ‘street’ shots. I’ve processed them with Lightroom4 and a variation on one of the presets by VSCO

Click on the link below each shot to download the full JPG.

Full sized boots

Full sized bike

Full sized hotdog

Some processed shots from the streets of NYC. For the full set see the link below.

Click the image below to see the full set over at the Rob Mitchell Photographer Facebook page.

Thank you for reading.