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XXV International Shooting Days Sprimont may/june 2019
It's not the first time we went to Sprimont. The International Shooting Days of 2013 were organised there. If we didn't return to Sprimont, it was because the house we liked so much was not available anymore. In 2019, we found a similar house.
It's an interesting place, that's why the second shooting days of the year was held there, and also our next event: shooting days july 2020
Wednesday 29 mayNo shootings on the first day, we need to pick up the models at the railroad station. The nearby station is Méry, on a local line from Liège Guillemins. But the last model arrives at 23.00h and then there is no lacal train anymore. We need to pick up the model at the main railroad station.
While i'm waiting at the station, i'm using the new Huawei P30 pro smartphone to take some pictures of the station. The photo part of the smartphone is actually quite good (and won't suffer collateral damage from the Trump wars). Its possible to take hand held night pictures. The smartphoe performs this feat by taking multiple pictures with a normal shutter time and thus strongly undesexposed, and then combining those pictures based on the highlights in the images.
Thursday 30 mayI'm staying at the house till the afternoon because some people don't find the house. People using foreign navigators are in trouble finding the place and i need to send the GPS coordinates. People using google maps have no trouble finding the house, but most people still use a dedicated navigator.
While i'm waiting, it's not the ideal situation to do a short fotoshoot in the surroundings. People are stressed and waiting for the departure. I need to be ready to answer the phone and drive to some strange places nearby
Finally we leave to the stone quarry. Some models and photographers are already busy (they come for one day or stay at a nearby hotel). We work for some hours and then the german photographers get tired and want to go home. The french models and one dutch model want to continue shooting.
The models fron Liège know a nice place nearby and we decide to pack and go there. First the models stop at the wrong place (also a very interesting stone quarry (also with a pool, i found out later using google earth). We finally find the right place.
It's a really good place, with machines that can be used for posing at the entrance of the site, but our aim is to go to the pool. It's a long walk to the place.
The place is great, but after half an hour it's getting boring. It's getting time to go back home, the sun is too low on the horizon and the pool is in the shadow now. In the meantime somebody closed the entrance gate. We still could leave the place via a hole in the gate, or we could also leave the place via the railroad tracks. Thats normally not an option, since there is normal traffic on the tracks.
Friday 31 mayIt's the time to test the P30 pro during a normal fotoshoot. The smartphone works best when there is not too much light. The two pictures are taken in similar light conditions, the Canon using a /2.8 aperture, a shutter time of 1/80 and 500 ISO, the Huawei using an aperture of /1.6, a shutter time of 1/50 and 250ISO. With the wide lens, the composition is different. Finally i settled for another place to do the shooting.
We went to the sanatorium at Dolhain, a place we already visited the year before. The place is still interesting. We arrive around noon, since the german photographers are a bit lazy. The planning was to leave the house to arrive at last at around 11.00h. Like yesterday (and the days to come), the other participants are already at the place.
After two hours of shooting, i must leave to bring two models to the railroad station. It's a working days, and it seems all the people from Liège went to work today. I'm back at the sanatorium at 17.00h and everybody is tired and want to go home.
There is quite a lot of mess in the kitchen and nobody wants to clean. Of course the barbecue that was sheduled in the evening is also canceled.
Saturday 1 juneWe are going to the university grounds, it's becoming a tradition now. It's a place with different settings, open places, buildings, trees,... You can't visit the complete place in one day. The place is great for fashion style shootings.
Some people don't find the place (again!) and i switch the "location sharing" on the smartphone on, so i can begin with the shootings and i don't need to wait at the parking.
After the shooting we go to the Lunch Garden in Boncelles. From this moment on, i receive daily advertisements for Luch Garden. That's google that sold my location to the advertisers. There is no such thing as a free application. If it's free, it means you are the merchandise that is sold to companies.
After taht we go to the Fort de la Chartreuse, a location that's always good, if there is enough sun. I only use the sunlight as a reflection on the walls or the floor, never directly. If there is no sun, you need to use a mobile flash to give some more punch to the images. Our original plan was to go to la Montagne de Bueren, a very long staircase. It's a rather extreme staircase, and i don't think some photographers would appreciate...
Even with a smartphone you can get some "urbex" style pictures.
Sunday 2 juneWe need to leave the house by 10.00, but at that time the german photographers staying at the house are not ready. we were expected to be in Raeren at 11.00 hours, so we can finish the shootings in due time so that everybody has enough time to drive safely home.
The other photographers were not able to clean the house and i had to do all the cleaning and put the junk in the right baskets (there is a complicated garbage collection in Wallonia).
When arriving in Raeren the german photographers who were nearly dead when they had to clean the house were the first to pick up the available models.
I used the free time to visit the place: there is also a stone quarry nearby and you can drive to the place by car, but it's not so good as the quarry in Sprimont. The place is great for the different wagons that are available, but also because you can have a meal and a drink nearby.
CameraFor the main photography i use a canon 5D Mk IV with a 70-200mm /2.8 lens. I don't need more for portraits. But if you want to do some backstage photography or take some landscape shots you need a more wide lens. A second lens (24-105 /4) is heavy. On a model shooting trip i only use a single lens but take a second memory card and battery with me.
The Huawei P30 PRO is very handy, it can take all sort of pictures: wide, normal and telephoto (there is a 10× optical zoom), all with one single camera that you can also use to place phone calls. The macro images are also quite good.
There is of course a difference with a reflex camera, but you don't see the difference when you post instagram images. The size is the images is so reduced that any smartphone would do. Instagram was launched when the smartphones produced small one megapixel images and has not evolved in the meantime.
The quality of the images depends on the software that is able to combine different images from up to 4 sensors (3 photographic sensors and one time of flight sensor used to determinate the distance of the different objects in the image).
The firmware performs face recognition and is able to highlight faces that are in the shadow. The image is optimised before being stored to memory. Of course this doesn't make the images sharper (that's a physical limitation of the optical system used), but it can make a dull image more pleasing.
The use of the smartphone in image mode is cumbersome and not trouble-free. The sides of the front are also touch-sensitive and react to the fingers holding the camera. There is not a proper way to hold the camera in hand while taking pictures; you always end up calling some unwanted function, or with a finger before one of the cameras.
ConclusionThe photographers with whom i used to work are not much motivated anymore. They are only interested in the shootings and they stand up too late. I missed an opportunity to work with three of the available models, just because they were not ready in due time. And no, the solution is not doing a small shooting while waiting: everybody is waiting and the stress is building up.
They pick one model and work together with him, leaving the other models aside (and they claim that other photographers only work with one model at a time while doing just the same). For a model it's not very interesting to work with two photographers who take nearly the same pictures.
It's fun to look at for 5 seconds, but this setting will produce thice the same images.
It's time to switch the resident photographers. Of course the actual resident photographers are still allowed to come, but they will have to stay at a nearby hotel and pay for their stay.
Université de Liège and
Next International Shooting Days Friday 17 of July to Tuesday 21 of July in Hamoir (Comblain-la-Tour). Link to the event: International Shooting Days 2020 Comblain la Tour.
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