I love 24mm prime. It took me a while to get use to this focal length. I almost gave up on it because the difference is just so dramatic, glad I didn’t. I love 50mm prime too. It’s what I used when I first started. Whenever I got frustrated or feel lost in the middle of a shoot, switching to 50mm will quickly bring me back to the right track. It’s like the last resort. I can totally just sell all my other lenses and keep the 50mm. I’ll be in my comfortable zone all time. It actually makes sense from a business point of view. Consistent look and lower cost. But being a photographer I don’t want my thinking and creativity be limited. I like to keep venturing to the unknown place and more importantly, have fun.

It was around 11 am on an overcasting day, I was driving around New Westminster station looking for free parking. I’m a typical photographer, never hesitate to throw thousands of dollars on camera gear but couldn’t afford $5 packing. Don’t remember how many times I circled around that 2 blocks area and I pretty sure someone already start wondering what the heck am I doing. Eventually I found a free parking. Quickly texted my model Lexy. 5 minutes later we are at our first shooting spot, the bus station. It’s almost lunch time, but seems like there are still a lot of people on their way to work. Tons of people waiting for the bus, and we definitely attracted a lot of attention. That kind of ruined my shoot. I’m like, this is 21st century, you never seen anyone get their pictures taken or what? Keep you eyes on your phone! I know I’m not gonna shoot at this spot very long,  so I went directly to my last resort. The 50mm. Tunnel light is great, I can almost get away with just natural light, but I’m shooting with the light right behind me, I need to add some highlight to Lexy’s face to give more dimension. B2 with 1×3′ stripbox get the job done easily. Just slightly off the camera angle and feather it a little bit so it won’t ruin my shadow.

1/60s F1.4 ISO 64

1/100s F1.4 ISO 100

Ok. We need to get the hell out of here. It’s just a matter of time till we got some “volunteers” starting taking behind the scenes for us. We moved out of the bus station and did another shot near a new apartment building.

1/400s F1.4 ISO 40

Time to try something different, I have 24mm with me as well. Better to give it a try. I know it works well at urban locations. As soon as I put on my 24 art lens, it started raining. Damn it, it suppose to be sunny today. We got no choice but moving inside of the station and wait for it to stop. Luckily it didn’t take long till the mother natural change her mood. I found this spot near the bridge that over pass the Columbia Street. Quickly set up my light and did a series of shot. I looked at the back of my camera. I love them all!

1/320s F1.4 ISO 40

Switch my camera to live view mode and hold above my head I got a shot like this. 

1/800s F1.4 ISO 64

We thought about moving cross the bridge and see what we can do over there, but seems like mother nature will change her mood again soon. We decided just shoot in the station. The lighting condition is very different inside. Now I have to deal with the indoor LED and fluorescent lights. They are quite evil when you don’t have gel. My general approach for this situation is if you can’t turn them off (of course not in this case), let your subject to turn their faces away from them to keep the damage at it’s minimal level.  And this is only when you have window/ceiling lights mixed with indoor lights and your window/ceiling light are more dominant. (I have a workshop for indoor lighting on April 7th. Check it out here)

1/80s F1.4 ISO 40

You might wonder why shooting at such a low shutter speed with low ISO instead of rising your ISO a bit so you can shoot at a safer shutter speed? Well remember you still have our strobe that need to be add to the equation? I need to blend my strobe with the ambient and this is one way of doing it. Quite common under low light situation. Blending strobe with ambient naturally is something we constantly have to deal with. Lots of practice is needed to master this.

It’s definitely raining outside, I glad we didn’t cross that bridge. I actually kind of like shooting inside of the station now. I start looking for the next spot. Quickly I found a guy who’s wearing uniform and yellow west. Apparently, he’s the security. I usually will just leave. Can’t remember how many time I have to deal with that “Sir, do you have a permit” type of bullshit. But I also found my next shooting spot. My shoot is almost finished. I don’t mind get kicked off this place, as long as I can just get another few shots. If I got asked, and I know I will, I’ll just play dumb, something I’m really good at. Start with shooting natural light, so I’m not that obvious, yet. Then switch to the strobe. As soon as my strobe start lighting the whole station, I got securities attention right away.

“Sir, I can’t let you to do photo shoot here without manager’s permission…”

1/200s F1.4 ISO40 (natural light)

1/160s F1.4 ISO 40