CHUCK ARLUND BLOG » living one weekend closer to death

Shooting in Graveyards in New Orleans – Afterdark recap.

Watch out for the ghost of the Voodoo Queen!

What an amazing time Afterdark was in lovely New Orleans. It is full of character. First I must talk about what happened on Sunday before Afterdark. I went a day early to hang out with fellow Southlight Salon members Pierre and Nick. They were there for Herman Leonard’s 2nd Line. New Orleans has the most wonderful fine art photography gallery. A Gallery for Fine Photography . It was a little gem and I was able to see images that quite possibly I will never see again. Then while we were in the gallery in walks David Montgomery. He has 2 prints with him. Which he signs. This image was really impressive. The Cover image of Jimi Hendrix’s album Electric Ladyland.

David Montgomery signing Electric Ladyland image

David Montgomery signing Electric Ladyland image - Photo Pierre Vreyen

David Montgomery

Afterdark this time around seemed a bit more focused, possibly because it was in a smaller room and the teaching pod’s were organized a bit better I guess. If you do not know what Afterdark Education is and you are a portrait photographer please have a look at their page.  There are some stories about a group of us out on the streets learning a  Neil Van Niekerk on camera flash technique I was teaching. Yes we got harassed and I had to, well, handle it. Let’s put that one in the Afterdark archives. I had Gary and Jay covering for me.

On Camera flash. The other OCF – like Pork. LOL – Visit Neil’s site for all the info or buy his book. This is ON camera flash – ETTL.

On Camera Flash demo

The Graveyard shoot…

One thing about teaching is, for me anyway it is very hard to actually get a good image. I’m teaching and not truly focusing on shooting. I know there are some instructors that shoot and might not explain everything while shooting. I like to explain right on the spot and show the techniques and stuff, but it really hinders the creative process. I decided this time I was going to do a shoot for me. Of course anyone who wanted to tag along could come but I was going to do my thing and not think about teaching. I found a model and new good friend Anne on a website called Model Mayhem. We decided to go to the St Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans. There was a big group. Cherie Steinberg Coté was also doing a shoot. She was also a mentor for Afterdark and a wonderful person and photographer.

I was able to get my shots before we all got kicked out. I’m quick like that.:)

So here is the technical details for this shoot.

I wanted to compress the mausoleums and the model to make it seem larger than it might seem. I used my 70-200 that I never use, lol.  We shot around 1:30 pm on a very sunny day. I used the sun as my rim light and exposed to create a dark mood. My main light was a Alien Bee 800 with a beauty dish modifier. RadioPoppper triggered the set. Hope you like the photos. I think I got some cool stuff. Thanks again to everyone who was following, watching our equipment and holding the lights. If you were there and have shot’s I’d love to see them.

sandi millerNovember 13, 2010 - 1:20 pm

Thanks for sharing your amazing photo voodoo in Nawlins, Chuckie! (and also for dancing with us at The Beach Thursday night!). Can’t wait for Vegas!

ChuckieNovember 13, 2010 - 1:22 pm

Thanks Sandi, that was some fun huh? Lol

sandi millerNovember 13, 2010 - 1:52 pm

Way fun! Can’t imagine how amped it’ll be in Vegas…Studio 54 anyone?!

KelNovember 13, 2010 - 2:00 pm

All of these are simply stunning! Love the one where the model is motioning to pick stuff up off the ground. Eerie…beautiful…cool.

Muja R.November 14, 2010 - 12:52 am

These images are so awesome and inspiring. I will have to catch you teach On Camera Technique next time at AD!
How were you powering AB800 outdoor?

ChuckieNovember 14, 2010 - 12:56 am

Vagabond battery. They have a new battery coming out that is much lighter

Dan DavisNovember 17, 2010 - 12:38 pm

Great stuff as always Chuckie! I wish I could have made this shoot!

Mikey PDecember 14, 2010 - 3:54 pm

Hi Chuckie,
I’ve just found your blog from Neil Van Niekerk’s site and I love it. Your photos are amazing, would you mind sharing the set ups (camera & lighting).

Thank you for showing me (us) the way.


TonyDecember 19, 2010 - 6:30 pm

I have been trying to learn how to process images like this to give them this “fashion look”. Can you please do a blog on how you process images in post to achieve this look. Thanks.

Steve PalmerJanuary 15, 2011 - 10:45 pm

Great shots you took of Anne at the graveyard Chuckie. I have most of the very same ones shown here that I took with you that day. I was the guy that volunteered to keep up with your camera equipment while you took all of these pics so that your equipment wouldnt “walk away”. Lots of strangers lurking in the voodoo shadows. My buddy that I came to After Dark with was the one that held your pink Alien Bee strobe for you while you shot.

It was rapid fire model shooting on the run as we must have moved to 15 different locations in the graveyard, maybe 5 minutes each time. You were a blast then, this article is great and thank you for thanking the ones of us that helped you out.

Eduardo B.February 12, 2011 - 9:08 am

I loved the pictures! Thanks for sharing. Do you think it’s possible to shoot something like that only using speedlights like Nikon SB-900 and SB-600? Or is it not powerfull enough?


Rock and Roll. Photos with celeb stylist Abigail Franklin

I have to admit that my job is pretty cool. This shoot was one of those that was just fun. Some cool clothes and great team.
But first, let me tell you all what is up. Kristi and the kids are living in Kansas City right now. She got the job at MAC that will help her get experience needed to help us get to NYC. With that comes a huge headache, selling our place and moving. I hate moving. I’ll tell you, no more hoarding. LOL

I have one more wedding for the year today. Then I’m off to teach at Afterdark in New Orleans next week. I have had a few messages that I now can not seem to find. Lot’s of email addresses can be a pain. I’ll post my speaking and teaching schedule on another post.

Back to some images.

The lighting on these is pretty simple. One main, one fill for most. For those of you starting out learning to light with flash, it makes a difference to have a light riming the subject. Even if it is not very noticeable. It will give your image depth and help isolate your subject.

I’ll start with this image, lit with a beauty dish and a 580ex for the rim light. Having the rim light on the right of the image gives that extra something.

On to the rest. I love the comments on these and any links back to are much appreciated.

Connie PhillipsNovember 17, 2010 - 6:55 pm

You are my hero. Your shots are amazing. I went to your seminar at DWF in Nashville last year and thought of you recently and stumbled upon this. I am a reformed attorney, ha ha, now full-time photographer. I would love to come down and do a day or seminar before you move, I would hate to miss that opportunity when you are an easy drive away. I’ll go to your website and see what I can find out.

Love, love, love your work.

High Speed Sync using studio strobes.

This is a trick but it does work.

What you need:
Canon camera
Radio Poppers – One PX and a Junior for the Studio Strobe
I have tested this with Profoto, Speedotron, and Alien Bees. The greater power the pack the better the result. In the example I was using a profoto 2400 pack shooting one head into a 6′ box
With the ST-E2 you can trick your camera into shooting at High Speed Sync. Which is not really HSS but flash decay. Why this doesn’t work with a normal transmitter system I can not figure out. I needed to put my st-e2 into HSS mode ???
When the flash fires the camera will see the ambient light decay of the strobe. Essentially giving you High Speed Sync with strobes.

This is a trick but it does work. I am working on getting some sort of measurement for this but I think it will be a trick.  There will be a very slight light falloff at the end of shutter. Compensate by shooting in the studio just a bit wider and crop.


I had model shake head violently from side to side.

First shot is at 1/200 sec (normal sync speed) using a Canon 5D with a 50mm 1.4 lens. The exposure was f/10

1/200 sec @ f/10

The next image was shot with the arrangement noted above.

This time I shot at 1/8000 of a sec @ f/2.8. Same thing, shaking head violently from side to side.

The studio was dark with just a desk lamp of for focusing.

Here is that image:

1/8000 sec @ f/2.8

We were on a white Cyc wall about 6″ feet from curve.

I’d love to hear some comments. I think it is pretty damn cool. Notice that the falloff on background is greater on the normal shoot where the High Speed Sync shot produced a grey wall.

Again, you are recording the ambient burst after the flash. Shutter and aperture are both in play, not just aperture.

Sarah B.October 22, 2010 - 6:45 pm

jenna 😉

ErikNovember 1, 2010 - 9:10 am

I understand that High speed synch changes the flash pulse duration (makes it longer) and changes nothing on the camera.

I think you’re getting close to the actual flash duration with 1/8000 sec and that’s why you don’t notice the shadow from the second curtain.

ChuckieNovember 3, 2010 - 4:42 pm

Erik, As I understand the speedlights pulse with the camera curtain. It does change something in the camera. What you are recording is the ambient light falloff from the flash. Certain strobes work better. Photogenic does absolutely nothing. Alien bees’ are ok, Profoto is good and Speedotron seems to be the best. Those are all I have tested.

KardyDecember 8, 2010 - 7:14 am

Thank you for proving this can be done. My question: Why is the ST-E2 necessary? Would not a 580II send out the same IR signal while in master mode as the ST-E2 does?

ChuckieDecember 12, 2010 - 6:41 pm

Yes, When you use a 580 with a Popper I believe the pre flash counters everything and I could not get it to work. The ST-E2 is the only option that I found worked.

Mikey PDecember 15, 2010 - 6:54 pm

How can apply this to Nikon?


SteveDecember 24, 2010 - 11:55 am

Chuckie – if you have an example where the curtain shows a little bit (i.e., before you’ve cropped) I’d love to see that. I’d love to use this in my wedding photography during the par tay.

HavarJune 21, 2011 - 9:44 am

Thank you so much for posting this. I am just confused by how all the different devises connect together.

IrvingJune 28, 2011 - 9:27 am

Why don’t simply use short flash duration with norma sync (with dim modeling night) to achieve the same effect? For example, Broncolor has a very short flash duration at 1/8000 sec. IMHO.

Todd DavidsonAugust 16, 2011 - 7:16 am

Thanks Chuck, I’ll give it a try.

jared charneyMay 8, 2015 - 2:11 pm

Hey, this is great solution as I don’t really have the $ for Profoto B1, my question: do you know if the ST-E2 would work with my Pentax 645D? If not I do have a Canon 1DX but I would rather use the medium format, thanks!

ChuckieJune 27, 2015 - 3:27 pm

How did I not see this comment. I’m sorry Jared.
The ST-E2 is designed for Canon and therefor I do not think it would work with the Pentax and the pins will not line up.

2 Classes in Kansas City – Art Gallery Lawn. Anyone can come

Get images that look like this!

Here I am in Kansas City for a couple of more days. Kristina is working so I want to see if anyone is interested in a couple of classes while I’m here.

Hey, Mom’s that click!

TODAY at 4 October 17th – Photography Fundamentals. $250 Go until evening. Meet on Art Gallery Lawn in front of building.

Walk away understanding exposure. No more guessing!

Composition – How can you make your photos look more professional?

See the Light! – Let me show you good light and how to use it.

TOMORROW – October 18th $250

11 am – Photography fundamentals light and then Advanced lighting. Perfect for those photo pros that need some inspiration and understanding of flash outside.

One and Two lights – how to use them.

How to mix flash and sunlight.

How to make your images look more like fashion and less like a portrait.


Lighting with Mirrors

One of my favorite types of lighting is done with mirrors. Blame it on Aerosmith. I use a hot light, this is a continuous light source that is usually pretty bright. I use the room to reflect back much of the light and soften the look. The light from a hot light is pretty harsh without diffusion. When the light is pointed back into the room and away from the subject, you can feather it to create a nice soft look. The light is pretty flat and that is where the mirrors and reflectors come into play. I use cheap hand mirrors. My reflectors I use are small.

So here is a diagram explaining one of the setups. I hope to have some behind the scenes photos soon. Someone was shooting photos with there iPhone.

Elle RuizFebruary 3, 2011 - 10:10 am

Wow. Holy enlightening…. and gorgeous photos!!!