Amazing photographer speaks to all languages. Hectors work is amazing, his website and blog is full of interesting photos which I love looking at. Funny thing is I can’t read a word on his website but it doesn’t matter. Check it out.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Héctor Rodríguez and I’m a photography enthusiast who recently moved to Toronto, Canada.
I haven’t had any formal training in photography, but since I’m a Computer Engineer, it was natural for me to start photographing when Digital Cameras were released.
Inspired by other photographers work this year I decided to do a 365 project. My main subject: to learn more about light in photography and to share the lessons learned with you all.
What made you get into photography?
In 2003, I worked for an entire year in Curaçao. Every day, I used to watch the sunsets late at night. They were spectacular. I had to capture one on camera. So I bought my first Digital Camera, a 2MB Nikon Coolpix.
Although it didn’t have any manual modes, it took really great photos. Unfortunately, the camera stopped working only one year after it’s first use.
Two years later, I bought a semi automatic point-and-shoot camera (Canon A40). I think this was the point when my adventure in digital photography really began. Having a semi-automatic camera gave me the opportunity to learn more about aperture, shutter speed and DOF.
It wasn’t until 2008 that I was able to buy my first DSLR (a Canon Rebel Xti) with a couple of lenses. I was amazed with the advantage of this camera over the point-and-shooter ones. They’re just not comparable.
How did you get started?
I went to the Internet-School of Photography. Like so many other photographers I know, I’ve been taugth by Flickr, Blogs and Books.
Given that I’m a self-taught photographer, I do a lot a research on Internet and read a lot of books about photography to learn more.
On the other hand, I always publish my photos in Flickr. For me it’s the most important community of photographers worldwide. Doing some research, I stumbled upon the work of one of the greatest strobist photographers I have know, Dustin Diaz. He’s a San-Francisco-based photographer. His work is known for the 365project he did last year (2010), as it was mainly based in Strobist photography.
When I checked his 365project gallery out, I said to myself “I need to learn how to do that!” Luckily for me he published most of his photos lightning setups in his Portfolio. So I started to read and learn.
I started buying lighting equipment during February 2010 in order to start a strobist 365project myself. It wasn’t until Jan 2011 that I started it.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
Female Portraiture is the field were I feel more comfortable with. However if you see my Flickr stream you will see me all over the place. Being in a 365 project makes it really hard to find a model everyday. So I’ve had to pose around for my photos.
What gear are you using?
I’m currently using a Canon 50D with an Optekra battery grip. It’s not a Full Frame camera, but it’s an excellent one though. I also own a Canon T2i as backup camera and for video purposes.
I own three strobes: Two Canon Speedlite 430EXII (the first one I bought on sale, the second, used) and a Canon Speedlite 580EXII.
Also, I have two Light Stands from Wescott, a 28” Wescott Apollo Softbox, two 24’’ umbrellas (black and white), and a set of light modifiers (snoot, grid, really small softbox).
I used to take photos with a DIY PC-Sync cable but it didn’t allow me to set the flashes in manual mode. So I went wireless with the Yongnuo 602RX, bought on Ebay, with three receivers.
Canon 70-200mm f/4.0 USM
Canon 50mm f/1.8
Sigma 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6
Whats your favorite lens and why?
It should be the Canon 70-200mm f/4.0 USM. It’s my first L lens. The sharpness I can’t get out of it it’s really amazing and incorporable. I love to use it every time I do portraits. I always make portraits at 70mm and more.
How are you marketing yourself?
Right now I’m rebranding my image and presence on the web. I’ve been working hard to publish my photos in Facebook Page, Twitter, Blog and my Flickr Account. It’s a lot of social media but it’s really important these days.
Whats your favorite photo you have taken?
It’s really hard to choose only one photo. I’ve made a small selection of my favorite ones. To keep it safe I’ve choosen photos from my 365 to showcase in this blog.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Start your lighting gear with low budget accessories.
I have made a lot of Do It Yourself modifiers and they do wonders. You don’t have to invest a great deal of money at first. Get better and start buying equipment when your skills need it.
Also, study a lot. Ask yourself “What are the effects that aperture and shutter speed have on flash light?” “What’s the difference between a white and a silver reflective umbrella?” “Why use a Soft box or a Beauty Dish?” Answering to these questions will help a lot.
Knowledge makes the difference.
I would say that photography lightning requires about 20% skills. The rest is knowledge of light and is usage. Never stop learning. Research. Study what the best photographers out there are doing and try to mimic them.
When you have the knowledge, you’ll only need to work on that 20% of skills to achieve great results.