Congratulations Brandon Cooper – March PFRE Photographer of The Month

March 22nd, 2016

BrandonCooperCongratulations again to Brandon Cooper of Fort McMurray, Alberta who has won again this month. Brandon is on a roll!

Here are the contestants that the jurors awarded points to this month:

  1. Brandon Cooper
  2. Brian Doherty
  3. Seamus Payne
  4. Rajan Milosevic
  5. Andrew Pece
  6. Peter Bentley
  7. Trace Tague
  8. Barry MacKenzie
  9. Matt Davis
  10. Canek Estrada

This month I got some feedback from a reader expressing concern that comments by jurors on the contestants images during the period the jurors are voting must surely affect other jurors opinions and in turn, the way they vote. This feeling is understandable particularly to someone not familiar with the history and background of this contest. Perhaps that is partially true. In response to this concern I want to restate the following:

  1. Because the primary purpose of this contest is education the comments of the jurors are highly valued by both the contestants and readers that follow the contest for the educational value. There are few if any other places to get honest feedback on your work by such highly qualified reviewers!
  2. Many contest winners will tell you that the honest comments of the jurors have been key to raising the level of their work.
  3. The jurors are busy people. It works best to comment on the contestants photos as they are considering how to cast their votes. They are not going to comment if they have to come back after the winner is announced and spend more time.
  4. I’ve discussed this issue with the jurors in the past. The consensus of the jurors is that the influence of others comments is not a big deal. Even if you don’t believe this, I would argue that the educational aspect of this contest is far more important that who wins! Winning is nowhere near as important as the education that you get out of participating.

Here are Brandon’s comments:

I’m absolutely thrilled to have won the March POTM contest. I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate the PFRE blog and everyone who contributes to it on a daily basis. There were a ton of great entries again this month so it just goes to show how much everyone is learning and improving on a monthly basis. This is an exciting time to be a part of PFRE as the group continues to grow and gain momentum every day. Thanks again to Larry for everything you do.

I used to think that an all white room should be easy to handle but that theory went out the window on this particular shoot. It was fairly easy to get enough light into the rooms but once I got the exposure where I wanted it I realized that now everything looked totally flat. The drop down ceiling into the sunroom on the right didn’t help the situation either.

Here’s what I ended up doing…

As usual I started with a round of ambient shots and I settled on one that I felt gave me the best ceiling exposure. Once I had a good ceiling exposure I stopped down to make sure I had some detail in the blinds and then started adding light. I had a STU in the middle of the sunroom shooting almost directly into the kitchen, I also had a ceiling bounce in the bottom right corner of that room closest to the camera. I added two ceiling bounces in the foreground, one camera right and one camera left at low power to try and get some detail in the floor behind the island. Once the main kitchen area was taken care of I stood a flash on the counter in the window well of the butlers pantry and another on super low power on the left side of the pantry to help fill in the coat hooks and fridge. In total it took six lights to get the flash frame I was looking for.

Once I had all the rooms relatively well lit I took the single flashed frame into PS and blended it with 2-3 ambient frames to try and get a natural feel and make sure the direction of light made sense. I then took it back into LR for some dodging, burning, WB, contrast, white/black adjustment, clarity and sharpening.

This was a great learning experience for me and I’m so pleased that the judges recognized all the hard work that went into this image.

Thanks again everyone!

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12 Responses to “Congratulations Brandon Cooper – March PFRE Photographer of The Month”

  • Congrats, Brandon – killing it dude!

  • Great stuff again, Brandon!

    AND I learnt a lot from your reponse.. : )

  • Well done Brandon!

  • What a great shot … and what a terrific write-up on how you captured it. Yet another well-deserved win! Congrats Brandon!!

  • Congratulations Brandon! Well deserved…again!

  • Brandon – What a great example of what time and work can achieve! Congrats 🙂

  • Well done, nice pictures. For me everyone is a winner (so many good photos)

  • Great image Brandon!!! well done, love the lighting. It has a really polished clean look to it. Congratulations again, see you in Arizona!

  • Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your comments and kind words!

  • Congrats Brandon. Great image. Thank you for the detailed description of the lighting setup, PS and Lightroom edit.

  • Congrats Brandon, another great shot.

  • Congrats Brandon, well deserved.

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