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Congratulations Ethan Tweedie July PFRE Photographer of The Month

Published: 24/07/2012

The PFRE jury has voted Ethan Tweedie the July PFRE Photographer of the month. This month the voting was very close between Ethan's shot to the right and Steven Reed's amazing glass shower shot (#20). This was a fantastic bunch of master bath shots, many of the jurors remarked how difficult it was to choose the best image from this group of 20 shots.

Here is the voting results:

  1. Ethan Tweedie - 35
  2. Stephen Reed - 31
  3. Barry MacKenzie - 15
  4. Peggy Taylor - 9
  5. Brandon Beechler - 7
  6. Jonathan Kissock - 3

First of all here is the complete tour of this very special property on the Big Island of Hawaii. Here is Ethan's description of the shoot:

This home, called Hale Ku Mana, is a brand new private residence located here on the Big Island at the Hualalai Resort offered at $16,500,00. It is a total of 10,000 sq. ft and was a monster to photograph. On the first night I spent five hours taking images from 3pm into Twilight and then early the next morning starting before the sun rise to mid morning for a total of eleven hours.

On the first night my plan was to photograph the kitchen, the master bath then the master bedroom. Upon arrival it was already evident the weather wouldn’t cooperate, as the skies were cloudy. This wasn’t a big deal for the Kitchen, but would affect my master bath shot (and the master bedroom)

The master bath is an amazing space and that aspect alone would lend itself to a special image, but to my dismay, I never got any quality ambient light for the shot. The other technical difficulty was there is no way to turn the ceiling fans off in any of the rooms! (Each room is preprogrammed for showings to turn on all lights with one button.)

For the shot I set up two monolights with umbrellas camera left and right (At 9 and 3 o’clock). To start, I took some bracketed shots with no lighting then moved to taking bracketed shots in manual at f/13 with various shutter speeds with the lights. After the bracketed shots I then took a third monolight and lit up the various sections of the room so that I wouldn’t have any shadows in order to highlight the room’s various details/features.

In post I ended up with around 200 individual shots. I realize this is above and beyond what I or most would do for a “normal” listing, but this house is quite special. All shots were loaded into Lightroom with some basic settings applied and then the task was to take the main bracketed shots and get a base image using manual exposure fusion in CS6. Once base layering was completed I then took all the individually lit areas and layered those to compile the final image and did my final adjustments in Lightroom (sharpening, clarity etc).

All in all I was quite pleased with results, but still I think the image lacks some of the warmth that would have been added by some evening ambient light, but I was dealt the hand I was dealt! I thought about waiting for that twilight blue color in the sky, but I had quickly move onto the next shot which was the master bedroom which faced the ocean, pool and sunset.

Great work Ethan!

Larry Lohrman

10 comments on “Congratulations Ethan Tweedie July PFRE Photographer of The Month”

  1. Fantastic shot Ethan!

    Steven, I'm just as interested in how you made your shot. That's a crazy shot and the mechanics of it fascinate me. Care to share?

  2. Ethan you worked your butt off on this and it has done you well!!

    Steven I too would love to hear your thoughts on how you pulled off your shot!! Well done!!

  3. Terry and Rick,

    I would love to tell you my photo was as complex as Ethan's, but it wasn't. I used two SB-800's, one camera right, the other camera left, both bounced into a wall/ceiling joint (triggered with Pocket Wizard's). It took a little trial and error to get them positioned so the reflections in the glass were minimized. There were still some reflections which were removed in post. The bathroom was pretty bright and had a nice quality of ambient, plus the gray walls provided a really clean surface to bounce the light from. I just exposed for the ambient and dialed the flashes in to fill. I set the camera in the bathtub and fired away. No blending or heavy post production needed - just a fairly straightforward shot.

    As an aside, the home owner was also an interior designer, and she used this photo as part of a presentation that helped her win a design award, so that was an unexpected payoff.


  4. So forgive me guys. I'm a newer photographer. Stephen, are their less reflections if the inside of the shower has a brighter exposure than where the camera is sitting? I think I've noticed that when I've shot some showers. If I can get enough light into the shower, my camera isn't showing as much. And then as you said, fix the slight reflections in post. Am I on the right track with my thinking.

    Thanks for your inspiration.

  5. Aloha Ethan,

    This photo shoot was off the charts awesome! Thank you for all the hours you have spent on site at Hale Ku Mana, and the countless hours you have spent editing to produce spectacular images that bring buyers not only to my site and the pics, but to escrow, but you have a proven track record of that!

    Thanks again for your hard work, dedication and sharing your amazing and talented vision through your lens! Your services are a bargain at twice the price!

    Mahalo nui loa,

    Karen Ferrara, MBA, R(S)
    Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers

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