Focal Finding Stories at the L.A. Beard and Mustache Competition 2012

Blog by: Russo Mutuc

I was recently invited to be part of the press crew at this year's L.A. Beard and Mustache Competition 2012, held at The Belasco, DTLA. This is the first time I had ever  been in this type of event, where there is so much stories growing every second. Literally, every step you go, you will see beard and mustache decked out with amazing costumes, or, to some, this is their life style.

I originally took on the project thinking I would photograph the event, more like a journalistic perspective, instead, I saw angles which drew more appeal to my style. Most of the photographs I captured where influenced from portraiture, and using various types of light from flash, LED, and natural light. I was in photo-playground shooting any kind of stories I can capture.

Here are some samples I took from the event. See for the complete set of the event.

The next set of pictures was something different that I was trying out. I preplanned this setup before coming to the event. I had visions in my mind about manipulating light and the beards. I had asked Cinemills if they would sponsor me lights for the event. They had let me used the LEDZ Brute 3. This light is great for those run-and-gun type of shoots. But I had something else in mind. I was thinking of coming up with psuedo-cinematography influence types of shots. Placing the light in various angles to create an effect and to change the mood a bit. With the Brute 3 being lightweight and versatile, I was able to ask the subject to help me light him or herself by holding the unit - this freeing me up to photographing them from the desired angle. Keep-in-mind, I don't have plenty of time to capture the talents walking around the event. The most I can grab their time was less than a minute. In conclusion, my full control and light manipulation was very limited. If this was a controlled environment, I would had more time to cut and shape the light. For the Brute 3, this was a perfect light to handhold and find stories, great light for DSLR users.

See some samples of the photos I captured with the LEDZ Brute 3. I created photos that where lit from the bottom to create this monster-light effect. Without the light, this image would look different.

As a professional photographer, I am always looking for unique subjects to capture, more importantly, ways to control and manipulate light. As it clearly describes in my slogan, "Seeking light to create the story." - 

Camera - Nikon D80 
Strobe - Nikon SB 600 with Gary Fong diffuser.

Thanks again to:
Cinemills - Cinemills/CMC service to the motion picture and television industries. Tweeting on lighting, techniques, DP, Cinematography, Gaffer, Film, and Television.


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