Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Budapest Master Class: Shooting At Buda Castle, Mighty Fine Photos!

Good Morning Everybody,

PlavillionWhat a great second day  to our Master Class we had  in Budapest.  The icing on top of the cake was the beautiful walk back to the hotel and a full day of shooting and dinner at the fabulous French restaurant, Plavilion de Paris. Most of the class, including LaDawn and I spent a lot of time photographing every course that passed by our eyes (mouth).

Like I said in yesterday’s post – this is truly the city of lights for Eastern Europe!  This first image, below, is of the Parliament House, construction starting in 1885 and completed in 1902 and at the time was the largest parliamentary building in the world I s located along the Pest side the Danube River.  This is clearly the most famous landmark in the city with it’s 691 room and it’s magnificent dome can be seen from miles around.

Parliment night

A little further down the river is one of the eight bridges that span the Danube.  This is the third newest the bridge of Budapest the Elizabeth Bridge.  Along with all the other bridges of the city they were blown up at the end of World War II. It is bright white cable bridge and definitely sets itself apart from the landscape.  At night, it is just beautiful to see.

White Bridge BP

We had a great second day for our Master Class in Budapest, Hungary. Clay and I both started out with PowerPoint presentations to set the tune for the week and lay out the plan for our week of shooting.

After lunch we headed up to the Buda Castle quarter. This area spreads out over a large area with pedestrian walkways, small shops, museums, and the historic castle itself. It offers plenty of great places for photography. Let’s take a look at some of the images I captured during our visit.

Buda Castle Quarter – Great Location, Great Images!

Image 1:

When shooting outdoors I always try to make the sky as rich and blue as possible. The way I accomplish this in the first photograph below is by using high-speed flash sync on my 600 DX – RT strobes. That allowed me to use a smaller f-stop and a higher shutter speed to under expose the sky just slightly. The off-camera flash also allows me to put the dimensional lighting on the subject that I always want.


Camera specs: Canon 5D Mark III fitted with my Canon 24-105mm IS lens at 65mm, 1/1600 second at F9.0, ISO 200.  Lighting camera right, Canon 600 EX-RT speed-lite directly.

Image 2:

I love the backlit grasses at the location in which we were shooting. I asked our model, Anna, to get comfortable in the grass and backlit with her with the sun. Not only was she backlit but all the grasses were as well. All I needed to do was bring my flash in from camera left putting beautiful lighting on her face and shoot away.


Camera specs: Canon 5D Mark III fitted with my Canon 24-105mm IS lens at 58mm, 1/1600 second at F9.0, ISO 200.  Lighting camera left, Canon 600 EX-RT speed-lite directly.

Image 3:

I love this next photograph! Again, the grasses are backlit but I illuminated Anna a bit differently. In this image I intercepted the suns rays with my 84 inch Westcott translucent umbrella, I like to call it “the cloud”. That gave me a beautiful, soft, directional light falling on her face.

Since I had to open up for the proper exposure on her, the grasses around her not in the shadow of the umbrella went even brighter giving me and almost infrared look to the image.


Camera specs: Canon 5D Mark III fitted with my Tamron 28-300mm VC lens at 129mm, 1/320 second at F6.3, ISO 200.  Lighting camera right, sun through Westcott 84 inch translucent umbrella

In all of these images I’m sharing with you today (and yesterday) I'd like you to notice that I've maintained a loop lighting pattern on the face of the subject in each instance. It's the loop lighting pattern that creates the detail, depth, dimension, and saturation to the images I try to create.

Image 4:

In this next image we took a vantage point on the Buda side of the Danube River.  Budapest is actually two cities. Buda is on the western side of the river and Pest, pronounced Pesht, is on the eastern side. Both cities were united in 1873. Anyway, the vantage point from Castle Hill over to the Pest side of the Danube River is always a breathtaking sight.

This image was a bit of a challenge to capture. It was an extremely bright, sunny day. That meant that my exposure needed to be for the brightly lit areas within the composition. My subject was almost silhouetted in the shadows of the castle and was much darker.

I brought my flash in  from camera right and put my typical loop light illumination on the subject. With a little tweaking in Lightroom 5 I was able to raise a density of the shadows, add richness to the sky, and get this great image of our subject.


Camera specs: Canon 5D Mark III fitted with my Tamron 28-300mm VC lens at 129mm, 1/320 second at F6.3, ISO 200.  Lighting camera right, Canon 600 EX-RT speed-lite directly.

Image 5:

This last image below is strictly available light. I saw one of the students working with Anna and noticed the beautiful loop lighting illuminating her profile against the castle towers in the distance. I simply positioned the subject against the background that I thought best fit the composition and then shot away.

Again, a little postproduction Lightroom 5 sweetened the photograph to its finished result.

Pic5 Castle

Camera specs: Canon 5D Mark III fitted with my Tamron 28-300mm VC lens at 55mm, 1/320 second at F6.3, ISO 1000.  Lighting camera right was just the natural daylight.

DessertWe finished the day about 8 o'clock in the evening and all made our way downhill to the beautiful and delightful French restaurant, Plavilion de Paris. Everyone had a great time reminiscing, joking, laughing, and enjoying each others company, the delicious food and wonderful Hungarian wines. It was a long day but one fantastic experience.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. We have a few more days off  in Budapest and LaDawn and I are going out and check out some more the sites. After a rainy and windy day yesterday the sun is out the skies are blue and we're ready to take on the city one more time.

Be sure to check in again soon because I can't wait to tell you about our shooting session at the Budapest Opera House. One fantastic and unbelievable location and one fantastic set of images – I can't wait to show you.

Viszlat  (VEES-lat) for now,



  1. David, I appreciate your commentary and ideas as always. I just have to say that image 5 looks like a mistake with the model out of focus. Not sure what you were thinking, but I'm curious whether other readers thought the same.

  2. Thanks Colin for pointing that out. In the rush to post I grabbed the incorrect image. New image replaced it.