I met Oraddo Triara aka Oswald in the hotel lobby. Sat in a big wicker chair and drawing at speed with a biro he was adding another masterpiece to his ideas sketch book. He had defined the outline shapes of the objects and was adding shading to give them depth and form. A number of pencil portraits were on the table to his side and colourful abstract paintings sat on easels. I’d returned to the floor to ask for his portrait, we ended up speaking at length about light and composition, cameras, exhibitions and family acceptance of an artists work and how that acceptance can change over the years.

There were issues with the 50mm f/1.8 focus and a simple solution, more on that after the jump..

Our conversation was punctuated by a client collecting a pencil drawn family portrait and an acrylic on canvas painting, then other potential clients asking about prices. The man made a living from his art, I did my best not to get in his way.

He asked if I had my laptop with me and showed me some exhibition work that he and his three siblings, all artists, had put together. They each had their own unique styles but a number of paintings shared common themes. The sister created the darkest of the four, I was curious as to what inspired her but thought it best not to ask!

¬†Sophie helped me take the first shot, holding the flash on it’s wizard around the same line as Oraddo’s desk lamp but a little further back, fitted with a full CTO filter and the soft box. It helped recreate the lighting that was already there thanks to the lamp, but at a level that would give me a better shutter speed. The first photo looked fine when quickly chimped but on loading into the laptop I noticed how Oraddo’s eyes were not sharp despite the focus point having been in the right place. These 50mm f1.8 lenses have issues with focus accuracy, I’ll be sending both back to Canon to be checked out.

I returned to the ground floor to try again, this time asking another hotel guest to be my light stand. Yet again the focus was way out. The solution was to get off auto-focus, using Live View x10 zoom to check the manual focus before reframing and taking the shot. The difference between the two images is clear, especially in the close crop of the eyes.