Thursday, February 17, 2011


Expecting an "earth shattering" event, my university decided upon an earthquake theme for advertising this years largest student event - an all night party and live music show called "Student day".
I wasn't really digging the whole "earthquake" theme, and to make matters worse, I was sent this video and asked to "shoot something like this". Resisting the urge to remind them that I was a still photographer,  I started thinking of good still images that would properly convey the feeling of an earthquake.
After rounding up a few cooperative students and visiting a local construction-site dumpster, I was in business.

We set up the shoot in a free classroom. Shooting on campus was easy, since all the furniture I needed wa already there, and it came with the added bonus of making the shots feel familiar to the students who would eventually view them. Carmen and Amaliya, my two models were just perfect for the job - they weren't afraid to get a bit dirty, and gave great expressions all through the shoot.

Lighting was sweet and simple, cross-lighting shot through two white umbrellas, with the key (camera right) at 1/4 power and the fill (camera left) at 1/8 power. This setup also got enough light bouncing around the small room, that I didn't really need the extra strobe I brought to act as a background fill.

For the second scene, we needed an extra model, so we grabbed a student out of a nearby class. With Carmel already in position, I told our impromptu model "just kneel beside her, grab her shoulder, and act like your not sure what to do" - "ok, but how do I do that?" - SNAP! - perfect shot.

Again, lighting was simple - key at 1/4 power, camera left, and a fill high-up camera right also at 1/4 power.

The whole shoot went so smooth, that before I knew it, I had perfect shots of each scene. Start to finish, the whole thing took less than an hour - most of which was spent either throwing around broken blocks or cleaning up the mess we've made.

I really have to hand it to all the wonderful people that made this shoot possible - Amalya and Carmen, our anonymous male model who was gone before I got his name, and of course - my beloved Valerie, who gave invaluable styling advice and kept the models both focused and happy.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cookies 'n' Creme Fudge

Cookies 'n' Creme Fudge

Sinfully delicious fudge, made from this recepie.

Shot with one off-camera strobe bounced off a nearby wall for some nice, all-around light.

Released under a CC-BY license, please credit "Boaz Arad" and link back to either or

I'd love to hear about it if you use it!
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Complementary Creative Commons Casio Calculator

Complementary Creative Commons Casio Calculator

Macro shot of a calculator, released under a CC-license for all your math / study illustration needs. Pictured is a Casio fx-991ES calculator that has gotten me through meny tough tests.

Be sure to provide credit to "Boaz Arad" and a link back to or

If used, I'd love to hear about it!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Forest Rangers Tower

The Forest Rangers Tower

A 4x4 enthusiast friend of mine called me one evening "You've got to see this I'm coming to pick you up, grab your camera gear" he said, and before I knew it we were riding into the night in his jeep.
After about twenty minutes on a winding dirt road through the forest, we arrived at a clearing, and I immediately saw what he was so excited about: A decommissioned fire lookout tower stood alone against an amazing starry backdrop.

The moment I saw the tower, I knew I wanted a light inside the observation deck. This was easier said than done though, since the stairs were caged and locked. Not to be deterred, me and my faithful companions began to exercise our nearly forgotten monkey-bar skills. Using a sing that read something on the lines of "Do not climb, you will die" as a foothold, we managed to get past the cage and up the stairs.

Met by a locked door at the top, I climbed past the railing, over a four story drop, and into a window. Inside I found that the tower had become a popular pigeon roost, insomuch that I had trouble finding a spot where I could set down a strobe and still want to pick it up once the shoot was over.

After making VERY sure that my poverty wizard was working properly, we climed down and got ready for the shoot.

Setting the camera on a tripod, I dialed in a 30 second exposure, this gave the sky a good exposure, and gave me enough time for my flash shenanigans. After releasing the shutter, I first manually triggered the remote flash, then used a handheld strobe to paint the towers base with three low-powered shots. While I was doing this, I had a friend run around with a third strobe, and paint some light onto the surrounding trees.

It took about 15 tries to get a well lit shot without any residual silhouettes, or over/under exposed sections of the scene.

Lastly - in the spirit of "don't try this at home" - I really recommend you avoid risking you wel0lbeing in order to get a good shot. In retrospect, climbing that tower wasn't the brightest of ideas. Since I have yet to see a shot worth dying for I truly suggest abiding by signs that read "Don't... or you'll die" - and hey, even if the shot IS worth dying for, it's no fun missing out on all the ensuing fame and fortune :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tighten Up

Tighten Up
Rhodes 2010

Shot with natural light. Modeled edited, and titled by my beautifully beloved Bilirubin.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

OMG Finals!

OMG Finals!

The semester is over, finals are coming up. The editor of our Local student calls me up and says:
"we needed a cover shot, something 'test related' Oh, and did I mention it's due in five hours? we need to make our printing deadline..."

After a short brainstorming session, I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do, but I knew it was going to involve books... I posted a quick shout-out for modeling volunteers on my Facebook page and headed towards the library.

The head librarian was kind enough to give me free reign to wreak havoc in the humanities library (nobody actually studies there anyhow, I mean, seriously - humanities?).

My Facebook post landed me a student that was hoping front-page exposure would impress the ladies. With everything in place, I was ready to shoot.

My first concept, which turned out to be the money shot, was a student being "crushed" by the weight of his study material. One thing I didn't consider - is that a stack of books half the hight of an average person - is VERY heavy. Using random books we could only stack to chest height, which was not nearly hight enough. So we set out to find the lightest books in the library.

After gathering a pile of think books printed on cheap paper, I set up two speedlights on both sided of my subject, and shot them straight at the ceiling for simple all-around light. On the bright side, the unexpected weight of the books really helped me get an expression of genuine suffering out of my model :)

The final shot was taken from above, using a wide angle lens. This was made possible by a conviniantly placed staircase. A nice and even background was provided by the libraries grey wall-to-wall carpeting.

The whole shebang: planning, coordination, shooting and post processing was over in less than four hours and, once submitted to my editor, received what I consider the highest possible praise any editorial photographer could ask for: "This is exactly what I had in mind".

If you like, you can see the final publication (Hebrew) here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yermi Kaplan

Yermi Kaplan

Ben-Gurion University has a tradition of hosting quality live performances every Tuesday. These performances are usually free for students. As head of the student body's photography department, I was tasked with providing on-the-minute "teaser" images for these events.

Since each artist only arrives on campus less than an hour before his performance, and is usually busy setting up for the show - I'm lucky to get even five minutes of their time.

To overcome these constraints, I had to work fast, and keep the shoots simple.

I opted for a single strobe (SB-26 camera right), shot through a white umbrella at 45 degress to the subject. This allowed the light to act as both a key light for the subject, and as a fill light for the background.

I set the shutter at my maximum sync speed, and shot at half/full power. This allowed me to close up the aperture enough in order to filter out all the hideous and mixed temperature stage lights.

The background was provided by two student body logo posters I pulled together from the sides of the stage. And before the artist arrived, I used one of the stage crew as a stand in to test the lighting setup.

When Yermi came in to do his sound check, I shot a few frames and was done in less than three minutes. This was rather fortunate, since less than 30 seconds later me and my light-stand were quickly shooed off stage.

Though Yermi came out a bit tight-lipped in the final shot, I rather like it, and think it rather reflects his musical style. If you'd like to hear some of his music you can visit his myspace page. And if you're ever near Ben-Gurion University during the semester, be sure to drop by for a free cultural treat!