Saturday, June 4, 2011

Seeing the Light (Experiments with Flash)

A few months ago, my friend and life-coach Lydia sent me home with this amazing carved stone of hers. The texture in this stone is downright hypnotic. After I took it out of its fabric bag, it was probably a good half hour before I put it down again.

When Lydia originally suggested I take it home, the assumption was that it would be a fun subject to photograph. The play of light and shadow would give me ample opportunities for exploration. That was the plan.

Surprisingly, it was one of the hardest things I have ever shot. It fits in the palm of my hand. So right off the bat, the scale is considerably smaller than most of my subjects. My lights are correspondingly huge in comparison. Trying to get a delicate touch of light when you're using strobes that could light a hockey arena is tough.

After experimenting for an hour and change, I realized that I needed to approach the question differently. Slowly I started looking at ways to cut the amount of light hitting the object. First with gobos held in hand during longish exposures. When that didn't impress me, I tried changing the softbox so that only a small slice of light came through the baffle. I think the resulting images (the last two here) gave it more personality. Overall, it definitely made me rethink my lighting setup. I have since added a small grid-spot to one of my flashes and a snoot to another one. Thanks to Strobist, I have another cheapo gridspot in the making (out of coroplast leftover from the election campaign signs!). I should have that gridspot ready for next week! All in all, it was a fun process. Trying new ideas and learning through the process is always exciting.

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