Posts Tagged: sb-910

An experiment in synthetic lighting.

While random-surfing through various comp-sci sites looking for something vaguely photography or graphics focused that would also satisfy the programmer in me, I came across a series of articles from the 90s about synthetic lighting.   The premise is that you separate out each light source in a scene, including a shot of ONLY ambient light in order to allow you to do neat things with the lighting in post.   Reconstructing lighting in a physical scene within a digital scene, alterations of light levels, colors, intensities, etc…  even creating ‘negative’ lights that subtract light from a scene.    All of this is the bread-n-butter for 3D artists, mainly because their  entire world is synthetic.   However, for photographers it’s a bit more complicated.

After reading several papers and blog posts about it, I decided to try my hand at a simple demonstration of the technique.   What I did was take a static object and shoot three shots of it.   One ambient, one with a strobe on the left, and one with a strobe on the right.   Then, using some photoshop magic, created an interesting synthetic lighting setup that let me do somethign I could only have done with gels and a lot more fiddling with light levels.

Rather than talk about, let’s get down to the fun.  Get your camera out, take an ambient shot and a shot with each of two lights individually lighting the same object.  LOCK DOWN the camera, lights and object.  You’ll be compositing all three shots together a couple of times during all of this.  Everything has to line up perfectly.

A night of low-key photography – part 2

With every shoot I do, I make an effort to revisit the shoot after some time has passed in order to look at the shots with a fresh eye.   I’ll also do this after developing a new technique or just to experiment and see if I can come up with anything neat or show worthy.

I added quite a few images to the gallery of my low-key experiment shoot with Corrie back in January.   Some of the new images are, in my opinion, my best low-key work to date, though there is one stunning high-key image included.  I just can’t seem to get away from bright lights and hard shadows.

So, sit back and enjoy the show.  I’d love to hear from all of you with comments, criticisms, suggestions or anything else you want to say or ask.

The gallery is behind the cut because, as you should already expect from me, they’re Not Safe For Work (NSFW).

Wendi in Profile

I spent some time last night doing light and posing experiments with my lovely wife, Wendi.  Generally I do not get anything usable out of such a session since I’m focused on what works, doesn’t work, and on experiments. I deliberately push things to extremes in order to study the *why* as much as the *what* of how the pose or light acts and looks.

Then there are times when with a little post work, I come up with something truly extraordinary.  The last time was the image “Stark Elegance” (nsfw) where it was a particular pose and expression that was the inspiration for an image.  This time, it’s just the way the light fell, the softness of the detail on her hair, her expression.   It’s probably one of the most elegant portraits of Wendi I’ve taken yet.

Enjoy.

New gear, getting ready for a new year.

I recently had a bit of monetary windfall and decided it was time to upgrade the gear. Out goes the venerable (and tough as nails!) Nikon D50 and in comes a shiny new D7000. The Alien Bees I’ve been using for the last three years have gone back to their owner. Replacing them are an SB-910 and a Yongnuo YN-560 II. Wireless slaves, snoots, beauty dishes, grids, etc. All kinds of toys.

Below are a few images from my couple of days of experimentation getting familiar with and relearning some old tricks. Enjoy.

Galen and Wendi on the couch.

D7000, 1/60 @ f/6.3 21mm ISO 100
SB-910 at 1/4 powers with 1/8inch grid to camera left and back about 4 feet from the couch.

Portrait of Galen.

D7000, 1/60 @ f/5.3 66mm ISO 800
SB-910 at 1/2 power in 16 inch beauty dish with diffuser sock. Dish was immediately to camera left and about 3-4 feet from Galen.

Tequila, bourbon and rum bottles on black table with light glowing through them.

D7000, 1/125 @ f/11 34mm ISO 200
SB-910 @ 1/2 power in 16inch beauty dish w/ diffuser to camera left and up about 2 feet, pointing back to bottles.
Slave strobe @ 1/4 power with 1/8inch grid on stand behind and slightly above bottles to through light through the bottles to get color.

Lego pirate on pipe next to rum, tequila and bourbon bottles.

D7000, 1/125 @ f/1.8 50mm ISO 200
ND-8 filter on lens to get DOF where I wanted and bring the focus back to the pirate.
SB-910 @ 1/2 power in 16inch beauty dish w/ diffuser to camera left and up about 2 feet, pointing back to bottles.
Slave strobe @ 1/4 power with 1/8inch grid on stand behind and slightly above bottles to through light through the bottles to get color.
Bumped up the contrast and dropped the blacks slightly. The ND-8 left things looking a bit hazy.

Bottles with light behind and above, showing good glowing color.

D7000, 1/125 @ f/1.8 50mm ISO 200
ND-8 filter on lens to get DOF where I wanted and bring the focus back to the pirate.
SB-910 @ 1/2 power in 16inch beauty dish w/ diffuser to camera left and up about 2 feet, pointing back to bottles.
Slave strobe @ 1/4 power with 1/8inch grid on stand behind and slightly above bottles to through light through the bottles to get color.
Only modification was a slight crop.