Archive for the ‘Flash & Lighting’ Category

Lighting – Constant source pros and cons

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Hey there, it’s been a while since I last posted so I am sorry for the delay.

In the effort to learn how to control light I thought I would start with the easiest: constant light source.

An example would lamps, torches and hell you could even use your monitor (but the monitor thing is another post).

I took a little trip to Ikea and bought the following items for my shoot:

  • RIAN – Small white table with metal legs
  • LAGRA – Super cheap and small lamps (I got 3)
  • POLARVIDE – White blanket for background.

I then put them together into the following setup

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Using the table I attached the lamps and blanket to it to make a miniature studio. I then used a Canon 450D I had on loan from a friend to make some pretty cool product shots of the cameras I own.

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After just before I packed up, it dawned on me that I could try something else. I turned the lamps so they pointed upward and then put a figurine in the middle… This created an excluding effect where only the figurine where in view and the background was not in view. Remember I did this in a dark room in the first place.

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As you can see the effect is remarkable. Even the white table with the glare from the table looks like fog.

Cons

  • Some bulbs give off a tinted light so that you might get a yellow tint on everything you take.
  • It is messy with all the cables around. Defiantly a heath hazard
  • The lamps/bulbs are not so strong so you always need them near your subject
  • It will never be a bright as flash.
  • Not combatable with store bought filters and diffusers.
  • Outdoor photography is almost not possible.

Pros

  • Instead of taking shots all the time to see if you got the setup correct, you can just look up from the camera and decide if you need to move something. Everything is just instant.
  • A much cheaper solution than using flash all the time.
  • If you buy the lamps you can clamp then you have an almost unlimited range to where you can put the lights.
  • When it brakes its easy and cheap to replace.

In conclusion I found this system very effective in lighting product and macro shots. But I still think that flash should be used for portrait photos using the correct setup.

Light & Dark

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

In an effort to understand flash photography more I wanted to return to the basics with lighting and how it works in different situations.

So today I went out for my lunch brake and took some shots focusing on side light.

I set the camera to ISO 100 Shutter to about 120 and my Aperture to 3.5.

It was very badly overcast and getting solid contrasting shots of light and dark was going to be tricky.

What happens when it is overcast is the clouds diffuse the light and send it all over the place almost deleting the shadows of everything. Try it go out side in a overcast day and you will see that you have almost no shadow (or non at all). When there are little or no clouds the sun is like a spot light focusing light into one point or rather direction.

Then I came across a door at the Dom. It is 2 to 3 meters high and has made of some sort of metal. It is sculpted into several images of birds and angels. In the center there are 2 men facing each other and there expressions really speak for them selfs.

Black and White

Using the door itself as a shield to the light I was able to get the light and dark effect I wanted.

If I where to recreate this with flash it would be known as a side light. This is where the flash would be placed to one side of the subject and thus creating a stark contrast of light and dark.

I have only really seen this used in Portrait photos but I think that if it works for other things then go ahead and try it.

Flash: Blow out

Monday, October 13th, 2008

I wanted to try something new one night with the S5700 and use the inbuilt flash to take a interesting picture I had found.

My walk home from the train station takes me past a supermarket that was built there not too long ago. They kept a wall from the old building in order to protect the local residents from the cars and the people making noises with their karts. Well they left the doorway in the wall and it was just ripe for the picking.

Doorway to another place
As you can see I used flash to bring the doorway into view and thats where the problem lies. The flash had made the doorway too bright.

I have a major issue with controlling light for pictures… Its one thing to accept what you are given in terms of daylight but a whole new ball game to control your own light using flash.

As I hunt for a solution I will share with you my findings and what I have learned.