Monday, February 28, 2011

Mixed Lighting

Mixed Lighting

Location lighting often presents the challenge of balancing the natural and artificial light. This image is really split lighting with the right of the model being window light and camera left being a medium softbox at 90 degrees. And remember that no matter how well a subject is lit we need to consider and interesting perspective and compositional elements!


A little closer with the split lighting pattern...

Here the softbox was moved to camera right to mimic the window light and giving a Rembrandt lighting pattern...


A little clowning around by our model and Alan Thornton ( Instructor ). Even though the shutter speed is only 1/30 sec. the motion is frozen by the short flash duration...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Change It Up

Change It Up

During our recent lighting workshop we shot manual, metered everything, and used artificial lighting; a lot of work to get set. But once set up, Alan encouraged use to change it up; come in close. back off, change angle and perspective, and of course change the models pose. As a result, once the initial work is done building a scene and lighting, you get a lot of variety of shots from one setup.

As simple and sensible as this sounds I had a tendency to take a few shots and then modify the lighting or change the position of the set requiring new significant time and effort. I needed to constantly remind myself to thoroughly work a set before moving on.

This image uses a single medium sized softbox on the left elevated above the model's head.


Beyond Boundaries

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Small Spaces

Small Spaces

One of the location shoots during my recent lighting workshop was particularly challenging since we shot in the small rooms of the Cottonwood Motel along the classic Route 66 in Santa Fe. How to light the subject and not completely flood the small spaces with light. In this shot I had one medium softbox to the left and a black flag blocking the spill to the white wall behind.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Beauty Lighting

Another of my location portraits, this image was lit with a 24 inch beauty dish placed immediately in front and above the model. I shot the image from underneath the beauty dish. This type of lighting is called "Beauty Lighting" which refers to the position and not necessarily the type of light used. It could just as well have been done with a softbox rather than a beauty dish.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Learning Lighting

I just returned from a wonderful workshop on Lighting taught by Alan Thornton at Santa Fe Workshops. During the workshop we did 3 location shoots and 2 studio shoots with about 13 different models. It was a great experience.

We were not allowed to use photoshop or any processing. Alan didn't want us looking at the images at night. we uploaded and critiqued them the following day. This really helped me concentrate on fundamentals of lighting and exposure to get it right out of camera. Although at first I was not excited about these rules, in the end I could see the wisdom of this approach.

Top of the World

In this location I was trying to balance ambient light with artificial. A small softbox was placed on the left elevated above the models head and a reflector was low on the right (see the diagram below). Exposure was manual and metered. Because there was so much ambient light I left the shutter at the maximum synch speed of 1/250. I thought that I would have to drag the shutter a bit to bring up the ambient level but this level seemed appropiriate so I left it at 1/250.


The final day of our workshop we spent in the studio trying various studio lighting techniques. This on called "Slash Lighting" or "Rim Lighting" uses two vertical strip banks, one on each side and a small softbox set to low power in the front (see the diagram below). A great lighting pattern for males and typically not so great for a feminine look.


We had a interesting variety of locations and models. One of my favorites was the Cottonwood Motel along the old Route 66 in Santa Fe.

For this daylight shot we used a large softbox on the right which blocked the direct sun on the model and also provided nice soft light to illuminate the subject (see the diagram below). Because we were competing with the sun the we nearly maxed out the 1200 Ws capacity of the Profoto strobe!

The Cottonwood


Friday, February 11, 2011

Join Us in the Alabama Hills

The Alabama Hills

There are still a few spots left in our spring workshop in the Alabama Hills out of Lone Pine, California. Visit Mountain High Workshops for more information. We would love to have you along for what looks to be a wonderful workshop!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Alignment with Handheld HDR


Ever had difficulty aligning images from a handheld HDR set? Well I have! But the built in alignment routines in most HDR software are fairly rudimentary. They particularly have a hard time with complex motion or when a wide angle lens. Below is a magnified image showing poor alignment with Photomatix Pro 4.0...


And this one used Nik HDR Efex Pro...


But this is what can be achieved with Photoshop CS5...


Watch this video to see how...

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