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


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