Tuesday's Tips: The Big Bang Theory, Lighting Science with Professor John Kovac

This image of Professor John Kovac of Harvard University is in the current issue of Nature Magazine.  Professor Kovac is one of the scientists who proved what happened a split second after the Big Bang occurred.

My assignment from Nature was to create a portrait of Professor Kovac.  As is normally the case, that was all the direction I was given.  My idea was to photograph the Professor with a telescope.  There were two telescopes on the roof of the Harvard Science Center, so I contacted the Science Center to make arrangements to have the photo shoot there.

The challenge was that the space was very small with very limited areas to place the strobes without them being in the image.  I opened the dome above the telescope and  laid on the ground at the entrance of the dome, shooting up to include as much dome and sky as possible.  

I used two Nikon SB 900 speedlights to light this image.  I placed one Speedlight directly behind the telescope.  The main light on him was tightly gridded using a Rogue Grid.  It was placed above me, slightly to the right of the entrance.  To get the dome and sky blue,  I set the camera on tungsten.  I put a Rosco CTO filter over the main speed light aimed at the Professor. The sky and my background light were day light balanced.  The main light was compensated to match my camera tungsten setting.  The speedslights were triggered by Pocket Wizards.  I shot this image at 1/200 f/7.1 & ISO 50 with a Nikon 16mm fisheye on a Nikon D800 camera.

Telescope dome without my light

Telescope dome without my light

Exterior of telescope dome

Exterior of telescope dome

Smart Phone Picture of me, figuring out the right angle to shoot this photograph at the entrance of the dome. It was taken during set up time.   It's a glamorous life at times!

Smart Phone Picture of me, figuring out the right angle to shoot this photograph at the entrance of the dome. It was taken during set up time.   It's a glamorous life at times!