Tuesday's Tips: Shooting at F Nothing!

I love shooting twilight on a warm evening.  A few weeks ago on my Blog "Controlling the Sun",  I talked about ways to deal with harsh sunlight during a summer mid-day shoot.  This week's "Tuesday's Tips"  is about shooting at dusk, when you are at about f-nothing!  One of my favorites times to shoot!  All these photographs were taken at the same spot.  How do you use light, composition, and a bit of camera movement to achieve very different effect in each photograph?  These images were shot with the last few seconds of light on the horizon during a workshop I taught with my friend Rolando Gomez in Costa Rica.  

This photograph was lit with a portable 1200WS strobe made by Hensel,  through a Chimera Beauty Dish, on the right side of the frame.  This beauty dish folds up small enough to fit in your camera bag. The strobe was fired with a PocketWizard Plus lll on the camera and a second PocketWizard connected to the strobe.  Start your exposure with "element you can not control," (I say this a lot) in this case, it is the ambient light on the horizon.  Use your camera meter to determine this exposure and then underexpose the image by 1 stop, to give you deeper colors in the background.  I use a Sekonic 478 flash meter to match my strobe output to the ambient light.  If you are creating this type of image using studio strobes or speed lights, make sure your camera is on manual.  My color balance is daylight.  

When composing the photograph, pay attention to all elements you can incorporate into to your photograph.  I like reflections, use it to your advantage!  This photograph was shot with a Nikon D800 with a with Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens at ISO 400, F4.5 & shutter speed 1/5, hand held.

This is one of my favorite tricks in low light photography: Swirling images.  This is all done in camera, not in photoshop!   This is a single light photograph with the Hensel strobe & Chimera beauty dish.  This image was shot ISO 200 F4.5 and Shutterspeed 1/2.  To add a swirling effect to the image,  I rotated the camera clockwise at the end of exposure.

I do this sometimes for portrait assignments, wedding receptions and events where I'm looking for a different feel to the image. (I will do another blog post on this: How to swirl images!) 

Last, I want to finish with this image.  In this case I didn't use a strobe, because I wanted the silhouette of the model.  I love the feel of the gold light bouncing off the water in the foreground, to pull you into the image.  This photograph is shot with ISO 200, F3.5 & shutter speed 1/100.  You can create a such a different feel in the same location by changing how you use the light.

Thank you to our great models Heather Carden and Candice Marie.