chimera

Tuesday's Tips: Lighting Science: 4 Situations, 2 Hours

Recently, I had an assignment to photograph Professor Joshua Sanes of Harvard University.  The client requested an environmental portrait. I alway try to give the client several choices.  This helps with layout and often leads to additional photographs being used in the story.   I had one hour to set up and one hour shooting time.

Set up1)
At 9am, I walked into his office to meet him. It was hard to not notice the incredible light being cast through the window shades, onto the bookshelf creating a cool pattern. This had to be the first photograph of the day and done quickly, as at this time of year the light coming through the window shade, at that angle would not last long.  

I wanted to keep the pattern on the background, but prevent it from hitting the professor.  To accomplish this I had my assistant hold a piece of black foam core blocking the light on the professor without blocking the light hitting the background.

My lighting was a Dynalite Baja 400w/s strobe with a small Chimera soft box with silver interior and a recessed front panel.  The Dynalite was triggered with a PocketWizard PlusIII. The softbox was aimed at the Professor so it would not to spill it onto the background.  The Baja was placed on the stage left, so the light from the strobe would be in the same direction as the pattern from the window. I used a Sunbounce silver reflector on a stand on the opposite side, to fill in the shadow area.  To determine the exposure I used a Sekonic 478 flashmeter to read both my ambient light coming through the window and match it to the strobe output. I exposed for the highlights coming in through the window and matched to store out to the ambient light. 

The photograph was shot with a Nikon D810 and a 105mm lens the shutter speed 1/160 sec at f3.2 at ISO 100.  I tend to shoot my portraits with a shallow depth of field. 

Set up 2)
We moved to a staircase near his office, one side has a wooden wall and the other a wonderful grey stone wall.  Two different backgrounds in one location.  Opposite the camera in both images is a floor to ceiling window.  The side with the wooden wall, had a shadow pattern from the stairs.  I asked the professor to stand in the shade and used my Dynalite to match the highlights in the background with the light on the professors face. Similar to the last setup.

 

Set up 3)
We then moved to the other side of the stairs for a totally different look.  3 portraits done in a short period of time.

 

Set up 4)
For the last photograph of the shoot we went to his lab for a completely different photograph.   It was dark white room with bare walls.  To make it more interesting, I projected one of the professor's research images on the wall.

My lighting of the professor consisted of two Nikon SB-800 speedlights with Rogue grids, one from the right side and the other from left side.  I added Rosco Cinefoil to one of the speedlights to help prevent light from spilling onto the foreground.  I used the speedlights, because of tight space.  

For the background, the projector was set up with the professor's image.  An important note on projecting images on a background:  make sure no light from any of your light sources hits the projected image. White light hitting your projected image or added colors will diminish the vibrance to the projection.  I added a Dynalite Roadmax 800w/s strobe with Rosco blue gel to fill in the background.  All the strobe were fired with Pocket Wizard Plus IIIs.

I had to balance my exposure from 5 different light sources. 3 strobes and the available light from the microscope and the projected image.  The exposure was 1.3 second f5.6  ISO250.  During long exposure it is essential to turn off or block all ambient light.  I shot this on a Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 lens at 17mm an Induro tripod with a cable release.  Even though the exposure was quite long, the subject is sharp because there was no light on the professor.


Here is a list of my workshops, please come and join us!

December 5
Hunt's Location Lighting Workshop, Melrose. MA

December 11-13
Unique Photo Show Fairfield, NJ

2016 Schedule

January 9
Hunts Photo Providence, RI

January 16
Hunts Photo Manchester, NH

March 1
Bedford Center for the Arts, Bedford, MA

April 5-6
New England Institute of Professional Photography, Hyannis, MA

April 9-10
CanAm Photo Expo  Buffalo, NY

April 15-19
Professional Photographers of Canada Convention, Alberta,






Tuesday's Tips: A One Day Assignment

Happy Summer Shooting!

I  recently worked on a wonderful assignment  shooting photographs to promote a new upscale seniors condo project  located on the water, north of Boston. The main challenge with this project was that  the complex has yet to be built.  My job was to sell a development that didn't exist yet.  How do you do this? You sell a life style.  I had one scouting day and one shooting day to produce the photographs.  The scouting day was spent with the client to determine locations and discuss concepts, create a timeline the shoot and work with a model agency to select models for the projects and shoot.  Most of my work is editorial, this is not!

I shot 14 situations in a  day using a total of 15 models. On a shoot like this, everything has to be scripted.  There is only a limited amount of time for each situation and you try not to keep the models overtime.   It is essential, you move quickly and your lightings has to be extremely mobile as well as produce the look of light you are after.   I worked with a self contained 400WS Dynalite Baja strobe and a Chimera softbox.  The combination is very portable, being hand held most of the time while  giving me beautiful light with a fast recycling time.  On those mid day shots, this combination is perfect for over powering hash summer light. ( you can also read on how to deal with harsh sunlight on my blog; Controlling the Sun!)

When mixing strobe and ambient light, I set my camera on manual and expose for "the element you cannot control" which was often the sky.  I used the in-camera meter to determine my ambient reading and Sekonic 478R Light Meter to determine the strobe output.  I could use the Sekonic to read the ambient light, I just didn't.  I also used a polarizing filter to bring out the sky and an ND filter, to control my choice of Fstop.

 

Be spontaneous! We did not plan for a dog!

 

 

 

During  the final shoot of the day, a cocktail party, we were after the feel of late afternoon light.
The problem here was the back of the house was in shade.  To get the effect of warm light, 
I used a Rosco full CTO (color temperature orange) filter over the two Baja strobes used to light the photograph. I used a 30 degree grid to control the light.  The Rosco CTO filter is one of 26 filters in my "Rosco Location Lighting Kit by Rick Friedman

For 1 day shooting, it is difficult to produce 14 situations and one has to be very efficient and move quickly.  Know your equipment, and travel light. It's a lot of work, but a great way to spend a summer's day.   I got to ride on a boat to celebrate a great shoot and work with wonderful people.  Happy Summer Shooting!

Upcoming Location Lighting Workshop Schedule.  Hope you can join us!

August 8-9
Unique Photo, Fairfield, NJ

September19 & 20
Hunts Photo, Providence RI

September 27-29
Berkshires Workshop, North Adams, MA ( Please email me for registration and more info)

October 17 & 18
Hunts Photo Portland, ME

Tuesday's Tips: Lighting a London Asylum!

My destination Location Lighting Workshop held at the Societies Photographic Convention, aka SWPP in London resulted in some wonderful images and was  an event teeming with an abundant source of gear and creative alternatives.   The workshop was held at the Asylum, at Caroline Gardens Chapel in Peckham, London..  The Asylum was built between 1827 and 1833, bombed during WWII and semi restored.  This provided an incredible  place to hold a lighting workshop as it afforded us endless possibilities to create moods and scenes depicting a variety of situations.  We had 2 great models and masses of equipment from The Flash Center, Rosco, PocketWizardChimera Lighting and Rogue Flash Benders

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The lighting on this image was an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra strobe with a Chimera Strip Light on the right side of the model. On the left side of the model and slightly behind her was another strobe with a Rosco #83 Blue gel.  Placed in  front of the blue gel was a grid made out of Rosco CineFoil to control the light direction and break up the light beam.  The smoke was created using a Rosco Vapour fog machine.
If you back light your smoke, it will  have a greater effect.  This is true when using a fog machine or when photographing smoke from a cigarette or cigar.  This photograph was shot on a Nikon D-800 with a 24-70 Nikon lens at 35mm, 1/100 of a second at f5, ISO 100.

The photograph below is a mixture of strobe and ambient light.  The light on the models face is from a strobe through a Chimera 30" beauty dish.  The light on the left side of the background is ambient light and the colors were from the bright sunlight  shining through the stained glass windows about 20 feet above the floor.  This was shot on a Nikon D800 with the lens at 24mm , 1/125 of a second, at f 4 ISO 1000.  

 

Here are a few more images from the Asylum workshop.

                

 


 

 

 



 

At every "Location Lighting Workshop™" we create our "Silly Group Photo" Here is  the Asylum image.  Thank you to Canna Gray of Rosco and Ian Pack of The Light Side for all their help during the workshop.

Please join me at one of my upcoming "Location Lighting Workshops™"  Click here for the schedule.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Tips: Lighting up the Night!

Last night I had a chance to work with the brand new Dynalite Baja strobe, the newest addition to the Dynalite line.  The Baja is a self contained battery operated 400 watt second monolight with an internal battery.  I really like the quality of the light coming from the Baja. The recycling time was almost immediate, and the built in modeling light was great.  It's not heavy and easy to work with.

With the Baja strobe and Chimera Beautydish combination as my main light, I photographed a model, Eddy Twal in the front and back of my studio in South End's Boston.  I used a Sekonic L-478DR to read my light.  All strobes were triggered by PocketWizard Plus III.  My camera was set on manual and the color balance was set on daylight.  When working on location I use a Hoodman Loupe to view the images on LCD screen.

Shot 1

This was photographed at the same location as my last week's blog "Strobe on, Strobe off!"  Different strobes give you different looks. This image is a mixture of strobe and ambient light, with a hand held long exposure.  This is a single light photograph, using the Dynalite Baja strobe, Chimera medium beauty dish with an egg crate diffuser, held by my assistant with a 1420 VAL Spigot on painter's pole for the light stand. The VAL Spigot is produced by my friend Ian Pack in the UK.  This is a great adapter to add to your lighting kit.  My camera was set at an ISO 200, 1/4 second and F4.  The feeling of movement is created by shifting my camera from left top to down.  

 

Shot 2

In this photograph I used the Dynalite Baja strobe with Chimera medium beauty dish with an egg crate diffuser and Sunbounce 4'x6' zebra reflector.  This is also a single light photograph.  My camera was at ISO 250, 1/6 second and F4.5.  My shutter speed was determined by the ambient light, I wanted to have the yellow door lamp bright, but not overexposed.  I choose F4.5 for depth of field.

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Shot 3

This photograph is taken behind my studio.  My main light was a Dynalite Baja Strobe with a Chimera medium beauty dish with an egg crate diffuser.  The backlight was a Dynalite Uni portable strobe with a Rosco CTO gel, to warm the color,  Rosco Toughspun to soften the light and Rosco Cinefoil to craft the light.  In the set up photograph, my assistant was holding black foam core against Chimera beautydish to shape the light, and produce the drop off of light in the lower right corner.  My camera was set at ISO 200, 1/2.5 second and F 4.5.  

Due to my training as a long time photojournalist,  I try to do it all in camera.   Less time spent in front of computer is better for my soul....!

I hope you can join me at one of my up coming "Location Lighting Workshops™" in Telluride, CO and at the Societies Photographic Convention in London, UK.  Please look at www.rickfriedman.com/workshops for a complete list of upcoming events.

September 29-October 1 at the Telluride Photo Festival, Telluride, CO

January 16-18, 2015 Societies Photographic Convention, London, UK

For another post on portraits in the dark, please look at my blog post on "Shooting at Twightlight in Costra Rica" 

All the Rosco products are included in Rick Friedman Rosco Location Lighting Kit!

Happy Lighting!