May 13, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


Many or most photographers take photos in their daily movements of things around them.  Some photographers make time to look for things to take photos.  And then there are the photographers that see the photo before they take it. Taking that photo may not occur naturally. Sometimes you have to create that shot.  This is another level of better photography.   People are not my thing.  I know I am not good at it and no matter what happens I leave the shoot with way too many things I could have done.  For now  I have to know the person to give me an incentive.   I have been playing with light painting in my abandoned photography and have been fairly happy using a flashlight or speed light trying to get the effect of light on an object.  All light is painting the subject whether a natural window or some form of mechanical light.  Photography is all about the light and good light or lack of makes better photography.  I wanted to make the image above.  I had a subject and wanted a theme shoot but I needed lighting.  I decided I didn't like anything I found commercially at the time and did not know if I would do it again so I made my own strip lights.  The project started on a request from a friend to get a senior photo of her son.  You know the classic pose that mom's want on the wall.  John is an exceptional athlete and will play Lacrosse in college.  I thought I would morph him from a senior into a LAX player.  I wanted to control the light so I set up my garage and spent hours shooting myself testing the effects of the light settings and position of each light.  My thought was to be ready the second he showed up and get it done as quick as possible to help keep the event as nice for him as possible.   For this shoot  I used 3 lights.  The two strips I made and an octagon light box for fill.  I wanted the strips to be the main light to give the edgy look. It also makes it better for composite later.  It took forever to get John to show up.  About  2 months of setting up the garage and just waiting.  I have two windows that I covered to choke off as much ambient light as I could.  I ask him to bring all his gear and told him what I wanted to do.  He played High School at two different schools so he brought shirts from football, LAX and A Seton Hill shirt.  When he showed up he didn't come prepared for the mom shot so we did some sports theme using what we had.  He saw a photo similar to the above and started asking about doing something.  He didn't know I had that on the list.  I also had in mind to do a composite dropping a stadium in the background.  The stadium I took earlier in the year at dusk and turned it into a pro look lights and all. 

I had issues with the lighting.    I used radio triggers a common practice.  I bought the PW AC3 controller thinking I could change the light on the fly but I couldn't get it to work the way I wanted. It is much easier and faster if you can work from the camera.  Later I found the problem.  ME. Read the directions first!  Each light was on its own zone so I could turn off a light from the camera.  To take this photo I just turned off the box and used just the strips.  I kept the shutter speed up to kill the ambient and wanted to keep the gear in focus.  I used the 70 to 200 and had just enough room to put my back against the door and get 100 mm focal length.  I really like that lens.  I like the 200 F2 better but you need some room to shoot at 200mm.  So the shoot wasn't perfect and the family liked the photos.  I need to try this again and he has a younger brother.  He finally came back to finish up but I had to play the mom card. I really wanted to do this as a surprise but I needed the help to get him there.


Off to Silo City.


Settings were, 1/250, F/5, ISO 640 70 to 200 at 102mm.  Strips were at 1/8 power speed lights.  The fill from the box was 1/8 also.



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