Monday, June 9, 2008

Dual flashes in the fading sunlight

A friend of mine, Oddur, and I decided to do a shoot out in the fading sun this weekend. This was taken around 8:30 and the sun was still a ways off from setting, but the clouds gave us a really nice backdrop to work with. We started against a nice graffiti-ed wall, but I spotted a spool of electrical cable that I thought could make a neat stand against the sky.

Here is how the scene looks with no flashes:

sunset_lighting_practice-9

I wanted the sun and sky to be in the background, but that is where the lightsource is, which means to light up my foreground subject, I need to use some flashes. I decided to use two, one for front fill, and one for rim light.

Settings:
2 Vivitar 285hv
Main set to full power with,
1/8 CTOrange gel
Rim set to 1/4 power with,
1/2 Window Blue gel
Full zoom setting on both
Main light stand was at 2.5 meters, rim was at 2 meters
Main light was even with camera, 3 meters to the right and 2 meters forward from model
Rim was even with subject, 3 meters to the left
Both were aimed directly at the subject

Here is the setup shot, click through to flickr for the notes over each flash and larger image:

sunset_lighting_practice-8

In order to control the sky brightness even more, I used a 8 stop Graduated Neutral density filter, tilted, to darken the sky in the upper left, but not reach the subject. I wanted a lot of sky, and to show the interesting wooden spool he was shooting on, which meant I needed my 10-20mm lens. These were shot mostly around 12-20mm to avoid too much distortion. I kept the shutter speed at 1/250 in order to bring the sky brightness down, and since the main flash was working at full power, I had to keep the aperture fairly wide at the lens maximum (which changes as you zoom, so it's between f/4 and f/5.6 for the set) in order to let in enough flash. If I'd moved the flash in closer, I could have stopped down the lens a bit. Luckily the lens is still fairly sharp wide open. My biggest regret is not having an assistant to hold the lightstand. it was quite windy and an umbrella would have blown my stand over. I can brace the bottom, but the wind was so strong it would have bent or snapped the lightstand. That's why both flashes are bare. If I'd had assistants I would have put a white shoot through umbrella on the main light, and a silver bounce umbrella on the rim light to increase the light size and soften it a bit.

Here is the final result:

sunset_lighting_practice-10

And since I was so excited about this setup, I switched places with Oddur and had him snap a few of me:

sunset_lighting_practice-1

Click through for the whole set

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