Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Long shadows


I saw an advertisement several months ago of a man on a concrete bench, and the lighting cast long shadows across the concrete. I thought it was a really nice mix of soft lighting but with the shadows of harder lighting. I wanted to emulate the setup.

1 Vivitar 285hv
set to 1/2 power,
into silver umbrella,
at middle zoom setting (this fills the umbrella with no spill)
light stand was at 2.5 meters height,
light was flush against the wall outside of frame right,
aimed at subject.

The silver umbrella increases the size of the light, so that the lighting and shadows are softer than the bare flash would create. The fact that it's almost flush with the wall is what creates the long shadows. This is also why I wanted to use a construction site. The room had 3 walls, blocking the light from all but the right. This way the flash would work with existing light, though I did use 1/200 sync to bring the ambient down as low as possible. The "rake lighting" would not only create the long shadows, but reveal the texture in the concrete walls.

The whole shoot was quite short, as I had an idea in mind, and as soon as I hit it, I was satisfied. If I were to do it again I might experiment with a snooted second light aimed just at her head from the left side.

Post processing was fairly basic. I masked out the white pipe and reduced it's exposure. It was drawing too much attention, and since it was so close to the flash, it was the brightest thing in the scene. Now that attention was squarely on the model, I used a curves layer to play up the translucency of her skin, locking down the red channel in the highlights and deep shadows, but boosting it in the transitional shadow area. This helped to make her look extra alive and vibrant in a setting of inorganic materials.

Full set
A few more shots from the shoot:

elin_model-4 elin_model-3

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