Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Forest portraits


I'd been wanting to try something in the small copse of trees in Reykjavik for a while, but hadn´t had a chance till last night. I consider the shoot an educational failure. I had a more specific look I was going for, but I didn´t mess around enough to get it. I did learn something, so it was educational.

2 Vivitar 285hv
main flash at 1/16 power,
at normal telephoto zoom,
through tiny softbox,
light stand was at 1.8 meters height,
light was 1 meters to left and slighting forward from the camera,
aimed directly at subject head,
rim flash was at 1/8 power,
through 1/4 Windows Green gel,
normal telephoto zoom,
into silver umbrella,
light stand was at 1.2 meters height,
light was 3 meters to the right, even with subject.

The main problem with the shoot, is that the subject is too well lit. I should have pushed the umbrella back further behind the subject, so that it only contributed rim light, and I should have snooted the main light, so as to only hit the face. I do like the spill of the rim light/umbrella on the ground greenery, and my attempt to use cool colored gels worked well. In that I'm happy.

I like how the tree helped give more foreground for the subject to sit in, but I'd have preferred to find a spot with even more layers. Right now there is just the subject space, then the background. One closer tree, and perhaps a further layer before background would have worked well. A third flash set to spray the trees in the background would probably have worked for that.


I used the slow shutter speed to let the background burn in, but with this longer lens, I have the problem of a kind of "cut out" affect, where the subject doesn't look like he belongs in the scene 100%. A tripod, or starting earlier when there was more ambient, would have fixed this.

My favorite from the night doesn't even show the surroundings.


I like how the only part of the main light you can see is on his face, and a bit on his hands. In this case it's because his black hoodie just doesn't pick up much light, but I could easily emulate that with a snoot in the future, to restrict the main to just the face. Then the green rim light reveals the back portion so he doesn't go to shadow. I've always enjoyed profile shots.

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