The notes explained how light can be concentrated into a ‘spotlight’ and the exercise required us to look at ways of doing this. First I used my continuos lighting with ‘barn doors’ before trying a desk lamp with a home made tube.
The continuos lamp is extremely powerful, so wherever the light falls will be very bright. However, the ability to render the back ground into darkness by simply altering the angle of the ‘barn doors’ can’t be argued with. I left the background TV set on so that I could explain that two sofa’s between the dining chair and the TV have been rendered obsolete. The shadows are harsh around the bowl because the the light is hard and bright even when moving the light away. Diffusing the light would have defeated the object of the exercise. Using reflectors proved to be hardly worth the effort – so I didn’t bother. Placing the light at the front of the scene at least pushed the shadows behind somewhat.
The same lighting technique is used here but situated higher. Light positioned so the flowers don’t fall into shadow. The continuos lighting has, again, eliminated the backgrounds ambient light.
For this image I used a desk lamp and a paper cone to illuminate the tyg. I wanted to see how a less powerful light and some background ambient light could work. This is a little more similar to the example given in the notes. Because the light is much less powerful then my professional continous lighting there is more room for creativity in my opinion.
Still life is not something I enjoy on any level but the lighting technique has been useful to experiment with. I might well add to this exercise with portraiture to see how these techniques can transfer to something I do enjoy.
For this exercise the project notes asked that we use different reflective materials to study the effect on the shadow cast on to a still life.
Image 1a) and 1b) are taken without reflectors used. The material and distance used for the other sets are noted above each image.
1a) Direct light. Harsh shadow but great contrasting detail in the orange.
1b) Light with diffuser. The shadow is mush softer but enough shadow to give a sense of depth. (Apologies – not in focus)
2a) White card @ 100 cm.
2b) White card @ 50cm.
2c) White card @ 20cm.
3a) Dull silver reflector @ 1oo cm. (little difference)
3b) Dull silver reflector at 50 cm. (Still little difference in shadow).
3c) Dull silver reflector @ 20 cm. ( noticeable difference but shadow not eliminated)
4a) Bright silver foil reflector @ 100cm. (noticeable difference)
4b) Bright silver foil reflector @50cm (Shadow broken with mottled light)
4c) Bright silver foil reflector @ 20cm. (Shadow broken and I quite like the effect.)
5a) Crumpled foil @100cm.
5b) Crumpled foil @ 50cm.
5c) Crumpled foil @ 25cm.
Apart from Image 4c I didn’t like the effect given by any of the reflective materials but it was a useful exercise in how material and distance affect the end result.
For this part of the exercise the instructions were to lifts the light to be pointing down at a 45 degree angle.
In doing this we can see that the light is casting a compact shadow at the base and around the neck of the vase. This gives a more 3 D effect to the jug.
I prefer image 2, the diffused version as the shadow cast under the handle in Image 1 is unsightly, However I like the makings of the ‘fall off’ in image 1. It is the first time I have achieved this and always wondered how it was done!
Concluding the 3 parts to this exercise:
I have found this exercise extremely beneficial in learning about photographic lighting and how we can manipulate it to give form, shape and depth. This exercise will stand me in good stead for the impending assignment.
For the second part of this exercise we had to alter the height of the light but otherwise it was the same sort of exercise as part 1.
1a) As before the bare bulb eliminates the light reflection in the glaze. The shadow again is heavy but the lighting angle has made the shadow shorter in length. I realise now that this is where a second light or reflector might help.
1b) Diffused light has worked well on the shadow and kept an even backdrop light. However the reflection in the glaze is too much.
For the first part of this exercise we were instructed to set up a simple still life and place the camera level to the subject. We had to take 4 x 2 images with the first image being bare bulbed and the second image with the light diffused. The light had to also be level to the subject and each pair of images had to have the light placed at different points from front to back. I have merely cropped these images so that they serve as reference to not only the changes in the main subjects shadow but also the colour shifts in the whole scene.
1a) We can see a strong shadow but, oddly, I was expecting the glare on the glaze to be much worse. The harsh shadow gives a sense of depth but overwhelms the scene.
1b) Here the light is much softer but there is a distracting shine on the glaze.
2a) Here the shadow on the jug is more interesting but, again, the shadow is overpowering. I can see the light is bouncing off the wall on camera left and throwing a white shadow into the glaze.
2b) This is a reasonable pleasing image with a softer shadow. The diffuser glare is too big though.
3a) The light here is obviously positioned opposite the shadow fall and I notice that this has the affect of dimming the back drop. Unfortunately the the table top is reflecting into the glaze. Overall though, with a change in table top material, this lighting situation has some merit to be explored further.
3b) Sentiments as above but the shadow is softer and the backdrop in brighter.
4a) This a very dramatic bare bulb back lighting. I’m not too sure about it really and I certainly don’t like the way the light is picked up on the very fine detail in the table top. However, this observation may come in useful for the assignment.
8) The shadow is much softer and flattering here. I have some way to go with getting the diffuser positioning correct!
I did laugh. Prior to this first exercise in photographic lighting I took myself on a 20 mile around trip to find tracing paper to make a diffuser. I made the diffuser in a completely ‘Blue Peter’ fashion and then remembered I had a white shoot through umbrella.
Anyway, because I had made the diffuser, I used the diffuser.
I set up my Sachtler lamp (please don’t get excited, I have never used them before) and placed it at 45 degrees to the subject and to the side of the camera. I then did what was required and took an image without a diffuser as shown image 1. I then changed the position of the diffuser until I minimised the shadow. The lamp isn’t designed for diffusers and gets extremely hot….so I had to be careful and work cautiously.
Diffusing light takes away harsh shadows. However, I put these two images up on my Facebook page where I have many photographers, artists, family and good old school friends. I simply asked them which they preferred. About 20 responded and there was a 50/50 split in opinion. One person felt that the shadow made her feel warm as it reminded her of sunny days next to a swimming pool.
For this exercise we were required to look at different light and metering in night time photography. I have just had a 40th birthday treat to Rome, so many images were taken there. This was a pleasurable exercise conducted in dry, warm and still weather. The rest were taken locally.
This first set contain illuminated buildings as required. The image was taken on ‘aperture priority’ and on low ISO. All are tripod mounted. Trigger released was used.
This image was taken against a twilight sky and as the notes pointed out the building line is defined nicely. The white balance was on automatic and I needed to bring the oranges down a little in edit as the colour temperature was too orange.
This is as Image a but the full moon rendered the sky lighter hence the building stands out some more.
This image was also taken under full moon with the same technique as above but I slightly lifted the exposure and altered the white balance to give this effect.
The next part of the exercise wanted us to take images of shop windows. On this occasion I took the images hand held with a high enough ISO to allow a faster shutter speed then the corresponding 50mm focal length. It was twilight too so this helped a little to keep the shutter speed a tad higher. The D700 is known for it’s low noise abilities in low light shooting so there is neglible visual difference to ‘noise’. I used auto white balance again and adjusted in edit accordingly. Very little adjustment was needed in this set though. To avoid reflection I stood at opposite side of the road and then cropped to size.
This set aimed to explore long exposure photography and light. Image 3a) is the looking towards The Vatican. Image 3b) is Crediton High Street. Both are tripos mounted.
Slow shutter speed hand held featuring people. There isn’t any magic here. It’s just experimenting with shutter speed in a location that lends itself to interesting results. The result here being that the faces are distorted as if they had just jumped out of the surrounding graffiti into life albeit this presentation on WordPress doesn’t do it justice.