Sunday, August 02, 2009

Strobist Activity

I certainly have a backlog of photo work to describe -- things I've done over the last few months. The Strobist blog has probably had the greatest influence on my photo activities of late. The basic idea of the Strobist group is to get your flash or flashes off the camera to have the light coming in at different angles on the subject. You can use that approach to create interesting effects or enhance natural lighting and balance the overall exposure.

Since I'm new to the Strobist ideas and how to apply the concepts with my equipment, I've been experimenting with non-macro subjects. This summer the Strobist blog is having a lighting bootcamp where assignments are given every several weeks. The intent is to get the basics down by forcing you to try different techniques. The assignments have also been geared to try and help others in some way.

The first bootcamp assignment was to make two headshots that was somehow related to the state of the economy -- and also get a photo folks could use for a resume or website or whatever. One was to be a self portrait and the other had to be a friend. I've always wanted a teaching related photo so that one was easy. I talked Dianne into getting a photo in front of her computer since all her work is computer based.

For my photo below I used three flashes. High and right front I bounced a flash out of an umbrella for the main overhead light. A second flash with a grid came from the left behind my head and was focused on the writing on the blackboard. Finally, front low left there was a third flash to ease the shadow on the right side of my face. I was pretty pleased with the result.

Thinking About Molecules

For Dianne's photo, I first adjusted the exposure settings to get a good exposure on the monitor -- that was in effect my key light for the exposure. The main flash light came from high left bounced out of an umbrella. That light put a huge shadow on her face because of the ball cap. To reduce that shadow, I put a second flash low and right with a grid that was focused on the underside of her cap. If I were to do it again, I would soften that light a bit with a diffuser so there would be a little more of a shadow. But not bad for a first try. I'll describe some of my other Strobist style photos in future posts.

At The Computer


Erika Jean said...

Very cool. I've been interested int he Srobist stufff... but is it an expensive technique?

Earl said...

It's like anything -- you can put in as many $$ as you like :^)

Seriously, the most expensive part is the flash. If you already have a detachable flash you're most of the way. You just need a way to trigger it. That could be a cable (which I use sometimes). I kinda lucked out in that all my flash equipment takes advantage of the Nikon Creative Light System that is built in to my camera and triggers flashes via a pre-flash signal so you are wireless. There are radio control options too, but they are more expensive.

You can make a lot of things too like grids, snoots, and a softbox. I do that. You can find a lot of how to articles. My next project is a homemade ring light.

michele said...

Enjoyed the 'strobist' photographs of you and Dianne. I haven't seen you for a while. I liked your beard and appreciated your professorial look/attitude. I know Dianne is a baseball cap woman. She looked great. I'm a hat woman too. I like my all-around-brimmed garden hats-- got to keep the sunburn off my neck. Your previous blog food photos were hunger-provoking. Would this 'stobist' technique work outdoors? I'm thinking about the late summer/fall garden where one gets a lot of shade. PS. FYI. Just in case you don't have a sufficient number of pictures of them, the toad liles are in bloom.