Posted 10/21/2008 by fotoloka in Labels: , , ,

While parking the car on a side street in Raleigh a few weeks ago, I saw this old building and knew it would be a great location for a night shoot. I asked my friend Chandler if he wanted to go with me, firstly as a bodyguard, (I didn't know the neighborhood,) and I get so involved in shooting, I don't pay attention to what's going on around me. Once in LA I almost had my camera stolen that way) and secondly because he's been interested in learning stuff in photography and previously helped me while I shot a Civil War re-enactment at night. As an afterthought, we talked about having him be in the photos, and he came up with the suit and hat. (He's an actor when not a newly sworn-in lawyer.) I asked him if he had an old chair around, and he found a really nice one in the basement of his family house. The intention for this shoot was to practice adding extra light to the long exposures by way of hand held strobes, in this case using an SB-800. Usually I use only available light and occasionally "paint" with a flashlight. For the top 2 photos, I popped the strobe, which was set on TTL, two times, then added a warming gel for the figure, popped one time, then switched to a blue gel, ran around to the side and popped it twice to get the wall. The tree branches got a few pops without a gel. The photo of the figure in the pool of light was just a was there. I added a strobe pop for the foreground of the leaves and single white crepe myrtle flower. For the portrait, after the strobing, Chandler continued to sit while the camera stayed open for about another 35 or so seconds gathering more ambient night light. (I don't use a stop watch, which is probably stupid. I like to just count heartbeats til I get to around 54 to 90 or so, based on how dark it is. Shooting digitally, I can also see what's averaging after you shoot a test frame to get into the ballpark) The sharpness of the face was compromised, but the alternative choice of shooting him separately lit only by strobe on another frame and merging him into the shot, would have resulted in a slightly unnatural juxtaposition, my photographer friend Scott in DC said when I called him about the problem. I'll probably try it next time, though, just to see what it looks like. Maybe someone has figured out how to successfully get a figure sharp in a very long exposure. Hopefully, someone can explain how to do it....or maybe it's just what happens, and you live with it. On some level, it keeps the photo more honest, since you get to see that the person was moving slightly from breathing! Hmmm, that's a nifty rationalization....or an art critic's way of interpreting.

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