Lighting Tag

A friend of mine has commenced making a series of dance videos that go out over the internet on the Instagram site. They are little video clips taken in her own studio. I hasten to add it's a dance studio, not a photographic one. They are colourful and musical and have a keen following - but they are lit with an LED system that is normally associated with video conferencing. This is apparently a ring-light tube that encircles a camera or mobile phone. It's bright enough and the auto white balance of the recording device seems to be able to cope pretty well with the colours and the contrasts. But the problem is that there is no life to the light...

I am grateful to Camera Electronic in general and Daniel Ward in particular for their ability to get me out of trouble. It is a condition I experience frequently as I operate photographic machinery. It's as well that no one trusts me with a motor torpedo boat or a herd of geese...

Last week's shots of the shop's cameras behind glass were taken in the landscape mode. The camera was on the tripod or held with a flash poking out the top. But what happened if the subject was just not a horizontal one? What if I needed to do it in portrait mode? Well. I could step back to the tripod as before, but with the camera held vertically. Some tripods do this with more grace than others - come experiment yourself, but take my tip of trying a camera cradle with Arca -Swiss mounts on bottom and side and a corresponding clamp in the ball head. Changing from down to up is super-simple. There are several types on the market. Of course the people who invested in Stroboframe camera cradles many years ago could do so without even unclamping a thing...

An aside: There is a chap in Canada -  a gentleman from Quebec - who has made a practice lately of looking carefully at all the printed signs and official literature to see that it conforms with the two-languages policy that has been law there for many years. When finds a breach - like the failure to put the French word for " press " on the button of a public water fountain - he institutes a lawsuit and frequently makes a nice little earner from a suitably sympathetic Quebec judge. In this fine public spirit I set out to see if the advertised specification on the side of a set of IKEA lightbulbs was accurate. I did not have time to wait the 15,000 hours they promise as burning time, but I could measure the colour temperature. Or rather, Adobe Lightroom could. The experiment was simple - a dark room, illumination by two IKEA articulating-arm lamps and two of the RYET LED lamps. They were marked as delivering  a colour temperature of 2700º K. I set up Neuschwanstein and the...

One of the iconic symbols of Hollywood - besides the sign on the hill - is the Klieg lamp with the barn doors. The Kliegs were an arc system and murder on the actors and actresses who had to bake under them - apparently the high UV could cause eye damage. " Klieg Eye "was a real thing. The lights had to be directed, even if the players did not. So there were swivel stands and control wheels and moveable shields to cut off part of the light pattern. The most efficient way to do this was with large movable flats but if you only needed shade a smaller area, the " barn door " could be swung into place. Whether they were effective or not depended upon their surface area. This form of light modifier then made it into the studios of still photographers when the studio flash systems were perfected. I've got two sets that clip onto my ancient Elinchroms and they are sometimes moderately effective. I found a better set on the back wall of CE in the Profoto...

It’s on our television right now. The Lockdown Girls are bingeing themselves on demons, gods, empresses, and subtitled love stories. I’m off in the corner typing this. The cat is quiet and asleep - a pleasant contrast to its normal noise. I always wondered about the Siamese cats in Walt Disney’s “Lady And The Tramp “ and now I know...

Okay, you've gathered up your courage to make a video selfie.Now you have to figure out why, and then what to do. WHY This is a big deal in your life - this time. You weren't alive for the Spanish Flu in 1919 but you are for this pandemic. And if you are taking the advice of the government and medical authorities, you are staying home and away from other people. Hopefully you'll never have to do another of these things, so it makes sense if you remember this one. You have thoughts - some of which may be sensible and some of them reprehensible. If you express them to others in person or over social media you may live to regret it - opinions are always potential weapons against us. But you still want to express them. Well, express them to yourself in the video. Tell yourself the story of what you are experiencing, and be as honest with yourself as you can be. Just saying it out loud can relieve a great deal of the anxiety of what you're going through. You...

Stefan spoke to a room full of enthusiasts at the PhotoLive 2019 about photographing fashion shows. It was the night before bash at the Novotel Langley and as well as the people models we had rescue greyhounds in pyjamas. A glorious evening. Stefan's advice was to shoot the models from the front, get them with both feet on the ground, and get them with their bodies moving but their faces in neutral. All good points if the pictures are going to be taken up by fashion editors and published for money. Stefan said nothing about making any judgement on the actual clothing or concepts being displayed, and that is a very wise attitude...