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Lighting effects.


Paul

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Could this type of studio lighting effect be achieved with standard flood lighting?

29873BD100000578-3119817-image-m-14_1434023103997.jpg
 

Tom Mann

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I'm not sure exactly what "standard" flood lighting is, but if you allow me to do things like bounce a flood off an umbrella, or a panel, or even the ceiling, and allow me to use several different floods of different wattages, but which have matched color temps, I bet I could come close.

Now, whether or not I would ever actually do it that way is a whole different question. I would much prefer studio strobes, if for no other reason that their output (a) is very fast so it stops action, (b) to get a hot light of equal intensity (ie, which would allow one to stop down adequately), you would need some hefty hot lights (which can be uncomfortable + make people squint), and (c) I don't get color shifts as I change their output, so I don't have to resort to moving lights in an out to adjust the intensity while keeping the colors constant. This is a big deal because as one moves a light away from the subject the angle it subtends decreases and the lighting simultaneously changes both intensity and hardness (ie, edges of shadows).

What I really want to know is how in the world the subject wound up with two such radically different reflections in his cornea. That has me really puzzled.

T
 
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Paul

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He is blind in one eye Tom, outlaw biker gang from Kiwi land.
I have several small but very bright flood lights i use at times when out in the outback on a truck drive to light the undersides of my truck in clean darkness (Aussie outbacks at night):yourock: Just wondering if i could use say three of them in make shift shoot set up in the garage?
Looking at photographing some animals in black and white.
 

Tom Mann

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Hey, Paul - well, the blindness would certainly explain the reflections.

I'm sure we can figure out a way to do what you want, but to be honest, lighting is a big subject and I'm beat - I just spent the day packing and moving one of my offices, so could we continue this in about 10 or 12 hours? Also, let me know what type of animals are you talking about. Juveniles or adults? Alive or dead? That way I can cogitate on it. :)


Tom
 

Paul

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Yeah you go get some sheep over the fence mate, speak on the flipside:mrgreen:
 

hawkeye

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With the exception of color temperature, light is light regardless of the source. The real difference is seen in the size and the modifiers that are used.
 
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Tom Mann

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With the exception of color temperature, light is light regardless of the source. The real difference is seen in the size and the modifiers that are used.
IMHO, that's a major oversimplification of other critically important distinctions such as:

(a) Is it continuous light or a short, high intensity flash? The latter can stop action and let the photographer use a smaller aperture.

(b) Continuous light, aka, "hot lights" can make people squint whereas (good quality) flashes happen so quickly that the subject doesn't have time to squint or even for his irises to react, so it makes for a more flattering open-eyed look.

(c) Hot lights, can be, well, hot -- ie, uncomfortable / unsuitable / hazardous to various types of subjects. For example, if you're photographing a box of chocolates for an advertisement, heat can be fairly important, LOL.

(d) Some lights that are not designed for photography come with reflectors that can't be removed, and thus make the use of traditional lighting modifiers (eg, softboxes, umbrellas, scrims, barn doors, etc.) very difficult, if not completely useless. Just imagine trying to use an umbrella with a car spotlight. The size of the illuminated spot on the umbrella will be small and this will completely circumvent the main purpose of the umbrella which is to provide a larger area source.

(e) The size of the source doesn't completely define the propagation of the light. For example, there are large but collimated sources, small and collimated, large and uncollimated, and small and uncollimated and everything inbetween. Each will interact the subject as well as any lighting modifiers differently.

Just my $0.02,

Tom M
 

hawkeye

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I stand by my simple statement, especially in reference to subject shown. I'm talking about light itself, not light fixtures.

I didn't mention intensity or duration which are obviously a factor and will rule out some light sources in certain situations. I couldn't photograph a night baseball game just with a flashlight, but you should know I wasn't speaking that simplistically. Though I have photographed static scenes quite well painting with just a flashlight.

Your entire section (d) is in reference to modifiers which I agree are the real difference. And obviously a hot light near a box of chocolates is going to melt them. But if that's all I had, I could still get the job done by moving the lights farther away. Of course I'd have to increase the exposure to compensate. I could use a car spot light with an umbrella, maybe I'd have to place something additional over the lens to get some more diffusion, not ideal but it could be done.

For most studio type applications like the original post showed, if you have the correct modifiers you can get pretty much the same results with mono-lights, speed-lights, led lights, florescent lights, incandescent lights, etc.,etc.
 

Paul

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I will be making a light board with some off cuts of MDF and mounting several 35w down lights to said board in arch shape about 36'' across and 16'' high.

Mount that to a spare painters easel i have knocking around and then sit down in front of light unit but below it as not to cast a shadow, my back drop will be some of that soil barrier fabric in black.

A side light to subject will be a mini halogen lamp 25w with a foil tray stuck around it's edge to throw more centred light.

Even though the wattages of all lights is fairly low the output is very bright indeed.
 

Tom Mann

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Hey, Paul - I'm not sure I fully understand your setup, but I would offer one caution: I think you intend to use multiple small light sources. If that's the case, it's going to give you weird looking shadows -- they'll look like a series of more-or-less parallel lines. You'll also get multiple glints in the eyes (which are generally considered be undesirable). If you are going to go for a setup like that, the consensus is that you either have to bounce them off an umbrella or make a softbox to scramble their outputs together.

Here's the type of strip-softbox I mean:

strip_softbox_laying_on_floor-ps02a_698px_wide-01.jpg


If you split your lights into two groups and make two home-brew softboxs for them, such a setup will be very good for dramatic lighting. You should easily be able to get close to the look in the original photo you posted, issues of heat, depth-of-field, and shutter speed not withstanding.

Here's a photo from the web taken with two strip softboxes, mounted vertically, one each side of the subject, and then one small fill light centered directly above the camera. This fills in shadows and puts nice catchlights in the eyes.

1_vert_strip_softbox_each_side-high_front fill-ps01a-01.jpg


All the best,

Tom

PS - So, what types of animals will you be shooting? ...as well as my other questions like alive or dead, etc.
 

Paul

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Started on the cutting of said box, i will be using cloudy Perspex as a cover to the front i didn't explain that in my previous post a bit like the photo you supplied above Tom.
Adding foil to back wall where lights will be housed also.
Knocked a rough design up to show you, top off to show lights inside.

lightunit.jpg
 

Paul

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Animals will be my dogs mainly, the cat if shes around, i might try the pot plants too in various colours.
 

f2bthere

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Looks like a good basic plan. This should work. I enjoy DIY lighting. Most creative lighting involves innovation, even if you have all the toys :).

If you are supplying all the light, color temperature shouldn't be much of a problem (and it never is with monochrome :) ). Generally, if you take a picture of something neutral in color you can use that for white balance.

If you want to be very precise, or if the light balance is tricky, a Macbeth color chart (such as found in the color checker passport) will get you dialed in, but this is overkill for most purposes.

When building your box, you might want to create a lip around the edges (you may note there is a black lip around the strip box in Tom's photo above), since this will make it easier to control the edge of the light. It will also offer you the option to add in a grid if you want even more directional control.

A strip soft box with a grid is an incredibly useful lighting tool because it lets you have a very controlled bit of "window light" you can place where you want it.

There is a fairly cool but overpriced (about $500 US) bit of kit called the Ice Light which works in a way that is surprisingly similar to a gridded strip soft box but is much more convenient to use. There are several Chinese knock-offs that can be had for closer to $100US or you can convert an even less expensive LED shop light (a tube shaped light made of several strips of LEDs) by adding diffusion material. The more you spend, the more likely you are to have controlled color temperature and to avoid flicker.

Why do I bring up these other options? If you like this type of controlled window light (which I do) and you want a way to use it which is far more portable and flexible, this can be a good option. It fits in smaller spaces, is easy to hand-hold and takes less of a stand to hold up or reposition.

I played with the shop light enough to see the value then got a MTL (Magic Tube Light), which can be had in many brands and configurations. I recommend they type with a replaceable battery of the Sony 550 style. Variable power settings in 10% settings and a tripod (1/4") mount on bottom. Mine even came with a wireless remote, tungsten (warming) tube and a case with shoulder strap. Very portable.

One above Horizontal for the original image posted. Two vertical for the image Tom posted. A simple lower powered light from camera with some diffusion material and you are good to go.

As Tom mentioned, strobes allow faster shutter speeds with low ISO. Lights that are too bright will annoy your subjects, so you will have to balance shutter speed and ISO to get your image with continuous lights.

Not a problem with portraits or still-lifes. How good are your Dogs at "hold still"? ;)

I'd love to know how it works for you.
 
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Tom Mann

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@f2bethere - re: "...There is a fairly cool but overpriced (about $500 US) bit of kit called the Ice Light which works in a way that is surprisingly similar to a gridded soft box but is much more convenient to use...."

Sorry, but I've got to do a bit of nit-picking with the above statement - I think you omitted one important word: With barn doors, its light is like that from a 2 foot long, extraordinarily thin, gridded STRIP softbox, but certainly it's not at all like the light from a regular square-ish softbox.

Also, it's certainly a fun tool to play around with, but because it's a continuous source and isn't all that bright, if there's any appreciable ambient light present, it has a very hard time overpowering it. For example, I was at a show playing around with one, and in particular, I was trying to see if it had any tendency towards spiky spectral peaks like most cheap LED have. For a second, I thought it was absolutely horrible - way too green - and almost immediately realized that the green cast I was seeing was simply because it couldn't overpower the fluorescent lights in the hall unless it was really close to the model.

Cheers,

Tom M
 

f2bthere

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My mistake. I edited my post to add the word "strip." I was still thinking about the strip box and failed to be clear.

Tom is also right about power. If you are in a controlled studio or garage, they can be a main light. They will not compete with daylight and in many circumstances, can be fill lights at best.

In the fluorescent light situation, they work well with Tungsten tube in place because it counteracts the green on the subject, giving them a little warmth. With the right white balance, you get a slightly warm subject and a slightly cool background--almost looks like a color-graded movie effect.

Continuous light is not going to be near the power and versatility of a strobe (at least not if it isn't so big you need a truck), but it has its uses.
 

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