Practical night

This week members found themselves actually taking photographs! Four activities were set up for members to try their hand at. 3 looked at different forms of lighting and the fourth at bending light.

Nicholas brought along the club’s flash gear, two speedlights with stands and umbrellas, a hot-shoe trigger and receiver, various light modifiers and gels. Acting as the model, Nicholas helped members set up a series of lighting scenarios using either one or two flashes and the light modifiers. Members were able to see how they could easily control the light on the subject using the equipment and create different moods in the image.

Geoff set up a “Painting with Light” activity. The idea being to light a still life setup in a darkened room with a controlled directional dull light from a torch. The lens is auto focussed in bright light, then switched to manual mode to avoid “searching” when the bright light is turned off. 3 to 5 shots are taken with the camera in Manual mode and on a tripod. The image is exposed for 5 to 10 seconds at f8 and at the lowest ISO. Separate parts of the still life are illuminated by waving light from the torch . It’s a trial and error technique and can require many attempts to get the exposure “correct”, hence the 5 to 10 second exposure variation.

The photos are imported as layers into Photoshop or Elements and blended using the “Lighten” blend mode, except for the bottom layer which remains at “Normal”. Layer opacity and masking then comes into play to achieve the final image. It helps to have a pre-visualised idea of what you’re trying to achieve.

Joe brought along a portable light-box that has its own light source powered via a USB connection. Joe had 3 metallic watches that were placed in the box for members to photograph. Details of the exercise can be found here.

John brought along a glass ball and some patterned paper. The intention being to photograph the paper through the ball. The ball had numerous air bubbles within which when focussed on would refract the light and cause distortions in the patterned paper behind.

Below are a few images from the night.