madshutterbug (madshutterbug) wrote,


Despite the overall groggy feeling I've mentioned recently, particularly on Saturdays following Friday Night Shifts, I did manage to work on a project for a Camera Club theme yesterday afternoon. Houdini and I took the first load of laundry over to Studio 318. Since once upon a time Studio 318 simply was Home, the laundry room is still on the roofed, screened in back deck. So Laundry Days often, not always, include photography time. Houdini liked this one particularly, as for some reason he appears (by behavioural evidence) to feel much more secure inside Studio when there is thunder about.

At any rate, the theme is High Key. This means a (usually) white over-exposed 'blown out' background (and possibly floor) with a properly exposed primary subject. Neither as easy as it sounds nor as difficult as it could be, with some study. First of all, practice with subjects which don't move much. Thus I didn't ask Houdini to pose for me, instead using some rocks we've picked up from assorted places (Michigan for sure on at least one, New Zealand for I think two others, definitely one).

Overall the results are remarkably productive. I'll probably use one to post for Pic'o'Day later, following some post-production. I'm also looking to do a bit more work on the theme today, since we only got one load of laundry done. Rather a late start on this, due to sleeping a bit longer than I'd planned and usually do sleep following the Night Before. Also, some refresher lessons in the process, primarily related to how I arranged the stones. Remember that when needing all portions in focus, one needs at least a bit of Depth of Field.

Because part of the key in High Key (pun intended) is that providing sufficient but not too much Depth of Field helps by keeping the blown-out background out of focus.

The other lesson is related to lighting itself. I'd started an experiment in Barn Doors. These are flaps, named after the proverbial barn door, attached to a lighting fixture. They are hinged to allow adjusting how much the block, or pass the light, and work together to thus control where the light falls. Intensity is still set by the brightness of the bulb unless there is some other control (dimmer, filters) also involved. I used this experiment yesterday to some success, gratifying because one of the problems I encountered is the very inexpensive nature of the experiment.

The lamp itself started off light as an incubator lamp, purchased from a local farm supply store. It consists of a ceramic bulb socket and a steel or aluminum reflector (haven't tested to be positive, pretty sure it's steel), heavy wire cord because the lamp is designed to take a fairly high-watt bulb. There isn't any on/off switch; I handle that with a switched multi-plug unit. The reflector is pierced four places, at 90 degrees, to hold a proximity shield so the lamp can't get too close to the chicks in the incubator. I've used those holes with light hinges and foam-core board to mount the barn doors. I've also used a clamp mount left over from a similar lamp that died as the mounting fixture.

Unfortunately, on one hand the similar lamp was a work light, not one designed for the mass of the socket, reflector, and barn doors, and the pivot point won't tighten sufficiently to hold the current lamp pointed appropriately when clamped to a holder as intended. On the other hand, it does provide a handle to hand-hold the light while working which proved useful in the relatively close-up work yesterday. And on the Gripping Hand, the whole experiment (lamp and setup) is all part of the Learning Process.

What all that discussion leads to is - finding references and other material via the Internet on lighting, and specifically on low-cost lighting. Commercially available equipment is often very expensive, and if I were actually turning my artwork around for income I might be able to afford it, and certainly would be able to depreciate and deduct the expenses on tax forms. The alternative is finding means of doing so less expensively, often by making things oneself. And this leads to a couple of links for the photographer folk who read this.

Today's primary because I've been reading it is Studio Lighting Dot Net which provides a lot of information about both commercially available studio lighting and some D.I.Y. projects.

Today's secondary because I've used it often, even if only for some interesting reading, is DIY Photography Dot Net This site is as the name describes a more overall photography site, covering a lot of different projects and applications. I find one of their thread particularly fascinating, though I'm unlikely to start exploring it (so little time, so many options). It's aerial photography using radio controlled aircraft models...

More later. At least, that's the plan.
Tags: photography, studio 318, study

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