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In this installment of the Lighting with Flash series, photographer and Strobist publisher David Hobby visits a conservation center to photograph subjects small and large, demonstrating flash lighting techniques along the way. The course begins with a close-up shoot of a small frog—and with details on how to light close-ups and macros using a small softbox and a reflector made of crumpled aluminum foil. Next, David uses multiple strobes and umbrellas to transform a dark blacksmith shop into a warm backdrop for a portrait of a craftsman at work. In a bonus chapter, David discusses an approach for organizing photo meet-ups that have a purpose: leveraging the talents of multiple photographers to quickly create a set of photos for a worthy organization.
Okay, so we're inside the blacksmith's shop. It's very dark. We've actually made it a little brighter just so we can get video in here and I don't know if you can see these but these little squares of light are LED light sources. And Rosco was very cool about letting us use them. They're, they're Rosco light pad axioms and they literally will run on double a batteries. We got them plugged into the wall, but, but you can run these things on just about anything. They're wonderful. But we're going to need to influence the light in here just enough to be able to film. and maybe too much actually, because we're going to be competing with that fire, as far as a continuous light source.
So we may need to kill these lights at some point to make the final pictures. So if everything just goes almost black, you'll know what happened. so this room is dark to begin with, but we've made it even darker by closing the doors and we boarded up the windows, and put we put a big flex fill outside of the window over there. We want to make it as dark as possible, because we want that fire to be the main ambient light source in the room, and the steel that Albun is going to be working with. So, now our problem is with the lights in the back. We've got no room back there, it's dark, and there's a lit fire right next to the wall, so it's not a great place to be putting up light stands even the before the fact that they'd be in the frame. So, what we've done is to put a couple of light stands up in the up in the rafters. And these lights are pointed up, and they're literally going to bounce off the ceiling which is going to do a couple of things.
We can put some light in the back of the room and get those tools in the back. It's going to it's going to separate Albun nicely, by putting lights over his shoulders. And the other thing it's going to do, and this is kind of a bonus, is it's going to pick up a lot of warm color and bring out the warmth in the room because that wood is going to be the reflective light source. The bad news is it's going to take a lot of light to do that because that wood's going to eat up a lot of light before it send it back. So those flashes are going to be at one half power and I'm only gona get about F4 out of them that ISO400 in our final scene. So, the flash that's going to be our front fill, is going to be an umbrella tucked into the back of the room. And if you've known me long enough you know that I'm like a, I'm like a button that automatically pops up and says ring flash, fill in the shadows. This is one of those times where you can't really use it. Because the ring flash is going to be too close to the subject, and too far away from the background.
So the further we move the fill light back, the more evenly it's going to push all the way to the back of the room. So that's going to fix any really deep shadows, and we'll be able to control just those shadows left by the back light as much or as little as we want by adjusting this fill light. And then finally, we have the key light, which is going to be another strobe in an umbrella right by Albun while he'll be working at the blacksmith's anvil? Is that the right word, anvil? And that will be able to be adjusted completely independently both from the fill light and the background lights. So we can build the relationships between those levels in any way that we want.
And just so I can move around very easily and since we're in a very dark room, I'm going to have a flash on my camera pointed straight up, dialed down so low it will not be contributing to the image. But all it has to do is set off any of these other slaved flashes and then we'll set up a little chain reaction where every flash sees at least some other flash. So, you almost can't miss working optically in a dark room like this. So, let's see what happens.
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