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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.
Alright, here we are in the diagram, with sticky the frog. A very simple picture, obviously, but certainly one that, that bears walking through really quickly, anyway, because it's got a, a little series of light-control tricks done with it. first thing we're going to do is, is looking at a very ugly background, I'm going to drop a piece of black poster board in to clean that up a little bit. Even though we're still shooting in pure ambient mode, which means wide open here. And the light is an ugly mixture of florescent and tungsten and daylight. shooting wide open so we don't carry any, any depth of field. And the shutter speed isn't even really fast enough to hand-hold very steadily. So, we're going to take that ambient completely out of the picture. Go to a 250th, close your aperture way down and work well about the ambient. And replace that ambient light, the bad ambient light, with a good strobe light SB800, a Nikon Speedlight, and a LumiQuest LapTop Pro. Or LTP for short is our key, and this relative size here is actually pretty close.
and LTP is a small, soft box when it comes to people, but when it comes to macro objects, like a frog, it's, it's relatively humongous. So, it's going to wrap around sticky in a very cool way. And it's going to give him that kind of ominous cool looking top light. And this is our first, our first Flash version of the picture. And already, he's looking way better. He's got kind of a, a Jabba the Hutt thing going on there. And I really cool highlight in his eyes. And we're carrying sharpness all the way through the frog. And, and everything's well defined. Our only problem now is we can't see the bottom of the stick, we can't see the bottom of the frog, it all just kind of fades into black. Which may be what you want.
But but I'm going for something a little more detailed here, but still crisp. So, what we're going to do is to bring our crumpled aluminum foil in and make a little reflector under sticky to throw that flash back up under him. Huge difference when you, when you put something like the equivalent of the second light source in really. Because we got a very, very specular very efficient piece of metal under him. And that's going to push that light back in as you can see, and throw a lot of light under him. even though this picture's not as contrasty as our final picture.
All the information is here. Very easy to make it to make it more contrasty in the final print, which is exactly what we did. But if you look at it straight out of the camera shot, the the black background, there's still some detail in there. There's detail everywhere even, even right under the frog, in that almost dark area of the shadow of the stick. There's detail everywhere. And that's coming from the fact that our light is coming from two opposed directions and the light's reasonably soft,given what we're shooting. you've got nice light under the stick, you've got nice night, nice light under the frog, and everything's well defined.
And when we take that into Photoshop we can, we can add as much contrast as we want, and that's exactly what we're going to do here. And make that background just drop out to a nice pure black and, and make sticky pop it's amazing to me that this was shot through a piece of dirty glass, but, the Christmas. Crispness of that light really makes sticky (INAUDIBLE) look nice and sharp. And our closed down aperture carries that focus all the way through the frog. And even makes this stick in the foreground acceptably sharp. So. They're sticky. Quick and dirty macro shot. a five minute job with one flash.
But still, we're taking advantage of the our knowledge of the ratio between ambient light and flash. And doing pretty much the same process we're doing on any other Flash picture, just on a quicker scale and a smaller scale.
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