Tag Archives: setup

August 2014 – if at first you don’t succeed

candlefractal
There are too many details for me to share. I know the point of this whole monthly project was to document the process in its entirety but you will have to bear with me as I try to find a good work life hobby hobby hobby family balance.
Yes I too have found myself in the ranks of the over-committed and starting Wednesday get to add a return to university to my already intense schedule. If only I was studying film or something…

I digress – I wanted to take a couple of minutes and probably 2 or 3 posts to fill in the blanks since my last post. No I didn’t give up. I’m not really like that when it comes to things I think I should be good at.
I set out to take a picture with vivid colors involving fractals and I think the creative process is in full swing.

I realized after the last round that I needed a few things – and I probably should have spent more time trying to come up with a storyboard and exactly what I wanted to do with this picture, but over the past 2 days I thought about it and decided I would make a second attempt with more paint and with more mirrors.

I wanted to get reflections of reflections like in a Kaleidoscope and allow the fractal to be created in 2 dimensions.

I bought some crayola washable paints and 5 mirrors from the dollar store…and new batteries for my flash. Always always always have spare batteries for your flash.

Anyway. I played around with mirrors on top of mirrors and tealights and even had a pretty good setup with 5 mirrors and 10 tealights making this super cool pattern (what happened to the paint you ask – I was playing ok, just to see what I could do) and it seemed to work out with fractals in 3 dimensions, maybe not quite as much depth as I had originally hoped, but fractals none the less. Long story short a mirror fell down and spilled candles hot wax and flames all over my backdrop. Yes I am determined to burn down my house.

That aside I was really excited a decided to keep going rearranging a reconfiguring the mirrors and a single tea light.

The result is posted above. I like it.

There were still a few things I knew I needed to fix for the fractal picture.

So ultimately I moved mirrors angles and repositioned back drops and speedlights to get the real high key effect I was going for.

Here is what the setup looked like.

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Notice that I had to surround every angle in white sheets to allows for maximum light to reflect and wash out ever part of the image. I even had to cover my camera to prevent it from being a bold black blob in the picture.

The reverse angle might tell the story a bit better.
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You can see I am using a fairly simple 2 flash setup. The flash behind the mirrors is actually a bounce flash off of my thankfully white ceiling. The speedlight is diffused as wide as it will go with a white reflector to give as much of a soft wrapping light as possible to blow out as much of the white highlights as possible.

In my post processing post (coming up in about 5 minutes). You will see the difference the shallow angle can make in a setup with a mirror like this.

Please feel free to comment below.

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June 2014- it takes a little effort

So the concept isnt always easy to execute.  No matter how well planned it takes a bit of finesse toget things right.  Thats why there is gaff tape.  If you are a photographer and you don’t have gaffer’s tape (aka gaff or gaffing) GET SOME.  Duct tape is not the same. 

Okok enough about that.

I got some pretty preliminary test images.  I wasnt entirely happy with the flat images I got.  Too much light too much white background and not nearly enough contrast.

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Not a bad photo just not amazing.  The catchlights (which you cant really see above) are what I was looking for so with a few minor changes I was hoping for the best.

I reduced the diffusion, I increased the flash intensity, I removed the white backdrop and lowered my f stop to f8. 

This is what I got

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Not bad.  Entirely useable and much more dramatic but I noticed the catchlights looked better from above ( I was standing over the whole thing while shooting)  so I repositioned the camera.

This is an example of the result.

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On to post production. 

Wish me luck only 3 hours to go. 

June 2014 – summer fun

My kids reminded at supper tonight that bubbles are super fun.  Yeah bubbles have been done a hundred times but hopefully not like this.  
I have decided to reuse an old backdrop and repurpose it as a lighting modifier.   My epic selfy (you can take a tour through the archives)  used a pegboard as backdrop and since I love making my own lighting modifiers I decided to reuse it to make a cover for a speedlight.

See below

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With this set up I should be able to freeze bubbles midair.  I hope to capture one popping but with no timing rig I think this is pretty unlikely. 

Wish me luck.  I’ll post a quick shot of the setup as soon as it is ready.  Only 6 hours to go.   This one is going to be tight.