Monday, November 9, 2009

Flash + Night = Fun!

This image was shot at Cami and John's Wedding last year in Wenatchee WA. A few minutes before the guests, Bride, and Groom began to poor out of the reception with fireworks in hand Terice and I headed out to the parking lot to find this lovely specimen of a get-a-way car. It came complete with fuzzy dice on the rear view. Night shots have always been a passion of mine; and looking as this car, I knew what I had to do. I quickly positioned my camera on a tripod and grabbed two speed-lights; one in each hand. Then with my exposure set to capture the ambient light around me and from the building behind, I said to Terice, "Watch this," then I madly dashed around the car in circles firing both flashes over and over again. Terice looked puzzled. With a heavy click, the shutter snapped closed and the viewfinder lit up. I'm pretty sure her only comment was "Whoa, can I do that too?" Thus was my dear sister/assistant  first introduced to the wonderful world of painting with light.Talk about on the job training.

The basic idea of this technique is to illuminate areas of an image with pretty much any light source you can find and create something that didn't exist on it's own. Use everything that emits light from sparklers, flashlights, LED's, Portable flash equipment, you name it. The key is to play with it until it works. In the case of this image I wanted there to be great depth of field so that both the building and car would be in sharp focus. I also knew that by choosing a smaller aperture I would get a star-burst effect from the bright full moon. The goal all along was to make sure that my camera was seeing what my eyes were seeing.

After metering the available light coming from the tungsten lights on the building (tungsten lights look warm and yellowish when you shoot at a daylight or flash color balance) I knew my f-stop would be f14. Then I chose the long shutter speed; 30 seconds. I also set the camera to a timer so I would have 2 seconds to get myself in position and avoid camera shake after pressing the shutter. Due to the long exposure and my movement, I became invisible to the camera, the only trace of me is the flash's glow left behind on the length of the car.  I would have loved to do this shot again and instead of using the test button, use the speed-light's modeling light feature for a more continuous highlight along the body of the car, but just after this shot was taken the sidewalk began to fill with guests and I had to do some "work."

Oh and as a side note, in the original image, the moon was on the left hand side of the frame. I didn't like it there, I thought it was distracting but I didn't want to remove it completely, so I just moved it over. It was a simple fix with the healing brush in Photoshop.
Here's a few more from their wedding just in case you're interested.

Thanks again to Terice for adding so much to every wedding we shoot together! To view more wedding photography by Irene Jones and Terice Lehman visit Irene Jones Photography Online.

Tomorrow:  Toy Cameras and Lenses to try.

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