Yep, we are back at that hulk of a building hard by the Hudson River, which for a time was my studio, and for a shorter time, was my home. The one day lighting workshops are up and running again, and of course, the inimitable Andrew, he with the heart tattooed on his chest, is back helping us out…..
This was 4 SB900 Speed Lights. Used a combo of small flash tools to produce a look reminiscent of what I saw through the lens in ambient light conditions. Lemme s’plain…. Andrew was standing there with his jarhead haircut, backlit by window light that was doing highlight skips off his temples. Unlike Clint Eastwood, who has a pulsing vein in the middle of his forehead, Andrew has one just by the left side of his forehead. Saw this, made a kind of soft, flat ambient light pic of the scene, and then thought, we could sharpen this up with some flash, albeit small flash, placed in a way that would mimic the existing light pattern.
So, the temple lights were produced by two speed lights, both outfitted with Lumiquest Mini Soft Box 3.0. Played with those for a bit, and then stripped them off and went with hard light produced by just the flashes, both zoomed to 200mm. The hard, shadowy face light was another SB900 zoomed to 200, and hand held high and in front of Andrew’s face. The chest light was another zoomed 900, this one with a tight Honl grid spot. Four lights, wireless TTL, and Andrew’s lookin’ like a bad man. Which he distinctly is not. Good guy, good shooter, great on a Mac (learned all his computer stuff from me) and a tremendous help to any and all at the workshops.
Moving on…..Jasmine came back! Again! Is there anybody out there as sweet, sultry and talented as she in front of the lens? Hailing from Emmanuel Models in NY, she gets in front of the lens and just rules. She mentioned to me she needed kind of high key, fun stuff for her book, so we conjured the white set. This is my first experience shooting on one of the new vinyl drops made by Lastolite and marketed here in the US by Bogen. Great stuff. Walk all day on it, takes a beating, and has a real rich, matte white feel when you light it. We switched up for this to big flash–real big flash–meaning the Elinchrom Octa. The big fella took over the set, and coupled with a floor bounce directly under it, coming from a Ranger pack, it gave the white on white Jasmine just the right lighting pick me up. Soft light, but general (as opposed to the hard spotlights for Andrew, which meant he could barely move an inch) this broad, beautiful light allowed Jasmine to be Jasmine, and she could go ahead and conjure all the beautiful moving geometry she always does when a lens is pointed her direction.
Later that day, in the last 5 minutes or so of the workshop, we collaborated on an impromptu set. Take one battered old room on the ground floor, mix in a Ranger pack with 1/2 cut of CTO, outside the windows near the train tracks, with a long throw reflector. Throw in an Elinchrom Skyport for good measure so you can run the pack and control the power rating from camera. Hook all that up with Will running a wind machine, and let Jasmine start moving, and, I think this is the type of shoot that the term “shooting fish in a barrel” was coined to describe. You cannot miss. Shot on D3, Lexar media, 70-200 lens, auto white balance, auto focus, cursor smack on her face.
Back to the white set. Not everybody’s got an Octa, so we stripped all of that out, and went back to basics with 2 SB900 units blasting on TTL through a hand held Tri-grip diffuser. Nothing else. Lauren’s never really modeled, but she has a wonderful, commanding presence in pictures. Simple, soft, done.
Onto the basement. Had this nutty idea. Gelled lights blasting down hallways. Beauty dish overhead. Ranger pack. Floor bounce off a gold Tri-grip from an SB900 in SU-4 mode (manual optical trigger). Jaira was our subject, and the up front light combo looked like it was meant with her in mind.
Lighting all day. Small flash, big flash. An even bigger thank you to our sponsors–Nikon, Adorama and Bogen. Jeff Snyder was up from Adorama, shooting and dispensing wisdom. Mark Astmann, the William Holden of flash lighting, was there as well, and he was able to bring and demo the new Elinchorm Ranger Quadra.