Had a terrific job recently for a dear friend of mine who is the publications director of Villanova Law School. They just built themselves a brand new building. Thank goodness. I shot a few times in the old building and, well, it was tough to find an angle. Let’s leave it at that. The new building has two amazing innovations. Windows and light!
And big common spaces, one of which I needed to show in a picture. Yikes. See below.
Real big space, lotsa light outside, not too much filtering in naturally, given the angle of the sun. Whaddaya do? I could have drug my shutter and blown the windows, but there goes the detail, some of which speaks to the nature of it being a brand new space. I often advocate mimicking window light by using softeners like bed sheets and the like, and that does produce something very akin to the soft, natural feel of a window. You can do the same thing at the other end of the scale. What would hard daylight do to this room?
Okay, it’s a starting point. The light in question here is an Elinchrom Digital RX 2400ws unit, gelled warm. Nothing fancy. Just a big, raw light on a stick. Okay, the place is lit, roughly speaking. Time for our wonderful subject.
Oops. I had hopes the big light might clip that seated position, and we’d be sorta done, but no such luck. Didn’t want to move the main, cause I had a pillar acting as a big gobo. The pack is cranked to the max, a freight train of light, so that hunk of concrete between the camera and the flash was helpful.
So the mission became to get another light, a key light for my subject, that would resemble the hard feeling of the light in the background, but also be pleasing, and somewhat selective. In other words, not another big light. That woulda turned the whole place into the equivalent of a tanning salon.
Time for small flash, which you might think would be out of the game, given the monster truck nature of the main, but it fit in perfectly. Flagged it with some gaffer tape to cut spill, zoomed the head to 200mm, gelled it a bit warm, and dialed it into SU-4 mode, so it would simply trip off the big flash, which was in turn triggerred by a Skyport radio trigger. Nice thing about the Skyport when a light is this far away I can not only trigger it, I can adjust power, right from camera. Got this.
In Capture NX I decided to cool this down slightly. Liked the warm nature of the light, but at the end of the day, given the midday blue of the sky, thought I had stepped on the warm pedal a little too hard. But, the happy, and mildly predictable accident? What can happen when you blow a light into a space indiscriminately, just as the sun might do? Without lifting a finger to the lights, you can get a completely different look to the photo by adjusting lens and position.
This one I let stay warm, cause you only see environment that is dominated by the flash. There’s no other input that would strike an incongruous chord. No umbrellas, no soft boxes. We were done.
Of course, it is tough to come up with all the unpredictable splash and permutations of good old daylight. Late in the afternoon, when the sun actually got to an angle that it saw the interior spaces of the building, I got this, straight up available.
Simple lovely daylight. Who knew? I gotta try this more often! More tk….