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Hero Bike

Hero Bike

Motorcycle Hero Shot – trade show displays
This red Yamaha sport bike has an interesting look when viewed from an elevated high frontal position. It reminded me of a space alien with big eyes.  This motorcycle was mounted on a rolling platform.  The base of the platform was covered with diamond plate steel which has a great texture and is a part of the automotive community.
The first decision was to shoot from the high frontal angle and to include the diamond plate as the background.  The second thought process was about lighting the the background diamond plate.  What if the diamond plate was also red — here we go.

The BackgroundLighting:  The solution was to roll the bike and platform into a corner of the show room in front of clean neutral colored walls. Then two DynaLite flash heads were pointed into the walls, one on each side of the motorcycle.  Both flash heads were equipped with red gels. I carry 4 sets of lighting gels on location – diffusion, neutral density, color conversion and color effects.  This lighting was bounced off the wall to illuminate the diamond plate and the exposure had to be adjusted to match the main light on the front of the motorcycle.

The Main Light:  I travel with a Bogen / Manfrotto 3-piece location boom and used one section of the boom to be able to put my DynaLite flash head directly over the camera, centered to the front of the motorcycle.  The motorcycle is a highly reflective subject which would normally require a very large light source – impractical in my situation.  A flash head alone, a very small source, can illuminate the front of the motorcycle producing a very small highlight that is not intrusive. I left the highlight in the shot, but it could have been retouched out in post.

In this stylized shot, two different reflective surfaces were lit to enhance and balance the subject and background with similar color.

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Location Light Table

Location Light Table

As I look back at a past lighting/rigging solution, this topic covers a translucent subject (petri dishes) requiring light from below as well as from above.  Some used to call this “Hamburger Lighting”.

While shooting an annual report,  a topic on the shot list centered around growing cultures in petri dishes.  Spreading two tables apart in a meeting room and suspending a lighting grid (from the overhead fluorescent fixture) between two tables , I then slid a Lightbank under to create the light needed to come through the transparent petri dishes.

Two top lights were, a weak light bounced from the ceiling and a glancing accent light going across the subject from a low angle.

I wanted a lot of drama so used the “Less is More” idea, got close to a few petri dishes with the perspective of a wide angle lens.  Locations can offer unique opportunities for creative solutions!

 

Olympus OM1  //  21mm  //  Wafer Light Bank // Tmax Film  // For:  for Rutgers’ Waksman Institute Annual Report.

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Location Gadgets

Location Gadgets

Gadgets Gadgets Gadgets 

Having the right tool at the right time doesn’t always happen when on location.  There are the standard tools and then there are those hidden gems.  This is about the later.

> Multi Tools – good to have anytime.

> Small Dog Collars – I use them to hold electronics up off wet floors.

> Multi Clamps – holds small reflectors on set; with a black card, becomes a barn door.

> Fun Tac and Gaffer Tape – I keep some fun tac in the center of a small roll of gaffer tape.  You’ll find a lot of uses for these staples.

> Misc.  Lens brush; black marker; clothes pins; rope and carabiner for suspending items, counterweights, etc.

These are just some of the handy things you can have around for location shoots.

 

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Choices for Depth Of Field

Choices for Depth Of Field

Controlling Depth Of Field is a choice dictated by necessity for each situation.

Some choices:

1. stop down aperture

2. shoot image smaller and later crop in

3. use Stack Focus technique – needs post processing

4. use a perspective control lens – expensive lens

Example 1 – a small product – macro range

Here, stacked focus was employed.  Choices 1 and 2 were not best options.  With the camera locked down on a tripod, I used #3, successive exposures were taken with the focus on the front, the back and many steps in between – stacked focus.  The images were then processed to make one image for focus throughout the entire range.  I mark the focus ring on the lens at the front and back focus points with tape, so I know where to start and stop the successive exposures.

This is not a creative shot, but this image needs to be technically perfect for commercial use – tacky sharp from end to end.

Nikon/105 Macro  //  Exposure: 1/125 @ f/16  //  DynaLite Studio Lights  //  Photoshop to process  For: BK Media Group – Product Literature

(also see Youtube for stack focus details)

Example 2 – location pizza pie shot

Here, a wide angle perspective control lens was used. Now this was a creative choice, for an “in-your-face” view of the pizza — I was positioned in close and over the pizza for a dramatic view.  (camera on a tripod side arm to get over the pizza) The lens was tilted to create the horizontal plane of focus, across the pizza, to the booth behind the set.  The key light was a boomed octa bank and the background light had a grid and red gel for the wine bottle and glasses. Tethered shooting allowed complex control.

Nikon/24m PC lens  //  Exposure:  1/60 @ f/9.5   //  Speedlights    For: Social media video  (also see CamRanger for tether;  see “Scheimpflug” – for focus control)