I’m Not Afraid of the Dark

2014-9-1 Edit 2 2014-9-1 setup

I’m not afraid of the dark because I made the dark. No, I’m not claiming to be a deity, I literally made the dark. Well photographically I made the dark, the room was actually pretty well lit as far as eyes are concerned. And full disclosure, this is the kid’s room which seems to be perpetually messy, as you can see in the setup shot, no matter how much “cleaning” time is devoted to it. Further disclosure, there are things in here that scare me. Mostly stray Lego pieces because I prefer to be barefoot and if you’ve ever had the misfortune of stepping barefoot on a Lego block, you understand my fear.

But I’m off topic already. I wanted to take a quick photo today and thought I’d use what used to be my favorite chair. The kids have claimed the chair for their own and so that chair sits in the room of fear. I wasn’t going to lug the chair and the camera, flash and stand to another room and eat into my time so the photo had to be made right there. You can see in the setup there’s all manner of distraction in the background, so what to do? Well, I brought the SB600 in close, about 2′ from my nose and bare. I put a strip of black poster board on the far side of the flash to keep it from spilling into all that ugliness behind me, turned down the power to 1/16 and closed up my aperture to f/13. What does all of that do? It creates darkness and all without supernatural ability. The level of light you see in the setup shot is exactly what was in the room at the time of the shot. So while I would normally fear a stray Lego lurking in the darkness if I sat in the middle of that room, here I didn’t because the room wasn’t dark at all.

The particulars: Nikon D90 with 18-55 kit lens mounted on tripod and fired via timer. ISO 200, 24mm, 1/200th, f/13. SB600 camera left with just a flag on the side to control spill. Flag is homemade by the way out of leftovers from one of the kid’s projects. The flash was fired with my generic radio triggers. Oh and one more item to disclose; the shot took 15 minutes total from setup to cleanup. I can make darkness but I’m not perfect.

I’m not doing too bad so far but there’s still a long way to go and school is going to get harder so hopefully I can stick with this; I’m enjoying the process.