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.


Down and Dirty

It’s funny, today I have more time than I would typically when school is in but felt pressed for time to make a photo. That’s one of those mental block to making photos I’m trying to overcome with this project. This anxiety that I simply don’t have enough time. My homework is done, kids are fed, everyone is doing their own thing right now and I even got a run in today. There is literally nothing else for me to do today but lounge and I felt like I didn’t have time to make a photo. But of course that’s not true, it’s all in my head.

So I went downstairs thinking while taking those 10 or so steps about what I wanted to do. I thought about a simple headshot, down and dirty…well kind of. My tripod, which you may or may not be able to tell from my setup shots only opens up to about 58″ but I’m 6′ tall. Sitting wasn’t an option in this room because at chair height, the walls have things on them all the way around. You can see my wife’s storage racks for forgotten scrap book items in the setup. That’s as uncluttered as it gets in this room. No worries, this is simply something to think around. Hey, shooting up at a slight angle gives kind of that hero/rockstar feel right? Maybe not so much in this shot but I made it work and kept the actual setup and shoot at the 10 minute mark. I did some very simple editing (contrast, clarity, vibrance) and sat down to write this. Looking at my watch I’m going to be over by about 5 minutes but that’s all from right here, sitting and typing. 

So I’ll wrap quick with this: ISO 200, 1/200th f/8 with my D90 and my 50mm 1.8. The SB600 was in a little softbox modifier which I may not have mentioned in the original post but is still cheap and easy to find. The flash was right up in my face and fired with my generic radio trigger. I like this image better than my first two and I spent the least amount of time making it. 

See you all again soon.

2014-8-30 edit 2014-8-30 setup

Back To School

I cheated today. I guess that’s kind of an ironic admission given the theme of today’s post. I had time. Not really extra time but I had a few programs I had to load onto my computer for one of my classes so I used that down time to make the shot today. I took 15 minutes instead of the 10 I promised. It’s still early in the process so I’m not feeling a lot of guilt but I am running out of time now. The programs are loaded and it’s time to get to work on some homework and I’m here banging this out. I’ll give myself a pass today and hope you will too. I have to ease back into the routine of school and homework. I’ve included a setup shot taken with my phone. I used the D90 with the kit lens at 24mm. Shot at ISO 400, 1/10th to get the ambient and f/11. In hindsight I could have gotten ISO 200 or even Low 1, but I was on the clock and panicked. Live and learn. I fired my SB600 with my cheap radio trigger although I could have gotten away with Nikon CLS. Anyway, here is Back To School, and if you’re back to school now too, good luck this semester and don’t forget to shoot something today.

2014-8-25 Low Res Edit 2014-8-25 setup