I’ve been bringing a small camera and light bag into work every day, hoping to make new headshots of my coworkers for our website. Every day I set up the gear, and every day everyone’s too busy to have a picture taken. No worries; if photography has taught me anything, it’s patience. I’ll get them.
The other day, I was shutting down computers and packing my camera gear when the Director of our School Food Initiative came in to show my office-mate and I the first tomato from our parking lot garden. (The Orfalea Foundation funds and operates the School Food Initiative and partners with Santa Barbara City College’s Center for Sustainability on the School Gardens Program, so of course we’re growing food in our parking lot. Aren’t you?)
I already had an SB600 on a stand, equipped with a dome diffuser and a grid. I grabbed the closest camera, which happened to have the 85mm f/1.4 (imagine that) attached. I slid an SB800 into the hot shoe, knowing the flash was already set in commander mode. In fact the camera and lights were set up for the dramatic style of portrait I was hoping to shoot. The camera was set at -1.7 EV; the shoe-mounted SB800 with dome diffuser was set at -3.0 EV, and the SB600 with Sto-Fen Omnibounce + grid was set at +.3 EV. In other words, the camera was set to underexpose the ambient light, the fill was set to mildly kiss the shadows (and trigger the remote SB600), and the key was set to light a small circle with moderately hard light. Because the gridded light was very close, the light fall-off is so dramatic that the woman extending her arm disappears completely – even her arm!
Reviewing this image, I realize that this lighting probably would not produce the kind of coworker headshot I want for our website, but I think it worked pretty well on the tomato. I’ll still try it for some portraits, though. Heck, I’ll try anything to build my database of lighting scenarios. Perhaps some veggie portraits while I wait for my coworkers to come around?
EDIT: I should probably mention that I fired exactly one frame, and then she was gone to show everyone else the tomato.