Friday, February 19, 2010

Lighting Essentials Workshop (Day 2)

DSC_0287I was very excited about the second day of the workshop. More people had arrived the night before who could not make it for the full day on Friday. We were starting at 8am which was an early wake up call for me since my hotel was about 20 minutes away from base camp. Also we had talked shop until late on the first day so after arriving at the hotel and downloading all my images to my computer (backup) I ended up hitting the sack at just past midnight.

With about 5 hours of sleep, a full cup of coffee from the hotel and a welcome sugar rush thanks to Don providing donuts for breakfast, we started the second day. This was now truly the official Lighting Essentials workshop!

Don started the workshop talking about different lighting equipment - softboxes this time - and the dos and don'ts of lighting. Things like avoid lighting from below and avoid side lighting a woman unless she has perfect skin. As he was lecturing, our model for the day arrived. A lovely 13 year old girl named Tiara. She arrived just in time for demonstrations on how to set up a large softbox to wrap light around your model's face. He also discussed something he calls "beach" lighting - it's not a secret by any means but I will let you find out about it when you take one of his workshops.

Watching the StormWe quickly moved on to the beach to shoot the lovely Tiara. Unfortunately the weather was still having an identity crisis and it felt more like Long Island than Anna Maria Island. Little Tiara was determined though. Not a single complaint from her. Don set up a shot on the beach using a few speedlights and the dramatic stormy sky that was just fabulous. He went through his thought process and why he was placing the lights where he was, what settings he was using and the effect he was hoping to get. Once he got us started, he would let us do variations on that shot to experiment with the light.

We did not stay too long out there because poor Tiara was starting to shiver from the cold. So it was back into the condo for a quick change of wardrobe - something that involved a sweater for our model. Don took the opportunity while Tiara was changing to discuss and explain some of the things that we did out on the beach. When Tiara was ready, we went on a second outing, this time with the heavy artillery. We brought along an Alien Bee ring light with a moon unit and a vagabond power pack.

Florida coatWe went to the back of the condo this time where there was a nice boardwalk leading to a small fishing pier. We stopped on the boardwalk and fired the AB ring light some. That ring light with the moon unit is one versatile light. It can be used as both a ring light and a softbox. The quality of light is really nice especially when you are in close.

Tiara was much more comfortable now in some warm clothes. She has now been the only model in this full day workshop for over 4 hours and she is showing no signs of slowing down.

After we all had our turn with the ring light, we continued on to the end of the pier for some shots against water. I broke out my trigrip reflector to try and get some shape out of the flat overcast sky light. The wind was brutal and even with the heavy duty grip on the reflector there was no way this was going to be a one man show. Billy Kidd was kind enough to come over and hold the reflector - more like a silver sail in those conditions. I poped my SB800 on camera and fired it into the reflector. The result was my favorite shot from the whole workshop.

The Look

After this session we went back in, packed the gear and headed out to dinner at another great little restaurant on the lisland. That evening Don gave his "going pro" lecture where he talks about the business of photography and what it takes to make a living as a photographer. He had some great insight into the industry that kept us all at attention late into the night.

Another great day of learning. Back to the hotel for a "nap" before day 3.