Tough Color Combination - How Would You Have Lighted This Image?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by norfolk_nsfw_maybee, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. I went outside this fall and found a walking stick on the window frame. I ran back in and grabbed the Nikon D-7000, SB-600 flash and SC-17 cord.
    The tough part was the color of the walking stick and the window frame were so close to the same.

    Also, the subject was over my head, and I am 6'6" tall.
    I took over 20 pics, I think this was the best one I got.

    How would you have lighted this situation, with the equipment I had with me?
    There was nothing to bounce the flash off of.
    I took this pic with the flash at camera left.

  2. Wow - you have a tricky situation if you want to get rid of the shadows given the location of your subject. Bouncing won't eliminate shadows. It's the angle of the light that has to change. I think it would take two lights from opposing angles to eliminate the shadow.... that's how we solve the problem in underwater photography where virtually all of our light must come from strobes. A single strobe creates shadows, - two strobes correctly aimed eliminates the shadow. A really bring LED flashlight, such as a LaserLight, hand held by an assistant might be an option.
    A Neewer 48 LED Ring Light or any macro ring flash. Sure, like I carry one with me all the time. :)

    Note: I do not own the aforementioned suggestions. But, I will be buying one of them soon to attach to my 100/2.8 Macro lens.
  4. if you don't have a lot of lighting, I would do teo things: 1) get the flash further away from the subject as far
    as you can, and 2) shoot through a white pilow case or sheet. As for color, that's a tough one without more
    complex lighting.
  5. Sandra, in underwater photography, you seldom have a solid and smooth background to outline the shadows this vividly.....certainly not in open water. Unless you are photographing subjects that are anchored to the bottom or which are in direct contact with the background, there is enough distance for the light to diffuse into very muted shadows. Even if they are in direct contact, the background texture is in your favor in disguising shadows.
    A second light here, without a modifier on both lights, will only give you double the shadows and have them intersecting like mad.
    Had John been fortunate enough to have a naturally textured background, he might have had less effect from the shadows as they might blend with the contours, but a more ideal situation would be one flash, off to the side as he has it, but with a strong diffuser as has been suggested. That, matched with a white card reflector on the other side (which will throw virtually no shadow, but bounce a broad fill back to the subject) will give a far better lighting effect. The diffuser will throw a MUCH softer shadow edge which is obviously less distracting.
    A secondary aid would be to open the lens completely and balance the flash brightness accordingly so that depth of field would help isolate the insects from the background. Hard to do when this close and hand held, but highly beneficial if you can pull it off.
  6. [​IMG]
    That's not A walking stick.
    That's two having sex.​
    Above is the other pic I got like this, it is shocking what happens in nature!! LOL
    I tried a lot of various things to get the walking stick(s) pic. This was one of the cool results.
    The multiple layers of glass above the horizontal window bar gave multiple reflections.
    The lower window reflected nicely, in spite of having screen over it.
    I guess this could be called random auto-focus!
  7. Might have helped to place a diffuser on your flash, maybe tape a white piece of regular copier paper to soften the lighting.
  8. "Bouncing won't eliminate shadows." - Of course it will! Bounced light is always softer and more diffuse than direct flash, and the very thing that distinguishes hard light from soft is the distinctness of shadows. However in this case I don't think losing the shadows would make the subject clearer. It's the shadows and specular highlights that define the shape and texture of the stick insects, lifting them clear of their similar-coloured background.
    Raking the light along the painted surface from camera right might have helped (or at least looked different). I'm thinking light parallel to the surface and hitting the insects side-on, throwing long leg shadows to the rear of the insects and taking some light off the painted surface. The angle of the flash would need a bit of fine tuning though.
  9. I couldn't lay my hands on any stick insects, but I found a real stick and a brown background. Here are some experiments with lighting using just one small flash.
    Top image is bounced flash from the right. That obviously doesn't work, but does get rid of the shadows. Centre shot was working toward what I had in mind, and the bottom image is as close as I could get without spending an age and adding extra lights. For the last shot I laid the flash flat on the background and flagged off the bottom 1/2 inch of it with a bit of card to keep light off the background. Moral - always carry some gaffer tape!

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