On Assignment: Women's Lacrosse Cover

Last week, when I wrote about the idea of keeping a lighting notebook, I mentioned that I was playing with the idea of creating a triangular, wrap-around style of light on the cheap.

The story ran, so now I am able to expand on the process and results.

This Varsity cover is on a high school lacrosse player whose family had immigrated (under duress) from Mauritania, in Africa. She's a sweet kid, and (apparently) a heckuva player. The day's schedule did not permit shooting her playing, so I did a quick cover and inside portrait.

The top photo is what was used on the cover, and I am (mostly) happy with it for a first effort. I still have much to improve, but that's what the next assignment is for.

I loved the look of the wrap-around style of light, but I wanted to do it with just a couple of SB's, so I had to use the sun as the third light.

This photo shows the effect of just the side/back lights, one of which is a flash on 1/4 power, and the other the sun. (On full power - hopefully - for all of our sakes.) The sun was popping in and out of the clouds, which made it a tad tricky. So I just shot quickly when it was out.

I liked the look on the TFT screen. But in retrospect, I should have made the flash more subtle. I also should have brought it (the back right one) up higher to better ape the angle of the sun on the other side. Oh, well. Next time.

The front light, seen added here, is another SB on half power (85mm throw) with a cardboard snoot. I also used a Rosco #08 warming gel to differentiate the light color from the side/back lights.

Next time I may carry that a little further by adding a cooling gel to the side/back lights for more light color contrast. We'll see.

This was surprisingly fast to set up. And for the limited amount of hardware involved, I thought the light looked pretty cool, and a little more "produced" than my usual fodder. I used Lumedyne batts on the flashes to get quick recycle times throughout the shoot. It's very nice just being able to shoot away as fast as I need at half power on manual.

As you can see by the wider shot (which I remembered to shoot this time) the back right light has a cardboard gobo to keep the light from spilling into my lens as flare. The gobo is on the side of the flash closest to the camera, if it isn't obvious.

As you have probably already guessed, the shutter was at a 250th, to keep the flash from having to work unnecessarily hard. I closed down the aperture enough to make the sky a rich blue and adjusted the flash outputs to bring the face (and head) up to the right exposure.

This was quick (and a little hit-or-miss) but it'll be a starting point for me next time and I will tweak it from there.

After shooting the cover as a vertical, I wanted to do a horizontal of her for the inside lede. I kept the snooted front flash in position (now a side light) and brought the (formerly) back right flash around to near the snooted flash give it a little more interest.

I think I turned it down too far, as I can barely see the double shadows on her face from what should be a bit of a rim light from this angle.

The light from the left (which is casting the ear's shadow and lighting all of her on the left side) is still the sun.

I am definitely gonna be playing more with this style of light, as I think it has a lot of potential. I may use light stand flashes for both of the back lights and superclamp strobes to the bottom of the stands, too, to act as bottom-back-rim lights. This could really accentuate the wrap-around effect.

Or it could totally screw it up. Only one way to find out.

Next: Lacrosse Player #2


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Anonymous Martin McKenna said...

Fascinating post. I really liked the look of the Tim Tadder photo you mentioned earlier, but I had a hard time reverse-enigeering the lighting.

Now with your attempt in front of me, I think I have a theory. His shot, first of all, seems to be done with considerably softer light. Probably softboxes, because...

I think three were used, just outside the frame. Two at each side and one above the model on a boom stand. Probably some sort of fill, depending on how big the softboxes were. Maybe just a bit of polystyrene.

Really I'm just thinking aloud because I'm so pleased that (I think) I figured out how this light was created when I really had no clue before. What do you think?

May 10, 2006 3:50 AM  
Blogger EssPea Photography said...

That last photo is one of my favourites that you have posted on stobist.

May 10, 2006 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Nick Wright said...

"Next time I may carry that a little further by adding a cooling gel to the side/back lights for more light color contrast. We'll see."

Adding a cooling gel to the sun? Let me know how that works out.

*winkwink* Sorry, couldn't help it.

Great photo though.

May 10, 2006 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Captoe said...

I really like the horizontal image. More color in the jersey, the lacrosse stick. Very nice.

May 11, 2006 12:12 AM  
Blogger Tim Tadder said...

Hey David,

Hope you read this. I remember following you around an all american basketball game at some communtity college. I learned from you that light bleads and that if you can balance that you can come up with some nice effects. My light is more feeling and less technique, I think I light be feeling what my subject needs sometime it is hard and sometime it is soft, sometime it wraps and sometime it bends. I am soooooo thrilled you 1. remembered me, 2. enjoy my work. I certainly have a respect for you.

Tim Tadder

July 04, 2006 2:30 AM  
Blogger Omar Casasola Journal said...

Thank you for this enriching information. I am glad I came across this blog.

October 04, 2006 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Lever Rukhin said...

As 'strobed' as this picture is, it is surprisingly 'catchy' and wittily set up. Kudos.

March 15, 2007 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Larry Vaughn said...

"...Add a cooling gell to the sun." Actually you could do this, by adding a blue filter on the lens, which would make the sunlight bluer then warn up the flash gells that much more. Since most of the subject is illuminated by the strobes, you could have that cool backlight without messing up everything else, since the shot is done from a low angle shooting up.

March 23, 2008 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Corey said...

Forgive me If i am wrong but I do not understand how:

"the shutter was at a 250th, to keep the flash from having to work unnecessarily hard:"

would influence the flash output?

When balancing strobe with ambient, it is my experience that the aperture and flash strength/distance controls the amount of flash recorded by the camera. Then you "drag," the shutter to allow more or less ambient to build into your flash exposure.

February 15, 2009 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corey -

i think he's trying to say that keeping the shutterspeed as fast as possible allows you to open up the aperture to get the same exposure.

and THAT is what keeps the flashes from working too hard.

July 19, 2009 2:48 PM  

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