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Night, Science and Magic

What is This Man Doing?

We last spoke of Florida-based photographer John Moran in September of last year in a post one how he used a little gear and a lot of brains to shoot a beautifully lit photo of the Comet Hale Bopp.

John was a mentor of mine while I was in school at the University of Florida, and he has since left the PJ biz to photograph the natural beauty of Florida. Well, he's back, with an amazing shot that only a lighting wonk like yourself can truly appreciate.

Sorry to be so stark in my description of you, but if you are reading this site...

So, let's look at his setup:

• Stobe on a boom, for water sparkles: Check.
• Gazillion candlepower continuous light, for scene painting: Check.
• Custom-made black box to emulate the blinking of an amorous female firefly... Wait, what?

Before I send you to John's page on the making of this photo to see what he got, a few things to consider.

First, John's perspective is that of a naturalist photographer, chronicling the raw beauty of Florida's diverse ecosystem. So you are not gonna get a "how-to" on making an extraordinarily technical photo. You'll get a glimpse of one man's passionate approach to photographing a river. Which is cool.

That said, behind the the granola-eating, treehugger exterior lies a thinking photographer who will stop at nothing to deploy whatever light is needed to make a photo. And he told me that even with the lighting he used, there was a fair amount of layer blending in Photoshop needed to compress this scene into the range of a photograph.

And finally, he purposefully chose not to publish the photo displayed on the top of this page on his own site. He did not want a behind-the-scenes setup shot to break the spell of a magical photograph.

But he knew I would get a kick out of it. And I thought you would, too.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see what he got.


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