Must Be Some Kinda…

Turns out I had a photo from a Wednesday night shoot pop up in Flickr Explore. And who was right next to me (at the time I checked, at least) but Strobist reader Matthew Coughlin, with this trippy homage to one of my favorite recent sophomoric movies, Hot Tub Time Machine.

It is part of a 365 project, and comes complete with a BTS. Hit the jump for a setup shot -- and a question.

You can't get much more annotated than this labelled BTS pic. Matthew used a trio of Canon 430 EXII flashes, all at half power. The rims were backed up ten feet and zoomed to 105mm. The key was zoomed out to 24mm, and fired through a small diffuser.

He exposed it at 1/80th of a sec at f/5.6 at ISO 100.

Just from looking, I can't tell if he juiced the water in post, or if 1/80th was enough to pick up the color from the magenta LEDs in the tub. (I am guessing the former, or a combo.)

Now the question: Where is that fill coming from?

I can see two layers of frontal fill in there. So my guess is a combo of two things. First, those nuclear rims are bouncing off the front interior edge of the tub, which would be just about the right position for the darker layer of fill (see Hot Tub Hank's camera-left deltoid area.)

On camera right, he's also getting the kick off the water from the key. And that makes sense, since the far side of his neck can't see the key or the reflection of the key in the water.

Water is very efficient when you skim light off of it, and that is what is happening here. To visualize it, imagine that you are Afro Dude, and you are looking at the key. You'd see it, but you'd also see its reflection -- almost as bright -- in the water, right?

There's your fill light. This is a hard light several feet away. But if you have water to work with, it is easy to picture a cool one-light clamshell look with a well-placed umbrella or soft box.

On the Flickr Explore kick, it's kinda weird as I've been published over 10,000 times. But for some reason it still feels fun to make Explore, given that 500 pics are selected each day out of the over 4,000,000 images uploaded to Flickr.

I keep a set of my favorite explored images here. If you have a recent explored photo to show off (especially if it was lit, yo) hit us with the URL in the comments.


:: Matthew's 365 Project ::
:: Cool Lego HTTM ::


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