UPDATE, JUNE 2024: Strobist was archived in 2021. Here is what I am up to now. -DH


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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