Assignment: Shoot Your Jack O' Lantern

Local PJ-in-Training Patrick Smith of Towson University posted a photo tonight which got me thinking.

The result? A quickie photo assignment that will be a good, small-scale lighting exercise.

Patrick used a strobe inside his pumpkin, but that's too easy for you guys. Much better to balance three, completely different light sources - two continuous and one flash.

If you are up to the task, here it is:

Shoot a candle-lit Jack O' Lantern in such a way as to balance the candle light inside, some ambient-lit background and the externally (off-camera) strobed pumpkin.

You'll need to be shooting into some directional light. I would start by having your camera's shutter set at max synch speed to get your correct aperture for the flash correct and locked in. Then, it is a matter of adjusting the shutter speed down to match your ambient background and walking the shutter speed down as it gets darker until the in-pumpkin's candle becomes a stronger light source in the photo.

If you can find a place to shoot into the afterglow of the sunset, you're in like Flynn. Otherwise, you'll need to get creative in finding an ambient background to work against. Maybe a lit window - shooting from outside.

You have three lights to consider:

1) The flash - It'll be consistent, and controlled via the aperture.

2) The background - It'll be quickly dropping and controlled by the shutter speed (assuming a constant aperture set with the flash in mind.)

3) The candle - A consistent, continuous light source.

And just to make this interesting, the winner gets a free copy of John Harrington's business book, shipped.

Deadline: Weds, 11:59pm local.

Just stick them in the Flickr Strobist pool. I'll see them there.

Please tag as: strobistpumpkin

Oh, and the quality of the light coming from the flash does matter, bucko...

If you have any technical questions, hit the Flickr discussion threads and ask/answer away.


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