Case Study 2 | Desert Sunset | Transcription

I wanted to use this as a case study because this is one of those situations where, I’ll be the first person to admit that for this particular shot on top, bouncing off a reflector from 20 feet in distance, is not a practical approach to lighting this shot but that’s not really why we’re doing it, that’s not really why we taught these techniques. Most of the time these techniques are actually quite reasonable and they’re very practical to use in any type of situation. I’ve told you that basically when you are bouncing, it’s best to bounce within, say 10 feet. Have the modifier at around 10 feet from the flash so you can easily reach it. 10 or 15 feet.

Once you start going further than that, it gets a little bit difficult to control where it’s hitting on the reflector and then where it’s bouncing to on the subject and in those situations, you’re going to get better light, more consistent light from off camera light setups, which we’re going to cover in Lighting 201 and 301. Why do we even teach these types of techniques if they’re not necessarily practical in every situation? Because lighting and photography overall is what I would classify as a MacGyver skill. In so many situations … By the way, I hope I did not just date myself and I hope most of you understand who MacGyver is. If not, I don’t really know, I only watched some of the episodes and so forth.

MacGyver basically, was this guy that could essentially make a bomb out of like toothpicks and he’d be stuck in like a jail cell and he’d be able to get out of jail cell by using like a gum wrapper and like a little piece of underwear or some like that. Anyway, it was ridiculous. He’d always be able to come up with some sort of solution to any problem whatsoever, no matter what the problem was. When I say photography is kind of like the ultimate type of MacGyver test, it’s because you’re always going to be in situations where you don’t necessarily have the gear that you want or the gear that you might even need with you. You might have that gear at home, it might not be with you. You might be at a location where they simply don’t allow you to use the kind of gear that would be best for that shot or maybe you’re just in a situation where you’ve got to get a shot quick and you have to just use what you have available to you.

Like for example, with this … Actually it was a previous shot that we were getting with Yvette, kind of over that sand in the background. We had five minutes to get that shot before the sun was gone. I didn’t have my off camera flashes set up yet, even though I brought them with me, because we’re filming for lighting 201. What did I do? Knowing these techniques, I just grabbed a reflector, told my assistant, “Come out, let’s go and get the shot and we shall use these simple bounce techniques.” These techniques are fantastic because when you’re in these situations, all the light modification tips that we’ve taught you so far, you can use. When you have no balance, someone’s wearing a white shirt, pull him over near you. When you have no balance and you have something small like an f-stop or a flash disk, hold up, bounce off of that.

We’ve taught you all the different techniques for light modification because you’re going to be in situations where you simply don’t have what you would like to have and knowing these techniques is going to help you to still get a fantastic image. That being said, when we get to Lighting 201, we’re going to cover even more awesome techniques and we have a little bit of a, kind of a teaser here too. For this top shot what do we have? When we approach the scene, the first shot always, always, always, always, the first shot, you go for your background. You go to kind of figure out, “What do I want to shoot? What I want to have in the shot? I want to have Yvette over this right side. I want to have this kind of cloth trailing in through the frame.” I would have loved to be able to get up higher so we could shoot down on the desert and see more of the desert behind her and see this kind of coming in to the bottom of the frame but, I didn’t have anything to get me up that high and we were losing light very quickly so I kind of just went with this composition and I liked this guy, I liked the tone and I liked having a little bit of desert in the bottom of the frame.

Great. Once we get that shot and that shot was at 1/200 second F2.8 and ISO 100. We don’t need any filters, any filters, anything of that because it’s already dark. It’s already sunset. By the way, when the sun is setting guys, yes, you need to move a little bit quicker but don’t move so fast that you forget what’s going on. I want to say that most of the fantastic sunset shots don’t come when the sun is above the horizon. It comes just below but the funny thing is that, most photographers when they’re shooting sunset, they’ll leave as soon as the sun dips below the horizon. They’ll leave before we call, peak color.

Peak color is that 10 to 15 minute moment that’s just … Sorry, it’s about a five minute moment, that’s about 10 to 15 minutes after the sun drops below the horizon and it lights all the clouds and everything on the horizon from underneath. It looks absolutely fantastic. It lasts about five minutes and it’s after sunset. Just because you see the sun setting, don’t rush through it. Remember that your best shot is probably going to come after it goes below the horizon. Once we get this shot, Yvette’s completely in the silhouette, I do have a little bit of light direction coming from the left side, so I match that light direction with the silver reflector. Silver reflector is being held pretty far in distance from where I’m flashing from. We’re throwing the flash 105 zoom, all the way over to this reflector. Again if you want to use a snoot in that kind of an instance, it’s a perfect time to use it.

The grid is going to do a good job of funneling the light forward but it’s also going to cut down the amount of light too. It’s kind of … We have to kind of weigh the options there. We start with that silver … we actually started with a white over silver, by the way and we tossed the white because we weren’t getting enough light back. We were just getting a little kiss of light and it wasn’t enough to get our correct exposure. We had Trevor toss that. By the way, for the shoot, we had my fantastic friend and incredible photographer Trevor Daley out to assist us.

I just announced on my Facebook page, “We’re going to go do a desert shoot. Who wants to come along?” And Trevor’s like “Dude, I’ll come along and hold lights for you.” I’m like, “Dude, you shouldn’t be holding lights. You should be taking all the photos. You’re a fantastic photographer.” This is the fun thing about being a photographer guys is, you have so many opportunities to go on each other’s shoots and it’s a lot of fun. We had such a blast out there and I learned things from Trevor when he’s there because he’s shooting and he’s taking some images and I’m sure he learns from some of the things that we’re doing. It’s just a fun experience overall. Involve your friends, involve other photographers because we’re friends. We’re not competitors.

Once we get this, we have our lighting from the left so that we match the direction of that available light with the silver and then basically we’re shooting until we got the cloth, kind of with the right wind on it. For this one, the cloth wrapped too high, the wind caught it and kind of lifted up. We shot just until we got that cloth to kind of wrap around and I had an assistant just holding off the camera at left. That’s how we got the image. When I got that I thought, “Okay, good. I’ve got a basic image here and if I was in a pinch, this image is nice. It’s great but now I want to get my image, I want to get my awesome image if I had no restrictions whatsoever.

Here’s a little teaser in the Lighting 201. Because we are going to do so many fantastic things in 201. It’ll be just like 101, we’re going to do a ton of different types of shoots and here is one of the looks that we’re going for. On this one … By the way, we use the Sigma 35mm in this top shot. I love the new Sigma Art lenses, they’re fantastic. This is the same Sigma 35mm F2.8 art, where at 1/100 second F4 and ISO 100 and we’re using the Bolt flash. The Bolt flash was that …. I don’t know if it’s still down there but it’s that flash we talked about earlier that’s a bare bulb flash that you can use to modify and it is very powerful and it’s fantastic for location shooting because it’s kind of this in between. More powerful than a pocket strobe but less powerful and more portable than a studio strobe. It’s kind of a gray in between flash. We use that with the Wescott rapid box on a Benro Monopod.  I call this my boomstick. I don’t know why. Usually because on my broomstick I usually put two Bull flashes so it’s very, very powerful and it booms so I called it my boomstick.

We take the boomstick and I think Trevor is actually holding this off to camera left, I forgot who was actually holding it in the shot. Probably Trevor and he’s holding it up basically and we get a nice loop light coming top down from the left side and we shoot and I have Olivia on the outside of this giving a little ruffle and I have Yvette kind of shaking and what I told Yvette is, “Shake but then when you come back, let your arm rest. I don’t want to look like your muscles are engaged in like as if you’re actually shaking yourself, I want to look like your muscles are resting and like the wind is catching this.”

We shot a couple images and man, it was so easy. It’s so easy on this type of a shot to do it with a off camera light set up because the light’s coming from a distance. We’re shooting a very complex type shot where we have to get this ruffle just right. These are the situations where I cannot worry about having a bounce perfectly into two or three different reflectors to get the shot. While most of the techniques that we’ve taught you so far are very practical, very reasonable to use on really any shoot, Sometimes when you get outdoors like in this scene, these aren’t going to be practical set ups and so you need to go to, basically off camera light setup which we’re going to cover in Lighting 201.

Just keep that in mind and again, any time that it’s been a less practical type set up, I’ve told you that. Otherwise, if we’ve just done it like as usual, it’s totally practical and reasonable to expect to be able to do it. The only time I’ve said that it’s going to be impractical to use these types of techniques, is when you’re outdoors, you’re trying to use more than one reflector because you need to set up stands unless you have tons of assistance and you’re shooting at longer lengths, like you’re real lighting is 15 – 20 feet, 25 feet away from who you’re lighting and from the camera flash itself.

CHAPTER GETTING OVER THE FEAR, HYPE, & MYTHS

CHAPTER 2: THE BASICS OF FLASH

CHAPTER 3 UNDERSTANDING LIGHT

CHAPTER 4: ON-CAMERA FLASH GEAR BASICS

Chapter 5: DIRECT FLASH DONE RIGHT

Chapter 6: STUDIO LIGHT? JUST BOUNCE IT!

Chapter 7: MORE LIGHTS, REFINEMENT, & CREATIVITY

Chapter 8: CASE STUDIES

Chapter 9: BONUS CHAPTERS

Total Course Run Time: 8H 17M 4S