Exploring Light, Discovering Style: A Lighting Tutorial
Part 11, Lesson 9: Embrace Serendipity
By Bruce Dorn | April 11, 2011
Concept: Have a plan, but try to embrace the unexpected.
Tools: Fresnel Focusing Spot+Unexpected Sungun
Action: I suspected that this balcony and stairs could provide a tasty composition and felt that a single directional source should create a crisp and glamorous lighting pattern. After rigging a single undiffused Mole-Richardson "InBetweenie" Tungsten Solarspot, it was a snap to balance to the room and we were soon ready to shoot.
After I shot my customary test frames, I found the image on the camera's review screen to be somewhat perplexing. Hmmm... The image playback revealed considerably more fill than I anticipated and strong additional shadows that I simply couldn't detect with the naked eye...
These rouge shadows were quite dominant and dramatically, if somewhat inexplicably, placed. What the heck was going on here?
Tracing the shadows back to the location of the Mystery Source revealed a sheepish and very quiet videographer lurking beneath my camera position high on the balcony. It seems that in his zeal to capture an easy exposure from his own lower camera position, the videographer was firing-up an on-camera Sun-Gun whenever he saw Maria shift into character.
Once well-and-truly busted, my new partner blithely wondered aloud if his light was, "having any effect on the scene from the high angle?"
Well, yes, it was.
Putting my irritation and precious plan aside for a moment, I stopped to seriously consider the effect. It certainly wasn't the simpler pattern that I had conceived, but it was really quite interesting in an Old School "Hurrell's Hollywood" sort of way.
Regrouping, I asked the videographer to turn on his light and move a few steps to his right. The party-crashing shadows now filled a bland bit of negative space and added a welcome dash of spice to the scene.
To my eye, Maria looks a bit like a beautiful starlet pursued by a flock of pesky paparazzi armed with big ol' 4 x 5" Speed Graphics. Sometimes you just get lucky!
Canon 1DS Mark II - F2 @ 1/125 ISO 400
Canon 50 mm F1.4
200w Mole InBetweenie SolarSpot
Over-zealous Videographer's Sungun
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