Bohemian Rhapsody :: Part 3 of 3

Welcome back. We’re wrapping this 3 part series up with a bit of show and tell. I’m going to show you diagrams of some of the shots and will include the gear used to make them happen. Here’s part 1 and here’s part 2. It may be helpful to read those first. We are going to get through this stuff pretty quick as there is nothing too terribly complicated happening here. As promised in part 1, I’ll be posting a short blog showing you the cart in detail, how I customized it to make myself more efficient on jobs and why I believe it’s the best piece of gear I’ve purchased in years. First things first.

OK, so we’ll go through some of the pictures and I’ll list the gear used and the set up. Just to get this out of the way, everything was shot on the Fuji X-Pro 1 with the 56mm f/1.2 lens. The images utilizing strobes were shot using the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra (it’s since been replaced by a couple newer versions, currently called the ELB). Just for clarification, I have the “A” or “speed” set with a  shorter flash duration for stopping action, which was not needed for this. Elinchrom has their own wireless trigger system called ”Skyport” which is great because it can fire at a higher sync speed but the transducer misfires a lot, it could just be mine. It’s also tiny, uses a watch battery that lasts forever and the battery pack has the reciever built-in. All wins. Still, I used my Pocket Wizard Plus 3’s because they are consistent. As in, they NEVER misfire. They are clunky, have a slower sync speed and require cords, still, I use the PW’s the lionshare of the time. Side note :: the Fuji X-Pro 1 sync speed is 1/160th because of it’s focal plane shutter. The X-100 series have a leaf shutter thus allowing much higher sync speeds which makes the Quadra speed set witht the Skyport especially awesome. What sun?!

Our location looked like this but without all those awesome clouds. We had noon sun. Blarf.

I made all the lighting diagrams using These 72 DPI non-commercial one’s are free. You should check them out. Lots of great stuff there for light dorks like myself. Anyway, here’s the setup for our first shot.

What’s funny is that as I was going back thorugh this today, I realized that the above diagram didn’t change, just my position, camera settings and the use of the weeds and position of the reflector Maria was holding. Sometimes we dropped the reflector altogether.

Here, I moved to the model’s left side and shot directly into the seamless. I used the same exact setup for the two double exposures, I just exposed for the white seamless and placed her in silouhette, mostly.

This one was the exact same as the first setup, I just removed the weeds and flowers and shot more into the sky than the weeds. I still need to remove the flyaway hairs in this photo but for right now, she didn’t need this image and I’ve got a good bit of work resting on my plate. Image is still usable for some things but I typically wouldn’t show this. I did pull in a mask on each side of the sky in LIghtroom to bring those blues back in.

I really liked this particular setup for a number of reasons. We got the all five previous pictures with one setup and gear thats within reach of pretty much any photographer. So, five differnt looking shots with no lights at noon in a field between a methadone clinic and a strip joint in about thirty minutes. Scrims, silks, whatever you wanna call ‘em, I prefer (and used for the previous shots) the Matthew’s Artificial Silk because it’s cheaper and stops about 1.5 stops of light from coming through and makes for a giant softbox. Usually, when I’m pulling out a silk, the light is nasty outside. I do hate the yellow stitching around the edges. I would love to add the traditional silks to my arsenal but I don’t have the need right now and I’d rather spend dollars on other things. I have the 8 footer and like it because it’s the largest one I feel is safely manageable on a small set with no assitant and I can build my own PVC frame. It’s not the surest rig on the planet but it holds up fairly well. If you are buying any larger size silk, I suggest buying a proper frame. NOTE:: they ain’t cheap and you need some serious stands to hold ‘em and then serious sandbagging to boot. Don’t plan on using those without an assistant or two.

The next group of photos come from the basic setup that was in our next location. One light for all. 

If you go back and look, there are many more examples in Part 2. You’ll see what’s what. I think that pretty much wrap’s up the how on this stuff. I didn’t shoot anything crazy here. Just nice and simple. Keeping it clean. I’m as guilty as the next photographer in thinking I need all this gear when very simply, I could go out and make these same photographs with a hot shoe flash and convertible umbrella, a basic scrim, any simple camera and decent 90-ish mm lens. In other words, you could give me $600 and I could buy everything I need. Don’t get sucked down the gear rabbit hole. It’s deep and can cost you a lot more than the price tag attached. Start simple, keep it simple. Work hard and learn the limits of all your gear. Always be on the lookout for ways to make something out of nothing. Ask any questions or start a discussion below in the comments. Cheers! 

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