Thursday, December 4, 2008

Banded Eye Drone Deconstruction

This one is going to be a slight departure from my previous deconstructions in that I’m going to talk more about the light in this shot than how I shot it. I will tell you that I used the Left Hand Brace Method to take it –check out the tutorial for the details.

For quite some time now I’ve been using the two flash heads of the MT-24EX in a fill / key concept. One flash head toward the top of the lens as the Key light to illuminate the area that I’m shooting (and the subject) and the other flash head lower and to the side as a Fill light to bring out details in the shadows. One of the problems with using two flash heads is glare –and I always mistakenly assumed that two flash heads meant twice the possibility of getting a hot spot. But I was wrong…

Recently I put both of the flash heads on Kaiser adjustable flash shoes thinking that changing the angle between the flash, subject, and sensor would help to eliminate some reflections. But all it really did was move the reflections to another part of the critter I was shooting. While looking at the photos I had taken a light bulb lit up in the back of my head: The glare was due to the angle between the flash heads, subject, and sensor –it was always the same for both of the flash heads. It didn’t matter that they were on a different part of the flash mount; the angle was always the same. Add to the flash the harsh sunlight that I typically shoot in and hot spots or a red channel that is too much to the right in the histogram is almost always going to be a problem.

So why not elevate a single flash head so that the MT-24EX’s flash heads are not at the same angle relative to the subject…

Since I’m using one as a Key and the other as a Fill it made sense to me to elevate the Key flash since its job is to illuminate the subject and the scene around it. I then attached the Fill light directly to the Canon flash mount and this is the result:

Finger Licking Good V

Very little glare –just a few pixels in that entire image. There is a slight shadow under the Drone’s eye, good for adding depth to the image, but there is plenty of light from the Fill to bring out the details. The kind of wrap around light that I like to shoot with simply because it isn’t dead even –if it were then the photo would look flat. This is how the flash heads look on the Canon mount with the Key elevated:

Current Rig 04 Dec 2008

Footnote: If you really want to improve your macro photography then start viewing the light as a compositional tool and look for ways to manipulate it to get the effect you want...
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