Sunday, January 16, 2011

Late night self-portrait

Coming home from a meeting with the guys, half-drunk, I decided to do some lighting in the kitchen. (Today was I had scheduled to do a quidditch-shoot, but that fell through because of -20°C weather, so I was itching to do some shooting.)

During this shooting I was struck by two things: 1) I feel I'm really getting used to setting up lights, and 2) I was once again struck by how much you can do with so little. This was done with two flashes, the Nissin Di866 camera left and an old SB-24 camera right, both snooted with empty milk cartons (though you could just as well have put a cheaper flash on the left). The camera I used was my old 1000D with the lowly kit lens, not even the IS version. And yet when you look at it you wouldn't really think it came from Canon's cheapest DSLR. Even though I have a great semi-pro body in the 40D and a lens that cost twice as much as I paid for the 1000D way back when, I still use 1000D regularly for testing lighting like this. (Though a large reason for this is that the Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 is so heavy that it ends up pointing downward when mounted on the tripod in portrait mode...)

A large part of me ending up on the road of lighting is of course the Strobist site, with nuggets of wisdom like this:
Knowing what I know now, I would have approached things very differently. I would have started off with a low-end body, a cheap 50mm f/2 (or f/1.8) prime lens and a modestly priced (slower) do-everything zoom. [...]

After that, I would go straight to a small light kit. For less than the price of even turning that f/4 zoom into an f/2.8 model, you could be set with a small-strobe, off-camera light.
That is pretty much what I ended up doing. Even though I got the f/2.8 zoom down the road, it wasn't ever anything that was required for the style I ended up doing. Rather, it was to get the better image quality that I bought it.