Paper lamp as glowing orb
Wed, Aug 28, 2013Not long after I got my camera and off-camera flash, my son woke my wife and I up at some god-awful hour of the morning. What to do when you're up too early in the morning? Take silly family photos, of course!
I'd recently read the "bare bulb" page in the lighting 101 portion of David Hobby's Strobist blog. I thought the glowing orb effect demonstrated in that lesson was neat. Further, I'd taken notice of some paper lamps we'd hung up in my son's room as potential lighting accessories. The lamps are hollow, colored, and the opening on the ends seemed just big enough to get my Canon 430ex II inside. So I grabbed the dark-blue colored lamp and here was the outcome:
Blech, what happened there? Turns out my initial positioning of the flash inside the lamp was an outright failure. Somehow I'd managed to line it up just right to allow most of the flash's beam to pass right out of the hole at the top of the lamp. Next try; this time with better alignment and less zoom on the flash:
OK, that looks more like what I expected, though the color still isn't right. It looks more green than blue, and this lamp is a dark blue when not full of light. Let's add in a tungsten while-balance adjustment on the camera:
Much better! Now for the people... so here's my wife, Bethany, and our two-year-old son, Sagan, at 6am in the morning posing for some pushy guy with a camera:
Notice the strong red coloration on the side of my wife's face. I didn't see this until well afterwards, so I didn't get to troubleshoot it in camera. I figure it's either light reflecting off her red hair or maybe off my son't red shirt. Sadly, because of this discoloration and some surly "I can't believe you're making me do this" looks, this was the only usable photo of both of them. Unfortunately, they're a bit out of focus, but wow is that lamp tack-sharp! guh.
Here are some more shots of my son with the orb that have been cropped pretty heavily and with some minuscule spot removal in Lightroom.
Usually a lit-from-underneath face comes across as sinister, but above he's got that funny little Greek statue smile that counteracts the deep shadows.
I was really happy with the catchlights in his eyes and the dramatic drop-off to shadows.
Cute kid, wouldn't you agree? Anyway, this was an enjoyable exercise. I think simple lighting tricks, as gimmicky as they can be, make for some fun images; especially when you're up really early.