Thursday, January 22, 2009

Modelling Light Test

I've had this LG phone for 26 months and it has done all of it's jobs well.
But I'm overdue for a new one (FREE!) and am looking forward to it.
During gigs I text home a lot because of the volume at work, so I really want a qwerty keyboard.
My old LCD sceen wasn't bad for it's era, but the bigger new ones have finer resolution and your viewing-angle is less critical.

This photo was merely a test of the modelling light I added to my main flash/umbrella stand.
I built a lightweight bracket system that puts a standard light bulb near my flash head, for several reasons.

A) By shining a "hot light" at my umbrella I can easily see if it will be reflected anywhere on my subject. As soon as I started shooting this scene, a reflection of the umbrella showed up on the phone's screen and I was able to adjust my camera angle to eliminate it.
B) With the extra light close to the subject in my dimly-lit "studio" (it's a 75 watt standard bulb) autofocus was instantaneous, which is a big improvement compared to shining a flashlight on whatever I'm shooting to help the camera find focus in the dark. I'm able to use both hands on the camera, which can be important whether you're using a tripod or not.
This shot was handheld, and I really appreciated the added freedom.
C) I can actually see an approximation of what my flash will do, as far as angle and softness and placement of shadows. This is also a big help.

You might notice an orange-ish tint in the supposed-to-be-black background.
When I made the shutter speed long enough to get the phone's screen bright enough to suit my tastes it also allowed my new modelling light to affect the exposure's color-cast. My camera was white balanced for flash, and incandescent bulbs will appear very orange-ish at that setting.
Not a problem.
I have an on/off switch in-line with the light socket for master control, but digging into my supply of band lighting toys I can add ultimate convenience by also turning it on/off using a wired momentary button under my foot or employing a wireless system with a little keychain remote.

What I like best is that this whole project cost me zero dollars and does the job well.
Boxes of crap and parts come in handy sometimes.

More to come.....

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