Jubilee of Light

March 8, 2012 § Leave a comment


Mike Holder, left, Kalei Holder, center, and Katie Zimolzak don masks at the True/False Film Fest Jubilee at the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts on March 1, 2012. The Holders' law firm sponsored the film "Undefeated," which was showcased that evening.

I’m not going to lie.  I’m a little disappointed with myself on this assignment.  Not only did my photographs not turn out the way I had hoped, but I felt like a nuisance using flash.  I chose to pull my selects from the True/False Film Fest Jubilee last Thursday, which I had been assigned to cover for the Missourian.  I thought, “Perfect! What a fantastic opportunity to get into a lowlight situation for me to test out my flash photography skills!”  My enthusiasm waned quickly after entering the Theatre.  Flash documentary photography…is…hard.  I don’t know if maybe I just got extremely intimidated by the idea of flash, or felt uncomfortable trying to juggle equipment, or awkward in blasting people with light (I was oh so conspicuous), or perhaps all of the above, but I was such a spaz that night running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  At first all of my pictures looked artificial and either blown out or too dark.  The one above is my first select for direct flash.  I was attempting to zoom my flash to create a similar effect to last years’ gala portraits, but it came out a little underexposed.  However, my strobe is in fact the only light hitting them in that picture, so I was proud to have achieved that.  The lighting diagram below shows where I was standing in relation to my subjects and how I had positioned my flash.

I found bounce flashing slightly more successful.  The light looked less artificial and created a subtler effect.  For my select below I had pointed my strobe down and away since we were on the roof of the Missouri Theatre and the only wall close enough to bounce off of was red, as you can see in the background.  This most likely would have created a weird red cast on my subjects.  The hardest part of the assignment, for myself was coordinating the flash and composition at the same time.  Normally I would take as many pictures as I needed to get the shot I was looking for.  However, with flash I didn’t have that option because a) I couldn’t waste my battery life and b) because I didn’t want to permanently blind anyone. Though I guess this will make me a more thoughtful and smarter photographer.

Chris Davis, left, stands off to the side as his wife, Heidi Davis. and Heather Mysenberg adjust their masks on the rooftop of the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, March 1, 2012. The three attended the True/False Film Fest Jubilee which is sponsored by the festival.

I was surprised that evening that many people did not mind the flash.  In fact, I was probably more annoyed by its presence than they were.  This might have been due to the festive atmosphere and the expectation of a media barrage but I honestly expected many more irritated glances than I received.  This just goes to show you can never tell what people are thinking, so don’t underestimate their willingness to put up with you.

Side Note: The last link for the lighting diagram I posted to the blog will take you to the site where I found the tool, however Kevin’s Lighting Diagram Creator seems to have been disabled “due to licensing issues” since I last used it.  My most recent lighting diagrams were created using Don Giannatti’s Lighting Diagram Tool.  You don’t have as many options with it as you did with the last, but you can create and download your diagram straight from his site rather than use photoshop which complicates things.

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