Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Rosco Litepads on Location

Interest in LED lights for still and video photography is growing as is the range of lights available. I recently visited the BVE show in London to check out what the broadcast video industry are producing and there are some interesting developments which will soon be viable supplements, but not replacements for flash in stills photography.

My lighting tool box contains a variety of lights including incandescent hot lights and now LEDs in the form of Rosco Litepads. I first used the Litepad range in 2010 and was impressed from the start; native soft light that mimics a flash soft box, 8 mm deep, daylight colour temperature, battery or mains powered, compact, light in weight and consequently portable. And most important, a continuous always on light source which may be dimmed from 0 - 100%.

The image above was created on location after sunset with 50 mm f/1.4 glass on my beloved Canon 50D, images were recorded RAW (with JPEG just in case), daylight white balance, 400 ISO, 1/30th second f/2.8.

This is good light powered from 8 x AA batteries in the provided battery pack, which delivers about 2A current - the 24 inch Litepad needs 4A to be fully effective so the image you see was effectively created with the light at half power! Now in the same situation I take along a 12Vdc car auxiliary power supply which delivers sufficient power for a multiple Litepad setup.

The photographer I mentored on this shoot now works for Urban Outfitters in the UK. The 24" x 24" Litepad is a beast and was supported on a painters extension pole fitted with a Gel Clip Extension Spigot allowing standard industry lighting grip gear to attach to the Litepad frame. At a guess, I'd say the that a Rosco Litepad emits light 2x the physical size of the unit.

Litepads will not overpower sun light but are great where ambient light levels are low. Rolando Gomez and Rick Friedman both use Rosco Litepads as part of their extensive lighting repertoire.

If you get the opportunity, give Rosco Litepads a try, I think you will be impressed.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Still Life with Available Light

I have always considered myself an available light photographer, any light that's available, literally. What follows is a quick still life I shot this morning using a combination of diffuse window light and tungsten light provided by the modelling lamp from a Elnchrom BX 500 Ri flash.

Times are hard and clients are finding innovative ways to compensate photographers;
some clients have fallen on such hard times that the peanuts paid are no longer roasted or shelled!

The image above is essentially as it came out of my camera with a few minor tweeks in Photoshop.

First shot, no modification. Available light from a 6' x 4' window with close net white drape/curtain softening the already soft cloudy sky. OK, not great, but useable. Area of bag closest to camera filled by a light in the studio I omitted to switch off.

I wanted the bag of peanuts to stand out more from the background so needed to make it darker. This was achieved by flagging the light from the window with a combination of Rosco textile Black Moulton on a custom made scrim frame - this textile is opaque so totally blocks light. The net drape was lifted in the centre to remove diffusion and increase intensity by a stop or so, whilst to camera right I used a piece of Rosco #3809 Roscscrim, a black/silver perforated material which holds back 2 stops of light. It was placed with the black side to the peanuts to reduce unwanted reflection.

As you can see from the above snap, the setup is simple, but effective. With a little modification the image works with and without the addition of the Elinchrom BX500Ri with Mini Spot Lite attachment. The gobo used was Rosco 77955 break up effect

As I was shooting a predominantly daylight source (the sky) my basic white balance was daylight, around the 5200K mark. The modelling light was much warmer at 3200K giving a localised warmth and mood.

Rosco and Elinchrom products are available in UK from The Flash Centre - contact Simon Burfoot for more information.