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.


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