Flirting with Flash - Rosco Grid Cloth on Location in a English Vineyard

Chardonnay grapes in a English vineyard, lit with portable battery flash.
Grapes may not appear to be one of the most exciting subjects for many photographers, but they do provide a example of how a simple image can be lifted from something ordinary.

This image of Chardonnay grapes in a English vineyard look flat & monochromatic under the sunlight diffused by light cloud so I decided to light some of the frames to add colour and shape to the fruits.

One of the key skills any lighting photographer needs to learn is how and when to use colour correction to add a "little extra" to their images. 

Rosco Grid Cloth folds up small and takes little space in your camera bag.
Wooden clothes pegs, aka C47s are one of the best ways to fix Grid Cloth in place.

The two most common colour correction gels are CTO & CTB - Colour Temperature Orange & Colour Temperature Blue. Gels are not always the most practical or versatile option so I use textile called Grid Cloth from Rosco, which is essentially RipStop nylon which has been deep dyed with spectral accuracy. Whilst Grid Cloth is a material mainly used in movie & TV production, there's no reason stills photographers shouldn't use it.

Rosco 3072 is equivalent to 1/2 CTB with in-built diffusion, 3082 is equivalent to 1/2 CTS (Colour Temperature Straw which has a lower red shift than CTO).

Here you can clearly see the effect of the light on the grapes relative to the position of the flash.

I decided to shoot a alternative with the aid of a Pixapro PIKA200 aka Godox AD200 with a Lastolite by Manfrotto Joe McNally Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 Plus 22 x 22cm soft box.  Whilst this soft box doesn't appear big for a portrait image, relative to a bunch of grapes it's just the right size to give a pleasing wrap to the light.

Adding the Rosco 3082 1/2 CTS Grid Cloth added warmth to the image and additional diffusion. When shooting with any colour correction in front of a light you need to ensure that the camera WB is set to daylight and NOT Auto - Auto white balance will negate any effect of the warm colour correction.

Shoot with RAW files in camera and you can shift the colour of the image lit with the flash warmer or cooler in post-processing. Remember that the background colour will be cooler in colour when warming the foreground with flash, thus increasing colour contrast.

When working with the Pixapro PIKA200 I don't like working with the S-Type clamp adaptor unless I absolutely need to as they're bulky & another bit of gear to remember to pack! My mounting solution is simple, The SPIG OCF Kit. This allows direct mounting to the ball head by means of the 1/4" 20 TPI thread on the underside of the flash.

If you're wondering why I used The SPIG on a light stand? Simple, the thread on most light stands (if they have one) is a) fixed & b) too big being ⅜" 16TPI UNC!

Ambient light only.
Lit with warm flash, ambient light slightly under exposed from camera indicated exposure. 

The choice is yours - the top is lit only with sunlight diffused by light cloud. The lower image lit with colour corrected flash. I know which I prefer!

That's it for now and don't forget if you really enjoy lighting to visit and join The LIGHT Side - a place to learn, be mentored, nurtured and learn about light, lighting and photography, whatever your level or experience.

Pixapro flash etc is available from Yang Wu, Ling Tan & team at Pixapro. Pixapro offer a 2 year warranty on their products.

The Lastolite by Manfrotto Joe McNally Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 Plus 22 x 22cm is available from The Flash Centre who have branches in Birmingham, Leeds & London or by mail order.

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