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Things have been hopping at the studio, and I’ve fallen behind in my posts a bit.
I’ve been wanting get to this post from our January group of students out for awhile now. It was a really great group and John and I had a lot of fun teaching the intricacies and benefits of light painting the still life. We had a student from Florida, one from Virginia, two from Maryland, one of my alumni students from Delaware, and a firefighter from Philadelphia!
This was the first group workshop with my friend and co-instructor, John Corcoran, who has been light painting for 20 years, and things went very well. John brought many ideas and insights to the table!
As always, I do a demonstration still life light painting, and this time, I chose a rather simple setup (simple is good in light painting), including a very beautiful heart shaped glass vase that I’ve had for years. I really enjoy the pressure of setting up a still life in just a few minutes, and the results are always interesting, for me anyway!
Photograph by Harold Ross
The students, as usual, came up with some wonderful compositions, and really excelled in light painting them!
Here are the results:
In this image by Kathy Buckalew, as in almost all of the images shot in this workshop, there are some reflective objects. In this case, there are a couple of pieces of old pewter, which have a metallic sheen, yet a pretty heavy patina from age. With glossy surfaces, such as metal and glass, a very effective lighting method is to use a diffusion panel with the light source well behind it. This softens the light, creating a large, beautifully diffused reflection. In the case of something like this pewter, however, it is matte enough that you can also light it with just be diffused flashlight for a different effect. Kathy chose to light it with the diffusion panel and the results are really lovely.
Photograph by Kathy Buckalew
In this simple yet gorgeous image, Cam had several very reflective objects, including the orange, which is actually quite shiny. She chose to light the orange with the diffused flashlight in order to maintain the beautiful texture in the skin. The glass and pewter were both lit with a large diffused light source in order to get those big soft reflections. In this technique, it’s critical to get the light source, a small LED panel, just the right distance from the scrim (studio speak for diffusion panel) in order to get a soft gradation in the reflection. Also, notice how Cam skimmed the light down the edge of the feather to pull it forward and describe its shape.
Photograph by Cam Miller
Here, Beamie used the diffusion panel to illuminate the glass and brass on the hourglass (say that fast three times). She also used it on the marble in front of the bone. Beamie decided to use the theme of the passage of time for her image, and the result is wonderful!
Photograph by Beamie Young
This composition is so interesting due to the fact that Mary Louise wanted to take advantage of the holes in the colander and she projected light through them using the flashlight without diffusion. She was able to combine that capture with the other light painted captures to create this lovely still life.
Photograph by Mary Louise Ravese
In this image by Paul Grugan, there is nothing that required a big soft diffusion panel. Everything in the shot was lit with the flashlight with the diffuser. Paul put together a beautiful composition of some of my favorite scrapyard finds! His image reveals a terrific combination of colors.
Photograph by Paul Grugan
Dave pulled together a very eclectic grouping for this image. I love how he has the small hit of color in the center of the image, and how he used the light to illuminate the wooden box behind the calipers. Once again, I learn from my students… They end up doing compositional things that I would never have thought of, and I learn from them at every workshop! Life is good…
Photograph by Dave Wood