Exercise: concentrating light
Aim: The aim of this exercise is to create a shot that uses concentrated lighting and also to construct a snoot as a method of concentrating that light.
Approach and results:
I wanted to create a simple still life for this shot. I had been framing some prints so I decided to use this as the inspiration. The pencil, cutter and scissors were all orange and this strong orange presence was ideal for highlighting with a concentrated light source.
I created the snoot from a cardboard tube. In the first instance this was too defined. It created a definate circle of light over the subject with an obvious edge. I wanted a softer edge so I taped a piece of tissue over the end. This was too soft and diffuse, evening up the scene. I then went from 2 ply to 1 ply and this gave me the result I was looking for.
I lit the subject from fairly high up aiming down at a slight angle. I chose this to keep any obvious and unwanted shadows to a minimum. Using a reflector to remove shadows would have spread the light across the scene. I like the way the light tails off towards the background, giving a hint of the finished framed print leaning against the wall.
When concentrating the light the subject needs to be central unless there is a particular reason to deliberately offset the light, otherwise it just looks careless. It took a number of attempts to get this shot, slightly repositioning the light each time.
Snoots can create harsh edges so it is useful having something to diffuse the light slightly.
Concentrating the light can emphasize and focus on any element of the shot and can produce very dramatic or moody images. This shot would look completely different without the concentrated lighting. The lighting has emphasized the composition.