Sometimes a splash of light is enough…
Sometimes the answer is a lot of light. Sometimes all you need is a splash. It’s a splash, dash, modicum, a touch, a pop – call it what you will. But it is also tiny but powerful – it speaks volumes, in a small voice.
Speedlights are perfect to execute a splash of illumination. They are de facto small, and governed to affect a small area. You can fire them via radio, TTL light pulse, or old-fashioned manual slave mode. What this little extra piece of light does is enhance the conversation your picture is having with your viewer, or even better, directs the conversation. In a subtle way, this accent of light is saying, “look here, this is what’s most important right now.”
Like the cross in the main image; the amazing Pastor Grier is lit in straightforward fashion, via a gridded Ezybox up and slightly to the right of the camera. But the brass cross is the heart and soul of the picture; I put a Speedlight accent on it, with a warm gel, and all it does is draw attention. Generally you need to play with these accents in terms of power. I often find something around a +1 EV rating will do the trick, without blowing up the area in question, exposure-wise. That ended up being very similar to the cross in the inset firefighter image. A Speedlight, with a small snooted grid, and a bit of warmth. Mike lost his cousin on 9/11; that cross is made of World Trade Center steel, and is the emotional centre of the photo, so it felt natural to accent it in the photograph with lighting. A snooted, gridded Speedlight gave the cross a tiny bit of additional attention-getting highlight.
Then, of course, you can use enough splashes of light to fill the whole illumination pool! There’re a lot of Speedlights in the car workshop image – about a dozen, if I recall correctly. All lights, including the main softbox, a Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe softbox, are gridded to control their spill.
Grids, gaffer tape, and gels were the watchword of the day in this rather old garage. And of course we had to get our wonderful character up front, Evan Kaminsky, who looks right at home with an oxyacetylene torch in his more-than-capable hands.
The brass cross is the heart and soul of the picture; I put a Speedlight accent on it, with a warm gel, and all it does is draw attention
11The amazing Pastor Grier is lit in straightforward fashion, via a gridded Ezybox up and slightly right of camera 2 About a dozen Speedlights were used to pull this composition together in a garage in San Francisco 3Mike lost his cousin on 9/11. The cross is made of WTC steel, and is the emotional focal point of the photo