March 30 2011 - Photo Jottings

March 30 2011


Here’s another sample interior picture using the now defunct Sony A700, although this camera will take the same quality pictures if used properly.  In this scene, (which is actually a dining room but the home owners were using it as a sitting area) I’m using two HVL-F56AM Sony flashes (now also defunct) with stands and umbrellas, the Sony A700 and Sigma 10-20mm F/4-5.6 lens, and firing the flashes with a radiopoppers trigger.

There’s a huge window on the right (partially visible) which had a roll-down diffuser, so I used it to block out the sun which was shining in the room directly, and would’ve caused some major lighting and reflection issues with the glass table, picture glass and windows on the left side.  Sometimes I really like the look of the sun streaming through windows, but not when it screws up too many things!

This shot required a flash with an 8′ stand and 32″ shoot-through umbrella on my right (set to about 1/8 power), situated as high as I could get it and pointed down about where the base of the clock
and background right chair are, with the intent of getting some fill light in that area to better  ighlight the clock case wood, and chair seats.  I used the same basic flash umbrella set-up on the left, and pointed it down and over the left chair towards the large right side window to work some fill light into the chairs, and provide more contrast to the fabric. The huge window and diffuser was the major light source, I just filled in some shadow areas and added a little contrast with cross lighting to make the image pop.  There was a concern whether the nicely painted recessed ceiling would get enough light, so I used a third flash (hand-held) set to the minimum 1/32 and pointed it directly at that area.  As it turned out, I didn’t need any extra light, and it caused the wall above the center window to be a little too light, but I was able to work most of that out in post processing.

Thoughts; I’d possible take off the umbrellas, and use a stop or two less flash power and see if I could concentrate the light more towards the chairs and rug, leaving everything else alone.  The white walls don’t need additional lighting.  Composition wise; I like it ok, although it’s off-center,
which bugs me a little, sometimes I get hooked on symmetry too much I guess.  I’d shift the chairs, table and rug slightly counter-clockwise, and move the camera position to the left to try and get more of a diagonal look.  I used a very wide 12mm, which is pretty flat with the sigma 10-20mm, but there are tell-tale signs of mustache distortion along the edges of the image if you look closely.

Normally I don’t like using a focal length this wide, but it worked here, as there were no better alternative views or positions IMHO.

This image is from a single shot.  I did the usual shadows/highlights, rotate and crop adjustments, and took out a reflection in the center window.  Camera settings; manual, F/7.1, ISO 200 1/100sec AWB, 12mm (18mm equiv).

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