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Rolling with the BIG Dog Part 10 - part 1 of 1 2 3

by Damian McGillicuddy Published 01/04/2011

Tempus fugit, as they say, seems to be true - it seems just yesterday I sat here, a mighty keyboard warrior, typing the previous installment of Rolling. It's amazing how quickly it comes around before I have our lovely editor shouting at me again for copy!

What's even more amazing, though, is how much work we seem to cram in between editions, what with our commercial work, private commissions, training, testing, writing, etc, etc, I really should consider if I'm over worked ;0)

The briefest of time has passed since we were sharing our brand of edutainment with the chosen few in the London underground, yet here I sit with 2011's Focus on Imaging fast fading out of memory (I only have 628k installed in the old brain box) and new, fresh, exciting opportunities queuing up outside Team McGillicuddy's door.

My last copy for this fantastic publication was uncharacteristically 'sans rant'. Now it doesn't automatically mean that this episode will be a 'rant fest' but if, as is often the way, life decides to throw at us apparently unconnected events, which turn quickly to a paradox and I can see a benefit in its explanation to you guys; then just as a typhoon forms over a water mass, once it reaches eighty degrees plus and the hot air is pushed a rant forms in the dark recesses of my mind!

OK, what am I blathering on about? The first part of the catalyst for this copy actually came from a very innocent question asked at the aforementioned underground shoot. Just before I began to create our first image of the day, above ground, before entering the 'depths' of the station, I was asked if I would be cranking the ISO up on my D3 and shooting with the ambient light. At first I was slightly stunned as this is not a question which the 'Lighting Wizard' is often asked? So now with the power of hindsight, which is always 20/20, I can see that my answer, although unerringly accurate, may have been considered glib at the time!

My answer, as it so often is, was in the form of a question....I looked around and asked the person in question what they thought of the quality of the light at that time? Their answer was concise - 'it's crap!' was their response. I concurred and stated that the light was 'flat, insipid, uninspired and directionless' mean am I?

How was it done? First Olympus E5 test shoot

Team McGillicuddy studio, Cheshire
Charlie Edwards
What was in the bag:
Olympus E5 fitted with the 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 (from their standard lens range).
2 x Elinchrom Ranger Quadra.
1 x 36'' dish configured as a beauty dish.
1 x 48'' dish configured as an octasoftbox. All triggered via Elinchrom skyport.

Camera settings:
1/125 at f5 ISO 200 in (M)anual mode
RAW file processed through Aperture 3.1
So what did I do and why did I do it? I was so eager to test the E5 that as soon as it arrived I took it out of the box and into the studio; it happened to arrive on a Mentor Me on Steroids day so the shoot opportunity was too good to miss. That said, it was important to keep the test as uncomplicated as possible, that way it would be about the camera's quality and not my light-manipulating abilities and also be very relevant to my MMoS delegates.

The key light was a McGillicuddy 36'' collapsible beauty dish chosen for its crisp specular light. The larger dish being chosen over the 'classic' 19' for a softer, smoother, less contrasty effect, further softened by the addition of the diffuser sock to the dish. The dish was positioned to give classic butterfly lighting but making certain that light still filled the ocular cavity and rendered catchlights in the eyes. Note the subtlety of shadow placement, its transition and fall off on the roundness of the subject's frame.

The 48'' dish was configured as an octa-softbox, complete with inner baffle and outer diffusion screen, this made evenly lighting the white wall a breeze, it was simply positioned behind the subject, just out of frame to camera-left and angled back to light the wall behind Charlie. This light was set 2/10 under f8. Yes more light than is needed to render the wall white but that little extra 'bounces' back off the wall to the subject and adds an ever so subtle rim light. Once again that was it, stunning in its simplicity, a true test of the E5's IQ and, unless I'm going senile, a test it passed with flying colours!

Any Post?
I'm sure you'll be as surprised to read this as much as I was when I first discovered my error..Yes even I occasionally make them ;0). I thought I'd set up the E5 to capture in RAW, however, in my haste to shoot with my new 'toy' I erroneously left the capture quality set to large jpeg! So I was really impressed once I got the image into Aperture! Short of the mono conversion done in Aperture there is no further 'post' carried out on this image.

Contact Damian McGillicuddy

1st Published 01/04/2011
last update 12/11/2019 13:27:13

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