Monday, 7 February 2011

Exercise: Contrast & Shadow Fill

This exercise involves the use of shadow fill using reflectors. I was always aware of this in photography but never really used it, I do not possess a reflector today, but will make sure one goes on to my birthday list. I am lucky enough to have two flash lamps and use the second one to fill in some of the shadows as required. This works well  but I have now discovered that a reflector may be a better option especially when using natural light.

The first two images taken are with a flash lamp without a diffuser and the second with a diffuser, this lamp was position at right angles to the camera and to the right of the shot. The notes were not clear on whether I should re-meter, it suggests leaving the camera settings alone during this exercise so that is what I have done. The pear on the left of the images I have chosen is a great way of showing the fill light, this was not intentional, I only discovered this after the first shot. The lamp without the diffuser should have more contrast, clearly in doesn't which has led me to believe that I should have re-metered. However as I do not have a meter this is not always so straight forward, I tend to use the histogram to see what the results are. Perhaps another one for the list.

All remaining shots were taken with a diffuser on the lamp. The next two shots are taken holding a piece of white card around 1m away on the opposite side of the lamp, and then quite close at around 30cm. Comparing them to the control image above this first has some shadows filled but not many when compared to the second image.

The exercise was then repeated by placing aluminium foil over the white card so that the matt side was used as the reflector. Here more light has been reflected at 1m and even more at 30cm so that it almost fills the shadows completely.

Once again the exercise was repeated but using the shiny side of the foil as a reflector. In this test I did not see much more light appear when at 1m compared to the matt side but the differences may be very subtle, in the shot at 30cm I do think that more of the shadows has been filled which is expected as the shiny side of the foil is more reflective.

And finally the exercise was repeated by crinkling up the foil and placing it back on the card. Here the results are less shadow fill but a more diffused or gentler fill. This was expected as not all of the reflected light shines directly back at the subject and similar to the diffuser the reflected light itself has been diffused given a more even lighting at lower intensity. A very useful exercise and I must include reflectance and diffusion more in lighting.

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