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Shoot: Morgan I.

July 22, 2011

Shoot: Morgan I.

Recap from a model shoot I did with Morgan! Let me just start off by saying that it was VERY hot out that day. It’s been in upper 90 degrees fahrenheit this entire week, with the heat index up in the 110 degrees.Very big props to Morgan for hanging in there with me!

We scheduled to meet around 8pm, and headed over to the local forest preserve. My plan was to avoid being in the sun, and thought maybe, just maybe it might be slightly cooler in the woods. Well…it was cooler, but considerably more humid with a swamp nearby… I thought about possibly changing locations, but with the sun going down fast I was in a bind. Then I found this spot in the woods, seen in the photo on the left. Just up the trail that branched off the main one, there was a slight gap in the tree line, where a sliver of sunlight was raying through. I immediately begin prepping to shoot!


The Situation:

By the time I had found the spot, the sun was going down fast. As the sun got lower and lower, more and more light was getting cut out by the underlining tree line. Initially I thought I could shoot with natural light. Try utilizing the sunlight behind her to create a nice rim light. But my metering was telling me that in order to expose her face correctly in this darkened wood, I would need to up the ISO all the way up to minimum of 1600. Unacceptable, even on a Canon EOS 7D. I decided to setup the lights that I lugged along.


The Setup:

At this point, the sun was already too low in order to create a rim light on the subject. So I decided to help the sun out a bit, and placed an additional light source behind the subject in line with the sun. I placed it as far back as possible to light up the background as naturally as possible. The light was able to create the rim light around the subject, while the sun was still able to light up the leaves up above (I compromised and used ISO800 so I could gather some ambient light from the sun).

For the key light (the main light), I used my trusty Paul C. Buff AB800 at it’s lowest setting with a shoot through umbrella. It was placed outside the line of sight to the left. I was counting on using the massive power output from the studio light to counter the sunlight. But at this point the sun was so weak, I could have used the Vivitar285HV…but it was already set up so I used it mostly out of convenience.

I was shooting with my Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM @100mm. It’s not the fastest lens out there, but with it’s long focal length it can create some nice OOF background even with its f/4. The longer focal length also helps to narrow the field of view, so you can actually place your lights closer to your subjects, while still being out of frame (I actually stood way farther back then the setup image implies).


The Overview:

Getting this shot was actually quite thrilling. From the initial moment of finding the spot, to the very last few shots it was filled with numerous obstacles I had to overcome. The natural light wasn’t enough for a well exposed subject at acceptable noise level, so I resorted to artificial lights. Few minutes later, the sun no longer was casting light on the subject, so I had to compensate by adding artificial light to mimic the sun. Because sunlight was diminishing fast I had to use a relatively higher ISO of 800 to gather the leftover sunlight on the leaves above. And all those components had to come together in perfect balance for a well exposed image…

Does it sound like I’m giving myself a bit too much credit? Probably  ; ) I’m actually pretty excited at how much I have progressed in just this past year. Back then, I probably wouldn’t have been able to pull off this feat in that short of a time with the added pressure. You’ll never know what you can pull off, until you put yourself into that situation!

(p.s – I don’t have any other behind the scenes images because I was straining just to get the real images.)


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