2.9 Night portrait

On shooting under the half moon light with only a small amount of artificial light coming through the window of a nearby building, I explored the range of ambient light and flash light variations. I also used the full range of ISO 100 – 1600. At ISO 400 grain is noticeable. At full ISO the images looked heavily grained. Technical data: Camera 350D canon with Canon 580EX speed light. ISO: 100 – 1600 Exposures: 1.0s to 30.0s Speed light compensation between -1.2/3 to +2.0. Flash light compensation: between -1. 2/3 to +2.0. The lower flash compensation gave best results when mixing with the available ambient light. The favourite of mine in this collection is the darker image shot a 5 secs f/1.8 ISO 100 without flash. Essentially this is image using moon light. Some minor adjustment were made to curves and levels and a little bit of balancing on the saturation of blue. Image at F/1.8 ISO 100 5s

A series of shots were done without flash light taking advantage of ambient light from the moon. This gave the result I was looking for more than the artificial and speed light images. When the speed light was used I combined bouncing the light off of a nearby structure and then direct light to the face. The images that put the light to the face directly created an obvious flash photo which as hard and with shadow. The bounced light at low compensation gave a more satisfying image. Images studied for this exercise.

I liked Robert Maplethorps ‘portrait of a lady’ 1982. The image although shot in a studio gave some inspiration for dark spaces being lit effectively for the look desired.

Weege´s images not so much inspiration as ideas for how to throw light in a dark environment.

Another image that I reviewed for the project was that of Eugene Smith. The image ‘ Tomoko bathed by his mother’ Japan 1972 in Mimata portrays the boy being bathed by his mother in a public bath house in Mimata. The only light is that the ambient light coming through a window and striking a strong tension in the image of the deformed limbs of the boy being cared for tenderly by his mother. It is a compelling image. The images below are of color. They are not as effective as those in black and white. The grain is more suited to black and white for these particular shots. The light cast on these images below are a combination of flash light at low compensation and ambient moon light. The effect, one of a weird twilight.

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