Thursday, August 14, 2014

Missing Studio Days

Some days it's really easy to remember what you've forgotten. This past week, I've really missed days having fun with studio setups, taking ridiculous portraits (clearly, seen left) and generally having gobs of fun with lights.

This particular studio scene was from a party held by a good friend of mine to celebrate a mutual friend's 50th birthday. She wanted a gathering off all her buddies for aimless revelry and imbibing. I offered to bring along my studio kit for some added fun since the whole crowd had a history of costuming. Props were provided for added fun.

I'd set up my backdrop, a terribly unwieldy matte black linen, in his garage. Per my usual process, some wrinkle releaser (the whole bottle, in fact) served to smooth out the ghastly spiderweb pattern on the sheet on account of its time trapped in an over sized plastic bag. I had a YN-560 II manual flash mounted on a CowBoyStudio radio trigger firing into a silver umbrella for the main light, and toyed with the other radio triggered YN-560 II mounted on a cheap collapsing Targus tripod from Target. Locked my E-P3 with the 45mm mounted to the Golden Settings - f/2.8, ISO 200, 1/160 shutter speed. If I wanted a brighter image, I'd drop the aperture down a little, but never below f/2.2. Otherwise the setup was infallible.

That night my linen stands unfortunately broke under the pressure of too many drunk people standing on the lip of the backdrop. I trashed the irreparably cheap plastic goods and donated the backdrop to a seamstress at the party. I'd gotten my money's worth out of the kit from working jobs anyway, and if ever needed again I would purchase higher quality, less plastic goods. So far that scenario hasn't come up, alas. The kit was originally purchased in support of a commercial shooting job for the LiveWellDC! campaign (a bust of a job, unfortunately). I don't necessarily foresee another job with those specific needs coming in the future.

Perhaps with a room, a garage, something that can be dedicated studio space, I'll pick up another background kit for myself. For now, I'll simply miss the pleasures of the supremely controlled setup, where the magic was less a matter of chance and opportune moments and more a vivid collaboration of minds on either side of the camera.