L.E.D. Candlelight

Photo © Bob Krist

If you’ve ever tried to shoot people by candlelight, you know that you really need a lot of candles to cast light more than a few inches and your subject has to be really close to those candles to pick up that light.

When I was working on the shoot for Nikon Japan with the 24mm f/1.4 lens, we had a nice setup with the lovely Rose, a family friend, in period clothes at the piano of the Parry Mansion lit with several candelabras.

But the candles weren’t casting a clean, usable light.

So, how to keep the feel of candlelight, but boost the volume? Hit the jump to find out how some video technology came into play.

When putting together a little kit for my small video camera, I came across the Litepanel LP Micro LED On Camera light It’s tiny, rides in the hotshoe of your videocam or video-enabled DSLR, has dimmable light from a bank of LEDs. It also comes with a diffusing panel and a warming filter.

I dug the light out of my bag o’ SB’s, put the warming and diffusing filters on, and had Peggy hold it just off camera left, from the same direction as the candelabra. Then it was just a matter of using the dimmer to just add a kiss of light on Rose’s face.

The light was the same color, direction, and intensity as the candles, and it blended in nicely.

The LitePanel Micro now comes with me (and my speedlites) everywhere. Ironically, the one place I haven’t used it yet is on the video camera, which was the original reason I bought it.

I’m sure that will change one day, but in the meantime, this has become my favorite little accent light for stills too.

This entry was posted in Lighting, Photo Gear, Photo Techniques, Technology.

11 Comments

  1. jim February 11, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

    Neat.

  2. Tom February 12, 2010 at 5:57 am #

    Bob, I see that you’re at f2.0 on the images from the 24 we’ve seen so far. Did you have the opportunity to evaluate the performance wide open?

    Terrific work, a 24 was almost my standard lens for a decade but I’ve drifted away from it over the past few years. My 14-24 is there when I need it, but a lot of the time I’m carrying a lot of extra focal length and therefore weight, when a nice 24 would probably do the job.

    • Bob February 12, 2010 at 8:55 am #

      Jim: This one is f/2, but the other two of her in the previous post were wide open. I think it’s a great performer wide open, but you are talking very narrow DOF, so I occasionally went down a stop. Bob

  3. Daniel February 12, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    As a recent convert to Nikon (as in the past month) I am SO glad that they have released a fixed 24 1.4 as it is the ONLY lens Canon had that I was going to sorely miss. I am very excited to see the full culpabilities of this lens. Would you by any chance be able to email me a copy of a couple full-res images taken with said lens? Or even post them publicly?

    I’m also loving the light you got by using the Lightpanel, definitely going to have to look into adding that to the “bag o’ tricks”.

    • Bob February 12, 2010 at 11:56 am #

      Hi Daniel: I’m unable to mail or post full res versions…it’s not in my contract, and it’s not something I’d make a habit of anyway! You’ll like that Lite Panel. Bob

  4. heber vega February 13, 2010 at 2:08 am #

    Bob, thank you for posting this… I was looking for a small video light.
    Good post as always…

  5. jim February 14, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    Just got my March 2010 ‘Traveler’, and your images are Spectacular. Esp. the Double truck. WOW what a Place..Thanks.

    • Bob February 14, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

      Thanks Jim. Hard to miss in a place like Buenos Aires! Bob

  6. BK February 17, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    Hi Bob,

    How does this compares with Bronic video light? I find the Bronic video light rather “spotty”, and is running hot. It’s cheap though compared to the Litepanel.

    http://www.dgcoloronline.com/products.php?id=8&sid=40&pid=408

    • Bob February 18, 2010 at 6:48 am #

      BK; I have no idea how they compare, but the Litepanel doesn’t get hot or spotty! Bob

  7. Tom White February 26, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    You can see how Stanley Kubrick got his engineers to deal with the candlelight problem here….http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/sk/ac/len/page1.htm

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