One Light Tango

I’m back from Africa (a marathon 50 hour door-to-door return trip with delays, rerouting, and all the things that make travel a joy these days). More on that later.

Photo © Bob Krist

In the meantime, I got the word that my Buenos Aires piece is laid out and published in National Geographic Traveler, and I’m allowed to share some outtakes with you.

One of my favorite shots that didn’t make the cut is this one of tango dancers in the San Telmo neighborhood.

It’s one light, an SB 800 or 900 (I forget which one) on a long boom pole, held above the dancers by my friend, Bernardo Galmarini, the best travel photographer in Buenos Aires, who helped me on the assignment.

We used a Rode boom pole, less convenient than everybody’s favorite paint pole, but it collapses down to under three feet, as opposed to just over four feet, which makes it infinitely easier to fit into standard sized luggage. Bernardo is up on the staircase on the left (you can just see it in the corner of the picture).

We zoomed the flash out to its longest setting, gelled it double orange, used Tungsten WB, snooted it (alas, I forgot my Honl snoots, so we created the snoot with newspaper and gaffers tape). Bernardo kept re-aiming the light until we got the shadows more or less where we wanted them. I had minus two on the camera, and plus one on the strobe. ISO 800, 16-85mm.

That’s the tech part, and it’s fairly straightforward. For the the real-world part that makes the strobist degree of difficulty pale in comparison, hit the jump. (more…)

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Strobist Spider

Photo © Bob Krist
Photo © Bob Krist

Long before the advent of the internet and The Strobist, I was toting small flash units all over the globe on a variety of editorial and corporate assignments, learning to do more with less.

In fact, even my buddy David Hobby, who single-handedly put small-strobe lighting on the map with his incredible Strobist blog, admitted early on to reading my book Secrets of Lighting on Location (published in 1996—I know, that qualifies as pre-history for many of you), and picking up a thing or two about collapsible umbrellas and compact lightstands.

Now I’m not going to pretend to know as much about lighting as David, but I know he talks a lot about using  a direct, off-camera main light with an on-axis fill. He likes it for people photography.

Personally, I don’t like direct light on people whether I’m filling or not (Again, I’m showing my age. This type of direct light is a very contemporary look for people pix. And David is nothing if not contemporary. Why, he even wears shorts in the wintertime…in Baltimore).

But I’m an old dog….I like a big soft directional light source for my people pix, ala Annie, Vermeer, and all those other highly-paid portraitists.

I do like a direct, off-camera main light with an on-axis fill for critters though….like this Pink-Toed Tarantula in the Peruvian Amazon. To read why and how I shot the hirsute arachnid this way, hit the jump. (more…)

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