We’re in the homestretch and what better way to wrap up a road trip than in a car graveyard…but not just any graveyard, the inimitable Carhenge in western Nebraska. Based on the slightly older, all rock Stonehenge on the plains of south England, this wonderful sculpture came to be as a memorial for a family member during a farm family reunion in Nebraska.
I originally wanted to lightpaint this at twilight with a million candlepower flashlight I brought with me. Somehow, though, when Peggy and I finally got here, our cheapo giant flashlight had totally lost its charge from the day before. What to do? The twilight was fading, and I had only one other light with me, a little ole SB 900. To read how we worked with the little light that could, plus a look at some black and white infrared panos of the site, hit the jump.
I took my D300s, rather than my D90s, on this trip because I have a Lightning Trigger and I only have a cord for the 300. I didn’t get any good lightning situations, but the 300’s multiple exposure capability came in handy.
First, I set the light balance to tungsten to make the most of the rich blue twilight. I used the pop up flash as a controller and set the unfiltered SB900 in remote mode at a 1/4 power. I programmed in 3 exposures to the multiple exposure, and underexposed the sky by about 1.5 stops or so.
Then, with Peggy popping shutter, she took one shot with me directing the light at the cars from the right hand side, one more exposure with me standing near camera to fill in the middle, and the final exposure with me directing the flash from the left hand side.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of my fancy Honl light modifiers with me, so I used the zoom head and my hands to make a snooty type of arrangment to minimize spill. We checked the LCD after each shot and kept adjusting the shutter speed downward as the light faded.
Using separate exposures instead of painting with the flash during one long exposure gave me time to relocate, and the flash time to recycle. It’s the easiest, and maybe the only, way for one man, one woman, and a compact speedlight to do the job without tripping in the dark, burning up a flash tube, (and possibly ruining a marriage!).
An approaching rainstorm hit us just as we were wrapping up, but not before we got a couple of keepers. Here’s a few black and white infrared panos we shot earlier that day. All in all, not a bad day in Nebraska!