Thursday, March 5, 2009

More Ice Sculptor portraits

The Multi-block ice sculpting event is in full swing, and will end on Friday, March, 6. During a few visits, I've attempted to capture some portraits of the sculptors at work. While it is not challenging to grab a few token shots, it is difficult to create light, spontaneously, as the sculptors are working.

Medium size softbox set up to light the scene, triggered by Canon's infrared signal

The additional light allows a more balanced look between the foreground subject and the bright sky, without looking like a harshly lit, on camera flash.

Without flash

With off camera flash and Soft box

The infrared, remote flash system makes the use of off-camera flash possible, but still I encountered many mis-firings due to orientation and line of sight blockage between master on-camera flash and off-camera slave. However, until that wireless flash system shows up, this will have to do. I use one 580EX flash on my camera, which fires a blast of light which triggers the other off camera flash. This is all done with ETTL metering, and enables me to move around quickly and change positions/distances without worrying about the exposure. A very critical step however is using the FEL (Flash Exposure Lock) button on the Canon 1Ds Mark III, which associates the flash light output with the camera's meter, providing an exposure based on a tonal value dtermined by you-preferably a medium toned subject in the scene (for example, in the case above, it might be the face of the sculptor instead of the bright ice itself).

These frames show the benefit of created light, which helps considerably when dealing with scenes of high dynamic range often encountered at this event.

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