Struggling With The Light
As I travel quite a lot on business, I often try and set up shoots with models local to the areas I’m travelling to. By and large though, the shoots never really get off the ground, mainly due to either time restrictions or more often due to not having a suitable venue/location to shoot in, other than the hotel room I’m staying in. Well on a recent trip to Los Angeles, even though my hotel room was darker than The Bat Cave, I decided to struggle with the light and work with local model Kelly.
The shoot was arranged pretty much at the last minute and was also one of the shortest shoots I’ve ever been involved in. Given that the light levels in my room were so low, I just didn’t know how feasible it was to do a shoot in it, so we agreed to shoot for literally an hour and see what we could come up with.
All the shots were taken at 800ISO, shooting wide open at f/2 using a Fuji X100, with the shutter speeds coming in and around 1/10 through to 1/20 of a second And even then, I had to boost the exposure a little in Photoshop. It really was a struggle. Focusing was an issue, with the focus assist light often coming on, trying to help the camera obtain focus. Even when it did, the shutter speeds were so slow that holding the camera still enough to obtain a sharp image, was a real problem. Looking through the images, I’d say only 20~30% could be considered sharp – which is a pretty low hit rate.
Content wise, these shots are a definite tangent to my normal work. The engagement with Kelly, where there’s direct eye contact makes such an amazing difference to the mood of an image. It’s rare in my work for a model to engage the camera directly – normally they’re enveloped in their own personal thoughts or look up/down into the light. But given the space we were working in, I felt this sort of style would be more congruous to the surroundings and Kelly pulled off the mood amazingly well (especially given how short the shoot was).
I still have some images to work through from this shoot and I plan on doing a more detailed review of the X100 at a later date too. Suffice to say, given the tough shooting conditions I wasn’t overly enamoured with the camera. I think with my trusty D3, I could have come away with so many more images. But that said, I am glad to have had a camera with me, and glad to have had the opportunity to work with Kelly.