Sunday, August 9, 2009

Strobist Boot Camp II


The Strobist, (see my "Blogs I like" list) David Hobby, is challenging his followers with a series of assignments in his second "Boot Camp". His current assignment, the third in this series, is to light and shoot a single room for a real estate sale. Although I follow the Strobist regularly, I've not been an active participant in the Boot Camps; however, I did take on this assignment with the picture below.

A bathroom – even a large one – can be difficult to capture with a single shot. This picture was stitched from 12 shots taken with a Canon G9 fitted with a wide angle adapter (DC-58B) to make a 26mm (equivalent) focal length. The lighting was quite a mix: sunlight, tungsten bulb and flash. In fact, the closet had fluorescent lighting but it was turned off to avoid additional complications. The flashes were a conglomeration of Nikon SB-24 (2), SB-26, SB-28, Vivitar 285, and even an old Vivitar 2600. All flashes were gelled with a full CTO to match the tungsten bulbs over the vanity. The (nearly) tungsten white balance rendered the sunlit window a nice blue. The SB-26 was triggered by its own optical slave; all others were triggered by Cactus PT-4 wireless triggers.

At ISO 80, the ambient exposure was 1/3 second at f5.6. Of course, this ambient lighting was very uneven and the tungsten lights were completely overexposed. By adding Stofen diffused full power flashes in the shower and tub areas as well as a bounced full power flash in the room the lighting was made more even. Half power flashes in the toilet and closet areas lighten those shadowed areas. The final exposure was 1/125 second at f5.6.

Stitching those 12 shots was actually the easy part and was handled automatically, albeit a bit slowly, by Photoshop CS4. Most of my time on this project was spent in cleaning the bathroom, moving items from the vanity, setting up lights and then removing and storing those lights and, finally, replacing vanity items.

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