by Mike McNamee Published 01/06/2007
Anybody staring into the Editor's mansion-house or garden over the past few days might have been tempted to phone for the little men in white coats to come and collect him. During the day this crazy Editor chappie was to be seen running about the garden with a camera in one hand and a set of step ladders in the other. At night he could be seen at the kitchen table photographing the little people in a model photographic studio. Just what was going on?
Well, dear readers, we were testing the Gary Fong light modifiers specifically for use in macro illumination. In the garden we were chasing Holly Blues, a tiny but pretty little butterfly with a subversive nature and an inability to sit still for more than three seconds - hence the neighbours never actually saw any pictures being taken. At night we were photographing at macro scale and using a leprechaun as a model (he lives on the fridge, is cheap and does not need a model release form).
Given that no Holly Blue was ever going to sit still long enough to test seven variants of light modifier, we elected to test under more controlled conditions. We set up a miniature studio complete with walk-out back drop (an A3 sheet of inkjet paper) and soft box (if you are leprechaun-sized a Lightsphere is about the same scale as a six-foot soft box!).
Compare the effects of the various flash options in the combined image. The bare Nikon SB800 is quite harsh and directional even though it is relatively quite large sized. he shadow becomes progressively more diffuse with the Lightsphere Clear, the Lightsphere Cloud and finally the WhaleTail. The ChromeDome creates the strongest lighting at these macro distances. The on-camera SB800 produces very 'toppy' lighting as you would expect. Comparing the closeup detail of our model's beard shows the same effects as the main shadow.
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