Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-04-2016, 12:13 PM - 5 Likes   #1
Pentaxian




Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ontario
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,209
Lighting for wide angle close-ups

I've been working on wide-angle close-ups of fungi recently, using either a DA14mm or the DA10-17mm fisheye. I thought I'd post a couple of approaches I've been using, solicit any comments about them, and invite people to share what's worked for them for similar shots.

There are a few issues with lighting- I'm packing things into the woods so want to travel light(ish), the fungi are generally in pretty dark areas but often with bright sky in the background (part of the point of the wide angle is to show the forest environment), and with the wide angles (especially the fisheye) it gets tricky to not include your light(s) in the photo. I've attached a photo showing the working distance of the fisheye at its minimum focusing distance for reference.

Fungi are generally slow, so with a tripod (or the camera flat on the ground) you can easily combine multiple images in post, moving the position of one light in between each photo, being careful not to touch anything (IR remote is necessary). An example is attached (not the same fungus as the setup shot), with 4 different lighting setups, one ambient only so I can cut the softbox out of the scene, one with the softbox camera left, one camera right, and one from above and finally with the merged result.

I'm using a 6"x8" DIY softbox, which is positively massive up close to a little fungus, and a manual radio triggered flash. Especially with the light from above (that helps the recesses of the gills glow), it would have been difficult to get the position I want and keep the light out of the frame. It's also difficult to spot in the field if the light is just inside the edges of the frame so just going with the plan of shooting to edit it out later can end up less time consuming in the long run.

A basic blending here is easy, just layer in photoshop, auto-align if necessary (if you haven't touched anything it usually isn't), set the layers to 'screen' blending, and mask out where applicable to get the lighting you want. I understand "screen" blending tries to mimic projecting multiple slides on the same screen - I've found it to give a realistic blend and also be forgiving of masking boo-boos.

This was a fairly simple lighting setup, but I think shows the basic approach. I should point out this is not a new technique and also that my goal was not to mimic natural light, but to take control of the lighting in an efficient way.

Attached Images
   
01-04-2016, 12:30 PM - 5 Likes   #2
Pentaxian




Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ontario
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,209
Original Poster
For a 'one shot no blending' approach, I've had some happiness using a relatively massive 60cm diffuser (5-in-1 collapsible so it travels easily) and a bare flash to shoot through it. This lets the light be a little further away from the 'shroom, but still be reasonably soft. A setup shot and its result is shown below.

These are taken with the DA14mm and to keep the light out of the frame it almost has to stay behind the camera. With only one controlled light source, you can either accept that you'll end up with whatever fill for the shadows the ambient allows without blowing out the sky (I like the blue), or you can try to sneak another reflector in on the other side. Both examples below are without an extra off-side reflector. Some sort of HDR would also work, but I'm aiming for one shot here.

I'm open to any comments and happily welcome anyone posting how they deal with lighting wide-angle close ups.
Attached Images
   
01-04-2016, 01:03 PM   #3
Pentaxian
mcgregni's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Surrey, England
Posts: 2,587
I think your results are beautiful and clearly justify the very fine techniques and care needed to get right. Just getting the focusing sharp must have been a challenge ... Did you lay down behind the camera and use the Live View magnified approach?

The shots are creatively very different to traditional macros and close-ups ... To see the wider background context, even though distorted, is wonderful, and the deep blues and other rich tones in the background complement so well. Of course its your careful dialing down of ambient exposure that's key to that ... And of course the key to being able to do that is ....Flash!

Thanks for showing these techniques .... I've got a Samyang 14mm , so I now know what my next flash project should be!


I've got 60 x 60cm softbox ..... Would that be ok, perhaps propped on something on the ground angling down a bit? Because its so big compared to the subject do you think it would be ok to move such a big light source back a bit to be out of the way, but still retain good soft light?

Last edited by mcgregni; 01-04-2016 at 01:08 PM.
01-04-2016, 01:54 PM - 1 Like   #4
Pentaxian




Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ontario
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,209
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
I think your results are beautiful and clearly justify the very fine techniques and care needed to get right. Just getting the focusing sharp must have been a challenge ... Did you lay down behind the camera and use the Live View magnified approach?
Thanks for the kind words! I prefer the viewfinder, but Live View is very handy in awkward locations (I'd *love* to have an off camera screen, but it's low on my 'to buy list') or where the ground is so disgusting even I'm not willing to lie in it. In the diffuser setup shot, the fungus is past it's prime and most of its surrounding fellows were icky puddles of blackness that are tough to clean out of beard. It depends on how presentable I need to be when I step back out of the woods.

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
The shots are creatively very different to traditional macros and close-ups ... To see the wider background context, even though distorted, is wonderful, and the deep blues and other rich tones in the background complement so well. Of course its your careful dialing down of ambient exposure that's key to that ... And of course the key to being able to do that is ....Flash!
Even a single flash can be such a versatile tool.

I pimp a 5-in-1 diffuser for non flash use as well, it has a million uses. It also works very well when sunlight is filtering through trees:



Trillium
by Brian Robin, on Flickr

The next is not a super close up, but the same sunlight filtered through the diffuser for the subject and wide angle. Also, I'm a little narcissistic:



Channeling my inner puffball.
by Brian Robin, on Flickr

A flash gives the ability to dial the subject to background ratio nearly any way you like, but sometimes it works out will with just the diffuser. "Little stuff" is really my love, the equipment needed to light a subject smaller than 1 foot just about any way you like is easily portable, not so much with a person sized subject. Also, little stuff doesn't talk back.

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Thanks for showing these techniques .... I've got a Samyang 14mm , so I now know what my next flash project should be!
I'm looking forward to the results.

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
I've got 60 x 60cm softbox ..... Would that be ok, perhaps propped on something on the ground angling down a bit? Because its so big compared to the subject do you think it would be ok to move such a big light source back a bit to be out of the way, but still retain good soft light?
Absolutely. A relatively enormous light will let you move back and still maintain a good degree of soft light. My 60cm diffuser works quite well. A square shape like a softbox may be even better, you can get a large part closer to the ground (if that makes sense). You might also try aiming you flash head at the side closest to the ground, you don't necessarily need an even light across the surface.

01-04-2016, 04:26 PM - 1 Like   #5
Pentaxian
mcgregni's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Surrey, England
Posts: 2,587
That makes sense, yes, and I suppose I could zoom the flash head in as well as I don't really need the full widest spread. Sounds like I should probably pack a groundsheet as well though to keep everything clean!
01-05-2016, 03:39 AM - 2 Likes   #6
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
clackers's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Albums
Posts: 12,654
Very much worth the effort, Brian ... very 3D results. I hope you talk to the fungi the way Peter Hurley does to his headshot subjects: "You know something I don't ... think puppies and kittens ... sprinkle some spores for me ..."
01-05-2016, 06:46 AM - 1 Like   #7
Pentaxian




Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ontario
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,209
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Sounds like I should probably pack a groundsheet as well though to keep everything clean!
I can see you're smarter and cleaner than I am.

QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Very much worth the effort, Brian ... very 3D results. I hope you talk to the fungi the way Peter Hurley does to his headshot subjects: "You know something I don't ... think puppies and kittens ... sprinkle some spores for me ..."
Thanks! Communication with your subject is definitely critical! However, a behind the scenes video may gain me admission to a nice padded room, with comfort lighting.
01-05-2016, 01:53 PM - 1 Like   #8
Pentaxian
Class A's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 10,025
The result shots you shared are inspiringly beautiful. Well done!

Any magic trick to keep the 60cm diffuser upright, or are you just relying on nearby branches, etc.?

01-05-2016, 02:41 PM   #9
Pentaxian




Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ontario
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,209
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
The result shots you shared are inspiringly beautiful. Well done!
Thank you!

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Any magic trick to keep the 60cm diffuser upright, or are you just relying on nearby branches, etc.?
Spring clamps work great to hold it to tree branches or a full sized tripod (if it's with me). I usually have a gorilla pod or two available, one for the camera and one for the flash, so I can often just handhold the diffuser. I've also bent a gorillapod's legs to make a cradle to rest the diffuser on in an upright position, but this gets sketchy if there's much wind.

I do have a light boom arm with clamps for a reflector, but that doesn't usually make it too far from the car or home unless I really think I'll need it.
01-22-2016, 09:08 AM   #10
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Montréal QC
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,184
Inspiring shroom shots and informative thread! Just might give this a go next summer...
01-22-2016, 04:52 PM   #11
Senior Member
Grippy's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 252
Very nice and creative shots. I might have a go at this in winter.
03-10-2016, 10:52 AM - 1 Like   #12
Pentaxian




Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ontario
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,209
Original Poster
It's easy access to empty nest time - it's no longer freezing cold and there are no leaves yet. So here's a little comparison of ambient vs flash+weak ambient.

These are both with the da10-17mm fisheye at 10mm. First is ambient only, on a partly cloudy day there's the option of nuking the sky and maintaining detail on the shady side of the nest (shown here), or exposing for the sky and leaving the nest in shadows (or something in between).

Second shot has the ambient cranked down 3 stops, and a 6x8" softbox above and to the left. It's in close so there's significant light fall off and this puts the gradient in the direction of the sun (brightest in top left, darkest in bottom right). This shouldn't fool anyone who looks closely at the shadows or light fall off into thinking it was ambient only, but this direction still 'feels' somewhat natural. 3 stops down gave a nice rich colour in the sky. More ambient would mean less contrasty light, but I kinda an exaggerated contrast to go with an exaggerated angle and perspective.

Both were handheld, this was a pretty tangly tree so no easy access in with a tripod. 10mm @1/125s is within my abilities.

03-10-2016, 11:23 AM - 1 Like   #13
Pentaxian
mcgregni's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Surrey, England
Posts: 2,587
More lovely lighting balance and effect, and proof again that taking control of our lighting with flash leads to better, more natural results than 'natural'. I'm still waiting for some better weather over here to put your inspiring ideas into practice in some local forests.....
03-10-2016, 05:17 PM   #14
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
clackers's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Albums
Posts: 12,654
QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
proof again that taking control of our lighting with flash leads to better, more natural results than 'natural'.

Hear, hear.


Neither blown skies or a dark nest would have recreated Brian's experience on the day.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
camera, distance, fisheye, flash, frame, fungus, light, lighting, photo, photo studio, setup, softbox, strobist
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Nature Trying a Wide Angle Lens for a Close Up Shot chmance Post Your Photos! 6 08-29-2015 08:32 PM
For Sale - Sold: Vivitar Komine 28 mm F 2.0 MC Close Focus Wide Angle for Pentax closhlab Sold Items 2 04-27-2015 03:45 AM
Best Macro for close-ups of skin Leo Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11 11-19-2014 03:44 PM
For Sale - Sold: Vivitar 28mm f2.0 Close Focus Wide Angle K01 Seaside Sold Items 4 07-27-2013 01:06 PM
Close-focus lenses? (pref. Wide-Angle) dstructor Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 14 03-02-2013 10:23 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:30 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top