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The Assist

Continuing down the road of light painting, Natalie and I hit the beach again for another session. A test, if you will. We were testing a solution to issues I have been having with both subject movement and illumination.

Staying totally still for a multi-second exposure is tough enough. Add in the strong beach breeze that often occurs at night and there is bound to be significant movement in the shot. The other issue is, even with the long exposure, the subject is backlit. Without fill the light wand is not enough to illuminate them. If I pull in the shadows in post production I can get some detail back, but it tends to be noisy (noise is the digital equivalent of film grain).

So I had the bright (pun intended) idea of using strobe, firing at first curtain (i.e., at the start of the exposure) to freeze the subject and fill her in. The remainder of the exposure is where the light painting takes place. It is in essence 2 exposures at once: one done by the strobe, the second by the light wand.

And for once, I hit on something.

© Donald J. Fadel, Jr. |

© Donald J. Fadel, Jr. |

© Donald J. Fadel, Jr. |

I have a reasonably sharp subject, reasonably lit, plus the light painting with my homemade light wand. Strobe on the assist.

This was just a test run; wardrobe has much to be desired.

I’ll even include a behind-the-scenes look on an unprocessed image, with yours truly peeking out behind as I frantically wave the light stick.

© Donald J. Fadel, Jr. |

Exposure is off (too much flash),  hence not a select. The hat was confiscated from the model – sometimes you have to draw the line.

It was fun, the breeze was a nice break from the heat, and, most satisfying, the experiment showed promise.

Technical details can be found on flickr.

More to come.

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