Blog

Rocking Horse

rockinghorse-1
rockinghorse-4
rockinghorse-4

Sometimes inspiration can come from mundane objects. Flash to the Wonder Horse that was left in my barn by the previous owners of our house. Actually, the owner was going to throw it out and my wife insisted we keep it. In the time we've had it, our friend's kids have had a blast playing on it and for us, it serves as a nostalgic reminder of our childhoods. There's something timeless about a rocking horse and many generations can relate to it.

rockinghorse-5
rockinghorse-5

The other day, I was doing some portrait lighting tests with the Phase One in the middle of the day and as much as I love photographing my dogs when I cannot find a model, they never seem to sit still long enough for anything more than a quick snap. I grabbed the Wonder Horse out from the barn and made it my subject. This test was mostly for editorial lighting. Something that would be lean and effective. A smallish lighting kit that could accompany me for editorial shoots.

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rockinghorse-6

Here's the BTS of the full setup.   I positioned the umbrella off axis to somewhat emulate the natural light of the day even though it was pretty overcast.

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rockinghorse-3

I should also mention that I had the camera on tripod to ensure that my lines were straight and used the camera's virtual horizon to make sure of that. Also I find that when shooting a low angle, positioning the camera on tripod allows for much more controlled shooting.

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rockinghorse-7

I wanted a shallow depth of field, so I shot at f/2.8. F/2.8 on medium format is very shallow - somewhat like f/1.4 on a 35mm DSLR. Also, medium format sensors are about 70% larger than 35mm DLSRs so there is more detail. I'm not saying this is better, just naming the differences. I used an LP180 and infrared trigger.  That flash and trigger cost about 1/3 the price of just one Professional Canon or Nikon branded flash. I think Canon and Nikon make excellent speedlites, but I also think there are great affordable options.

rockinghorse-1
rockinghorse-1

So I guess the title of this shoot could be high-end camera and low-end flash. By no means is the off-brand flash low quality. Some other things to note are that with the Hasselblad, you've got up to 1/800 sec flash sync. I love that and am always bothered by the limitation of DSLR flash sync. I love the look of dramatic saturated backgrounds mixed with lit subjects. The faster shutter allows for reducing ambient light and bring more drama into the photo.

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rockinghorse-8

Ultimately, these images were shot at f/2.8, 1/250 sec, ISO50. I think the flash was at 1/16 power. I played around at 1/400 sec, but the background became a bit too dark and didn't translate well for me for this shoot. To me, things like that are done to taste.