February 20, 2014

A Natural Spot Light

After my last post on using a spot light to create high contrast, I kept thinking back to my accomplishing the same shot. Specifically, could I use a natural light source? How much of a difference does the F-Stop make?

Effectively the same setup as before, but using the sun coming in throw a window as a spotlight.

Trying to do this with natural light increased the difficulty factor dramatically. With the desk lamp I had totally flexibility with the position of the light source and the camera. I could move it further back and have a wider beam, or closer for a more intense narrow beam. While I could in theory pose the cat, she tends to have a mind of her own. With the natural light source, I effectively had two fixed objects. I couldn’t position my camera well. End result, is a poorly lit eye. Maybe I can say I was going for moody feel?

But it works. I can call this experiment a success. The window helped focus the light into a narrower enough beam that the forground was lit and the background was not. The white walls behind the cat are nearly black in the picture.

I definitely prefer my previous photo. With more practice I may be able to better utilize the window light, and come up with a better photo. Truth be told, I’m not sure the additional practice would be worth it. This is one example where natural light isn’t always preferential to artificial light.

If you want to try this type of photo, and you don’t want to purchase a softbox, I recommend a directional lamp with a really bright, natural light bulb. This is the one I used. Don’t let the sales price fool you, I’m pretty sure it’s always $20. If you’re shooting anything larger than a cat, you probably need something more substantiation.

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