The View Up Here

Random scribblings about kites, photography, machining, and anything else

Still Sick

Posted by Tom Benedict on 23/01/2015

The day after I posted Sick Lizzid I went back to work to put our wide field imager back together. (While I was out sick it had yet another failure. Grrr!) We got a lot done, but working in the cold at altitude is a recipe for relapse. I was out sick again yesterday and today.

So I spent my lucid reading time going through The Strobist. I finished Lighting 101 and started on Lighting 102. The second course goes into a lot more detail than the first, and includes student exercises (yaaay!) I had a little more energy this morning, so I went though the first several. These are more to familiarize the photographer with how light behaves than anything else, so I won’t post any of the pictures I made. I do, however, urge everyone going through the L101 and L102 classes to do every exercise. As pedantic as some of them may seem, nothing beats time in the saddle when it comes to learning a thing.

One of the things I like about The Strobist is that it’s very nonlinear in nature. Lessons do follow one another, but if something is relevant to the discussion there’s a link you can follow. Lighting 102 2.2 – Specular Discussion had a link to an article called Stainless Steel and Cookies, which in turn had a link to an article called Pretty, Shiny Things that discussed a technique called double diffusion. I’ve used this at work to get a relatively flat diffuse source. The flat field source I made for characterizing the linearity of our infrared wide field imager used double diffusion to minimize roll-off at the edge of the field.

The exercise for L102 2.2 was to play with specular reflections. I took a cue from the Pretty, Shiny Things article, in which the author was photographing wheat beers. I’m fresh out of decent beer, and too sick to drink anything, anyway. So I grabbed a bottle of Grand Marnier out of the cabinet and started playing.

Grand Marnier

I tried bare flash (eeks!), a shoot-through umbrella (better), and this, a double-diffused setup using the same umbrella with a Fotodiox shoot-through diffuser between the umbrella and the bottle. I didn’t think to try it without the umbrella until I’d already taken the setup apart, but by then I’d sapped what energy I had, and had to quit.

I’m really enjoying going through the lessons and exercises on The Strobist. It sounds weird, considering I’ve spent close to twenty years doing landscape photography. But I’m getting a real kick out of learning new ways to control light.

– Tom

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