We are heading into another Friday and that means another Fleming photo arts course is nearing an end. Our program consists of 15 weeks, with each week constituting a complete course. This week, the subject was lighting and we had a great time looking for shots with dramatic shadows out in the Haliburton highlands. We also spend a great deal of time in the studio messing around with strobes.
Our instructor for the week was the fabulous Andrezej Maciejewski. Andrezej (pronounced Andre), is a very gifted artist (see http://www.klotzekstudio.com/) and he entertained us by showing the lighting set-ups for two of his projects, VIP (Very Important Potato) and Garden of Eden). VIP is a very funny portfolio consisting of wonderful shots of spuds with lighting that mimics great portrait artists. Garden of Eden is modeled after still life paintings of great artists with a twist. He purchases veggies and fruit from the local supermarket and leaves the labels on to show how widely we source our produce. Andrezej takes great care over his ingenious lighting designs and uses a variety of props, including sticks set into concrete-filled coffee cans to hold up baffles and reflectors and lights sourced from the local hardware shop. Each day, we had to look at one of his VIP pictures and submit a guess at his lighting set-up. We were getting pretty good at it by the end of the week.
I have a couple of photos to show you. These aren’t the real photos we submitted for our portfolio review – they were all black and white shots using traditional film and darkroom. However, I took some digital snaps as tests for exposure and lighting. The first shot is a reasonable facsimile of a product shot, using one of our college guitars. The lighting set-up used a conventional strobe, supplemented by some reflectors to light some surfaces that were in the shadow.
The second shot is a lot more fun. We had to use the strobe to stop motion. There were lots of experiments in the class using breaking glass and running water, but I decided to try to stop a speeding bullet(!). My faithful and brave assistant, Marilyn Leger, fired a nerf gun at her hand and we tried to coordinate the firing of the flash with the pressing of the trigger. We managed to get fairly decent at this, with a success about a quarter of the time. Here’s an example of a speeding bullet caught in a strobe flash. It didn’t quite freeze the bullet, but it was close.
I must say that school 3.0 is a lot more fun than the other two iterations! In fact, I’m getting a bit concerned that my time at Haliburton School of the Arts is slipping away. We’re more than half way through.