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Thread: Into the abyss

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    Into the abyss

    I have a specific problem that is driving me nuts. I am shooting straight into a closed space about four feet deep. Lots of nooks and crannies, and dark materials in there. Trouble is, the space is cone shaped. It is about 3.5' at the far end, and only 2' at the near end. It is also ten feet up in the air.

    So there I am with the Blad on a Foba, about three feet back from the hole. That is as far back as I can get because the further back I get the less of the interior is visible through the narrow opening. The camera and support occlude about 20% of the hole and get in the way of everything I try, as does the hatch at the side.

    I cannot get even light in there. It needs a large diffuse light straight in and close up, but no way to position that. There is not even room for a Profoto zoom reflector to position well. I have tried up to four discrete lights, both pointed at the hole at various angles and pointing at a white card around the lens. Direct lighting yields shadows and dark spots because of the angles at which the lights must be positioned. Reflected lighting generates flare issues and gets occluded by the outer rim of the hole.

    Wisdom? I have never used a ring flash. Would that work here?
    Last edited by cunim; 27th March 2012 at 10:51.

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    Re: Into the abyss

    Quote Originally Posted by cunim View Post
    I have a specific problem that is driving me nuts. I am shooting straight into a closed space about four feet deep. Lots of nooks and crannies, and dark materials in there. Trouble is, the space is cone shaped. It is about 3.5' at the far end, and only 2' at the near end. It is also ten feet up in the air.

    So there I am with the Blad on a Foba, about three feet back from the hole. That is as far back as I can get because the further back I get the less of the interior is visible through the narrow opening. The camera and support occlude about 20% of the hole and get in the way of everything I try, as does the hatch at the side.

    I cannot get even light in there. It needs a large diffuse light straight in and close up, but no way to position that. There is not even room for a Profoto zoom reflector to position well. I have tried up to four discrete lights, both pointed at the hole at various angles and pointing at a white card around the lens. Direct lighting yields shadows and dark spots because of the angles at which the lights must be positioned. Reflected lighting generates flare issues and gets occluded by the outer rim of the hole.

    Wisdom? I have never used a ring flash. Would that work here?
    I read your whole post and before I got to the end I thought of using a ring light ... then you said it.

    That's what I'd try.

    Or a light stick.

    -Marc

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    Re: Into the abyss

    Thanks, Marc. The ring light seems to be applicable but I have no experience with it. If you think it might work I'll rent one with a pack (I use monolights) to try.

    Peter

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    Re: Into the abyss

    I'm with Marc. As I was reading your post I'm thinking "ring light".

    Another possibility would be light pipes brought in close to the lens and aimed inward, with the axes crossing at the cone entrance (difficult to explain, but you want the pipe on the right side to point to the left end). Four of these might provide reasonably even illumination. The generic product would be a microscope illuminator. There are many variations on this design.

    If the inner walls near the open end are not directly visible on film you might try mounting some aluminum foil shiny side inward to bounce some of the light around a bit more.


    - Leigh

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    Re: Into the abyss

    I would try (emphasis on the 'try') to setup a softbox directly behind the camera and take a very wide set of bracketed exposures and blend those with Tufuse. I use Tufuse when I want to manage more than two exposures and find it can more often than not create a realistic product, as opposed to the goofy look that's come to be associated with HDR.

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    Re: Into the abyss

    maybe a time exposure and paint by light? the need for diffuse light might be a problem with the ring flash, depending on what is reflective inside.

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    Re: Into the abyss

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    maybe a time exposure and paint by light? the need for diffuse light might be a problem with the ring flash, depending on what is reflective inside.
    Strobe level Ring lights typically have soft diffusion modifiers available, including while dishes and translucent milk glass type modifiers.

    I've done a number of things using a Profoto ringlight with just the standard silver reflector ... like stuff bunched up white mesh cloth in the modifier area which scatters the light (watch it doesn't get to hot if really rapid firing!)... or what really works well with skin is to put copper mesh in there.

    Hensel makes a nifty light modifier for their ring light ... it's a 36" Octa Sunhaze softbox for their Porty ring flash. I use it all the time to evenly light shiny surfaces. Good 3D effect while softening the typical ring-light shadows.


    www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/482325-REG/Hensel_4000901_Octa_Sunhaze_Softbox_for.html


    -Marc

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    Re: Into the abyss

    Thanks for the comments. I get usable (for documentation) images using lots of blends. However, I am not happy with any of them. They all have a snapshot look.

    Here's an example. Task requirement is to be able to see detail in the areas where the black pipes terminate, while not blowing out the white wires or metallic surfaces. This is rendered from lots of bracketed and blended images (I am very sensitive to HDR and don't use it), stacked in Helicon, shot at f11 with a Hassy 35-90. The little jpeg doesn't show it but I am pretty happy with the exposure range. Not happy with anything else. I'll post what I get once I try the ring light.
    Last edited by cunim; 7th December 2013 at 11:04.

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    Re: Into the abyss

    Any chance you could hide a small shoe-mount strobe behind the green hinge plate? With a ring light, might give you a nice ratio effect.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Into the abyss

    How about something a little less canonical? Turn out all the lights until it's pitch black, then paint it with a flashlight with a wide beam. I'd get in closer with a wider lens, too - your perspective is very compressed and it's easier to work with the camera closer. If you try light painting it's critical to keep the light out of the view. Anyway, it's just an idea!

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    Re: Into the abyss

    deja vu

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    Re: Into the abyss

    Yes, I have tried it with an LED flood. Can't say that I am skilled at it and the results were uneven. There are a lot of nooks and crannies in there and each one seems to want its own paint. I always wind up with an interesting craggy look, while I am hoping to get a clean evenly lit look.

    Getting up close does help in some ways, though there is a distance at which the opening vignettes just right. I have shot this with everything from 35 to 90mm. When I do it for real I try to get the cockpit windows sort of looming over the opening, and do a lateral stitch for the engines. Very..... mechanical. Generally it works best with a 70-90mm HRW. The image (70mm) shows the geometric issues. You have to imagine that with the engines and open nose bay lit correctly.

    Jack, that ledge has a bunch of cables running under it, but I could get an LED flashlight in there. I'll try.
    Last edited by cunim; 7th December 2013 at 11:04.

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    Re: Into the abyss

    I have now tried a ring light. Using a demo Hasselblad H4D50MS, 80mm, f11, Profoto Proring, D4 2400. What I found was that the ring illuminated the interior quite well, though position was critical. It did give me lots of room to position a fill flash down under the camera, which took care of the rest of the shadows. The ring is definitely a keeper for my applications. Thanks to those who recommended it.

    Bad thing - the aperture in the ring is too small for my favorite HCD35-90, which is why I am way back with an 80mm. Normally, I would use a smaller Rodenstock lens so that's OK.

    Really bad thing - now that I have used the 50MS back, I am going to have to get one.

    Two attachments. One shows the reasonably even lighting in a rendered stack. The other is a 1:1 crop of a single plane, no processing, comparing the SS and MS backs. Interesting because it contains everything from blown highlights to deep shadows. Sorry, for the slightly higher mag on the right, and that the jpeg snip doesn't show shadow detail. Even so, I think you can tell which back is which.
    Last edited by cunim; 7th December 2013 at 11:04.

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