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Thread: Shooting candlelight with an AptusII-7

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    Shooting candlelight with an AptusII-7

    I have a shoot coming up that will require me to shoot candlelight with the Aptus II. I plan on shooting multiple plates at different exposures so that I can blend them together. Normally I would shoot the candles at a longer exposure, but I'm not sure how the Leaf back handles that (I have heard not so well?).

    I'm going to do some tests this weekend, but if anyone has any tips, I would greatly appreciate it. Normally, I shoot the back at the native iso of 50.

    Thanks!

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    Re: Shooting candlelight with an AptusII-7

    Hard to give help without more detail.

    Is the subject the candle, candle light (flame), a subject illuminated by candle light or a combination of all three?

    Your back will easily shoot a candle flame as they are quite bright (relatively) but if you hope to get a product shot of an illuminated candle forget exposure blending and just use additional lighting and get it in one hit for best results...... IMO.

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    Re: Shooting candlelight with an AptusII-7

    I'm shooting an environmental portrait of a florist who heavily relies on candles as part of her designs. I shoot a ton of environmental portraiture on large sets (yesterday was three people and nine lights..) So I feel ok with that. The issue will be getting enough of the ambient into the shot. I have never done any long exposures with the back since getting it (the reason I'm going to test this weekend), but have read that these backs don't handle longer exposures very well, so I'm not sure how long I can drag the shutter before the IQ degrades.

    Even with very intricate lighting setups, I still often use exposure blending, it's just part of what I do.

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    Re: Shooting candlelight with an AptusII-7

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Cherry View Post
    The issue will be getting enough of the ambient into the shot. I have never done any long exposures with the back since getting it (the reason I'm going to test this weekend), but have read that these backs don't handle longer exposures very well, so I'm not sure how long I can drag the shutter before the IQ degrades.
    I'd imagine the light from the candle will blow to white (and surrounding flowers) long before the IQ of your back degrades with a long exposure.

    I'd try and get a good base exposure for the candle light so it doesn't blow out then possibly boost the warmth in post. I'd then try shooting daylight strobe with 1/4 or 1/2 CTO so to accentuate the colour the of the warm candle light but keep the light simple so it looks like the candles are illuminating the subject rather than your strobes.

    I'd imagine you wouldn't need an exposure longer than 1/4 sect at f8 for the candle light, then balance it all up with additional lighting.

    There are so many ways you could do this and sounds like fun and would love to see your final results.

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    Re: Shooting candlelight with an AptusII-7

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Cherry View Post
    I'm shooting an environmental portrait of a florist who heavily relies on candles as part of her designs. I shoot a ton of environmental portraiture on large sets (yesterday was three people and nine lights..) So I feel ok with that. The issue will be getting enough of the ambient into the shot. I have never done any long exposures with the back since getting it (the reason I'm going to test this weekend), but have read that these backs don't handle longer exposures very well, so I'm not sure how long I can drag the shutter before the IQ degrades.

    Even with very intricate lighting setups, I still often use exposure blending, it's just part of what I do.
    Well, if it's anything like the Aptus-II backs, you get 32 seconds, max. It's pretty clean, however. ISO 50/100 look great, 200 is fairly grainy, but the details are still crisp.
    --
    Gabe

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    Re: Shooting candlelight with an AptusII-7

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Cherry View Post
    I have a shoot coming up that will require me to shoot candlelight with the Aptus II. I plan on shooting multiple plates at different exposures so that I can blend them together. Normally I would shoot the candles at a longer exposure, but I'm not sure how the Leaf back handles that (I have heard not so well?).

    I'm going to do some tests this weekend, but if anyone has any tips, I would greatly appreciate it. Normally, I shoot the back at the native iso of 50.

    Thanks!
    Some random thoughts:
    - Ambient temperature matters. Keep the room on the cooler side of whatever is practical.
    - Raw processor matters. Use Capture One v7, and learn to use the Single Pixel Noise Reduction Sliders.
    - A Phase One P30+, P45+, or Credo or IQ would all have better long exposure quality. If your testing shows the Aptus II isn't up to your needs, you could rent such a back and still use your same bodies/lenses/computer.
    - You can supplement the candle light with a highly diffused red-gelled strobe bounced into the ceiling (or similar) to raise the base exposure a bit. Doing it too much will look very fake. But putting a base of light down 1-3 stops less than the candle can do wonders for providing lower shadow noise and shorter exposures.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Shooting candlelight with an AptusII-7

    These are exactly the kind of responses I was hoping for - thanks so much guys!!

    Doug, that is part of what I've been reading which has me a bit worried, but reading some of the other posts makes me think I'll be able to get the shot...

    I'm going to build a similar set (or a small part of it) in my home tonight (the shoot is taking place on location) and I'll see how it handles. And yes, I'll be processing the files in CO7.

    Thanks again!

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    Re: Shooting candlelight with an AptusII-7

    I'm not sure how you can get a reasonable exposure of both the portraiture subject (this florist lady) and her candle-studded floral arrangements unless you have a lot of "fill" light; either studio, or ambient or an ambient-artificial-mix as in my examples below. As Doug said - "putting a base of light down 1-3 stops less than the candle can do wonders".

    And if you have that much light, you won't be getting anywhere near 30-second exposures. So you don't really need to worry about the back's long exposure limits.

    These were taken handheld, with a Kodak DCS645M on a Mamiya 645AFD.

    ISO 400, 80/1.9 at f2.8, 1/15 sec


    ISO 400, 80/1.9 at f2.8, 1/30 sec


    ISO 400, 80/1.9 at f2.8, 1/15 sec


    For high quality with your AptusII-7, you probably want to shoot at ISO 50 and something like f8? Scaling from my metadata above, if ISO 400 & f2.8 require 1/15 sec, then ISO 50 & f8 would require 4 seconds. Then there's the question of keeping your subject still through that sort of exposure time.

    Ray (who would have no idea about the correct exposure for candles were it not for his family's birthday cakes!)

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    Re: Shooting candlelight with an AptusII-7

    Ray, you should convert into foot candles.

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