I recently started a photographic lighting course at Photo Center NW which is a quick 15 minute walk from my apartment.

I’ve been wanting to get more into portraiture but all of my experience is using available light.   After purchasing a few hot lights followed by some Alien Bees strobes I messed around a bit and then left the lights on my shelf to collect dust.  It turns out that lighting is a bit more complicated than I thought.   I’m also the kind of person who learns best when given a basic introduction to a subject so I don’t spend forever wandering around the starting line trying to decide which direction the race is run.

The first assignment was a still life using continuous lighting.   I decided to use paper negatives run through my Super Cambo 4×5 for the assignment as its a lovely medium for taking photos of things that can sit very still.   Using a view camera is tricky business so its often a good idea to take a number of digital shots first, chimp, and then try to convert seven stops of exposure between ISO 200 and ISO 3 in your head.

An amusing side effect of taking photos of an onion with a 600 watt light (at ISO 3 you can’t afford to diminish the intensity of the light in any way) held relatively close to the subject is that the heat given off by the lamp begins to cook the root vegetable.   By the end of the 3 hour session required for the shoot my apartment smelled like fry up.

Here are a few outtakes.