Devilish light/heavenly light

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I had a portrait shoot with pianist Loren Tice scheduled for Sunday after church at Maxwell Presbyterian to promote his upcoming Chopin concert. Once we confirmed the shoot, I went into the sanctuary where we were to shoot and scouted it out, developing some ideas, primarily long shots that I would execute using the narrow width of the space between the pews and the pulpit.

One thing I didn’t count on was the sun – precisely, the blazing light that poured through the windows on the southeast side of the sanctuary at noon. They say the moon makes men crazy. On this Sunday, the sun did if for me. If I had the window behind him, there was a blazing fireball overwhelming the image. If I swung the baby grand around – easier said than done with a baby grand – light was dappling everything from the shiny surface of the piano to Loren’s glasses. I did know about the windows. But using them as backdrops for pictoral directory photos we’ve been shooting – there will be a post on that later – probably made me overly comfortable shooting around them.

Finally, and probably later than I should have, I abandoned the original vision and we swung the piano into a neutral position where I shot some tighter images of Loren with his instrument using the Chinatown Special Beauty Dish and some other flashes.

When I told my wife about the ordeal, she said, “I love the way the light comes in there.”

“Yeah, thanks for understanding,” I thought, until I scheduled a shoot with associate pastor Diane Baldwin later in the week. She wanted a nice friendly image shot in the sanctuary.

Hmmmm. “I love the way the light comes in there.” Thanks, hon.

I had my idea for Diane. I probably get a bit too preoccupied with flashes – in part because I love gadgets and gear and in part because everytime I use them, I learn something. But this suddenly struck me as a great natural light opportunity, utilizing the natural midday window blaze to provide a key light – how appropriate: when shooting a pastor, God is my Speedlight – and having my lovely wife hold a reflector to provide fill light.

As it turned out, that light that bedeviled me Sunday was suddenly heavenly on Friday afternoon.

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