This should turtle things out. I’ve got my light set up for the power shed studio recently and have high hopes for an interesting series. I am only interested in different variations of Rembrandt lighting and in this test which is slightly out of focus on subject and minus the side reflector, oh well, you get the picture.

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30 Responses to “Chiaroscuro”

  1. rotobra Says:

    A very nice shot. It’s sometimes a good idea to just leave off the reflector for a Rembrandt look. Also moving the subject away from the background and trying to prevent much light from spilling onto the background would give you more of the “chiaroscuro” effect. If the light source were smaller or more confined yet still diffused by a soft box you would get more of the look I think you are after and the shine on the forehead would be reduced. The degree of “specularity” or the shine on the highlights is a delicate balancing act. Too much and the subject’s skin looks greasy or shiney, too little and the subject is flat and dull. Using the bric a brac of the workshop as a background is a good idea but more attention would be given to the subject by darkening the background making it less distracting. Using a wide open aperture, maybe F2.8 and focusing on the eyes would throw the backgound out of focus making it again less distracting then it is here.Still, a very professional looking portrait. Hope you don’t mind constructive criticism.

  2. I love the criticism, and I knew the focus would be off using the auto focus before using the timer. It made the background the sharpest which turned out curious for a no-no tradition Rembrandt. The studio is 10×16 so there are limitations but I think my Al Gore bulb may work with the shine that will be my next test.

  3. rotobra Says:

    A gobo or light blocking panel is easily made from a piece of cardboard clipped to a stand in this case just to right barely out of camera range between the subject and the light. A diffusion panel can be clipped to the front of your light modifier like translucent plastic or wax paper (watch for fire if bulb is hot and too close). This might prevent an effect like the gourd appearing to dangle from the guitar neck. Remote RF triggers are super cheap now and worth the 38$ investment solving the prefocus on background problem. You can secrete the tiny trigger in your own hand for a self portrait like this. Adobe LightRoom has lots of plug ins for vignetting that would also improve this shot. Glad you like criticism, I’m full of it.

  4. boatdog Says:

    “Secrete the tiny trigger in your hand.” I knew this discussion would eventually get on topic.

  5. rotobra Says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention “your bulb being too hot and too close”, the gourd dangle” and “plug ins”. It always comes back to being “phallocentric” for you cavers doesn’t it?

  6. heck with chiaroscuro let me know when you get down to sfumato!

  7. boatdog Says:

    Suddenly, I’m feeling a little contraposto in my squinches.

  8. Tenebrism was my passion when younger. How things change….

  9. boatdog Says:

    Dude, if only somebody had kept a running account of your passions, it would make an interesting book. You and Picasso and your damn periods!

  10. corndoggie Says:

    Fine portrait.

    You could use the burn tool on the forehead shine, but that would just make a grey patch in the pure white. Try making a layer in which you clone other parts of the forehead into the shiny area, then lower the opacity.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    and while you’re cloning stuff in you could, oh never mind

  12. boatdog Says:

    You can also try “selective color,” select “whites,” and darken the whites. I tried not to get sucked into this.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Aren’t bald guys supposed to have shinny heads?

    Friggin’ chrome dome!

  14. (belly laugh!) The List sisters use to call me baldy long before the hair ever receded.

  15. rotobra Says:

    Not to digress from the original direction of this thread but if Uncle Banjo is really going for a Rembrandt like look in a portrait then Boatdog’s suggestion may miss the mark. Some of the things that made Rembrandt’s images so great were not only his profound, mysterious use of dark shadowy areas but his very intense bright whites in the highlight areas, the specularity I mentioned before. (See “Aristotle contemplating the bust of Homer”) Darkening all the whites, as Boatdog suggests, would be “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. The highlights on Uncle Banjo’s prominent frontal cranium are not that bad and could just be toned down a little still leaving some highlights. Now dealing with the strange “Klingon” like center protuberance of his scowling brow is a whole different kettle of fish.

  16. boatdog Says:

    Roto, I am disappointed that you felt it necessary to digress from this thread about chicks who play the fiddle (and it’s surprising that the fiddle playing chicks don’t have large boobies – very out of character) so that you could introduce a non sequitur about Photoshop techniques and lighting. However, since you blundered into this, let me just say that it’s not the angle of the dangle, but more the amplitude of the samplitude that makes my aforementioned technique successful. Softening the brighness of old baldy’s head shine need not squander the brilliance of the light in the image, if handled deftly by a Photoshop pro who knows what he’s doing. Even better would be to get a girl with large boobies to do your photoshop work for you, but I digress.

  17. boatdog Says:

    Getting back on subject, I would think that if you admire Adina Spire, you would turn to jelly over Lucia Micarelli. She stars on the HBO series “Treme” which is a great series just peppered with fantastic musicians playing major and minor roles in the series. Steve Earle plays a major role as a street musician, and in the episode we watched last night, Ron Carter showed up playing bass with Mac Rebennack (Dr. John). The first season is out on DVD now and you can get HBO free for three months if you absolutely MUST see the second season (like me).

  18. For those who don’t know who this brilliant conductor :

  19. boatdog Says:

    I’m sure Adina is the conductor that all should a-SPIRE to, and I’m betting you’re not passively aggressively saying that Lucia is chopped liver. And though you might avoid “Treme” simply because I recommended it (reference back to “Requiem for a Dream”), you would be depriving yourself of some good TV watching. *

    *I tried not to get sucked into this.

  20. boatdog Says:

    I just watched the Micarelli video all the way through and now I’ve turned to jelly.

  21. Love Gypsy FIRE!

  22. Anonymous Says:

    She does the err…err too:

  23. corndoggie Says:

    Micarelli made me turn into Jello cassarole.

  24. p.s. regarding buxom, try opera.

  25. rotobra Says:

    This comment thread won’t be over ’till the fat lady sings.
    “Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Waaabiit!”
    I’m sorry I disappointed Boatdog by misunderestimating his deft amplitude. I stand corrected sir.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    I’m way too late to this party to respond to so much on a silver platter, especially as a representative of the other equipment. Coincidentally, some of it parallels a discussion I was having with my teenage offspring earlier today. For the record, we both agreed that the word “boob” was inherently funny. Along with “wombat.”

    All I want to know now is: Does the jello casserole have mini marshmallows? Or marsh-mellows?

    BTW, I think it’s a bee-yoo-ti-ful pic, Boatdog. I unnerstand there might be technical issues, but most of the time that stuff never bothers me.

    Only Anonymous because I’m too irritated to re-sign in. Not that I’m resigning or anything.

  27. boatdog Says:

    Thanks for the photo credit. I guess now I can claim copyright. Wouldn’t be the first time something like this has happened.

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