Friday, June 5, 2015

Ring Around the Garden

A few years back photographic company enlight photo featured us in their blog after seeing some photos I took of an iris that blossomed in our neighbor’s garden using their orbis® ringflash. I really did not expect it lead to much but it began a great friendship with enlight photo, their CEO/inventor James Madelin and staff.
Honestly I was pretty excited as a few other photo companies at that time were blogging about us and featuring our work on their official sites as well as social media pages. 
our neighbor's iris

Since then the orbis® flash system has been our “go to” modifier for a number of shooting scenarios…not just for floral photography but for macro insect photos as well as portrait jobs in our studio. You can check out the orbis® here as well as other snazzy gear they have. 
We’re reaching the tail end of spring here in the wonderful state of New Jersey but a lot of blooms have been hesitating around here, though we had a ton of iris pop up some of the more interesting flowers we have surrounding the studio are taking their sweet time due to some weather issues. Well we were not going to let that stop us…keeping a close eye the flowers that did decide to bloom and having our gear ready at different points of the day I ventured out a couple of times with an idea I had working on for a while that involved the orbis®  flash. I had been experimenting with different lighting techniques and angles for an image style I had used with some insect photography, basically dropping the camera’s ISO to 100, setting the aperture to f/16 (or higher) and a shutter speed of around 1/125sec or a bit faster, those settings combined with a flash can cause the background to “black out”.
Though this effect is nothing new getting the light to hit parts of the subject in a pleasant manner can be tricky for a number of reasons the main being the shape of the flower and its orientation…some flowers face up, some face down and others face every which way when following the sun.
Utilizing the shape of the orbis® I was able to create some interesting lighting, with flowers facing down or out to the side I used it in an “under light” position while flowers facing up I directed the flash from above or downward 45 degrees. The under lit proved to be my favorite because it gave the illusion the flowers were creating the light like mini street lamps.
For the actual equipment set up we attached the orbis to our Nikon SB-910 with the head rotated to the same direction of the ringflash (to keep flash controls accessible) and fired it with a set of PocketWizard PlusIII Transceivers and to keep everything tidy and usable with one hand (when needed) I implemented a dual flash bracket.

Under lighting set-up

Under lit result

Lighting from above
even shooting down on under lit tulip made for a neat shot
flower facing down, under lit
Under lit, the yellow of the flower becomes illuminated
Have you met my ant? Lighting above.

 Other gear for these shots include the Nikon D4, Sigma APO Macro 180mm f2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens and 3 Legged Thing Frank tripod.

Two more features on us from the gang at enlight

"Orb Spider orbis Macro Flash Shoot!"

"Interview: photographer Robert Lopshire"

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