Lighting, Locations, Models, Personal, Tokyo
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Some light experimentation

So I’ve just finished up one of the busiest periods this year (not bad considering the country is crippled by nuclear/humanitarian/political crises), and am going through a short period of downtime which I’m using to get on with my personal projects.  Some of them are still in production but I’m looking forward to posting them as soon as I’m done, as well as the results of the editorial work that I’ve been doing.

In the meantime however, who doesn’t like hot models and a bit of location lighting?

Meet Takako Hotta, actress, model and dentist (yep), who was kind enough to accompany me to try out a few things with light that I was curious about.  Namely, using droplets of water to refract light in interesting ways. I figure, as a photographer the more ways I have to work with light, the better for me in this business. Also I was kind of trying to emulate the effect of this Japanese advert that recently caught my eye in the subways.  I liked the use of lens flare to add a bit of extra atmosphere to the photo and set out myself to see if I could emulate this effect in camera.

Lens flare is often not desirable and difficult to control in the best of times. I started out with the idea that if I could create small beads of water on my lens, combined with a flash firing into the lens I could create some sort of funky effect that would make it worth the while. Of course, water doesn’t just bead up nicely on any surface, so I had to use a mixture of glycerin (basically coconut and palm oil) and water to create a liquid that would turn into little droplets when sprayed out of a bottle (for Tokyo peeps I got this all at Tokyu Hands, Shibuya). Of course I wasn’t going to apply this stuff straight onto my lens so I bought some cheapo UV filters and applied the liquid droplets to those first.

You can see the results below. I didn’t quite succeed with recreating the exact effect but the water on the lens helped with making a dreamy, hazy effect with the light from the strobes. So, not exactly a success but not exactly a failure either, since I really like the effect.

Oh, for those wondering – I used the Nikkor 135mm f/2 DC for these shots, which is an awesome lens, and also an absolute tank. I virtually had it ripped out of my hands and thrown to the ground and it’s completely fine save for a bit of denting on the lens hood.

Tokyo Photographer Irwin WongTokyo Photographer Irwin Wong - lighting, strobist, JapanTokyo Photographer Irwin Wong - lighting, strobist, Japan

Anyway, next up we had fun with a really large piece of perspex, in which, continuing with the water droplet motif, I decided to spray it down with that same greasy glycerin/water combination. With a bit of sun as backlight the beads of water really lit up in an awesome way, kind of reminding me of fireworks.

Tokyo Photographer Irwin Wong - lighting, strobist, Japan

Open up the aperture for a high-key look and suddenly you’re really cooking with gas.

And this is how it looks with a slightly wider field of view. There are plenty of creative possibilities with this type of thing, so I’m looking forward to playing with this a bit more in the future.  Any questions or comments, hit me up in the comments field below!

Tokyo Photographer Irwin Wong - lighting, strobist, JapanTokyo Photographer Irwin Wong - lighting, strobist, Japan



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