Painting with Light

Though the city of Columbia has long forgotten this old stone bridge that spans a dried up stream in the middle of the woods, one soul is doomed to remember it forever. Years ago, a woman savagely murdered her husband and their young child. Their blood has washed away, and the river has dried up, but the woman’s spirit is chained to the bridge where it lurks each night. (Fictional, obviously)
(Camera: f/10, bulb, ISO 100, Daylight White Balance; Flash dialed down to 1/4th power)

Self Critique

One day last year when I was exploring the woods behind my apartment complex, I found the bridge that I used in my Painting with Light shot. It really is just an old, abandoned stone bridge in the middle of the woods, so I thought it would be perfect for a creepy Halloween themed picture.

To accomplish the shot, I decided to light the bridge with a flashlight, and then flash my strobe once at Tara to give her a ghost effect. I brought a light meter with me to find out how long to use the flashlight on any one point, but we couldn’t get it to work, so I just experimented and determined that I needed to hold it for about 3 seconds on each part of the bridge when I stood about 8 feet away.

I put a snoot and a red gel on my strobe to give a sort of bloody effect. I just imagine that if there really were ghosts, they would be here because they killed people. Unfortunately the red gel looks a little pink. My guess is that the yellow of the flashlight coming through Tara makes the red appear pink. Oh well. I calculated that I should fire the strobe once at half power from 8 feet away with my camera at f/11 in order to make her see-through. I found that that put too much light on Tara, and I wanted her more transparent, so I dialed the flash down to 1/4th power. At first I ran into some problems with Tara’s arm and the candle creating a shadow when I had my strobe on the side, so I moved the strobe more in front of her. Some of the light from the strobe spills off Tara and onto the bridge. If I were doing this again, I would try to aim the strobe from higher up to see if I could have gotten the extra light to disappear into the background.

My camera was set at f/10 (I think I accidentally changed it from 11 at some point, but I didn’t notice in the dark), bulb exposure, ISO 100, and daylight white balance.