Southern California Edison, our local electric utility, was doing some maintenance today in the neighborhood, leaving us in the dark most of the day. Since I could not do anything on the computer, which is where I spend a lot of time these days, I thought I’d play around with my camera a bit, something I have not done enough lately.
Though bright and sunny outside, I thought I’d play on the power outage theme a bit and try some candle light photography. I recently saw an old high speed film shot of a woman’s face lit only by a candle. I wanted to give that a try with my digital equipment. Plus, while it did not work out, I thought I might be able to use this for the latest DPS assignment, which is to make something with the color yellow. I thought either the candle itself or the light it threw could be convincingly yellow.
I started with settings similar to those used in the film shot, including an ISO of 1000, shutter of 1/60 and aperture of f/11, but I found that I wanted a bit more yellow and a bit more light. I decided to add a SB-600 flash to the mix on lowest output power with a yellow gel to supplement the candle light, but ideally placed to appear as if coming from the candle. I also opened up the aperture a bit and slowed down the shutter as well, but edged down the ISO to reduce noise.
A few of the results are below. Unfortunately, I don’t feel they convincingly demonstrate the color yellow, so I am not submitting any of them. But it was still an interesting experiment.
In the first one, which I’ll grant is a little corny, I cleaned up the reflections in my glasses a bit, because you could see the candle, the remote flash, the commander flash atop the camera (which gives insignificant light but is needed to trigger the remote), and the windows and doors of the room, which while blocked up still let in some light around the edges. All you see now is the reflection of the SB-600, which ideally the viewer will take as the reflection of the candle.
The image with the smoke is interesting, although since the candle is now out, the light with its yellow tinge and sideways approach looks more like early morning sun through a window, which I guess might make sense with the candle having been blown out. I am not sure where Ryan’s expression came from.
The other one of Ryan and especially the one of Megan are the most convincing in terms of the light appearing to have come entirely from the candle (which as you can see from the last shot with the exact same setup, is not the case).
While I did not get a DPS entry out of it, I did get a better feel for how to manage candle light, and the light around a candle lit scene.