Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Around The Room/Over The Rig

We have recently returned from Utah, where, with great fortune we found a break in poor weather to complete our assignment, arial shots of 2 oil rigs in the Vernal area. We had 1 day to scout and mark the GPS location of the rigs, and the following morning to get the shots from helicopter. It was a bit of a nail biter on the timing of the weather but in the end it worked out great and we really got some beautiful photos.
During one of the long evenings between dinner and sleep, I decided to mess around with seeing what kind of shots I could come up with using the lights of my hotel room. The lamp beside the bed had a rather large shade and a tungsten balanced CF bulb (the corkscrew kind ), and the windows were covered with some nice plantation shutters.

Setting the camera to tungsten white balance makes the outside light go icy blue while mostly neutralizing the warmth of the incandescent bulb. If you are shooting with strobe and you want the same effect, put a full CTO on the light and set the camera to incandescent. Another trick is to go warmer with the main light, then in post-production, as you cool the whole scene to neutralize the warmth, the window light gets even bluer.
This was shot with my Nikon D70s and a 16mm 2.8 fisheye, hand held at around 1/15 or 1/8 wide open at ISO 200.

The other light I decided to mess with was the whole reason I started this in the first place. My bathroom had one of those funky red heat lamps in the ceiling and a huge frosted glass window, another mixed light situation. With the camera still set on tungsten this was the result. The shadows are super blue and the red heat lamp mostly looks pink or lavender....... not very  pretty.

So with the snow falling outside and the prospect of a wasted trip due to weather, my nervous energy produced one blurry portrait and an ugly toilet shot...... (I can hear you laughing about which is which).

The snow stopped sometime that night but our pilot was delayed in Park City due to fog, he said he just needed a brief hole in the sky to get above the stuff.  At 07:15 we got a text from him saying he was airborne and on his way, a text while flying a helicopter, I love it.
Shortly after 8am we were flying and on our way to the rig coordinates, again nervous because of clinging fog that threatened to hide our rigs and hinder our ability to get the shot. We were flying high in the sunshine but below were patches of thick white fog. When our rigs came into view they were in sunlight, and a fresh blanket of snow covered the ground as far as we could see. Heater on, windows open, camera out, click, click, click. What a beautiful morning! Here is the video.

Thick fog below

Clear at the rig site