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Sometimes you just have to go for it.
Bambi Cantrell and I were teaching a photo workshop together in Vegas recently and Bambi noticed that the hotel ballroom offered some interesting photo opportunities. We’d both noticed the patterns on the wall and the interesting wall paper. She noticed some lights in the ceiling hitting the wall and the rest is history. We started experimenting with shooting our model against the hotel ballroom wall – using only the ceiling light as our single source of illumination. Never mind the fact that we had a set with backdrops, lights, softboxes, etc. nearby. We ran over to the hotel wall to see what we could make out of nothing.
Did the experiment work?
I’m not sure. I don’t think so. But it was fun and certainly worth it. Our model was wearing a vintage dress and had a very old-fashioned feel both in pose and expression. So I made the shot – I shot at a very high ISO to generate some grain and then I converted to sepia in Aperture to keep that effect going.
It didn’t come out exactly how I hoped, but it doesn’t matter. In my opinion, it isn’t a salable image, but it was worth the try. Whether you like it or not I hope you understand that by experimenting we can sometimes work through a problem that down the road we will need to solve.
I handheld this shot using my Leica M9 and 90mm F/2.5 Leica lens. If I had it to do over again, I would have used my tripod, gone for a lower ISO and longer exposure, and used a reflector to pump just a little more light into the shot. And the next time I am in that hotel I plan to do just that. The experiment may yet pan out.