Featured Sports Portraiture

Discussion in 'Lighting Tutorials' started by MichaelSewell, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    23Aug_004 copy.

    Meet Joe Harrison. A gentleman who has just celebrated his 100th 100 break in snooker. (No, it's nothing like pool!)

    I was asked by a local working men’s club to create the image, which would be framed and hung on the club wall.

    Like a lot of snooker halls, the lighting is fairly dim, and this is accentuated by the overhead table lights. Here, the overhead lights were fluorescent tubes, and their colour temperature wasn’t particularly conducive to the atmosphere of the room. This was mainly due to the fact there were four tubes, and even without a colour meter, it was fairly obvious at least one of the tubes was a completely different colour temperature to the other three.

    No matter, as I wanted to take full control of the lighting to create the atmosphere as I felt it should be. Just enough light to hint at the room, but almost all of the light on our main subject, Joe, with enough fall off to create that classic overhead triangle of light often seen in the promotional posters such as “The Color of Money”.

    As there isn’t a vast amount of room above the table, the best way to recreate the light would be two light sources, one either side, and both tightly controlled. I used an ELB 400 with an action head connected to port B and firing through a horizontal stripbox with honeycomb fitted. It was set to fire at an output of 3.0. The stripbox was placed along the table edge (frame left) and about a foot above it, just in line with Joe’s head and shoulders. This allowed the light to illuminate Joe and that end of the table.

    A second ELB 400 was set up in an identical manner on the opposite side of the table. Same height and attitude, and the same output. They were both angled downward toward the centre of the table.

    Finally, I used a third ELB 400 and action head, again connected to the B port at 3.5. It was firing through an 80×80 folding softbox at a height of about six feet, with the box acutely angled down to fill the table top in front of Joe, and provide a lift to his face which otherwise would have been much darker due to the honeycombed stripboxes either side of him.

    To be honest, it was very straightforward, and I was in and out of the place within 30 minutes or so.

    1/125th sec ISO200 f5.6
     
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  2. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    983
    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Denny
    Great shot. I have followed most of your previous postings and appreciate the time you take to explain your setups. You set the elevation at 6 feet which would put it about 2 - 2.5 feet above the table top surface but where was that third light box located in relationship to the subject?
     
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  3. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Sorry Denny, my bad!

    The third softbox, (the 80x80cm key light), was alongside me, to my immediate left. In fairness, it was almost overhead as I lent against the edge of the table.

    You can just make out the smaller catchlight in both his eyes. The longer catchlight in Joe's left eyes (frame right) is from the stripbox.

    You can also make out the light positioning on the snooker balls.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  4. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    983
    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Denny
    Thanks for the clarification. I had noticed that second catch light in his left eye and thought it might be that 80cm key light but I thought I would ask just to be sure. I recently did an on site graduation shoot and due to a shift in weather which made our planned outside shoot impossible we had to move into the garage where I encountered a similar issue with the fluorescent lights. We had to get up to the ceiling and unplug them as just shutting off the wall switch extinguished all the lighting and I do not have modeling lamps so we had to leave the incandescent entry way light on. Thanks again!
     
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  5. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    A pretty good test for the nerves ;)
     
  6. mcrosa

    mcrosa Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    189
    Jun 26, 2013
    Miami, Florida
    Mike Crosa
    Michael, great shot and I really appreciate your lessons. One question I have and that is the cue ball and if memory serves the six ball. Did you leave them purposely out of focus?
     
  7. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    My main criteria was to have the player's eyes in focus. I also felt the foreground gave the image depth.
     
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  8. bjurasz

    bjurasz Mu-43 Regular

    193
    Dec 10, 2014
    Cedar Park
    Bang on job! I feel like I'm back at the table myself. :)
     
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  9. Cederic

    Cederic Mu-43 Veteran

    322
    Nov 14, 2012
    Nottingham
    White is the cue ball. Also in view are the yellow (2 points), black (7 points) and blue (5 points).

    The bit that confuses me is where his right arm's gone and how he can cue straight from that angle. But since he's had a hundred centuries and my high score is under 30 I'm going to accept that he's probably getting it right.
     
  10. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    In snooker, you pull the cue in tight against your body, to look down it.
    You can see his right hand, although due to the shadowing, it has a similar hue to his shirt, and that may be why you overlooked it.
     
  11. Cederic

    Cederic Mu-43 Veteran

    322
    Nov 14, 2012
    Nottingham
    Lets just say that Mark Selby and Ding Junhui aren't adopting that particular approach in their World Championship semi-final right now ;)
     
  12. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    It may be nothing more than the very low angle I took it from.
    I can't comment. I'm allergic to most sports.
     
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