The first night of serious experimenting in the studio ( as opposed to the nights spent wearing a white lab coat and doing Mel Brooks impersonations…) was concentrated on how to light the sky up for a sunny day.
I had doodled for days at work trying to devise a way of illuminating the tabletop set from above with a big blue fill light from an invisible sky. I thought of a giant fish fryer, a giant soft box, a giant umbrella…but in the end had to admit that the ceiling of the studio was too low to permit this. Then it hit me – the ceiling is big, broad, low, and flat white. If I can illuminate it with a bright blue it will function as the fill light.
Fire up a flash? Fire it with a soft box? Tried it and the results were pretty good. But why a soft box? It is hard to position and takes up a fair bit of space. Then tried it with a small 18cm reflector – too central – hot spot. Then tried it with the 44cm Elinchrom beauty dish tilted up at an angle. Perfect coverage. Add a sheet of heat-resistant blue gel and the effect is complete. Spill off the ceiling goes to illuminate the backdrop – which is blue paper – and the sky is complete.
The effect as it comes down is to soften up the under-car shadows and blue them up. The main sun strobe overpowers this to some extent but you can adjust this by fiddling the power level.
The sun is a problem. It needs to be small for some bright days and bigger for hazy days. The background image seen behind the main car subject should dictate what the sun is doing. I suspect that the strobe fired into a diffuser disc that has different diameters will be the way to simulate this effect. Watch this space for very tiny solar experiments…