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Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione (backlit) | by k_ashok_k
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Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione (backlit)

Equipment used: Nikon D90 with Really Right Stuff (RRF) right angle bracket, Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300mm lens, Gitzo 2220 tripod, Acratech GV2 gimbal / ball head,


Lighting: A single Elinchrome FX 400Ri with 2’ X 2 ‘ soft box, homemade gobos. No reflectors were used. Triggered by Skyport radio trigger.


Background info: This is pic too is part of my learning with strobes. There is one phenomenal automobile photographer by name Ken Brown. (Please see His work is also on Flickr). Unlike me he photographs million buck real cars (not models). There are a few photographs of his of a very curvaceous car with a bizarre name called Bizzarini! Ever heard of this car? - I hadn’t till I saw this picture -


I was greatly inspired by this photograph and wanted to take a similar one of a model car. The main point - only the car edges should be lit up and the rest should be black. The car model used here is that of a Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione made by BBurago.


I had no clue on what to do. I took a print out this picture and showed it to Shiresh Karrale when he came to conduct a workshop here in Hyderabad. To my astonishment, Shiresh had a readymade set up for this (including a car model) and set up with whole thing in five minutes flat. What a genius he is! I dedicate this image to him.


Though the effect he showed was not identical, it was close enough and I got the idea anyway. I had to wait till I got a strobe and I finally tried it out with the help of my good friend Srinivas. This is the result. I understand I am not there as yet but I have at least made a beginning.


The actual set up needs a peculiar looking mask which is difficult to explain but I will try. However it is not too difficult to make. It is essentially two concentric squares of black paper. The outer square is 30 X 30 cm covering the size of soft box. The inner square is smaller and the gap between these two squares allows the light to fall on the subject. Hence the light is only from back and but around the subject. This helps to illuminate the sides and the top edge of the subject. The gap should be carefully controlled. Too big a gap means too much light which will also illuminate the car apart from edges -something that we don’t want. Only one strobe is needed.


The trick is to get the size of inner square correct. The method we used was real hi-tech - trial and error :) :)! The inner square should be a just a bit bigger than the car model. The outer square should be such that gap should be small but occupy right up to the edges of soft box. The whole effort took about 3 hours.


I have a pic of setup and I can share with you for a fee. So what is the fee? You should try this out and share your experiences with all of us - that is the fee :). I learnt this technique from someone it is only fair that I share it with those who are interested!


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Taken on January 26, 2010