Turning Day Into Night with 2 Speedlites
If I hadn't told you, would you have guessed this image was taken at around 2:00pm on a bright, sunny day?
I challenged myself to make a self portrait with shoe-mount flashes that looked like an evening/nighttime shot - in broad daylight.
Choosing the right location was key to producing the effect. I chose a spot in my driveway that was completely shaded by an overhanging tree. The fence behind me was also in the shade. I used a 4-stop ND filter on the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens. The filter allowed me to use a wide aperture so that limit my DOF (the fence behind me wasn't all that interesting) while staying below my flash max x-sync speed. Truth is, I could have easily gotten away with a 2-stop ND filter as I had to use ISO 400 with the 4-stop ND Filter in place.
The main light (580EX in Westcott Rapid Box Octa) was boomed overhead using an Avenger 40" Extension Arm (to keep the light stand out of the shot). I gelled it with two full CTO gels with the intent of shifting the color balance blue to simulate the cooler colors of nighttime.
I wanted the picture to have a dark, ominous look to it. The modified main light was positioned a little high to light my face while leaving my eyes in shadow (thanks to my huge brow ridge). Still, I was asking a lot of the shoe-mount flash. With two gels in place and a diffusion panel in front eating away at the flash's output, I had the flash set to full power and still could have used a bit more light (I upped the exposure a small amount in post).
I used a bare 580EX (ungelled) as a rim light (positioned behind me). I decided not to gel this flash so that it would produce a cool rim light that would contrast well with the still-slightly-warm main light. I think that flash was set to 1/32 power.
To trigger the camera, I used a wireless RC-1 and simply pointed the tripod-mounted camera at my desired spot using the AF points to cover the area where my head would be.
strobist: 1 Canon 580EX, boomed above subject, with 2 full CTO gels, diffused by a Westcott Rapid Box Octa. 1 Canon 580EX, camera right (behind subject), bare. Flashes triggered via Cybersyncs. Camera triggered via Canon RC-1 wireless remote.