Thursday, September 18, 2008
See portraits on my web site, http://www.bradarmstrongphotography.com/
This is the late Senator Barry Goldwater. This photograph is currently housed in the National Archives of the Smithsonian Institutions, National Portrait Gallery Washington, D.C. It is featured prominently as the closing photograph to the HBO documentary film Mr. Conservative and has been published in several publications including Arizona Highways. This is the last formal portrait of the Senator prior to his death in 1998.
This is how I made the portrait. I posed him in a profile because his face is so defined by the strength of his bone structure. I have seen him with the bulldog cane prior to the shoot so I asked him to sit with it. That cane is definitive Goldwater that also mimicked his own caricature in the portrait. It was a must for this portrait.
The image was made using an 8 X 10 inch Deardorff view camera with a 360 mm Rodenstock lens and Fuji Provia film. The photograph was taken in the living room of his Phoenix home.
I was given 20 minutes with the Senator, so I had to do some pre-visualization and have all may lights and camera already set up in my truck before I got there. I had 2 assistants to insure things happened efficiently.
This is a three light set up using a Comet 2400-watt power supply. The backlight is high above illuminating the flagstone wall. I used a spot grid on the light to control the spill and added a 1/2 CTO to warm it up. The main light is off to the extreme right using a medium Wafer soft box with a 1/3 CTO inside the box to warm the light. I wanted to rim light him giving the illusion of window light. The third light is just to me left side shooting through scrims to give a little fill. The shadow side of his face is 1 stop darker than the main light.
The 360 mm lens is also called a 15inch lens. This is important when figuring bellows factors. In this case my bellows was racked out to 18 inches. This gave me a 1/3stop bellows factor. This means to get the proper exposure, I had to open the lens 1/3 of a stop due to light fall off inside the bellows. I wanted an f-stop of 22 to give me the depth of field I wanted which was about 1 1/4 inches at this distance. Instead of opening the lens I added power to my lights. My highlight meter reading was F-22 1/3 so my final exposure was 125 @ f-22. Remember this is all hand held metering; there is no chimping with an 8 X 10.
Posted by Brad Armstrong at 7:57 AM
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
This portrait of Marshall Trimble was made outside his Paradise Valley home at 2pm in the afternoon. I wanted to create the illusion of a warm sunset with him looking off into beautiful light. This is how I did it.
First, I had to use large scrims overhead to block out the harsh sunlight that was falling on the entrance to his home. The purpose of the scrims is to be in control of the light. Afternoon sunlight in the Valley is way to harsh with extreme contrast. Once I had blocked out the sun, I then moved on to create the light I wanted for the portrait.
I used a Comet 2400 watts power supply with 2 strobe heads. One head was placed behind the wall to illuminate the patio that was in deep shade. I wanted the light to be soft to give it a natural look. I used a medium soft box with a full CTO gel inside the box to warm the light. The second strobe head was the main light source that would illuminate Marshall in the entryway. I used a medium soft box off to the right with a ½ CTO gel inside the box also to warm the light.
The camera was a large format 8 X 10 Deardorff with a 360mm Rodenstock lens. The shutter speed was a 60th of a second with an aperture of f-22. The film was Fuji Provia
Posted by Brad Armstrong at 11:22 PM
Sometimes when photographing people you just need to get close. Look into the face, and the eyes see the texture of the skin. It is an important photograph to the story. It also reveals who this person is on a personal level.
I shot this using a single light set up. One Norman 200B off to one side with an umbrella outside in open shade.
Posted by Brad Armstrong at 12:10 AM