Photographing an ice sculpture

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by livemoa, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    I have been asked to photograph an ice sculpture that is going to be part of an exhibition. The idea is to document it as it melts and the photographs then become part of the installation.

    I am going to shoot it on Kodak 160 VC in 4x5. Unfortunately the existing lighting is heavily tungsten biased so am going to need to use some sort of fill. Was thinking of renting a softbox as hot lights would kill the sculpture to quickly.

    Am I heading in the right direction? Any suggestions/advice would be welcome.

    David
     
  2. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    If your objective is to overcome the tungsten lights to avoid a color cast, I would think you'd need more than one strobe/softbox as a "fill." You might need a mainlight, fill, and with ice I'd explore the possibilities of backlighting.

    If the tungsten lighting is strong enough, have you considered tungsten balanced film, or correction filters? Since the ice is static, long exposure times should not be a problem.
     
  3. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    Hi FirePhoto

    Thanks for the feedback and ideas, have been thinking about the idea of using tungsten balanced film and or correction filters. Was also thinking, to get deffinition I might need more than one light, so your suggestion is good. Hmmmmm, more thinking needed.

    Part of the fun is doing this at the opening of the exhibition...
     
  4. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You could filter the strobe(s) to the same colour temperature.
    Or you could use tungsten balanced film, and just accept the strobes as blue highlights.
    Or...
     
  5. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    I think you have received some good advice.

    I would use Kodak Portra 100T tungsten color negative film (ISO 100) or Fuji NPL 160 tungsten color negative film (ISO 160).

    I would cover my flash units with an orange filter to convert the 5600 Kelvin light to 3200 Kelvin.

    I would take two shots of each stage of the melting process: one with only the available tungsten room light and the other with the room light plus color corrected fill flash and backlighting.

    I would also use two black panels to block the backlights from my lens.
     
  6. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    Well I have ended up, after talking with the artist, with two hot lights, diffusers, reflectors and some Tungsten balanced film. The idea is to use the hot lights for very brief periods of time. Will play around with a chunk of glass tomorrow to see how it all comes off.

    Thanks all for the advice and help everyone, much appreciated.
     
  7. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    FWIW, David, I think you'll find that photographing ice is very much like photographing glass. Surface shape will be defined by the spectral relections from large white light sources (e.g. one or more large softboxes or large white reflector panels). To those white surface reflections, you can add reflections of tall black panels to help define selected edges. Then, add transmitted light from lights in typical small silver reflectors behind the ice, or bounced off a reflective surface behind the ice. Color can be added by gelling the transmitted lights.
     
  8. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Sounds like a fun assignment David. Where's the exhibition?
     
  9. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    The Hong Kong visual arts centre. The piece is part of a show called Asian Traffic and is by another New Zealander now living in Hong Kong. It's proving to be an interesting collaboration.