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Thread: Sun Gun

  1. #1
    Truzi's Avatar
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    Sun Gun

    I want to do some informal portraits with my recently acquired Bronica GS-1. Nothing fancy, just taking some nice photos in a living room. I don't have a flash yet for this camera, and I think a flash may be too distracting when photographing my best friend's 9-month-old nephew; it will be difficult enough to get him to pose.

    Somewhere around the house we have an old floodlight my father used for Super 8 movies. It is similar to this Sylvania Sun Gun:
    http://static.flickr.com/40/121134224_09f0192809_b.jpg

    Having had to hold it as a child, yes, I know how dangerous it can be.

    Bounced off the ceiling, would that old movie light be okay in lieu of a flash or studio lighting? I'm planning on Portra 160, and maybe some B&W.

    This is just for family photos, mostly for fun. Nothing critical or frequent enough to invest in real studio lights.
    Truzi

  2. #2
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    I remember reading that you shouldn't use any kind of flash on babies. Their pupils can't react fast enough to block the light when the flash goes off.

    What about a daylight balanced compact fluorescent lamp in a portable clip-on shop light?
    Don't know if that would actually work well. Just guessing.
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

  3. #3
    MattKing's Avatar
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    There is a decent chance that that Sylvania lamp and your floodlight would work with tungsten balanced film, but for Portra 160 you would need to filter it, which would effectively reduce the film's speed.

    And B & W film tends to be slower with tungsten sources.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  4. #4
    Truzi's Avatar
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    Hmm, I didn't think about the color balance. Since it worked with Super 8 indoors I thought it might have been the same balance as a strobe.
    Thanx for pointing that out.

    If I remember correctly, it was quite bright, so a filter shouldn't be an issue, and I'm not against Portra 400.
    The last time the light & camera were used I was in my early teens, so I don't remember if my Father had different Super 8 films for indoor and out. I know he didn't have a filter, but never really learned anything about it.

    As for "daylight" fluorescents, I know how those work and they are no substitute for daylight.
    Truzi

  5. #5
    MattKing's Avatar
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    A lot of the Kodachrome Super 8 was Type "A" film - tungsten balanced.

    And many of the cameras had built in switched filtration.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

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    Truzi, you're fighting an uphill battle with that floodlight. As Matt implies, the color balance is wrong. If you filter properly, you lose a couple stops of light (for filtering info, see the Kodak data sheets for Portra).

    Indoors, flash is the most sensible way to do it. (It won't be a problem for the child.) Without a flash, you're probably better off to find bright enough "outdoor" light, be it coming through a window or simply go to a shaded area outdoors.

    As far as getting the child to pose, have you ever seen one of those goofy photographers with the little stuffed animal saying, "Here comes the bear, he's gonna get'em, get'em, get'em, GET'EM?" Well, guess what, at 9 months, that's exactly what you want to be trying. A 9-month old can probably sit up by himself, and he'll stay put as long as you keep his attention. I know you probably won't want to do the stuffed animal schtick, so try whatever suits you. If it works, great! If not, the stuffed animal will (I've done this sort of thing before). Good luck.
    Last edited by Mr Bill; 05-05-2013 at 01:04 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7
    Truzi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bill View Post
    As far as getting the child to pose, have you ever seen one of those goofy photographers with the little stuffed animal saying, "Here comes the bear, he's gonna get'em, get'em, get'em, GET'EM?"
    I don't think they did that back when I was that age I do remember one episode when I was about 8 with some portrait photographer doing the "watch the birdie" thing, and I thought it was a movie cliche at the time.

    He's furniture walking already, and my best friend can get his attention; he responds well to her. I only have to worry about the camera.
    I do need to get a flash for the camera when funds allow and one pops up. If I wait long enough (and I'm one hell of a procrastinator), the weather will be nice enough to do it outside.
    Truzi

  8. #8
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Lighting with a flood is a painful thing - films are not so sensitive to the reddish light and there's not very much of it. They're mostly heaters and you will have problematically long exposures, even with direct (harsh) illumination. Expect to get at least 1 stop less sensitivity from B&W film than metered, and lose 2 stops if you use a tungsten/daylight conversion filter. And those filters assume 3600K whereas most cheap floodlights are 2500K, so you'll probably still end up with a dim orange result.

    Flash is fine for children of all ages - say you shoot ISO160 and f/16, that's less than 1/100s of daylight equivalent and while that might surprise a subject it's not in any way dangerous. Any subject will quickly get used to the light (and popping sound of large strobes) if you warn them and set it off a few times. No one's pupils or eyelids can react faster than the approx 1/1000s flash duration, which is why you get nice wide pupils in studio shots.

  9. #9
    jp498's Avatar
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    Flash is fine for children. My kids have experienced quite a bit of it and enjoyed it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Worker 11811 View Post
    I remember reading that you shouldn't use any kind of flash on babies. Their pupils can't react fast enough to block the light when the flash goes off.
    This nonsense keeps getting posted over and over again despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Please don't tell me you think that any human pupil would be fast enough to properly respond to an electronic flash, we are talking sub milliseconds here.

    If flash was a problem for newborns, we'd have a whole generation of blind people by now. Think about all these gazillions of P&S cameras used every day by their loving relatives at very close range to fill the frame. These pics are frequently overexposed because the cameras can't even tune down their flash enough for proper exposure.
    Trying to be the best of whatever I am, even if what I am is no good.

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