Now – there’s a joke in here somewhere about the model being self-raising, but to be honest, It’s too late in the day to be crafting that, so just make up your own and insert it here…
How much do you need? I had no idea. I’d seen a few flour (or “dust”) shots around on flickr, and Pinterest and this seemed like an ideal job for my new high-speed IGBT Lencarta studio lights – movement, flour backlit, hair flying etc. Well, I bought 4 bags of Sainsbury’s most basic plain flour. I now have 3 and a half bags of plain flour – which, as it turns out is not much use for baking anything…..
The venue of the flour experiment would be Millwood Photography in Stalybridge. I highly recommend Millwood studio – Paul not only agreed to let me throw flour about in his studio, helped out on the shoot. And the brave volunteer to be covered in flour? Lizzie Bayliss. I’ve shot with Lizzie before and she is one of the best models around.
Anyway, we loaded Lizzie’s hair up, covered her in flour and away we went. The lighting consisted of a backlight, a large beauty dish to camera right, and a strip box to camera left, to give a slightly harder bias to the light on the right. This light is the key and I had Lizzie face into that light. I shot on continuous mode, which is one of the great advantages with the Lencarta 600SF’s – they’ll easily keep up with my D800E at 5fps – with no recycle time. As soon as Lizzie started her move, I started shooting and a second or so later we would have half a dozen frames. Now if you’re wondering how I got my D800E to do 5fps rather than 4, there are a number of ways to eek that little bit of extra speed out of it. You can attach a battery grip. I can’t be doing with those – they make the camera even bigger, and I’d have to remove the Kirk L bracket to fit it. A much easier and cheaper way of getting to 5 fps is to switch to one of the crop modes. A 1.2 crop mode keeps the aspect ratio of 3:2 and is enough of a reduction in pixels to get that extra frame per second. You can also crop down more up to DX (1.5) however the camera doesn’t get any quicker.
Up until the last firmware update for the D800/E you needed to select this in the menus. You now have the option of assigning the otherwise pointless “video” button to cycle through the crop options on the command dials (hold the video button and spin either wheel to choose). You can select which of the crop modes will be in the cycle and since there’s no advantage to be gained for more cropping, I only have full frame and 1.2 crop mode ticked. You can also elect to have the video button toggle the locks for the aperture and shutter speed dials – to avoid accidentally adjusting them in the studio – where they typically just stay on one value.
Then just select the frame you like :-
So, there it is, fog, backlight, and about half a bag of plain flour. Lizzie had some in her hands as well which she threw out as she jumped. The flour was everywhere – even on the rafters. Paul used my portable electric leaf blower to blow most of it off Lizzie, which has given me another idea 🙂