Board index Photography Technical Questions The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy

Technical Questions

The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy

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benjikan
 
Posts: 344

The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy

Post Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:16 pm


The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy

I never would have expected that sharing my "GENERALIST" view of a lighting technique could cause such a stir. In fact it was based on a personal preference only and was NOT written for any other reason but to challenge you to think about the why and how one might consider the tool they wish to employ for a certain effect.

Now in reading many of the responses to my essay, it seems that I could perhaps give greater clarification to what I stated.

When ever there are adverts for lighting kits, they are generally shown sold with a soft box and an umbrella or two. So I can understand where the "Got it with the kit. May as well use it..." conditioning comes from. Personally, I find that rather unfortunate,as this inadvertently sets up a mind set about what studio lighting is and in my opinion falsely represents. I would prefer if flash heads, continuous lighting kits and mono blocks were just sold as is and the client could then be informed of the optional accessories available and what they can produce as a result of using them.

An umbrella is in fact a very interesting utility if understood and applied creatively. Like all light modifiers, they create an ambiance that is unique to the manner it diffuses light. I recently saw an illustration that made me laugh. It was showing how to set up an umbrella and the distance from the light source. It showed the light source close to the center of the umbrella with a "No No" sign next to it and then another far from the center of the light source with another "No No" sign next to it. Finally hey showed what they considered the proper placement of the light source within the umbrella. That was a "Yes Yes" sign. All of that is utter nonsense, as there is NO proper placement. It all depends on how concentrated the light source you want will be.

Lighting is a very complex art form and to master it takes several life times in my opinion. There are absolutely "ZERO" rules about how to light and what is correct or incorrect. If what you are attempting to do or NOT works out as desired or as a pleasant surprise, that is what it is all about. Hopefully you will have logged how you attained that pleasant mistake, so that you can replicate it again.

What is more important than the umbrella, light-box, snoot, bowl, opalite, kino light etc., is the capturing of an image that is poignant, powerful and meaningful. The tool you captured it with is meaningless if what you captured leaves a lasting impression on those viewing it.

http://www.benjaminkanarekblog.com/?p=1135

http://www.pbase.com/benjikan/image/92501622

sean_mcr
 
Posts: 493

Re: The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy

Post Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:38 pm


"What is more important than the umbrella, light-box, snoot, bowl, opalite, kino light etc., is the capturing of an image that is poignant, powerful and meaningful. The tool you captured it with is meaningless if what you captured leaves a lasting impression on those viewing it"

That's how I see it to, Ben.

http://www.digitaljournalist.org/issue0 ... words.html
What uses having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling? -

W. Eugene Smith

moffetb
 
Posts: 154

Re: The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy

Post Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:49 pm


benjikan wrote:The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy
based on a personal preference only and was NOT written for any other reason but to challenge you to think about the why and how one might consider the tool they wish to employ for a certain effect.


And thus he spoke the problem. Unless you can come up with a reason that your personal preference is better than other preferences, which I am not so sure you did in your original post, there really is no reason to use it as a challenge. As an extreme example, say my personal preference is for the color blue. Why should I challenge people to think about the why and how they don't use a blue filter all the time?

Now, reading between the lines, you saw the use of the umbrella as a crutch. Something to get reasonable photos without having to work much. I'm not sure you presented it that way, I won't bother quoting your article, but comparing it to "Walmart", "Ford Pinto", and "really bad hair do" (sic) doesn't exactly promote discussion or even thought. It's a rant, it's not a discussion.

Now your message above, that's a good start of a discussion. You look at what the cons of the umbrella are.

sean_mcr
 
Posts: 493

Re: The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy

Post Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:40 pm


You'd never look at the photo in the article I just linked to a think about the lighting. But let's look at it...

Of course it's a very standard kind of lighting, the kind of lighting Ben's objected to. But the lighting in this photo is no accident; the intent is clear. We have an almost everyday kind of wedding photograph only it isn't and that's the point. Complex lighting for that photograph would have been perverse. The fact that the lighting is so mundane like so many other wedding photographs only adds to the story of a young couple trying to maintain a normal life under extraordinary and tragic circumstances.

The light in this photograph is perfect
What uses having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling? -

W. Eugene Smith


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