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fugit, as they say, seems to be true – it seems just yesterday I sat here, a
mighty keyboard warrior, typing the previous installment of Rolling. It’s
amazing how quickly it comes around before I have our lovely editor shouting
at me again for copy!
What’s even more amazing, though, is how much work we seem to cram in
between editions, what with our commercial work, private commissions,
training, testing, writing, etc, etc, I really should consider if I’m over
The briefest of time has passed since we were sharing our brand of
edutainment with the chosen few in the London underground, yet here I sit
with 2011’s Focus on Imaging fast fading out of memory (I only have 628k
installed in the old brain box) and new, fresh, exciting opportunities
queuing up outside Team McGillicuddy’s door.
My last copy for this fantastic publication was uncharacteristically ‘sans
rant’. Now it doesn’t automatically mean that this episode will be a ‘rant
fest’ but if, as is often the way, life decides to throw at us apparently
unconnected events, which turn quickly to a paradox and I can see a benefit
in its explanation to you guys; then just as a typhoon forms over a water
mass, once it reaches eighty degrees plus and the hot air is pushed
upwards...so a rant forms in the dark recesses of my mind!
OK, what am I blathering on about? The first part of the catalyst for this
copy actually came from a very innocent question asked at the aforementioned
underground shoot. Just before I began to create our first image of the day,
above ground, before entering the ‘depths’ of the station, I was asked if I
would be cranking the ISO up on my D3 and shooting with the ambient light.
At first I was slightly stunned as this is not a question which the
‘Lighting Wizard’ is often asked? So now with the power of hindsight, which
is always 20/20, I can see that my answer, although unerringly accurate, may
have been considered glib at the time!
My answer, as it so often is, was in the form of a question....I looked
around and asked the person in question what they thought of the quality of
the light at that time? Their answer was concise – ‘it’s crap!’ was their
response. I concurred and stated that the light was ‘flat, insipid,
uninspired and directionless’...how mean am I?
How was it done? First Olympus E5 test
Team McGillicuddy studio, Cheshire
What was in the bag:
Olympus E5 fitted with the 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 (from their standard
2 x Elinchrom Ranger Quadra.
1 x www.damianmcgillicuddy.com 36’’ dish configured as a beauty
1 x www.damianmcgillicuddy.com 48’’ dish configured as an octasoftbox.
All triggered via Elinchrom skyport.
1/125 at f5 ISO 200 in (M)anual mode
RAW file processed through Aperture 3.1
So what did I do and why did I do it? I was so eager to test the E5 that as
soon as it arrived I took it out of the box and into the studio; it happened
to arrive on a Mentor Me on Steroids day so the shoot opportunity was too
good to miss. That said, it was important to keep the test as uncomplicated
as possible, that way it would be about the camera’s quality and not my
light-manipulating abilities and also be very relevant to my MMoS delegates.
The key light was a McGillicuddy 36’’ collapsible beauty dish chosen for its
crisp specular light. The larger dish being chosen over the ‘classic’ 19’
for a softer, smoother, less contrasty effect, further softened by the
addition of the diffuser sock to the dish. The dish was positioned to give
classic butterfly lighting but making certain that light still filled the
ocular cavity and rendered catchlights in the eyes. Note the subtlety of
shadow placement, its transition and fall off on the roundness of the
The 48’’ dish was configured as an octa-softbox, complete with inner baffle
and outer diffusion screen, this made evenly lighting the white wall a
breeze, it was simply positioned behind the subject, just out of frame to
camera-left and angled back to light the wall behind Charlie. This light was
set 2/10 under f8. Yes more light than is needed to render the wall white
but that little extra ‘bounces’ back off the wall to the subject and adds an
ever so subtle rim light. Once again that was it, stunning in its
simplicity, a true test of the E5’s IQ and, unless I’m going senile, a test
it passed with flying colours!
I’m sure you’ll be as surprised to read this as much as I was when I first
discovered my error..Yes even I occasionally make them ;0). I thought I’d
set up the E5 to capture in RAW, however, in my haste to shoot with my new
‘toy’ I erroneously left the capture quality set to large jpeg! So I was
really impressed once I got the image into Aperture! Short of the mono
conversion done in Aperture there is no further ‘post’ carried out on this
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