In Search of a Street Lamp

I've been pretty busy lately. Who hasn't I hear you say? Busy is good right?

A big chunk of my recent work has come from a new customer. A theater in Oberhausen. How this relationship started is very random - a real case of 'right place right time', but i won't go into that right now.

Part of the process of promoting a production is of course taking pictures of it. Not just of rehearsals, but also a preview photo. An image that the theater can put out into the world to whet the appetite of it's patrons.

Last week, my theater colleagues and I headed out to shoot a promo photo for an upcoming production. 

The location had been found already. Some old workers houses, with street lanterns attached to the wall, to give the photo the feel of the period in which the production is set (WWII).

Problem was, arriving at the location, all of the houses with lamps attached had cars parked nose-to-tail in front of them. An actress in a 1930's costume, in front of a house from the last century with a new mercedes wouldn't really work!

We scouted the area and found a house with no cars, but no lamp!! Time to improvise!!

In the image below, you can see what i'm trying to do: balance the ambient light so that it's still visible a little, bringing in some soft light from across the road to light the subject but not cause to much shadow, and a flash from above mimicking a street lamp similar to the other houses. The next consideration here is keeping the aperture small enough to make the new street lamp look like a burst of light, and not a flash gun, while still achieving some kind of balanced exposure!

Balance the ambient, flash from front with as little shadow as possible, and a street lamp from above - easy right?

Balance the ambient, flash from front with as little shadow as possible, and a street lamp from above - easy right?

The final image below was a bit of a funny one to edit. It's pretty much as it was in camera, from an adjustment point of view not much has happened. Trying to decide what to do with our new street lamp was the problem!

Anna Polke

Anna Polke

I added several vectors of street lamps in photoshop. I even borrowed some street lamps from other images i found on the web. Nothing looked right, or better or more realistic that what came out of the camera.

It almost looks like a street lamp. And the stand it's on is not really dissimilar to the ironwork of the actual lamps on the other houses. 

To the untrained eye, thats looking at the subject, it looks fine. 

To me and you, it's a flash gun on a stand being held above a guys head who's hiding behind the house :)



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