March 9, 2009

incisive \in-SAHY-siv\,

1. penetrating; cutting; biting; trenchant

Firstly, I should apologize to my many loyal readers: I'm sure you were quite befuddled when you came to my site this weekend as you normally do, first thing after waking up. You had only this blog on your mind, and you were disappointed to find out that, because my work schedule is ridiculous and I have to work Saturdays and Sundays, I probably won't be doing this much on the weekends.

But don't let that get you down. Since I get Mondays off, I had some extra time to work on today's word. I semi-stole the idea from another photo of nails in wood (which I would show you if I remembered where I had seen it), though I'm sure it wasn't quite as brilliant as this masterpiece.

I headed over to Home Depot to get a little block of wood, and they gave it to me for free out of the goodness of their hearts. (Forever indebted to Home Depot, I will never return to Lowes.)

Setup (and tips for cheap lighting)
This was the fun part. In lieu of any actual professional equipment, I find it helpful to be able to construct a studio out of whatever might be lying around. I bought two flashes a while ago: a used Canon 420ez that may be on its last legs and a Nikon SB 600. The Nikon is definitely a better flash; it's more powerful and more easy to use. But, as I shoot Canon, I can only use it on full manual (which means I only use it in a "studio" setting).

Throw in a couple of Cactus flash triggers for under $50 and a couple stands, and you've got yourself a "studio." Today I used a boom stand for a microphone, which allowed me to place the light directly over the subject. Black in the background, and white (though it didn't show in the photo) under the block of wood. (And the "stand" underneath the subject today was just two drums, instead of the usual TV tray table I like to use.)

All in all, the lighting setup costs between $400 and $500. Though it's not up to the standard of most professionals, it works well for me because of, well, poverty.

As always, send your incisive photos to me by email to join in. Have a wonderful Monday!

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