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Mystery Photo….Revealed?

Sep 3

In Best Guesses at 2:14pm


Had some traffic over time about the lighting grid for this photo, which we have used as a blog header. This was shot for Kelby Training, and re-confirms my fondness for seedy motel rooms. It is all small flash, but it is not all flash. It’s a mix of sources.

So I’m throwing it out there. Whoever wants to have a shot at this, and figure out the lighting plan, have at it. Person who nails it gets an autographed copy of Hot Shoe Diaries, and a Lastolite Tri-Grip diffuser.  Hell, I’ll even sign “Numnuts” on the diffuser, if you want. Remember though, everything I sign has a tendency to plummet in value, so choose wisely.

This ain’t a contest, and there’s nothing formal about it.  I’ve even talked in general terms about this pic in workshops, so it’s not like this is gonna be the search for the holy frikkin’ grail. It’s just that enough folks have pinged about this image so we thought it would be fun. We don’t get out much in our studio. More tk…..

216 Responses to “Mystery Photo….Revealed?”

Shadi says:

on September 11, 2009 at 10:41 pm

here’s my take on it…

here’s a link for larger version of the sketch;


Shadi says:

on September 11, 2009 at 10:42 pm

ooops the embedded image didn’t appear in my previous comment…

Andrei says:

on September 13, 2009 at 1:59 am

wide angle shot
Camera right:
- CTR (color temperature RED:) strobe with tight grid pointing at the knee
- much higher (in the corner of the photo) another strobe with blue gel pointing at the right hand side wall and casting a shadow of the stand that’s holding the CTO strobe with grid because McNally didn’t pay attention to it and then “kinda liked it”.
Behind the bed pointing at the wall is a CTB flash.
Low behind the detective/assassin (looks like he did it, – it’s the last look before he goes; otherwise wouldn’t be starring at the girl with all the assistants and the photographer in the room; he would get down to business looking for clues) there is a zoomed to 105mm red flash shooting at his back.
And outside there is some sort of BIG RED LIGHT that McNally brought as well :) and a tight zoomed red flash pointing to the chest of the assassin.
There is the fallen lamp and the TV with the antenna cable pulled out. The TV was set to channel 23 before pulling out the antenna.
18% chance there might be some small fill camera left .

Michael De Lazzer says:

on September 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm

White balance to the TV– Closer to daylight.

1) Small softbox CTO above the knee, almost straight down, slightly forward of the knee, pinned to the ceiling. The shadow behind her calf is sharp, indicating a small light source, with a rapid fall off.

2-3) 2 Large bare full-power strobes with CTO gel pointed at the wall outside the room– lighting the window and wall.

4) CTO strobe aimed at gunman’s chin from the left outside the room. that’s lighting the mystery man, and putting orange highlights on the table and bottle

5) Small, low power CTB strobe behind the bed pointed at the wall.

6) With no projection– I’m thinking there’s a tungsten bulb in the lamp, no strobe there.

7) CTB strobe on the right corner of the table. Lights the bottles and wall.

8) Snooted CTO SB aimed at mysteryman’s feet from behind. But this is the one I’m most unsure about. It would be from behind and up..

T Lofstrom says:

on September 14, 2009 at 9:57 am

Okay, I’m jumping in again after readin only a few, with the intention of pegging the light at the guys feet:
It’s gotta be a CTO set behind his ankle, low calf (in other words that far out into the street/parking lot. Rational: look at the shadow in front of his feet.
Before I said WB was set a bit blue, and it may have been a touch, but the TV is near natural, so the other blue in the photo must be CTB gelled.
I can learn.

So it’s
wide angle 14-24 on D3 SU-800 via cable to the right of camera triggered the flashes.
1)CTR outside pointing at window and in the door: multiple SB900′s or a larger strobe with SU-4 trigger capability. That light(s) is/are between the window and door without modifier
2)CTB behind the bed pointing straight toward the wall 1/5 ft off the floor, low power, with a flag or something restricting the light from hitting the floor.
3)tungsten bulb in the lamp.
4)TV on snow.
5) CTB from camera right low pointing at the right wall behind the TV from High to low, catching the pills, TV (to shadow the wall low by the door) and the wall directly.
6)(and here’s where I learned the most – call me num-greymatter) wide gridded, or flagged to avoid light toward camera right, CTO a bit closer to the camera right side than straight above the ladies bright knee pointing straight down.

And I gotta fly … so I’m sure that’s not purefict yet.

John Dutt says:

on September 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Here goes nuttin…

I struggled most with how did you get the outside sky so red. At first I thought a lens filter but there is no evidence of it in the interior of the room.

My guess is that you hung a bed sheet (or a silk)outside of the room window and shot an SB thru it (or into it) with a red gel. There would be a 2nd SB (placed low)with red gel outside the room shot toward the doorway. I also suspect there is some light hitting the “dick” in the face from a third snooted (or grided) SB with CTO since the light hits him in the face but stops at his upper chest.

Inside the room, there is an SB camera right with a Blue gel aimed slightly toward the wall behind the TV. There is another SB with blue gel pointed at the wall, low, between the window and the door.

There is an SB gelled w/ CTO camera upper right aimed down at the knee of the “dame.” This SB would be gobo’d to the right of the SB in order to keep the CTO from spilling into the room and onto her left knee.

The TV and lamp are natural light.

T Lofstrom says:

on September 17, 2009 at 11:08 pm

last or latest addition: the trigger is probably the CTB’d flash fired at the wall to the right, not an SU-800.
Just guessing.

Jon West says:

on September 17, 2009 at 11:19 pm

When do we get to find out the answer?

Shamik says:

on September 18, 2009 at 11:48 am

Yes..so when do we get the actual setup from Him?

michael says:

on September 20, 2009 at 2:31 pm

I agree with something similar to an earlier post, Michael Delazzer, except for the light coming in from the door and window.
A strange guess, but I am saying that light is coming from car headlights, gelled. My reason being that it is mystery light, so I’m thinking creatively.

Rich Scorer says:

on September 24, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Michael – great call
but i would say car brake lights thus would not need to be gelled just have a brick on the brake pedle.

michael says:

on September 26, 2009 at 2:17 pm

ok, makes sense, but would the taillights put out enough power to light that much? crank up the high beams on the headlights, then gel and he could be shooting at nice sharp f/22, for example. not sure the brake lights would crank out that power.
but at least you don’t think i’m crazy with the car idea!!!!! ha ha ha!!!

Anton says:

on December 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm

I agree with michael http://muz-time.ru/
Musical albums and collections in the good form

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