Shooting the Lamborghini Countach with a single $30 light source from Home Depot.
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I’m sort of an ironic minimalist when it comes to just about everything. I have more big expensive gizmos than I really care to, because sometimes I need all of them. But if I can get the same results by using less, I will. That gives me more time to spend getting an awesome shot instead of dragging gear around.
Here’s what I did with with two fluorescent lights from Home Depot.
My ingredients list:
Two 120V 30W Fluorescent bulbs
Two light sockets wired to a single plug
One stripbox (can be made out of cardboard, duct tape, and aluminum foil, or a long fluorescent lightbulb, covered on the back)
A dark warehouse
I put the two bulbs inside of the stripbox and taped off the back so no light would leak through. I used fluorescent lights instead of a strobe, because they’re significantly brighter than the strobe’s modeling lamp (for 1/25th of the price).
The camera was on a tripod, tethered to my Macbook Pro, and set to a 30-second exposure. I had an assistant trigger the shutter, and I flipped the light on and walked the it over the car, and then off, keeping the motion really smooth. Even though I walked in front of the car, I don’t show up in the image because I am total darkness to the camera. The camera only picks up what is illuminated. The motion is illustrated in my incredibly artistic drawing, below.
The trick here is to avoid shining any light from the source between the car and the camera. Imagine a line tracing from outline of the car back to the lens. The light source should never go inside of that line. It leaves a trail, and the editing process gets ugly if the light trail goes in front of the car.
I later edited out the trail with photoshop’s sample & clone tool, using nearby elements in the photo to cover it up. With this side shot, there’s not much of a light trail, so it was pretty easy to edit out.
Here’s the final image.
Photos and Article by: Paul Bostrom