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Thread: Firestarter & TDP Members!! Harshest C&C Requested!

  1. #1
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    Firestarter & TDP Members!! Harshest C&C Requested!



    Brief Overview of The Situation:


    I'm currently photo documenting a group of touring Tibetan Monks for a week as they complete the "Sacred Mandala" at a local Art Museum. A week long process of buddhist sand art creation, where upon completion, they will ceremoniously destroy it. The teaching that "Nothing last forever", and that we should "embrace the process, with less emphasis on lingering on to the product". Correct me if I'm misinterpreting, but that was the gist I got from their explanation of this ceremony.


    Photographing conditions:


    Overall very dim room (I'm shooting crop sensor)


    White High ceiling (at least 40ft '~12m") (Thus high ISO)


    The monks work space is about 10ft "~3m" from the closest white wall.


    Tibetan Monks are crouching down inches from the surface of the Mandala. (lots of shadows beneath them)


    Many times, they work covering all 4 sides of the board. (can't bounce off the side walls)


    I cannot get any closer than 5ft "~1.5m" from the edge of their working space. (not too high of a hurdle with 17-50mm and 70-200mm)


    There's a lot of other observers walking around it so studio light style setup is a no no.


    What I've tried so far:


    - ISO2000 (CanonEOS7D) with Bounce Flash from the ceiling (YN560@Full) with built in flash bounce card. CPL to reduce the glare off the board.


    [img]/resized-image.ashx/__size/600x0/__key/CommunityServer-Discussions-Components-Files/14/6283.11_2D00_14_2D00_10-Day-4-_2800_2_2900_.jpg[/img]


    [img]/resized-image.ashx/__size/600x0/__key/CommunityServer-Discussions-Components-Files/14/3632.11_2D00_14_2D00_10-Day-4-_2800_4_2900_.jpg[/img]


    [img]/resized-image.ashx/__size/600x0/__key/CommunityServer-Discussions-Components-Files/14/1321.11_2D00_14_2D00_10-Day-4-_2800_1_2900_.jpg[/img]


    My Own Critique:


    -When taking wide angle shots, the walls become overexposed due to the bounce card. However, without it, the monks become underexposed.


    -When taking close up shots, often times it is difficult to expose their faces just right because they are crouched over so far. Lots of shadows beneath them.


    -My general sense in composing the photos. It lacks that "pop" that makes one say "that's a GREAT image!".


    What I Want To Achieve:


    I still have time before they complete their Mandala, so I want to be able to create at least one captivating image.


    Any technical advice as well as compositional advice is highly demanded []

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mark Elberson's Avatar
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    Re: Firestarter & TDP Members!! Harshest C&C Requested!



    Based on the shooting conditions I think you put forth a good effort. Depending on what software you use to process you

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    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Re: Firestarter & TDP Members!! Harshest C&C Requested!



    Kinda of going on what Mark said, I think he is right about the room. After thinking about this, one thing that might make an interesting comp is to allow the monks and surrounding area to become a bit underexposed and direct your light just on the artwork---maybe with a homemade snoot on your flash. Since you have the triggers, You may even use an assistant to bring your flash in from a different direction and at a higher angle with reduced power. I think the dark "monestary" like mood might do this shot some real justice.


    Good luck, and I look forward to seeing the finished product.


    Bob
    Bob

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    Re: Firestarter & TDP Members!! Harshest C&C Requested!



    Interesting subject.


    Not sure I have much to offer but a few ideas and mine seem to be similar to the ones you have recieved already.


    How about the "Sacred Mandala" in focus and not the Monks. It seems your DOF and point of focus is more toward the monks and not what they are working on. If the Monks are OOF or under exposed it may pull your eye more toward the work. Take the bottom picture for example, if the Mandala was super sharp, and you croped the picture just a bit to have the head and portion of the body of each munk in the picture, the monks Might be slightly OOF.


    Try to keep the back ground clutter out of the picture as much as possible. The top photo gives it a local community center feel, and I know thats not what you are going for. Notice the pictures and metal chairs in the back ground, not what you would expect to see with a function like this. Along those lines if you keep the carpet out of the picture as well I think it helps. A higher angle might help with this, or even an lower angle positioned properly.


    If I were there with one of my tele's I would be trying to get a close up of the Monks tool they are using as it places sand.


    Can you get a tripod in? In Low light that might help you some. In my mind, I would invision that the monks do not move very fast while they are doing this. Some longer exposures might actualy work.


    Good Luck and we are waiting to see what you come up with.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dave Johnston's Avatar
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    Re: Firestarter & TDP Members!! Harshest C&C Requested!



    Very interesting subject.


    I am thinking that If I were there I would get at least one shot with me practically laying on the floor looking at the middle-ish of the mandala. Experimenting with some relatively shallow DOF get a shot with the point of the tools in focus with one monks face in the background of the picture OOF. or the other way around, just to experiment. Maybe even 1/4-1/2 CTO gelling a flash and zooming it all the way to 105 and shooting directly above the Mandala and getting as much under exposure of the background that you can from that. Somewhat like a spotlight shining down from the ceiling.


    If nothing else. The "SKY" shot from above the monks is a definite. Also, get lower. I think you will get a better angle.


    I am not sure if my ideas are coming out the way i am envisioning them. Just a little crazy advice. Hope you get what you are looking for from your time.


    Cheers,


    Dave.
    5D mark III, 50D, 17-40 f4L, 24-70 f2.8L, 70-200 f4L ​IS, 28 f1.8, 50 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 100 f2.8 Macro

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    Re: Firestarter & TDP Members!! Harshest C&C Requested!



    That

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    Re: Firestarter & TDP Members!! Harshest C&C Requested!



    @ Mark & Bob - I completely agree about the room and the clutters. Since I was just essentially nuking the whole room with light, I was concerned about the lit background in the frame as well. I love the Mandala selective lighting idea!! Two birds with one stone. I've got a grid I can use. Maybe burn in just a hint of ambient and vignette the outer edges. Thanks!! I'll try that today when I go back.


    @HDNitehark - The OOF idea was the first to go unfortunately. Would have been made a very interesting photo with the focused Mandala drawing the audience in. But from the angle I was shooting at (standing on a chair is as high as I got), with shallow DOF only a sliver of the length of the Mandala was in focus. So essentially the entire photo was OOF [:'(]


    There was a rare occasion where only one monk was working, so I managed to use the adjacent wall to bounce the flash for an up close and personal shot [] The low angle of light really adds definition to the sand so personally I really like this one.


    [img]/resized-image.ashx/__size/600x0/__key/CommunityServer-Discussions-Components-Files/14/2021.11_2D00_11_2D00_100005.jpg[/img]

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    Re: Firestarter & TDP Members!! Harshest C&C Requested!



    Quote Originally Posted by TakahiroW4047


    There was a rare occasion where only one monk was working, so I managed to use the adjacent wall to bounce the flash for an up close and personal shot [img]/emoticons/emotion-2.gif[/img] The low angle of light really adds definition to the sand so personally I really like this one.

    I like this one more then the first three.

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    Re: Firestarter & TDP Members!! Harshest C&C Requested!



    Quote Originally Posted by Colin500


    ...as long as it's not inappropriate to roll around on the floor hugging your 7D :-).


    Hahaha, well I've been there for several days now so I think they all got used to that one. They just step over me and go about their ways [:P]

  10. #10
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Re: Firestarter & TDP Members!! Harshest C&C Requested!



    Quote Originally Posted by HDNitehawk


    Quote Originally Posted by TakahiroW4047


    There was a rare occasion where only one monk was working, so I managed to use the adjacent wall to bounce the flash for an up close and personal shot [img]/emoticons/emotion-2.gif[/img] The low angle of light really adds definition to the sand so personally I really like this one.

    I like this one more then the first three.
    <div style="CLEAR: both"]</div>

    Agreed. Much better.

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