Practicing Scales in C# Major

I’ve done a lot with my strobes (that’s flash for the rest of you) since my last post. It has involved reading a lot and taking a lot of somewhat boring photos. It all starts with David Hobby’s website and his insidiously addictive Lighting 102 assignments.

The latest assignment is to learn to cross balance and sculpt. This little assignment of his has had me tinkering each weekend, all weekend, with lights, cameras, and action boring stuff that would sit still for me. This is all experimental and somewhat like classical musician practicing their scales.

When I was studying oboe in Boston with Ralph Gomberg, he would always have us warm up with a C# Major scale. This was true for me in the early 1980’s and also true for my husband when he studied with Mr. Gomberg 20 years earlier. The C# Major scale has become our standard metaphor for practicing. All we need to say around our house is the phrase “C# Major”.

I’m trying to keep the main blog filled with only my best images. Please jump to the full post to hear me

(click through any of the images for more information)

First there were trains (there is always trains):
The setup

Welcome Aboard Setup

and the final shot

Welcome Aboard

Then experiments with fill during a Ventura photowalk

Before Fill After Fill
0801-VCPhotowalk-IMG_1842-Edit.jpg Father Junipero Serra
Before Fill After Fill
0801-VCPhotowalk-IMG_1943.jpg Father at the Santa Barbara Mission

The next subject was boxes when some more lighting equipment arrived.

Bounce ony

Using only bounce flash off the ceiling, a very flat and evenly lit scene. Notice the reflection on the lens of the flash in the box.

Snoot only

Using only a snooted flash pointing into the box, adding highlights and shadows. Notice the difference in the reflection on the lens of the flash in the box.

And the final shot using both strobes


It takes me forever awhile to figure out the lighting on each of these but it is kind of like practicing your scales.


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