Thursday, March 2, 2017

Photo Idea, How To Shoot Stills At Night In The Dump

Sometimes working in video and stills will give you combined ideas. I shot a bit of film last trip on 120mm with flash at night using the Plaubel Makina 67. I stopped doing that after one night because of all the problems I was having focusing the camera. Working in complete darkness and trying to photograph moving subjects using a medium format camera was daunting! I thought I was probably getting more shots out of focus than in so did not want to waste my limited Tri-x 120mm film.

Today as I was scanning the images that were in focus and that I did like, I thought of a new plan. Last time out I used a small flash light attached to the camera with velcro but it did not provide enough light and was all over the place with direction of light to be effective. I thought today why not use  one of my large video lights? The idea would be to shoot with flash on the Makina to get a Lewis Hine look, a documentary subject shot in harsh directional light. To get that shot in focus I would also somehow mount a large video light to the side of the camera, allowing for proper focusing.

Flash helps create a surreal, desperate atmosphere that works very well visually as a story aid. Check out the famous Lewis Hine image below.

Note* As a side bonus it will probably help the families in the dump find things easier. They just have headlamps but my shooting alongside them would provide much more light for their work, as well as mine.

Update* I might also want to try to do this with my Banarama camera (adapted 4x5 Polaroid made by Dean Jones).

Dog in garbage at night, shot with flash and Plaubel Makina 67, Mae Sot dump Thailand 2016
Out of focus, night shot in the dump, Mae Sot Thailand 2016
Here is one of the greatest documentary photographs of all time, done with flash (powdered) by Lewis Hine on Ellis Island.

Italian immigrants at Ellis Island, New York USA 1905 by Lewis Hine