Styling: Damien Lovegrove
Photography: Damien Lovegrove
Event: A one day lighting workshop by Lovegrove Adventures
Location Scout and fixer: Keren Bisaz, Fribourg, Switzerland
Lighting Kit: Battery powered Lupolux Superpanel Dual Colour 30
Camera Kit: Fujifilm GFX50s, GF 32-64, and GF 100mm lenses
Smoke Machine: Scotty ll battery powered unit from Germany
Our first location on the day was an empty cave near Fribourg. Keren had done a location recce and secured the necessary permissions for us to shoot there. The day before the workshop Keren and I visited the cave system to come up with a plan. We ascertained the lights, styling and equipment that we needed for the workshop the following day.
1. Left: A puff of smoke from the Scotty ll certainly added to the amazing ambience in the cave. Misha was close to the window and was rim lit with the battery powered Lupo Superpanel from the right. Right: Misha was further away from the window for this low angle shot showing the rugged roof of the cave. I lit Misha from the left to simulate the light coming from the windows.
2. Incarcerated. The contrast in the caves creates it’s own problems. A puff of smoke from the Scotty ll just lifts the shadows on the right and the Lupo Superpanel dual colour 30 provides the kick light from out of shot on the right hand side. Keeping the light off the wall behind Misha requires careful feathering.
3. Changing lenses to the GF110mm gives a different balance between subject and surroundings. There is less narrative and more beauty.
4. Although the caves have been here hundreds of years the cracks in the sandstone cliff needed careful checking out before we shot in them. Top: This pale cream dress went really well with the sandstone hues. Misha was lit with the Lupo from the right of camera. GF 32-64mm lens at f/4 Bottom: Switching to the GF 110mm lens gave me the chance to shoot some closer portraits.
5. The carvings in the cave really add to the atmosphere. Misha is lit by the Lupo rigged to the left of the camera. The light direction has been cheated round from the window position and elevated to create a more pleasing lighting angle on Misha yet to the casual viewer the light appears to come from the window just out of shot.
6. I love to shoot through doorways into a more distant space. My lighting training at the BBC suggested that it is better to light a distant room one stop brighter than the one that the camera is in. This effect gives depth to an image. I didn’t quite achieve that here because I had just one light with me but if I had another light it would have been used to ‘lift’ the light level in the far room. The hint of light striking Misha from the left of camera is from a window and the light from the right is from the Lupo. The gold dress was made by Molly Mishi May in Bristol and the headpiece was made by Maus Heynes in Maidstone.
7. Both: Using light in a high contrast, dark location like this can deliver fabulous results. I opted to use continuous light because getting flash low enough in power can be a challenge at times and it is easier to do a visual balance of the lighting with the Lupo. What you see is what you get. The lights do require careful placement and feathering though.
8. Top: The day after the workshop, Keren, Misha and I returned to the cave to shoot some nudes. I wanted to take this photograph for a forthcoming book and for some life drawing practice. Bottom Left: Last week I started sketching again and this was one of my first attempts after a break of 42 years. When I’ve mastered my shading techniques I’ll attempt to do a decent A3 sketch including the skirt and background. Fabric is really a challenging subject for me to recreate in white charcoal and chalk. Bottom Right: I love the depth in the cave system and the play of light on Misha’s body. Misha is lit once again with the Lupo. It was set in a way to simulate the light from a window that doesn’t exist.
9. All: After lunch we shot in the grounds of an empty mansion nearby. These shots were taken in the entrance to the pool house using the fabulous GF 110mm lens.
All my love and thanks go to Keren for helping me put together this workshop and to Misha for being fabulous once again. If you want to experience a Lovegrove Workshop I have all the information that you need here.