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Old Aug 6, 2009, 9:21 AM   #1
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Default The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy

The Umbrella Light (Brolly) Controversy

I never would have expected that sharing my "GENERALIST" view of a lighting technique could cause such a stir. In fact it was based on a personal preference only and was NOT written for any other reason but to challenge you to think about the why and how one might consider the tool they wish to employ for a certain effect.

Now in reading many of the responses to my essay, it seems that I could perhaps give greater clarification to what I stated.

When ever there are adverts for lighting kits, they are generally shown sold with a soft box and an umbrella or two. So I can understand where the "Got it with the kit. May as well use it..." conditioning comes from. Personally, I find that rather unfortunate,as this inadvertently sets up a mind set about what studio lighting is and in my opinion falsely represents. I would prefer if flash heads, continuous lighting kits and mono blocks were just sold as is and the client could then be informed of the optional accessories available and what they can produce as a result of using them.

An umbrella is in fact a very interesting utility if understood and applied creatively. Like all light modifiers, they create an ambiance that is unique to the manner it diffuses light. I recently saw an illustration that made me laugh. It was showing how to set up an umbrella and the distance from the light source. It showed the light source close to the center of the umbrella with a "No No" sign next to it and then another far from the center of the light source with another "No No" sign next to it. Finally hey showed what they considered the proper placement of the light source within the umbrella. That was a "Yes Yes" sign. All of that is utter nonsense, as there is NO proper placement. It all depends on how concentrated the light source you want will be.

Lighting is a very complex art form and to master it takes several life times in my opinion. There are absolutely "ZERO" rules about how to light and what is correct or incorrect. If what you are attempting to do or NOT works out as desired or as a pleasant surprise, that is what it is all about. Hopefully you will have logged how you attained that pleasant mistake, so that you can replicate it again.

What is more important than the umbrella, light-box, snoot, bowl, opalite, kino light etc., is the capturing of an image that is poignant, powerful and meaningful. The tool you captured it with is meaningless if what you captured leaves a lasting impression on those viewing it.

http://www.benjaminkanarekblog.com/?p=1135
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Old Aug 7, 2009, 9:17 PM   #2
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Default In defense of umbrellas

While I understand your point, I also understand the need for umbrellas and softboxes, particularly in portraits. Most clients who come in to a studio to sit for portraits, are not looking for artistry, or mood lighting. They want conventional portraits with even lighting which also flatters their features. (figure the odds for some clients) Art, it ain't, but it is what pays the bills. Mom and Dad want to see the kids' faces at various stages of their lives, and not dark, grainy shadows.

brian
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Old Aug 19, 2009, 4:45 AM   #3
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Default Had to fill up your blog?

I found a completely different take on umbrellas and other light modifying techniques…

“An umbrella is in fact a very interesting utility if understood and applied creatively. Like all light modifiers, they create an ambiance that is unique to the manner it diffuses light.

… there is NO proper placement. It all depends on how concentrated the light source you want will be.

There are absolutely "ZERO" rules about how to light and what is correct or incorrect. If what you are attempting to do or NOT works out as desired or as a pleasant surprise, that is what it is all about.

What is more important than the umbrella,… etc., is the capturing of an image that is poignant, powerful and meaningful. The tool you captured it with is meaningless if what you captured leaves a lasting impression on those viewing it.”

OOPs – those are Ben's words.

Africa

Last edited by Africa; Aug 20, 2009 at 5:35 PM. Reason: grammar
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