Q: Using a ring to form shadow of heart

Started Oct 22, 2012 | Questions thread
Barrie Davis
Barrie Davis Forum Pro • Posts: 21,460
Polariser (US - "polarizer")

tksi bxa wrote:

Thank you for viewing

I would like to ask a question regarding flash photos.

I've recently come across the concept of using a ring to create a heart shape. I find it quite fitting in the context with the bible. I would like to direct your attention to the photo below.

I am troubled by the reflection in the centre of the image. While I intended it to be blurry, i find the brightness in the centre unpleasant you cannot make out the detail. While having the flash at a different angle removes the reflection, the heart is subsequently distorted.

How would you position your flash / or alter your flash settings to minimise this effect?
Thank you


What you are seeing is reflected glare from the paper surface.

Unfortunately you cannot move the flash to remove the glare from the paper, because that will change the shape of the shadow. In other words, the specific angle of the flash to the surface is producing both effects, the one you want, and the one you DON'T..... (lighting effects are often like that!)

What you CAN do is is remove the glare from the paper with a polarising filter. This will not affect the shadow at all, but it will stop the glare. It will also reduce the total light entering the lens by just over a stop in the same way as an ND filter does.

The polariser's reflection subduing effect is variable from minimum to maximum, and this is adjusted by rotation of the filter in its special mount. Be aware that the polarising effect cannot be seen with a hand flash until AFTER the picture is taken...

.... so you will need to do some careful tests.....

..... and then put a dot of something (nail polish?) on the rim of the pola to allow you to orientate it at the right angle previous to shooting.... say, place the dot at 12 o'clock for viewing over the camera...

.... and then be careful to hold the camera nice and level at the point of shooting in order to maintain that preset orientation.

If you do not already possess a polariser, buy a high grade filter with multi-coating of the kind known as a "circular" polariser. Hoya make a nice one using a new kind of pola film that absorbs rather less of the light than other filters. This "high transparency" kind of filter is definately worth seeking out.

Final points:-

Be aware that the glare on the paper is entirely natural, given the angle of the light. For this reason you may wish to moderate the degree to which the bright reflection is subdued. As it is, the highlight does accentuate the curve of the stack of pages, which in turn enhances the sense that it is a big fat [important] book.

I also feel the present highlight would be a rather more natural looking if your sepia treatment didn't veil the highlights quite so much...[??]

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"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no /ORDINARY/ time travellers!"

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