Jump to content
CGreathe

Ideal length arms for camera set up?

Recommended Posts

I use a two 16" Big Blue arms on each side and shoot mostly wide angle. The main point of having long arms is to bring out texture and shadows to add depth in your image and not as much about light coverage. Most people with little arms and wide angle will have flat lighting and won't look as good. For macro the arms can be shorter since the subject will be close and the lights won't need to be out as far to produce the same results. I wouldn't look at arm length for coverage vs effect on shadows. I almost always set up my left strobe as my key light and fill in the shadows with the right. The fill light should be set lower just enough to fill the shadows to keep the 3D look. I they are both set at the same power setting and angled the same way everything will look flat and 2D.

 

Macro can get away with small arms since the distance is closer and lights won't need to be out as far to skim the light for maximum shadow effect.

 

If you're in pitch black and you have a flashlight next to your head while pointing it at an egg it will look flat like a piece of paper. As you bring the light further out, the shape of the egg will start to show and go from looking 2D to 3D. I adjust strobe position and angle for every single shot to bring out the most texture and flattering light.

 

Light concepts are the same out of water as they are in the water and you'll never see a professional photographer with the light source so close to the lens.

 

Here are a couple examples of what I'm talking about. The wide arms bring out the texture in the rocks and reef. If they were closer it would look flat and less impactful. The image of the reef couldn't be done with shorter arms. I needed the arm out as far as possible on the left to create the depth in the reef and used the right strobe primarily at the two fish to isolate and make them pop from the the background.

 

Interesting counterpoint. Longer arms will certainly allow you to shape the shadows more for wide angle photography.

 

Just my personal opinion, but I think both those images would have looked better with flat front lighting. For the diver image, the shadows cast by the mask with wide strobe positioning are unflattering to the guy's face, if he's the subject of the shot. For the reef scene, natural light underwater tends to be quite diffuse and doesn't produce strong shadows. Having the two fish under an overhang lit brighter than their surroundings looks anything but natural to me. All personal opinions and taste, though! It's always good to see people experimenting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Interesting counterpoint. Longer arms will certainly allow you to shape the shadows more for wide angle photography.

 

Just my personal opinion, but I think both those images would have looked better with flat front lighting. For the diver image, the shadows cast by the mask with wide strobe positioning are unflattering to the guy's face, if he's the subject of the shot. For the reef scene, natural light underwater tends to be quite diffuse and doesn't produce strong shadows. Having the two fish under an overhang lit brighter than their surroundings looks anything but natural to me. All personal opinions and taste, though! It's always good to see people experimenting.

I have no intention of making my images look like natural light. I even use artificial light when I'm doing landscape in nature. I want something lit in a way that would never happen in reality to show the world something they would never see otherwise. I want dramatic low key lighting and personally would never do flat even light.

 

The images are supposed to draw you in and force the perspective while a flat light wouldn't be flattering to the image given the environment. If I was doing a fashion shoot then I would light it completely different, although it still wouldn't be flat but more subtle and smooth. It actually makes me happy that you don't think it looks natural since that wasn't what I wanted at all. I realize natural lighting underwater is diffused and more flat but that wasn't what I wanted. The fish were my primary subject in the image and that was the best way to make them stand out. If it was flat, nothing would separate them from the background and the viewers eyes would wander around the image and not have a point of focus. It's funny how most professional commercial lighting on land is lit the way I did with the fish but as soon as it's taken underwater everyone wants to light things with even lighting rather than precise angles and positions to highlight the subject. You rarely see natural lighting for a photo shoot designed for a magazine since we can artificially make the light better than it would be naturally so why would we avoid this underwater? Having the shadow on the side of his head darkens that area and keeps the viewers eyes towards the primary subject in this image which are his eyes and the front of his face. If his head was flat and even, you wouldn't be pulled subconsciously towards the eyes and be prevented from connecting with the person as much.

 

Ever since I was a baby there has been a darkroom in my families house and I remember going on hikes with my father and his 8x10 Deardorf view camera which he has since gifted to me. At this point it's not as much an experiment as my intended style. In the house I grew up in Ansel Adams was considered to just be average while Edward Weston and William Mortensen were who I looked at for inspiration.

 

I do appreciate your comments and how it's your opinion rather than what's right or wrong. A photograph is like a painting, every artist sees and paints an image differently but that doesn't mean it's always right or wrong but rather different and I appreciate you taking the time to let me know your opinion as I take everything I hear into consideration, even if they just picked up a camera for the first time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

+1 for really long arms. Even for macro, where the long arms enable to get behind the subject for back lighing and damatic shadows and depth.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info Tim! Do you have an idea as to how many floats I will need? Olympus TG5 with Olympus housing, kraken 3500+ light on the cold shoe, and then double D2J strobes, 8+5 arms.

The TG-4 housing is neutral, assume the TG-5 is the same, then you've got two S&S at 40 gr each (UW weight) arms, trays & clamps and your Kraken light which is reported to be 250 gr in water. I would guess you'd be somewhere in the range of 0.5 - 1.0 kg negative. so not too many floats - just be careful not to make the rig positive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...