It’s Hard to Type with Paws

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 at 195mm f/8 ISO200 1/125 Second

What do I do when it storms too badly on the weekend to go out and I’m stuck indoors? Photograph stuff around the house, like Bo Bear here. Bridget wanted me to take a picture of him in his new red shirt that she bought for him at the Build a Bear store this past weekend. I figured, why not make it interesting and use a couple SB units to make a moody shot?

I placed two laptops on the coffee table in our living room, originally planning to make Bo look like a really busy, multi-tasking bear. The shot didn’t look right, so I just kept the second laptop out of the shot (to the left of the frame) and used it to bounce light towards the Bo from camera left. I gelled an SB-800 with a full CTO, attached a dome diffuser, and aimed it at the second laptop’s screen, which had a white piece of paper over it. This would act as a main light, set to TTL at -1/3EV. This main light is aimed at Bo Bear, but is also rotated to spill some light on the laptop he’s looking at, otherwise half of the frame would be a completely dark box.

Coming in high from camera left is a bare SB-900 zoomed to 200mm and set to manual (SU-4) at 1/128 power. The small kick of cooler light coming from the SB-900 puts a nice highlight to the upper rim of the laptop and also casts blue light on the left side of Bo Bear’s face, simulating the light that would come from the screen. The computer screen is active in this shot, but wasn’t putting out anywhere near enough light to create the effect. Both flashes were triggered via CLS using the D300s’ pop-up flash as a commander.

The rainy window behind Bo Bear and his laptop was actually throwing quite a bit of backlighting towards the camera because this shot was taken during the day time. I wanted more of a night-time, moody look to the shot, so I used a higher shutter speed to really underexpose the daylight in the background.

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