Thursday, 15 October 2009

Science IS fun!

I was recently commissioned to photograph the opening of the Young Science centre at the Royal Institute in London.

Now as you can see it looked like it was an awful lot of fun and indeed it was.

Just look at the faces of the kids!

It was another reminder to me of just how vital it is to get the first response, expression or emotion when you have set up a shot, keep the subject hanging around and take the picture again and again and again and it does wear thin, they get a frozen expression, no matter how good one is at direction, so the shots you see here are, needless to say amongst the very first frames shot, I'm not quite sure what the 'foamy' experiment was, but it did involve liquid nitrogen.
And of course we have the photographers trusty favourite the Vandergraph generator, which is an electro static charge

Now for the lighting.....

The Young Science at the Royal Institute is a great facility but the room is, from a photographers lighting point a bit ordinary, we have all been there before haven't we? relatively low ceiling with fluorescent lighting great for experiments and education but a bit bland for the likes of 'us'

So to add a bit of drama and excitement I gelled up an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra with red and blue gels to give a groovy mauve background, placed the backlight behind the pillar to conceal it, this time using a Speedlight zoomed to 80mm (ish), and then of course the lighting the girl an Elinchrom Ranger with a Chimera Medium softbox all triggered with pocket wizards

Try as one may it is impossible to lose the reflection with retouching but I decided to embrace it, and ended up quite liking it

I used a very similar lighting setup on the bubbles pic but i had to use lower output on the gelled light at a slightly different angle, as it was spilling onto the kids in the background

My blog has been a bit thin of late. I have had quite a lot going on in my life but normal service has now been resumed, whatever normal is?


saperboy said...

nice choice of coloured gel

Stu said...

It's all about the expression! Great work!

Drew Gardner said...

Hi Guys

Thank you very much, gels are a mixed blessing, they can lend a sense of drama to a seemingly staid situation (look at the way TV production companies use them to 'bathe' the audience in blue light)
But it is possible to over do them

And yes, expression is all



Markus said...

Hi Drew

After your talk last year at Phocus here in Cambridge I follow your blog and your work.

Love this kind of work and yes, science is fun. I am a scientist myself and recently did some similar stuff in our labs.

I hear people either hate this kind of artificial sciency look (coloured gels) or they love it. The general public I think enjoys the gelled pictures - they just don't know that a scientist doesn't work under blue/pink/magenta light all day :)

Keep up your amazing work!

All the best,

Charles Verghese said...

Hiya Drew!

Love the pix...esp the Vandergraph one. The kid seems to be genuinely having fun and being amazed at the same time!

Hope to see you back in Dubai for the next GPP event.


Frozen Forever Photography said...

I really love your work Drew. I need to play with gels more often. Keep up the good work.


Declan said...

sweet work drew .... as a science teacher I had seen these photos a few weeks ago and thought to myself "that guy knows how to shoot science"

Really nice to see them pop up again on your blog. Wish I could share some of my efforts along similar lines but you know how it is with pics of kids these days :/

Drew Gardner said...

Thank you Guys!

Do check out Marcus's link, he went down the blue gel route....very good stuff

Tragedy about kids and permissions...a sad sign of the times indeed

Charles, it would be great to see you at GPP but as yet I have not been confirmed in the line up......



Dusan Smolnikar said...

The photos look great and the expressions so real. Where can we see more of these?

Iden Pierce Ford said...

The simplicity of it all shows off your genius.
Key light, back light, background light and a dynamic subject.
I love what you do and try to remind myself not to complicate things when shooting.
Thanks for sharing

Drew Gardner said...

Thank you very Much Iden,

When I tell interested photographers how I light even some of my more complex set ups in very simple ways, they often seem underwhelmed, disappointed even.But most of my work is simple, childs play even.It is all about getting off our backsides and applying ourselves, creating, not some big obsession with the greatest and best equipment



gothicimage said...

Love the Van der Graaf shot, and you're in danger of becoming a closet strobist, Drew! :-)

Drew Gardner said...

Oh Andy!

Busted! Bloody good closet to be in though

Hope you are shooting lots of your usual great stuff



gothicimage said...

Yes indeed Drew, just been running round Savernake Forest trying to catch the last of the Autumn colours. Need to have something new for Focus next year! :-)