The Art And Science Of Lighting For Photography – Tony McMaster, LRPS

On Wednesday 27th November 2019, Dunchurch Photographic Society was treated to an in-depth presentation by one of its members, namely Tony McMaster. The evening was all about demonstrating the art and science of lighting for photography and showing how different lighting media can have an effect on the image captured. 

In the first half of the evening, Tony introduced members to the equipment to be used. This included lighting (duh!), a camera mounted on a tripod, a computer/monitor set up that was ‘tethered’ to the camera for image display with a link to a projector for the audience to see and, finally, a wonderful mannequin model that would form the subject of the evening’s photography. 

Using one static mannequin for the duration of the evening meant that a consistent base of photographic images taken with different lighting setups could be more easily compared. 

It became abundantly clear that Tony is a subject expert in the field of lighting for photography, providing the audience with a very well-prepared presentation which was clear in structure and purpose, with an equally well put together sequence of practical demonstrations of technique. 

The first half saw Tony give an overview of lighting and how camera lenses make an important element to a photograph being captured. The key element here being ‘aperture’ and the various ‘stops’ that lenses have that all influence how a photograph is captured in the camera. The audience were easily able to see the impact of ‘aperture’ and ‘depth of field’ as the ‘F-stop’ on the lens being used was taken through its range. 

The premise being that, the higher the F-stop setting, the sharper the whole image would be. The trade off being the more light required to adequately capture the image (at least I think that is correct!). 

Tony also demonstrated the inverse square rule allowing the audience to see how each light being used, when placed at different distances from the subject, could result in virtually an identical image of the subject being captured with careful balance of power for the light concerned, the F-stop and the shutter speed. Tony had marked on the floor key distances from the subject to give a pretty accurate and consistent demonstration of the inverse square rule. 

After the customary tea break (thanks to Liz and Adrian), Tony continued his presentation. In the second half, he introduced the audience to more effects that can be used to control lighting, specifically when there is a need to spread the beam of light from its source, and the impact of focussing the light more tightly. Several techniques were demonstrated, including the use of a ‘soft box’ to help diffuse the light being generated by the modelling light when in use, or the flash. 

Tony’s overall presentation was quite interactive with regular pauses for questions and answers along with further demonstrations using the various lights. The large display on the screen enabled the audience to witness the images being captured and the variances in them as the lighting sources were changed. 

It was a very interesting presentation. The demonstration of the techniques and science being discussed using real equipment and within a ‘live workshop’ environment really did help the audience to understand the subject more readily. I took the accompanying photographs of the evening using an iPhone 6. 

Well done Tony! The preparation and work involved in putting your presentation together should not be underestimated. We look forward to the follow up session at the Barby Moorings studio in the New Year. Fantastic stuff! 

Report compiled by David J. Bray (Chairman). 

An Introduction to Infrared Photography

On Wednesday 2nd October 2019, Dunchurch Photographic Society welcomed Tony Winfield all the way from Stafford for an entertaining presentation about infrared photography. The meeting was well attended by members, no doubt eager to learn more about this niche element of camera ‘magic’ and see the outstanding results that can be achieved.

During the first half of the talk Tony set the scene with an explanation of what infrared actually is and the science behind it. In its simplest terms infrared is not something we can normally see; indeed, it exists beyond the range of the visible light spectrum. Tony took time to explain what makes up an infrared image, and described an array of styles in post processing to generate a plethora of different effects. 

Some of the effects are psychedelic, certainly different from the mainstream, whereas other outputs from infrared are much more conservative and familiar to us in terms of monochrome, albeit with a significantly different look. One notable difference from ordinary monochrome is the amount of additional detail captured by the camera when taking infrared images, which is particularly noticeable on certain types of building (castles for example) and cloud formations. 

Tony also explained what sort of camera is required to capture infrared images. This, perhaps surprisingly, can be almost any type of camera, although there needs to be a conversion made to standard DSLRs or compacts to make infrared photography possible. 

Society members were not shy in coming forward with questions and this helped make the first half more interactive than a simple theoretical lesson or lecture. 

In the second half Tony showed off a wonderful selection of images that he had produced using infrared media, showcasing a wide variety of locations and subjects. The running theme in all of these images was the enhanced detail being afforded by shooting images in infrared. 

Whilst true that some infrared results can be challenging on the eye, especially those with more psychedelic processing treatments or colour channel swaps, I am sure that everyone in the audience found images that they could enjoy and appreciate. Some of the detail was really quite eye-opening. 

The evening closed with an audio-visual musical sequence showcasing more of Tony Winfield’s work and there was a further opportunity for questions and answers. 

In summary, this was a good learning opportunity for Society members, with stunning images on show, all indicating how accessible it is to obtain a different look to our work. 

Many thanks to Tony.

Report compiled by David J. Bray (Chairman). 

President’s Summer Strolls

This summer’s programme of ‘strolls’, organised by our Society President, will be as follows.

Wednesday 15th May – Braunston (Meet at Braunston Marina – see Events for location.)

Wednesday 19th June – Wolston

Wednesday 17th July – Brinklow

Wednesday 21st August – Ashby St Ledgers

The strolls all start at 7.30pm and repair to a nearby hostelry at 9.00pm.