Lockdown chess

As the unspeakable (because it is spoken too much) virus keeps everyone at home, I’ve been able to approach the camera again.

See, for the last year or so, I’ve been heavily involved in local musical theatre as a lighting designer and lighting technician. So all energies and more importantly, time, has been channeled that way.

So now with the lock down/stay at home orders, theatre entertainment has been postponed. The uptick is I can now dust off the camera, and find…no…rediscover, that creative outlet.

I was stuck though, as to where to start. An inspiration. And that led me to watch Zack Arias’ video, “Inspiration is for Amateurs“, and subsequently, one of his “behind the scenes” shoot videos. The crux of the first video, is that waiting for inspiration is a waste of time. Go out and shoot. Do something. Anything. The more you do, the more ideas come up. After watching the second video – which is just his approach to shooting a personal project, I was inspired. To do something. Being a lighting designer in theatre, I dug out my strobe lights, chess pieces and board, and tried to do….something. I tried different angles, lighting angles and gel colours.

It didn’t really work out as I’d hoped. But, true to Mr. Arias, I did a bunch of stuff that didn’t work, and as I was kind of giving up, I saw something, and started new shots, and came out with…something! Not great, but my eye was starting to see things.

While other experiments failed, this came out of it. Strobe light camera right at low level creating interesting shadows.

Further, I left everything in the room and did something else. As I was walking by it, the afternoon light gave me the next idea. I grabbed a different camera and shot a few more frames.

Low angle focused front light.
Same angle, changed shutter speed and focus to get silhouettes.

So, while I spent a couple hours on the “prime” ideas, I got the best pictures after. In the end, either way, I’m happy with what I got.

The first photo was shot with a Fuji X-T1 with a 16-55 f2.8 lens, with a Fuji EF-42 flash on the camera in manual mode at low power bouncing off the ceiling. The second flash is a Nikon SB-900 in slave mode, triggered by the EF-42, also in manual mode to dial in specific power and zoom level.

The other two were taken with a Fuji X-100T, only with the light from the window.