Ed McGowan’s Viridian

Ed McGowan - Viridian

Viridian © 2012 Ed McGowan

A designer by trade, Ed McGowan picked up his studio’s DSLR in 2008 and has been hooked ever since. His delicately composed shots lie right at the intersection between design and photography. Below, his account of Viridian.

The idea for this portrait came the day before when some co-workers and I were exploring a little creek down the road. The creek itself was not too impressive, but I started to think of ways to disguise and transform it with the use of some clever photography. One of the ways was to use short DOF by shooting a wider aperture. The issue with shooting wide apertures is it tends to let in too much light. To counter this I used a ND filter. Since I knew we would be shooting in the later afternoon and the sun would be at the subjects back, I decided to use off-camera lighting to light the subject.

Ed McGowan - Setup

© 2012 Ed McGowan

Because of the location, and I knew we would be standing in water, I decided to go with battery operated flashes. I knew one wasn’t going to be enough so I used a tri-flash adapter I recently purchased to combine three flashes onto one monopod. Instead of using three separate PocketWizards to trigger the flashes, I used one PocketWizard Plus® II with an adapter that would allow me to plug all three mini jacks into one. The only thing left to do on the day was to adjust the flash level and balance that with the shutter to allow enough ambient light so the background would not be overpowered. This was done with a longer shutter speed (1/60th).

Ed McGowan - Lighting Diagram

© 2012 Ed McGowan

In all, I used a Nikon D3 and 3 Nikon flashes in a 46” Photok Softlighter all trigged with PocketWizard Plus II’s.

Watch the video above for a behind-the-scenes look at the shoot and see more of Ed’s work on the PlainJoe Photo Blog and on flickr.


All images and video in this post are used with permission and ©Ed McGowan, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.

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3 Responses to “Ed McGowan’s Viridian”

  1. Lynnette says:

    I would like to see a before and after portrait. That is one without the flashes just natural light and one with the flashes and umbrellas. I will be making the plunge one day and buy flashes and other light sources but I am currently in the research phase. So, you may not have a before and after shot of this portrait but next time around please consider it.
    Thank you.