Flashing the Headless Horseman at Night in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

© Matt Hill

© Matt Hill

On June 23, I was fortunate to be invited back to teach flash lighting to Lance Keimig‘s workshop, “Finding Your Way in the Dark” at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. I’ve done this for a few years now and I enjoy showing fresh minds the possibilities when using multiple off-camera flashes combined with light painting and long exposures at night. Here is one setup for you and you can read the rest at MattHillArt.com.

Our first setup tried to take advantage of the rising full moon and open sky. Unfortunately, the clouds were not really cooperating (but it wasn’t raining!).

The white balance was set to Flash to match the three strobes we had trained on the horse and rider. The orange glow was from NYC and White Plains light pollution – we were facing east/southeast. If we had gelled the lights with a CTO, then we could have set the white balance to Tungsten and made the skies a little more blue. But it was fitting when shooting a Headless Horseman in the cemetery of ill-repute (but I must say quite lovely at night), to have this somewhat garish orange sky.

Sometimes, there were planes in the sky. This one almost looks like a light saber. It is a little too sci-fi for this aged tale, but I like it anyway.

© Matt Hill

© Matt Hill

I prefer black and white for night photography, so here is my final pick. The color version is for illustration.

© Matt Hill

© Matt Hill

Below is a lighting diagram for this setup. There were FIVE light sources:

  • Ambient
  • Profoto AcuteB with Magnum Reflector and 10-degree grid
  • Nikon SB-900
  • Vivitar 283
  • Tungsten Flashlight

I scrawled out the measured light readings for you, too. I used my trusty Sekonic L-758DR with PocketWizard Transmitter inside to walk the scene and trigger the PocketWizard Plus III radios on every flash. I used Quad-Zone Triggering to set each on a separate zone so we could trigger different variants of the scene without having to hustle over to each light and turn it on/off.

I had one Plus III on my Nikon D700, and Lance would count down so that everyone got to open their shutters, then I would release mine so everyone got the flash in their 3-second exposure. I also carried a Plus III in my hand for those times when I went out to make minor adjustments and could trigger the flash for everyone from anyplace in the scene.

lighting-diagram-01

© Matt Hill

I have even more examples and a second setup, complete with lighting diagram over at MattHillArt.com. Check  it out!

And drop by Lance Keimig’s website for more of his workshops and a fantastic film. I also highly recommend that if you want to learn more about the craft and history of Night Photography that you pick up a copy of his incredible book, “Night Photography: Finding Your Way In The Dark.”

 

 

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