This is Part 4 in a series. Click here for parts [1][2], & [3]

The rest of the week went fantastically well, and culminated in a closing dinner and group photo. The dinner was being held at the Cultural Museum, which featured a grand spiral staircase rising up three levels. Great place for the group portrait! I scouted and naturally the lights were off and there was very little existing light coming in. I asked the museum to turn on the lights, and they refused. I don’t take no for an answer very well, so I eventually found the person to find the person to get a better answer. Sadly the downstairs area was under renovation, so there were many burned-out light bulbs in the room. Great! OK, so 60+ people to light, and one flash to do it in. No problem.

I mounted the camera on my Calumet Studio Clamp with a Manfrotto Ball Head (great combination; check the Gear Bag page for more info) to the rail of the stairs, and positioned everyone up the spiral and across the top balcony. It was a squeeze, but we got everyone in. I struggled with the lighting a bit and finally ended up firing into a spread-out Honl Speed Snoot 8, flash mounted on-camera and tilted back. I put the camera on an interval timer, shooting a frame every 5 seconds, and dashed up the stairs to be included in the photo.

A few test shots to see the progress first. Initial test shot, no flash. ISO 3200 and 1/6s, so obviously no good for a group portrait. Building looks nice though.

No flash. Nice even light, but this is at ISO 3200, f/6.3 and 1/6s. Not ideal for the group portrait. Too grainy and too long of an exposure, so that’s not gonna work.So let’s see what a flash looks like. Just one, ‘cause that’s all I got!

Well that’s just gross. Hitting the front and the back has gone black. Yippee. Need more lights. Or a bigger one.So that clearly isn’t going to work. Running out of options here. I need a really big diffuser and a really big light. But that ain’t gonna happen. I do however have a little Honl Snoot that spreads out if you angle it just-so. Maybe if I spread that out and crank up the light, I can get something out of it.

Now we’re getting somehwere. The Honl Photo Speed Snoot which doubles as a reflector. A little better angle and dial in the right exposure and we’ll be set!That’s the ticket! A little more tweaking and tilting and adjusting the output, and before you know it, I got this:

ADE Group Portrait, Apple ADE 2010 Conference SingaporeJust a tiny bit of dodge & burn to even out the light from front to back was needed here, and there we go! Not a bad group portrait for one light. OK this isn’t going to win me any awards, but but frankly I’m impressed at how this came out. Not too bad for one light and 60+ hungry students quite literally staring down at me to hurry up. No sweat, nope.

ADE attendee “Billy” was kind enough to send these along, of yours truly sweating at the bottom of the stairs trying to get the shot. On the bottom one, you can kinda see the Honl snoot spread out diffusor-style. Not exactly a big light source… but it worked!

And finally, a parting shot… our fabulous hosts Maxx and Rebecca, cuttin’ a rug on the way out the door.

Maxx and Rebecca, on the way out.

This is Part 4 in a series. Click here for parts [1][2], & [3]