Objects of My Reflection

After getting my nails done and picking up lunch, I decided to play outside with my new light reflector for a little while to see how it could help me in natural light:

Photo Feb 28, 8 27 06 PM
The hardest part of using this thing is getting it back into its bag.

The first time I took it out of its carrying case Friday night, it uncoiled and popped me in the face. It was not an auspicious beginning. However, upon taking it outside and playing around with the different surfaces, I discovered it was pretty easy to use. The reflector has five different colors – black to block harsh light, white to lightly reflect it onto the subject, silver for stronger cool light, gold for warm light, and translucent to soften it; the reflector itself is translucent, and there is a reversible cover that zips over it, with two colors per side. The only downsides to this one are that it’s difficult to maneuver without assistance, and the gold surface is on the same side as the white one. I’d much rather have the silver and white on the same side as those are the two I will use most frequently; as it is I have to unzip the cover and flip it over every time I want to switch from silver to white. Since this one was only $17, I may just buy another one that only has white and silver to make that easier. Can’t hurt to have two anyway.

Instead of going into the backyard and shooting in front of the same old plant, I took the camera (with my new 50mm lens attached) into our atrium and shot against the brick wall there. I know, I really jazzed things up this time, didn’t I? And true to my resolution in yesterday’s post, I didn’t get all dolled up for reflector testing; I just went outside in my plain old clothes with my plain old face and my plain old hair. For most of the shots I didn’t even remove my glasses. It felt weird, but it sure was easy.

In this first collage, I took a portrait with no reflectors for the left panel. Then on the ride side, I am holding the translucent surface over my head, to soften and direct the sunlight. The atrium is pretty shaded and although it was blue and sunny outside there were a lot of clouds passing over, so I wasn’t in constant direct sunlight, and there were a lot of shadows:

reflectorcollage3
I am incapable of taking the same pose twice, so there are always variations in how I’m standing, which ruins the comparison a bit. But you get the idea.

Also true to form for me, I was switching around what surface I used to reflect light, and then occasionally taking pictures without a reflector for comparison, but since I didn’t keep track of when I used what I couldn’t remember what I was using in the shots when I processed them later. So I’m basically guessing. You know me, always a stickler for details! Anyway, I made my best guesses for this next collage:

reflectorcollage1
You’ve probably noticed that’s the same “no reflector” shot from the previous collage. Yep.

I’d read that most photographers don’t care for the uber-warmth of a gold reflector and don’t use it often, if at all, which is why I wish mine wasn’t attached to the white surface. But I can see where it could come in handy. Also, in these shots, I was holding the reflector a little too close to my face which made the light a little too bright – especially noticeable in the gold one. Oh, and I processed these shots using as little editing as possible; they are practically SOOC (Straight Out of the Camera), which is NOT likely to happen again anytime soon, so drink it in people.

My last collage was using the white reflector, which is my favorite as the light is softer than the silver, and I held it at different angles just for the hell of it:

reflectorcollage2

Man, without all my usual makeup and hair on, I gotta say, I am really looking my age. It’s not a bad thing to look 45, it’s just…different. I still don’t look in the mirror and think hey, that right there is a 45-year-old woman, but I’m getting there (I’m also not a 45-year-old woman, I’m 44,  but I always tell myself and other people that I’m a year older – that way when I really am a year older and tempted to feel depressed about it, I can remind myself that I’m just now the age I’ve been telling everyone I was all year. Trust me, in my mind this makes perfect sense). And dammit my hair is flat. Wait – isn’t this post supposed to be about reflectors? Let’s get back to it then:

reftest9_Snapseed
This photo is not SOOC. Deal with it.

I think in that one I’m using the white reflector, but it could have been the silver; unfortunately I can’t remember. Mostly I liked how my hair looked, so vanity compelled me to process the shot. I also liked my hair in the next one, which was one of the photos taken with no reflector, so I converted it to black and white to make up for it.

reftest8_Snapseed
So basically this photo has nothing to do with reflectors, except that I took it at the same time I took all the other pictures shared here that used reflectors. Moving on.

Shooting in the atrium also provided me a nice green leafy background to test out bokeh on the 50mm when I turned the camera in the other direction, which went swimmingly when combined with whatever reflector I was using in this pic (white? silver? who can say.):

reftest10_Snapseed

I posted this picture on Facebook and everyone went bonkers, mostly because they’ve never seen a truly normal photo of me. Very few people had the slightest idea what my new, longer hair even looked like. Turns out that after so long of constantly presenting one’s self in bizarre makeup and wigs, the most radical thing you can do is show up somewhere looking normal – a lesson Lady Gaga seems to have kinda learned lately, but without taking the arrogance and self-importance down a notch or two to complete the transformation. And no, that shot is so not SOOC either. Thanks Photoshop for ridding me of my under-eye wrinkles.

And as always, I’ve got to share a Pixlr-ed shot.

reftest11_Snapseed_pxr

10 thoughts on “Objects of My Reflection

  1. What fun! I like the effect the silver reflector makes. Your real hair looks great! Nice to have brick in the atrium. (Ours has stucco and faux clapboard, I would prefer the warmth of the brick.) Great experiments here and instructive. [Oh, and I have always done that! Rounded my age up so I am used to the feeling of hearing it, lol.]

    • Ha ha I’m glad I’m not the only one who rounds up! Everyone says they like me wearing my hair wavy like this, but it’s a challenge because every time I look in the mirror, I personally think it looks unbrushed and kinda ratty. But I’m trying to go with it.

  2. It does make quite a lot of difference to the shadows in a picture, I have a lot of down lights at home and they always make photos dark and shadowy, I should roll out some tin foil to bounce the light back up lol

  3. I read this yesterday and now realize I must not have commented. Or if I did it didn’t take. Are these reflectors only for photos of people? Because I feel as if they sometimes use gold reflectors when photographing room interiors for magazines. There is often that gold glow that makes you want to step into the room because it is emotionally warming.

    • Oh I do think they use reflectors for other photos as well. i agree the gold reflectors are used more often for interior shots or still life shots, whatever you would call them.

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