Strobist.com flickr group and all of the information made available by David Hobby on his Strobist blog. I may not be very good at putting it all into practice. But I can say that I am less ignorant about lighting and what it can do to improve my photographs.
And it is darn fun. "How fun?" you ask.
Well, I think it was a blast. Knowledge of grids, gobos, clamps, and what seems like infinite wisdom can all be had if you take the time to read the information available at Strobist.
I have three Speedlights. One SB-600 and two SB-26 flashes fill out the roster. And I only have one Gadget Infinity Trigger/Receiver set. So, I wanted to get creative all while applying some of what I've learned. Here is how it went down.
I used the SB-600 as my main light. It was triggered by a Gadget Infinity trigger. The light was controlled with a DIY Black Straw Grid and was pointed at the Virginia Hurricane glass from 45 degrees on the right. I learned about the flash, the trigger, and the grid all in the Strobist.com flickr discussion group. Users with experience discussed these when asked or may have volunteered their opinions without prompting. It's kinda like compound interest. The knowledge pool just keeps growing and growing.
I only knew that the subject was called a Virginia Hurricane because of my wife's plethora of Southern Living decor. She reads those mags like I read Strobist. Scary.
Back to the picture.
I wanted to practice lighting the main subject and the backdrop separately as I've read about, but on a smaller scale. I used one of the SB-26 lights with another black straw grid (my favorite grid by the way) pointed at the background from about 45 degrees on the left oriented just so the light would miss the subject, but illuminate the backdrop nicely. The biggest problem with this setup is how to trigger the second flash. Remember the SB-600 flash used a grid. This prevented any light from it reaching the SB-26 to fire the slave. As I said earlier, I've only got one receiver to trigger. So, to trigger the SB-26 lighting the back ground, I tried to get a little clever. Behind the subject to the left, placed nearly in direct line of sight of the SB-600, was the last SB-26. The light from the SB-600 would fire the SB-26 behind the subject, in turn causing the SB-26 on the left to fire and light the background. I used a gobo on the last flash (yes, I said gobo) to control the output to hit only the other SB-26. But, after some experimentation allowed some of the light from the rear flash to hit the back of the subject, providing some separation from the back ground and giving the subject some dimension.
The SB-600 was mounted to the GI receiver on a New Improved DIY Speedlight Clamp that was clamped to a kitchen chair, the inspiration for which came from, you guessed it, discussions at flickr Strobist.com and the Strobist blog. The SB-26 lighting the background was mounted on a light stand a la Lighting 101.
Like I said, darn fun.