After finishing with the candle images, Kylie and I shifted to a totally different approach, working with a studio flash. In Halifax, I have access to a fully equipped studio (through a very kind professional photographer, who has helped me in a wide variety of ways over the years) but with my move to Moncton, New Brunswick, I have had to come up with alternatives. The perfect solution would be to purchase a full set of studio lights but this is both financially impossible and physically impractical - there is no way I could afford such an investment and I currently have no space to use that much equipment in Moncton.
All that being said, it isn't practical to expect to never need to work
indoors at night, so as a compromise, early in 2004, I purchased a
single used studio flash - a light that happened (by fortuitous
happenstance) to come complete with a small 24" square soft box (I use
soft boxes in the studio to soften the artificial light and give it a
more pleasant quality that is closer to natural window light). This
set-up cost well under half the cost of a single new studio light and at
a minimum will permit me to work indoors at night, without always
having to resort to working with candles.
As it was my first
time working with the new light, it was also a session full of
experimentation - the first lesson was that I couldn't synchronize the
EOS 10D camera with the flash - it just wouldn't trigger the flash. The
8"x10" lenses worked fine, however, so I just set aside the digital
camera and worked with film.
I was a little concerned that the single flash wouldn't have enough light for working with the large format camera but my fears were unfounded. For torso and body-pose images, I was able to get enough light to ensure sharp focus and while there wasn't enough light to work closer with everything in focus, I simply changed to working with a narrow depth of field for my close-up images and produced a number of quite successful compositions. In the end, the majority of the problems I cam up against were surmountable and the biggest issue was not having enough light but rather having enough space - my living room worked well enough, but I kept having to shove furniture out of the way to get the right camera position!