Lighting the Black Jack B-17

One thing I forgot to describe the other day when I posted about the Black Jack B-17 wreck was the lighting tools I took down with me.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I set my camera to a high ISO in anticipation of dark conditions at a depth of 40 metres. This allowed me take photographs without using strobes.

It's not all that apparent from the sepia-toned images I posted before, but there was a considerable amount of stuff in the water, so controlling backscatter would have been a challenge. I'm sure it would've been possible to take reasonably clean images with strobe light, but it would've taken time, which is something I didn't have at that depth.

Instead of using strobes, I took a couple of Sola 1200 lights down, mounted on Ultralight arms in place of my strobes.

Why did I do this? To add a hint of light and colour for considerably less effort and lower risk of creating backscatter than using strobes:

Julian taking a photo of the Black Jack B-17 wreck
Julian taking a photo of the Black Jack B-17 wreck

As you can see from the photo above, the Sola 1200 lights allowed me to light Julian a bit, as well as the nose of the plane. I got some added light from Julian, who had one of my Sola 600 lights mounted on his camera, pointing at the plane.

There's nowhere near the amount of light and colour that strobes could generate, but in this circumstance, it was a heckuva lot quicker and simpler than fiddling with strobes. There's a lot to be said for quick-and-easy.

Here's another photo, where I was able to isolate one of the props and get really close, concentrating both lights on a single area to bring out more colour:

Black Jack B17 bomber wreck lit with SOLA 1200
Prop of Black Jack B17 bomber wreck at 40m, lit with Sola 1200

As an unanticipated side benefit, this lighting set-up also came in handy for shooing Craig away when he cut in front of me, pointing at his camera while babbling incoherently (normal behaviour for him):

Craig Dewit with Black Jack B17 bomber
Craig asking me for photo advice at 40 metres!

I aimed the Sola lights directly for his face, mostly with the hope of getting him out of my way, but in doing so, I managed to add a nice, selective highlight to bring out his dopey expression, something that would have been more difficult to achieve with strobes.

None of this means that you should ditch your strobes! But if you find yourself in a similar situation or want to try something a bit different, this might be worth a go.

(Disclosure: Sola 1200 and Sola 600 lights provided by Scubacam and Light and Motion.)