Friday, May 2, 2008
Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley
Recently I have enjoyed reading some historical novels - the latest being some of Philippa Gregory's series on the Tudors, including one that has recently been made into a film, "The Other Boleyn Girl". The one I have open currently is "The Virgin's Lover", which is about Henry VIII's daughter, Princess Elizabeth, and her ascent to the throne of England. All of these novels have plenty of intrigue, with greedy courtiers keen to curry favour with the monarch. In this novel, it is Robert Dudley who is ingratiating himself with the soon-to-be-Queen - is it for fair means or foul?
When you get caught up in a book, the characters leap out of the pages at you. I often wish that I could draw so that I could have a visual reminder of what my mind's eye imagines. Well, I can't draw for toffee, but I can take a picture. I grabbed a couple of sculptures that I had lying around the house (as you do!) and set about my work.
I imagined a beautiful young princess unwittingly being manipulated by her handsome courtier, so I posed the statues with her facing away from camera, but in the foreground; and him looking at her from afar, an effect achieved by having him slightly out of focus. I used a diffused flash at camera right for lighting both, and a flash (with a home-made snoot) left of camera, focused on the rear figure. Then it was a matter of dialling in the correct exposure level to achieve this dark and mysterious result. This was all being done in daylight, so I had to use low levels of flash with a high shutter speed, and yet I couldn't use a small aperture because that would give me a deeper DOF than I wanted. Fortunately, my camera allows high-speed synching (here I used 1/250 sec approx) with the flashes.
It's amazing how a little imagination and some household props can achieve a result.
EXIF: Nikon D300; Nikkor 24-70mm; ISO 400; 1/320 sec; f8.