Getting Snooty

I was working this afternoon, but I really wanted to play with my toys. So, after I got something done to make my day feel productive, I pulled out the camera, and fashioned myself a snoot.

In photography, a snoot is an attachment you put on the front of your light so that all that comes out is a really narrow beam. With a snoot you can put a splash of light exactly where you want it, and be confident that it won’t spill somewhere else.

Funny thing about cone-shaped pieces of black plastic, they’re kind of pricey. So today I set about making one of my own. I’ve done it before, but this time I wanted my snoot to be a keeper (although after the fact I’m already designing version 2).

I also thought it would be fun to play with color a bit. I went for green, and my goal was to get an interesting green rim light. So I put a green gel in another light. The downside of my homemade snoot is that it doesn’t work with my gel-holder thingie. I think in the end the color should have been in the snooted light. Never got the green highlights I wanted, but that’s OK. It gives me something to shoot for next time.

Once I got one light all snooted up (with a narrow grid attached as well to increase directionality) and the other gelled for color, I cast about for a suitable subject. I tried a pair of steampunk goggles (looking for cool reflections), a pewter mug, and a fake skull (ideal for rim light, I thought), but none of them worked out so well. Then I found this trinket (click to biggerize the photos):

Now, in the interest of science, I possibly should have posted untouched photos so you could see how the lights worked out. But I didn’t. Instead I fiddled with the pictures to enhance what the lights gave me, and to get three different feels for the same object.

The cool part is the way the green light lit up the glass. (The actual glass is not at all green.) It worked best when the green light was straight behind the object, of course, but my favorite lens is a sucker for lens flare, so I had to be creative in my positioning and use of a gobo. You can see the green-haze effect in the second pic in the series.

In the end, though, I’m pretty happy with the results, and maybe I’m even a slightly better photographer now. Practice, practice practice, after all.

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