Studio Portrait: Connecting Past, Present & Future

Posted by on Jan 13, 2019 in Environmental Portrait | No Comments

NORCO, Calif. (Oct. 12, 2017) Portrait of Capt. Stephen H. Murray, commanding officer of Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division, from 1 Aug 2014 to 13 Oct 2017. Murray holds a replica Egyptian cubit, an early length standard dating from the construction of the Pyramids and a symbol for NSWC Corona’s measurement and calibration capabilities traceable to national standards. (U.S. Navy photo by Greg Vojtko/Released)

Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division’s metrology and calibration mission expanded exponentially during Capt. Stephen H. Murray’s tenure. I thoroughly enjoyed his time at the helm and wanted to leave him with a special portrait, something other than the typical military portrait that so often makes leaders in uniform look like white supremacists out of San Point, Idaho, rather than the the accomplished executives they are. It was important to me that I make something unique that combined historical reference to mission, his successful leadership of the command and his lasting future impact on NSWC Corona’s bottom line.

When Murray appeared for an updated military portrait, I had this lighting scheme arranged on an adjacent set for the distinctive portrait above. By simply changing the channel on a Pocket Wizard transceiver, I shut down the connection to the first set and activated this second one.

Nuts and bolts: Key light was a Canon 580 EXII set to manual, outfitted with a Lumiquest LTP modifier tabled-topped in front of the subject and triggered using the above-mentioned Pocket Wizard transceiver. Ditto for the back light, only it was modified with an Interfit Strobies Uni-Mount and a small grid.  The edge lights were a matching pair of Nikon SB-800s, set to SU-4 mode, each with a Uni-Mount and a set of barn doors to control any spill. Camera used was a Canon 5D MkII with Canon EF 100mm F2.8 IS Macro.

I’ll admit when I turned on the Nikon Speedlights I struggled a bit to get them to play nicely with the other lights, and might have preferred Murray grasped the artifact, instead of cradling it like a newborn, but overall I’m happy with the portrait I was able to create.

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