Set Flash Mode to 'Automagic'

Ken Brown, who also took this awesome photo of a Mercedes 300SL using just two speedlights, has posted a YouTube video of himself shooting some spiffy cars.

He uses a single SB-24 speedlight, handheld in a softbox, and walks around each classic car popping the flash in a darkened room with the camera shutter left open.

Kinda hard to see what he is doing, because he is only visible during the flashes. But the payoff comes when he shows you the final photos. Amazing stuff this, especially for one small flash.

(UPDATE: Ken, AKA Mooosehd2, has been answering some Q's on the technique here.)

Ken, you should be teaching seminars on these techniques at big car shows...

Know of other cool, flashy videos? Link me in the comments!


Brand new to Strobist? Start here | Or jump right to Lighting 101
Connect w/Strobist readers via: Words | Photos

Comments are closed. Question? Hit me on Twitter: @Strobist


Blogger Haskins said...

What an amazingly creative idea. This makes my mind brew!

Great job Ken!

May 20, 2007 10:32 PM  
Blogger John W. MacDonald said...

love it to pieces. just gave me an idea...hmmm.

May 20, 2007 10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anthony said...

That is so AWESOME!

May 20, 2007 11:51 PM  
Anonymous esotericsean said...

i've seen similar techniques, but this one's pretty amazing!

May 21, 2007 1:05 AM  
Blogger fidel said...

That's awesome! Heck, I would have never thought of doing a LONG exposure using QUICK firing strobes.

May 21, 2007 1:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

really nice results.

May 21, 2007 2:16 AM  
Blogger said...

Amazing pictures! Kinda try it myself!

May 21, 2007 2:44 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Monroe said...

An amazing technique -- and the perfect method for lighting valuable items in a museum. I doubt that the administrators would have allowed him to float a 20'x20' softbox over those cars...

I do have to admit to being a bit confused though. Ken is clearly visible to the video camera when the strobes go off (as is his Chimera), and so I'd assume that he himself would also be clearly visible to the still camera. Is he Photoshopping himself out of the picture after the fact, or does the video camera not really indicate the orientation of the stills set-up?


May 21, 2007 2:47 AM  
Blogger BigBadBenny said...

The results speak for themselves! Awesome...

May 21, 2007 3:38 AM  
Blogger Bruko said...

he's just AMAZING.
I love how low tech his photography is and how high-end his results are.

May 21, 2007 4:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is basically just painting with light, just using a flash instead of a more constant source of light. Awesome results to be sure, but nothing new in the technique as such.

(whose favourite light source is still an old reading lamp with the wall mounting stripped off)

May 21, 2007 4:39 AM  
Blogger Felix said...

Very, very nice.
I got one question though, did he do this in one single exposure? What settings? or did he merge different pictures together?

I did a similar shoot with a Gallardo but only had a 580ex and I merged several pictures together, see here:

I would love to see this technique being used outdoors at night!

May 21, 2007 4:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you make this look so much easier than it really is. Even in a black room, stopping the light source from illuminating everthing is a real skill.
Ace stuff, thanks for sharing it
From photoimagery

May 21, 2007 7:20 AM  
Anonymous Sumrow said...

Great Pics! Love the Low tech / High Art! Bonus points for using BlockParty as the soundtrack!!!

May 21, 2007 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

I hope all the readers will like this link...painting with light in a big way!

May 21, 2007 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Dan Dawson said...

This is exactly how I light night pictures of aircraft:

To answer two of the questions I saw posted above, at least from how I do them:

I do them with one exposure, not multiple exposures. You could do them as multiple and overlay them with "lighten" layers in Photoshop, but typically it doesn't take that long to redo the whole thing and make area adjustments as needed.

The long exposure also gives you enough time to have someone inside the car/plan flip the lights on for a moment for an extra effect. If they were on the whole time they would overexpose.

Second question someone had was why he doesn't show up in the images... well, he would never get between the lens and the object (car) otherwise he would have a dark silhouette.

May 21, 2007 1:00 PM  
Anonymous waldo said...

Take a look at some of the stuff in the Strobist archives using similar if not the same technique. Very cool stuff.

Weekend Surfing Lost America

POTW 2006-11-24

May 21, 2007 3:26 PM  
Anonymous waldo said...

I meant to include this link as well

POTW 2006-12-22

btw, for those who are curious here is how you create clickable links.

Be sure to preview before posting to make sure it looks correct and works ;)

May 21, 2007 3:32 PM  
Blogger chadw said...

Wow, wow, wow.... wow.

Excellent video production as well.

May 21, 2007 8:53 PM  
Blogger tjeerdoo said...

amazing ! I posted it to my blog right away !

May 22, 2007 3:40 PM  
Blogger Benevolent said...


June 06, 2007 9:49 AM  
Blogger Geir said...

I have tried this a few times with a soft box, and I can't seem to get the long smooth highlights on the car, I get several reflections of the softbox down the length of the car. Is it a matter of angles or do I need to fire the flash in shorter intervals to make it appear as one continuous highlight?

August 21, 2007 11:37 AM  
Anonymous gian said...

While surfing on the Net I found your blog, I stopped at it to have a rest and I explored it. There is interesting stuff displayed. Now I continue my surfing…
Make a stop at my blog, if you wish. Happy new year! Ciao.

January 01, 2008 12:03 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home