“Unpredictability. Accidents. Not good when you’re engaging in, say, brain surgery, but when lighting…wonderful!” – Joe McNally
At the end of the Paul Chamberlain-Michael Haywood promo shoot at the Voodoo Rooms, I was asked by Paul if I was available to take live pictures of the ceilidh band he and Michael are part of.
I gladly accepted the opportunity and found myself a few days later at the Edinburgh ceilidh club event in Summerhall.
I first tried taking pictures without the help of a flash, but the fraction of usable pics was low enough that I decided it was best to use some lighting help.
When using flash, I typically like to underexpose the ambient light, to saturate the background colours and give the pictures more contrast. Since I like to take lots of pictures during a live event, to increase the chances of getting some good ones, I was shooting fast. So fast in fact, that on quite a few occasions, the flash didn’t have time to recycle and hence didn’t fire.
When I decided to review the pics I had taken thus far on the LCD screen, a few really caught my attention! The light was really interesting, and I loved the mood created by the underexposure. It quickly occurred to me that those were the pics when the flash didn’t fire. I quickly switched off the flash and explored this set up for a few minutes. These pictures happened to be some of my favourites from the live ceilidh event. Joe McNally is absolutely right. When it comes to lighting, embrace the unpredictability and accidents. They may lead to some interesting photographs.