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Archive 2013 · Earthquake! How did he do this?
  
 
OntheRez
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


Chinese photographer Sim Chi Yin took a series of haunting night time photos of earthquake survivors in Sichuan province. If you have a subscription to the New York Times, I recommend viewing them there.

I acknowledge that this isn't specifically Canon question as I don't know what gear Mr. Yin was using. (Though Canon is a very good guess given its penetration into the Chinese market.) I've also posted a copy of one of his photos that is undoubtedly copyrighted by the NYT. I do so because most people will not be able to see what are a series of powerful images. (If this a violation, the moderators may take it down though I believe it falls under the concept of "fair use.")

It is obvious he is working without flash - at least in the majority of his pix. So what sort of gear and technique would be required? He is generally up close and clearly nothing is posed. How would you take these pictures?



New York Times




Apr 21, 2013 at 03:48 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


It looks like there is a flash at a tele setting or perhaps flashlight to the right of the photographer. This is simple with Nikon. I'm not sure about Canon, but the latest cameras and flash are almost as good as Nikon.

EBH



Apr 21, 2013 at 03:55 PM
kewlcanon
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


LED light ?.


Apr 21, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


First, Sim Chi Yin is a she. http://www.chiyinsim.com/

Pics appear to not be behind the Times paywall, at least not yet or not for your initial quota of views: http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2013/04/20/world/asia/20130420CHINA.html

I agree with EB-1. It could be a snooted/zoomed off-camera flash but given this photographer's style, I might go with flashlight - possibly LED.

I like her work. Thanks for bringing her to our attention.



Apr 21, 2013 at 04:03 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


A flashlight would be easier to work with, although the color balance can be funky. Both flashlights could be the same model too. Are there any lights that are not LED now?

EBH



Apr 21, 2013 at 04:08 PM
StillFingerz
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


FYI, this profile includes a list of her 'current' gear...for those interested.

Profile: Sim Chi Yin, documentary photographer
http://www.asiarooms.com/en/community/blog/sim-chi-yin-documentary-photographer/



Apr 21, 2013 at 06:01 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


EB-1 and Eyeball. So perhaps a flashlight (LED) from the right of the photographer focused on the bedding? Intriguing. I'd not thought of that, but then I'm not particularly good at lighting. Still wouldn't this require a pretty fast lens to get the shot? But then there is relatively good DOF as the woman with the light appears to be about a meter in front of the woman in the bed.

Eyeball, I forgot that non-subscribers can get a limited number of views per month. Also I'm embarrassed by my assumption that the photographer was male At the risk of being d**ned as sexist, there is a depth of feeling and compassion in her work that many male photographers don't achieve.

Got to try playing with flashlights. Fascinating.

Robert



Apr 21, 2013 at 06:09 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


StillFingerz wrote:
FYI, this profile includes a list of her 'current' gear...for those interested.

Profile: Sim Chi Yin, documentary photographer
http://www.asiarooms.com/en/community/blog/sim-chi-yin-documentary-photographer/


Thanks. Great interview and by accident appropriate for a Canon forum.



Apr 21, 2013 at 06:12 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


Eyeball wrote:
First, Sim Chi Yin is a she. http://www.chiyinsim.com/


Impressive portfolio. She clearly does amazing things in low light. The image of the woman doing needle point against the soft porn poster behind her is arresting.

Robert



Apr 21, 2013 at 06:17 PM
jamato8
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


Many LED flashlights are daylight temp now and a flash could have been used as mentioned, with a snoot or a zoom function. I have done this and it works fine. There are many opportunities in China to get interesting shots, to me, more than in the US, having lived there.


Apr 21, 2013 at 09:31 PM
 

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MarcG19
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


Thanks for sharing Chi Yin's work for us, OntheRez. Excellent PJ work. I especially like how she was able to get into the lives of her subjects - her FT magazine article on the tiny underground living spaces in Beijing is first rate.

I like that a Singaporean-Chinese PJ working in mainland China seems to be able to afford a 5DmkIII, and probably takes regular advantage of the MkIII's improvements over the MkII..........



Apr 21, 2013 at 09:48 PM
cocodrillo
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


Perhaps a flash with a 'snoot' to cut down the spread of the light? Pretty easy to make with a bit of pvc pipe and some Styrofoam. I'd also guess that it is an off camera flash fired with something like a pocket wizard. Neat shot.

Check with the lawyers, but I suspect you're not in 'fair use' territory here. Frankly, that in itself is an interesting question.



Apr 22, 2013 at 05:17 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


cocodrillo wrote:
...Check with the lawyers, but I suspect you're not in 'fair use' territory here.


Based on USA law it probably is in fair use territory.

From http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html:

"Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes

The nature of the copyrighted work

The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work"



Apr 22, 2013 at 06:31 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


As for the light itself, in the posted image we can look at the angle of the shadow cast by the woman holding the flashlight to determine the angle from which the light is coming, and the length of the shadow will indicate its height.

In this case, the light appears to be coming from quite a bit to the right of the camera position, and a bit below camera height.

I think it's a flashlight being held by another person, but possibly at arm's length by the photographer.

That's just speculation, of course.



Apr 22, 2013 at 06:36 AM
cocodrillo
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


BrianO -- Maybe we need a court case to sort it out ;-)

It is usually the lawyers who do best from these disputes.

As for the light... twelve foot light stand off to the right? Flash taped to a pole? Lots of variations on how it could be done, although I do agree with high right light position. I tend to ignore the technical details on flashes because I don't use them that much, but isn't there some sort of simplified on body/flash wireless functionality with the newest Canon flash? I know it might seem like a ridiculous proposition for wireless triggers to have been used, but I've seen the damndest things in the travelling gadget back of my pj pals.



Apr 22, 2013 at 07:15 AM
justruss
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


I'm voting flashlight, likely held by a different person.


Apr 22, 2013 at 08:53 AM
OntheRez
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


Brian,

Who was it that said, "Lawyers are the people we need to argue about the size of the bandage while we're bleeding to death?"

I have a layman's working knowledge of Section 107 and the fact that the photo is used for "criticism" and no commercial value has been derived made me fairly confident in posting. However, if the NYT copyright police kick in my door, I'll send the list my one email letting you know what happened.

Given the gear listed in the above interview, she's undoubtedly shooting a 5DIII. The 50mm listed is likely not the L as she is quite precise in her lens description. So a 5DIII likely with the 24L. Someone holding up a LED flashlight to the photog's right. Studying it more I'm theorizing both she and her helper were standing on something (chairs?) shooting down a bit on the scene. Clearly the assistant was further to the right as we can see the woman holding the flashlight's shadow on the bed. In looking at her portfolio I was struck by the fact that none of her low-light work seems to use flash. Anyone want to theorize as to her settings?

Frankly I'm impressed. The woman arrives in a disaster zone, sees a powerful human moment, finds an assistant and a pair of flashlights, gets up high enough to provide dramatic perspective and captures a human moment with insight and sensitivity. Hope she's getting the big bucks, cause she certainly earned it with these photos!

Robert



Apr 22, 2013 at 04:25 PM
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


I agree, looks like a LED flashlight or something similar.
I've used flashlights or electric lanterns in my photos too, though mostly just for subtle effect. I've even seen others use their smartphone flashlight app to do some limited night photography, nothing serious though.

The spectral response of a 'white' LED is not anything close to flat, it can be improved but at the costs of efficiency. They generally don't provide the best light for photographic purposes, I have used a beleuchtungschalttafel-3000L but more for portable night shooting than anything else.

BTW Copyright laws in China are very 'loose'.

One may never actually photograph a disaster zone but being able to improvise and think 'on the fly' is a good skill for any kind of photographer, especially the ones who shoot on location under difficult locations.



Apr 22, 2013 at 05:52 PM
UCSB
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Earthquake! How did he do this?


CREE LED flashlight ... I have several of them. My favorites: Jetbeam PA40 or Fenix TK41.


Apr 23, 2013 at 01:08 AM





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