So this is a huge departure for me. If you have been following Weekly Fifty for any length of time at all, you have probably never seen a picture like this before. But my goodness, you’ll probably see a lot more like this in the coming weeks and months :) It all started with a promotional video that I did for work back in April. Well, I didn’t actually do the video. I was asked to be in it for a few seconds, talking about one of my favorite books from when I was younger. As the videographer was setting up her gear I noticed that she had some small tube-shaped lights placed throughout the space, so I asked if I could look at one of them a bit more in depth. She gladly obliged and handed me one for me to check out while she told me a bit more about it. These lights (Nanlite PavoTube II 6C, along with one or two larger versions she had for the video shoot) could change colors at will, hold that color at a specific level of brightness, and even had built-in magnets for attaching to surfaces.
I was hooked.
It didn’t take me long to get a couple of my own, and the results have been incredible. I’m getting shots that I never knew were possible, all thanks to these little battery-powered bulbs that I didn’t even know existed. Paired with my macro lens, these lights immediately opened up entirely new worlds of photographic possibilities unlike anything I had experienced since I got the macro lens itself back in the fall of 2021. I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend these lights since everyone’s photographic needs are unique, but I sure am having fun playing around with them and exploring a whole new side of photography.
Case in point: the Super Nintendo controller you see above. This is one of the first shots I took with the lights, but I think it turned out really well. I dug out this old video game controller (well, semi-old. It’s from our 2016 SNES Classic Edition but we do still have our original controllers in the closet somewhere) and set it on top of our washing machine to get a smooth, white, reflective surface. Then I set one light to purple and the other to a deep orange, mounted my D750 and 105mm macro lens on a tripod, and took a series of images that, in the span of a few minutes, blew my mind wide open.
I have some external flashes but I never considered how the careful manipulation of colored light could create such a dramatic effect on photography subjects. The rich colors, deep shadows, and highlights on the L/R shoulder buttons make this image spring to life in a way that I had previously only seen on the cover of magazines. Taking this shot was a revelation, and I’m absolutely stunned to think about the types of shots I might be able to take the more I practice.
This is going to be fun :)