Providence, Rhode Island: home and haunt of famous horror writers and my favorite city. As part of our honeymoon, I took JoDee on a walking tour of the College Hill district; and during the night we both enjoyed the Ghost Tour, held every October. Not only did we take in some entertaining local legends, but tackled some interesting photo projects.
This fountain sits in front of the Athenaeum library on Benefit Street. Nearby, the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe was allegedly sighted by a frightened library patron. And as the tour guide related this macabre tale, I had JoDee assist me with an idea.
I composed this shot using a speedlight and two wireless triggers. JoDee handheld the flash while I manually focused a zoom lens set at a focal length of 18mm. The resulting side lighting brought out some amazing textures.
After deliberately underexposing for the ambient light, the flash becomes the primary or “key” light source. In that type of situation, the photographer needs to avoid head-on flash illumination as it creates a very flattening effect, unflattering for portraits and one that tends to de-emphasize texture and detail. Mounting the flash off-camera at an oblique angle provides much better results.
Also, as an interesting side note, I afterwards recalled some scenes from my wife’s favorite vampire-related television show and altered the hue of the photograph to make the rust stains a bit more “bloody.” Halloween, here we come. 😉
And in case anyone would like to attend a ghost tour for themselves, check out the guides at http://www.providenceghosttour.com/
Exposure Data: ISO 100, f/5, 1/100