Sunday, November 7, 2010

Small Spaces, Small Flashes

A lot of times, our jobs require us to work in small, confining spaces; spaces that are closer to the definition of a closet instead of a room. The new cath lab at Paris Regional Medical Center's, in Paris, TX, would definitely count as one.

The cath lab is actually two rooms. You have the people in with the patient performing the procedure and you have another group of people monitoring the procedure on the opposite side of a big window.

The big problem is I couldn’t light this picture like I would want to.

Most of the time when we shoot in a hospital, we have to stage the photos. Usually we just get a few staff members together, dress them up in gowns, stuff a few pillows under a blanket and I can light the room like the Fourth of July…..

And Presto! We have a very well lit surgical procedure taking place.

But, there are rare opportunities when we actually get to photograph a live procedure.

This is one of them.

In the other room in this photo, an actual procedure is taking place. That knocked out the possibility of lighting that room. And I didn’t want to light the entire room with the technicians watching the computer screen, because you’d see everything that’s in that room: from the trashcan, to the empty soda bottles, to basically anything that could be a distraction from the picture itself.

But, I couldn’t count on the computer screens to illuminate just the technicians. The screens aren’t powerful enough and directional enough.

I had to add a little light. 

If you look really hard, you can see it. (I didn’t intend for it to be visible. That’s why I tried, and obviously failed, to hide it behind the monitor.) It’s in the middle of the frame, up against to the monitor with the green lines.

The light is a small portable strobe with a grid on it to narrow the light beam and direct it toward the technicians. It’s meant to mimic the light coming from the monitor without illuminating the entire room.

It also helps draw the readers’ eyes toward the technicians and then back to the other room. If both rooms were lit equally, you wouldn’t get the same effect.

But most importantly, it creates a little drama. Not as much as on ER and Grey’s Anatomy, but definitely good enough for the Business Images of Ark-Tex Region.