blog by

rob kircher

Monday, July 21, 2008


An interesting word but how do you represent the concept in a photograph? Well its obvious isn’t it? Just go out and take a picture of an old dilapidated building… Yeah that says abandoned doesn’t it? Sure but isn’t that sort of the easy way out? Well not necessarily, I’ve view some pretty powerful images of abandoned buildings but the problem is I’ve viewed A LOT of great photos of abandon buildings. So when faced with representing this concept I wanted to do something different. What else says Abandoned? Something emotional. Something dramatic.

How about this...

I like it!!!!

The photo idea actually grew from its original concept of just a kid’s stuffed animal to what you see above. As usual here in the Kircher house hold, it quickly became a complete family affair. Terry suggested using Caroline as the model. Of course, ham that she is, Caroline was thrilled with the idea. Amanda, although not too enthusiastic about the project at first, really came through with making my lighting ideas work. And I’m the one who had to lay down on the dirty ground to shoot the photos.

As you can see from the photo above, we shot at night in the alley behind the house. The blue wash lighting was provided by a Source Four Jr with blue gel. We added the spider web gobo to break up the light and cast the shadow lines you see in the photo. The red accent light was provided by a Par can with a red gel. I angled it down toward the ground to help accent the debris on the ground and add some red highlights.

Exposure setting were made in manual mode and according to the theater lighting. I opened my 17-40 all the way up to f/4 which gave me a shutter speed of 1/3 second. A few test shots to make sure that looked the way I wanted and then onto the face.

The white face was done with my 430ex flash in ETTL and snooted so that the light was cast only on Caroline’s face. It was fired remotely with my ST-E2. Because of the slow shutter speeds, the FEC was adjusted way down to about -2 2/3. Once the flash was set and located properly, I used the A-B ratio control on the ST-E2 to fine tune the light give less or more power to channel B used by the flash.

The orange cast on the house in the background was provided by the underexposed light from a street light behind the setup. We couldn’t have been luckier with this because I think it really help set the mood of the photo.

All that was left was for me to lay down in the ground right next to the flash stand, frame, and press the shutter.

It was a fun project and I’m very happy with the results.


  1. Very cool shots. Caroline is such a little actress. You have much more patience then me to set up and get the shot. I just shoot and then use Photoshop for effects. Kudos to you and family!

  2. Thanks Les... That was over a week in the making from concept to image.

  3. And well worth the time it took. Again, great job.

  4. Very good! Well thought out and executed.

    Lucky you have such a willing model, too.


  5. And while we are passing around family kudos - great photographer, great actress and model, lets not forget the older child of the photographer who is quickly becoming an expert lighting specialist - you know, Rob, the person who made you put off this project for one night because she wasn't there LOL

  6. As I said in my post... It's a Family Afair!!!