Gravity taking hold



Gravity taking hold

The Gravity Discovery Centre (, a science education centre located about 1 hours drive from Perth, got a brand new dome projector in their cosmology gallery in June 2010.

The Advocate was doing a story about the new projector, so I travelled up with journalist Lucy Rickard to check it out.

Carrying everything but a tripod, we meet Brad Whitaker who is the Education Manager. He takes us into the gallery where he explains what the projector does and that people lie on their backs to watch movies.

Brad switches off all the lights, brings the shutters down on the windows and flicks on the movie. Straight away I think to myself ‘I should have carried my tripod’.

However my car was a bit of a walk away so I decided that I’d just try my luck without it.

After watching the movie briefly I decided that I would get Brad to be high up in the gallery, underneath the projected picture. Some coloured gels setup in the walkway with him I thought would complement the colourful presentation.

The downside to this was that getting up and down to setup this shot meant going through a big flight of stairs and walking around the entire gallery in a circle to get to one point.

I place two 580EX flashes behind Brad, facing back to back firing away from each other. One had a Honl red coloured gel fitted, and the other had a green one.

I then placed a single 550EX on a stand, fitted with a Honl 8” Speed Snoot positioned well out of the shot, firing at Brad’s face.

To see if this was positioned correct I did some test fires while up in the gallery because I wanted to minimise the amount of times of walking up, down and around the gallery. As it was I think I went back up a couple more times to make minor adjustments to the flash.

Now remember I didn’t carry a tripod, so during my test shots I found myself a good exposure to use…1 second while the camera is hand held!! My biggest concern was the projection display becoming blurry during the exposure.

To minimise this, I used a two second timer to reduce any camera shake from pressing the shutter button.

Since most of the scene was pitch black, exposure for the walkway and Brad were taken care of by the multiple flashes, which freezed them into the shot.

A similar photo to this ran on the front page of The Advocate the following week.

Shoot details:
Canon 5D Mk2
1second @ f/6.3 – 400ISO
Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L USM
Two 580EXII flash units fitted with flash feet and Honl coloured gels
One 550EX flash fitted with Honl 8” Speed Snoot
PocketWizard TT1 and 3 x TT5 units.
Manfrotto light stands

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