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  • Nick Carroll

Car headlights through a bed sheet

I've learned that light can be bent, sprayed, sliced, squashed, painted, bounced, poured, refracted, reflected and filtered. And in one unusual case, blackened to create the desired effect.

So when I arrived on holiday to South African from the UK with just a camera and no lights, it was a set a car headlights through a bed sheet that lit a bust of Julius Ceasar in the family garage for a local client. We covered the gap left by the open garage door with a white bed sheet and moved the car around in the driveway until the light fell in just right way on the white porcelain figure.

In the film The Legend of Bagger Vance, Matt Damon is playing for his golfing life when the sun begins to set on the golf course in the deep South. One alert spectator suggested that all the car owners turned their vehicles around to face the game on the putting green with lights ablaze. What a beautifully lit scene it became. A slight turn to the left or right controlled the light beams and bright and normal controlled the intensity - as did the distance of the vehicle from the subject.

Photographic lighting comes in all kinds of containers and casings, designed to handle the rigours of studio and location work. They all have one thing in common: the further away the light source is from the subject, the weaker the light and the wider its spread.

There are so many ways to create your own lighting system using domestic and commercial standard lighting products, with perfectly acceptable, if not unique aesthetic results.

I am on the lookout for a hospital operating theatre light for a series of black and white images on "nights in the coastal forest".

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